Our Staff

Dr. Marguerite Giguette, is a Project Pathways Principal Investigator and Director of the Institutional Development Core. Dr. Giguette serves as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Xavier University and is an Endowed Professor of Computer Science. As a faculty member, Dr. Giguette managed grants totaling over $2.5 million that included a summer program for high school students interested in Computer Science, and an undergraduate research program for Computer Science students. She also led the grant that assisted in funding the establishment of Xavier’s Center for Undergraduate Research in 2000. Dr. Giguette assisted in the establishment of the Student Academic Success Office in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Gene D’Amour, whose academic specialty is philosophy of science and mathematical logic, is a graduate of University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and Xavier’s former Senior Vice President for Resource Development and BUILD Program Principal Investigator. Dr. D’Amour is now serving as the Special Assistant to the President, and a member of Project Pathways’ Management Team. He is also serving on the Advisory Committee for the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) South East Region.

Dr. Maryam Foroozesh, is Project Pathways’ Lead Principal Investigator serving as the Core Director for the Administration and Research Enrichment Cores. Dr. Foroozesh, an Endowed Professor in the Chemistry Department, is an organic chemist by training and a graduate of Tulane University. Her research areas of interest are in the design and synthesis of new families of inhibitors for cytochrome P450 enzymes involved in carcinogenesis, and the design and synthesis of ceramide-mimicking agents for the potential reversal of chemo- and endocrine resistance in breast cancer cells. Over the years, Dr. Foroozesh has served as the research mentor to over 75 students and a number of B.S.-level technicians and post-doctoral fellows.

Dr. Kathleen Morgan, is a Project Pathways Principal Investigator and Director of the Student Training Core. She is also an Associate Director of Xavier’s Center for Undergraduate Research. Dr. Morgan, an Endowed Professor in the Chemistry Department, is an organic chemist and graduated from Dartmouth College and Yale University. Her current research involves thermochemical analysis of simple carbohydrates, diols, and related compounds. Dr. Morgan has mentored over 40 undergraduate research students in her fourteen years at Xavier, and a halfdozen B.S.-level technicians.

Dr. Kelly Johanson, is Co-Director of the Student Training Core. Dr. Johanson is a biochemist by training and graduated from Tulane University. Her research areas focus on transcription factor structure and function with focus on the FOXO family of transcription factors. She also studies the DNA-binding ability of FOXO truncations including regions of the protein contained within an oncogenic fusion protein, PAX3-FOXO1, whose expression is linked to the development of Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Dr. Johanson has served as a research mentor to over 15 students.

Dr. Ja’Wanda S. Grant, is the Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. Dr. Grant received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering and her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science, with research experience in drug discovery and design. After completing her Ph.D., she was a Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Environmental Medicine at New York University, followed by faculty positions at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Berkeley College. She now serves as a mentor and advisor to students who are seeking research experience at Xavier and beyond.

Ms. Doryne Sunda-Meya, is the Program Manager for the Administrative Core. She has many years of experience in public health and brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of program implementation and grant management. She has collaborated on several projects and publications regarding childhood asthma in New Orleans. Mrs. Sunda-Meya received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from North Carolina Central University and a Master in Health Care Management from the University of New Orleans.

Ms. Linda Hardy, is the Program Manager for the Institutional Development Core. She has extensive experience in finance, operations, grants and contracts, and research programs management. She earned a Bachelor’s in Social Sciences and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Tulane University.

Ms. Amy Billizon, is the Program Manager for the Student Training and Research Enrichment Cores. She has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from Tulane University and a Master of Education degree from Ashford University. Prior to joining BUILD, Ms. Billizon worked with Louisiana Board of Regents, National Science Foundation, and United Negro College Fund grants. Her experience working with state and federal funding agencies as well as her expertise mentoring and advising students make her an excellent asset to the BUILD Program.

Dr. Clair Wilkins-Green, is Project Pathways’ Internal Evaluator and Assessment Specialist. Dr. Wilkins-Green received her BA with Honors in American Studies from the University of Manchester, MA in Political Science from LSU, and Ph.D in Politics from Manchester Metropolitan University. She taught Political Science and Social Science and Research Methods for Health and Social Sciences at several universities in the north of England. She worked as a Researcher in Quantitative and Evaluation Methods at Cardiff University's Wales Institute of Research Data and Methods and as a Statistician at the University's Clinical Trial Unit. In addition to her research and statistics background, she worked with the Roots of Music, a nonprofit organization and music education program, serving middle school children in New Orleans.

Dr. Tiera Coston, is an Education Improvement Specialist who directs Xavier’s mentor training program (Preparing Mentors and Advisors at Xavier – P-MAX) established through Project Pathways. She brings more than eight years of experience in faculty training and development. Dr. Coston earned a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Tulane University and a J.D. from Loyola New Orleans College of Law.

DeMiracle Woodson, is Project Pathways Program Coordinator.  She received her B.S. in Mathematics from Jackson State University and her M.B.A. from Keller Graduate School of Management.  Before joining the BUILD team, she worked as a Feature/System Test Engineer at Lucent Technologies in Naperville, IL.