Meet the Alumni Association Board of Directors

Adwoa Ansah Rey

Adwoa Ansah Rey ‘05

Adwoa Ansah Rey has over a decade of government, corporate, and non-profit experience. She is the President and CEO of Women of Praize, an organization that provides spiritual support for women in politics. As a student, Adwoa was an active member of the SCSU campus community. She served as President of Programs Council, Charter Member and President of the SCSU NAACP Chapter, Student Government Association Senator, Student Representative to the Connecticut State University System Board of Trustees, Resident Advisor, Secretary of the Pre-Law Society, Help Is On The Way (H.O.P.E.) Peer Educator, and President of the Pi Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. (New Haven City-wide). While a student at SCSU, she co-founded H.O.N.E.Y. Afterschool Program for Girls at James Hillhouse High School. Adwoa received many awards for her leadership including the SCSU Service Award, U.S. Postal Service Women's Award, Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities, and the BSU Barbara Matthews Scholarship. In her professional capacity, Adwoa served as President and CEO at Faith Link Inc. and finance director at The Faith & Politics Institute. She also served as Special Assistant to Congressman John Larson (CT-01) in the House Democratic Caucus, and manager of federal affairs at the New England Council. Adwoa is a member of the Northern Virginia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and the Junior League of Washington. She serves on the Good Shepherd Housing Community Leadership Council and the Fairfax County Community Action Advisory Board. Adwoa earned a B.A. in Political Science from Southern Connecticut State University and a M.A. in Religious Studies from Howard University School of Divinity. She holds a management certificate from Harvard Business School.


Renee Barnett-Terry ’76

Renee is excited about the opportunity to continue her service as an Alumni Association Board Member by working to build a strong Alumni Association which supports University efforts, the SCSU Office of Alumni Relations and current Owls on campus. As a proud Owl, she wishes to see the development of SCSU alumni networks across the country to further connect alumni locally, regionally and nationally.  As a former Resident Advisor in Wilkinson Hall and undergraduate student leader alongside my fellow students, we created many bonds and relationships with faculty, staff, and other students which we will never forget. With over 30 years of experience in higher education leadership, Renee wishes to contribute her expertise, experience and energy in making our SCSU alumni family grow even stronger, reconnect with one another and making us all more proud to be Owls!


Jimmy Booth '97

James "Jimmy" Booth '97,  graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a BS in Political Science. Jimmy is a financial advisor in Norwalk, CT and he celebrated 22 years in the business as of May. He is a avid runner and has completed 28 marathons which have included marathons in the United States, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. In addition, he volunteers his time as a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Norwalk Exchange Club as well as volunteering at Open Door Shelter in Norwalk, CT. He resides in Norwalk, CT with his family. 


Madison Correia ’19

Madison recently graduated from Southern CT State University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Special Education, and Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in May of 2019. She also completed her Master of Science in Special Education: Learning Disabilities in August of 2020, and she also serves as the Head Coach of the SCSU Dance Team. In the community, she is a Special Education Teacher from 5-8th graders in New Haven at Clinton Avenue School. Madison is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Special Education concentrating in Learning Disabilities, and plans on extending her education to a future doctorate. Madison is a part of the Kappa Delta Pi honor society and the NASET organization.


Angela Hudson Davis ’88, MS ’97

Dr. Angela Hudson Davis ’88, MS ’97 is a two-time graduate of Southern Connecticut State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Corporate Communication and a Master of Public Health degree. She also received her Doctoral degree in Public Health from Capella University.
Dr. Davis served in the United States Army with 20 years of honorable service.  While in the military she held several leadership and training positions, including petroleum specialist, tactical communication operator and trainer.  She served in Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. She is a recipient of several awards and distinctions.
Dr. Davis is committed to giving back, and over the years has been involved in several volunteer activities that promote community resilience and healthy lifestyles. She is a member of the Newhallville Community Resilience Team, and supports the Healthy Community at the Katherine Brennan/Rogers School, New Haven, Connecticut.  Angela is currently serving in the capacity of Board Treasurer for the second time.


Shermaine Edmonds ’04, MBA ’06

Shermaine A. Cooke-Edmonds, B.S. ‘04, MBA ’06, immigrated to Hamden, CT USA, in 1998 from the Nature Isle of the Caribbean – Dominica (not Dominican Republic).  She is the Owner of S.A.C. Events Planning Services for over 15 years, Realtor and teacher.  Shermaine enrolled at Southern Connecticut State University as an adult learner and began employment at SCSU in 2001, and currently serves as the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. 

