Florencia V. Cornet
Faculty and Coordinator MIWIL Center/ Cultural Enrichment
Opportunity Scholars Program
Florencia V. Cornet holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with specialization in Comparative Black Gender Studies, Black Diaspora Studies, and Cultural Studies. She is a full-time faculty in the Opportunity Scholars Program and coordinates the Opportunity Scholars' MIWIL Center and the Opportunity Scholars' Cultural Enrichment Component. Cornet is also an associate faculty of Latin American Studies, an affiliate faculty of African American Studies, and Women's and Gender Studies. Her areas of teaching and research specialization include Latin American, Caribbean and US Afro-Latino/a Cultures; Gender Studies in Global Perspective; Studies in Global Blackness, and Rhetorics of Multi-ethnic US Cultures. Her primary teaching goal is to encourage multicultural diversity and inclusion. She has been teaching first generation college students for seven years and has established a teaching style that fosters active and collaborative learning. Her coursework in the Opportunity Scholars Program is structured around critical rhetorics of race, ethnicity, gender, culture, identity, technology, and social change.
Paul L. Beasley
USC TRIO Programs
Paul L. Beasley has just completed 29 years as TRIO director at the University of South Carolina. He devoted his entire career to working in college access programs, including TRIO positions with Emory University, the U.S. Department of Education and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. As one of the original participants in TRIO Upward Bound, Paul’s view of college access comes from many different perspectives and emphasizes an asset rather than a deficit model of education. He is a faculty member with a college access and success graduate certificate program offered by the Council for Opportunity in Education and Colorado State University. He also serves as a member of the advisory board for The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, which conducts and disseminates research and policy analysis to encourage policymakers, educators, and the public to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for low-income, first-generation, and disabled college students.
Althea Counts is the TRIO Director at the University of South Carolina. She has worked with first-generation college students for over 20 years. She earned her Masters in Student Personnel Services from the University of South Carolina and has dedicated her professional career to seeing first-generation students achieve the goal of a college degree. She has presented at state, regional and national conferences on topics related to best practices in serving first-generation college students.
Department of Mathematics
Jen Crooks-Monastra has worked with the Opportunity Scholars Program at the University of South Carolina, teaching mathematics to first-generation college students for 12 years. She has 16 years of experience teaching mathematics, including high school mathematics, undergraduate mathematics service courses and undergraduate content courses for prospective mathematics teachers. As a PhD candidate, she is interested in improving student learning in higher education settings. Her research interests in the field of mathematics education include equity, active learning, and beliefs, attitudes and dispositions toward teaching and learning. She also works as a graduate assistant in the Research, Evaluation and Measurement Center at the University of South Carolina.
Campus Mental Health Initiatives
April Scott currently serves as the Associate Director of Mental Health Initiatives at the University of South Carolina. This is her second year as a Psychology 101 instructor with Opportunity Scholar’s Program and she has also served in various administrative roles with TRIO at UofSC. She is also the co-facilitator of BlackSpace, a support group for Black students at UofSC. Scott has had experiences across multiple settings to include: a substance abuse outpatient facility for adults and adolescents, an in-home adoption therapy program, a community mental health center for children and families, a Veterans Affairs hospital, a group practice and a university counseling center. She also has over 5 years of instructional experience working special populations in higher education, such as student-athletes and first-generation college students.
Assistant Director for Faculty Development
James Winfield serves as the Assistant Director for Faculty Development for University 101 Programs at the University of South Carolina. James provides continuous training and support for over 200 University 101 instructors; this includes the Teaching Experience Workshops, syllabus preparation and the annual Building Connections Conference. James has taught multiple sections of the first-year seminar course: UNIV 101, The Student in the University (General and TRIO specific) and EDLP 520, The Teacher as Manager. Winfield previously worked in the Student Success Center with early-alert academic initiatives and in TRIO Programs as a pre-college counselor for both Upward Bound and a 21st Century Learning Center in Richland School District One.