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Lunch and Learn Discussion Series

The UT Libraries Belonging and Engagement Committee hosts and participates in a number of campus-wide activities to promote civility and awareness of diversity issues. To find previous years’ discussions, click here.

Lunch and Learn on Mental Wellness

Friday, April 19, 2024 Hodges Library Mary Greer Room

Moderator: Jada Russell, PhD, (UT’20), MPH (UT’10), BS (UT’08) is the proud wife of Brian E. Russell Sr. and mom to Brian E. Russell, Jr. (age 7) and Bryson E. Russell (age 3). Her passion for working in higher education was first ignited during her time as an Academic Coach at the Student Success Center. During her tenure while working in this position, she realized working in higher education was her calling. This discovery led her to further her education to complete her doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration program. This discovery led her to further her education to complete her doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration program. She is the Conference Planning Chair for the Graduate Nursing Admissions Professionals (GNAP), active member of National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and a board member of Gennisi Charitable Birth Services and Healthy Families. Russell focuses her research on providing access to higher education. She currently serves as the Principal Investigator for “Bridging to Opportunity: Good Jobs for Nurses in the Delta” which provides scholarships, stipends and social supports for students. Her favorite quote is “Live, Laugh, Love.”

Dr. ShaRonda Cooper serves as the Assistant Dean for Students in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at the University of Tennessee. She previously served as the Director of Multicultural Services and Programs and Assistant Director of Health Promotions, respectively, at the University of Georgia. Dr. Cooper is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and trained Health Coach. She earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education from Ohio University. She has worked in the field of higher education and student wellness at select institutions in North Carolina, Georgia, and Ohio. Areas of interest include student mental health and wellbeing, access and engagement, outreach, recruitment, and student programming and development.

Elle Peeples currently serves as the Wellness Coordinator for Alcohol & Other Drugs in the Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW) at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Elle received her B.A in College Scholars with an emphasis in Health Communication and Promotion from UTK in 2018, her M.A in Communication Studies from the University of Georgia in 2020, and is on track to complete her PhD in 2024. In her current role, Elle develops, implements, and evaluates all prevention programming related to alcohol and other drugs on the University of Tennessee campus. Her work is guided by the overarching principle that alcohol and other drug prevention and mental health promotion are inherently intertwined. Elle strongly believes that by empowering all college students with accurate information and education to make the best choices regarding alcohol and other drug use, we are promoting a mentally well campus community.

Nicole Saylor, Psy.D., Director, UTK Student Counseling Center. Nicole is a clinical psychologist as well as a first generation college student alumna of the University of Tennessee. Dr. Saylor has experience in a wide range of therapy practice settings, as an academic faculty member, and in community development. Her specific clinical focus is in areas related to relationship problems, religious trauma, family-of-origin patterns, grief, adoption and adhd (particularly in women). Nicole is passionate about empowering students to access mental health support in all its forms, including outreach, therapy, and crisis support.

Diversity Action Plan

Learn how the libraries are working to advance access, accountability, an inclusive campus climate, and equity.

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