staff and students pose with President Breaux


 ELSS Staff

  • Monica Turner Headshot

    Monica Lawson

    Monica Lawson is a visionary leader. Her work is transformative, in no small part, because she leads from the inside out, drawing on an abundant well of spirituality, creativity, and love. She is proud of her work with first-generation students--beginning with TRIO-Student Support Services and evolving to the suite of programs within Engaged Learning and Student Support (ELSS). Students feel valued in her presence because she recognizes their potential and creates space that engenders love and care. As a testament to the strength of her work and the quality of her relationships, many students remain connected to Ms. Lawson and her office, citing participating in meaningful learning experiences and being affirmed of their self-worth and brilliance as highly impactful. Monica thrives on helping young adults take steps toward creating lives that are good for them and their families, and she finds joy in celebrating their accomplishments and wins.

    As a leader, she aims to recognize the possibilities in all people and situations. She is skilled at casting vision, and is particularly interested in working with people who find resonance in that vision. She holds a Master's degree in School Psychology from The University of Maryland, College Park and a Bachelor's degree in History/Politics from Drexel University. She recognizes that in order to be an effective education leader, she needs to engage in a continual process of learning and growth, and encourages her students and staff to do the same.

  • Lisa Nardi
     Assistant Director

    Lisa Nardi

    In cooperation with a small team of faculty and staff, Lisa Nardi founded the Faculty Think Tank and Scholars Studio. Developed to offer transformational learning opportunities, the sister programs provide a communal space for collaboration, reflection, and transdisciplinary learning. Using her strengths as a strategist, creative thinker, and qualitative researcher, she helps faculty draw on their passions to shape problem-based learning experiences that explore a range of issues, from mass incarceration and gender identity to mindfulness and the meaning of freedom. She has presented findings from Scholars Studio and the Faculty Think Tank at a variety of national and regional conferences. 

    Her work is informed by several years of teaching composition, creative writing, literature, and ESL at a community college. She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Findlay, an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership with a concentration in Curriculum Theory and Development from the University of Maryland-College Park. She is a qualitative researcher with interests in transformational pedagogy, contemplative education, and decolonizing research methodologies. Her dissertation is a phenomenological inquiry into the pedagogy of bridging in Scholars Studio. She stays grounded with a steady practice of running, yoga, and photography.

  • Patience Amankwa Headshot
    Counseling Services Specialist

    Patience Amankwa

    Patience offers a unique approach to academic counseling and advising that emphasizes empowerment. She encourages students to know their academic plans and degree requirements, and she connects them with academic, mental health, and financial resources. The daughter of West African immigrants, she is tuned into the importance of honoring cultural diversity and acknowledging the dignity and worth of every person. She strives to help people replace the notion of "tolerating" difference with an attitude of accepting and embracing other cultures. Patience received her B.S in Social Work from Bowie State University, M.S.W. in Social Work from New York University, and she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Morgan State University. Her academic interests include student engagement, performance, and persistence. In her free time, Patience enjoys music, film, and television.

  • Quentin Braswell Headshot
    Operations Specialist

    Quentin Braswell

    Quentin oversees the operations of Bulldog Scholars Academy and Operation Navigation. Having participated in Bulldog Scholars Academy and served as a mentor, senior mentor, and resident director in the Academy, he brings a range of perspectives and experiences with him. Quentin received his B.S. in Business Management from Bowie State University where he learned how to effectively work in teams, set goals and help people realize their potential--all important aspects of his current position. As a student, he joined Omega Psi Phi fraternity and Men of Ignite. These organizations instilled in him the importance of community and giving back. Whether distributing resources to communities in need or holding space for Black men to express themselves, he has been struck by not only the power of giving, but the spark it ignites in others who are, in turn, inspired to give back.