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Albertha Lawson, Ph.D. - SMED Chair

 Albertha Lawson joined the department in August, 2014. Her background   includes a B.S. in Mathematics from Johnson C. Smith University in   Charlotte, North Carolina; a Masters in Applied Statistics with specialty in   both quantitative and qualitative statistics from the Ohio State University in   Columbus, Ohio; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education   Administration with a concentration in research and policy analysis from   the  University of New Orleans in New Orleans Louisiana. She has over 30   years of experience in higher education as a professor, researchers,   statistical consultant, higher education administrator and mentor; and   corporate America as an actuarial analyst combined. She currently serves      as a National Mathematics Alliance undergraduate and graduate student mentor. She is a recipient of the 2016 Minority Access Incorporated National Role Model Award. Professor Lawson is a contributing author in the Handbook on Measurement, Assessment, and Evaluation in Higher Education, and is responsible for numerous other publications and conference presentations. She has also served as Director of Institutional Research and Statistical Analysis for the Louisiana State University System; Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System; and Vice President of Institutional Research, Assessment and Accountability for Baton Rouge Community College. She credits her time in higher education as an institutional researcher and an Integrated Postsecondary Education System (IPEDS) Trainer/Ambassador with her current passion for teaching, mentoring and helping to ensure the success of future education researchers as a SMED professor. Her research team focuses on advancing STEM education in both formal and informal environments at the K-12 and college levels; Improving student education engagement in STEM and computing using various types of education media and technologies; and the use of existing state and national databases to develop statistical/mathematical models necessary for STEM curriculum and pedagogy improvement.


 Moustapha Diack, Ph.D.

Professor Moustapha is former Associate Vice President of Online Learning Services for the Southern University System (SUS) in Louisiana. He is currently associated with the doctoral program in Science Math Education (SMED), College of Sciences and Engineering (CSE), at Southern University in Baton Rouge.

Diack has more than 25 years’ experience in digital education and has served as consultant for many national and international organizations. He has a formal training in e-Learning and a strong experience in educational research and faculty development. His research interests and leadership roles are in the areas of learning engineering, with specific research interests focusing on the new advances in Interactive Multimedia Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Data Science (DS), and Cognitive Science (CS) principles. These axes of research open new frontiers in digital education to design inclusive virtual learning environments that facilitate individualized instruction, academic success, and college affordability.

Prof. Diack has extensive experience in the areas of online learning design and delivery and has played a global leadership role in the areas of Open Education Resources (OER) and Open Education Practices (OEP). He is recipient of the International MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching) eLearning Innovation Award 2009. He is member of the MERLOT Faculty Development Editorial Board and Co-Founding Director of the MERLOT Africa Network (MAN), a network of African higher education institutions and digital scholars engaged in the research and implementation of OER. At Southern, Diack oversees the development and implementation of integrated digital library services, the Southern University Online Library for Education (SUOL4ed), to facilitate quality online programs development and college affordability through the adoption of OER and Open Textbook.

Diack is member of the Louisiana Board of Regents Task Force on Electronic Learning and Past President 2003-2006 of the Louisiana Academy of Science.

He serves as one of the 13 members of the Quality Matters Board of Directors, and consultant for UNESCO, the International Council of Open and Distance Education (ICDE), MERLOT and the SKillscommons organizations. He assumes the functions of Senior Manager for Workforce Development Initiatives for Africa with Skillscommons and the MERLOT-Skillscommons’ H5P Project Director. H5P is an innovative technology to design interactive digital resources for STEM education and training.


Christopher W. Guillory, Ph.D.

 Dr. Christopher W. Guillory joined the department in August, 2019. His     background includes a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of   Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana; a Masters in Mathematics from Louisiana   State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; a Masters in Applied Statistics   from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and a Doctor of   Philosophy in Educational Research from Louisiana State University, Baton   Rouge, Louisiana. He has over 20 years of experience in higher education   as a professor, researcher, statistical consultant, higher educational   administrator. He has also served as Director of Institutional Research and   Assessment for Southern University and A&M College; Director for Institutional Research for Baton Rouge Community College; and Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Baton Rouge Community College. He assists the SMED department’s research focuses of developing retention models based in current retention research; advancing STEM education in both formal and informal environments at the K-12 and college levels and Improving student education engagement.


Nastassia N. Jones, Ph.D.

  Dr. Nastassia N. Jones  focuses on teaching and research endeavors that   are fueled by a desire to see an increase in the numbers of minorities and   women in STEM fields. She has over 10 years of experience working with     in-   service K-12 teachers in life sciences content knowledge development   and national science and math standards curricular alignment as well as   years of experience in undergraduate science curriculum development.   She  specializes in implementing service learning projects and integrating   technology, active learning and authentic research experiences in   undergraduate STEM courses, K-12 STEM teacher training, and grant   writing for STEM education research projects.

Dr. Jones received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia. She received both Master of Science and Doctorate degrees from the Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Biochemistry program at Southern Illinois University, where her graduate research focused on the biological and chemical importance of bacteria in cleaning up contaminated soil and ground water environments, as well as understanding the teaching and learning of microbiology within K-12 life science experiences.

Her research interests include understanding how research-based interventions impact scientific identity development including interest and engagement in STEM, effective integration of service learning into STEM curriculum, effective integration of technology in STEM, K-12 STEM project-based learning unit development and implementation, and effective evidence-based in-service teacher professional development. Current projects can be found at


Francesca M. Mellieon-Williams, Ph.D.

  Dr. Francesca Mellieon-Williams is very passionate about the education     of young people and continuously serves as a personal mentor to her   students.  

 She graduated from Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in   Biological Sciences. Dr. Mellieon-Williams immediately began graduate   studies at Washington State University, where she earned a master’s   degree   in Reproductive Physiology. It was during her time at Washington   State University where her passion for teaching was fueled. She later   returned to Louisiana and began a successful career as a respected   instructor at Baton Rouge Community College in the Division of Math and Science. Dr. Mellieon-Williams continued her graduate studies at LSU in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in Science Education where she later earned a doctorate.

Since this time, Dr. Mellieon-Williams has served in several capacities to impact STEM Education PreK-20. As the Co-director for the Southern University Summer Transportation and Energy Institute, she along with the staff work tirelessly during the summer to engage high school students in STEM activities including robotics, engineering build projects and other STEM related experiences. Dr. Mellieon-Williams understands the importance of technology in learning and encourages teachers on all levels to integrate technology into their curricula. She works intimately with faculty at Southern University to effectively integrate technology in their course whether it is using Moodle for course delivery or software/apps to enhance the course content. She believes strongly in identifying methods of instruction to encourage life-long learning and is always willing to share that knowledge with others. To no surprise, Dr. Mellieon-Williams areas of research interest include impacting STEM for minority students and the effective integration of technology in the curriculum.


Dr. Luria Young

  Dr. Luria Young  is a Professor in the Southern University and A&M   College (SUBR) science/mathematics education doctoral program and   principal investigator of the SUBR Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave   Observatory Science Education Center (LIGO-SEC) Partnership   “Strengthening Communities of Learners”, funded by the National Science   Foundation at $2.5M over five years. She serves as a leader on several   other externally funded and successful programs, including the Shell   Louisiana STEM Collaborative, which provides professional development   opportunities for teachers and undergraduate students. Dr. Young earned      a   baccalaureate degree in biology from SUBR, a master’s degree and educational specialist certificate in science education from Louisiana State University (LSU) and a doctorate degree in educational leadership, research, and counseling from LSU. Her research focuses on the persistence of students in higher education and the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM disciplines. Dr. Young is committed to providing opportunities for underrepresented groups of students to excel in college and careers.