WSU Alumni Association Welcomes New Officers and Board Members
In October, the Wayne State University Alumni Association elected new officers and welcomed six new members to the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Newly elected Board President Robert Reaves said, “it is a pleasure to welcome our new members and I look forward to working alongside them as we continue to create connections, guide programs and initiatives, and serve as proud ambassadors for all Wayne State alumni.”
In addition to Reaves’ appointment as president, the board elected Vice President Adelaide Pascaris and Secretary Mary Jenkins-Williams. Newly elected board members are: Shyam Bhakta, Brandon Ivory, Tosha Padgett Johnson, Komal Shah Kapoor, Ernestine Lyons, and Adijat Ogunyemi.
Although currently living in Ohio, Shyam Bhakta remains closely tied to Wayne State and the metro Detroit area where both his and his wife’s family reside. In 2000, he received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Wayne State and is currently Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine. As an alumni board member, Shyam aims to increase medical school graduates involvement in alumni relations strategies and wants to help current students gain experience in personal finance, business strategy and human relations.
Brandon Ivory has worked in human service and community development for 25 years. For the past 15, he has worked at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a national community development financial institution that helps build sustainable, safe, and affordable housing for long standing, new and future residents. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Wayne State School of Social Work and has served on the School of Social Work Alumni Board where he assisted with the design and implementation of a mentorship program.
In 1999, Tosha Padgett Johnson received her Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems from Wayne State, launching a career with more than 25 years of industry experience. She has served as Wayne State’s IT Director for the Division of Finance, the State of Michigan’s Manager of Post-Secondary Business Integration, and is currently the Executive Manager of IT Applications for Canton Township. Tosha has been an active volunteer for over 20 years with her most recent activities volunteering with the National Black MBA Association, Girl Scouts of America and the sorority Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.
For the past year, Komal Shah Kapoor has served as the Wayne State Alumni Association Regional Volunteer Leader in Los Angeles, CA where she was instrumental in building a more engaged alumni base through program planning and initiatives. Komal has more than 12 years of national and international corporate experience in marketing, qualitative consumer research, brand strategy and entrepreneurship. She is the Founder and CEO of SpeakerPost, a networking marketplace for educators and industry professionals, as well as an educator who has taught at California State University, Pepperdine University, and University of California, Los Angeles. Komal received both a PhD and MA from Wayne State University’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts.
Ernestine Lyons has served as vice-chair of the WSU Alumni Advisory Council, been involved with the Organization of Black Alumni, and continues to volunteer with the WSU Office of Alumni Relations. Through her work with these organizations, she helped create a culture of inclusion for underrepresented minorities, created networking opportunities for current students, and fostered relationships between alumni and current students. Ernestine received a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations in 2013 and a Master of Science degree in Political Science in 2017, both obtained at Wayne State. She currently works for the Build Institute in Detroit where, as the program manager, she oversees operations for programs, events, and classes.
Adijat Ogunyemi is a licensed clinical social worker with over 11 years of experience. Throughout her career, she has worked at community health centers in cities throughout Michigan. Adijat received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Social Work at Wayne State. She is currently a social worker and team lead for a peer recovery mentor program at The Wellness Plan Medical Centers in Detroit. As a member of the alumni board, Adijat is looking to give back to her community and serve as an ambassador of Wayne State who will help keep alumni engaged and help improve the educational experience for future students.