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It's Women's History Month and Texas Southern University is excited to celebrate and share how the women of TSU have and continue to make history. Join us throughout the month of March as we highlight several phenomenal women. For more information about Women's History Month, click here.

Learn About the Women of TSU

dr waldlawDr. Alvia J. Wardlaw

Alvia J. Wardlaw, a teacher, and curator nationally recognized in the classroom and showroom, is a leading expert on African-American art and history. Her photographs are exhibited throughout Texas. Besides writing numerous publications and publishing poetry in Black Scholar, a journal, Wardlaw acted as a moderator for “Research in African-American Folk Art” at the African-American Museums Association National Conference and has lectured on “African-American Art and Postmodernism” at the Hirshorn Museum.

Among Wardlaw’s honors and awards are the Margaret Kawkins National Arts Award; Best Exhibition of 1990 for “Black Art; Ancestral Legacy,” by D Magazine; Fulbright Fellow, West Africa; Compton Danforth Fellow; Ford Foundation Fellow, New York University; Award of Merit, The University of Texas at Austin; and recognition by the American Association for State and Local History for the exhibition “Homecoming: African-American Family History in Georgia.”


The Honorable Pamela A. Medina

Regent Pamela A. Medina was appointed to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in April of 2019. She is currently the 2nd Vice Chairman of the Texas Southern University Board of Regents.

A TSU alumna, Regent Medina is an attorney at Medina Law Texas, PLLC, where she advises clients in estate planning and estate administration. She drafts and modifies trust agreements for both personal trusts and court-created trusts. She represents clients in guardianship proceedings and probate litigation, and general civil litigation.



The Honorable Stephanie D. Nellons-Paige

Regent Stephanie D. Nellons-Paige was appointed to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in October of 2020. A lifelong servant leader and philanthropist, her career has spanned the public and private sectors and focused on improving outcomes for cities through infrastructure building and partnership development. She is the Chief Executive Officer and Board Vice Chairman of the Nellons Paige Group, Inc. (NPG), a strategic consulting firm, which she co-founded with her husband, Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education (2001-2005). The firm provides business development expertise to the private sector, infrastructure investment entities, foundations, school districts, and higher education institutions and cities and advises clients on diversity and economic inclusion.


The Honorable Marilyn A. Rose

Regent Marilyn A. Rose was appointed to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents by Governor Greg Abbott in 2015. She has served as the 2nd Vice Chairman of the Texas Southern University Board of Regents. A TSU alumna, Regent Rose is a Certified Public Accountant and a former Registered Texas Assessor-Collector.

She has over five years of audit experience in the Public Accountant Firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers and Deloitte & Touche and nine years of Internal Audit experience with the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Office. She is currently employed at the Harris County Sheriff Office as a Financial Analyst in the Finance Department.


The Honorable Mary Evans Sias, Ph.D.

Regent Mary Evans Sias was appointed to the Texas Southern University Board of Regents by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in October of 2020. Regent Sias is a nationally known higher education leader. She currently serves as the Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) Director and Assistant to the President for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). MLI is a premier professional development program for senior higher education leaders who want to become university presidents and chancellors.


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Cynthia Cooper-Dyke

Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, is the current Texas Southern Women's Basketball head coach.  Born in Chicago but raised in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Cooper-Dyke was a four-year standout at Southern California, where she sparked the Women of Troy to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1983 and 1984. After college Cooper played professionally in Europe, primarily for a team in Parma, Italy. She was a member of the 1988 U.S. national team that won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul.

Cooper-Dyke was the first Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). In the WNBA’s inaugural season (1997), Cooper led the league in scoring while leading her team, the Houston Comets, to the championship. She was named MVP of both the regular season and the playoffs that year. Along with star teammates Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson, Cooper led the Comets to titles in 1998, 1999, and 2000, each time being recognized as the MVP of the playoffs. She was named the league MVP for the second time in 1998.

Cooper retired in 2000 and became the head coach of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury the following year. In 2001 she also married Brian Dyke, and she had twins the following year. She returned to playing basketball in 2003 and permanently retired from the game in 2004 with WNBA career per-game averages of 21 points, 4.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.56 steals. Cooper-Dyke was the women’s basketball head coach at Prairie View (Texas) A&M University from 2005 to 2010. She later coached at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (2010–12), Texas Southern University (2012–13; 2019– ), and the University of Southern California (2013–17). Cooper-Dyke, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, has also been active beyond the basketball court. In 2000, she published her autobiography, "She Got Game: My Personal Odyssey," chronicling her childhood, basketball career, and her mother's battle with breast cancer. In April 2019, she returned to coach at Texas Southern leading the Texas Southern women's basketball program as its head coach.


Naomi Cox Andrews

Trailblazer Naomi Cox Andrews is a longtime resident of Houston, TX. She was the first African American to work as a clerical employee for the Houston Post and as a secretary for Shell Oil in the 1960s.

The former Miss Texas Southern University earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University and then graduated from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1983. Alumna Cox is a former TSU Board of Regents member and was named the TMSL 2015 Alumnus of the Year.


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Dr. Omonike Arike Olaleye

Omonike Arike Olaleye, Ph.D., is a professor of pharmacology and Interim Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Research at Texas Southern University. She has over 15 years of research experience in drug discovery and development in major pharmaceutical companies and academia. Her formal training in pharmacology was at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. At JHU, she was awarded prestigious pre-doctoral fellowships from both National Aeronautics Space Administration and Merck Research Laboratories.

Dr. Olaleye’s research efforts have been focused on discovering and developing new therapeutic agents for the treatment of infections caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Leishmania major, and Enterococcus facials. To date, she has discovered and characterized structurally diverse small molecule inhibitors with potent and selective activity against M. tuberculosis, E. facials, and L. major.

Dr. Olaleye is passionate about teaching, training, and mentoring students in infectious diseases, particularly exposing students to many critical steps in drug discovery and the importance of multidisciplinary collaborations. She has over 10 years of experience working with promising, economically, and educationally disadvantaged students in the health professions, having mentored over 60 students who have progressed successfully in their academics and professional careers.


Dr. Cherry Gooden

Dr. Cherry Ross Gooden, an educator and Texas Southern University alumnus, is a dedicated, committed teacher with more than 48 years of teaching experience at both the elementary and university levels. Dr. Gooden retired from TSU in 2013 after 36 years of service. Before joining the TSU College of Education faculty in 1976, she was an elementary teacher in the Houston Independent School District for 12 years. Dr. Gooden has also been a consultant for various school districts in the state of Texas as well as in the nation. Her passion for teaching and learning has been shared with many elementary, middle, and high school students as she is a sought-after motivational speaker. She inspires young people to fulfill their God-given purpose. This dedication to teaching and learning resulted in Dr. Gooden being the recipient of prestigious awards.

She was recognized as a “Hero in Education” by the Xi Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Ivy League Educational and Charities Foundation. Dr. Gooden was also the W.E.B. Dubois Higher Education Award recipient presented to her at the 41st Annual Conference of the National Alliance of Black School Educators held in Detroit, Michigan, in 2013. She was recently recognized by the TSU College of Education as an Outstanding Educator and inducted into the College of Education Hall of Fame.

Dr. Gooden is a member of many professional organizations, including the National Association for Multicultural Education (where she is a founding member, a past national president, and a current member of the NAME Board of Directors), the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education, where she is a past state president, and the National Alliance of Black School Educators, where she also served on the National Board of Directors.

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Joan Bullock

Joan R.M. Bullock is the 10th and the first female dean in the Thurgood Marshall School of Law’s leadership history. She serves as the chief academic, fiscal, and administrative officer of one of the nation's top law schools for diversity. A Michigan-licensed attorney, certified public accountant, and strategic planning and business development expert, Bullock has more than 30 years of law school experience as an educator and administrator. She was a senior founding faculty member of the reestablished Florida A&M University College of Law. She held several academic and administrative positions, including professor, interim director of admissions and recruitment, associate dean for teaching and faculty development, and associate dean for academic affairs.

Additional diversified, professional credits include professor at The University of Toledo College of Law; assistant professor at Georgia State University School of Law; tax associate with Coopers & Lybrand, Detroit, Michigan; and solo practitioner providing legal and accounting services. She also held leadership roles in various sections and divisions of the American Bar Association (ABA). Bullock holds a B.A. from Michigan State University, an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and a J.D. from the University of Toledo College of Law.

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Dr. Dwalah Fisher

Dr. Dwalah Fisher is currently Associate Professor and Interim Chairperson in the Health and Kinesiology Department at Texas Southern University. Dr. Fisher, a proud Texas Southern University alumna, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management in 1995. Masters in Health Education in 2000 and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction in 2007. Enjoying a stellar volleyball career as a player, Dr. Fisher was also head of the Lady Tiger Volleyball program for 17 years and coached her teams to a SWAC Championship title in 1994 and numerous Western Division championships.

