Equity Advisory Council

For over 30 years, JASON Learning’s mission has been “to inspire and educate students everywhere through real science and exploration.” All of us at JASON strive to support this mission every day, through every product and program, for every student that we reach. We know that for too many students—especially those in demographics underrepresented in STEM academic achievement and STEM careers—the opportunities are more limited, the challenges are greater, and the need for access to high-quality resources, effective teaching, and inspirational role models is all the more critical. We at JASON believe that educational opportunity and equity for every student is fundamental and non-negotiable.

To ensure that we continue to fulfill our mission with a strong focus on equity, we have engaged with passionate students, teachers, school administrators, community partners, and STEM role models from across the country who will provide JASON staff and leadership with ongoing guidance on how to achieve this goal with maximum impact and effectiveness. We are excited to announce the founding members of our Equity Advisory Council, led by longtime JASON STEM Role Model Dr. Jendai Robinson. The Equity Advisory Council’s work will also interconnect with JASON’s existing advisory groups, such as our Superintendent Advisory Board and our Scientific Advisory Council.

Dr. Jendai Robinson

Dr. Jendai Robinson, originally from Elizabeth, New Jersey, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Virginia State University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Physical Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Robinson has completed several internships, many of which with NASA and has published a number of peer-reviewed publications. She is more than just “JenDaChemist” or Dr. Robinson although being a female-minority in the hard sciences is nothing to talk light of. More specifically, as a first-generation student she was able to complete her Ph.D. at just 26 years old. After applying for and being awarded a NASA Harriet G. Jenkins Fellowship in the first year of her graduate studies, she was able to secure over $100,000 in grant funding allowing her to graduate from her Ph.D. program without loan financing. She is currently a Staff Fellow Chemist at the Food and Drug Administration.

Branden Riley

Branden Riley is an American-born social impact entrepreneur with an Engineering degree from the Virginia State University, and a strong background in manufacturing, lean six/sigma, agriculture, and data analysis because of his direct work in each of those respective sectors. Since 2007, he has been building his toolbox to empower and develop sustainable communities through working alongside NPO’s, mentoring, urban farming, and developing future technology. He is the co-pioneer of the term A+STEM; wherein the “Art” or “Agriculture” is the focal point and STEM concepts are integrated intentionally and “taught” throughout the creative or growing process. As an alumnus of the G.E.H.L.I. Minority Political Leadership Institute of Virginia Commonwealth University, Branden has consulted and managed on several political Campaigns.

Branden finds fulfillment in helping people and empowering them to achieve their dreams. Branden currently serves as President of Liberia Forward which is working to reduce the disparities in Liberia.

Dr. Linda Korley

Dr. Korley has spent her young adult life breaking barriers and fueling her passion of caring for others. As a first generation American, she triumphed through college at Virginia State University after her mother was deported to Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa. She then completed medical school at Meharry Medical College and anesthesiology residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and now works as a private practice anesthesiologist in Delaware. Her interests include giving back to her community around the globe with several projects from Philadelphia, PA to Ghana, West Africa.

As the first physician in her family, Dr. Korley strives to help others who come from underserved and underprivileged backgrounds to succeed despite their circumstances. She is a mother, a wife, a sister, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and the First Lady of Abundant Life World Ministries in Philadelphia, PA.

Dr. Kelly Knight

Kelly Knight is an associate professor with the George Mason University Forensic Science Program and a STEM Accelerator. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in forensic DNA and forensic chemistry and is also the principal investigator of the forensic DNA laboratory. As a STEM Accelerator, she guides and mentors students in the Forensic Science Program and coordinates K-12 STEM outreach. She is the co-founder and director of the Females of Color and those Underrepresented in STEM (FOCUS) summer programs for middle and high school girls.

In addition to her experience with forensic DNA casework and expert testimony, she has over 10 years of experience in research which has included areas such as laser microdissection and low copy number DNA methods. Prof. Knight is currently serving as the biology section chair for the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists and is an American Academy of Forensic Sciences Fellow.

Dr. Lasheka D. Allen

Founding member and owner of Core Essentials LLC, and Postdoctoral Fellow at Easterseals Rehabilitation Center

Dr. Allen has worked in community mental health for more than 13 years as a qualified mental health professional serving adults, children, adolescents, and families. She is driven by her passion for seeing an increase in the psychological well-being of others, particularly ethnic minorities, and the socio-economically disadvantaged citizens of the communities in which she serves. Dr. Allen is a proponent of youth from diverse backgrounds gaining access to educational resources that will prepare them for future success. She is known as a strong advocate and seeks opportunities to aid people in transforming their lives with positive change.