Mentors

Steven A. Bell, Ph.D.

Steven A. Bell is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in the Department of Occupational and Recreational Therapies, at the University of Utah. Over the past 25 years Steve has been a faculty member in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism where his primary appointment was the Coordinator of the Cooperative Education and Internship programs. As a member of the PRT faculty, Steve has also served as the Coordinator of the Therapeutic Recreation (TR) Emphasis where he and the TR faculty restructured the therapeutic recreation curriculum. Steve was also instrumental in the development of the Recreational Therapy degree program which began in fall of 2016. He also participated in the development and teaching of the Integrated Core; an innovative method of delivering core curriculum in a concentrated block during one semester.

Steve completed his Ph.D. at the University of Utah in December of 2006. His dissertation and research interests are in ethnic identity exploration and the use of experiential learning. Steve’s clinical experience includes working as a recreational therapist, challenge course/ropes course facilitator and experiential educator in psychiatry and behavioral health, both inpatient and outpatient as well as community-based programs with diverse populations. He is licensed in the State of Utah as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (TRS), and nationally certified as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) by the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification. Steve serves on several university, college and academic committees and boards including: the Martin Luther King, Jr. Chair, Youth Leadership Award Committee, the University of Utah’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Celebration, Co-chair of the U of U Black Faculty and Staff Association, member of the College of Health Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the Office of Health and Inclusion Committee for University of Utah Health Sciences.

Steve is a native of Utah, born in the city of Ogden where he attended school and developed his passion for sports. Steve has the greatest love for family and friends and will tell you that friends are good, family is great, but grandchildren are the best.

Karen A. Johnson, Ph.D.

Karen A. Johnson is the Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor of Education in the Department of Education, Culture & Society; with a joint appointment as an Associate Professor of African American Studies in the School for Cultural and Social Transformation at the University of Utah.

Her research interests focus on nineteenth and twentieth century African-American women educators; historical and contemporary issues in African-American education; urban education and black feminist and womanist theory, and African American women experiences during the Civil War. She is the author of Uplifting the Women and the Race: The Educational Philosophies and Social Activism of Anna Julia Cooper and Nannie Helen Burroughs (New York: Garland Publishing, 2000); and co-editor of African American Women Educators: A Critical Examination of their Pedagogies, Educational Ideas, and Activism, from the Nineteenth to the Mid-Twentieth Century, edited by Karen A. Johnson, Abul Pitre, & Kenneth L. Johnson (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).

Kamisha L. Johnson-Davis, Ph.D.

Dr. Johnson-Davis is an Associate Professor (Clinical) at the University of Utah in the Department of Pathology and Medical Director for Clinical Toxicology at ARUP Laboratories. She received her B.S. degree in Biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Utah.  She was a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Human Toxicology and she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical chemistry at the University of Utah, Department of Pathology.  Dr. Johnson-Davis is board certified in Clinical Chemistry and Toxicological Chemistry. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry and a Fellow of the National Association of Clinical Biochemistry and the Association of Clinical Scientists.

Laurence Parker, Ph.D.

Dr. Laurence Parker is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy at the University of Utah. He has taught undergraduate and graduate classes in the area of critical race theory and educational leadership and policy issues both at the K-12 and higher education arenas. His most recent publications appear in the journals Urban Education, Qualitative Inquiry, and Race Ethnicity & Education. He is the winner of the 2013 Derrick Bell legacy award from the Critical Race Studies Education Association.

Clifton G. Sanders, Ph.D.

Clifton G. Sanders, Ph.D., is the Provost for Academic Affairs at Salt Lake Community College. He has more than 25 years teaching, administrative and leadership experience in higher education, primarily at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC). He earned tenure at SLCC as a chemistry instructor, and since 2000 he has held several administrative posts including Division Chair for Natural Sciences, Dean of Science, Mathematics and Engineering, and Interim Vice President for Workforce and Literacy. Dr. Sanders led the development of several STEM programs and has provided leadership for several local and national initiatives in STEM education and workforce development, including major grants sponsored by the Department of Labor and the Department of Energy, and collaborative projects with the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and Utah MESA/STEP. Prior to joining SLCC, Dr. Sanders was a senior research scientist and has several patents in biomaterials technology. His research was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense.

Dr. Sanders earned a BA in Chemistry from Hamline University (St. Paul, MN), a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Utah and a Certificate in Biblical Languages from Salt Lake Theological Seminary.

Paula Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Paula Smith is a developmental psychologist with expertise in school-based preventive intervention. Dr. Smith's research uses a risk and protective factors framework to understand youth involvement with risky behavior, such as violence, drugs, early sexual debut to prevent their engagement with the juvenile justice system.  She uses a collaborative framework for working with teachers and school leaders to develop a positive school climate to provide youth with social and emotional support coupled with expectations for academic excellence.  Importantly, this preventive intervention framework engages a systemic, comprehensive, and sustainable approach towards positive youth development. 

William A. Smith, Ph.D.

William A. Smith is interim department chair and associate professor in the department of Education, Culture & Society at the University of Utah. He also holds a joint appointment in the Ethnic Studies Program. He has served as the Associate Dean for Diversity, Access, & Equity in the College of Education as well as a Special Assistant to the President at the University of Utah & its NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative. Dr. Smith is the co-editor (with Philip Altbach & Kofi Lomotey) of the book, The Racial Crisis in American Higher Education: The Continuing Challenges for the 21st Century (2002).  His work primarily focuses on his theoretical contribution of Racial Battle Fatigue which is the cumulative emotional, psychological, physiological, and behavioral effects that racial microaggressions have on People of Color. Dr. Smith’s work has appeared in such journals as The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Journal of Negro Education, Harvard Educational Review, Educational Administration Quarterly, and American Behavioral Scientist, to name a few. Dr. Smith is a former postdoctoral fellow for both the Ford Foundation and the Center for Urban Educational Research and Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a former Research Associate with the CHOICES Project at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has worked as an administrator or professor at Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University (University Park, IL), Western Illinois University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University (BA in psychology and MS in guidance and counseling) and his Ph.D. is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (educational policy studies, sociology/social psychology of higher education).

Noël Mellick Voltz, Ph.D.

Dr. Noël Mellick Voltz is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Utah. She earned her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2014 and began her academic career as an Assistant Professor of History at Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C.  Her research interests include women of color in slavery and freedom in the U.S. and the Atlantic World. In addition to her book manuscript, she has published an article entitled, “As She Sits Down to Write…: Using Primary Sources to Understand the Past,” which was part of the edited collection, Rethinking Emilie Frances: Lesson Plans for Teaching Her 1863-1865 Civil War Pocket Diaries (Apprentice House, 2014).

Paul H. White, Ph.D.

Paul White is an Associate Professor of social psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah, along with an affiliation with the Ethnic Studies Program. Dr. White was born in Langston, OK (home of Langston University) and spent most of his adolescence in southeastern KY (Appalachian Mountains). He received a Bachelor’s at Berea College (Berea, KY) in 1989 and his Ph.D. at Northeastern University (Boston, MA) in 1993. Dr. White spent two years as a postdoc at The Ohio State University before joining the University of Utah in 1995. 

Dr. White's research and teaching interests are in attitudes and persuasion, prejudice and stereotyping, group processes, motivation, and diversity issues. His work attempts to understand the underlying motivations that connect stigma and identity issues within these larger areas of study.

Considered a social justice advocate by day and a devil’s advocate by night, Dr. White explores how these social psychological concepts play out in everyday life in people’s intergroup & intragroup relations.