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Faculty Selected for the REACH ME Program

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Faculty Selected for the REACH ME Program
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One of the missions of the Shaw University Center for Teaching and Learning (SU-CTL) is to provide faculty encouragement and support to enhance teaching and maximize student success through evidence-based, diverse and inclusive pedagogical methods. 

To support this mission, the SU-CTL implemented the REACH ME (Relatable Engaging Activities Can Help Mold Extraordinaries) Program. The purpose of this novel program is to train faculty in the scope of evidence-based pedagogical techniques which is vital to creating a learning environment responsive to student diversity and inclusion. Moreover, the program can transform faculty’s didactic, pedagogical approach to educating our learners to a more innovative, engaging, relatable approach to improve student learning, retention and graduation rates.

Interested faculty completed an application process and 11 faculty members were selected for this mentoring program. The faculty members received synchronous and asynchronous high impact pedagogical training for both online and face-to-face instruction.  Members of the team became Certified Higher Education Professionals (CHEP) in Teaching after the completion of their 12-course trainings. Additionally, all REACH ME Program team members completed the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) online training program and earned their certification in (CITI) Program Faculty and Staff – Human Subjects Research.

Meet the REACH ME Program Team


Dr. Angela Allen is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and the Chemistry Program Coordinator. She received her B.A. degree from Albany State University in Chemistry and her Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Angela Allen joined Shaw University in Fall 2016. She is currently the Chemistry Program Coordinator.  She instructs General, Analytical, and Organic Chemistry courses.  Her motto is  “Education is more effective when you experience your goals”.  Dr. Allen takes learning chemistry beyond the classroom. Her classes learn about biotechnology and perform experiments at the BioNetwork, as well as, complete analytical and organic trainings in the Chemistry Department at North Carolina State University. During the past few years, she has worked on several research projects with her colleagues on – campus (Biology) and off-campus (UNC-Chapel Hill), as well as local industry (GenoVerde Biosciences, Inc.). She involves the Chemistry and Biology majors in research by mentoring them in the laboratory settings. They conduct synthesis and analytical measurements aimed to investigate concepts and gain interdisciplinary experiences. She continues to be active in professional activities by participating with NC Science Olympiad, instructing with NC Science House in STEM, judging undergraduate/graduate researches with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and participating in several on-campus and off-campus professional developments. 

One of her highlights in education is witnessing her chemistry majors matriculating from an undergraduate degree to pursuing a professional degree and/or gaining employment in the science arena. 


Cassandra is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business and Professional Studies. Cassandra earned a B.S. degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting and management from Shaw University and a Masters of Accounting degree from Poole College School of Management at North Carolina State University. Cassandra has experience in both internal and external audits, as well as management leadership. Currently, Cassandra teaches financial and taxation courses in the undergraduate Accounting Program. She enjoys the mentorship aspect of her role at Shaw University and serves as the faculty advisor for the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).

Cassandra is actively involved in her community. In her spare time, she provides services for several organizations including the Helping Other People Excel (H.O.P.E) Organization, Institute of Internal Auditors, National Association of Black Accountants, the VITA/TCE Program, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. She enjoys spending quality time with her family, traveling, decorating, and playing golf. Her goals are obtaining a Doctorate in Business Administration, furthering her career by becoming a scholarly researcher, and preparing herself for a future in academia.


Dr. Kwinn H Doran’s formal training is in African, Native American, and Economic History, and his research and publishing have focused on indigenous history, economics, and globalization. His interests, though, have often drawn him to apply his profession outside of academia.  His interests in multimedia and the arts led him to “show business,” producing, partnering with, or consulting for activists and actors like Russell Means and Val Kilmer on various historically oriented productions. In seeking to apply his work in ways that directly affect change, he served as a research consultant, including the Seneca Nation in its pursuit of land claims related to the Kinzua Dam. 

