National Institute on Aging

Three African American Women Scholars Who Are Embarking on New Assignments

Joelle A. Murchison, an adjunct professor in the School of Business at the University of Connecticut, has been named executive director of the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity. Murchison is also the founder and principal of ExecMommyGroup, a Connecticut-based inclusion, leadership, and coaching consulting practice. In 2016, she was named chief diversity officer at the University of Connecticut.

Murchinson is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where she majored in educational policy. She earned a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University and a master’s degree in communications management from Syracuse University in New York.

Marietta Simpson, a Rudy Professor of Music in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana Univesity, was appointed a Distinguished Professor, the highest academic rank at the university. She is one of the most sought-after mezzo-sopranos and is greatly admired for the rich beauty of her deeply expressive voice. Simpson has performed with many of the world’s great conductors and has performed with all the major orchestras in the U.S. and most of those in Europe.

A native of Philadelphia, Professor Simpson graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1981 and received a master’s degree in music from Binghamton University in New York in 1983. Professor Simpson then began her operatic training at Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton and then became a member of the Houston Opera Studio.

Erica Cooper was named assistant provost for faculty diversity in the Office for Inclusion and Diversity at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, effective June 8. She currently serves as the co-director of the African and African American studies program and is an instructor in the department of communications at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Earlier, she was a tenured professor at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.

Dr. Cooper holds a Ph.D. in communications from Indiana University-Bloomington.


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