The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives
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Gloria Taylor

Gloria Taylor is the Executive Director of the Office of Academic Multucultural Initiatives. Over the past twenty years, she has worked in PK-12 and higher education administration, in areas of pre-college education, college recruitment and retention programs, public relations, budgeting, counseling, program development, personnel management and college student leadership development. Ms. Taylor holds a BS in Business Administration Suffolk University in Boston, MA and an M.Ed from Cambridge College.

Ms. Taylor currently serves on the Family Learning Institute, Ann Arbor Board of Directors, the YMCA College Coalition Advisory Board, and the Mathematics Literacy Project of Washtenaw County. She loves music and sings in a choral choir, plays handbells, and the recorder. She would love to play a bass guitar and renew her skills on the trumpet and piano.


Gerald Gurin

Dr. Gurin is a Research Scientist Emeritus of the Institute for Social Research and Professor Emeritus of Higher Education at the University of Michigan. His association with OAMI began twenty years ago (1989) when he and Dr. John Matlock collaborated in developing the Michigan Student Study. Since his retirement in 1993 he has continued working with OAMI in its research on the impact of diversity on Michigan’s students and alumni.

He received his BA in Sociology at the City College of New York (1943), his MA in Psychology at Columbia University (1947), and his PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Michigan (1956). His research over fifty years has utilized the population survey methodology to study a broad array of issues including organizational behavior, political behavior, mental health and coping strategies, and issues facing racial/ethnic minorities and intergroup relationships.

In 2003, he received the University of Michigan’s Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of the institutional diversity at the University of Michigan.


Lumas J. Helaire

Lumas Joseph Helaire, Assistant Director, has been with OAMI for over 10 years in a few different roles. He is currently project director for GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). During his time in OAMI he has worked with POSSE/LAB and was one of the co-creators and coordinators of THREADS boys mentoring program. He began his work in the office as a day coordinator for King Chavez Parks precollege day visits in the fall of 2001. He has a PhD in education and psychology, an MS in developmental psychology from the University of Michigan, and BS in psychology from Morehouse College.


Carole Lapidos

Ms. Lapidos is the Parent Consultant on the Gear Up Grant. She also co-coordinates the M-Connections Mentoring Program as a part of M-POD. In addition, she oversees the It's Great to be a Girl after school femtor program in partnership with U of M, and Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan. Ms. Lapidos has worked at OAMI for the past seven years as a program consultant in a variety of roles. Ms. Lapidos appeared as a guest on the NBC Today show in the summer of 2007 discussing issues affecting young women.

She has her Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She received her MSW degree in 1983 and her undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota. Her, It's Great to be a Girl program was a finalist in the State of Michigan Governor's Innovative Mentoring Award. She also received a Ginsberg Center award for her involvement in the community service learning program.

Vanita M. Sanders

Vanita M. Sanders-Bateast is currently an assistant director with the GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) Program in the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives. In her current role, she creates and facilitates programs to enhance academic, personal, and social skills, standards and expectations for high schools students in the Detroit area.

Vanita received her bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Ferris State University and also holds a Master of Social Work with an emphasis on Children, Youth and Families from the University of Michigan. She has experience working as a site director and facilitator for It’s Great to Be a Girl, Girl Talk, Homes for Black Children, and the Judson Center. In her spare time she also does college preparation work with the non-profit Girls Group in Ann Arbor. Vanita specializes in positive youth development, life skills and female empowerment programs that assist youth in developing themselves in a holistic way.


Nick Siefke

Mr. Siefke has been a Budget Analyst with the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives for over five years. Nick graduated from the University of Toledo with a BS in Criminal Justice and a MA in Sociology. He was the recipient of the Denise Ardonio memorial scholarship and a research scholarship for his master’s program. Mr. Siefke previously worked at the University of Toledo as a Program Researcher before beginning his position with GEAR UP program at University of Michigan.

Mr. Siefke also works in his community mentoring young adults in developing their leadership abilities and supporting their academic progress in post-secondary education. He is also involved with Group Work Camps, a faith-based community development organization. Mr. Siefke is married and has two children.


