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.


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.


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



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