José A. Villalba, Ph.D., LCMHC
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer
José A. Villalba is the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer. Prior to his current position, José served as Senior Associate Dean for Faculty, Evaluation, and Inclusivity in the Office of the Dean of the College. He also is a professor of Counseling. He has been affiliated with the Department of Counseling since arriving at Wake Forest in 2011. Prior to arriving at Wake Forest, he was an associate professor of counseling at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, as well as an assistant professor of counseling at Indiana State University.
He teaches courses in multicultural counseling, school counseling, and health and human services. His research interests include health disparities in Latina/o youth, as well as Latina/o access to and completion of higher education options.
Over the past 4 years, since arriving in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, he has facilitated diversity and inclusion efforts for staff, faculty, and students, in an effort to address issues of access and equity across campus.
Zobia Akhtar is the Program Coordinator for the Women’s Center. She oversees the communications and programming of the Women’s Center. She recently graduated from Wake Forest University with an MA in counseling and had previously done a BA in Sociology at the Lahore University of Management and Sciences.
Zobia is very passionate about gender equality, the provision of safe spaces for individuals to express themselves, and playing her part for the betterment of the world however possible.
Eliese Ashline, B.A.
Eliese is the Administrative Assistant in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She is a graduate of East Carolina University where she earned her B.A. in English in 2019. Since graduating from ECU, she has worked in both primary and higher educational settings in various capacities.
Eliese was raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and has a passion for helping students have the best experience possible throughout their time in University.
Em Cheramie, M.S.
Em Cheramie serves as the Program Coordinator for the LGBTQ+ Center. Before coming to Wake Forest University, Em completed their Master’s in Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where they were also a student-athlete. While existing in the athletic department at Nebraska, Em discovered their passion for social justice, especially in the areas of inequity, gender bias, and the marginalization of queer people in sports.
This passion for creating change led them to found the Big Ten Queer Student-Athlete Coalition, which was centered around building community, education, and advocacy for queer student-athletes in their athletic departments, places traditionally resistant to change and hostile to queer people. Em brought these same ideas to UMass Athletics while co-chairing their DEI Task Force. Creating spaces where everyone feels comfortable and safe to be their whole selves is integral to Em, and something they want to ensure exists for Wake Forest’s students, faculty, and staff.
TaShaun L. Elliott, M.S.
TaShaun is the Director of Finance and Business Operations and has worked in higher education institutions since 2008 with positions in academic and student affairs. She joined Wake Forest University’s Human Resources Department in 2014 and transitioned to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2015.
She serves as part of the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team and also as the Vice President’s executive assistant. She works with the Vice President to develop and enhance strategies to strengthen financial and business practices and research while innovating successful projects. She staffs the Network for Inclusive Leadership and Engagement (formally CID) and works closely with the North Carolina Diversity & Inclusion Partners Council. Her work also includes extending communication efforts for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion through managing the ODI website, newsletter, and social media networks.
Elliott holds a M.S. degree in Adult and Higher Education with a concentration in Student Personnel Services from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and her B.S. degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Winston-Salem State University.
Monique Gore, M.S.
Monique Gore gained a passion and love for higher education by being an active student leader at Gettysburg College. At Rutgers University-Camden as the Assistant Coordinator in the Office of Campus Involvement, she was responsible for evening and weekend events, community service programming, student organizations recognition, and Greek Life. In June of 2012, she returned to her alma mater in the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life. Monique excelled in student programming as the primary advisor for the Campus Activities Board, The Attic nightclub space, and advisor for 80+ active student organizations. After four years in that office, she was promoted to the Inaugural Director of Programming and Outreach in the Office of Multicultural Engagement (OME) in the summer of 2016. In the OME, Monique has created a marketing/ branding strategy for the new office. She developed a transition pre-orientation program for First-Generation, lower-socioeconomic status BIPOC, and Queer students. In 2021 she was promoted to the role of Executive Director for the Office of Multicultural Engagement to lead all the office’s endeavors in a holistic approach to multicultural competencies for campus-wide programming, faculty partnerships, student organization advising, and alumni engagement.
