Ohio University

Past Breaking Barriers Awardees

2020 Breaking Barriers Awardees

Darlene E. Berryman, PhD, RD, LD, Associate Dean of Research and Innovation; Professor of Nutrition; HCOM

Darlene Berryman headshot

Darlene E. Berryman, PhD, RD, LD completed her undergraduate degree in biology at University of Virginia and doctoral degree and postdoctoral training at Cornell University in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Before joining Ohio University, Dr. Berryman taught nutrition at Ithaca College, worked for a private company (MED2000) delivering continuation education for health professionals around the country, and completed her training to become a registered and licensed dietitian.  She joined Ohio University in 2001 as an assistant professor in the School of Human and Consumer Sciences within the College of Health and Human Services. In 2012, she became the founding executive director of The Diabetes Institute at Ohio University and remained the leader of that institute until 2018. Currently, she is a full professor of nutrition in the Department of Biomedical Sciences within The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and was recently appointed as the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation in this college. She remains active in research with over 75 publications and several external grants and continues her affiliation with two institutes (Edison Biotechnology Institute and Diabetes Institute) as an investigator with a research focus on dietary and hormonal factors associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes.   

Tia S. Jameson, Director of Operations, Women's Basketball

Tia Jameson Headshot

Tia Jameson is the Director of Operations for the Ohio University Women’s Basketball team.  Tia is a proud Alumni of Ohio University and was humbled at the opportunity to return for grad school in an administrative capacity. During her time at Ohio University, Tia has motivated, nurtured, and mentored the young ladies on the team. As a proud Alumni of Ohio, her main priority has been to be see advancement in the University and foster growth. By attending conferences, institutes, and forums, she hopes bring back a wealth of knowledge and new innovative ideas gathered from all over. She has also branched out past athletics and joined forces with the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) board. Tia has since been asked to become the D&I rep for the entire athletic department. In this role she will introduce initiatives of inclusion, representation, and application amongst the staff, administration, and student athletes. Tia has enjoyed her time collaborating with colleagues across campus and looks to further the growth not only for the Student Athletes but for Ohio University. Tia Jameson operates every day with the motto to smile and make someone else smile. Life is too short to not impact the lives of others. Use your talents and platform to make a difference in peoples’ life.


2019 Breaking Barriers Awardees

Clare Ankawi, M.Ed, Learning Technologies Analyst, in the Office of Information and Learning Technologies at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine

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Clare Ankawi came to Athens in 2014 to work at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. In 2017, Clare graduated from Ohio University with a Master of Education in Computer Education Technology. During her education, she was recognized for her passion and pursuit of growing technology in the classroom with the Jane and Seldon Strother Instructional Technology Award. She continues to work towards advancing technologies at Heritage College. Before coming to Ohio University, Clare worked as a Data Architect and Systems Analyst for Ford Motor Credit Company, and volunteered in this capacity as a mentor to high school students participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition. Robotics was a formative part in solidifying Clare’s love of technology at a young age, and she was able to give back through the same mentorship program that guided her. Clare is now the Learning Technologies Analyst at Heritage College.

Claudia González Vallejo, PhD, MIA, Professor of Psychology

 Claudia Gonzalez Vallejo Headshot

Dr. Claudia González Vallejo is Professor of Psychology at Ohio University. She received her PhD from the University of North Carolina, Chapel-Hill in Quantitative/Cognitive Psychology (1992). She also received a Masters of International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, New York. She has held positions at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business; the United Nations Development Fund for Women; Columbia University; and the Center for Policy Research, SUNY Albany. She has also been a visiting professor at INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France; visiting scientist at the Mack Plank Institute, Berlin, Germany, and visiting professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Her research focuses on understanding how individuals make judgments and decisions. Her work on choice modeling uses a mathematical approach to characterize the cognitive trade-offs individuals employ when deciding in different domains. Her research on judgment processes strive to bridge basic research with policy, more recently in the domain of nutrition. Dr. González Vallejo serves on editorial boards of several professional journals, and is currently a Consulting Editor of the Journal of Mathematical Psychology. She has also been a member of the Study Section of Cognition and Perception of the National Institute of Health.

2018 Breaking Barriers Awardees

Deborah McAvoy, Associate Dean for Academics, Associate Professor Civil Engineering


Deb McAvoy joined Ohio University in 2007. She received her Ph.D. from Wayne State University after working as a civil engineering consultant for 11 years. While pursuing her doctorate, McAvoy worked as the lead research engineer for the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group. McAvoy's research interest is in highway safety, traffic engineering, traffic signal system optimization and progression, roadway design and human factors engineering. She has worked on projects for the Ohio Department of Transportation, Michigan Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the United States Department of Justice, 3M, and other industry clients. As a part of these studies, she has conducted technical analyses for signal timing, congestion, crash, gap studies and has substantial experience in corridor progression and work zone safety analyses. She is a registered professional engineer in the states of Michigan and Ohio and certified as a Professional Traffic Operations Engineer through the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

Nadège Levallet, Assistant Professor, Analytics and Information Systems, College of Business

 Nadège Levallet Headshot

Dr. Nadège Levallet is an Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems in the College of Business at Ohio University. Nadège is also a co-advisor to Women in Information Systems, a student-led organization dedicated to enhancing women's professional preparation to lead successful careers in the field of MIS. She earned her PhD in MIS at the Smith School of Business, Queen’s University in Canada. Nadège primarily teaches in the Integrated Business Cluster in the College of Business. Her research interests focus on the impacts that information systems have on effective organizational improvisation and performance, as well as knowledge management and organizational learning. Nadège’s work has been published in internationally renowned outlets, including journals such as MIS Quarterly Executive and conference proceedings. Prior to joining academia, Nadège spent more than a decade in progressive management positions in various private and public organizations in France and Canada.


2017 Breaking Barriers Awardees

Lt. Col. Layla M. Sweet, Commander Air Force ROTC


Lieutenant Colonel Layla Sweet is the Commander, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 650 and Profeseor of Aerospace Studies at Ohio University, Athens, Oh. She is responsible for recruiting, educating, training, and preparing students for commissioning into the Air Force as second lieutenants. Lt Col Sweet is the first female ROTC Commander at Oho University. Lt Col Sweet enlisted in the Air Force in 1993 and was a Medical Laboratory Technician. She commissioned through Officer Training School in 2001.  Lt Col Sweet has served as a Behavioral Scientist; Occupational Analyst; Chemist; a Political-Military Affairs Strategist; and has deployed twice during her career. Lt Col Sweet has two daughters, Kylee and Trinity Daniels.

Heather Lawrence-Benedict, Ph.D.


Dr. Heather Lawrence is an Associate Professor of Sports Administration, Academic Director of Graduate Programs, and Robert H. Freeman Professor of Business in the College of Business at Ohio University. While previously serving as Director of the Professional Masters in Sports Administration program, the program earned the #1 Worldwide ranking by SportBusiness International in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Heather earned her Ph.D. from the University of Florida, and received Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from Florida. Dr. Lawrence primarily teaches in the areas of Event and Facility Management and Diversity in Sport. In addition to her role at Ohio University, she has led courses in Spain, China, India, and Dubai. Heather has received numerous teaching awards, has published extensively in academic and industry outlets, and is co-editor of the textbook Event Management Blueprint. Prior to beginning her academic career, Dr. Lawrence worked in various administrative positions within intercollegiate athletics at Southeastern Louisiana University and the University of Florida. As a student-athlete at the University of Florida, Heather was an NCAA All-American Diver, SEC Champion, Academic All-American, and SEC SAAC member.