Team

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.

Program Staff
  • Michael Lamb, Executive Director
    Michael Lamb

    Executive Director
    (336) 758-2343
    lambkm@nullwfu.edu

    Michael Lamb is the Executive Director of the Program for Leadership and Character and Associate Professor of Politics, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary Humanities. He is also a Research Fellow for the Oxford Character Project. He earned a B.A. in political science from Rhodes College, a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, and a second B.A. in philosophy and theology from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His interdisciplinary research and teaching focus on character education, the ethics of citizenship, and the role of virtues in public life. He is the author of A Commonwealth of Hope: Augustine’s Political Thought and co-editor of Cultivating Virtue in the University and Everyday Ethics: Moral Theology and the Practices of Ordinary Life. His work has been published in a number of edited volumes and academic journals, including the American Political Science ReviewReview of Politics, Journal of Moral Education, and Journal of Character Education. He has also received awards for teaching excellence from Princeton, Oxford, and Wake Forest. A political theorist with experience in practical politics, he has advised colleges on character education and civic engagement and served as chief of staff for campaigns for state senate, Governor, and U.S. Congress in his home state of Tennessee. Prior to joining Wake Forest, he helped to launch the Oxford Character Project and served as Dean of Leadership, Service, and Character Development for Rhodes Scholars.

  • Kenneth Townsend, Director of Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools
    Kenneth Townsend

    Director of Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools
    (336) 758-3794
    townsek@nullwfu.edu

    Kenneth Townsend is the Director of Leadership and Character for the Professional Schools and Scholar-in-Residence at the Wake Forest School of Law. A recipient of the Truman Scholarship for Public Service and the Rhodes Scholarship, he earned a B.A. from Millsaps College, an M.Phil. from the University of Oxford, and a J.D. and M.A.R. from Yale University. Prior to joining Wake Forest, he worked at Millsaps College as Special Assistant to the President, Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Founding Executive Director of the Institute for Professional and Civic Engagement and, before Millsaps, as a Fellow in the University of Mississippi’s Barksdale Honors College and Lott Leadership Institute. A licensed attorney and frequent commentator on public affairs, he has taught courses in ethics, political theory, public policy, and constitutional law at Millsaps College, University of Mississippi, and Yale University.  He teaches “Professional Responsibility” and “Leadership and Character in the Professions” at the Wake Forest School of Law. His research focuses on the relationship between law and morality, the role of religion in a democracy, and the ethical obligations of professionals.

  • Eranda Jayawickreme, Senior Research Fellow
    Eranda Jayawickreme

    Senior Research Fellow
    jayawide@nullwfu.edu

    Eranda Jayawickreme is Senior Research Fellow in the Program for Leadership and Character and Associate Professor of Psychology at Wake Forest University. He earned a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College and a Ph.D. in positive and social/personality psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Alongside Dr. Michael Lamb, he is a Co-Project Leader of a $1.68 million initiative on “Exemplar Interventions to Develop Character” funded by the John Templeton Foundation. He is also Psychology Co-Director of “The Honesty Project” and was Co-Project Leader of the $3.4 million “Pathways to Character Project” funded by the John Templeton Foundation that examined the possibilities for the strengthening of character following adversity, challenge or failure. His research focuses on post-traumatic growth, moral personality, wisdom, and well-being. His awards include the 2018 Faculty Excellence in Research Award from Wake Forest, the 2015 Rising Star award from the Association for Psychological Science, a Mellon Refugee Initiative Fund Fellowship, and grants from the John Templeton Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, Templeton World Charity Foundation, the European Association for Personality Psychology and the Asia Foundation/USAID.

