BNRC Names
2015-2016 Bell Fellows

2015 Bell fellows standing on stepsThe Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male is pleased to announce its 2015-2016 Bell Fellows cohort.

Established in 2009, the Bell Fellows program was created for graduate students who are interested in the work of the Center and in academic careers as professors or postdoctoral researchers, especially Ohio State doctoral students who show the promise of becoming productive scholars on topics related to African American males. Bell Fellows receive ongoing professional development and mentorship that will prepare them for the academic rigors of the academy, and individuals selected for the program contribute to current and new research initiatives and writing projects designed by the Bell Resource Center.


2015-2016 Bell Fellows

James MortonJames Morton attended Fort Hays State University on a football scholarship. After receiving his undergraduate degree in Physical Education with an emphasis in Sport Management, James attended graduate school at the University of Kansas. At KU he received a Master of Science in Education degree in Sport Administration. While attending the University of Kansas, James worked in the athletic department assisting with the areas of event and facility management. Upon graduating from KU, James continued his career in intercollegiate athletics, obtaining a position in the event management department at the University of Illinois. He spent eight years at Illinois, finishing as the Assistant Athletic Director for Event Management and Facility Scheduling. James was then recruited to the United States Air Force Academy athletic department to oversee the marketing department. He spent three years at the Air Force Academy as the Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing. After having spent 12 years working in event management and marketing, James decided to come back to school at The Ohio State University and get his PhD in Sport Management in order to teach and do research. His research focus is applying organizational behavior theories to intercollegiate athletics to find out how athletic departments can be most effective in serving the needs of their student-athletes.


Carlotta Penn

Carlotta Penn is a doctoral student in the Multicultural and Equity Studies in Education program in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the Ohio State University. Her teaching and research interests are in adult English language education, Critical Race Theory, and Social Justice Education.


Kirsten Smith

Kirsten J. Smith is a doctoral candidate in the College of Education and Human Ecology. She is working on her PhD in Educational Policy and Leadership with a minor in Human Resources. While working on her PhD, she completed her K-12 administrative license and her gifted license. She resides in Westerville, Ohio with her husband, two children, and one enormous dog. Kirsten is an alumnus of The Ohio State University with a BS in English Education. She also earned her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia. Kirsten taught English at Chantilly High School in Chantilly, Virginia for five years before returning to Columbus. In addition to pursuing her PhD, Kirsten works in Columbus City Schools as a gifted resource specialist. She also sits on the Board of Trustees for Support for Talented Students, which awards scholarships to gifted students to attend summer enrichment activities. In the summers, Kirsten lectures at Kenyon College on writing, etymology, and college readiness. Kirsten is currently researching the psychological, emotional, and cultural factors of gifted, African American high school males. She hopes her research informs teachers, administrators, and parents on the challenges of this special population.


Ashley Stewart

Ashley Stewart is a doctoral student at The Ohio State University College of Social Work, where she studies contemporary social issues. Ashley received an MSSW from Columbia University, a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University, and an AA in Liberal Studies from Burlington County College. Throughout her academic and professional career, Ashley has worked enthusiastically with higher education administration, and early childhood education policy. As an advocate for applied knowledge, Ashley enjoys participating in direct practice, teaching, and community organizing around social justice issues in her communities. With family and community being a major part of her life, studying ecological perspectives and the intersection of experiences motivates and inspires her desire to bring awareness to racial and economic disparities that exist in the educational system, and the impact of large policies and social contexts on the everyday lives of people. 


Christopher TraversChristopher Travers is a doctoral student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at The Ohio State University and a Graduate Research Associate at the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE). Chris was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and is a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Frostburg State University and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Towson University. Chris has a long history of involvement with TRiO programs. He has worked as an instructor and counselor for the Upward Bound program at the University of Maryland Baltimore and was a Ronald McNair scholar with the University of Maryland College Park. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Chris worked as the Student Development Specialist at the Maryland Institute College of Art.


Natosha Willis

Natosha R. Willis is a doctoral student in the College of Education and Human Ecology, working towards a PhD in Educational Policy. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Natosha is an alumnus of The Ohio State University, where she previously earned her Bachelors of Science in Education and MEd in Special Education. Before returning to Ohio State, she worked as a Special Education teacher and advocate for several non-profit organizations. Natosha’s research interests include: educational policies that vastly impact African American males and other students of color, as well as mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline.


Congratulations to all the new Bell Fellows!