Dr. Fisher remains passionate about her research interests which include Health Literacy and Health Promotion. A native of Houston, Dr. Fisher graduated from Willowridge High School in Missouri City, Texas, in 1989, where she was a standout player in volleyball and basketball. In 2006, she was inducted into the Willowridge Wall of Honor for her outstanding educational and athletic accomplishments in its inaugural year. Dr. Fisher’s other duties include serving as the Senior Woman Administrator, advising TSU’s athletics department on gender-equity issues, representing the University on Southwestern Athletic Conference and NCAA committees that focus on enhancing opportunities for women in intercollegiate athletics and being an advocate for women’s teams at Texas Southern.

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Dr. Courtney L. Flowers

Dr. Courtney L. Flowers is an Associate Professor of Sport Management in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, & Sport Studies at Texas Southern University. Her scholarship uses sports as a vehicle to examine systemic and culturally based forms of bias and prejudice and strategies for cultivating diversity and inclusion. Her research has been featured in the Sport Litigation Alert, Legal Issues in College Athletics, The International Journal of the History of Sports, and The Journal of Negro Education. Moreover, Dr. Flowers’ teaching empowers individuals to celebrate differences and build environments which value equity beyond a compliance-driven process. Further, her classroom instruction is enhanced by multimedia technology and experiential learning activities, which infuses current sport scholarship and purposeful lectures to provide her students with knowledge in diversity, legal aspects in sports, sport management theory, and sport leadership.

Dr. Flowers has worked extensively through sports to support race and gender equity initiatives. Before TSU, she served as an Assistant Professor of Sport Management at the University of West Georgia and a senior academic advisor/compliance at the University of New Mexico. She also worked for the United States Golf Association, The National Minority Golf Foundation, and The First Tee. In addition, she was elected to the North American Society's leadership board for the Sociology of Sport and served on the judicial board for Houston Charter Athletic League.


Dr. Needha Boutte-Queen

Dr. Needha Boutté-Queen was named dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Behavioral Sciences (COLABS) in 2019. Dr. Boutté-Queen has served as interim dean of COLABS since October 2018. Prior to that, she was department chair and professor of social work, in addition to her role as the associate accreditation liaison for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

She began her tenure at TSU in 2006 and has also served as an interim assistant dean of student enhancement and academic success from 2012-2015 for COLABS. Before arriving at TSU in 2006, Dr. Boutté-Queen was an assistant professor of social work at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and director of social work field education at the University of Houston Clear Lake. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Texas Southern University in 1993, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Houston.


Dr. Rockell Brown Burton

Rockell Brown Burton, Ph.D., is the Interim Dean in the School of Communication at Texas Southern University. Her research interests concern race and representation, mediated representations of women, communication and culture, and health communication. She received the TSU School of Communication Teacher of the Year Award in 2009. She co-authored the 2011 book Race and News: Critical Perspectives that examines how race issues are represented in contemporary news coverage in the United States.

Additionally, Brown has authored and or co-authored several book chapters and journal articles. She is a member of the National Communication Association (NCA), the Broadcast Education Association (BEA), National Association of African American Studies (NAAAS), and The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) and previously served as Co-Chairman of the Professional Freedom and Responsibility Standing Committee for the Minorities and Communication Division of AEJMC.


Dr. Bernnell Peltier-Glaze

Dr. Bernnell Peltier-Glaze is a professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations and Interim Dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University. Dr. Peltier-Glaze has worked with families and children/students through social services and education systems in Louisiana, Georgia, New York, and most recently Houston, Tx.

In the K-12 system, she has served as a classroom mentor, supervising teacher, administrative intern/assistant principal/administrator, principal, director, and trainer. She has been responsible for professional development for teachers and principals. Dr. Peltier-Glaze is a certified teacher and administrator and is also an educational consultant.

dr azime serpil saydam

Dr. Azime Serpil Saydam

Dr. Azime Saydam is the dean of the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. She earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Her research areas are commutative algebra, algebraic geometry, commutative rings, and computational algebra. She had been assistant professor, tenured associate professor, assistant department head, and department head of mathematics and physics at the University of Louisiana at Monroe for 11 years.

dr azime serpil saydam

Dr. Jemison Pollard

TSU alumna Dr. Dianne Jemison Pollard is the Dean of the Thomas F. Freeman Honors College and Professor of Theatre in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts. For over ten years, Dr. Jemison Pollard served as the Chairperson of the Department of Fine Arts at TSU (Art, Music, and Theatre). In her tenured service to the University, she has served as Director and Area Coordinator of Theatre, Education Coordinator for the Deluxe Theater, and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Thomas F. Freeman Honors College.

As Dean, Dr. Jemison Pollard works with the staff of the Honors College to ensure the mission of the College is being implemented. Dr. Jemison Pollard is an award-winning university stage director who has directed over fifty productions from Greek and Shakespeare to Contemporary Theatre, Musicals and Children’s Theatre. She has written eighteen religious pageants that have been produced around the globe. Her academic and creative pursuits have taken her to many places internationally and across the United States.