His passion, though, remains with research and teaching.  While embracing the traditions of teaching, he also seeks to innovate his teaching and to help add to the field overall. For instance, he was part of the first group of instructors to design and implement online classes at the State University of New York at Albany.  He is thrilled now to be part of the faculty at Shaw University. Dr. Doran was drawn to Shaw partly because of its tremendous legacy, including that of Ella Baker and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. He was also drawn to Shaw, though, because of the promise its faculty and staff, and especially its students, hold for the future.



Dr. Amadou Hama knows that successful students become successful adults. This is his 5th year at Shaw University and his 20th year teaching at the higher education level.  So far, teaching has been his favorite thing to do! He loves reading and the only author that he will take his time to open a book for is John Grisham. Dr. Hama also played soccer at a young age and earned a black belt in Vietnamese martial arts. His research area is Solitons. 


Mrs. Lashaunda Lucas received her Bachelor of Social Work at East Carolina University in 2010, and her Master of Social Work at East Carolina University in 2011. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the joint PhD Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. 

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mrs. Lucas has served as an Outpatient Therapist for youth and families involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice, persons with mental health diagnoses, and in Foster Care and Adoption.  Mrs. Lucas was awarded a Light House Certification by the Teaching Families Association (TFA), an international organization that ensures the quality of care provided by professionals who actively pursue the goals of humane, effective, individualized treatment for children, families, and dependent adults.  With this, Mrs. Lucas has been afforded the opportunity to present at national TFA conferences (2014 and 2015) to educate and inform helping professionals. 

Lashaunda currently serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social Work at Shaw University and a Child Welfare Trainer at Wake County Human Services. 


Dr. Irina Negrea is originally from Romania. She has been in the United States for 24 years. She has a Master of Arts in English from Kutztown University (Kutztown, PA) and a PhD in English from Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA). Her teaching career started at Lehigh as a teaching assistant and adjunct, and continued to New Jersey City University (Jersey City, NJ) until 2009, when she moved to North Carolina and started working for Shaw University. 

She is currently an Associate Professor at Shaw, teaching Humanities and English, and the Program Coordinator for Interdisciplinary Studies. 

Also an Excellence Award Winner!


Rev. Dr. Zandra K. Pinnix is a native of Waycross, Georgia. Upon graduation from high school, she accepted a full basketball scholarship from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and was also crowned Miss UNC-Wilmington.

She then enrolled into the graduate program at North Carolina A&T State University where she performed research in the area of human leukemia. She received a B.R.I.D.G.E. Fellowship from North Carolina State University and completed a Master of Science Degree in Chemistry.

Dr. Pinnix was then accepted into the PhD program at Wake Forest University. During her graduate research, she was awarded a Minority Scholar Award by the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) allowing her to present her findings on breast cancer at several AACR meetings. Her innovative and breakthrough research in the prognosis and possible future treatment of breast cancer allowed her to become one of the first African American females to receive a Ph.D. degree from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in the area of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  

Dr. Pinnix has been an educator for over 23 years and has taught at several levels including middle and high school. During her first year of teaching, she was awarded the “Teacher of the Year” distinction. She also served for 8 years as the founder and Chief Administrator of The Benaja Christian Academy and Summer Enrichment Academy.

Dr. Pinnix currently serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology at Elon University and an Assistant Professor of Biology at Shaw University where she serves in several capacities. She is also a math and science item reviewer for grades 6 – 12 with the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Dr. Pinnix is an ordained elder and pastor who serves along with her husband Pastor Thomas A. Pinnix Jr. where they also serve as the Youth Division Leaders for the New Beginnings Fellowship Conference for over 30 churches.


Dr. Sonya Robinson is originally from Queens, New York.  In May 1995, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia.  In 1998, she obtained a Master’s of Social Work from Howard University in Washington, D.C. In February 2013, she obtained a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology (with a concentration in Educational Psychology) from Walden University in Minnesota, Minneapolis.