She received her Bachelors of Arts in Africana and Women’s Studies with a concentration in Latin American Studies from Gettysburg College and Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership. In 2018 she was awarded the National Association for Campus Activities – Outstanding Diversity Achievement Award- Individual, and in 2021 Young Alumni Achievement Award for Career Development. Now receding in Winston-Salem with her son and husband, Monique is excited to connect with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to build connections outside the classroom at Wake Forest with an intersectional cross-cultural lens.
Kayla Lisenby-Denson, MBA, M.Ed.
Kayla serves as the Director in the LGBTQ+ Center.
Kayla is passionate about leveraging education and personal development opportunities in concert with organizational strategies to drive structural change related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and they have explored this work through multiple avenues. They originally joined the Wake Forest community in 2015 as the Program Coordinator for the LGBTQ+ Center where they were promoted to Assistant Director and then Associate Director. In 2022, Kayla moved into the role of Inclusive Practice Manager in the central Office of Diversity and Inclusion where they worked toward embedding inclusive practice across organizational practices at WFU. Following the departure of the previous director, Kayla returned to the LGBTQ+ Center in August 2022 in the Interim Director role.
They have a diverse educational background; they are a 2021 graduate of the Wake Forest University Master of Business Administration program where they focused their studies on organizational behavior, DEI strategy, change management and leadership development. They also hold a Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Alabama.
Courtney Milhouse is the Administrative Assistant at the Intercultural Center.
Before coming to Wake Forest, she spent 11 years as the Front Office Secretary at North Point High School in Waldorf, MD. Courtney, a lifelong learner, attended Virginia State University and is currently continuing her studies in Office Management and Human Resources.
Raised in southern Maryland, she is excited to bring her passion for helping students realize their full potential to Wake Forest.
Hannah Rehm, B.S.
Hannah Rehm serves as the Assistant Director for the Women’s Center. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she earned her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies in 2014. Hannah’s professional career has largely been focused on Community Engagement work through several North Carolina nonprofits that support Refugee and Immigrant communities.
Hannah was raised and currently lives, in Greensboro, North Carolina. She is passionate about empowering students to use their own passions and lived experiences to promote equity and empathy in their circles of influence.
Odaly E. Rivas, M.A
Odaly serves as the Assistant Director in the Intercultural Center. From Charlotte, North Carolina, her interest in higher education came from reflecting on her experiences navigating systems and barriers as a Latina (Salvadoran) and first-generation student. Odaly graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Education from UNC Chapel Hill and served as a college advisor through the College Advising Corps after graduating in May 2020. Passionate about access and success, she pursued and graduated with her Master of Arts in Higher Education from Elon University.
In her Higher Education career, Odaly has served as the Graduate Apprentice for Elon’s Center for Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity Education (CREDE), ACUI intern at Emory University’s Student Center, and as the College Persistence Coordinator for GenOne, a non-profit in Charlotte dedicated to assisting first-generation students. Throughout her professional experiences, Odaly has had the opportunity to work with low-income, first-generation, and multicultural students through engagement, transition, and programming efforts. She is now excited and passionate about creating spaces of support, belonging, and empowerment for these students at Wake Forest.
Malika Roman Isler, Ph.D., MPH, CDE®
Malika is the inaugural Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence.
Prior to this role, she served as the inaugural Director of Wellbeing at Wake Forest University, leading the development, institutionalization, and collective impact of Thrive – Wake’s comprehensive approach to wellbeing.
Malika has extensive experience integrating research and practice, creating behavior change interventions, developing strategic plans that guide culture change, and defining assessment tools to ensure research and practice effectiveness. Prior to returning to Wake Forest, she served on the faculty of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and as an administrator and faculty lead with the NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS). In these capacities, Malika was on the investigative team for 10 federally and institutionally funded projects and centers in the areas of health equity and community engagement. With her training and outreach expertise, she provided consultation and technical assistance to collaborative efforts among students, community members, and faculty.
Malika is a Wake Forest alumna and holds a PhD in Public Health (Health Behavior and Health Education) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to her role as Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, she has an appointment in the Department of Health and Exercise Science.
