Academic Pipeline Programs are initiatives that support and propel URM students along their educational journey by providing programming related to research, career and life preparation.
The Academic Pipeline Programs website is a resource for underrepresented populations to diversify the pathway from the bachelors to the professoriate
Dr. Curtis D. Byrd
Special Advisor to the Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Georgia State University
Dr. Rihana S. Mason
Urban Child Study Center
Georgia State University
April Norton, R.T. (R) (ARRT)
Community Engagement Specialist
Dr. Curtis D. Byrd is the Special Advisor to the Provost at Georgia State University (GSU). Dr. Byrd consults and provides leadership in GSU faculty and graduate student diversity and inclusion efforts. He has amassed over 25 years in faculty and student diversity and inclusion programming on college campuses. Most recently he served as a research associate and consultant for the HBCU STEM Undergraduate Success Center at Morehouse College. Prior to his time at Morehouse he served for eight years as the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and Sr. Associate Director of Graduate Enrollment at Clark Atlanta University. Before this he served as Director of Special Programs (Undergraduate Research) and Associate Director of the McNair Scholars program at University of Florida and Director of the McNair Scholars Program at Georgia State University. Dr. Byrd’s honors and appointments include the following: serving on the National Advisory Board for Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, conference co-chair of the Annual National SAEOPP McNair Conference in Atlanta, GA, and being awarded the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals (NAGAP) Enrollment Management grant for his doctoral research on Innovative Strategies for Diversifying the Professoriate. For three years (2013-2016) Byrd served as an Action Research Consultant for the Southern Regional Educational Board’s Doctoral Scholars Program (DSP). He has several publications on innovative strategies to diversify graduate students and faculty ranks, and currently is working on a book called Academic Pipeline Programs-Diversifying Pathways from the Bachelors to the Professoriate. Dr. Byrd earned both his B.S. in Psychology and M.Ed. in Higher Education at Iowa State University. In 2016, he graduated with his Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) in Adult Leadership Education from the University of Georgia.
Dr. Rihana S. Mason received her doctorate in Experimental Psychology with an emphasis in Cognitive Psychology from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC in 2004. She is now a Research Scientist at the Urban Child Study Center at Georgia State University and an Adjunct faculty member at Spelman College, her undergraduate alma mater. As an undergraduate at Spelman, she participated in the National Institutes of Mental Health Careers and Opportunities in Undergraduate Research Training Program (NIMH-COR) and was later named a NIMH-COR star in 2007. She began mentoring her own students in 2005 and has served as a faculty mentor for NIMH-COR, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE), and the Ronald E. McNair Programs. She was awarded the Ronald E. McNair Faculty Appreciation Award in 2008 for her dedicated service. Having served in a dual capacity, both a mentee and mentor, she has accumulated an array of knowledge as it relates to forging mentee/mentor relationships in the academy and common pedagogies that exist across undergraduate research training models. She served as an Associate Professor in Psychology at Emmanuel College for several years where she helped to expand the undergraduate curriculum to include courses which emphasized research and writing in psychology. During her tenure at Emmanuel she was awarded the Firebaugh Memorial Faculty Award in 2015. She serves as the chair for the Committee for the Equality of Professional Opportunity (CEPO) under the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) and as a member of the Psi Chi Diversity Committee.
April Norton currently serves as the Social Media Marketing and Community Engagement Specialist at the Academic Pipeline Project. She is also a Radiologic Technologist, and serves as a member of multiple Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion business resource groups within healthcare.
Miss Norton earned a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate at University of South Florida in 2021 and a Master of Arts in Africana Women’s Studies at Clark Atlanta University in 2019. Her research involved Black women and social media campaigns against sexual violence, which opened opportunities to facilitate and present professional development seminars and learning workshops at the 24th through 26th annual SAEOPP McNair/SSS Scholars Research Conferences. Here, she presented Social Media the SMART Way, exploring the ways in which young professionals and students can efficiently utilize social networking sites for networking and career planning, growth, and development.
Miss Norton, a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, prides herself in her passion for safety, access, equity, and education. She has facilitated, managed, and actively participated in events, initiatives, and campaigns such as an annual event providing minority youth in the community with academic funds, Black History Month Career Day, One Million Backpacks Initiative, a Clothesline Project against sexual and domestic violence, and Mayor Edna Jackson’s Campaign for Healthy Kids and Families.
Her goal is to continue to work to create space, increase visibility, and curate diverse and inclusive environments where Black women, POCs, people who identify as LGBTQQIAAP, and people of all (dis)abilities and ages can exist and thrive safely, autonomously, comfortably, and equitably.