MEET THE TEAM

The project was created in 2014 by a team of Haitians under the leadership of Dr. Guerda Nicolas, professor in the School of Education and Human Development at University of Miami. The key members of the development team are:  Guerline Sanon (Project Coordinator), Djevelyne Phileus (Research Assistant), Guerdiana Thelomar (Research Assistant), Venise Predestin (Research Assistant), and the teachers’ curriculum was developed by Sarah Quessa, Doctoral Candidate in the Higher Education Program at Northeastern University.

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Dr. Guerda Nicolas

Associate Professor at University of Miami, School of Education and Human Development
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She obtained her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Boston University. She completed her predoctoral training at Columbia University Medical Center and her postdoctoral training the New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University, Department of Child Psychiatry. As a multicultural (Haitian American) and multilingual psychologist (Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole), her research is reflective of her background and interests. Her current research focus on the integration of race and culture and well being for ethnically diverse and immigrant communities. In addition, she conducts research on social support networks of Caribbean populations with a specific focus on Haitians. She has published several articles and book chapters and delivered numerous invited presentations at the national and international conferences in the areas of women issues, depression and intervention among Haitians, social support networks of ethnic minorities, and spirituality. Her recent book, Social Networks and the Mental Health of Haitian Immigrants by Caribbean Studies Press provides information regarding the lives of Haitian immigrants through research at the intersection of culture, social networks, and mental health. In addition, recommendations for providing culturally sensitive and effective services are included in the book
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Guerdiana Thelomar

Human and Social Development and Visual Journalism double-major at the University of Miami
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Guerdiana Thelomar is a young Haitian-American who was born in Miami, Florida, but has a heart for her parents’ homeland of Haiti. She is currently a senior at the University of Miami double majoring in Human and Social Development, Visual Journalism, with a minor in Africana Studies. Her involvements include being the President of the University of Miami Haitian student organization Planet Kreyol, a member of the UM Butler Center for Service and Leadership Student Advisory Board, a co-chair for UM’s Black Awareness Month Committee, and many more. Her work also extends beyond South Florida, into the broader international community. She has made several trips to Haiti to work with young people and facilitate workshops on leadership and community building. She is also a 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University commitment maker and wants to empower youth and equip them with the tools, skills, and resources needed to achieve their dreams. Ms. Thelomar is deeply committed to social change, international development, and cultivating leadership capacity and youth empowerment. She believes that the Haiti Legacy Project will serve as a catalyst to shedding more light on Haiti’s history, people and culture. Ms. Thelomar also believes that by sharing this information with other youngHaitians, a newfound sense of pride and understanding of the culture will arise.
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Venise Predestin

Clinical Psychology at the doctorate level
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Venise-Jade Predestin (Veniz Pwedesten) is first a sister, daughter, granddaughter, cousin, niece, and friend. She studies Clinical Psychology at the doctorate level at Carlos Albizu University. Veniz' research interests include transmitted and current direct psychological effects of slavery on the people of Alkebu-Lan ("African") descent and anxiety disorders in Ayisyen girls and women. She currently works as a psychotherapist at Chrysalis Health. Veniz is the owner and executive designer of Eritay, a fashion brand grounded in Alkebu-Lan and psychology concepts. She aims to Do No Harm and Intend and Do for Positive Shift as with Project Legacy.
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Guerline Sanon

Master’s program in Special Education at the University of Miami
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Guerline was raised in Haiti, after immigrating to the United States at an early age; she resided in the Northeast and then moved to Miami five years ago. She worked as an Infant and Toddler teacher for 13 years. She graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. Upon graduation, she moved to Massachusetts where she worked as a long-term substitute teacher in a preschool setting. Guerline’s various experiences in the early childhood field led her to pursue a graduate degree in Early Childhood and Special Education at University of Miami. She successfully completed the Master’s program in Special Education at the University of Miami, School of Education in 2011. Obtaining a graduate degree in special education has enhanced her experiences and provided her with more skills to work with young children, their families, and staff. Guerline is currently working as a Service Coordinator at Early Steps in Miami Children’s Hospital.
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Sarah-Jane Quessa

Masters in Education
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Sarah-Jane completed her undergraduate work at Hampshire College, a small liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts. She obtained her liberal art degree majoring in cultural studies and comparative literature. She subsequently attended Tufts University where she received her masters in Education. For close to ten years Sarah-Jane was a Humanities Teacher in Boston, Massachusetts. Though Sarah-Jane enjoyed teaching and supporting the academic success of young people, the inequities in the public school system propelled her to further her schooling in hopes of having a greater social impact. Sarah-Jane later obtained a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies, in Educational Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Sarah-Jane is currently a Northeastern University Doctoral Candidate in the Doctor of Education, Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership program. Sarah-Jane was born in Haiti and now hopes to return to help build capacity and sustainable educational development opportunities.
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Djevelyne Phileus

Bachelor’s of Science in Education
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Djevelyne Phileus was born in the small town of Liancourt, Haiti. She migrated to the United States in 1999 with her family and currently resides in West Palm Beach, FL. Djevelyne graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education. Her work in the Haitian community including serving as President for the Planet Kreyol, the Haitian Student organization at the University of Miami; working with Love & Care International which currently has partnerships in Haiti and collaborating with Dr. Guerda Nicolas on the Haiti Legacy Project. Djevelyne hopes that this project will serve as a foundation for greater archives of Haitian heritage and history, recognized both nationally and internationally.

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Funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation