The Children's Equity Project Team

CEP Team

Shantel Meek, PhD
Founding Executive Director
Professor of Practice

Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Meek is a Professor of Practice and the Founding Executive Director of the Children Eq…

Evandra Catherine, PhD
Director of Disability and Mental Health Policy and Research Assistant Professor
Children’s Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Evandra Catherine is the Director of D…

Janniqua Dawkins, MBA
Assistant Director of Operations
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Janniqua Dawkins, MBA is responsible for managing the CEP’s people operations, financial portfolio, procurmen…

Eric Martinez
Communications Specialist
Children’s Equity Project, Arizona State University

Eric Martinez is a second-generation college graduate who possesses a bachelor's degree in Marketing from…

Mario Cardona, JD
Director of Policy and Professor of Practice
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Mario Cardona is a national expert in early learning and K-12 education policy. He was form…

Rosemarie Allen, PhD
Associate Research Professor and Senior Advisor
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Rosemarie Allen is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State…

Yolette Johnson
Program Manager
Children’s Equity Project, Arizona State University

Yolette Johnson supports Dr. Evandra Catherine who conducts research to impact and transform policies surrounding early chi…

Lisa Gordon
Senior Director of Training, Technical Assistance and Professional Development and Professor of Practice
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Lisa Gordon has worked in early childhood educa…

Tunette Powell, PhD
Director of Parent and Family Partnerships and Research Assistant Professor
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Tunette Powell is a powerful storyteller and educator who believ…

Brittany Alexander, PhD
Research Assistant Professor for Early Childhood
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Brittany Alexander is an early childhood equity and policy researcher at the CEP. Her r…

Xigrid Soto-Boykin, PhD
Director of Language Justice and Learning Equity and Research Assistant Professor
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Xigrid Soto-Boykin's passion for leveraging the succes…

Darielle Blevins, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Dr. Darielle Blevins' goal is to use an intersectional approach to elevate communities’ voices in research to inf…

Eric Bucher, EdD
Research Assistant Professor
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Eric Bucher leads the Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (AZAEYC) and serves on the First Things…

Cinthia Palomino, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Scholar
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Cinthia's interests include exploring cultural and socio-demographic factors that influence children’s social-e…

Gladys Yacely Aponte, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Scholar
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Gladys’s work and research focus on examining and disrupting racist colon…

Melissa Palazuelos Ybarra
Administrative Assistant
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Melissa Palazuelos is responsible for managing Dr. Meek's schedule and the CEP's travel arrangements, procurement…

Afua Ameley-Quaye, M. Arch
Graduate Research Assistant
Children's Equity Project, Arizona State University

Afua's work focuses on the interaction of children and the physical learning environment, and its effect on l…

CEP Partners

Iheoma U. Iruka, PhD
Senior Advisor
Children’s Equity Project, Arizona State University
Research Professor and Founding Director
Equity Research Action Coalition at Frank Porter Graham Child Development…

Kristine Andrews, PhD
Co-Founder and Senior Director
Ideas to Impact

Dr. Kristine Andrews is co-Founder and Senior Director of Ideas to Impact, a social science policy and research consulting firm. Lived experiences…

Sheresa Boone Blanchard, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Human Development and Family Science, East Carolina University

Dr. Sheresa Boone Blanchard is an Associate Professor at East Carolina University in the d…

Dianna Carrizales-Engelmann, PhD
Director of Administration
College of Education Leadership, University of Oregon

Dr. Dianna Carrizales-Engelmann is Director of Administration for the College. She has published in th…

Dina C. Castro, PhD
Director
Boston University Institute for Early Childhood Well-Being

Dr. Dina C. Castro is Director of the Boston University Institute for Early Childhood Well-Being and Professor in the Department…

Kelly L. Edyburn, PhD
Senior Researcher
Education Northwest

Dr. Kelly L. Edyburn (they/elle) is a bilingual (Spanish/English) child and community psychologist and Senior Researcher at Education Northwest. Dr. Edyburn…

Richard Fabes, PhD
Professor
T. Denny School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University

