Chaired by Dr. Roxanne Springer, the advisory committee provides guidance to the co-PIs and the administrative oversight team. The committee will meet twice per semester to discuss program status and progress, as well as to advise on and assess the implementation of the six pillars that form the foundation of the Duke UCEM.

ArceAyana T. Arce, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of Physics

Ayana Arce brings mentoring and program development experience to the committee. She has chaired the Ph.D. committees of two graduates (one female) in physics at Duke, and mentored four (two female) other physics Ph.Ds. She has mentored approximately 22 undergraduate students (nine female, two URM) in summer research or academic independent study in physics. She is co-PI of the NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program for undergraduates in nuclear and particle physics, which is an important component of the physics department’s recruitment of graduate students in these fields. In her research, Dr. Arce concentrates on understanding what takes place in hadron collider events with complicated final state topologies, like the production and decay of top quarks and heavy gauge bosons.

BlackSherilynn Black, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Biomedical Graduate Diversity, School of Medicine
Co-PI, Duke Biosciences Collaborative for Research Engagement (BioCoRE)

Sherilynn Black is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in Medical Education in the Duke School of Medicine. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology as a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her doctoral studies in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke, then completed additional studies in the School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her current research focuses on identifying the common variables associated with successful STEM student-development interventions in higher education, and in creating computational models that are predictive of the success of higher education intervention programs. Dr. Black currently serves as the founding Director of the Office of Biomedical Graduate Diversity for Duke’s School of Medicine. She is also a co-Principal Investigator of the Duke Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program, referred to as the Duke Biosciences Collaborative for Research Engagement (BioCoRE). Duke BioCoRE provides extensive mentoring and scientific engagement opportunities for talented and diverse undergraduate and graduate students in the biomedical and behavioral sciences.

franzKatherine J. Franz, Ph.D.
Chair and Alexander Hehmeyer Professor of Chemistry

Katherine Franz will guide the committee in its mentoring efforts and program development. She has mentored more than 50 (combined) Ph.D., masters, and undergrad students and has served as a co-director of an NSF REU program; faculty affiliate for Duke’s BioCoRE program; advisory committee member for a Duke Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) grant; and activity leader for Duke’s Females Excelling More in Math and Science (FEMMES) program. Dr. Franz’s research focuses on elucidating the structural and functional consequences of metal ion coordination in biological systems.

FriersonJohnna Frierson, Ph.D.
Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Pratt School of Engineering

Johnna Frierson is the founding director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Pratt School of Engineering. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Furman University in Greenville, SC. She then went on to complete her doctoral studies in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University, and postdoctoral training in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Program Director postdoctoral fellowship in the Office of Biomedical Graduate Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has extensive experience in developing innovative pre-graduate and graduate-level programs and initiatives focused on diversity recruitment and retention, science outreach, and cross-disciplinary graduate training. In her current role as the founding director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in Engineering she provides leadership in developing and implementing future steps in the engineering school’s ongoing diversity initiatives, including thoughtful practices to enhance recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups at the student, faculty and staff levels, and to foster greater inclusion of diverse groups and viewpoints in the academic community. Dr. Frierson also serves as a co-PI for the NSF-funded REU program for undergraduates in engineering.

SpringerRoxanne P. Springer, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics

Roxanne Springer has organized multiple recruitment efforts, including Duke campus visits by undergraduates from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Spellman College, and recruiting at the National Society of Black Physicists. She has also served as a Dean’s Graduate Fellowship reviewer; faculty sponsor of the Bouchet Society (supporting URM graduate students); and mentor to an African American physics graduate student. She has served as chair of the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society (APS) and on the Executive Committee of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the APS. Dr. Springer obtained her undergraduate degree in Physics and Chemical Physics from Rice University, and her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in Theoretical Particle Physics. She works on weak interactions (the force responsible for nuclear beta decay) and quantum chromodynamics (the force that binds quarks into hadrons and generates the mass of protons and neutrons).

Dr. Springer will contributes recruitment expertise to the UCEM. She was instrumental in the development of Duke’s UCEM proposal.

Stiff-RobertsAdrienne D. Stiff-Roberts, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Adrienne Stiff-Roberts brings experience in mentorship, outreach, and program development for engineering graduate students to the committee. She holds Duke’s Julian Abele Award for Graduate Mentor of the Year (2016) and is an education and outreach director for the Research Triangle Materials Research Science & Engineering Center, a director and instructor for the Student Engineering Network: Strengthening Opportunities in Research (SENSOR), and a faculty advisor for the Duke University Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Dr. Stiff-Roberts received both the B.S. degree in physics from Spelman College and the B.E.E. degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999. She received an M.S.E. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in applied physics in 2001 and 2004, respectively, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Stiff-Roberts joined Duke in August 2004. Her research interests include the synthesis of multi-component and hybrid (organic-inorganic) materials using a novel approach for organic-based thin film deposition that combines solution and vacuum-processing.

2 Graduate Student Representatives

To be selected from Ph.D. students in the UCEM Ph.D. programs