Faculty & Staff


Nakeina E. Douglas-Glenn, Ph.D.

Nakeina E. Douglas-Glenn, Ph.D.

Nakeina E. Douglas Glenn, PhD, director, provides leadership for the institute and its programs. She also teaches in the MPA program in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public affairs. Douglas-Glenn has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including VCU's President’s Outstanding Achievement Award, VCU's Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment, and induction into Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) a national leadership honor society.

Prior to coming to VCU, Douglas-Glenn served as a research and evaluation associate at the National Science Foundation. In addition, she was also an adjunct professor at George Mason University in the Department of Public and International Affairs. Douglas-Glenn earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration and Public Affairs from the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech. She has a Master of Social Work degree from Radford University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Virginia Tech.

Douglas-Glenn is active in the community and in professional organizations. She is an elected member of American Council on Education’s Virginia Network executive board and serves as the institutional representative for Women's Network at VCU. She is also a member of the board of directors for the Fan Free Clinic and the YWCA of Greater Richmond.

Fatima Smith, MSW

Fatima M. Smith, MSW, serves as the Associate Director and is responsible for program planning, development, and implementation, operational management, and community engagement at the institute.

Smith has ten years of experience leading professional development experiences for individuals in state and local government, higher education, and nonprofit agencies. She has built a career on providing advocacy and education of interpersonal violence prevention.  As a social worker, Smith has spent her career establishing inter and intra agency partnerships instrumental in transforming programming and service delivery models on the needs of clients in service provision. Most recently, her experience has largely centered on the paradigm shift within the community, first responders, Title IX, and law enforcement to "Start by Believing" and utilizing a solution-focused, trauma-informed response.  Smith provided educational workshops to faculty, staff, and students about building healthy, pro-social communities as assistant director of the VCU Well.

Smith serves as a guest speaker for women's empowerment events developing a reputation as a highly sought after speaker and facilitator for engaging professionals in dialogue about power, privilege, and oppression in organizational and institutional settings.

Smith is a graduate of George Mason University where she received a B.S. in Administration of Justice.  She received her Master of Social Work from VCU and was an adjunct faculty member of the Sociology Department and a School of Social Work internship supervisor. She was recognized as a 2016 Richmond Times Dispatch Person of the Year honoree and VCU's Top 10 Under 10.


Olivia X. Barnes

Olivia X. Barnes

Olivia Barnes, Assistant Director for Administration, is responsible for program administration, including coordination of activities and events; serving as primary contact for general program inquiries and as the liaison between participants, administrative staff, external clients, and the Institute. She is also responsible for development and outreach, including social media, promotion of programs, assisting in development and implementation of general program recruitment.

Barnes earned a Master’s degree in English, with a concentration on Literature from VCU in May 2014. In 2012, Barnes graduated from Eastern Washington University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a focus on Literature and a minor in Government.


Angela McGrath

Angela McGrath

Angela McGrath, Business Manager, brings over fifteen years of financial and business management to the institute. Her duties include managing key business of the institute including monitoring revenue streams, contract management, procurement of goods and services, generating purchase orders through eVA system, preparing transactions through accounts payable, travel planning and reimbursements for staff, and management of credit card reconciliations. She also conducts market research to work with procurement to negotiate contracts for events, provides support for human resources, and assists with Institute meetings and events. Prior to joining the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute, she served in the VCU School of Education.

Shabana Shaheen

Shabana Shaheen, Research Coordinator, contributes to the Institute's research and evaluation endeavors. She also manages social media and website content for the Institute. Shaheen earned a Master of Science in sociology, with a concentration on race and ethnicity, from VCU in August 2017. In 2015, she received a Bachelor of Arts in political science, with a focus on politics and government from VCU. Prior to joining the Institute, Shaheen served as the executive director of the National Association for Ethnic Studies (NAES) and a graduate assistant in the department of political science in the College of Humanities and Sciences. She was awarded the 2018 president's award for exceptional commitment for leadership and contribution to the NAES. Shaheen is also a community organizer working towards making political education more accessible and community centered.


Priscilla Agyepong

Priscilla Agyepong

Priscilla Agyepong is a Program Assistant at the Institute. She is an undergraduate majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Political Science. She hopes to attend law school to become an attorney after graduating.

Jennifer Carranza

Jennifer Carranza is a Program Assistant at the Institute. She is an undergraduate majoring business marketing and hopes to one day own her own marketing firm after graduating from VCU.

Essence Noel

Essence Noel is a Program Assistant at the Institute. She is an undergraduate majoring in Sociology and minoring in Biology. She plans to travel for community service and go to graduate school after graduating VCU.  

Angelique Potter

Angelique Potter is a Program Assistant at the Institute. She is an undergraduate majoring in Biology. She plans to attend Medical School following her completion of her degree. Her goal is to become a Pediatric Dermatologist who is able to at least put a smile on every patient's face.

Jhane Robinson

Jhane Robinson is a Program Assistant at the Institute. She is an undergraduate majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Civil Rights. She hopes to attend law school after graduating and work in the nonprofit sector. 

Myia Samuels

Myia Samuels is a Program Assistant at the Institute. She is an undergraduate majoring in Political Science and minoring in Sociology. She plans to attend law school after graduating from VCU.   

Michelle Caron

Caron is a first-year MSW intern with the Institute. She graduated from Bridgewater College in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree. She majored in Family and Consumer Science and minored in Social Work. Through volunteering, internships, and employment she has experience in a variety of human services settings; foster care and adoption, parenting education, adults with intellectual disabilities, families in poverty, and hospital admissions for all ages, illness, and accidents.

Alexander Dougherty

Doughterty is the creative assistant for the Institute. He plans to obtain a degree in Communication Arts or Graphic Design at VCU.

Ashley Stupak

Stupak is a first-year MSW intern at the Institute. She graduated from East Carolina University in 2018 with a Bachelors in Social Work. Stupak has previously interned with Pitt County Courts Guardian ad Litem Program, as well as with Pride in North Carolina Mental Health Facility.  Her MSW concentration is Macro-level practice with certificates in school social work and a non-profit management.