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Dr. Karen Kossie Chernyshev

Fourth-generation Texan and native Houstonian, Karen Kossie-Chernyshev, PhD, is a tenured professor of history at Texas Southern University. The TSU alumna has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants, including awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Texas Council for the Humanities, Humanities Texas, and Summerlee Foundation.

Her research focuses on African American women’s intellectual history and religion in the African Diaspora, particularly African American Pentecostalism in the Southwest. Her most recently edited works include Angie Brown: A Jim Crow Romance (Outskirts Press, 2017), which won the 1st place Indie Award in the African American Literature category and Recovering Five Generations Hence: The Life and Writing of Lillian Jones Horace (Texas A & M University Press, 2013), an edited collection containing an annotated version of Horace’s historic first novel, and a collection of scholarly essays treating various aspects of her work.

The collection, now held in more than 800 libraries worldwide (www.worldcat.org), affirms Lillian Horace (1880-1965) as Texas’s, and perhaps the US South’s earliest known African American female novelist for the modern period. An engaged scholar committed to community service, Dr. Kossie-Chernyshev is also the founding director of SWATH, a summer workshop on African American Texas History for twenty (20) local K-16 teachers from various fields of expertise. Since its inception in 2014, SWATH has attracted more than 120 participants, and SWATH 2018 culminated with a multiple-destination trip to Ghana, West Africa.


Dr. Judith Craven

TSU Foundation Trustee Dr. Judith Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She was the first African-American woman to graduate from Baylor. Dr. Craven later earned a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and trained at the Harvard University Program for Senior Managers in Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. After her residency, Dr. Craven was appointed chief of anesthesia for Riverside General Hospital in Houston. In 1980, she became the first woman and second African American to hold the position of Director of Health Care Services for the City of Houston Health Department (HHD).

During her tenure, her major concern was to increase the public’s awareness of the available services in HHD. In 1991, she was elected dean of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Allied Health Science and vice president of minority affairs for the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Dr. Craven’s contribution to the medical field has earned her various awards. She was the winner of Outstanding Contributions on Public Health in 1984, Outstanding Service to Medicine in 1985, and Outstanding Young Women of America and Women on the Move. Dr Judith Craven is a member of the Houston Medical Forum and the Harris County Medical Society.


Toni Jackson

TSU Foundation Trustee Antoinette M. “Toni” Jackson is a transactional attorney whose firm has been the perfect marriage of practicing law and giving back to the community. With more than 25 years of real estate experience, Toni currently represents for-profit and non-profit developers and public housing agencies in commercial real estate development and affordable housing financing.

Jackson has received numerous recognitions for her volunteerism, professional and community leadership. In July 2018, she was awarded the Jean MacDonald Lifetime Achievement in Housing by the Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers and recognized by the NBA Women Lawyers Division for her commitment to diversity as Outstanding Minority Partner in a Majority Firm. She frequently serves as a speaker and guest lecturer in the area of affordable housing and community development law, including disaster funding and recovery and housing choice/disparate impact issues.

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Diane Nicholson-Jones

Diane Nicholson-Jones is the Director of Customer Service in the Buildings and Grounds Department. She works throughout the campus wherever and whenever needed so that students, faculty, staff and visitors can truly know that they have stepped on a campus that is “TSU PROUD.” As a member of the TSU family for over 30 years, not only is Nicholson-Jones a recognizable face to many on campus, her insight and input are highly regarded and sought-after.

As further evidence of her dedication and commitment to serving TSU, Nicholson-Jones currently serves as a member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, The Honors College Support Team, and on the University Graduation Committee, to name a few.


Georgia Provost

TSU alumna Georgia Provost is passionate toward young people and senior citizens. She loves to give her talent and skills as a volunteer in the community.

Provost received a Bachelor's degree in photography from Texas Southern University in 1978.


Jennifer Aubert Parker

TSU alumna Jennifer Aubert Parker serves as the Chief Revenue Officer, Commercial Real Estate Digital at JPMorgan Chase & Co. She also serves as a board member for PYXERA Global. Parker enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and two children.

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Khaniya Burley
(SGA President)

Khaniya Burley is a senior biology major and serves as the 73rd Student Government Association President. Her platform has three pillars: to increase student engagement, school spirit, and transparency between students and SGA. Burley aspires to attend Dental School after graduating from Texas Southern University.

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Janai Minga

Janai Minga is a P-1 Pharmacy student in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She also serves as the 73rd Miss Texas Southern University. Minga aspires to the Pharma industry after graduating from Pharmacy School.