  • Heather Maranges, Co-Director of Research and Assessment
    Heather Maranges

    Co-Director of Research and Assessment
    marangeh@nullwfu.edu

    Heather M. Maranges is the Co-Director of Research and Assessment at the Program for Leadership and Character, leading the program’s empirical assessment of programming, courses, and interventions to understand how to facilitate the formation of virtuous character. Heather received her Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology at Florida State University, and the Horizon Postdoctoral Fellowship for work at the Social Justice Centre and Departments of Psychology and Philosophy at Concordia University. Early on in her in university years, her coursework incorporated considerable study not only in psychology, but also in philosophy, English literature, and biology. Today, her research seeks to understand what facilitates cooperation and virtue, inspired by both Aristotelian virtue ethics and behavioral ecology frameworks. In particular, she studies how both self-control and childhood environments/experiences shape moral character and decision making.

  • Kate Allman, Co-Director of Research and Assessment
    Kate Allman

    Co-Director of Research and Assessment
    allmank@nullwfu.edu

    Dr. Kate Allman is the Co-Director of Research and Assessment in 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 fostering holistic connections between student learning, evaluation, programmatic planning, and organizational thriving in Institutions of Higher Education. She 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 in STEM Education. As a Research Scholar in the Program for Leadership and Character, Kate coordinates and supports research activities and internal evaluation.

  • Susan Fesperman, Research Coordinator
    Susan Fesperman

    Research Coordinator
    fespers@nullwfu.edu

    Susan Fesperman is the Research Coordinator for the Program for Leadership and Character. She received her B.S. in Biology and Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her M.P.H. with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Florida. She brings 15 years of research experience to the team. Susan previously worked for the Navy as a public health researcher and data manager for a large initiative looking to improve the mental health outcomes and readiness of our service members. Most recently, she served as a project manager working with sites all over the country on multiple cancer care delivery studies.

  • Jeremy Markovich, Director of Communications
    Jeremy Markovich

    Director of Communications
    (336) 758-3629
    markovj@nullwfu.edu

    Jeremy Markovich is the Director of Communications for the Program for Leadership and Character. Jeremy graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. in Journalism, and worked as an award-winning reporter and producer at television stations in West Virginia and North Carolina. He’s also written pieces for Charlotte magazine, SB NationCBS SportsWharton magazine and Politico, and was most recently a senior writer, editor, and digital manager at Our State magazine, where he hosted a podcast about North Carolina’s overlooked people, places, and stories.

  • Ann Phelps, Director of Programming
    Ann Phelps

    Director of Programming
    (336) 758-3731
    phelpsa@nullwfu.edu

    Ann Phelps is the Director of Programming for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University. She earned a B.A. from Hastings College and an M.A.R. from Yale University where she studied the intersection of religion, the arts, and modern culture at the Institute of Sacred Music. In her former roles as Director of the 1 Campus 1 Community Office of Community Engagement and Interim Director of Religious Life at Millsaps College, she taught courses on community engagement and vocational discernment. Most of her research has been conducted outside of the library, where she has worked as a freelance musician and teacher with colleges, universities, and religious communities to envision how corporate rituals and collective creativity can empower us to be more ethical actors in our changing world. She has recorded vocals for a number of composers and ensembles, most frequently with her communal song and jazz band, the Theodicy Jazz Collective, that has provided leadership and reflection in communities such as Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford Universities and Canterbury, St. John the Divine, and Washington National Cathedrals. Her most recent research explores how rehearsal and performance of particular virtues (and vices) in theatre might have an impact on character even after the curtain closes (Educational Theory, forthcoming). Her publications extend beyond the academic realm to award-winning visual art and the self-illustrated poem The Tower and the Well, written almost as much for children as for the adults who might read it to them.

