Meet Our Staff
Director, Center for Multicultural Equity & Access
Executive Director, Institute for College Preparation
As a student at Georgetown, Ms. Brown-McKenzie was deeply engaged in several service programs such as CMEA’s Peer Mentors and the Center for Social Justice’s After School Kids program. A Sociology major, she went on to earn an M.S.W. degree at Columbia University before returning to the Hilltop to work in CMEA’s pre-college programs. In 2004, she became Executive Director of the Institute for College Preparation (ICP) and since 2007 has also been Associate Director of CMEA, sharing in all key decisions about Center programs. She now assumes full responsibility for day-to-day operations of the Center. And as an alumna, she also has a keen interest in expanding CMEA’s connections with generations of Hoyas. In addition to focusing on the access and success of our students in post secondary and graduate education, her goal is to also foster their growth as responsible world citizens. Charlene has developed and lead numerous students and staff to Latin America and Africa.
Associate Director of Academic & Student Support Services
Director, Community Scholars Program
Devita joined the Georgetown community in July 2015 as the Assistant Director of Academic & Student Support Services in CMEA. In this capacity, she also serves as the Community Scholars Program Director and advisor to the Patrick Healy Fellows. Much of her past professional experiences have focused on increasing the educational equity, access and success for historically marginalized communities within higher education, as well as supporting youth leadership development initiatives for middle and high school students.Devita developed a passion for issues of social justice and educational equity as a result of her own experiences navigating post-secondary education as a first-generation college student. Devita worked and completed her M.Ed. in Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago, and received her undergraduate degree in International & Intercultural Studies from Goucher College. Outside of work, Devita enjoys salsa dancing, cheering on Washington DC sport teams, cooking, and playing fantasy football.
Associate Director for Undocumented Student Services, Center for Multicultural Equity & Access
Director of Group Initiatives, Division of Student Affairs
Arelis joined the CMEA team in September 2017, but previously held a dual role as the Senior Associate Director of Programming and Advising within the Office of Global Education and Advisor for Undocumented students within the Division of Student Affairs. She holds a M.S. in Higher Education Administration and a B.A. in English Literature from Florida State University. Her career in education began in Miami Dade County Public Schools as a secondary English, Leadership, Journalism and Yearbook teacher and spanned across Florida State University and the University of Texas at Austin. As a native Nicaraguan who grew up in Miami, Florida, the realities of immigration were ever-present in her upbringing and classroom as a formerly undocumented person herself, and helped to refine her interest in supporting immigrant and underrepresented students along secondary and tertiary education. In Texas, Arelis focused on the intersections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and education abroad policies, and worked vigorously to help students along the study abroad and international internship processes, and helped various universities implement their own policies to promote inclusion. Some of her favorite things to do are to hang out with her ferocious 6 lb. chihauhua named Pippin, explore new restaurants and watch live music.
Assistant Director, Center for Multicultural Equity & Access
Program Manager, Pre-College Programs
Angel was born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua, and migrated to Tampa, Florida in 2000. Angel is a Florida International University Alum with degrees in Humanities and Philosophy. In 2010, Angel completed his grad work at Nova Southeastern University with a Master’s Degree in Student Affairs with emphasis in Conflict Analysis and Resoulution. Angel is passionate about academic and identity development, and embraces the Jesuit value of reflection in order to make meaning of everyday expereinces. As a first generation college student, Angel enjoys sharing his personal scholarly narrative hoping that other students, especially first gen and underrepresented students can connect and engage successfully in their collegiate journeys. Angel started at Georgetown in June 2014 as an Assistant Director in the Office of Residential Living, where he led the Living Learning Communities program. In June 2018, Angel joined the CMEA family working with the Institute for College Preparation team. Outside of the center, Angel loves spending time with his wife Abigail and daughter Luna, especially playing sports and dancing to Zumba routines.
