Wake Forest is a community of faculty and staff committed to educating the whole person and transforming students into leaders and citizens of character. The staff for the Program for Leadership and Character focus on advancing this work everyday.
Michael Lamb, Executive Director
Eranda Jayawickreme, Senior Research Fellow
Ann Phelps, Director of Programming
Jasmine Logan, Assistant Director of Programming
Bradley Burroughs, Director of Leadership and Character in Academic, Civic, and Religious Life
Roscoe Bell, Fellow
Kathleen Stimely, Director of Program Administration
Jeri Miller, Business Manager
Connie Kuhlman, Administrative Coordinator
Susan Fesperman, Research Program Manager
Becky Park, Research Scholar
Eunice Jianping Hu, Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Interdisciplinary Humanities firstname.lastname@example.org
Bryan Ellrod, Director of Pre-Law, Office of Academic Advising
Rebecca Permar, Postdoctoral Fellow in Pre-Health
Christina Richardson, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Education
John E. Carter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
William Cochran, Assistant Teaching Professor in Computer Science
Fatima Hamdulay, Assistant Teaching Professor in Entrepreneurship
Dan Henry, Assistant Teaching Professor in African American Studies
Communications and Events
Jeremy Markovich, Director of Communications
Sydney Bowman, Communications Specialist in the College
Julian Glasthal, Communications Specialist in the Professional Schools
Kenneth Townsend, Executive Director of Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools
Elizabeth Whiting, Director for Leadership and Character Formation in the School of Medicine
Lauren Iley-Spear, Program Manager in the Professional Schools
Nancy Winfrey, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Professional Schools email@example.com
Benjamin Rigney, Assistant Director of Leadership and Character in the Law School
Jessica Koehler, Senior Research Scholar in the Professional Schools
Richard Hall, Research Scholar in Measurement and Evaluation in the Professional Schools
Cheraton Love, Director of the Center for Personal and Professional Development
Keyma T. Clark, Personal and Professional Development Coach
Kendall Freeman, Personal and Professional Development Coach
John James, Personal and Professional Development Coach
Misty Graham, Personal and Professional Development Coach
Educating Character Initiative
Beth Purvis, Director of the Educating Character Initiative
John Etcheverry, Grants and Contracts Manager
Jennifer Rothschild, Senior Scholar of Character Education
Kristi Marion, Associate Director of External Communications
Melissa Blackwell, Program and Event Coordinator
Krista Smith, Executive Assistant
Dr. Kate Allman
Dr. Kate Allman is the Executive Director of Winston-Salem TEACH, a Research Associate Professor in both Wake Forest University’s Department of Education and Winston-Salem State University’s Department of Education, and a Research Fellow with the Program for Leadership and Character. She received her B.A. in English from Emory University, her M.Ed. in English Education from Wake Forest University, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work focuses on the social and moral development of adolescents and young adults and also examines the connections between pedagogical practice, student learning, and organizational thriving in Institutions of Higher Education. She also has specialized expertise in holistic program evaluation, grant management, and institutional accreditation. Prior to coming to Wake, she served as a faculty member and administrator at Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, and Towson University, where she led numerous formative, outcome, and impact evaluation projects using a collaborative, participatory approach. At Duke University, she was awarded two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants that supported the development of teacher leaders. She serves as a Part-time Assistant Professor in the Psychology department and a Research Associate in the Education Department at Wake Forest.
Dr. Olga Pierrakos
Department Chair and Professor of Engineering
Dr. Olga Pierrakos is Founding Chair and Professor in the Department of Engineering at Wake Forest University. She earned a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University. She also holds an M.S. in Engineering Mechanics and a B.S. in Engineering Science and Mechanics from Virginia Tech. With Dr. Michael Lamb, she is the Co-Principal Investigator of a grant focused on integrating character into engineering funded by the Kern Family Foundation as part of the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN). Before coming to Wake Forest, Dr. Pierrakos served as Program Director of the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation (NSF), where she managed a $100 million portfolio to advance STEM education in colleges and universities. She was also a founding faculty member of the Engineering Department at James Madison University. Her research focuses on engineering education, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering in sustainable energy systems.