  • Bradley Burroughs, Director of Leadership and Character in Academic, Civic, and Religious Life
    Bradley Burroughs

    Director of Leadership and Character in Academic, Civic, and Religious Life
    burroub@nullwfu.edu

    Bradley Burroughs is the Director of Leadership and Character in Academic, Civic, and Religious Life. He received a B.A. from Allegheny College, an M.Div. from Duke University Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. His academic work integrates theological ethics, modern social theory, and contemporary theories of virtue to explore the role and development of character in contemporary life. He is the author of Christianity, Politics, and the Predicament of Evil: A Constructive Theological Ethic of Soulcraft and Statecraft, as well as articles that have appeared in The Journal of the Society of Christian EthicsThe Journal of Lutheran EthicsChristian Century, and elsewhere. Prior to joining Wake Forest, he taught at Allegheny College, United Theological Seminary, and the Graduate Theological Union, where he held a joint appointment at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific. In addition to teaching courses in ethics, theology, and formation, he also has experience in broad-based community organizing.

  • Raven Scott, Associate Director of Programming and Team Building
    Raven Scott

    Associate Director, Programming and Team Building
    scottr@nullwfu.edu

    Raven Scott is the Associate Director of Programming and Team Building. In her role, she facilitates workshops and experiences for students including Call to Conversation, The Black Women’s Leadership Retreat, and ongoing series with leaders of student organizations and athletics teams. 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.

  • Elizabeth Whiting Pierce, Director of Interdisciplinary and Engaged Learning in the Professional Schools
    Elizabeth Whiting Pierce

    Director of Interdisciplinary and Engaged Learning in the Professional Schools
    piercee@nullwfu.edu

    Elizabeth Whiting Pierce is Director of Interdisciplinary and Engaged Learning in the Professional Schools. She earned a B.S. from Trevecca Nazarene University, an M.Div. from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. in Religion from Emory University, concentrating in Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding. Before joining the Leadership and Character Program at Wake Forest University, Dr. Pierce directed the Center for Ethics and taught ethics at Mars Hill University. A primary goal of her teaching is to equip leaders to constructively engage conflicts arising in their professional settings and in society at large.

  • Erin Adamson, Associate Director for Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools.
    erin adamson picture
    Erin Adamson

    Associate Director for Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools.
    adamsoe@nullwfu.edu

    Erin Adamson is the Associate Director for Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools. Erin earned her B.A. Spanish from Spelman College and her M.A. in English-Linguistics from North Carolina State University. Prior to this role, she served as Interim Director of the Wake Forest Women’s Center where she oversaw the operational, programmatic, and advocacy initiatives. Erin is a highly relational educator and project manager with over seven years of experience in teaching and facilitating programs for diverse audiences in both higher education and nonprofit organizations.

  • Ananthi Al Ramiah, Senior Research Scholar in the Professional Schools
    Ananthi Al Ramiah

    Senior Research Scholar in the Professional Schools
    alramiah@nullwfu.edu

    Ananthi Al Ramiah is the Senior Research Scholar in the Professional Schools, overseeing assessment and evaluation of the curricular and extra-curricular programmatic activity across the schools. A social psychologist and economist by training, she has a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, an M.S. in Development Economics and a D.Phil. (Ph.D.) in Psychology from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar and a British Chevening Scholar. She also has a second master’s degree in Research Methods in Psychology from Oxford Brookes University. Apart from academic research, Ananthi consults on topics related to social integration, and plays an advisory role for national governments (such as in the United Kingdom and Singapore) and civil society organizations. Prior to joining Wake Forest University, she founded and directed a research consultancy firm in Malaysia, worked as an assistant professor at Yale-NUS College in Singapore and has worked in fixed income and economics research at an investment bank. Her current research investigates the role of character in navigating challenging interactions in diverse settings, and her previous research focused on conflict and harmony in multicultural contexts, including the study of everyday prejudices and violent religious extremism. Her work has appeared in academic journals, edited volumes and handbooks such as American Psychologist, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Developmental Psychology and the Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology. She is a periodic commentator on social affairs in Malaysia, and her work has appeared, or been referenced to, in newspaper and media outlets throughout Southeast Asia. She is also a classically trained Bharatanatyam dancer, and has studied and performed in Malaysia, India, and the U.K.

