Barbee Oakes, Ph.D.
Chief Diversity Officer
Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion
As Assistant Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Oakes was the chief architect of the University’s first strategic plan for diversity and inclusion. She has since created a leadership infrastructure consisting of faculty, staff and students that engages the entire campus community in transforming the institutional culture. Expanding cultural competence education; employing innovative strategies to recruit and retain a diverse faculty, staff, and student constituency; and developing graduate pipeline programs have also been key focus areas for Oakes in her role.
Prior to this appointment, she was the director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Wake Forest University from 1995-2009. Oakes also held professorships at Penn State University, Arizona State University and Wake Forest. She’s authored over thirty publications and research presentations, co-authored five books and became the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in the American College of Sports Medicine. She has continued her professional involvement in the area of physical fitness by co-authoring seven textbooks since 1995.
Oakes’ professional and civic accomplishments include recognition by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of the top 25 “emerging” women in higher education and selection as a senior fellow for Future Focus 2020. She is a member of the St. Peter’s Center for Comprehensive Services board of directors and the WFU Maya Angelou Research Center for Minority Health internal steering committee.
Oakes holds a B.S. and M.A. in exercise science and cardiac rehabilitation from Wake Forest University. She completed doctoral study in exercise physiology and nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Director of Diversity Education
Shayla Herndon-Edmunds joined the Office of Diversity & Inclusion as Manager of Diversity Education in March 2012. Prior to her appointment in the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Edmunds was the executive assistant to the University’s senior vice president for finance and administration, where she served as a liaison between the division, the campus community and external constituents.
Now as Director of Diversity Education, Edmunds is responsible for developing and managing programs and initiatives that will elevate faculty competence and scholarship regarding diversity and inclusion; implementing student diversity education programs; enhancing current staff diversity education programming; and expanding all facets of diversity education within the Wake Forest community.
Edmunds received her B.A. degree from George Mason University in 2002 and holds certifications in English and Business Administration and holds certifications in professional life coaching, emotional intelligence, unconscious bias, and intercultural development. She is a Virginia native and now resides in Winston-Salem with her husband, Curtis and her children, Michael, Madison and Myles. Among her many interests and passions are writing, gardening, and cooking. She is also a self-published author, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur.
Jonathan McElderry, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of Students
Director of the Intercultural Center
Dr. Jonathan A. McElderry serves as the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Intercultural Center at Wake Forest University. His experience in higher education has focused on enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion on college campuses. Additionally, his research has sought to raise awareness of the experiences of underrepresented students at predominately White institutions and provide strategies to increase their academic and social success. He has presented both nationally and internationally, held leadership positions within the American College Personnel Association, and has received several awards for his work in higher education. Jonathan earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis with an emphasis in Higher Education from the University of Missouri, a M.Ed. in College Student Personnel from Ohio University, and a B.S. in Administration of Justice from George Mason University.
Angela Mazaris, Ph.D.
Director of the LGBTQ Center
Dr. Angela Mazaris holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Her teaching and research focus on LGBTQ history, queer theory, public history, and gender studies, and she taught classes in these areas for Brown’s American Studies department.
At Brown she also served as the first Coordinator of the LGBTQ Resource Center, and as Graduate Proctor at the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center. She was also a member of Brown’s Diversity Advisory Board, where she worked specifically on issues related to first-generation students and social class. While in Providence, she served on the board of the Equity Action Fund, Rhode Island’s fund for LGBTQ initiatives, and volunteered at Youth Pride, Inc.
Before coming to Wake Forest, Dr. Mazaris served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Internal Revenue Service and the National Park Service, where she developed agency-wide inclusion and diversity initiatives and prepared policy recommendations. At the IRS, Dr. Mazaris was in charge of a special emphasis program for LGBTQ issues – a first for the agency. Dr. Mazaris and her partner have a three children, and are happy to call Winston-Salem home.
Paige Meltzer, Ph.D.
Director of the Women’s Center
Paige Meltzer holds a Ph.D. in US women’s history from Brown University. Her forthcoming book, Maternal Citizens: Gender and the Making of Postwar Political Culture, 1945-1964 (UMass Press), provides a gender analysis of the so-called postwar political consensus. She joins Wake Forest from Harvard University’s Program in History & Literature, where her teaching focused on masculinity, social movements, and sub-urbanization.
Prior to joining academia, Dr. Meltzer was Policy Director and Interim Executive Director for a nonprofit dedicated to women’s economic justice issues such as paid family leave and affordable child care. Paige and her family live in Winston-Salem with their cocker spaniel mix, Penny Lane. She loves college basketball, the band Wilco, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
J. Matthew Williams
Director of Communication
As Director of Communication, Williams works alongside the university’s senior leaders to elevate the institution’s efforts to build a community that respects all its citizens and gives people from underrepresented groups full access to resources and opportunities. He also oversees The Leadership Project, an initiative designed to engage members of the Wake Forest community with inspiring leaders who represent a variety of professional paths and worldviews.
Williams previously served as an Associate Director in Personal and Career Development and the Assistant Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, where he led the programming in 2011-2012 to commemorate the University’s 50th Anniversary of Integration. Williams’ prior work as a marketing and communications professional includes positions at two top-ranked public relations firms where he developed campaigns for nonprofits, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies to advance civic and social justice issues. His work has been nationally recognized by the Public Relations Society of America, National Public Radio, Rhetoric Society of America, and at other industry events.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wake Forest and completes his Master of Arts in Communication from Wake this spring. His research focuses on how community organizers are using social media to challenge anti-black racism.
TaShaun L. Elliot, M.S.
TaShaun L. Elliott is the administrative coordinator for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Wake Forest University. She earned her B.S. Degree in Business Administration Management from Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) and her M.S. Degree in Adult and Higher Education in Student Personnel from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University (NCAT). Elliot began her career as a licensed middle grades Business Technology Teacher and has worked in higher education for nearly ten years. Her experience ranges from working with graduate students and serving as an executive assistant at WSSU’s Graduate School to serving as the budget and personnel manager in the division of Student Affairs at NCAT.
TaShaun currently manages office operations, including the budget, website, and other administrative functions. She also provides executive assistance for the Chief Diversity Officer. In addition to her role in ODI, she works closely with the Intercultural, LGBTQ, and Women’s Centers.