Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives Staff
Kevin Gibson, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of the Graduate School
Dr. Gibson (he/his) is a Professor in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. Dr. Gibson earned a B.S from Indiana University, an M.S. from San Diego State University , and his Ph.D in Plant Ecology from the University of California, Davis. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Dr. Gibson serves as an Associate Dean in the Graduate School and as the Program Director for the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership, an initiative funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to support Indigenous graduate students in STEM fields.
Julius Eason, Ph.D.
Julius Eason (He/Him) is the program specialist for the Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives that manages diversity recruitment and retention programs. Dr. Eason completed his Bachelor’s in Biology and Master’s degree in Entomology at two historically black universities – Fort Valley State University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Later, Julius earned his Ph.D. from Purdue University. Throughout his academic career, Dr. Eason discovered that one of his passions is to help empower undergraduate and graduate students. As the senior manager, Dr. Julius Eason is dedicated to assisting students to achieve their full potential in academia and research.
Theresa Bescher (She/ Her) is the lead administrative assistant for the Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives. Theresa received her Bachelor’ degree from Ball State University, with double majors in History and Journalism and a minor in Women’s Studies. In June 2022 she will complete her Master’s degree in Organizational and Social Services from Purdue Global. Theresa loves working with the students who participate in OGDI programs and is committed to assisting them to reach their academic and personal goals. In addition to spending time with her husband and teenage son, Theresa also has a passion for social justice issues and community service projects.
Crenel Francis Jr. (He/Him) from Gainesville, FL, is a Master’s student in the Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication Department, College of Agriculture at Purdue University. Currently, he serves as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives (OGDI). Crenel received his Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida. One of the most achievable accomplishments while at FAMU was serving as the 20th Mister FAMU, a university student ambassador. Crenel is also an active member of Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), where he serves as a National Ambassador. As a career goal, Crenel would like to focus on the intersection of public policy, food security, and agricultural leadership for underrepresented populations in agriculture. Crenel likes to travel, read, work out, and spend time with family in his spare time.
Nicholas B. Lacy, M.A.
Nicholas B. Lacy (He/Him) is a Ph.D. student in the Brian Lamb School of Communication from the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue University. Mr. Lacy is a graduate student working in the Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives (OGDI). Mr. Lacy was born and raised in SouthEast San Diego, Ca. He earned his Bachelor’s in Communication from Cal State San Marcos and Masters in Communication from San Diego State University. Nicholas is passionate about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion but is more interested in Innovation, Liberation, and Justice (DEI-ILJ). His most recent graduate research project was entitled “Education and Equity: Advocating for Black Student Advancement,” - which is now published. At Purdue, Mr. Lacy teaches Communication 328 Diversity in The Workplace: A Rhetorical Approach, among other classes such as Intercultural Communication. Nicholas is also Purdue University’s Diversity Champion for the 2022 Humanities Without Walls 22’ Doctoral Diversity Workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Finally, as a graduate student worker, OGDI, Mr. Nicholas B. Lacy is helping create a more inclusive graduate school experience for incoming and current graduate students.
Lisa Brown (They/Theirs) is a second-year student in Purdue University’s Clinical Psychology PhD program. They received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Spelman College. They are a black queer pangender woman, and they use they/them/theirs pronouns. Lisa's research centers psychotic disorders as well as suicidal ideation and behaviors from an intersectional theoretical framework. They utilize psychophysiological methods such as EEG to investigate these concepts. As a black queer person in graduate school, they feel that it is necessary to help other people of marginalized communities in academic settings to the best of their ability. Outside of research Lisa is a published poet and screenwriter. They advocate for black queer students with The National Human Rights Campaign, and they work on healthy ways to navigate social experiences with teenagers and young adults who are differently abled.