  • Nancy Winfrey, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Professional Schools
    Nancy Winfrey

    Assistant Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Professional Schools
    winfren@nullwfu.edu

    Nancy Winfrey is the Assistant Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy for Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools. Her experience spans 25 years of work with adults in Nonprofit Management, Leadership Development, and Higher Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Adult Learning and Development from Lesley University, an M.Ed. in Training and Organizational Development from NC State University, a B.A. in English and American Language and Literature from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Graduate Certificates in Counseling in Education, Advanced Dialogue Education, and ACUE Effective College Instruction. She is also adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership and a team member of Inspirus Consulting. Her teaching and research interests include Dialogue Education, small group processes, authentic leadership, and designing for brain-based learning and her work has been published in two edited volumes and in academic journals such as Deeper Learning Journal of Practice, Learning and Teaching Journal, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, and Adult Learning. She was also the Founding Director of a 501(c)3 nonprofit supporting education in a Guatemalan squatter community for 14 years and led humanitarian service projects in five additional countries. Her primary volunteer work has been with Girl Scouts USA as a National Volunteer Partner in Adult Learning and Organizational Development.

  • Jessica Koehler, Visiting Scholar in the Department of Engineering
    Jessica Koehler

    Visiting Scholar in the Department of Engineering
    koehlerj@nullwfu.edu

    Dr. Jessica Koehler is the Visiting Scholar of Leadership and Character in the Wake Forest Department of Engineering. She received her B.A. in Biochemistry from The Colorado College, and an M.S. in Chemistry from The University of Louisville. After 10 years as a STEM educator, she left teaching to earn a Ph.D. in Adolescent Motivational Psychology and Positive Youth Development from The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. While at the University of Pennsylvania she also collaborated on STEM education and teacher professional development research. Prior to her current position, she spent five years as Director of Research at a nationwide non-profit for teen and young adult flourishing and three years in the Wake Forest Department of Engineering as the Assessment, Continuous Improvement, and Accreditation Fellow. As the Visiting Scholar in Engineering, she now applies both her practical and theoretical knowledge of STEM education, assessment, teacher
    professional development, and young adult holistic development to support the character education programming, assessment, and faculty training efforts.

  • Kathleen Stimely, Assistant Director, Finance and Operations
    Kathleen Stimely

    Assistant Director, Finance and Operations
    (336) 758-2531
    mckeekl@nullwfu.edu

    Kathleen Stimely has a decade of experience in managing character-research related grants in psychology and philosophy. Kathleen worked as both Program Coordinator and Program Manager for the Character Project at Wake Forest from 2010 to 2015, as the Program Manager for the Beacon Project from 2015 to 2018, and as the Program Manager for the Honesty Project from 2018 to 2020. Kathleen now serves as Program Manager for the Program for Leadership & Character. Kathleen has a B.A. in psychology from Francis Marion University and a M.H.R. from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Thanks to the generous support of the Kern Family Foundation, Kathleen is completing an M.A. in Character Education at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham.

  • Gillian Hagamen, Program Coordinator
    Gillian Hagamen

    Program Coordinator
    hagameg@nullwfu.edu

    Gillian Hagamen is the Program Coordinator for the Program for Leadership and Character. Prior to joining Wake Forest, Gillian worked at the University of Texas at Austin as a Program Coordinator in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering where her work focused on recruiting and supporting undergraduate students, especially women and underrepresented minorities. Her nearly 20-year career also includes work with the Seattle Mariners, Girl Scouts of Western Washington, and NatureBridge. Gillian received her B.A. in American Studies from Colby College.

  • Mary Costanza, Program and Events Coordinator
    Mary Costanza

    Program and Events Coordinator
    costml17@nullwfu.edu

    Mary Costanza is the Program and Events Coordinator 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 spent the next year working as the Presidential Fellow in the Office of the President and for the Program for Leadership and Character. She is happy to support the work of the Program which was so influential for her development and a sense of home during her time as an undergraduate. 

