Who's who in ORDI
The Office of Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion team
We focus on excellence in graduate student research, teaching, and service through innovative recruitment, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.
Shernita Lee, Director
Assistant Dean Shernita Lee directs the Graduate School's recruitment efforts in coordination with the university's graduate programs, and manages our inclusion and diversity programs. Lee’s training is in computational biology but she also specializes in student engagement and programming, and outreach.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Alabama State University and a Ph.D from Virginia Tech in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology.
Her research concentrations include the student mentoring experience, factors influencing a student’s experience and success, and the development of interactive activities to promote STEM exposure to K-12 populations.
Lee is passionate about creating a diverse and inclusive environment for graduate students, improving graduate student retention, aiding in the navigation of challenges graduate students encounter, and directing students to university/departmental resources and advocates to help them successfully complete their degree.
Shania Clinedinst, Diversity and Inclusion Support Specialist
Shania Clinedinst (she, her) supports the Graduate School’s recruitment and retention efforts in partnership with various university support offices as well as academic departments and programs. Shania is passionate for creating a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive environment both on campus and within the greater community.
As the first in her family to pursue higher education, Shania recognizes the various challenges students may face when navigating various processes and serves as a champion for their success from application to degree.
Shania takes pride in mentorship and leadership roles and has received multiple certifications related to her diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, in addition to professional development.
Shania is an active member of several campus organizations, and partners with community non-profits, such as Christiansburg Institute, an African-American cultural heritage and historic preservation focused on promoting education and racial justice, Feeding Southwest Virginia, and Soles4Souls, a non-profit that provides global assistance to communities seeking access to affordable shoes and an avenue out of poverty. Shania received a degree in criminal justice and has previously worked in law enforcement. She is currently studying professional communications.
Zuleka Woods, Graduate Assistant
Zuleka Dauda is second year doctoral student in the Planning, Governance and Globalization program in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Her current research interest centers on race and power structures in international programs.
Zuleka is originally from Liberia, West Africa. Prior to coming to the ORDI family, she worked with the Global Engineering, Engagement and Research Office. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Zuleka worked at Ferrum College with First Generation students and as a member of the Academic Resource Team.
Zuleka also worked for three years in Rural Liberia, West, for Tubman University and two years with cultural centers and Global Service office at Northeastern University in Boston.
Outside of school, Zuleka prides herself on being a community organizer and loves working with diverse populations to collaborate on efforts to secure social change. She writes for “Sleepless in Monrovia,” a blog dedicated to highlighting various social justice and societal issues on the African continent, with an emphasis on female writers. In her free time, she curates content on social media to counter the too often voiced narrative of a “helpless” Africa. She loves traveling, dressing, playing Mas in Caribbean carnivals and being an aunt to a spoiled Maltese.
Isil Anakok, Graduate Assistant
Isil Anakok is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Engineering Education. Her research focuses on how to integrate ethics in engineering design courses, how to enhance teaching engineering design, and the engineering design self-efficacy of students for persistence in engineering. She is passionate about developing diverse and inclusive engineering curriculums that are compatible with today’s complex and ill-structured engineering applications demanded by society.
She is originally from Turkey. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering from Kocaeli University and an M.s from Virginia Tech in Mechanical Engineering. During her graduate studies at Virginia Tech, she had teaching experience in Mechanical Engineering Lab courses as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. She also contributed to studies as a Graduate Research Assistant under the supervision of her advisors both in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Education.
Isil loves traveling and experiencing different cultures. She enjoys cooking Mediterranean food but also loves to try different cuisines from different countries with her diverse group of friends.