Affectionately known across SCSU as “Mama Sherms” for her role as the Caribbean Students Association advisor - the strict but understandable advisor is also Mom away from home and life coach all in one. 

Montrel Morrison

Montrel Morrison ’18

Montrel has served in the greater New Haven community since the age of 10 years old, working in faith-based, non-profit and government organizations. He is also an award-winning Mentor in New Haven County, and the Founder/CEO of Daniel’s Company Youth Leadership Mentoring Organization.

While an undergraduate student, he was active in several organizations which include the NAACP, a founding member of BROSE (Brotherhood, Scholarship and Excellence), and a member of the MulticulturalLeadership and Heritage Ball Councils. As a candidate for the Alumni Board of Directors I plan on utilizing my skill sets to advance, advise and advocate for our fellow Alumni and all students currently still enroll at Southern. One of my top priorities as an Alumni Board of Director is to continue to be a voice for the student body at SCSU and help create a mentoring alliance between alumni and students who are in their undergraduate studies.


Valencia (McLeain) Goodridge MBA ’08

Valencia is a native of Bridgeport, CT who relocated to the Greater New Haven area over 25 years ago. she is committed to advocacy for gender equity in >areas of healthcare, education and economic empowerment. She is the president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. (NCBW), New Haven Metropolitan Chapter in addition to serving on several non-profit boards throughout the Greater New Haven Area.  Valencia is also an adjunct professor at Gateway Community College and a Real Estate professional at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Some awards/accolades include a 2018 NAACP 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut, 2019 Community Service Award from the Elm City Club of NANBPWC, 2017 Connecticut 100 Women of Color award, among several others. Valencia is a member of the Bethel AME Church of New Haven.


Aba Hayford '10

Aba is a former board member, returning for her second term.  She graduated from Southern in 2010 with a BS in Public Health. Following her undergraduate studies, her interest in public health led her to a position at Yale New Haven Hospital as a Clinical Trial Coordinator and volunteer position with the Connecticut Health Policy Project, a New Haven based advocacy dedicated to improving access to affordable, quality health care for all Connecticut residents. Later, she attended University of New Haven to receive an MBA in 2014. In December, 2014, she organized an informal alumni dinner in New York City for the SCSU’s African Students Association alumni to reconnect with old friends, and has served as the chair of the NYC Alumni Network for the past four years, assisting in the coordination of our annual Holiday Gathering. Aba currently resides in New York City and works as a Revenue Manager at Columbia University Medical Center.


Jodi Hill-Lilly ’88, MS '94

Jodi graduated with her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work, and is proud of the foundational learning obtained from both of her degrees from Southern and she particularly appreciated the experience of writing a thesis.  That experience advanced her perspectives, skills and critical thinking in a significant way.  She has a rich amount of experience in the field of social work (32 years), largely in child protective services and currently serves as the Deputy Commissioner of Administration at the Department of Children and Families.  Along the way, she gained significant national experience as a consultant, trainer and coach, recently receiving the “Distinguished Career Achievement Award” from the National Staff Development and Training Association, and was nominated for a “100 Woman of Color” award in CT.


Kelly Hope ’03, MS ‘10

Dr. Kelly Hope is a true owl at heart! While at Southern, she served the community as a member of the Black Student Union, joined the historical Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., was a tremendous student leader as a Resident Advisor, and eventually became an administrator on campus in the capacity of a Residence Hall Director. She then went on to obtain her doctorate degree and was an administrator at Housatonic Community College before accepting a role as an ELA High School teacher in New Haven.


LaShante Kelley-James ’04, MS ’14

LaShante' James is a native of New Haven and was educated in the New Haven Public School System. She earned a Bachelor of Science in English Education and Master of Science in Political Science with a concentration in Urban Education at SCSU. LaShante' was extremely active on campus as a Resident Advisor, President of the Black Student Union, Miss SCSU, and chartering the NAACP chapter. In 2015, she obtained an 092 certificate and Sixth year degree from Sacred Heart University. LaShante' worked 11 years as a High School English Teacher in grades 9-12 at Riverside Education Academy. Currently, she is an Assistant Principal for Norwalk Public School. 