Postdoctoral Fellows
  • Johann Ducharme, Postdoctoral Fellow in Character Education
    Johann Ducharme

    Postdoctoral Fellow in Character Education
    ducharj@nullwfu.edu

    Johann Ducharme is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Character Education within the Program for Leadership & Character. He earned his Ph.D. from the College of William & Mary, M.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park, and B.A. from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. 

    Johann’s research explores the cultivation of intellectual virtues such as creativity, curiosity, and intellectual humility in students and future leaders. He is currently working on a grounded theory of intellectual humility contextualized to undergraduate education that highlights pedagogical strategies employed by professors to counterbalance its excess or absence. Prior to joining the Program at Wake Forest, Johann worked as graduate assistant for Dr. Jim Barber and research assistant for the Mason School of Business at William & Mary. He also held posts as a Program Manager at the Institute of International Education in Washington, D.C., and was a regular lecturer for the American Studies Program on Vocation and Leadership. He enjoys mentoring undergraduates as they navigate the challenges and joys of emerging adulthood.

  • Hannah Read, Postdoctoral Fellow in Character Education
    Hannah Read

    Postdoctoral Fellow in Character Education
    readh@nullwfu.edu

    Hannah Read is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Character Education in the Program for Leadership and Character. She completed her Ph.D. in Philosophy at Duke University. Before that, she earned an M.A. in Philosophy at Tufts University and her B.A. in Philosophy and Literary Studies at The New School University.

    Hannah’s work falls primarily at the intersection of moral and political philosophy, moral psychology, feminist philosophy, and the philosophy of education. Her dissertation investigated the role of empathy in mitigating the moral, epistemic, and practical harms of political polarization. In particular, she argued that empathy can play a crucial role in helping us find common ground and thereby bridge fraught divides that inhibit forging meaningful interpersonal relationships, learning from differences, and cooperating toward shared goals. Much of Hannah’s current work concerns normative and empirical questions regarding strategies to promote empathy education and training against the widespread tendency to reserve empathy for those who are closest to us. She aims to identify best practices for cultivating empathy and perspective-taking across various group divides and to offer a normative account of the role that individuals and institutions — e.g. colleges and universities — in different social positions should play in supporting such practices. Alongside this work, Hannah is engaged in a series of related projects regarding the interplay between feminized artificial intelligence (like Siri, Alexa, and others) and the development of moral skills, such as empathy and perspective taking, as well as possibilities for harnessing such technologies in the service of moral skill development and education.

  • Adetoun Yeaman, Postdoctoral Fellow in Engineering Education
    Adetoun Yeaman

    Postdoctoral Fellow in Engineering Education
    yeamana@nullwfu.edu

    Adetoun Yeaman is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Engineering Education in the Department of Engineering. She earned her doctorate from Virginia Tech, where her research focused on understanding empathy in the experiences of undergraduate engineering students in service-learning courses. She has an M.S. degree in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has a strong interest in the ways that people interact and the role that engineering and technology play in society. To this end, she continues to look for ways to promote social competencies, such as empathy, within engineering education and practice. Her research spans a variety of areas including empathy in engineering, design education, and multimedia learning. She is excited to be a part of the dynamic team at Wake Forest University continuing to develop the emerging engineering program and incorporating character interventions in the undergraduate engineering curriculum. She is passionate about helping people find their place as valuable contributors in society and is enthusiastic about further fostering this passion in her current role.

  • Bryan Ellrod, Postdoctoral Fellow in Pre-Law
    Bryan Ellrod

    Postdoctoral Fellow in Pre-Law
    ellrodb@nullwfu.edu

    Bryan Ellrod is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Pre-Law in the Program for Leadership and Character. He earned his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Emory University’s Graduate Division of Religion, as well as an M.Div. and Th.M. from the Candler School of Theology. He holds a B.A. degree with dual majors in Religion and Philosophy from Florida Southern College.

