Zabin PatelZabin Patel

I joined the Diversity and Equity Committee because of its mission and relevance to my clinical, career, and research interests. Throughout my doctoral training I have become increasingly aware of the need to increase representation of different backgrounds and experiences to move our field forward. As a student member of DEC I am given the opportunity to be part of actionable change in our program to address issues of diversity and equity. Additionally, The DEC gives me a space to learn to advocate for change in a professional environment with other students, faculty, and staff.

Noelle Mendezn.mendez with dog photo

Growing up in Miami, I have always been surrounded by diversity as well as disparities. Once I started college, I soon realized that I can have an impact within the communities I care about, including my own, and that these disparities will continue to exist until people organize to overcome them. I am lucky to have turned my passion for equity into a job, where I do research that directly impacts the well-being of sexual and gender minorities, racial and ethnic minorities, and other communities affected by HIV.

Rachelle ReidRachelle Reid

I am a first-year graduate student in the Health Track of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Miami and a member of the Strengthening Health with INnovation and Engagement (SHINE) Research lab under the mentorship of Dr. Sannisha Dale. My strong interest in raising awareness about the experiences of diverse groups is influenced not only by my status as an immigrant from Jamaica, but also from my longstanding desire to understand the experiences of diverse and marginalized communities. I have had the opportunity to work with members of the LGBTQ community, children with special needs, homeless individuals, psychiatric patients and black women living with HIV. This experience has only increased my desire to share what I have learned and help create safe spaces for discussions that counter stigma, discrimination and lead to more inclusion. I am excited about being a part of the DEC as its mandate is one that I believe in wholeheartedly.

Rachel VerhagenRachel Verhagen

I was drawn to the DEC because it stood out among graduate programs as an opportunity to be an advocate for underrepresented individuals. I feel that as a student from a diverse background, it is my responsibility to advocate for equity among all people and further promote inclusion in the field of psychology. I have found a home in the DEC and enjoy that we celebrate and promote people's individual experiences in a way that is inclusive to everybody.

Satya SatyaranyaSatya Satyanarayana

I joined the Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC) in 2017 because I was interested in working on issues of diversity and equity within our department and the field of psychology more generally. Since that time, I have not been disappointed. I’ve been impressed with the group’s efforts in launching a number of initiatives that have fostered a greater sense of community and have created spaces where individuals from diverse backgrounds can have more of a voice within the department and university. I’ve also found a community with whom I can work on creating solutions that can improve and enrich the experiences of graduate students in the program. Being a member of the DEC renews my sense of purpose in how we can make spaces, structures, and communities more equitable and inclusive, and it has given me a platform by which to put that purpose into action.


Elliot WeinsteinElliott Weinstein

I was drawn to the Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC) because of my desire to celebrate the cultural differences that make members of the UM community so unique. As someone who’s academic research and history of service has focused on marginalized communities, I believed that joining the DEC would provide me with an opportunity to develop additional skills to best honor the populations I hope to support throughout my career. Learning from my fellow DEC members has made me a better person and has continually renewed my interest in demanding social justice and raising up the voices of individuals who have consistently been overlooked or ignored, not only at UM, but also in the greater field of psychology overall.


Nikki PuccettiNikki Puccetti

I joined the DEC in 2018 with hopes to advocate for and support underrepresented groups in science. I wanted to help address issues within our department as well as encourage a dialogue about issues affecting the field as a whole. I continue to learn and grow as a member on the committee and look forward to upcoming projects.


Kaitlyn BrodarKaitlyn Brodar

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can." This quote is an important guiding principle for me, and reflects why I wanted to be part of the DEC committee. Being a committee member allows me to live out my values in my professional life, particularly those related to social justice. I believe in fighting oppression in all of its forms, and I believe that strongly in the value of diversity within an academic community. I value opportunities to learn with and from people who are different from me and am proud to serve alongside others dedicated to creating an environment that fosters equity and social justice.

Estefany Saes-Flores ClarkeEstefany Saes-Flores Clarke

I have been at the University of Miami since 2008, first as an undergraduate student, then as a full-time employee, before starting the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology in 2015. I love living in the city of Miami and the opportunities that it has opened up for me. I joined the Diversity & Equity Committee because of my interest in increasing the diversity of the graduate student population in our department through initiatives like improvements to our recruitment and admissions process.