Je’Nai A. Talley

Je'Nai A. Talley is a Program Manager in the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives and coordinates both the summer programming for GEAR UP as well as the SAMI student funding program. She also serves as liaison for the Metro-Detroit YMCA College Coalition. Ms. Talley has worked in The Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives since 2002. She began her relationship with the office as an undergraduate student, assisting in several capacities: as a King Chavez Parks Pre-College Programs mentor, a Pathways to Student Success and Excellence Academic Success Partner, and a program assistant for the MLK Symposium. After graduating from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies and Criminal Justice, she stayed on at OAMI to foster her passion for positive youth development work. Ms. Talley received her Master of Social Work degree in 2009 from the University of Michigan.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends & family, traveling, and mentoring and volunteering with the YMCA.


Courtney L. Vanderbilt

Courtney L. Vanderbilt has worked with the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives since 2004. She currently works for the GEAR-UP program as a Project Coordinator/School Liaison at Cooley High School in Detroit. As a school liaison she works with the school, student, and parent communities in an effort to prepare them for post-secondary readiness by way of exposure to resources, knowledge and information for obtaining a post-secondary education.

Courtney is an Ann Arbor native and graduated from Pioneer High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in Family Community Service with a Youth emphasis from Michigan State University in 2004. Shortly after completing her undergraduate studies, Courtney began her journey at OAMI serving as a Program Assistant for the KCP pre-college program and a Site Director for It’s Great to be a Girl mentoring program. In addition to this work, she has also had the opportunity to gain experience working with young girls at the Loch Rio Girlstown Foundation residential treatment facility. There she served as a Resident Treatment worker from 2004 until 2006. In the spring of 2008 she received her MSW from University of Michigan, specializing in the area of Community Organizing with a focus on Children, Youth and Families in Society.


Carol Williams

Ms. Williams is currently the Executive Secretary. She has worked in the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives office for 12 years. Ms. Williams’ primary responsibility is to provide support to the Director. She also provides administrative support for the staff. Before joining the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives, she worked for the Environmental Research Institute of Michigan.

When she is not working, Ms. Williams enjoys writing poetry and playing with her grandchildren.


Katrina Wade-Golden

Dr. Wade-Golden is Assistant Director of Research & Assessment for Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives. She brings nearly 20 years of experience working with complex longitudinal datasets and has broad expertise leading research engagements in the corporate, higher education, and non-profit sectors, utilizing a wide range of qualitative and quantitative techniques. Dr. Wade-Golden possesses particular expertise in the areas of measurement, questionnaire design, social psychology, organizational diversity, and complex data analyses.

She leads several projects including a longitudinal multi-method study of intergroup dynamics, identity, experiences with diversity, and student and professional development, the Michigan Student Study. Dr. Wade-Golden also has served as an instructor at Wayne State University in the Department of Psychology. She has presented at numerous national, regional, and local conferences on issues related to diversity and multiculturalism, gender, racism, and affirmative action.

She holds a PhD degree in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from Wayne State University, and completed her undergraduate work at the University of Michigan in Psychology with an emphasis in human resources and organizational development. Dr. Wade-Golden has consulted to a wide array of higher education, private sector, and corporate institutions.


Rochelle L. Woods

Dr. Rochelle L. Woods is the Assistant Director for Undergraduate Development for the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives. She also serves as the Program Director of the Leaders and Best (LAB) program that provides holistic support to first and second year U-M students to promote academic success and professional development. She is also the Project Director of the Preparing Youth for Higher Education grant from Michigan Campus Compact. During her graduate studies, she worked at OAMI for five years as a Program Associate for the Pathways to Student Success and Excellence (POSSE) program and as the Graduate Coordinator of the King/Chavez/Parks program to promote higher education to middle and high school students. In May 2009, Dr. Woods received the Staff Cornerstone Award in recognition of her dedication to the success of African American Students at University of Michigan. She also received an SROP Alumni Award from the Committee on Institutional Cooperation in July 2009.

Prior to returning to OAMI in 2007, Dr. Woods served as Research Associate at the Center for Science Education at EDC in Newton, MA and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center on Race and Social Problems at University of Pittsburgh. She has researched and published on US and South African higher education, focusing on issues of retention, racial climate and educational attainment of underrepresented minorities. Dr. Woods holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from University of Michigan and a B.A. in Sociology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Christine Wylie

Ms. Christine Wylie is the University of Michigan Michigan-Pursuing Our Dreams (M-POD) Coordinator. The M-POD program was developed jointly by Washtenaw Community College and the University of Michigan, with the purpose of helping academically and/or Economically disadvantaged students attain their educational goals. Christine graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and a Master of Art in Guidance and Counseling. Christine has worked with transfer students for over 20 years and enjoys helping the M-POD students achieve their goal of transferring and graduating from the University of Michigan.