Meet the STEM Team
Chad Womack, Ph.D.
Dr. Chad Womack is the senior director of STEM Initiatives and the HBCU Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (ICE) at UNCF. Prior to joining UNCF, Dr. Womack co-founded The America21 Project and DC Innovates, both innovation-based community and economic development nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering metro-centers and underserved communities through STEM education, tech-entrepreneurship and access to capital. In addition, Dr. Womack led the White House-based HBCU Startup and Innovation Initiative, which resulted in the launch of the HBCU Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship initiative at UNCF.
At UNCF, Dr. Womack’s work portfolio includes the Fund II Foundation STEM Scholars Program—a $50 million and 10-year commitment to support 500 academically talented African American high school students pursuing STEM as majors in college and careers in the technology industry; the EE Just Life Sciences Institute, which includes the Bristol-Myers Squibb-sponsored EE Just Life Sciences Postgraduate Fellowship Program; the UNCF HBCU Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Initiative; the UNCF HBCU Innovation Summit and the HBCU Center of Excellence in Computing and Computer Science, which includes a partnership with Google.
Dr. Womack was previously a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Agency, National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the DC Mayor’s Innovation and Technology Inclusion Council. Dr. Womack completed several postdoctoral research fellowships at the National Institutes of Health in the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Vaccine Research Center, and at the Harvard AIDS Institute and the Harvard School of Public Health in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Womack earned his doctoral degree in biomedical sciences from the Morehouse School of Medicine and is a proud graduate of Morehouse College where he majored in biology with minors in chemistry and applied physics.
Lu Duong is principal director for The Fund II Foundation-UNCF STEM Program and The HBCU Innovation, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship unit. The Fund II – STEM Program is the Foundation’s flagship $50 million investment with UNCF. He drives operations, partnership relations, communication and strategic growth efforts for the program including The HBCU Innovation initiative to strengthen and diversify Silicon Valley’s tech-pipeline with partners including Google, Salesforce, Uber, eBay and others.
He heads the alignment, development and execution of operational strategies to enhance, extend and build the program’s initiatives across all integrated channels, digital platforms and strategic growth initiatives.
Previously, he was director of operations and chief of staff for the STEM and tech unit. Prior, he served as manager of GMSP within the Leadership Development Group, a $2 billion initiative by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, overseeing communications and digital. He was the architect of the GMSP Alumni Advisory Council and Association; connecting nearly 20,000 Gates Foundation scholars worldwide.
Prior to GMSP, Lu managed marketing and communications for the Socrates Society at The Aspen Institute, an emerging leaders platform for executives in all industries including venture capital, technology, education, business and non-profit. He also was a Congressional Liaison, prior to that, in the strategic communications team of CRSC for a large scale program under Booz Allen Hamilton.
He was communications intern to former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Gubernatorial Committee Appointments intern to Virginia’s former Gov. Mark Warner.
He serves on the board of directors for the Pawtricity Foundation in Washington, DC.
Joakina Stone is the senior relationship manager for academic support and student services for the UNCF STEM Scholars Program. Joakina’s responsibilities include the development of the STEM Scholars Program’s Academic Advising and Student Support Services unit. This department within the program focuses on ensuring that scholars successfully navigate the rigorous challenges associated with a STEM-oriented education, while developing critical wrap-around support services to support scholars through the entire sequencing of their undergraduate careers. She also focuses on developing critical partnerships and program initiatives to enhance program efficacy.
Joakina also provides support to former scholars through the UNCF STEM Scholars Alumni Association as they embark on life after the undergraduate degree. Throughout her 10-year career in higher education, she has worked in various functional areas including residential life, academic advising and diversity and inclusion initiatives at historically white and historically black institutions. In addition to being a senior manager for UNCF, Joakina is pursuing a Ph.D. in the College of Education at University of Maryland.
Matt is the senior manager of operations and administration. He manages and provides support for operational strategies and work across all program verticals for the $48 million dollar Fund II Foundation – UNCF STEM Scholars Program.
One of Matt’s passions lies in nonprofit work; he is particularly interested to be a compassionate guide to help scholars achieve their greatest heights both personally and academically. He has a background in public policy from Georgetown University and previously worked for the American Red Cross managing fundraising programs for preparedness and disaster relief operations. Matt was born and raised in the Washington, DC, area and lives with his partner and six-year-old Labrador. In his downtime, you can find him writing, performing and recording on his beloved piano. He is also an avid photographer and loves world travel, reading and gardening.
Alasia joined the UNCF STEM Scholars Program team in as a relationship manager. Her focus includes the development of the UNCF STEM Scholars Alumni Association and developing enhanced academic and mental health and wellness initiatives. Prior to her role, Alasia worked as a program coordinator with Urban Alliance monitoring the professional, academic and personal performance of high school interns. Alasia also worked as a Program Assistant for the American Council on Education where she focused on post-secondary credential completion, alternative credentialing and credits for prior learning. Additionally, Alasia has previous experience working in higher education as an orientation and retention specialist, assisting in guiding students through their academic journey from new student orientation to graduation, with an emphasis on minority populations.
Alasia received her undergraduate degree in human development and sociology from Virginia Tech University and her master’s degree in public administration with a focus on social policy from The American University.
Tyra joins the STEM Scholars Program as program coordinator. In this role, her portfolio of work spans all major critical program initiatives. Also, Tyra is overseeing the development and implementation of a new STEM Scholars Pre-Medical Track Initiative. This initiative provides pre-medical track scholars with extensive and robust wrap-around support services, resources, skills and essential networking needed to on their journey to practicing medicine.
She is originally from West Palm Beach, FL, and is a recent graduate of Howard University. She received her bachelor of science degree in human health performance and leisure studies as a pre-medical student with minors in chemistry and biology. As a student in STEM, she graduated with honors and traveled around the world engaging in various service projects for underserved communities. While attending college, she served as a site coordinator for Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break Program. Tyra was able to successfully lead 50 students in service during spring break in the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma. In her spare time, Tyra has created a health and wellness food website and resource to encourage black and brown people to prioritize their health in fun and creative way.