 Brittney GonzalezBrittney Gonzalez

I was initially drawn to the DEC after attending one of their “Our Stories” events. Hearing and paying witness to people sharing their experiences was incredibly moving and I knew from that moment I had to be a part of that effort. Joining the DEC meant I had the chance to be a part of the work that let everyone have a seat at the table.


Vandana SookdeoVandana Sookdeo

I joined the Diversity and Equity family because I believe the committee's goals parallel my own personal goals. Improving the climate for current students and faculty from underrepresented groups ensures that these individuals are given the tools to succeed in their respective discipline. Being a part of this committee gives me the platform to be a role model to minority women; whom I can relate to their story, encourage the exchange of ideas and open the barriers of communication in a University environment.



Sanesha Dale

Sannisha Dale, Ph.D. (Chair)

As an individual at the intersection of many socialized and often oppressed identities - Black, woman, immigrant, etc. - speaking, facilitating, and leading discussions and changes to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion are actions that I long ago discovered was essential to my existence and survival across spaces be it within academia, research, or social settings. Hence, being the founding chair of this committee was important when I joined UM and continue to be important as I lead my research program, mentor, and teach at the University of Miami.

Uddin photoLucina Uddin, Ph.D.

The DEC is a great forum for staff, students and faculty to come together to address issues that affect the climate of the entire department. Our efforts to promote cross-cultural understanding and inclusivity have a positive impact on all members of the community, while providing additional resources for under-represented individuals facing unique challenges.

Roger McIntoshRoger McIntosh, Ph.D. (Interim Chair)

What drew me to the DEC is the opportunity to learn more about the diverse community that makes up our graduate students, staff and faculty here at the Department of Psychology. It's clear that we all have unique backgrounds that have helped to shape who we are and the type of work that we do. I think taking the perspective of others is a great exercise that allows us to learn how we are 'U'nited by our differences.

Amanda Jensen-Doss photoAmanda Jensen-Doss, Ph.D.

I view the ultimate goal of my research program as addressing issues of inequity, by ensuring that all children have access to high quality mental health services. My goals in joining the DEC were to learn from others in the department about how to ensure those values carry through to the work I do as a faculty member and to lend my perspective and voice to the important work it does.

Kiara Timpano photoKiara Timpano, Ph.D.

I am delighted to join the Diversity and Equity committee and to help support our efforts to promote cross-cultural understanding and to foster under-represented members of our community. I was drawn to the DEC as I believe strongly that addressing issues of equity and inclusion for all members of our diverse department is important for improving the overall climate. We all have the responsibility to advocate and promote the priorities championed by the DEC, which will allow the diverse voices that reflect the Department of Psychology--across staff, students, and faculty--to be heard and doing so will allow our group to grow in important ways.

Michael Alessandri photoMichael Alessandri, Ph.D.

My interest in the DEC is guided by my own personal journey as a gay man, but also by my nearly 35 year career studying neurodiversity in the context of autism and related developmental disabilities. More recently, our research team has embarked upon a series of NIH studies aimed at promoting greater equity in early autism diagnosis and treatment as there continue to be significant disparities in access to quality care and services for minority families.

Steve Safren photoSteven Safren, Ph.D.

I decided to join the Diversity and Equity Committee (DEC) as part of an effort to “act locally” regarding the critical need to increase the diversity of scholars in our field, and do what I can to insure that those from racial, ethnic, sexual, gender, or other minority backgrounds feel welcome and supported in our department.

Jill May photoJill Ehrenreich-May, Ph.D.

I am very pleased to join the Department's Diversity and Equity Committee beginning the 2020-2021 academic year. I am passionate about women's rights and have been particularly active in advocating for women and mothers in academia throughout my career at UM. As the current Chair of the Faculty Senate's Standing Committee on Equity and Inclusion Committee and an ex-officio member of the University's Standing Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I hope to aid the DEC by sharing the progress and priorities of these companion committees at the University of Miami. I also plan to advocate for undergraduate and graduate student DEC priorities in concert with my role as the Department's Assistant Chair for Academic Affairs and Research, as we work together to create a more just and equitable University and Departmental environment that lifts up and respects diverse voices at all levels.