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Diversity Abroad Welcomes New Team Members

Posted By Erica Ledesma, Friday, July 21, 2017

Diversity Abroad is growing! We are excited to introduce three new fellows and one new intern who will be supporting Diversity Abroad initiatives over the course of the 2017-2018 year. In its first year, the Diversity Abroad Fellowship Program invited graduate students and new professionals interested in pursuing careers or gaining professional development experience in global education to apply for the 1-year program. After a very competitive review process, Diversity Abroad is delighted to welcome three fellows to join the Diversity Abroad Team. Fellows will be collaborating with the Diversity Abroad team within the following areas: Student Support Services, Educational Resources & Member Engagement, and Event Coordination. In addition to the fellowship program, Diversity Abroad welcomes a new intern to support the Diversity Abroad Network. 


Student Support Services Fellow

Lorelle Babwah

Lorelle Babwah

Lorelle Babwah is Diversity Abroad’s Student Services Fellow.  In her day-job, Lorelle serves as Assistant Director of Student Services for the Professional Masters Programs at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering. Her work focuses on improving student experience and creating opportunities for intercultural learning for domestic students and international students studying in the United States.

Lorelle is a proud double Tar Heel, holding a JD from the University of North Carolina School of Law and a BA in Psychology with a focus in Behavioral Neuroscience, also from the University of North Carolina.  Prior to working in higher education, Lorelle was in private practice focusing on immigration and criminal defense. 

Although she has adopted North Carolina as home, Lorelle’s family hails from Jamaica, Trinidad, and the US Virgin Islands.  She also grew up as an army brat, living in Panama and all over the US before landing in her current home of Durham.  As an undergraduate, Lorelle studied abroad in Botswana, and most recently spent time in parts of the Middle East and Asia for her work in support of international students.  She is excited to contribute to the Diversity Abroad community 


Educational Resources & Member Engagement Fellow

Robert B. Peterson, Ph.D.

Robert B. Peterson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor and leads the Morehouse Pan-African Global Experience II (MPAGE) Brazil in the Department of Sociology at Morehouse College. He was recently awarded a Diversity Abroad Graduate and New Professional Fellowship from the Diversity Abroad Network. His interests in education abroad began during his undergraduate years. As a NIMH-COR Fellow he was able to conduct intensive sociological field research in Cape Town, South Africa on HIV/AIDS and educator’s knowledge, attitudes and beliefs. Dr. Peterson’s research and teaching interests focuses on issues of the intersectionality of Race, Class, & Gender; The Sociology of Health & Illness; HIV/AIDS; Sexual Violence & Sexual Consent; Gender Expression (Masculinities) & Health Outcomes; & Internationalization & Education Abroad.

Dr. Peterson has proficiency teaching several courses and is experienced with planning, developing, and executing programmatic events related to study abroad and gender/sexuality programing. Particularly, he gained executive and programmatic experience by serving as a Program Manager for a Ford Foundation Funded Faces of Manhood Initiative and currently serves as one of the Associate Directors of the MPAGE Ghana 2014 and MPAGE II Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador and Ghana Study Abroad Programs. Recently, Dr. Peterson was selected to assist in the Faculty-Led Alternative Spring Break to Haiti Education Abroad Experience guiding 14 young African American men abroad. 

Specifically, his ongoing service to the college and the sociology department has been in the planning, organizing, execution, and assessment of successful MPAGE study abroad programs. The Brazil program commenced the first ever study abroad experience to Bahia, Brazil in summer 2015 with 10 students and two faculty members. Dr. Peterson’s extensive experience with the logistical and organizational structure of study abroad programs lead to an increase awareness and participation in MPAGE Bahia. He organized interest meetings and Study Abroad Fairs that increased recruitment efforts, established a more efficient on-line application infrastructure that streamlined and recorded data of applicants, and created a new financial model that increased the number of student participants in the program. He has experience with education abroad programs that include service learning, curriculum based, and civic-engagement. 

Dr. Peterson received his B.A. in Sociology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and received his Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. During his personal time, he enjoys cooking (& eating), traveling, community involvement, watching/reading cable news programs (political/social commentary) and socializing with family, fraternity (Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc.) and friends. He self-identifies as a relatively private person (as much as a Scorpio can be ☺) and in 2017 he joined Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram—although not a fan--yet.


Event Coordination Fellow 

Lauren Griggs

Lauren is the Diversity Abroad Graduate & New Professional Event Coordination Fellow. She assists in the organization and execution of events such as the Annual Diversity Abroad Conference, Regional Workshops and Online Webinars. Lauren supports Diversity Abroad’s presence at the global education conferences and aids in the planning and development of the Global Institute for Inclusive Leadership. 

Lauren received her B.S. in Engineering Science, with a concentration in Nanomedicine from The University of Virginia in 2012. Currently, Lauren is working towards completing her doctoral studies in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Her work in the Cell and Matrix Biomechanics Laboratory at VCU involves investigation into the mechanism governing how cells interpret mechanical signals from their surroundings and use those signals to grow new tissues. Lauren published this work in the journal Matrix Biology and has presented her research at several national conferences, including the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Conference, where she received the Innovation and Career Development Travel Award. She was recently awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship through the National Institute of Health. 

Lauren also serves as the Program Coordinator for the VCU Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program. In this work, Lauren strives to increasing the number of underrepresented minority students earning baccalaureate degrees and matriculating to graduate school. Lauren’s passion lies in working directly with students, serving as an advisor, inspiring others through meaningful career discussions and helping others to gain confidence as well as succeed in their chosen degree fields. Upon completion of her doctoral degree, Lauren plans to continue to develop her commitment to outreach and diversity, with aspirations of pursuing a career in university administration and research. 


Diversity Abroad Network Intern 

Shayna Trujillo

Shayna is currently serving as the Diversity Abroad Network Intern while completing her Master’s Degree in International Education Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She is working specifically with the Diversity Abroad Network to refine materials for the Access, Inclusion, and Diversity Workshops. 

Throughout her career, Shayna has fostered understanding of, collaboration with, and opportunities for underserved and underrepresented populations. Before coming to the field of international education, she worked in early childhood education, community organizing, and institutions of higher education. Shayna is interested in issues of gender equity, intercultural competency, and working with educators to create high quality, high impact programs at home and abroad.  She has lived, conducted university-level research, worked, and volunteered in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the United States. She is fluent in English and Spanish, and is working towards fluency in Russian.  Shayna is thrilled to be joining the Diversity Abroad team and looking forward to contributing to the great work that they do every day. 

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