Join us for:
At the Heart of the Matter Virtual Event Series: Are you listening? HBCU respond to COVID-19
Date & Time:
September 28th, 2021 at 11:00 AM-12:30 PM EST
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect African American communities disproportionately, HBCU’s are at a crux to empower, develop leaders and create a platform for change. In this discussion, we hear perspectives from HBCU staff and students around challenges, effective methods, strategies, and outcomes in engaging HBCUs in the fight against COVID-19.
Confirmed Speakers* Subject to change
Valerie C. Merriweather: Health Promotion Manager
Office of Health Promotion & Education
NC Central University
Ms. Merriweather is a passionate and transformative leader for health and wellness and an advocate for improving the well-being of students in higher education. With more than 20 years of experience in health education and consulting, she has a strong track record for delivering innovative programs designed to improve the health and well-being of organizations. Ms. Merriweather serves as the NCCU Health Promotion Manager in the Office of Health Promotions & Education. In this role, she leads campus-wide initiatives around health and wellness as well as all health promotion messaging for the University. Her goal is to empower students to live healthy lives in order to create healthier communities. In her previous role at NCCU, Ms. Merriweather led the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Program. In this role, she collaborated with campus and community partners to deliver signature suicide awareness programming, chaired the Suicide Prevention Coordination Committee on a variety of initiatives to expand programs across campus, and managed the Mental Health First Aid Training on campus.
A native of Riverside, California, Ms. Merriweather received a Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy from Howard University and a master’s in health administration from The Ohio State University. She holds certifications for personal training and health coaching from the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. Ms. Merriweather is a NASPA Certified Peer Education Advisor as well as a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor.
Ms. Merriweather is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Howard University Alumni Association, and the Durham Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. She is a founding member of the Technology Leadership Association (TLA) Association at NC Central University. Additionally, Ms. Merriweather serves on several community boards that focus on health and well-being for busy families. Ms. Merriweather’s accomplishments and contributions as a healthcare executive have been recognized by the White House State of Women under the Obama administration, Kaiser Permanente, and a host of other organizations dedicated to health and well-being.
Latajah Lassus: Clark Atlanta University ‘22
Intern, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health
Latajah Lassus is a rising Senior at Clark Atlanta University, from Miami, Fl. From a young age, she desired to dedicate her life to helping others. Her interests include research, community outreach, and advocacy for underrepresented populations. Upon graduating from Clark Atlanta, she will obtain a Doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology. Her intentions are to aid people in achieving peace and balance in their lives. She will pursue research while in school on alternative methods of treatment for African Americans and continue to spread knowledge to the community.
Marcus Kennedy: Dean of Student Life
Marcus Kennedy is the Dean of Student Life and Housing at Stillman College. He provides leadership, strategic vision, and management for student residence programs and oversees student development programs that enhance student experiences and support institutional goals.
As a campus collaborator and promoter, he supports and manages student services such as: Student Engagement, Community Engagement, Student Health, Student Government Association, Clubs & Organizations, Fraternities and Sororities, Spirit Groups (Cheer & Dance), Housing, Residential Life, Campus Dining, and Student Conduct. He is committed to engaging the whole student, focusing on advocacy for students and student development particularly the inclusion and success of first-generation college students.
He holds membership and involvement in several national organizations such as the Association of College Personnel Administrators (ACPA), The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA), and the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP).
Kennedy’s commitment to service and community involvement is demonstrated through his affiliations as well. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Incorporated, The Alabama Possible youth board, a statewide non-profit organization that breaks down barriers to prosperity through advocacy, education, and collaboration. Additionally, he serves in Young Tuscaloosa a networking organization that engages and serves the Tuscaloosa community and develops leadership and professional skills in its members.
Kennedy is a trained tumbling/stunt coach, instructor, and judge. He enjoys traveling, competitive cheer, reading, and has a strong interest in history, health, and wellness. Kennedy is from Little Rock, Arkansas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana.
Kamela Kennedy: Coordinator, Office of Student Life
Alabama State University
ASU students can find ways to get involved through a number of campus activities, from Greek organizations to professional groups to student spirit clubs. Kamela Kennedy is one ASU staff member who is dedicated to enhancing every student’s experience.
As a Student Life Coordinator, Kennedy helps students engage in a wide variety of student-run organizations, events, and activities. She advises two campus student organizations, First Loving Yourself (F.L.Y. Girls) Mentoring and the Up to Dawn Collegiate Program with St. Jude Children’s Hospital. 2004-2007 Kennedy held the title of ASU Student Leadership Institute Coordinator and former Golden Ambassador Adviser. Kennedy served as the ASU Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation Coordinator for 5 years. She also coordinates student leadership programs, monitors student organization advisers, and coordinates student involvement in community service initiatives.
Kennedy, who has worked at ASU for 29 years, previously served as a District Recruiter in ASU’s Admissions and Recruitment Office. During her time in the Admissions and Recruitment, she was responsible for recruiting in the largest district which consists of: Birmingham, Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, Sumter, Green, Pickens, Talladega, Chilton, Shelby, Alabama Counties; Louisiana with a concentration in New Orleans, Maryland, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Charlotte, NC, South Carolina, Houston, TX, Kentucky, and Indiana. Kennedy and former co-worker Leon Mayo developed the TTAP Student Program for campus tours. She also coordinated for her district the “ASU Get on the Bus Tour” bringing student to the campus of ASU and she held Financial Aid Seminars to various Community Centers in her Alabama District. The seminars included ASU’s Financial Aid Counselors conducting workshops to ensure students and parents understood the process at all levels. She has served for the past 19 years as the adviser to the Alabama State University National PanHellenic Council, and recently developed the ASU University Greek Council. From 2013-2015 and 2016- August 2019, Kennedy served as an adviser to Miss Alabama State University & Court- Class Queens.
Kennedy has received numerous awards and recognitions as the Empowered Mentors Woman of the Year, first presenter at the inaugural HBCU Seminar for the Birmingham, Alabama National Association for Admission Counseling College Fair. She was a recipient of the Montgomery Advertiser FYI Montgomery Education Profile. In 2019 Kennedy received the Gamma Sigma Chapter Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated Citizen of The Year Award.
Kennedy, a native of Mobile, Alabama, received a B.A. in speech communications with a minor in English from The University of Alabama and the M.Ed. and Ed.S. in counseling education from Alabama State University. She is currently enrolled at Jackson State University in the College of Education’s Executive Ph.D. Program in Urban Higher Education.
Executive Director, Community-Campus Partnerships for Health
Priority participants for this webinar series are HBCU affiliated, patients, caregivers, and community organizations.If you are affiliated with an HBCU and want to subscribe to updates click HERE.
Below is the recording of the event: