Board of Directors

Dr. Lindsay Gary (PhD, MFA, MA, MPA)

Founder & Executive Director

Lindsay Gary, MPA, MA is a professor-scholar, social entrepreneur, and multidisciplinary artist. She graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in history and minors in dance and business administration, and with an MA in history and MPA in public policy from Texas Southern University. In 2018 she was selected as a Mellon Scholar in African American History and in 2019 obtained her Graduate Certificate in African American Studies. She works as a professor of history, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Africology and African American Studies.

Candace Okin

Board Member

Candace Okin offers nearly 10 years of fundraising, professional writing, communications and relationship management experience. Having worked as a professional Grant Writer for several nonprofits, she has effectively raised more than $4 million in private and government funds over the course of her career.

Candace has been published by several Houston based publications, which include 002 Magazine, and Bliss the Magazine, a relationship themed online Magazine. She also has experience in developing curriculum, as well as developing content for PR based efforts and marketing collateral, and has developed and executed communications strategies for stakeholders within nonprofit businesses. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Texas Southern University, and a Masters in Psychology from Houston Baptist University.

Kaylon Beck

Board Member

Kaylon Beck is a recent MBA graduate from Howard University School of Business where her concentration was Entrepreneurship. She is a native Houstonian who loves everything hospitality including: events, food, and travel. Kaylon is on the University of Houston Black Alumni Association Board along with Lindsay Gary.

Joseph Strawder

Board Member

With over 10+ years of experience in the educational field as a STEM teacher, mentor, playwright and coach, Joseph Strawder has consistently leveraged his knowledge and leadership skills to implement and innovate multiple successful educational and enrichment programs serving the youth of the greater Houston area. As the founder and CEO of Go Cyber Academy LLC., Joseph trusts that his knowledge as a Computer Science & Educational Technology consultant will help continue to innovate the landscape of technology and education by connecting learners to STEM related experiences that close the digital gap and divide plaguing underserved communities.


Board Member


Jennifer Gardner

Curriculum Writer

Jennifer Gardner is a media strategist, cultural historian, and self-proclaimed “professional student” dedicated to seeking knowledge in unconventional ways.

Born and raised in the artistically diverse Chicago, she is accustomed to understanding and connecting the nuances of building community. Jennifer is the Founding Member of FunDivine Dance Team (DePaul University) and served on the executive board for the Xi Lambda Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. She holds a B.A. in African & Black Diaspora Studies and minor in International Studies. and a M.A. in Africology & African American Studies from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA).

Talawa Adodo, Ph. D.

Curriculum Writer

Tristan is a Jamaican Africologist. He received his doctoral degree in Africology from Temple University. His primary research focuses on Afrikan history, Afrocentric theory, and language in Afrika and the diaspora.

Tarik Richardson Ph. D

Curriculum Writer

Tarik Richardson is a Ph.D.. candidate in the Department of Africology and African American Studies at Temple University. He is currently completing his dissertation focused on the discussion of culture and identity in East Africa. He is also an active member of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization Mid-Atlantic region.

Laylah Jordan

Digital Marketing Lead

Laylah is a freelance digital creative assistant. She graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Marketing.