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Veronica Womack

Veronica Womack
Associate Director of Inclusive Learning Communities
Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching

Veronica joined the Searle Center as an Associate Director in April of 2022. She is charged with shaping the vision, setting goals, designing leading-edge programs, and launch inclusive teaching initiatives that foster belonging and promote the success of all students, especially those who come from historically underrepresented communities and who hold marginalized identities. Veronica earned her doctorate in psychology from Howard University and completed an epidemiology-focused postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

In her previous role, Veronica was Senior Project Administrator in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University. In this position, she managed, wrote content, created faculty trainings and resources, and led faculty learning communities for the NSF-supported Inclusive STEM Teaching Project. As an Affiliate of the Searle Center, led numerous seminars and learning communities for staff and faculty members pertaining to practicing contemplative pedagogy, identifying microaggressions toward women of color, and creating inclusive course designs and learning environments. She also served on the Center’s Inclusive Teaching Practicum Curriculum Planning Committee. When she held a Research Associate position with the National Research Mentoring Network and the Scientific Careers and Research Development Group, she served as a curricular developer, facilitator, and qualitative researcher for a cultural awareness mentoring training targeting biomedical academic scientists.

As an Adjunct Instructor, Veronica has taught Social Psychology, Fundamentals of Statistical Methods, Research and Practice Evaluation, and Mindfulness Studies to a diverse population of future social scientists at numerous local institutions including: Lake Forest College, Chicago State University, Governor’s State University, and St. Augustine College. Her teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that the best way to grasp and retain knowledge from coursework is to make it meaningful, connecting the information to one’s life on personal, interpersonal, and societal levels. She centers this humanizing, transformation-oriented approach in her teaching style by posing reflective questions, and presenting timely examples to promote lively discussion and critical thinking of the course topic. As an Identity and Inclusion Scholar and Practitioner she has committed her research and engagement around academic and workplace-based initiatives to the cultivation of environments where individuals feel seen and reassured that they can show up as the full, authentic selves. This means intentionally challenging the assimilation-based presumptions of dominant narratives and embracing multicultural and identity-affirming frameworks and ways of being.

Veronica’s current scholarly interests focus on contemplative and critically reflective teaching practices, self-care, identity-conscious mentoring, and ‘brave space’ development in multi-ethnic learning communities. A (2021) piece in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology examined the role that uncompassionate self-responding plays in the link between racism and distress in African Americans. A forthcoming longitudinal multiple case study analysis investigates how successful Black women navigated gendered racism in their biomedical graduate programs.

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