Assistant Director of Diversity Education, Center for Multicultural Equity & Access
Diversity & Inclusion Specialist, CNDLS
Director of Inter-Group Dialogue Program (A Different Dialogue)
Born in Indonesia, Ester has spent most of her life in Seattle, where she earned her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Washington and her M.A. in Student Development Administration at Seattle University. She most recently completed her Ph.D. in Higher Education at Loyola University Chicago, where she co-conducted research on and taught issues of diversity, equity, and multiculturalism in higher education. Outside of her academic work, Ester has served as an academic advisor, a coordinator of new student orientation and retention initiatives, service-learning facilitator, and intergroup dialogue facilitator. She is excited to be a part of the Georgetown community and collaborate to foster diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism.
Program Coordinator for Student Succes
Vanice joined the CMEA team in December 2017 as the Program Coordinator for Student Success. In this role Vanice is supporting residential education and multicultural programming including Black House, Casa Latina and SOCA. She will also coordinate CMEA’s academic support services that include book scholarship, summer housing and academic seminars, plus provide administrative support to CMEA’s bridge and pre-college programs. Vanice’s passion for working with college students was sparked during her senior year of college after spending her undergraduate career involved in campus life and watching how the staff in various departments had a major impact on her and the students around her. During her graduate and professional careers thus far, Vanice has worked in multicultural affairs, student activities, student leadership, new student orientation, and more. She received her B.S. in Information Systems and M.Ed. in Post-Secondary Education from Salisbury University. Her goal is to help college students, especially students from underrepresented populations, reach their fullest potential and prepare them for the next steps in their academic, personal, and professional lives. Her hobbies include spending time with family and friends, traveling, doing community service with her sorority, and binge watching the latest series on Netflix.
Program Coordinator for School Partnership & Community Engagement, Institute for College Preparation
Nikki joined CMEA in June 2008 and serves as the Program Coordinator for School Partnership & Community Engagement. She oversees the recruitment, programming and academic support for the middle school students to ensure they will move on to high school and college. She is a true Washingtonian, attending elementary, middle and high school in the area. Nikki graduated from the Catholic University of America with a BA in History. Being, from the DC area has made Nikki very passionate about giving back to her community and the work she does for ICP. She has spoken with residents at the local House of Ruth and lead discussion session with teenage moms. Outside of work, Nikki is very compensative and loves cheering on her favorite football and basketball team.
Obella was born and raised in Frederick, Maryland but has ties and heritage to Uganda. Obella received his Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical/Counseling Psychology at Washington College with minors in Creative Writing and Music. He completed his Master’s of Science in Clinical Psychology at Loyola University of Maryland. Obella is passionate about diversity, mental health and identity development, and how those intersect with academics and the learning experience. He is excited to be a part of the CMEA team in a position where he can make an impact in many different facets of the office. Outside of the center, Obella enjoys spending time with friends, doing Karate, cooking, and he can almost always be found listening to music in some capacity – he considers himself a huge audiophile.
Academic Director, Community Scholars Program
Alis was born in Washington, DC and raised in P.G. County, Maryland. After a B.A. in history at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Alis earned an M.F.A. in nonfiction from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland. She was a fellow at both institutions and her work appears in journals such as Massachusetts Review, Southeast Review, Fourth Genre, as well as online magazines like The Rumpus, The Millions, and LitHub. Her work has always involved the written word and social uplift, including teaching at Howard University, consulting with the nonprofit Books@Work, and editing for the hip-hop journal Words, Beats, and Life. She is excited to continue by contributing to the academic and intellectual scaffolding the Community Scholars Program provides. When she is not reading, she enjoys sports, science, and not using her motorcycle license.
Senior Academic Advisor, Pre-College Programs
English Professor Velez, an Alabama native, has been a mainstay of the Community Scholars Program for more than two decades. As Senior Advisor, she sets the curriculum, recruits faculty, advises students and oversees the program, and also provides academic advising and support for other students through CMEA.
John C. Wright
Dr. Wright is a licensed psychologist who is originally from New Jersey. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and doctorate from Florida State University. He has an interest in developing culturally sensitive, community-based interventions and providing multicultural outreach services. He has a particular interest in issues effecting men of color on campus. He provides private counseling and consultative services to students at CMEA on Thursdays.