Advocating for WISER and more inclusive public policy


Founded on International Woman’s Day 2016, the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race (WISER) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)3 research institute. WISER’s mission is to expand women-focused policy research to include the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American and multi-racial women. WISER believes the well-being of Asian, Black, Hispanic, and Native American and multi-racial is vital for social and economic progress.

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Leadership Team

The WISER leadership team consists of professionals with expertise in economics, finance, journalism, law and public policy. WISER’s leadership is committed to creating a society where the needs of women of color are included in the design and implementation of public policy.

Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe, Ph.D.
Founder and President

Rhonda is president of the Women’s Institute for Science, Equity and Race. She has served on the faculty at Barnard College, Bennett College, Bucknell University, Columbia University, Duke University, and the University of Vermont. Rhonda’s research focuses on three areas: gender and racial inequality; the diversity of STEM; and the demography of higher education.

Idrissa A. Boly, M.A.
Board Member

Idrissa is an Investment Officer at Colchester Global Investors. Idrissa manages and constructs portfolios, monitors risk on a daily basis and conducts ongoing statistical and fundamental economic research. Prior to joining Colchester, Idrissa worked for Duke University Asset Management Company(DUMAC) where he spent the last three years in the public security team.

Rebecca Dixon, J.D.
Board Member

Rebecca is a Deputy Program Director at the National Employment Law Project (NELP). At NELP, she provides coordination and oversight of programmatic activities deliverables and benchmarks for NELP’s Access and Opportunity program.

Demetria Howard-Watkins, J.D.
Board Member

Demetria is a licensed attorney based in Dallas, Texas. In 2015, she established Howard Watkins, PLLC, a firm dedicated to family law and advocacy for women and children. Prior experience with government agencies and community based non-profit organizations provides her with a multifaceted skill set.

Tamara Y. Jeffries, M.F.A.
Board Member

Tamara is an Associate Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Bennett College in North Carolina. She came to the academy after more than two decades as a writer and editor for national publications. She was Executive Editor of Essence, the nation’s largest Black women’s magazine, from 2000-2004.