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Advisory Board

Ayisha Dabre MuminAyisha Dabre Mumin (Immediate Past Chair) is Director of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Workforce Transformation Division, where she leads a visionary organization responsible for cross-agency collaborative efforts to increase employee engagement, improve process efficiency and enhance fiscal accountability, while leveraging research, data and analysis to support fact-based strategic decision-making on issues affecting the current and future aviation workforce. Ayisha began working for the FAA in Washington D.C. in 2004 and has held several different leadership roles since. Prior to joining the FAA, she worked at US Airways in Arlington, Virginia, where her last role was the Manager of Human Resources and Labor Analysis. Before then, she worked at Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester NY, where she was a part of the Image Science Career Development Program and worked on process improvement initiatives.

Ayisha holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Norfolk State University, where she was an Environmental Protection Agency Undergraduate Fellow, as well as a Master of Business Administration degree from Old Dominion University, with concentration in Decision Sciences/Operations Management. While completing her graduate studies at Old Dominion, she also worked at Ciba Specialty Chemicals (now BASF) in Suffolk Virginia, conducting Industrial Hygiene research and studies at the chemical production facility. Ayisha also possesses a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Certification and is a graduate of the FAA’s Senior Leadership Development Program. She currently resides in the Detroit Metropolitan area with her husband and daughter.

​Dr. Nicholas LumsdenDr. Nicholas Lumsden (Recorder) is a native of Norfolk, Va and graduated from Maury High school in 2000. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Norfolk State University in 2004, and was a part of the DNIMAS program. Following NSU, he then went on to attend Eastern Virginia Medical School where he received the L.D. Britt Scholarship. Following medical school, he was accepted into the Family Medicine residency program at York Hospital in York Pennsylvania. Nicholas currently practices Family Medicine in Pennsylvania where he lives with his wife and three children.

Dr. Harold D. CooperDr. Harold D. Cooper is a Physical Scientist in the Office of Pesticide Programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at George Mason University. Before entering the federal government, he spent four years at Rexahn Pharmaceuticals in Rockville, MD as a Medicinal/Organic Chemist doing cancer research. His research methods used computational ligand design and total synthesis of small molecules for target specific anti-cancer drug candidates. In 2014, Harold completed Post-Doctoral training in medicinal & organic chemistry at Northeastern University where he focused on the design of novel Gram-negative antibiotics.

Harold graduated from Norfolk State University with his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 2004 as a CMR Scholar. In 2013, he completed his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Connecticut (UConn). While at UConn, Harold was a Multicultural Scholars Program Fellow and New England Board of Higher Education Fellow; his dissertation work focused on the design, synthesis, and development of small molecule therapeutics based on complex natural products to treat infectious disease and cancer. Harold is a native of VA Beach and currently resides in the Northern VA area. Outside of research, he enjoys traveling with his family, sports, being active in his church, mentoring, and serving the community.


David J. MasonDavid J. Mason (Interim Chair) is an accomplished senior executive, with extensive experience leading, directing, and managing chemical, technological, and telecommunication operations in private industry, government, and academia. He is a Norfolk State University chemistry graduate and received his Master of Science Degree from Hampton University, studying the extension of the lithium-ethylenediamine reducing system to abietic acids.

Mr. Mason is founder and principal of HMG ePublishing, LLC. His firm provides individuals and businesses turnkey solutions to fulfill their eCommerce and technology needs. Its major solutions include home automation services, electronic book (eBook) publishing, and electronic equipment sales. As principal, he provides leadership for all day-to-day operations via an integrated team of computer technicians, professionals, and partners. Electronic books developed and released by the firm are currently available from major retailers.

Before starting HMG ePublishing, Mr. Mason served as Vice President for Hatco Chemical Corporation. He was responsible for the Company's environmental affairs, health and safety programs, regulatory management, and new acquisitions issues. Previous to this position, he served with Velsico Chemical, ICI Americas, and Hercules Corporation, in a variety of positions, including director environmental affairs, manager regulatory affairs, regional environmental manager and environmental manager. He currently resides with his wife and family in Skillman, NJ.

Dr. Vanessa N. PeteDr. Vanessa N. Petersrs is a research scientist in the Materials Science Division of the Physical and Life Sciences directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She received both her BS in Chemistry (’12) and PhD in Materials Science & Engineering (’17) from Norfolk State University. Her dissertation work focused on the control of physical and chemical phenomena using various optical materials . At Lawrence Livermore National Lab she works on projects for the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the most energetic laser in the world. Her work includes the electrodeposition of metal shells for NIF targets and the isolation, identification, and approaches to mitigate damage precursors on optics used on NIF.Apart from research, Vanessa is passionate about her involvement in outreach efforts. Vanessa participated as a panelist for an EmpowerHer event in Los Angeles, CA to speak with underrepresented middle and high school aged girls. In the spring of 2019, she assembled a team of minority, early career researchers to take part in a STEM career panel and luncheon with the black student union at a local high school in Livermore, CA. Based on the positive reception and feedback from the students and staff, she and the team started a mentoring program at the Livermore high school to work with African-American students. She is also a part of the HBCU college tour and college preparatory program at her church.

Dr. Crystal WithersDr. Crystal Withers is the Practice Manager for Integrative Rheumatology, PLLC, a private-practice rheumatology office founded by her husband Dr.Charles Withers, II in 2017. Crystal laid the foundation for her professional career in the DNIMAS program at Norfolk State University as a Chemistry Pre-Medicine major. While at Norfolk State, she served as a volunteer at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, member of the Chemistry Club, and president of the DNIMAS Student Association. She graduated with her B.S. in Chemistry Pre-Medicine in 2003 and relocated to Durham, NC for the next phase of her education.

After NSU, Crystal completed a one-year post-baccalaureate research program Duke University and further matriculated into the School of Medicine in 2004. She was very active while at Duke and served in many capacities, including extensive involvement in the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), School of Medicine Admissions Committee, and mentorship of high school and undergraduate students interested in medicine. Before completing her doctoral program, Crystal enrolled in the Graduate School and in 2012, completed her Pathology Ph.D. degree on immunologic regulation in bacterial sepsis. She received her Doctor of Medicine diploma in 2013 and relocated to the Charlotte area with her husband and family. For the next four years, Crystal worked as the Director of Operations for Nikao Church in Charlotte, NC and in 2017 transitioned to her current position at Integrative Rheumatology. Crystal's academic accomplishments may be notable, but she is most proud of her amazing husband and their three wonderful children. While there is no cape for her position, she embraces the life as Wife, Mother, Manager, and most recently the Virtual Homeschool support staff for her three elementary school scholars. Never a dull moment!