She has been awarded the Teacher of the Year award for Riverside Academy 8 out of 11 years. Also, she placed First Runner up for the NHPS Teacher of the Year Award in 2010. In 2016, she was a nominated second time for the NHPS’s Teacher of the Year Award, and recently accepted the opportunity to become an Assistant Principal at her alma mater, Brien McMahon High School. 

Currently, she serves as the President of the Bridgeport/Fairfield County Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 


Debra Manke ‘90, SY ’17

Debrah Manke graduated from SCSU with a teaching certificate and Master’s Degree in Education in 1990 and returned three years ago to earn a Sixth Year Certificate in Elementary Education, graduating in May, 2017. SCSU has served her well. Presently, she is a sixth grade math teacher in Cheshire Public Schools. She has three grown children, one of whom graduated from SCSU in December 2017. She considers herself a lifelong learner. She believes her education was fulfilling in the 1990’s, but her return to school three years ago was extraordinary. She was drawn to President Joe Bertolino’s messages, his connections to students, his commitment to social justice, and his speeches have spoken deeply in her heart. Since graduating, she has thought about ways to stay connected and contribute to the University in ways other than just monetary gifts.


Andrew “Mo” Marullo ’10, MS ’14

Andrew Marullo graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and received a Master's degree from SCSU in 2014, and is currently the Coordinator for Campus Recreation and Fitness at the University.  He has also served on the Board of Directors for the New Haven Rugby Club for the past 8 years, and remains actively involved by engaging with Rugby alumni regularly, and coordinating an annual Rugby Golf tournament to garner financial support for the program.

Dorothy Martino

Dorothy Martino '54, MS '69 (Emeritus)

Dorothy J. Martino, '54, M. S '69, was elected to the Alumni Association Board in 1979 and served as vice-president from 2000-01 and president from 2001-03, and  was appointed a board member emerita in 2014.  She received the Alumni Service Award in 1989 in recognition of her years of service to SCSU and the Alumni Association.  After serving as chair and co-chair of the Scholarship Committee and seeing how many students needed financial help, she established the Dorothy J. Martino Endowed Scholarship. Miss Martino retired from Edgewood School in 1996, after teaching in the New Haven Public School System for 42 years.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller ’69, MS ’75, SY ’81 (Emeritus)

Pat has been an active member of the SCSUAA for over thirty years. Having retired from the Fairfield Public Schools where she served as a curriculum specialist, she was also an adjunct professor in  the Health Sciences Department at Southern and ran a education consulting business. Happily retired she continues to serve the Cheshire community through her work at the Cheshire Community Food Pantry and as a member of the Cheshire Juvenile Review Board.

Grace Mukupa

Grace Mukupa, ’02

Dr. Mukupa, a proud SCSU graduate, was born in Zambia, raised in Japan and Belgium, and is now a U.S. citizen who speaks nine languages. As an orphan, immigrant, and former international student, she seeks to amplify underserved and underrepresented groups' voices while supporting SCSU alumni initiatives. Mukupa earned a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Journalism from SCSU. She served as president of the African Student Association, held public relations position for the SCSU Student Government, wrote for the Southern News, and became a lady of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She also holds a Master in Business Administration from SUNY Oswego and a Doctorate in International Development from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Mukupa, currently a Senior Associate of Student Success Initiatives at the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, supporting the 37 American Indian tribally controlled colleges. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to Tajikistan and a Peace Corps Volunteer in North Macedonia. She was elected president of the Iota Nu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, Syracuse, NY. In July 2021, she will be inducted president of the Rotary International, Crystal City-Pentagon club, Virginia; she attributes her leadership to SCSU.

Phil Robertson

Philip Robertson ’66, MS ’75

Cheshire, CT resident, Phil Robertson has long been a proud graduate of Southern having received his BA and MS degrees. His pride grew substantially as his two sons became Southern Graduates. His chest is now expanded with the ultimate pride in Southern as his youngest son, with his PhD, now is a full-time professor at Southern.
Phil believes he brings experiences not normally found in an Alumni Association. 

Phil served as a State Representative for 3 years and 15 years in our Connecticut State Senate. Two of those years in the Senate Phil served as Minority Leader and was further honored as the Senate President Pro-tempore (Highest elected position in the Senate) for two years.  