Jalen Shell, M.A.
Jalen serves as the Assistant Director in the Intercultural Center. He started his higher education career as a graduate assistant at Georgia Southern University in his hometown of Savannah, GA. With a passion to serve multicultural students, Jalen brings experience in programming, diversity education, student engagement, student retention, and transition into college.
After spending three years as a program coordinator at Iowa State University in the Multicultural Student Affairs Office, he is excited to join the community and contribute to the growth of the student experience at Wake Forest. Also to join and explore the Winston Salem community as he now calls North Carolina home.
Shelley Sizemore, M.A.
Shelley Sizemore serves as the Director of the Women’s Center. In this role, she leads efforts to advance gender equity and support women at Wake Forest. Shelley began working at Wake Forest in 2009 when she was hired to institutionalize and scale the Campus Kitchen Project, a food recovery program that utilizes student volunteers and institutional resources to address food insecurity in Forsyth County. Prior to coming to ODI, she served as the Director of Community Partnerships in the Office of Civic & Community Engagement. Shelley has developed and taught courses at Wake Forest in the Communication and Education departments. She is a seasoned workshop facilitator and has led workshops for students, faculty, staff, and community members on asset-based community development, intercultural communication strategies, and partnership development.
Shelley currently serves on the boards of HandsOn NWNC and the Centers for Exceptional Children. She grew up in the town of Wake Forest, NC, and received her B.A. and M.A. from Wake Forest University. She is pursuing a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Education where her research is focused on community-based education for social justice, critical community building, and the rhetorics of activism and advocacy.
Camry Wilborn-Mercer, M.A.
Camry Wilborn-Mercer serves as the Associate Director of Inclusive Excellence Affairs. With a deep commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus and community environment, Camry works diligently to promote equity, access, and belonging for all members of the university community and beyond.
Camry holds a Bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and a Master of Arts degree from The University of Chicago. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from NC State University in the Higher Education: Opportunity, Equity, and Justice program.
Camry has successfully led workshops on diverse topics, including: asset-based community development, partnership development, building community, preparing for community engagement, and more. She has also co-taught and developed courses in the Communication department. In her previous role at the university, Camry was responsible for building out the University’s service portfolio in the area of Education. Through this work, she facilitated meaningful connections and programs between the academic institution, community organizations, and other stakeholders. Camry continues to serve as the Project Director for Wake Forest University Freedom School in the Education Department.
As Associate Director of Inclusive Excellence, Camry plays a pivotal role in shaping Wake Forest University’s strategic initiatives to enhance diversity and foster a sense of belonging across campus. Her team works closely with university leadership to develop policies and practices that promote inclusivity and create an environment where all individuals can thrive academically, socially, and personally.
Antayzha Wiseman, B.A.
Antayzha serves as the Assistant Director at the LGBQT+ Center. She earned her B.A. in History from Wake Forest, where she served as a student assistant in the LGBTQ+ Center and a campus-wide advocate for inclusion.
Antayzha was raised in Lenoir, North Carolina, and has a passion for developing and supporting intersectional programming and equitable practices.
Nicole Brocato, Ph.D.
Nicole has been the Senior Assessment and Analytics Scientist for the Office of the Provost and the Division of Campus Life since the fall of 2022. Prior to this role, Nicole served for eight years as the Director of Wellbeing Assessment, a national survey research project of holistic, undergraduate student wellbeing.
Trained at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, as a psychologist with both research and therapy expertise, Nicole has a passion for applying advanced research and analytic tools to real-world issues like diversity, wellbeing, and mental health. Nicole’s work focuses on promoting inclusive and community-based approaches to wellbeing, integrating participatory and evidence-based practices into institutions’ standard procedures, and developing data and assessment systems that work in everyday settings.
Student Interns (ODI)
“Equity and accountability around diversity and inclusion is layered, challenging, and nuanced work. And yet, the stead-fast and intentional creation of an inclusive academic community presents all its members with the boundless gift of understanding and mutual support.”José A. Villalba