Graduate Diversity, Belonging, and Equity Advisory Board Members

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Katherine Melo Li

My name is Katherine Melo Li (she/her/Ella).  I am a 1.5 generation Dominicana and doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at Lehigh. I completed my Bachelors of Science in Psychology, Masters of Science, and Educational Specialist degrees in Mental Health Counseling at Florida State University. I currently work as a Clinical Supervisor and Coordinator at the Community Voices Clinic, a school-based community mental health clinic that provides free therapy services to members of the Lehigh Valley that would otherwise be unable to access treatment. I am currently a member of the Liberation Lab in the College of Education and have been working towards candidacy as I complete my dissertation proposal. It focuses on how to improve mental health treatment for Latinx opioid users to help decrease the amount of deaths related to this drug by contextualizing this work and how systemic and structural factors promote negative outcomes in my community. Bringing context into phenomena that address the mental and physical health inequities in the Latinx community is my main research goal. In my personal life, you can find me cuddling with my yorkie-poodle, Chewie, and watching all sorts of TV and Film. 

Natania Lipp

My name is Natania (she/her), I'm a second-year student in the Counseling Psychology PhD program at Lehigh University. I graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Maryland in 2019. My current research is focused on the prevention of gender-based violence (lgbtq+ violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault), with a focus on the relationship between reproductive health and gender-based violence. More broadly, I'm interested in the ways in which legal, medical, and educational systems support or oppress marginalized communities, and want to create better trauma-informed, culturally competent care within these systems. I work as a graduate assistant in the Office of First-Year Experience, where I lead programming to help first-year undergraduates transition to Lehigh. In my free time, I love spending time with friends, running, and watching comedy specials. 

Princess Neely

My name is Princess Neely (she/her/hers), and I am a 5th year graduate student in the Social Psychology Ph.D. program here at  Lehigh. I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Lees-McRae College in 2012, and I received my Masters in Social Psychology in route to my Ph.D. at Lehigh in 2019. My current research is focused on emerging adults as they navigate various (often transitional) social contexts. More specifically, my work emphasizes the experience of stress and use of coping resources of emerging adults representing historically marginalized racial groups in higher education with the understanding that minority-status stress may contribute in part to the persistent degree attainment disparities observed among racial groups. When I am not serving as a teaching assistant, a member of the Council for Equity and Community, or a member of the Graduate Student Senate Diversity, Inclusion and Equity committee, I love to hang out with my dog July, try out interesting recipes, and thrift for unique home decor. 

Jimmy Hamill

My name is Jimmy Hamill (he/him/his), and I'm a doctoral candidate in the English Department at Lehigh University. I currently work as an instructor of First-Year Writing, and I previously served as the Graduate Assistant for Lehigh's Pride Center. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Joseph's University in 2012, and I received my Master of Arts in English from Lehigh in 2015. My research examines the rhetorical strategies of LGBTQIA+ Catholics who choose to remain in the Church. I learn from the ways queer Catholics construct counter narratives and apply those strategies to the way I teach rhetoric and writing in the first-year writing classroom. Additionally, I am interested in critical pedagogies, trauma theory, and qualitative research methods. My research goal is to highlight a powerful yet often underrepresented intersection of identities to consider what their embodied experiences can teach people about rhetoric, pedagogy, and social justice. When taking a break from my research, you can find me at a trivia night, an escape room, or on stage masquerading as my drag persona, Mary Magdelish.

Kadia Hylton-Fraser

My name is Kadia Hylton-Fraser, a Fulbright scholar from Jamaica and a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership program in the College of Education. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in International Relations in 1999 and received my Master of Education in Educational Leadership in 2014. I am the incoming Graduate Assistant for the College of Education's Diversity Committee and I also work on two research teams with fellow graduate students in the program exploring different aspects of principal leadership. My dissertation research is likely to focus on the social justice leadership practices of principals at the K-12 level within the Jamaican context from a qualitative research lens. I am a music enthusiast, a lover of musicals and enjoy a good book as my unwinding strategy. I have two beautiful sons and a wonderful spouse whose support has been critical on this journey.

Juan Valladares

I am a graduate student in the Social Psychology PhD. program at Lehigh University. I am working in the stereotyping and social interactions lab under the advisement of Dr. Valerie Jones Taylor. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Brigham Young University in 2017. My research interests revolve around interracial interactions as they are affected by stereotypes, prejudice, and ingroup bias. I am also interested in how understanding socio-cultural contexts can contribute to positive experiences in intergroup contact situations and toward reducing inequities. Lately, I have been incorporating virtual reality methodology to conduct some of this work. My research goal is to address some of the cross-cultural gaps concerning group behavior, stereotypes, and racial attitudes- especially as these phenomena apply to areas and countries that have been underrepresented in the literature. I was born and raised in Honduras and my cultural background has been influential in everything that I do. I love cooking, running, and spending time with my cute son Emanuel. 

Christian Tirrito

My name is Christian Tirrito (he/him/his), and I am a first-generation Master’s student studying Technical Entrepreneurship at Lehigh University. I transferred to Lehigh in 2017 as an undergraduate from Northampton Community College, and graduated with a B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience and a B.A. in Molecular Biology with a minor in Business from Lehigh University in 2020. I am interested in translational research around neurodegenerative diseases, and I am currently applying to PhD programs with the goal of one day operating my own lab. I love reading, writing, going to the gym, and watching all sorts of television shows.