    Bryan’s research explores questions of membership, identity, and responsibility at the intersections of politics, law, and religion. His dissertation develops the ethical and political implications of becoming “neighbors” to those who have lost their lives crossing through the US-Mexico borderlands, arguing for the adoption of an ethical subjectivity constituted by the demand of the excluded other and a politics of responsibility for the lives that projects of national self-determination cast aside. Throughout this study, Bryan interrogates the law of migration and its function in forming national identities and constructing the ethical relationships between insiders and outsiders, members and non-members, “citizens” and “aliens.” Bryan has also published on ethics pedagogy and is excited to join a team that joins preparation for the study of law with character education. He is committed to advising Wake Forest’s pre-law students as they discern their vocations and seeks to develop curricular and co-curricular programming that invites students to explore questions of virtue.

  • Eunice Jianping Hu, Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Interdisciplinary Humanities
    Eunice Jianping Hu

    Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Interdisciplinary Humanities
    huj@nullwfu.edu

    Eunice Jianping Hu is a Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program for Leadership and Character and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program. She earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and holds an M.A. in Chinese Philosophy and a B.A. in Philosophy from East China Normal University in Shanghai. Jianping was a visiting scholar at Duke University (2019-2020) and at Chinese University of Hong Kong (2016).

    Jianping’s research interests are in Classical Chinese Philosophy, Normative Ethics, Meta-Ethics, and Moral Psychology. Her dissertation reconstructs and reinterprets the moral cultivation theory in the Xunzi as a long-term dynamic interactional model of situations and character traits that is not only virtue-centered but also, more importantly, empirically promising. In response to the situationist critique of traditional virtue ethics, Jianping points out several problems of situationism that are worth noticing, e.g., the misinterpretation of the relationship between character traits and virtue, the absence of longitudinal studies on character development, and the infeasibility of situationist strategies for morality. Her peer-reviewed articles can be found in journals such as Philosophy East & West and Studies in Applied Ethics (in Chinese). She has also translated articles and books on Virtue Ethics, Sinology, and Daoist Philosophy. Prior to joining Wake Forest University, Jianping was a lecturer of interdisciplinary teaching in the School of Humanities at Nanyang Technological University. She enjoys working with colleagues and students from various backgrounds and is strongly dedicated to creating a classroom where informed, open, and reflective discourse is encouraged. According to Xunzi, a junzi (exemplary person) should “engage in persuasions with a heart of ren (benevolence), listen with a heart eager to learn, and debate with a heart without prejudice.” (以仁心說,以學心聽,以公心辯) (Xunzi, ch.22) This inspires Jianping’s teaching and mentoring, and is something she is excited to share with her students.

Research Collaborators
  • Olga Pierrakos, Department Chair and Professor of Engineering
    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.

  • Michael Gross, Associate Professor of Engineering
    Dr. Michael Gross

    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

    Research and Assessment Consultant
    dykhuiem@nullwfu.edu

    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 Brown, Research Affiliate
    Dylan Brown

    Research Affiliate
    browdf16@nullwfu.edu

    Dylan Brown is a Research Affiliate for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University. He graduated from Wake Forest in May 2020 with a B.A. in Philosophy. He previously worked as an undergraduate research assistant for Leadership and Character and the Department of Engineering. During his junior year, Dylan was a visiting student at the University of Oxford where he focused on normative and applied ethics. Dylan’s undergraduate research in virtue and character culminated in his honors thesis, “Forgiveness and Pardon: Normative Powers to Mitigate Interpersonal Wrongdoing and Self-Harm.” Dylan is grateful to be working for the program that sparked his research interests and developed him personally during his time as a student.

  • Sara Etz Mendonça, Research Affiliate
    Sara Etz Mendonça

    Research Affiliate
    mendons@nullwfu.edu

    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.