Panel: Building a Successful Bridge to the Doctorate Program



tasha-inniss-editTasha R. Inniss, Ph.D., LSAMP Program Director and Co-Lead, Division of Human Resource Development, National Science Foundation

Dr. Inniss is a tenured Associate Professor of Mathematics and former Vice-Chair of the Department of Mathematics at Spelman College. She is currently on “loan” to the National Science Foundation (NSF), serving as a rotator in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). Dr. Inniss is one of the Program Directors who manage the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, which is one of the programs in the Human Resource Development (HRD) Division that focuses on broadening participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).


Bridge to the Doctorate Panelists

Diana AzurdiaDiana Azurdia,
Ph.D.,  Assistant Director to the Undergraduate Research Center for the Sciences at UCLA

Dr. Diana Azurdia is currently the Associate Director for Recruitment and Diversity to UCLA’s Graduate Programs in Bioscience and the CAMP / LSAMP- Bridge to the Doctorate Director. Dr. Azurdia has directed several research programs that broaden participation in the sciences and enjoys working on projects that address diversity, inclusion and equity in the sciences.



Joan Blanton pictureJoan F. Blanton, DURP Ph.D. candidate, Jackson State University

Mrs. Blanton has been the statewide coordinator for the LSAMP and B2D programs at Jackson State University (JSU) for 12 years, and has been integrally involved in preparing grant applications and reports, organizing the LSMAMP Annual Research Symposium, and coordinating workshops in “soft skills” for the B2D students. She is currently completing her dissertation at JSU in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.



Denise-YatesDenise Y. Yates, M.A., Director of Programs, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine Office of Graduate Diversity

Ms. Yates serves as site coordinator/director for the NSF LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate at UIC, principal recruiter and provider of graduate student academic support services. Ms. Yates' research interests include diversity in higher education and retention, attrition and time to degree for ethnic minorities and others underrepresented in STEM graduate education. Ms. Yates has worked in the area of graduate and professional student recruitment and retention for 15 years. She is a nationally certified counselor and has worked in mental health, marriage and family, and addictions counseling for the past 23 years.