Our Team

Wendy Pogozelski, Principal Investigator

Dr. Wendy Pogozelski, a biochemist, is the lead on the ADVANCE project. She earned her PhD in Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University and was an Office of Naval Research Post-doctoral Fellow, prior to coming to SUNY Geneseo in 1996. She currently holds the rank of SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Chemistry and serves as Senior
Premedical Coordinator. Dr. Pogozelski was the first woman to be tenured in her department and the first woman in the sciences at Geneseo to be named a Distinguished Teaching Professor. She is known for her innovative teaching that uses nutritional controversies to teach metabolism, for
her research in radiation effects on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA and for her community outreach in nutrition and diabetes education. This ADVANCE project is an outgrowth of a long- held commitment to helping women and underrepresented students and faculty succeed in STEM.

Karleen West, Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Karleen West specializes in Latin American politics, with an emphasis on comparative institutions, political representation, and the politics of sustainability at SUNY Geneseo. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Latin American Public Opinion Project, and has been published in leading journals, including Comparative Political Studies and the Latin American Research Review. Her book Candidate Matters: An Analysis of Campaigns and Elections in Latin America, with Oxford University Press, examines how candidate behavior constrains party strategies and the repercussions that behavior has for the representation of marginalized groups in the region. As a beneficiary of the NSF ADVANCE program at West Virginia University, Dr. West looks forward to working with women and administrators across the COPLAC schools to address challenges to retaining and promoting women at primarily undergraduate institutions.

Josephine Rodriguez, Co-Principal Investigor

Dr. Josephine Rodriguez is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVA-Wise), which is the Liberal Arts division of UVA located in rural southwest Virginia. Dr. Rodriguez is the current Principal Investigator of NSF S-STEM DUE 1833781 for “Bridging the Natural Sciences and Liberal Arts to Increase Retention, Graduation, and Career Preparedness” and is also a 2019 UVA Appalachian Prosperity Project Fellow for her work in improving STEM Education with her project, “Paving the Pathway to Appalachian Prosperity with Education Initiatives: Strengthening Existing Collaborations to Improve STEM Education and Learning.” Prior to UVA-Wise she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the NSF-funded National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and received a doctorate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from the Department of Entomology. Previous other honors include: the 2010 SACNAS Leadership Institute; a Smithsonian Institution Fellowship with the National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology (Summer 2014 & 2015); UVA-Wise Rising Star (2016); Ecological Society of America Education Scholar (2016); UVA-Wise Professor of the Year (2015); and two new species of wasps from the Costa Rican rainforest are named in her honor (Iconella jayjayrodriguezae and Glyptapanteles jjrodriguezae).

Sally Wasileski, Principal Investigator
Sally Wasileski, Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Sally Wasileski is Professor and Chair in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UNC Asheville.  Originally from western Maryland, she graduated with a BS with Honors in Chemistry from Juniata College in 1998 and with a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Purdue University in 2003.  Sally is a dedicated teacher and scholar, focusing on active learning, science of learning, and learning chemistry through authentic research experiences.  Her research spans from investigating the impact of holistic student support programming on measures of student success, well being, engagement and motivation in her work as director of the Chemistry Scholars Program at UNC Asheville (a student-support and scholarship program) -to- using computational chemistry to investigate catalytic reaction mechanisms related to energy generation -to- the scholarship of teaching and learning on integrative teaching across disciplines.  She is the 2016 recipient of the University of North Carolina Board of Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at UNC Asheville.  Sally is happily married, the mother of a beautiful 10-year old daughter, and enjoys cooking, baking, spending time with her family, and traveling.  

Chavonda Mills, Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Chavonda J. Mills is Chair of the Department of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy and Professor of Chemistry at Georgia College. Since joining GC in 2006, Dr. Mills has consistently provided extensive and diverse leadership at all levels of the university. These include college-level leadership as Interim Associate Dean and university-level leadership as Presiding Officer of the University Senate and as co-Chair of the President’s Commission on Diversity. A champion for enhancement of science curricula and diversifying the STEM pipeline, Mills has secured more than $1 million in funding from multiple agencies to support research in these areas. Mills holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Spelman College, B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry from Florida A&M University. She holds a patent in the development of synthetic flavonoids as methods of treatment of HIV infection and other pathologies and has published in the areas of medicinal chemistry and science education. Mills is a graduate of the 2016 HERS Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education and 2017 AAC&U Emerging Leaders Program. She is the co-founder of the Georgia College Women’s Leadership Faculty Fellows Program.

Darci Dembroski, Program Manager

Darci Dembroski is the grant manager for this initiative, headquartered at SUNY Geneseo. She works with a group of five faculty members at four institutions (see above) to provide project management. Her responsibilities include collecting and analyzing survey data; setting up and administering virtual “affinity groups” for faculty; assisting with the development of training materials for college administrators; coordinating the project timeline; and managing the website for the initiative. Darci holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education from SUNY Oswego. Early in her career she taught Kindergarten before moving into various roles in higher education which have included teacher certification officer, assessment and accreditation coordinator, and currently project management. Darci’s favorite things include time with her family (a new grandson!), involvement at her church, biking, and traveling with her husband.