Board of Directors
Pamela M. Ajayi
Pamela M. Ajayi is the co-founder of the Alice Givens Jones Foundation. She is the only child of Mrs. Alice Givens Jones, the Foundation’s namesake. Pamela received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from The University of Houston, and was educated as a Nurse (the same profession as her mother) at both El Centro College and Texas Woman’s University.
She has served as the Parliamentarian of The American Council of the Blind-Dallas Chapter (ACB). She was also on the fundraising committee for the state of Texas (ACBT). Her community involvement extended into professional organizations such as the Nursing Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA). She currently serves as a volunteer at The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, where education is a key component of the museum’s philosophy.
Georgia M. Barnes
Georgia M. Barnes is the co-founder of the Alice Givens Jones Foundation. Georgia Barnes is the youngest granddaughter of Alice Givens Jones. She received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from University of Texas at Arlington, and her Master’s degree in Family Science from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. She volunteered with Hope Cottage Family Center. She also was a charter member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. Omega Alpha Omega Chapter. She currently works at North Lake Community College empowering first generation college students, through coaching and workshops.
Dr. Christine A. Ajayi
Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University
Faculty Advisor to the SHSS Student Government Association
Christine Ajayi is the granddaughter of Alice Givens Jones. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Therapy at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL where she also has a private family therapy practice. She completed her PhD at Florida State University, her Master’s degree at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and her Bachelor’s degree at Spelman College.
Assistive Technology Coordinator for the Office of Disability Accommodation at University of North Texas
Rebecca Cagle is an Assistive Technology/Human Services Specialist and has been a student services coordinator in Higher Education for over 15 years. Rebecca earned her MS ATHS in Assistive Technology/Human Services through California State University,Northridge and her BS in Rehabilitation Science through UT Southwestern. She has experience in training students, faculty and staff about assistive technology, create accessible formats for academic materials, and collaborate with campus IT to provide access to assistive technology on the UNT campus and coordinate these components in the academic testing center. In her current position at the University of North Texas, she meets with students with disabilities to assess their skill level with technology, ensure access to programs and materials, discuss their academic challenges and determine appropriate technology and strategies to improve their academic success. A presenter at conferences as well, she will be a lecturer in the fall at UNT’s Rehabilitation Counseling Master’s program.
Rebecca served with the Dallas Mayor’s Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities, the advisory committee for the accessibility features of the American Airlines Center, is past president of the Dallas Area Rehabilitation Association and the Texas Area Rehabilitation Association. She currently serves on the Denton Mayor’s Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities and the DCTA advisory committee.
AGJF Alumni 2010 – 2012
Melissa Finefrock is a May 2013 cum laude graduate of the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in Literature, a minor in Spanish. Mel also received an undergraduate certificate in Rehabilitation Studies. Currently, Miss Finefrock is providing editing services to Krista Lakes, an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author, and she is currently seeking primary employment within the field of disability services. Melissa has experience volunteering within the nonprofit sector as a mentor to other youth with disabilities. She serves as the Vice-President of the Board of Directors at REACH, Inc., and she is also on the Board of Directors for All Blind Children of Texas. In her spare time, Mel enjoys singing, playing guitar, taking pictures, going for long walks, and writing poetry. Her photography has been showcased in art exhibits with REACH and Very Special Arts of Texas, and her poetry has received awards from the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities and the University of North Texas. Art is something that Melissa very passionate about Mel was a recipient of scholarships from the Alice Givens Jones Foundation for three of the four years that she was in college.“Not only did AGJF support me financially, so that I could focus on my studies; I also made lasting friendships with the volunteers and the other scholarship recipients. I am proud to be able to give back to AGJF by serving on its Board of Directors.”
Dr. Samuel Muwanguzi
AGJF Alumni 2013
Dr. Muwanguzi is an Alice Givens Jones Foundation Scholar. He is in the Information Sciences doctoral program at the University of North Texas. He is well-published in his field’s premiere journals, and has also presented at the national and international levels on the topics of acculturation, HIV/AIDS, and communication concerns around these critical issues. He has not allowed his visual-impairment to serve as an obstacle to his academic and professional successes.
Dr. Emile Sahliyeh
Professor at University of North Texas
Director of International Studies
Dr. Sahliyeh served as the keynote speaker for the 5th Annual Alice Givens Jones’ Scholarship Luncheon. He was such an inspiration to all present, especially our scholars. He serves as an example of someone with a visual-impairment who has been able to not only surpass the dismal odds, but to assist so many communities through education.
Dr. Emile Sahliyeh received his B.A. and M.A from the American University of Beirut and his Ph.D. from Georgetown University. Between 1978 and 1984, he taught at Birzeit University
. During the following two years, he was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Brooking Institution in Washington D.C. In 1987, he joined the University of North Texas as a professor of Middle East Politics and international relations. Since 1999, he has been the Director of the International Studies Major at the University of North Texas.
Dr. Sahliyeh received several prestigious fellowships including the RAND Corporation Fellowship, Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Fellowship, Ford Foundation Scholarship, Brookings Institution Fellowship, the United States Institute of Peace Fellowship, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowship for International Security Studies.
His research focuses on religious resurgence and ethnic protest in the Middle East, Palestinian politics and leadership, issues of war and peace in the Middle East, and the status of democracy and human rights in the Middle East and the Islamic World. In addition to more than 50 academic articles and chapters, Dr. Sahliyeh is the author and editor of several widely-circulated books. Dr. Sahliyeh lectures widely in the United States and the Middle East and is frequently consulted about Middle Eastern politics by the American media and the US government. As part of the State Department Speakers Program, he visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, and Palestine.