She has years of teaching experience with both a “brick and mortar” university and an online university, where she has taught both undergraduate and graduate psychology classes.  Since her tenure at Shaw University, Dr. Robinson has been employed as a Psychology Professor and the Program Coordinator of the Psychology Program.  Her favorite learning technique is using case studies where students can use course material and apply it to real-life experiences.  Dr. Robinson also uses games, such as Jeopardy and Family Feud to review course material in preparation for examinations and tests. Her professional goals include continuing to teach psychology classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels, obtaining a leadership position in academia, and owning an adoption agency.

She had over 18 years’ experience in child welfare as an Adoption Social Worker and as a Supervisory Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) Specialist with the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency.  Within these positions, she understood the physical, medical, and mental health needs of children and ensured that they were placed in appropriate placements. Dr. Robinson’s research interest includes the psychological well-being of the members of the adoption triad, especially adoptees.

For fun, Dr. Robinson enjoys movies, plays, spending time with family and friends, collecting elephants, and taking vacations. She has a beautiful supportive fifteen-year-old daughter who loves school, playing volleyball, and running track.  Her future goals include becoming a biochemist or a biochemical engineer and running track in the Olympics.


Dr. Annie Tinsley is the Assistant Professor of New Testament at Shaw University Divinity School, Raleigh, North Carolina. She teaches full-time and is the Master of Divinity Program Coordinator and Chair of the Curriculum Committee. Dr. Tinsley also serves on the Graduate Council for Shaw University.

Her research interests include re-reading Biblical literature from an African American postcolonial perspective. This hermeneutic practice revealed deep insight into the meaning and purpose of the first-century letter written to the Colossians.  In her Biblical Studies courses, science is incorporated while focusing on the creation, belief systems, and faith from a cognitive science perspective. Dr. Tinsley’s interests also stem into the cultural-linguistic aspects of African Americans and how language impacted the development of their culture with respect to slavery, Christianity/religion, and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Her present research focuses on gentrification and Middle Passages.


Mrs. LaToya Warren-Heath is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at Shaw University.  A former foster care social worker, she has over 13 years of experience in the field of Child/Adolescent and Adult Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment.  She was a former supervisor for a private agency that focused on child safety as well as permanency for families and children in the foster care system. Along with foster care, Mrs. Heath has worked in several other areas of social work as well as DWI and Court Initiated Treatment through Wake and Pitt Counties.

In 2005, she received a B.S. in Criminal Justice from North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC; in 2011 she received a Master’s in Social Work from East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.  While in graduate school, Mrs. Heath, along with former colleagues, published Substance Abuse among Professionals: Limited Research on Substance-Abusing Social Workers (October 2011) in an effort to demonstrate the need of support to professionals in the field of social work and to also show the discrepancies with being able to receive treatment.  She is a true believer in growth through experience and encourages her students daily to advocate for themselves and their future.  


Dr. Kimberly Pettaway Willis teaches Research Seminar in Allied Health Professions, Methods of Teaching in Allied Health, Organization Administration in Health Professions and has taught Test and Measurements in Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Kinesiotherapy at Shaw University. Dr. Willis received her undergraduate degree (B.S.) from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Exercise Sport Science, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Sport Administration from Florida State University, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from Florida State University in Physical Education/Sport Management. Dr. Willis was one of 25 women invited to attend the Oxford Roundtable Women in Higher Education and Leadership seminar in Oxford, England.

Dr. Willis has taught as an Instructor at Florida State University (Sports Marketing, Gender Issues in Sport, Sports Governance, Introduction to Sport Management, Research Issues in Sport), as an Adjunct Professor at The University of Washington Seattle (Sports Law and Sports Marketing) and as an International Professor/Specialist at the United Emirates Futbol Association in Dubai, UAE (Sports Marketing and Sports Media). Dr. Willis is married with 12-year-old twins, a son and a daughter.

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