Dr. Richard A. Fabes is the John O. Whiteman Dean's Distinguished Professor at Arizona State University. He also is…

Veronica A. Fernandez, PhD
Research Scientist
University of Miami

Dr. Veronica A. Fernandez is currently a Research Scientist at the University of Miami. Her research focuses on understanding and improving the qualit…

Eugene E. García, PhD
Professor Emeritus
Arizona State University

Dr. Eugene García is Professor Emeritus at Arizona State University.  He served as Professor and Vice President for Education Partnerships at ASU…

Walter S. Gilliam, PhD
Executive Director
Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska

Walter S. Gilliam began serving as the executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute in 2023, su…

Mary Louise Hemmeter, PhD
Professor
Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt University

Dr. Mary Louise Hemmeter is a professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Her research focuses on effective inst…

Neal Horen, PhD
Director
Early Childhood Division, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development

Dr. Neal Horen is a clinical psychologist who has focused on early childhood mental health for the last…

Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos, PhD
Executive Director
The Center for Educational Leadership

Dr. Oscar Jiménez-Castellanos is the Chair of the Department of Education and Murchison Endowed Professor of Education at Trinit…

Ngozi Lawal, M.A.
Independent Contractor

Ngozi Lawal, M.A. was formerly the Project Director for the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s Prenatal to 3 Initiative, which aimed at increasing the number of children on tr…

Michael L. López, PhD
Vice President
Education and Child Development NORC, University of Chicago

Dr. Michael López is Vice President for Education and Child Development at NORC at the University of Chicago, where he…

Carol Lynn Martin, PhD
Professor
T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University

Dr. Carol Lynn Martin is Cowden Distinguished Professor in the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Fa…

Kent McIntosh, PhD
Professor
Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences, University of Oregon

Dr. Kent McIntosh is a Professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences at the University…

Amittia Parker, PhD, LMSW, MPA
Senior Policy Associate
National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety at Georgetown University

Dr. Amittia Parker, LMSW, MPA provides training and technical assistance for th…

Deborah F. Perry, PhD
Director of Research and Evaluation, Research Professor
Center for Child and Human Development, Georgetown University

Dr. Deborah F. Perry is the Director of Research and Evaluation and a profes…

Ryan Pontier, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Education & Human Development, Florida International University

Dr. Ryan Pontier is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education & Human Development at Flo…

Hakim Rashid, PhD
Professor
School of Education, Howard University

Dr. Hakim M. Rashid is a Professor and former Chairman of the Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies in the School of Educatio…

Vilma Reyes, PhD
Director of Training
University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Vilma Reyes is the Director of Training at University of California, San Francisco in the Child Trauma Research Program. Since 2009,…

Elizabeth Ricks, PhD
Assistant Professor
School of Education, Howard University

Dr. Elizabeth Ricks is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychoeducational Studies at Howard University.…

Eva Marie Shivers, J.D., PhD
Director
Indigo Cultural Center

Dr. Eva Marie Shivers, J.D. is the executive director of Indigo Cultural Center, a non-profit action research firm located in Phoenix, AZ. Dr. Shivers' wor…

D. Camille Smith, Ed.S., M.S., CPD, CCCE
Educational Psychologist
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

D. Camille Smith, Ed.S., M.S., CPD, CCCE i…

Takiema Bunche Smith
Executive Director
Center on Culture, Race & Equity

Takiema has worked for over two decades in support of children, families and educational programs and systems through her work as a teacher…

Adai Tefera, PhD
Assistant Professor
Disability and Psychoeducational Studies Department, The University of Arizona

Dr. Adai Tefera (she/her/hers) is currently an assistant professor in the Disability and Psychoeduca…

Conor P. Williams, PhD
Senior Fellow
The Century Foundation

Dr. Williams is a fellow at The Century Foundation, where he writes about education, immigration, early education, school choice, and work-life balance chal…

Dawn A. Yazzie, M.A.
Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant and Expert Mentor
Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation

Dawn A. Yazzie, M.A., works as an Early Childhood Mental…

CEP Volunteers