EduSeed is the umbrella nonprofit organization for SisterMentors
Montina M. Cole
Montina Cole is Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. She was previously Counsel at the law firm of Schiff Hardin LLP, Sullivan & Worcester LLP and at the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, where she was a member of the law firm’s Hiring Committee, and helped to recruit women and minorities. Ms. Cole previously served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where she advised senior departmental officials on legal and policy issues regarding U.S. investment abroad. She worked with U.S. and South African government officials and non-governmental organizations to help develop the 1995 U.S.-South Africa Seminar on Commercial Law, to help promote trade between the U.S. and South Africa.
Ms. Cole’s legislative and political experience also includes her service on the congressional staff of former U.S. Representative Jim Slattery, and experience with campaign finance management.
Ms. Cole received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1991, where she served on the Senior Editorial Board of the Journal of Law and Politics, and was a founding member of the Coalition for Diversity. She graduated from Washburn University in 1988, where she received her B.A. in political science, cum laude, with University and Departmental honors. She is a member of the bar in the District of Columbia and in Pennsylvania, and the American and Energy bar associations.
Ms. Cole is a certified yoga instructor. She received her teacher certification from Satchidananda Ashram –Yogaville, Buckingham, Virginia. She has a daily practice of meditation and yoga.
Shireen K. Lewis, Ph.D.
Dr. Shireen Lewis has received many awards for her work with SisterMentors, including an honorary degree from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and EBONY magazine for making a difference for children, schools and communities. She has devoted over 30 years to mentoring and coaching women and girls. She has mentored women in college, encouraging them to pursue graduate and professional school.
Dr. Lewis was Dean and teacher of a high school for girls in Trinidad and Tobago. She has served on the board of several community organizations that promote education and equity for women and girls. She is past Co-President of the Washington Branch of the American Association of University Women. Dr. Lewis earned her Ph.D. from Duke University and her J.D. from The University of Virginia School of Law. She has a B.A. from Douglass College, a women’s college at Rutgers University, where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society in her junior year.
Dr. Lewis practices yoga and meditation every day and is a frequent visitor to Satchidananda Ashram —Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia. She is vegan.
Thomas Jesulaitis has served as the Director of Contracts and Grants at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) for the past 27 years. AIR is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving people’s lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged. He has participated in the growth of the organization through sound counsel and advice in proposal submission, contract negotiation, and project administration. Mr. Jesulaitis has built the contract function from an initial staff of one to a staff now of eleven with significant expertise in all areas of contract development and administration. As part of AIR’s Leadership Team, he is also involved in all aspects of strategic planning and development and implementation of corporate goals both yearly and over five years.
Mr. Jesulaitis received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a Masters Certificate in Government Contracting from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Marianne Tshihamba is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and has lived in the United States for most of her life. For the past 15 years, she has worked with associations, non-profit organizations and government contractors as a conference and event planner in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Prior to working conference and event planning activities, Ms. Tshihamba produced newspaper supplements to encourage trade and investment between the U.S. and foreign markets. Working with senior government and industry officials, including heads of state, ministers, and local Fortune 100 CEOs, she raised over $350,000 in advertising contracts.
As an advocate for the global struggle against HIV/AIDS, Ms. Tshihamba has organized congressional study tours to Africa with congressional staff and Governor Howard Dean. She managed a USAID-funded small grants program to provide funding for HIV/AIDS organizations in developing countries.
Ms. Tshihamba holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (Women’s Studies, Comparative Literature, Film) from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Kenda Kittrell Chavis, PT DScPT MPT
Kenda Kittrell Chavis is an experienced physical therapist and rehabilitation consultant with over tenyears of experience working with individuals with both physical and intellectual disabilities. As a physical therapist, she has treated a myriad of diagnoses across life spans. As a clinical consultant, Dr. Chavis worked closely with the District of Columbia Department of Disability Services through a partnership with Liberty Healthcare and Georgetown University’s Child Development Center. Dr. Chavis is a tireless advocate for individuals with disabilities as well as for training and development of caregivers who support individuals with complex needs. She helped develop professional development programs for community staff agencies and adult day care centers as well as provided individualized training for families. Dr. Chavis was also a co-presenter at the International Center of Equity in Health in Cuba as a graduate student. She believes that this experience fueled her passion for patient advocacy as well as training and development. Currently, Dr. Chavis works as a pediatric physical therapist specializing in infants and toddlers with developmental delays and medically fragile diagnoses.
As a philanthropist, Dr. Chavis is active in many civic organization including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, The Links, Inc., and Junior League of Washington, D.C. Dr. Chavis was born in New York City and was raised in Mount Vernon, New York. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia and both a B.S and M.P.T from Howard University. She completed her Doctor of Science degree at The University of Maryland Physical Therapy program within the School of Medicine with the support of her family and the village of women in SisterMentors.