Marissa Ackerman assists the DiversityEdu team in building relationships with potential partners. She works closely with the Business Development Manager to help universities and businesses build inclusion and diversity initiatives with the help of DiversityEdu courses and tools.
Prior to DiversityEdu, Marissa worked as a Regional Marketing Specialist at STEMscopes, a leader in PreK-12 STEM curriculum in the EdTech/SaaS/STEM industry. At STEMscopes, Marissa worked on building branding, promotional materials, and campaigns from the ground-up. Additionally, she managed and developed professional relationships as a freelance content developer working with small to medium sized businesses in retail, technology, and sales.
Marissa is a graduate of Texas State University – San Marcos and earned a B.A. in Communication Studies in 2012.
Dan Raiani is the Marketing Manager for DiversityEdu. He builds DiversityEdu’s digital campaigns, optimizes existing assets and processes, and manages the delivery of our D&I courses and tools to market.
Before joining DiversityEdu, Dan worked as Director of Marketing for a global PDF software organization, where he and his team managed all digital and traditional marketing channels for the enterprise solutions business unit. He is also a street performing musician who plays around the New York City subway system under the artist name, “X of Wands.”
Dan graduated from the University at Albany with a B.S. in Business Administration, a B.S. in Music, and a minor in Mathematics.
Front-end Developer and Technology Coordinator
Johnny Perkins has worked in various capacities at DiversityEdu since 2014, building and maintaining DiversityEdu’s front-end marketing site. He is also the project manager and co-developer of the DiversityEdu Learning Management System.
Prior to working with DiversityEdu, Johnny worked as a freelance front-end developer.
Business Development Manager
Mary Rodriguez joined DiversityEdu in 2018 to help universities and colleges build inclusion. She introduces them to our courses and methodology, and works with directors of diversity and other key decision makers to implement DiversityEdu.
Prior to DiversityEdu, Mary worked as the Director of Learning Innovation at Baker-Ripley, Texas’s largest community development non-profit. Prior to that, Mary held fundraising and operation roles at the University of Houston Downtown. Mary stays connected to her alma mater by serving as an adjunct and corporate fellow at the University of Houston Downtown.
Mary graduated from the University of Houston with a BS in Sociology and earned an MBA from Texas Woman’s University.
Research and Assessment
Angelica Frausto conducts and updates research for DiversityEdu courses and facilitator’s guides and develops instruments to assess the outcomes of our courses.
Prior to DiversityEdu, Angelica was a research and teaching assistant at the University of Notre Dame, where she led a research project examining predictors of positive parenting and child socioemotional development in African-American and Latinx families. She has worked as a research assistant at a center for developmental and behavioral pediatrics on effective behavioral interventions for parents of children with developmental disorders.
Angelica graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a MA in Developmental Psychology and the University of Rochester with a BA in Psychology.
Larissa Pienkowski is an editor and writer with experience in multiple genres. As part of the Content Development Team, she edits and contributes ideas to DiversityEdu’s research-based courses and blogs to improve readability and reach intended audiences.
Larissa is also the managing editor of a membership, professional development, and official certification association for business professionals, where she oversees and edits all digital content. Previously, she worked as a social worker with survivors of partner abuse, tenants in mixed-income housing, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
Larissa graduated from Simmons College with a BA in Social Work and is currently earning an MA in publishing and writing from Emerson College.
Research and Writing
Olivia McGill is DiversityEdu’s Senior Content Developer. She revises and writes our courses and oversees our weekly News Highlights blog. She also works with the E-Learning Production Team on storyboarding and other aspects of course development.
Prior to joining DiversityEdu, Olivia was the digital producer for an international software agency, where she managed development and deployment of mapping software used by governments in West Africa and the Pacific Islands for municipal infrastructure projects. She has also developed and led a literacy intervention for underserved fourth-graders.
Olivia graduated from Clark University with a BA in Psychology and an MA in Public Administration.
E-Learning & Client Services Manager
Rassiel Castro is DiversityEdu’s E-Learning and Client Services Manager. He works closely with the Content Development Team to design and build new DiversityEdu courses and update existing ones. Rassiel also works with our clients to ensure smooth course implementation and deliver technical support as needed.
Rassiel is an experienced leader in organizational training and development who understands that the purpose of learning is to give individuals the skills and knowledge they need to perform their jobs better and help create transformative and inclusive culture. Rassiel recognizes the value of identifying challenges and partnering with key stakeholders to deliver solutions for engaging and effective learning.
Rassiel has 15 years of experience creating technical training content for Oil & Gas organizations such as Baker Hughes and GE. He has also designed and implemented various learning initiatives for higher education institutions and BakerRipley, Texas’ largest non-profit organization.
Rassiel graduated from the Davies College of Business at the University of Houston-Downtown with a BBA in Business Management.
Co-Founder & CEO
Kate Chovanetz joined DiversityEdu in 2015 to establish and expand business practices and lead hiring and technology improvements.
Prior to DiversityEdu Kate worked on strategy and finance at Yodle, a technology platform providing marketing solutions for small businesses. Prior to Yodle Kate was a private equity associate at Towerbrook Capital Partners, where she made investments in several middle market companies and worked with management teams on strategic and financial planning. Before Towerbrook Kate was an investment banking analyst in the Leveraged Finance group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Kate graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BSE in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She also holds a BSE in Economics from the Wharton School.
Founder & Chief Content Officer
Alison Akant is the Founder and Director of Content at DiversityEdu. An experienced attorney, learning specialist, and diversity consultant, she determined in 2010 to bring more effective and engaging diversity learning to colleges and universities. She assembled a first-rate team, including preeminent scholars and advisors, to develop a suite of cutting-edge online courses based on research and sound pedagogical principles. In 2015, Alison partnered with DiversityEdu’s CEO, Kate Chovanetz, to further develop DiversityEdu content for academia and plan expansion into the corporate sector.
Prior to establishing DiversityEdu, Alison provided diversity program content and authored briefing papers for law firms. She worked as a K-12 learning and reading specialist and is a former Assistant District Attorney for New York County.
Alison holds a BA from Wellesley College, an M.Ed. from New York University, and a JD from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University of America.