Meshea L. Poore, Esq.
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Meshea L. Poore, Esq., a long-time champion of underrepresented people, serves as vice president and chief diversity officer for the West Virginia University Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In that role, she motivates the Mountaineer family to recognize the value in diversity and challenges all who interact with her to create transformational change.
Poore has been helping light the way toward equity throughout her career. An attorney who served in the WV House of Delegates from 2009-2014, she is an accomplished and sought-after motivational speaker, public and political leadership consultant and strategist. The Women’s Campaign Fund named her a “Game Changer” during her campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives for WV's 2nd Congressional District. She has mentored and consulted with hundreds of elected officials throughout the nation as they seek higher office. Poore is also an experienced educator who served as an adjunct professor at WV State University, as a faculty member in residence at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University and has teaching privileges at WVU College of Law. In 2017, Poore became the first African-American woman named president of the West Virginia State Bar since its 1947 founding. Prior to operating her own practice, she was an attorney in the Office of the Kanawha County Public Defender in Charleston, WV. She is an alumna of the prestigious German Marshall Memorial Fellowship, a member of the executive committee for the Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence for the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and is President-elect for the Big 12 Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. Poore earned her bachelor's degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and her law degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She also graduated from the Women's Campaign School at Yale University.
Poore has recently facilitated insightful conversations with leading voices in social justice work, including Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award Winner and author of How to Be an Antiracist; Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and creator of the landmark 1619 Project; and W. Kamau Bell, sociopolitical comedian and host of the Emmy Award winning CNN docuseries United Shades of America.
Senior Executive Assistant to the Vice President
Richard Anderson is the Senior Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. In his role, Richard assists the vice president in scheduling, office management, and budget management. Richard is a graduate of West Virginia State University with bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Economics. In his previous role, Richard was a Research Analyst with the Performance Evaluation and Research Division of the West Virginia Legislature.
Kirsten Barnicle, Ph.D.
Special Events Coordinator
Kirsten (she/her) brings her experience in event planning, fundraising, and marketing to her position as the Special Events Coordinator for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Kirsten is passionate about building a more inclusive campus. She assists in the organization and promotion of DEI prevention and diversity events. Kirsten received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Higher Education at West Virginia University.
Akeya serves as Prevention Specialist for Title IX & Equity Assurance. She is also the lead instructor for the Peer Advocate Program, a student-centered violence prevention and advocacy service-learning course. She joins the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team with a background in community and clinical social work and experience with diverse populations and systems. Akeya supports the mission and vision of West Virginia University and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by engaging students in becoming A.C.T. (ing) Bystanders to improve campus climate and overall safety of all Mountaineers.
J. Spenser Darden
Director, Diversity Initiatives and Community Engagement
J. Spenser Darden (He/They pronouns) is the Director of Diversity Initiatives and Community Engagement. He is responsible for promoting an inclusive climate through trainings, campus-wide programming, and outreach. As an alumnus of WVU, Spenser is honored to serve the University and enhance the Mountaineer experience.
James Goins Jr.
Director of Equity Assurance/Title IX Coordinator
James Goins currently serves as the Director of Equity Assurance and the Title IX Coordinator in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. James provides senior-level leadership pertaining to all issues of civil rights and is responsible for the oversight of institutional equity compliance, including Title IX and ADA/Section 504 compliance, as well as relationship violence and sexual misconduct prevention, outreach, and education for the University and its regional campuses.
Sarah Lowther Hensley
Marketing and Communications Director
Sarah brings her experience as a public broadcasting journalist, higher education administrator, writer and project manager to her work leading DDEI marketing and communications initiatives. She facilitates effective communication and partnership between the division and University Relations to advance DDEI’s vision and values. Sarah earned her BA in International Studies from WV Wesleyan College and her MA in German from Middlebury College and has studied and worked abroad.
Jill Hess serves as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator for WVU. In her work, she provides direct service and accommodations to faculty, staff and GA/GTA/RAs with disabilities on all WVU campuses and ensures institutional compliance with Title I and Title II of the ADA. Jill began her career as a consultant for the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), and in 2006 joined WVU’s Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) as a Rehabilitation Counselor, serving students and faculty members on the Morgantown, WVU Tech, and Potomac State College Campuses. She is passionate about inclusivity, intersectionality, and the accessibility of all Mountaineers.
Kayla D. Johnson
Kayla is the Case Manager for the Office of Equity Assurance. She is responsible for triaging complaints as they come into the office and providing resources and supportive measures to those who require assistance. She earned her Master of Legal Studies degree from West Virginia University in 2017.
Assistant Director for Prevention and Education
Amy serves as the Assistant Director for Prevention and Education. As a lifelong learner and former educator, Amy is passionate about creating and ensuring educational opportunities that will help make the world a better, more just, place. Previously, Amy was an Investigator in the Equity Assurance Office of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and, prior to joining, WVU, Amy served as a Title IX Coordinator and educator at a small private college. Amy is a proud West Virginian and is happy to serve at the state’s land-grant institution and fully embraces WVU’s mission and values.
Graduate Assistant- Special Assistant to Vice President Meshea Poore
Aryaunna is the Special Graduate Assistant to Vice President Meshea L. Poore at the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion where she works on special developmental research projects and all things pivotal to the operation of the organization. She also serves as a public relations community liaison between the vice president and the students, staff, and faculty. Aryaunna is a second-year graduate student in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences pursuing a degree in Sports Management. In her position, she hopes to leave a long-lasting impact by creating safe and inclusive spaces for all Mountaineers and devising innovative programming for marginalized groups on campus.
RaeLynn is a Senior Investigator with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She conducts investigations in response to complaints made to the Office of Equity Assurance in accordance with West Virginia Board of Governors Rule 1.6. RaeLynn is a graduate of West Virginia University College of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctorate. She is a member of both the West Virginia and Pennsylvania Bar Associations.
Educational Outreach Specialist
Cortney serves as the Educational Outreach Specialist, and provides
Children On Campus training to Members of the University
Community. Cortney also serves as a private resource to students, faculty
or staff who have been involved in Title IX related incidents.
Danny is a Senior Investigator with the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Danny conducts investigations in response to complaints made to the Office of Equity Assurance. Danny strives to conduct professional and equitable investigations to have a positive impact on the entire West Virginia University community.
Diversity Outreach Coordinator
David is an Investigator with the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. David conducts investigations in response to Title VII and Title IX complaints made to the Office of Equity Assurance. David also provides information, consultation, and training to WVU students and employees in the areas of discrimination and harassment.
Title IX Education Specialist
Sam Wilmoth works with WVU community members who have been affected by Title IX-related issues and want to talk through their options for reporting or services. He also offers training on a variety of issues related to diversity, equity & inclusion. Sam loves working with students, whose imaginations and intellectual abilities can help create a vastly kinder world.