Tasks Force Members

The responsibilities of the Task Force Members are to jointly assist with:

  • Information gathering, sharing, and analysis
  • Creative discussions leading toward the development of concrete strategies, and
  • Authentic dialogue about complex issues that are grounded in extant literature.
  • Cirecie Olatunji

    TF Chair

    Cirecie A. West-Olatunji serves as associate professor at Xavier University of Louisiana and director of the Center for Traumatic Stress Research. She is also a past president of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Association (AMCD).



  • Gene D’Amour

    BUILD Member

    Gene D'Amour received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Philosophy of Science and Mathematical Logic. He received a faculty appointment to West Virginia University, where he was instrumental in refining, extending and disseminating a new approach to teaching problem solving, one of four in which the Exxon Education Foundation invested $7 million to encourage widespread dissemination.



  • Syed Ahmed

    Task Force Member

    Dr. Syed Adeel Ahmed, Assistant Professor, Business, Ph.D., University of New Orleans. Teaching Interests: Service Operations Management, Statistics, Quantitative Analysis.



  • Michelle Boissiere

    Task Force Member

    Dr. Michelle Boissiere is an Assistant Biology Professor at Xavier. She received her PhD at Tulane University and has a background of Genetics and Embryology.



  • Tiera Coston

    Task Force Member

    Dr. Tiera Coston is an Education Improvement Specialist who directs Xavier’s mentor training program (Preparing Mentors and Advisors at Xavier – P-MAX) established through Project Pathways. She brings more than eight years of experience in faculty training and development. Dr. Coston earned a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Tulane University and a J.D. from Loyola New Orleans College of Law.



  • Ronise Evans

    Research Technician

    Having graduated in 2016, Ronise Evans is currently a BUILD research technician for Dr. Anup Kundu in the Biology department at Xavier University of Louisiana. Their current research involves the formulation of nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery to combat multiple drug resistance (MDR) in cancer cells. Her personal research interests include bioengineering, cell and molecular biology, plant biology and, drug discovery.



  • Allyson Graham

    Graduate Research Assistant

    Allyson Graham is a Graduate Research Assistant under Dr. Cirecie Olatunji. She received her Bachelor's at Xavier University of Louisiana, and is currently working on her Master's in Counseling there as well. Ms. Graham's has a background in Communication Studies, as well as Clinical Mental Health.



  • Elliott Hammer

    Task Force Member

    Dr. Elliott D. Hammer, MS & PhD is the Experimental Social Psychology Professor & Head of the Psychology Department. Elliott received his BA in Psychology at the University of Kansas, where he began his study of social psychology. He then attended Tulane University, where he earned his MS and PhD in Experimental Social Psychology, with an emphasis on the social cognition of attribution theory and stereotyping and prejudice.



  • Silas Lee

    Task Force Member

    Silas Lee’s research initiatives have included measuring and analyzing the local and national opinions of citizens about social, political and demographic trends and issues.



  • Alexis McKinney

    Xavier Student

    Majoring in Chemistry and planning to graduate Spring 2018, Alexis is a student worker under Dr. Cirecie Olatunji.



  • Florastina Payton-Stewart

    Task Force Member

    Dr. Florastina Payton-Stewart received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1999 and her PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry at Tulane University in 2007. After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Payton-Stewart held a postdoctoral position at Tulane University Medical School from 2007-2010.