Associate Professor of Engineering
Dr. Michael Gross is Associate Professor of Engineering, a founding faculty member of the undergraduate Department of Engineering, and the David and Leila Farr Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Bucknell University. Gross researches fuel cells, materials processing, and gas adsorption calorimetry, as well as student motivation. His motivation work focuses on activity-level, or situational, student motivation in STEM courses with the goal of directly applying motivation theory and empirical research findings to practical course design. His teaching areas include Materials Science and Engineering, Engineering Thinking and Practice, Engineering Measurement and Analysis, and Capstone. He has received the prestigious National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Award, the Wake Forest University Research Award for Excellence, and the Wake Forest University Innovative Teaching Award. He has worked closely with the Program for Leadership and Character to design and integrate character modules into the Engineering curriculum and train faculty on how to teach character to aspiring engineers.
Elise Murray Dykhuis
Research and Assessment Consultant
Elise Murray Dykhuis is an assistant professor in the character integration advisory group at the United States Military Academy, and a Research and Assessment Consultant in the Program for Leadership and Character. She received her B.A. in Psychology and German Language/Literature at the University of Notre Dame and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. Her research focuses broadly on individual pathways for character development among college students, and she spent much of her doctoral studies examining the aspects of person-centric, longitudinal models of intellectual humility among United States Military Academy cadets. She has a particular interest in using complex statistical modeling to examine these pathways and further honed these skills as a junior fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. She has published on the topic of character in college in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Positive Psychology and the Journal of Moral Education. Her work integrates the concept of character virtues with developmental theory and metatheory, on which she has written and presented in various forums. Dr. Dykhuis has also served as a statistical and survey-design consultant for various character-related projects and organizations. She strongly believes that college students are uniquely situated for immense character growth given their social, emotional, intellectual, and identity development, integrated with the vast opportunities presented by post-secondary education. As such, she sees the Program as a facilitator for life-long flourishing among future leaders of character and is excited to be part of that effort.
Dylan is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at Duke University, specializing in social philosophy and the ethics of emerging technologies. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Wake Forest University. At Wake Forest, he was actively involved in the Program for Leadership and Character. As a Research Fellow, Dylan has co-authored two peer reviewed articles. In “Digital Temperance: Adapting an Ancient Virtue for a Technological Age,” Dylan and Michael Lamb repurpose the ancient virtue of temperance to promote healthy technology use in a world saturated with digital distractions. In “Exemplars Embodied: Can Acting Form Moral Character?”, Dylan and Director of Programming Ann Phelps explore how Aristotelian virtue ethics and Stanislavski’s acting methods can be used to develop a character based moral pedagogy for theater educators and practitioners.
Sara Etz Mendonça
Sara Etz Mendonça is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. She earned a B.A. in Romance languages and literature from the University of Chicago, an M.Ed. from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research focuses on the development of character and virtues in youth and the creation of effective character interventions. Her work has been published in edited volumes such as Developing Gratitude in Children and Adolescents and peer-reviewed academic journals including Current Psychology and Cross-Cultural Research. She has also presented her findings at multiple national and international conferences including the Society for Research in Child Development and the Association for Moral Education. Beyond her scholarly work, she is a dedicated educator who has won teaching awards from multiple middle and high schools from Illinois to Mexico to Sweden, and, most recently, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While working in high schools, she founded programs for immigrant parents and their children to inform them about the college admissions process so that the students could continue their education by attending university. A firm believer in the connection between mind and body, she has both founded and coached various track and soccer teams in the educational institutions where she has worked.
Mary Costanza is a Research Affiliate for the Program for Leadership and Character. She earned her B.A. in Politics and International Affairs with a minor in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Wake Forest University in 2021. Mary combined her background as a classical ballet dancer with her undergraduate research interests in virtue, character, and the arts which culminated in her honors thesis, “Dance Training as Life Training: Cultivating the Virtue of Creativity in Ballet.” Upon graduating, Mary worked as the Presidential Fellow in the Office of the President and for the Program for Leadership and Character. She is happy to continue supporting the work of the Program for Leadership and Character, which was so influential for her development and a sense of home during her time as an undergraduate student.
Raven Scott is a Programming Affiliate for the Program for Leadership and Character. Raven has spent her career educating in a variety of settings, from teaching high school in Jackson, Mississippi, to teaching English in Madrid, Spain, to developing leadership workshops for Strive: How You Lead Matters, a sports leadership non-profit. She also directed a volleyball club for over 150 girls in Jackson and runs her own program combining volleyball and leadership development. Raven earned a B.A. in Anthropology/Sociology and a minor in the Lilly-affiliated Faith & Work Initiative from Millsaps College while also earning accolades as a volleyball player on the Millsaps College varsity team. She also holds an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Mississippi.