Matt Lonam: President

Dr. Lonam received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Loyola College in Baltimore; his M.A. in Tourism Development from The George Washington University; and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in Higher and Adult Education. Dr. Lonam is a lifelong professional in the hospitality and tourism industry; he began his full-time teaching career as professor of hotel information systems at Johnson & Wales College, participated in the founding of the hotel school at Northern Arizona University, and received his doctorate while teaching hotel and restaurant management at the University of Missouri. Since receiving his doctorate, he has served as vice-president (Latin America, based in Mexico City) for the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Associate Director of GW’s online master of tourism, and he currently serves as Associate Professor in the School of Business and Leadership at the University of Charleston teaching graduate Strategic & Executive Leadership courses and advising doctoral students on dissertation work.

Jane Northup: President-Elect

Dr. Northup is a Criminalist and Quality Assurance Officer at the Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory where she co-coordinates the Crime Laboratory Educational Program. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor and works with current law enforcement officers training to become crime scene investigators. She also advises and assists local police departments in their evidence room management policies and procedures through inspections, interviews, and reports to help assist them in attaining and retaining accreditation status. She specializes in skill development and strategies for effective practice in the workplace. She holds a master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Rhode Island and a Ph.D. in Education from a joint program with the University of Rhode and Rhode Island College.

Lauren Murray-Lemon: Past President

Dr. Murray-Lemon is excited to serve as AHEA’s Director of Membership and as AHEA’s President-Elect. She earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Ph.D. in Higher Education and Policy Studies from the University of Central Florida. She currently works in UCF’s College of Graduate Studies. Her research interests focus on the experiences of foster care youth and other individuals from underserved populations in higher education, service learning, developing social justice leaders and engaged citizens, and faculty teaching and learning.

Kathy Peno: Secretary

Dr. Peno is Professor of Adult Education at the University of Rhode Island where she coordinates the Adult Education Master’s Program and prepares adult educators in the military, in health care fields (including nursing, pharmacy and dentistry), and in corporate and higher education organizations. She also teaches and advises doctoral students in the Adult and Higher Education specialization for the joint Ph.D. program between Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Adult Learning and Human Resource Development from the University of Connecticut. Her scholarship focuses on professional learning and skill development from novice to expert with an emphasis on the role of mentoring. She has written, consulted, and presented extensively on workforce development, professional development, and mentoring as a vehicle for continuous performance improvement in organizations.

Rita Kenahan: Treasurer

Dr. Kenahan refined her ideas and theories on adult learning through studies at Teachers College, Columbia University where she earned a Doctor of Education degree in 2014. She is recently retired from a robust career in the medical devices industry, most recently with Johnson & Johnson. In her last role in Professional Education, she supported surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals in their pursuits to enhance their teaching skills. She has traveled to all 50 states and many countries and delivered in-service training and faculty development programs to healthcare providers. She is a Registered Nurse and has three young adult children who are off navigating their own life journeys.

Joyvina Evan: Director-at-Large

Dr. Joyvina Evans works in higher education as a Professor and Leader in Public Health and Healthcare Administration. She served as course developer and subject matter expert for traditional and competency-based education courses. Prior to working in higher education full-time, Dr. Evans worked in numerous roles related to both clinical and academic research. Most recently she served as the Project Lead in cardiovascular research at University of Michigan, with responsibility for all phases of development and recruitment for an aortic biobank for storing and studying blood and tissue of patients with aortic diseases. Dr. Evans holds a Ph.D. and Master’s in Public Health, Master’s in Administration, and Bachelor of Business in Management. She successfully completed the Strategies for Higher Ed Teaching and Learning and Women in Education Leadership programs at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, as well as the Executive Leadership and High-Performance certificates online from Cornell University. She serves as a Quality reviewer and Camp Counselor for Competency-Based Education Network (CBEN) and on the Board of Directors for the Adult Higher Education Alliance (AHEA).

Edith Gnanadass: Director-at-Large

Dr. Edith Gnanadass is an assistant professor of higher and adult education at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. Previously, she worked at the Goodling Institute for Research in Family Literacy and the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy at Penn State, Pennsylvania. She has more than 20 years of experience in adult and higher education working with diverse populations. She has also administered and taught in adult literacy and early childhood programs in New York City for more than 16 years. Using a postcolonial feminist lens, her research interests include race and learning, cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) as a framework to analyze learning, DesiCrit (theorizing the racial ambiguity of South Asian Americans), adult literacy, and using Black texts in adult and higher education and racialized immigrant narratives.

Patricia Holt: Director-at-Large

Dr. Patricia Holt completed her master and doctoral degrees at the University of Arkansas in the mid-1990s. She was hired by Armstrong Atlantic State University in 1996, where she taught face-to-face middle grades and secondary education classes while creating the M.Ed. in Adult Education and Community Leadership program and proposing it to the University System of Georgia. Armstrong and Georgia Southern University were consolidated three years ago. During this process, the Adult Education program was discontinued, and she taught the remaining twenty-six students out of their remaining classes as she picked up courses in the master and doctoral Higher Education online programs. After teaching in three different programs, she has become a very flexible lifelong learner. Her research began with a focus on K-12 Teacher Education. Once the adult education program was in place, she transitioned her focus to overcoming student emotional barriers to adult learning. At this point in her career, she continued to research adult barriers to learning while narrowing her research focus to staff teaching and learning in higher education. In addition to serving in a faculty position, she has served as a department head, program director, program coordinator, Faculty Senate president, and many numerous positions. Her favorite part of academia is working with students in a faculty position.

Laura Douglass: Director-at-Large

Dr. Laura Douglass` research focuses on issues of personal and professional leadership as they are impacted by class, race, trauma and somatic practices such as yoga. Dr. Douglass’ work is guided by a desire to help adult learners understand themselves as scholars who can make an active contribution to their discipline and community. She is on the board of the Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, and serves as a peer reviewer for Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention.

Joann Olson: Director of AHEA Book Series; Conference Proceedings Co-Editor

Dr. Olson has been involved in various aspects of adult education throughout her career, including computer training and leadership development. She earned a master’s degree in Religious Education from Wheaton College and a Ph.D. in Adult Education from Penn State-University Park. Following graduate school, she spent two years coordinating faculty development for adjunct faculty teaching in an adult degree program that also offered several graduate-level programs. Currently, she is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for an online Master’s degree in adult and higher education at the University of Houston—Victoria. Her research interests focus on the intersection of higher education and adult learning, including workplace learning of recent college graduates and the experiences of first-generation students (of all ages) in college and following graduation.