CGPDI Faculty Fellows

The Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives Faculty Fellows program is one part of the larger graduate and professional student mentoring program.  This small-group based mentoring initiative provides students the opportunity to connect, resource, and commune with their peers and a faculty member.

The origin of the CGPDI Faculty Fellows came from Dr. DaMaris Hill, who in 2016 began to take a small group of Black women to dinner at least once a semester.  As a means of enhancing our retention efforts regarding students of color, her casual dinners allowed a unique group of students to come together and discuss their graduate experience and ask questions about the graduate school process. Her belief was that her interdisciplinary group of black women in graduate school could provide a "cultural community" that the students were missing. 


2018-19 CGPDI Faculty Fellows


Dr. DaMaris Hill

Dr. Hill is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. She a teaching scholar that contributes to larger dialogues about pedagogical practices concerning creative writing, literature, digital humanities, cultural studies and gender studies. Dr. Hill’s scholarly research takes an interdisciplinary approach, as does her creative process. Dr. Hill is the author of The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland, \ Vi-zə-bəl \ \ Teks-chərs \(Visible Textures), and A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing (Bloomsbury, Jan 2019). 

Dr. Hill’s teaching and mentoring activities are inspired by bell hooks. In Teaching to Transgress, bell hooks reminds us that “[a]s a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another’s voices, in recognizing one another’s presence.” 

In addition to being the inaugural CGPDI Faculty Fellow, Dr. Hill has also served two terms as Scholar-In-Residence for Race and Teaching, Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching.


Dr. DeShana Collett

For over the last ten years, Dr. Collett has been committed to academic and professional excellence within the UKPA program, the institution, and professionally.  Dr. Collett teaches in the didactic curriculum. Currently, she is the course director for the Clinical Methods and Patient Evaluation and Management courses. She has previously held long-term national membership in the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Inclusion & Diversity Council and Chaired the PAEA Cultural Competency Committee for several years. Dr. Collett co-created and facilitated the Minority Faculty Leadership Pando™ workshop for PAEA.  Dr. Collett was a 2016 Fellow for the Bluegrass Consortium Academic Leadership Academy and currently Co-Chairs the Unconscious Bias Student Subcommittee, and the African, African American, Native American Affinity Group at the University. Additionally, Dr. Collett serves as an accreditations site visitor for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant(ARC-PA).

A key aspect of her commitment and leadership is creating and maintaining a vision that allows for opportunities and long-term growth. Her leadership has been instrumental in influencing the outcomes of her organizational unit. While serving in the role of Director of Admissions and Recruitment, she was instrumental in the development and implementation of holistic admissions to promote diversity and inclusion in the physician assistant program. Additionally, while serving in the role of Director of Accreditation, she created and established a foundational structure that was essential for the implementation of a systematic evaluation review process of program outcomes.

Dr. Collett received her bachelor of science, master of science, and doctor of philosophy, all from the University of Kentucky. She has more than 15 years of clinical experience in family medicine, and she has a specific interest in women’s health. Her research interest is in the area of health and healthcare disparities, with a focus in the areas of clinical integration of genomics and diversity in precision medicine.