AAP's Staff Directory and Profiles

B.S. Radiologic Technology, Creighton University
M.A. General Administration, Resource Management, University of Maryland, University College
M.A. Public Administration and Public Law, University of Maryland
J.D. Howard University

Dr. Jerry L. Lewis is Executive Director of Academic Achievement Programs, (AAP) University of Maryland, College Park, MD. As Executive Director of AAP, he supervises two state programs, Summer Transitional Program (STP), Intensive Educational Development Program (IED) and five Federal TRIO programs, the Educational Talent Search Programs (ETS) North and Central, the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC), the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, and Student Support Services (SSS). Dr. Lewis directed the Upward Bound at UMD for 17 years and at Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska for 2.5 years. He is the original author the UMD's Talent Search, McNair and EOC programs. He has more than 43 years of Higher Education administration experience and more than 40 years of TRIO program administration experience.

Dr. Lewis has played major roles in the development of TRIO presence in the National Policy arena; he is a Founders of MEAEOPP, his regional TRIO professional association, and he is also a founder of National Coordinating Council, now, Council for Opportunity in Education (COE). He has testified before the House of Representatives and the US Senate Appropriation and Authorization Committees on several occasions on behalf of TRIO programs. He has served on the COE's Board of Directors in several capacities. Dr. Lewis is a Certified Grant Writer (writing more than $27 million dollars in grants at UMD during his tenure), public speaker, and national consultant (teaching--federal program regulations and legislation, leadership development, program and staff development, documentation and recordkeeping, budgeting, program-to-campus interface assessments, organizational communication and strategic planning). Dr. Lewis teaches Grant writing for several regional, and non-profits organizations. He has also written numerous successful TRIO grants, generating over $10 million dollars as a consultant.

Dr. Lewis has received numerous awards and recognitions for his leadership in Education and Community Service, including the Walter P. Mason national award for "his leadership to enhance education in America-COE", the Chancellor's Minority Achieving Award-UMD, Black Faculty and Staff Award of Excellence-UMD, Outstanding Associate Staff Member of the Year Award-UMD (1997), Creighton University's Legacy Award, Drum Major of Excellence Award-Black Ministry Program-UMD and he has been inducted into the Maryland Hall of Fame for his leadership in serving "Low Income and First Generation Students". Dr. Lewis is one of two Trio Professionals to have been granted Life Time Membership status to MEAEOPP. In 2017, Dr. Lewis received the President’s Medal, the highest honor the University of Maryland community can bestow, for his career of commitment and service to the university community.

Dr. Lewis has also held gubernatorial appointed positions in his state, serving on the Maryland Lottery Commission for 17 years and as its Chairman for 7 years. He owns a Law Office and practices Civil Law in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

MBA, University of Maryland University College (UMUC) 2014
B.S., Marketing and International Business CSU, Sacramento 2003

Ms. Woods-Suku joined AAP in October 2014 after eight years at University of Maryland working in Alumni Relations and Development in the Colleges of Education and Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Intensive Educational Development (IED)

Shakeena King is a Prince George's County, Maryland native and a UMD alumni who has been a part of the Academic Achievement Programs (AAP) since 2011 as a participant in the Summer Transitional Program (STP). After successfully completing the STP program, Shakeena pursued her BA in Psychology and MA in Human Development at the University of Maryland, College Park. During her time in college, she worked with AAP as a supplemental instruction leader for the CSS component (2012-2018), a math intern/tutor for the Math component (2015-2017), and a ASTS tutor for the tutoring component (2018-2019) After 7 years of tutoring for AAP, Shakeena officially became the tutor coordinator for AAP in January 2019. She strives to use her experiences as an AAP student and tutor to find ways to effectively provide academic, professional, and personal support for all AAP students.

