Meet the First-ever BU D&I STARS Program Cohort

August 29, 2022 —  BU Diversity & Inclusion announced the first-ever cohort of eight STARS Program participants. First launched in spring 2022, the BU D&I STARS Program (Supporting Thriving, Achievement, Retention & Success) is a learning community of early career BU faculty on the Charles River Campus who meet regularly throughout the academic year to engage in professional development, mentoring, wellness, and community-building opportunities. This program is specifically designed to support underrepresented racial and ethnic groups who are within their first two years of an academic teaching position. STARS participants are nominated each year by college deans and selected by BU D&I each year. Meet the 2022-23 STARS cohort:


Layla Khayr 

Lecturer, Social Work 

Layla Khayr is a clinical social worker, researcher, and educator. A school social worker by training, she spent more than eight years providing social emotional counseling, training, and support in Islamic schools. Her experience working with Muslim and Arab American children, youth, families and communities stimulated her research, which explores how the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, and values influence identity development and negotiation. She believes in working alongside clients and communities to amplify the voices of underrepresented and historically excluded populations. As a lecturer at BU’s School of Social Work, she is dedicated to cultivating spaces in which emerging social workers are prepared to become agents of change through cultural humility and anti-oppressive approaches. She has a PhD in Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago and an MSW and BSW from Loyola University Chicago. 


Wade Campbell 

Assistant Professor, Archaeology 

Wade Campbell is a Diné (Navajo) historical archaeologist whose research examines the relationships between Diné communities and other local groups in the U.S. Southwest from the 17th century to the present day, including the Pueblos, Spanish, and Americans. Wade is engaged with a range of questions related to longer-term patterns of Navajo settlement and economic activity across the greater Four Corners region, with a particular focus on incipient Indigenous pastoralism and related shifts in land-use, social organization, and diet/subsistence practices. 


Asha Tall 

Lecturer, CAS Writing Program  

Asha (AHH-shah) Tall (like the tal of qué tal in Spanish) is a new lecturer in the CAS Writing Program. Previously, she has taught literature and writing at Labouré College of Healthcare, Tufts University, and UMass Boston. Her particular areas of interest are the literature of the Black diaspora, environmental justice, equitable pedagogy, and archival research. 


Erica D. Pratt 

Assistant Professor, Biological Engineering 

Erica D. Pratt is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. Professor Pratt earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University working with Brian J. Kirby. There, she co-designed the Geometrically Enhanced Differential Immunocapture (GEDI) platform for high-efficiency and high-purity microfluidic isolation of circulating tumor cells from whole blood samples. She then completed multi-disciplinary postdocs with Andrew D. Rhim and Laurie L. Parker developing assays for non-invasive omic characterization of solid cancers. Her lab works at the interface of engineering, chemical biology, and oncology to develop assays for cancer diagnosis and monitoring. 


Courtney Pina Miller 

Lecturer, CAS Writing Program 

Courtney Pina Miller holds a Ph.D. in English from Brandeis University, an M.A. in English Literature from Loyola Marymount University, and a B.A. in American Literature and Culture from UCLA. She specializes in transatlantic 20th century literature and culture, working-class and labor studies, and the intersections of class, race, gender, and sexuality. She has published research on Downton Abbey and forgotten regionalist writer Louis Bromfield. Her recent article on the occurrence of eroticized class performance in D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the 2022 winner of The Biennial Award to a Newly Published Scholar from the D.H. Lawrence Society of North America.  

Before joining the Writing Program faculty at Boston University, she taught expository writing at Harvard University, Brandeis University, and Loyola Marymount University. Above all, she is invested in practicing anti-racist, intersectional, and inclusive pedagogy, particularly for first-generation and/or low-income students. 


Daniel Jacobson López 

Assistant Professor, Social Work 

Daniel Jacobson López, PhD, MSW, LCSW, is an Assistant Professor at Boston University School of Social Work. Dr. López is also Visiting Faculty at the School of Public Health and Medicine at Yale University. His innovative research examines how possessing multiple marginalized identities affects the ways in which socio-political institutions and systems engage with gay Latino and/or Black sexual assault survivors and the health services provided to them. He also researches the effects of COVID-19 on people living with HIV/AIDS, and HIV intervention and treatment for Black MSM in the U.S. and Ghana. He was the first Latinx PhD graduate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and was appointed as the inaugural chair of diversity and inclusion for UPPDA. He is a former intern with the United Nations Development Programme and a SAMSHA Doctoral Minority Fellow. Jacobson López is a certified sexual assault counselor, a licensed certified social worker, and is an anti-bias facilitator with the Anti-Defamation League.  


Eric Cordero-Siy 

Clinical Assistant Professor, Math Education 

Eric Cordero-Siy is a San Diego-born, Los Angeles-raised, former high school mathematics teacher. His work, broadly, is in supporting elementary teachers to enact lessons that support mathematical sensemaking, particularly with the use of drawings and other informal representations. To do this, he, along with other researchers and school-partners, conducts job-embedded, adaptive professional development that focuses on in-the-moment decision making to experiment with teacher-driven practices. Alongside this, he supports teachers to enact equitable, justice-oriented mathematics teaching practices amidst the current backlash movements in mathematics education. He hopes to better prepare researchers to engage with the public and support teachers to converse with their communities. 


Franklin Jones, Jr.  

Lecturer, Deaf Studies 

Franklin Jones, Jr. is a faculty lecturer at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development in its Deaf Studies program, teaching American Sign Language.  He is a doctoral candidate at Liberty University, focusing on Black Deaf men’s experiences with the educational system in the United States. Franklin is passionate about delving deeper into Black American Sign Language (BASL) etymology in hopes of uncovering historical roots and linguistic and cultural content on this subject to develop a Black Deaf Studies curriculum. Franklin is also a highly sought-after speaker in the areas of educational, linguistic, and cultural equity in Deaf communities, with his topics covering a broad range of Black Deaf experiences, ASL, deaf culture, linguistics, and pedagogy.