Provost's Lecture Series on Women in Leadership: Menah Pratt-Clarke

The Power of One Woman's Voice

Menah Pratt-Clarke, J.D., Ph.D., Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity, Virginia Tech

ABSTRACTDr. Menah Pratt-Clarke

Using A Black Woman's Journey from Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons about Race, Class, and Gender and Journeys of Social Justice: Women of Color Presidents in the Academy, as contextual backdrops, Menah Pratt-Clarke shares key themes related to journeys of courageous leadership and the importance of living a life of impact and transformation.


Menah Pratt-Clarke is the Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Diversity at Virginia Tech. She is also a professor of education in the School of Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, with affiliations in Africana studies, women’s and gender studies and the Department of Sociology.  

She has more than 20 years of administrative, academic and legal experience in higher education, with a focus on large-scale institutional transformation. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, she served as Associate Chancellor for Strategic Affairs and Associate Provost for Diversity at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for nine years. She was also the University Compliance Officer, Assistant Secretary of the University and University Counsel at Vanderbilt University for eight years.

Dr. Pratt-Clarke has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa with a major in English and minors in philosophy and African-American studies. She received her master’s degree in literary studies from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in Sociology from Vanderbilt University. In addition, she earned her Ph.D. and J.D. from Vanderbilt University. While in Nashville, she also taught at men’s and women’s maximum- and minimum-security prisons through American Baptist College and at Fisk University. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Tennessee.

Her research interests include transdisciplinary analysis of diversity issues in higher education. In addition to her first book, Critical Race, Feminism, and Education:  A Social Justice Model (Palgrave, 2010), she recently released A Black Woman’s Journey from Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons About Race, Class, and Gender in America. (Peter Lang, 2018), which was awarded the American Education Studies Association Critics’ Choice Award for scholarship deemed to be outstanding in its field. Additional books include Journeys of Social Justice: Women of Color Presidents in the Academy (Peter Lang, 2017) and Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba (Peter Lang, 2017).

Provost’s Lecture Series on Women in Leadership Award Recipient

Christina A. Puntiel

Christina Puntiel portraitChristina Puntiel ’20Christina A. Puntiel, a first-generation college student, is in her third year at Stevens pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. With her degree she hopes to enter the pharmaceutical industry where she will be able to combine her passion for science and helping others. Her goal is to leave an impact on her community and improve the lives of others. Christina also dreams of owning her own hair care product company that will promote and encourage women to embrace their natural hair.

Christina is part of many organizations on campus where she holds leadership positions. She is currently the vice president for the American Chemical Society and the West Indian Student Organization. Next academic year, she will be the president of the American Chemical Society. She is also part of the Diversity & Inclusion committee and holds the title of Socioeconomic Status Advocate. She is part of the Gear & Triangle Honor Society which is a group of seasoned upperclassmen student leaders aimed to further unite our college community through the principles of Honor, Fellowship and Spirit. She is also a member of the Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society which recognizes the academic achievements of college students in access and scholar programs. Christina is a proud member of the Stevens Technical Enrichment Program (STEP) and is grateful for all the support they have provided her.