Certificate, Teaching English as Foreign Language, Moray House Institute of Education, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
B.A., Teaching French & English as a Foreign Language, Teacher Training College Nouakchott, Mauritania (West Africa)
M.A., Teaching English as a Second Language, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Postgraduate Studies in English Rhetoric and Composition, University of Mississippi, Oxford

Mr. Sow has been the English Component Coordinator since 2004. From 1997 until 2004 he lectured at Howard University. He has also been a Faculty Consultant at the Educational Testing Service and a part–time English instructor for Montgomery Community College, Howard Community College, Lado International Center, and Parkland Community College. He served as Assistant Professor at the Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, and as English language instructor at the Mauritanian Ministry of Education.

Ms. Vanwright, a New York City native, has over 16 years of experience in Higher Education spanning several institutions: The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, The University of Phoenix, Misericordia University, The University of New Hampshire and Middlebury College. Ms. Vanwright holds a Masters in Business Administration and Masters of Science in Management Nonprofit and Association Management Specialization from the University of Maryland University College and a Masters of Arts in Sociology from The University of New Hampshire. In the course of her career, Ms. Vanwright was instrumental in developing and coordinating successful programs to assist students in their academic pursuits, providing study skills techniques/coaching to students, training tutors and SI leaders to help students master course content in traditionally difficult university courses, teaching "Introduction to Sociology" and UNIV 100 courses, as well as advising undeclared students and students on probation.

Student Support Services (SSS)

Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Virginia Tech
M.A.Ed., Higher Education and Student Affairs, Virginia Tech
B.B.A., Marketing, James Madison University

Melanie Hayden Glover is Director of Student Support Services in Academic Achievement Programs at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to her current position, she served in various leadership positions in academic advising, student services and undergraduate admissions at Arizona State University, Ohio University and Virginia Tech. In addition to her responsibilities as an administrator, Dr. Glover's research focuses on admissions policies and practices in higher education and factors that influence the undergraduate and graduate school choice process for students of color and first generation college students. Additionally, her interest in mentoring women throughout their academic and professional journeys led her to coedit the book "Pathways to Higher Education Administration for African American Women".

B.S., Sociology, State University of New York, Buffalo
M.S., Higher Education Administration, State University of New York, Buffalo

In addition to his duties as Academic Advisor for AAP, Mr. Middleton is a peer consultant for Center for Leadership and Organizational Change (CLOC) and a member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) and the Maryland Executive Council for Educational Opportunities (MECEO).

B.A., Psychology, University of Miami
M.S., Mental Health Counseling, Nova Southeastern University

Mr. Ayala was born in Nicaragua, yet was raised and spent most of his life in Miami, FL where he completed elementary school all the way to graduate school. Mr. Ayala has worked in the social service industry, serving a plethora of underserved populations. He enjoys working in a university setting as he thrives in a supporting and teaching environment.

B.S., Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park

Melissa is the Academic Program Specialist at Student Support Services and a proud University of MD and AAP Alumnae. She has over 10 years of experience working with students and their families by providing administrative support through Before and Afterschool Academics and Enrichment Programs in the forms of Teaching and Program Management as well as Teaching Elementary General Music, Social Studies and Science. She is a Native of Prince George's County and has worked with youth in Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties as well as DC Public and Charter Schools in Arts Education and Afterschool Enrichment. She is also a Visual and Performing Artist who has a passion for helping people discover and express their divine uniqueness. In her current role, she is the first point of contact for Student Support Services students, parents, and other campus partners. She manages student files, helps to distribute important information, coordinates student events and programs and directs students to the appropriate Counseling, Academic or Administrative staff as well as provides support in answering programmatic and general questions.

B.A., Communication, University of South Alabama, Mobile. AL
M.A., Journalism, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS
M.Ed, Counselor Education, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS

Ms. King is a Nationally Certified Counselor and a Biloxi, Mississippi native that has over ten years of experience working with youth and young adults in various capacities. She has served as an academic advisor, taught life skills to at risk college freshmen, and counseled college students. Ms. King also has extensive experience in individual counseling, group therapy, and marriage and family therapy.