From being born in New Haven, having taught Mathematics in the New Haven School System, teaching mathematics at a local university, serving on the Cheshire Board of Education, becoming an Associate Dean of Students, being VP for Government Affairs for an international firm with offices in 26 countries around the world, to becoming the Chief Administrative Officer of a Connecticut City, Phil, with great pride in Southern, with unbinding enthusiasm, is honored to serve on our Alumni Association.


Teresa Sirico '70, MS '73

Teresa Sirico is a past President of the SCSU Alumni Association (2014-2016) and was recently re-elected as Board President for 2020-2021. She served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2005-2009, 2010-2016, 2017-2020, including one year as Vice President and several years as board Secretary. She makes it a point to attend as many events, committee meetings, and activities as possible. Teresa’s degrees are in political science. She is a local Realtor, Educator, author in the area of real estate, and an expert witness in real estate legal matters. She has been a Past President, Realtor of the Year, and Educator of the Year for the Greater New Haven Association of Realtors. She is also a member of the State Board of Directors. Teresa has demonstrated her commitment to Southern with a scholarship in gerontology in honor of her parents Louis and Joan Sirico, as well as helping establishing and supporting the AAA Fund, which was created to help students in need. Teresa has also established a fund at the New Haven Community Fund to assist the elderly.


Carolyn Vanacore ’52, MS ’68, SY ’73 (Emeritus)

Carolyn Vanacore, Mrs. ‘V’, as her students refer to her, is first and foremost, a mentor to young women. Her career path was greatly influenced by Louise Ives, a new, young, and energetic Physical Education teacher at Lyman Hall High School.
Competition at the time Vanacore was in high school was limited to round-robin playdays consisting of a few schools, and pick-up games with the boys. In college, she played club field hockey, basketball, and softball.

Vanacore attended New Haven State Teachers’ College (SCSC). After graduation, she obtained a job in the North Haven school system. She initiated sports programs at North Haven High School in field hockey, basketball, softball, and track & field.

Vanacore joined the faculty at SCSC in 1965 as an assistant professor of women’s physical education. She earned advanced degrees at Southern and in 1982 was named Director of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Safety. Vanacore continued in this position until her “retirement” in 1989. Although “retired,” she remains on staff at Southern as Professor Emeritus, supervising student teachers and spearheading development efforts for the alumni and athletic departments.

Carolyn has received numerous honors throughout her career. Among these acknowledgements are the: CAHPERD Professional Merit Award, YWCA Women in Leadership Award, Yale Visiting Faculty Fellowship, YMCA Outstanding Volunteer Service, CT Association of Athletic Directors Distinguished Service Award, Lyman Hall High School Hall of Fame, Eastern District (AAHPERD) Merit Award in Physical Education, and the National Girls and Women in Sports Pathfinder Award.

Vanacore has devoted nearly five decades to improving student opportunities and expanding women’s athletic involvement. She is the proud mentor of many high school and college basketball coaches throughout CT and beyond.

Brian West

Brian West, ’80

Brian West has served two previous terms on the Board of Directors and is seeking re-election.  He graduated from Southern in 1980 with degrees in history and political science. He worked for three years in the State Legislature in various positions, followed by two years with the Connecticut Public Expenditure Council (CPEC), a state government watchdog organization. For the next 23 years he worked for the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM) as a Research Analyst and chief staff person to the Connecticut Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR). For the past     seven years, Brian has worked for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) as the Principal Research Analyst helping member cities and towns resolve local issues of concern.

He is very involved with his church, where he is a Lector and serves on the Parish Council. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and has been the coordinator of the Homefront program, an annual home rehabilitation program helping the elderly and less well-off members of our community.

A resident of West Hartford, Brian has been married to his wife, Marie, for 27 years and they have four children, Meredith, Amy, Stephanie and Eric. Eric will be starting his freshman year at Southern this Fall.


Karl “Stephen” Wilson ’02

Former Black Student Union President, Stephen is currently an 8th Grade History Teacher at Achievement First Hartford Summit. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Southern where he majored in Social Work, and is currently finishing up his Masters of Social Work degree at University of Saint Joseph. Serving his community well, Stephen was a recipient of the 100 Men of Color award in 2015, honoring positive minority males in the New England area who are bringing hope to their communities through service, and is actively engaged in his community through volunteer work with underprivileged young men of color. Stephen also is a certified Youth Life Coach and seeks to support the needs of youth and young adults by breaking down barriers and providing them with tools to be successful. His values are grounded in faith, service, education and community.