Dr. Alexa A. Harris
Dr. Alexa A. Harris is an Independent Scholar, Author, Consultant, Producer, and Speaker with a myriad of experiences in media and communications. As the first Black woman to graduate from her high school in its 30+ year history, she went to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and majored in Comparative Women’s Studies. Her focus, “documenting and digital media”, was learned not only in the classroom, but in practical experiences through internships and freelance positions with media organizations in departments ranging from accounting and marketing to music and production. Additionally, Harris co-produced a documentary about Black Women and Eating disorders through the Digital Moving Image Salon and contributed to an anthology about Black women in the south with the Spelman Independent Scholars Oral History Program prior to graduation. 

After Spelman, Harris ventured to Syracuse University where she completed a joint masters degree in ‘Documentary Film and History’ at the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. While at Syracuse, she conducted research with the Syracuse College of Law Cold Case Justice Initiative. Harris also produced and directed a documentary about the program. To fulfill a final requirement for her degree, she relocated to Washington, DC, and interned with Smithsonian Networks. 

Upon completion of her tenure at Smithsonian Networks, Harris enrolled in a doctoral program in the Communication and Culture Department of Howard University. She was awarded a teaching fellowship while studying Black women in popular culture and alternative media. Harris' dissertation focused on Rhetoric, Millennials, and social media. Additionally, she freelanced in the script department of an array of television shows, including the Emmy Award winning Kennedy Center Honors. At the age of 25, she earned her Ph.D. and was offered a Senior Consultant position at a top government consulting firm. While there, her specialty was Multicultural communications for clients in the energy, environment, transportation and health industries. 

Harris currently owns a boutique consulting firm that provides creative services, research, writing, and professional development workshops for individuals and organizations. Additionally, she co-edited and contributed to an anthology, Black Women and Popular Culture: The Conversation Continues (Lexington Books). In the text, one of her chapters highlights creative Millennial entrepreneurs in the digital space.

She is a firm believer of the quote, “to whom much is given, much is required” and is passionate about giving back to her respective communities. At 27, Harris was elected to serve on her homeowners association's Executive Board of Directors (representing over 400 residents). Additionally, she enjoys mentoring young women and encouraging them to live their dreams and become change agents. Her hobbies include creative writing, dance, improv, and sewing.

 Chef Natasha Mack

"Its really about meeting people at whatever point they are at, then taking what can seem like a daunting task and  breaking into simple and  practical steps. Each person's journey to a healthier lifestyle will be as unique as he or she is, so finding the changes that work best for each person will help to ensure that the changes will be long term."

Chef Natasha Mack has been cooking since she was tall enough to see over the stove. Curiosity turned career  in her junior  year of high school when she began working at a small fine dining restaurant. As a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in North Miami (Culinary Arts) and Florida International University (Hospitality Management), she has worked in array of facets in the culinary world.  Her industry experience includes fine and casual dining, private clubs, catering, Walt Disney World, food styling, recipe testing, and most recently teaching cooking classes at the Viking Cooking  School in Atlanta.
With the current  state of health in our communities, its more important than ever for people to embrace the idea of living a healthier lifestyle. The keys to long term change for the better include being realistic with the transition, giving yourself good options, and making a series of small changes. Chef Mack enjoys helping people understand that commitment to those small changes is what will lead to long term healthy living.

Tarshia L. Stanley, Ph.D.

Tarshia L. Stanley is Chair and Associate Professor in the English department at Spelman College. She teaches courses in film studies and visual imagery, particularly as it pertains to images of women. She has authored several articles critiquing Black women in African American, African, and Caribbean cinema as well as Black female iconography in American popular culture. She edited The Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Literature published by Greenwood Press in 2008, and is at work on a manuscript called Mothering Our Daughters: Mediating the Messages. The book stems from her work on a conference by the same name that she has hosted at Spelman College since 2002.

Dr. Stanley received an A.B. from Duke University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida where she was a McKnight Doctoral Fellow. She spent the 2010-2011 academic year as an HBCU fellow in residence at Duke where she began work on a new project concerning the images of women of color in speculative fiction and film. She serves as  board member of the West African Research Association. Dr. Stanley published her first novel in 2013 under her pen name Carolina Knight. You can read an excerpt from The Book of Ephesus at www.carolinaknight.com.

She makes time to mentor her 15 goddaughters, 5 godsons, and her very patient daughter Thai. Thai is a 2014 graduate of Wellesley College in Massachusetts and has taken up the family call of writing. She is currently querying agents for her first novel.

Dorothy Whitfield

Dorothy Whitfield is a wife, the mother of three and the founder of the TheSaneMom.com. She loves hearing people's stories, learning about their passions and helping them reach their goals.

Aechelon Educational Services, Inc.
                         Because it takes a Nation

Eng 369: Spring 2015
Conference Speakers