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Current IE Fellow Biographies

Dr. Maya Clark (Senior Fellow)

Maya Reynolds Clark, Ph.D., is a tenured, associate professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program within the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences. She serves as the program director and graduate coordinator as well as the director of the LEADS Lab  located on the Armstrong campus. Dr. Clark is particularly interested in multicultural issues that impact communicative interactions as well as encounters in education and healthcare. As a certified speech-language pathologist for over twenty years, she is dedicated to using her expertise to assist families from diverse cultures and socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Her primary teaching, clinical and scholarship interests include: Cultural, linguistic and socio-economic factors in communication and cognition, Unconscious Bias, Compassion Fatigue in health professions, Health disparities, and Social cognitive theory. Her commitment to the area of diversity has been recognized within her college as well as her profession. 

In addition, Dr. Clark currently serves as chair of the Inclusion, Equity, and Access committee for the Waters College of Health Professions and trainer in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She was selected as an inaugural Faculty Fellow within the Office of Inclusive Excellence in 2020 and was retained to serve as Fellowship Coordinator for academic year 2021. She also serves as a consultant and trainer in the area of diversity, communication, and social engagement within the state of Georgia and nationally.

Tajae Francis

Tajae Francis earned his B.A. in Political Science from the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University and is currently employed within the Office of Alumni Relations. Within his role, he manages the Alumni Mentoring Program at the university, as well as work with the institution’s Network of Black Alumni, Military Alumni Network, and LGBTQ Alumni Network. He is an advocate on volunteerism, noted in his involvement with IVolunteer International and serves as the Civil Society Representative at the United Nations. He is extensively involved with community organizations such as Rotary International, 100 Black Men of Savannah, and Step Up Savannah Neighborhood Leadership Academy. He hopes to involve more Georgia Southern and Armstrong alumni within the Office of Inclusive Excellence and in campus conversations related to the university’s third pillar – Inclusive Excellence.

Alex Hernandez

Alejandro “Alex” Hernandez (he, him, his) native from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Alex serves as an Assistant Director within the Office of Financial Aid. A graduate of Armstrong Atlantic State University, Alex is passionate about social, economic, and political policies that affect the equity of underserved and underrepresented communities and how technology has changed the landscape of social discourse. As a proponent of civic engagement, he participates in many campus and community organizations/events such as FAFSA Night, SOAR, Domingo Universitario, University Student Conduct Board, and Poll Worker. Fluent in English and Spanish, he assists students and parents in navigating the FAFSA Verification and EFC appeals process. His experience within the Office of Financial Aid has provided an immersed appreciation for the diversity of needs within the university’s student body.

Dr. Karin Fisher

Karin Fisher, Ph.D. (she/her/hers) is an associate professor in the Department of Elementary and Special Education in the College of Education. She provides instruction on special education to in- and pre-service teachers at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Education Specialist levels. Her primary line of research is on the inclusion of students with disabilities in extracurricular science, technology, engineering, and mathematics activities. Dr. Fisher has served the profession in many ways. She currently is the chair of the Georgia Department of Education State Advisory Panel for Special Education, the president-elect of the Georgia Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the chair of the Early Career Faculty Special Interest Group of the Teacher Education Division of CEC.

Dr. Jeffery Secrest

Jeffery A. Secrest, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia Southern University. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Cincinnati, a Master of Arts from the University of Mississippi, and a Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary. He has been recognized with awards such as the Distinguished Gignilliant Fellowship and the Breakthrough Prize. He currently serves as a guest editor for the journal Symmetry. He has served his community by engaging in numerous science outreach programs such as performing science demonstration events aimed at students from kindergarten to high school, volunteering for the National Science Bowl, Georgia Southern Mathematics Tournament, and Science Olympiad, and has given a number of public lectures on various scientific topics. He is currently interested in increasing diversity through hiring procedures and policies along with strategies for increasing inclusivity in the classroom. His primary research interests of which he has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles include elementary particles and their interactions, cosmology, and applications of the maximum entropy principle.

Dr. Ha Nguyen

Ha Nguyen (she/her/hers), Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. She earned her B.S. in mathematics from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from Emory University. Nguyen has long embraced equity, diversity, and inclusiveness in her teaching, research, and outreach activities. As faculty, she works with – and celebrates – students of diverse backgrounds and strives to create an inclusive learning environment for all students. Her scholarly accomplishments in recent years include research on teaching mathematics for social justice, along with collaboratively pursuing and winning grant funding for projects that promote equity and diversity. Her chosen service activities further highlight her commitment to inclusive excellence in both higher education and the K- 12 education community.

Dr. Charles Wilson, Jr.

Charles “Hal” Wilson, Jr., Ph.D. (he/him/his) is an Associate Professor in Georgia Southern’s Coaching Education program. In this role, Wilson looks to leverage the potential of sport by empowering coaches to positively impact athletes through holistic, athlete-centered coaching and local communities through service and engagement. Wilson also serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Center for Coaching Excellence and speaks for organizations such as USA Basketball and the US Soccer Foundation. He earned a Ph.D. in Kinesiology and Sport Studies and M.S. in Sport Management from the University of Tennessee, and his B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His primary inclusive excellence interests include supporting campus members of all spiritual worldviews and improving race relations. Wilson has moderated interfaith panels, was an invited Affiliated Scholar of the Center for the Study of Sport and Religion, and created the Hoops with Heroes program bringing local law enforcement and middle school youth together through basketball.

Glendy Averhart

Glendy Averhart serves as the Administrative Assistant for Georgia Southern University Liberty Campus. She earned her B.A in English from The College of New Jersey. Additionally, she studied School Pedagogy and the importance of the quality of teaching our students receive in the classroom. Additionally, she has participated in research on how to bridge the gap between low income communities and the education system. Currently, she serves on the University Strategic Planning Committee at Georgia Southern University as a Sub-Committee Co-Chair for Community Engagement. Glendy is fluent in Spanish English and assists students in communicating with respective faculty/staff, navigating through the application process, and general inquiries. Her role at the Liberty Campus has exposed her to a diverse student, staff, and faculty population and works to cultivate a supportive environment for everyone at Georgia Southern University.

Last updated: 3/16/2022