Virginia Commonwealth University

Participant Bios

Patricia Aldredge

Patricia Aldredge, Ph.D., School of Social Work

Patti is the director of field education at the VCU School of Social Work. Prior to joining VCU in 2012, she had thirteen years of social work field education administrative experience at the University of Houston and New York University. A licensed clinical social worker and member of the national steering committee of the North American Network of Field Education Directors and a member of the Council on Social Work Education's Practice Methods and Specialization Council, her research interests include social work field education, health care disparities, scholarship of teaching and learning, and intergroup dialogue.

Sarah Jane Brubaker

Sarah Jane Brubaker, Ph.D., L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Sarah Jane is an associate professor of sociology in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs. Her research focuses on adolescent sexuality and pregnancy, childbirth, medicalization, and sexual domestic violence with a particular interest in urban girls who are at risk and their relationships with social service and juvenile justice agencies. She has received state and federal grants to improve prevention of and response to sexual and domestic violence on college campuses.

Deborah DiazGranados

Deborah DiazGranados, Ph.D., School of Medicine

Debbie is an assistant professor in the VCU School of Medicine and an affiliate assistant professor of psychology at VCU. Her expertise includes teams, team leadership, collaboration, and understanding the implications of diversity on team effectiveness. She holds a doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology from the University of Central Florida.

Alison J. Montpetit

Alison J. Montpetit, RN, Ph.D., School of Nursing

Alison is an assistant professor in the VCU School of Nursing (SoN) Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems. Her research focuses on pulmonary infection in mechanically ventilated, critically ill adults, specifically in describing exhaled breath biomarker profiles and investigating the efficacy of percussion and vibration therapies. Alison is a registered nurse and earned her master's and doctorate degrees from the University of South Florida, as well as completed a postdoctoral fellowship at VCU SoN.

Shajuana Payne

Shajuana I. Payne, University College

Shajuana is the executive director of academic advising for the VCU University College. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in counselor education from VCU, and is a graduate of the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute. Ms. Payne has developed first-year curricular and co-curricular educational plans, and has presented to various public school systems, graduate programs, and professional associations regarding how to best engage and prepare students for academic success.

Rob Tombes

Rob Tombes, Ph.D., College of Humanities and Sciences

Rob is a professor of biology and associate dean for research in the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU where he directs the Office of Research. His research has been primarily supported by the National Science Foundation and focuses on understanding what controls basic cellular and developmental events with emphases on stem cells, cancer cells, and kidney and heart disease. Dr. Tombes earned his doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Washington.

Chriss Walther-Thomas

Chriss Walther-Thomas, Ph.D., School of Education

Chriss is the dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education and she holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Special Education and Disability Policy. Her teaching and research interests focus on topics related to leadership and policy development in schools and universities with particular emphases in doctoral education, faculty development, and effective learning communities.

Sasha Waters-Freyer

Sasha Waters-Freyer, School of the Arts

Sasha is chair of the Department of Photography & Film in the VCU School of the Arts. She is a non-fiction filmmaker whose feature and short works have been screened on the Sundance Channel and PBS, the Tribeca and Ann Arbor Film Festivals, the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington D.C., and the L.A. Film Forum. Following its world premiere at the 2010 Telluride Film Festival, her feature documentary, Chekhov for Children, had its New York premiere at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and its international premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.