Educational Opportunity Center (EOC)

B.A., Political Science
M.A., Urban Studies
Ed.D., Educational Administration

Dr. Marcal Graham has been the Director of the University of Maryland’s Educational Opportunity Center (UM-EOC) almost nine years. Dr. Graham brings over 20 years of experience in the field of Educational Leadership and Administration. He has dedicated much of his life to helping students overcome academic and professional obstacles. Prior to joining UM-EOC, Dr. Graham worked with several charter schools in the District of Columbia in the area of data and assessment. In addition, Dr. Graham worked as an analyst in the Accountability Department for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools where he trained teachers, principals, and area superintendents on how to analyze and evaluate data at the classroom, school, and district level. He also had the opportunity to become a Strategic Data Fellow at Harvard University for a year while working with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Central Office Accountability Department.

Dr. Graham has self-published three (3) books around the concept of self-empowerment and has developed his own mindset theory model (MOVEME).

MBA, University of Maryland Global Campus

Joel Solorzano, is a Bilingual Educational Specialist for the Educational Opportunity Center. Prior to joining the EOC team Joel has worn many hats as a staff member of the University of Maryland. He is the first in his family to complete his post-secondary education, he completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland and he also earned his MBA at University of Maryland Global Campus. Joel enjoys mentoring, coaching, and teaching. His main mission is to help participants begin or continue their academic goals and realize their dream of graduating.

B.S., Morgan State University
M.Ed., Towson University

Mr. Earl A. Johnson is an Educational Specialist at The University Of Maryland Educational Opportunity Center. He received his B.S from Morgan State University and his M.Ed. from Towson University. Mr. Johnson has taught in the Baltimore City Public Schools, The Seed School of Maryland, Edison Schools Inc., and Baltimore City Community College. Mr. Johnson has worked in several areas of College Access Advisement and he has also worked as a College Admissions Officer at two Maryland State Universities. In his current role at the University Of Maryland College Park, Mr. Johnson provides academic, personal, and career counseling to both adults and young people in Prince Georges County. He also works with first generation potential college students, to help them not only to enroll at The University Of Maryland College Park, but he also works with both young people and adults who are looking to enroll in colleges and universities across the state and across the country. Mr. Johnson believes that a solid education will challenge our beliefs and question our presuppositions. He also believes that if we are in error, a solid education can help to lead us in the direction of wisdom and truth.

Mr. Johnson earned his Master’s in Education from Towson University. He is a trained Reading Specialist and has been with Educational Opportunity Center for almost four years.

B.S., Information Systems Management

Mrs. Greene has served UMD for over 5 years as an Administrative Professional with two years on the Executive Level. She brings over 25 years of exceptional service to the Administrative field with 6 years as a part-time Certified Medical Assistant. Mrs. Green is passionate about community service and public awareness.

Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program

A picture of Rhea Roper NeddPh.D., Howard University, 2007
M. A. The Catholic University of America, 2002 B. A. University of Maryland, College Park, 2000

Rhea Roper Nedd’s professional experiences consist of teaching and higher education program administration specializing in the development of interventions and services that lead to the retention and graduation of underrepresented groups. As the Director of the McNair Scholars Program she works with a select group of high academic achievers to prepare them for matriculation into doctoral programs upon graduation, through the teaching of research methodologies and the dissertation writing process. Prior to joining the McNair Scholars Program she served as the Assistant Director of the Pre-College Programs-Upward Bound Programs at the University of Maryland, College Park. As an Adjunct Professor at Howard University, she has taught a number of courses in the field of Political Science and International Relations.

Her primary research and teaching interests focus on educational and social development of marginalized populations defined by racial, ethnic, and gendered underrepresentation, as well as socio-economic status. Her research and work explores the intersections between: education and social development; cognitive and non-cognitive indicators of development; access to higher education; corporate social responsibility as a strategy of sustainable development; good governance; and poverty reduction initiatives.

Rhea Roper Nedd has published a book chapter, “Fragmentations in the Black Diaspora: West Indian-African American Relations” where she explores the relationships and perceptions that West Indians and African Americans in Washington, D.C. hold towards each other. She has also co-published an article, “Short on Confidence: Changes in Attitudes toward American Institutions and Occupations” that explores the changing attitudes and perceptions of Americans toward the U.S.

