Meet our Mentors

Apply to the program

Review the mentors featured below, read their profiles and then click on the apply button above.

If you have other questions about the program or need more information, email

Christopher Brooks, Ph.D.

Professor of Anthropology, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences

IExcel at seeing Excellence, especially among African American and Latino young men and to get them thinking about graduate and professional school early.

Christopher Brooks

Brian Brown, Ph.D.

Professor of Marketing, VCU School of Business

IExcel at taking smart risks and believing in myself. I'm a late bloomer. I moved to the US when I was eight years old and felt lost. I adapted eventually with the help of my family, new friends, and a few teachers that took a chance on me. I hope to do the same for the students I mentor.

Portrait of Brian Brown

Andrew Daire, Ph.D.

Dean, VCU School of Education

IExcel at transformative leadership that emphasizes personal and professional development, motivating faculty, staff and students toward excellence, innovation and impact in their work every day. I possess an academic and clinical background in counseling and psychology with expertise in research.

Portrait of Andrew Daire

Shari Garmise, Ph.D.

Executive director for collective urban and regional impact, VCU Office of Inclusive Equity, Excellence and Success

IExcel at motivating students to solve problems and identify opportunities. In other words, I help find ways to get started and keep moving. I’m a single mother raising a creative, neuro-diverse, inspiring college girl, culturally Jewish, an animal lover (vegetarian and pet parent of a dog and cat), and use writing as my creative outlet. I believe in the importance of future thinking, brain-storming, goal setting and play to envision and steer toward your desired future (whether a week, a year or a decade). I am happy to talk about almost anything because you never know where conversations may take you, give you, or allow you to give.

Dr. Sharri Garmise, Executive Director for collective urban and regional impact

Karol Gray

Senior vice president and VCU's chief financial officer

IExcel at serving the institution in multiple administrative capacities, especially those focused on finance and procurement and the management of the President’s office.

Karol Gray

Kevin Harris, Ph.D.

Senior associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at VCU's Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences

IExcel at contributing in some small way to the success of students, particularly students who don't yet appreciate the greatness within them! This is why I came to higher education. I want students to feel that I care about people and issues that others may not care as much about.

Kevin Harris

Stephanie Hart, MBA

Director of finance, VCU's Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success

IExcel at making connections to realize dreams. I am committed to appreciative leadership and searching for resources to bring people along on their journey. As a first generation student with a background in biology as an undergraduate from a women's college, an MBA with finance experience, and currently enrolled at VCU in a doctoral program, I live my belief that education is a rich path full of opportunities. Let's get together and talk about research, goals, dreams or how you might connect in unexpected ways to grow your opportunities.

Headshot of Stephanie Hart

Karen D. Hendricks-Muñoz, M.D.

William Tate Graham Professor of Neonatal Medicine, VCU School of Medicine

IExcel at working in my dream job. As a daughter of Latino and Caribbean parents in NYC I was a first generation student who supported my families health access needs. I’m passionate about health equity and working with first generation students to help them realize their dreams. I am a nationally recognized pediatric leader and educator in clinical care, neonatal training program development, clinical care quality standard development and translational research. I believe in health equity for all individuals and that medical improvements are driven by research that can translate into advanced clinical care.

Karen D. Hendricks-Muñoz

Jeffrey J. Kraus

Director of executive communications, VCU Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success

IExcel at listening to people, understanding where they want to go, and helping them gain the skills and connections they need to get there. I remember what it was like to begin at VCU as a first generation student years ago. Since then my career has taken me from journalism to strategic communications, and I currently serve as the director of executive communications for IES. I previously worked at the Virginia Community College System so I also offer an understanding of what it means to be a transfer student. Holding space and hearing about the important stuff, like getting through your program to that degree, building your network, and your career aspirations makes me just as happy as connecting on lighter stuff like current events, entertainment, and sports. (Have you tried playing pickleball, America’s fastest growing sport?) Let’s talk about what you need to build an amazing life!

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Tomikia LeGrande, Ed.D.

Vice president for strategy, enrollment management and student success; VCU’s Office of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success

IExcel at building personal relationships with students and others to help them accomplish their goals. My experience as a woman of color and low-income, first-generation college student has led me to dedicate much of my career to helping universities enrich college access, affordability, and student success.

Tomekia LeGrand

Maghboeba Mosavel, Ph.D.

Associate professor, Department of Health Behavior and Policy, VCU's School of Medicine; Interim director of the VCU Health Hub at 25th

IExcel at being a people connector. I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa – a child of the apartheid era. Based on this extraordinary background, which includes being Muslim, an activist against racial injustice and gender inequality; and now a scholar-activist, I am always eager to support others in navigating the many different spaces within the halls of academia. I am interested in supporting mentees to unlock that which is already present within them and to further cultivate their unique perspectives so that their voice is grounded and reverberant.

Portrait of Maghboobah Mosavel

Cleo Magwaro

Associate vice president of institutional equity & interim ADA coordinator, VCU Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success

IExcel at a human-centered approach to civil rights that promotes a climate of trust, empathy and integrity where all people are valued and where differences, both seen and unseen, are recognized as an integral part of who we are as a community.

I provide broad leadership across ADA/Accessibility services, EEO/AA guidelines for registering programs for minors on campus,Title IX, data and trends reporting.

Cleopatra Magwaro

Aashir Nasim, Ph.D.

VCU's Chief Equity Officer; Vice president of institutional equity, effectiveness and success; VCU Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness and Success; Director of iCubed

IExcel at being a better person than I was yesterday. My father always would say that I needed to be twice as good to go only half as far as some others. So, I resolved that my own children would need only to be as good to go just as far. Obviously, there’s still work to be done on my part.

Aashir Nasim

Inta "Maggie" Tolan, Ed.D.

Senior associate vice president of Student Success

IExcel at helping students figure out their "spark" in life. Identities I affiliate with: adopted, first generation, daughter of an immigrant parent and WW II vet, and two mom family raising 2 awesome high school boys. I tell students to consider me like their own personal roll of "duct tape" – my role is to make sure I am connected to people and resources to ensure each student can envision their desired path to greatness and self-defined destiny. Talk to me about traveling, foreign languages, family, history, sports of any kind, entrepreneurship, nonprofit/community service, passions, and vision.

Inta “Maggie” Tolan, Ed.D.

Tiffany Williams, D.D.S.

Director of student recruitment, VCU School of Dentistry Office of Admissions; Associate professor, Department of Pediatric Dentistry

IExcel at connecting my passion and purpose to my everyday work. My grandmother was amazing - she was strong, hard-working, and balanced her desire to serve others with responsibility to her family. I am interested in mentoring students because as a faculty member who is also a clinician, I recognize what an honor and opportunity it will be to interact with students whose backgrounds may not have allowed them the same experiences as me. I’d love to share what I’ve learned with students who desire to incorporate their passion in their everyday life.

Tiffany Williams

Faika Zanjani, Ph.D.

Associate professor of gerontology, VCU College of Health Professions

IExcel at helping students find their passions, and to help place them in a mental space that supersedes any fictional personal characteristic restraints to live fulfilled professional and personal lives.

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Gerontology. I have a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Gerontology. I have worked on geriatric public health research, particularly within the areas of health behavior change and health promotion; mental health and substance abuse/use; and community-level health interventions, to ultimately reduce lifespan health disparities

Faika Zanjani