Dean of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications

Gracie Lawson-Borders, Ph.D., is Dean of the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University. She received her Ph.D. from Wayne State University, masters and bachelor’s degrees from Northwestern University and Michigan State University, respectively. Dr. Lawson-Borders was formerly Associate Dean and Professor in Communication and Journalism at the University of Wyoming, and she previously served as Director of African American Studies at the university. Her research examines media coverage of minority groups and issues in the media, as well as media management, convergence and new media. She is a former journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at the Akron Beacon Journal, the Oakland Press and the Chicago Tribune.


Assistant Dean for Administration and Associate Professor in the School of Business

Anthony D. Wilbon, PhD, is the Assistant Dean for Administration and Associate Professor of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management in the School of Business at Howard University. His expertise is in strategic technology management. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). Particular areas of research include technology strategy, quantitative analysis, information technology, and technology innovation and entrepreneurship. Research in sustainable environmental engineering through the integration of social, environmental, and economic considerations into systems design methods has also been explored through funded NOAA research projects. Dr. Wilbon has previously held positions at organizations such as the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Booz Allen and Hamilton. His professional experience and capabilities extend to business, management, and technology-related topics. He received his Ph.D. in Management of Science, Technology and Innovation at George Washington University, his MBA in Management from Howard University, and his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University.


Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies

Gary Harris, PhD, wears many hats at Howard University. He is the Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies, a professor of Electrical Engineering, and Director of the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Facility within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering College of Engineering, Architecture & Computer Sciences. His research interests have focused mainly on the growth and characterization of electronic and optical materials, the fabrication of semiconductor devices with special attention given to wide bandgap and compound semiconductor materials, and applications of nanotechnology. During the last seven years, Dr. Harris has focused on the growth and characterization of SiC and has designed and fabricated some novel devices and sensors in SiC (SiC inverters, photoconductors, FET’s, QCM, etc.) and growth and characterization BN, B4C, GaN, GaInN, InN, etc. nanowires and tubes for photonic, high-speed, and mechanical applications. Dr. Harris is an avid and valuable advocate for innovation among faculty and students at Howard University, especially within the tech sector.


Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Grant Warner, PhD, is an established technology entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of ConnectYard, a social analytics platform integrated into leading learning management systems and e-learning platforms. He is also a co-founder of XediaLabs, a DC-based incubation firm that provides training and technical consulting to local startups. Dr. Warner leads the Bison Startup and Bison Accelerate courses at Howard University, in which students are guided through the process of founding technology startups. He also directs the Howard University - Hampton University I-Corps Site, which focuses on commercializing university research from HBCUs in the DMV area. Additionally, Dr. Warner is a member of the national faculty for the NSF I-Corps program. In that role, he has provided innovation and entrepreneurship training to 100+ teams and companies from across the nation. Dr. Warner received a B.S. degree from Cornell University, an M.S. degree from Penn State University, and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, all in Mechanical Engineering.


Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Assessment in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications

Robin Thornhill, DMIN, serves as the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Assessment in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications at Howard University. She is also Director of the student professional development co-curricular – the Adopt-A-Team Professional Development Program. In addition, she manages the School’s Communications Entrepreneurship Research and Resource Center (CERRC), where she co-teaches the graduate and undergraduate courses in the program. Her background includes degrees and experience in Advertising, Entrepreneurship and Counseling. Dr. Thornhill completed her doctoral degree in ministry from Howard School of Divinity.


Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center

Carl E. Brown, Jr., is the executive director of the Washington, D.C. Small Business Development Center (DC SBDC) Network at Howard University. Mr. Brown has more than two and a half decades of business development experience, having served five years as the Executive Director at the Center for Minority Business Development. His previous work history includes: Manager for Business Development, DBE Programs, Director of Civil Rights, and Acting Assistant General Manager for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA); Senior Contracts Manager at Verizon Communications; Director of Human Resources at Pepsi-Cola of Washington; Senior Purchasing Agent, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission; and as a Procurement Specialist at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He earned a MGA, from University of Maryland University College; and a B.A. from Howard University; a Masters Certificate in Human Resource Management from University of Maryland University College; and a Certificate in Leadership Development from the University of Maryland Executive Leadership Institute. Mr. Brown is the recipient of numerous awards and citations for his work in the community and with minority-owned businesses.  


Patent and Trademark Resource Center Specialist

Adia Burriss Coleman currently serves as the Patent and Trademark Librarian for Howard University Libraries. She is the representative for Howard University in the Federal Patent and Trademark Resource Center program through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She received her B.A. in History from Morgan State University and her Master of Science in Information Management from University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the importance of competitive intelligence through the lens of intellectual property management in start-ups and small business.


President and CEO of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights (DCCH)

Andre Byers is the President and CEO of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights (DCCH), a private, community development corporation whose purpose is to further the economic development of Washington, DC, particularly the Columbia Heights neighborhood. He is a lecturer and the Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Community Development at Howard University. Additionally, he is the owner of Byers Investment Group, which owns and manages commercial and residential properties in Washington, DC, and hunnybunny boutique, a manufacturer and retailer specializing in all-natural bath and beauty products. Mr. Byers previously served as the Director for the Great Streets program within the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in Washington, DC. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from University of Missouri-Columbia and a graduate degree in Macroeconomics from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.


Graduate Assistant to the John H. Johnson Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship

Passionate about emerging technology, civil rights and entrepreneurship, Erin Horne McKinney serves as the Graduate Assistant to the John H. Johnson Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship at Howard University. She is also Senior Advisor on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Washington, DC’s Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity (DMGEO). Ms. Horne McKinney is a serial entrepreneur and intrapreneur with nearly two decades of tech policy, marketing communications, and economic and business development experience. She is a cofounder and managing partner of #BFF (Black Female Founders), and she has held leadership roles with the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs (NAMDE) and the Maynard Institute. Horne completed her undergraduate studies in journalism and business and graduate studies in tech policy at Howard University. She is currently a doctoral student at Howard.


Founder and CEO of Notebrush

Robert Deary-Andall is Founder and CEO of Notebrush, Inc., which provides a way for users to showcase their creative talent or even brand their business in a new way. His first startup was TheMove, an event/scheduling app for college students. Robert is a senior at Howard University with a major in Information Technology.

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Howard University

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