Over the years Rhea Roper Nedd has been the recipient of various awards and recognitions. Most notably, she was the two-time recipient of the Ralph Bunche Award for Research in International Affairs from Howard University. She was recognized as a graduate student fellow by The American Academy of Political and Social Science, and was also a Mayoral Fellow of then, Mayor Martin O’Malley of Baltimore City, Maryland.

Educational Talent Search Programs (ETS) North and Central

Ms. Brandon aims to E.E.I.M! To Educate, Elevate, Inspire and Motivate is her mantra! For roughly 10 years, Ms. Brandon’s work has been in service to students seeking to enroll in, and complete, a higher education degree. Throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia (the DMV) she has collaborated with academic, business, educational and non-profit professionals to impact the numbers, particularly, of students of color and their high school graduation and college completion rates.

Ms. Brandon has served in roles such as Center Director, Project Director, College Counselor, and Student Success Specialist primarily at the high school and community college levels. Today, however, she continues in similar work and service to students in a four-year higher education institution as Director for a federal TRiO program in the University of Maryland's Academic Achievement Programs (AAP). Ms. Brandon serves under the leadership of Dr. Jerry Lewis, and states that her professional purpose and passion have finally converged.

Ms. Brandon received her BA and MA degrees from The American University and Howard University, respectively. She is a native of Syracuse, NY, well-traveled, fluent in Spanish and is also a certified Project Management instructor with a local community college. Ms. Brandon resides in Washington, DC.

Carla E. Partlow, SPHR serves as the Director for Talent Search Central of the Academic Achievement Programs at the University of Maryland, College Park. She brings over 27 years of experience to the role. Prior to transitioning to college and career planning on a full-time basis in 2006, Ms. Partlow worked in Organization Development & Training for organizations such as Honeywell, Watson Wyatt and Conservation International. Since that time, her work in college and career planning has included elementary-age students through working professionals. She holds an MBA with a concentration in Human Resources from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. She also earned a BS in Commerce with concentrations in Marketing and Management and a major in Spanish from the University of Virginia. Additionally, she earned a certificate in College Counseling from UCLA Extension.

Ms. Partlow is very passionate about helping young people to recognize their strengths and gifts and then helping them to begin their career journeys by matriculating to and graduating from a right-fit college where they can grow and begin to discover their true potential. Ms. Partlow also feels led to share with students the need to have a global perspective in today’s society and strongly encourages international learning experiences. It is important to Ms. Partlow to share with young people the importance and necessity of giving back. As one of her mentors put it, “We are here to serve.” and she lives by that mantra. In her spare time, she consults through Partlow Educational Consulting. Also, she has enjoyed serving as a Girl Scout leader since 2004, is very active in her church and loves to travel any chance she gets.

Lynn Truong, an Educational Specialist with Educational Talent Search Program (ETS) North, is a University of Maryland alumnae. Lynn is dedicated to the enrichment of young minds to move forth with obtaining higher education.

Shakenna Jones is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. She holds a BA in Sociology and will earn a MA degree from Stevenson University in Community Based Leadership in Education, May 2020.

Shakenna is based in Fairmont Heights and Central High Schools in Prince George’s County. Shakenna was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and loves traveling, playing volleyball and spending time with family. Her motto is “a dream is only a dream until you make it a reality”.

Sanada Spellman received a BS degree in Child Development/Family relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and later received her Master of Arts in Counseling with a concentration in Student Development in Higher Education from Trinity Washington University.

Sanada is based in Largo and Potomac High Schools and enjoys reading, traveling, cooking, and trying new restaurants. Sanada is very excited about the opportunity to help students achieve the goal of college attendance.

Mandana Marishi is a proud alumna of the University of Maryland, College Park. Her master's degree is in Higher Education Policy, Research, & Administration. She has been in school for as long as she can remember exploring & taking classes in several different fields to discover her true passion. She enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and engaging with inspiring minds who aim to make the world a better place. Lastly, She is a lifelong learner trying her hardest to be a better version of herself every day.