Shannon Monnat photo

Shannon Monnat | Lerner Chair

Shannon Monnat received her PhD in Sociology at the State University of New York at Albany in 2008. Prior to her appointment at Syracuse University, she was a faculty member for five years at University of Nevada Las Vegas and for four years at Penn State University. As a scholar of social inequality and social demography, Dr. Monnat’s research examines the correlates and consequences of social disadvantage, particularly at the intersections of place, public policy, and health. A common theme binding much of her work is a concern for rural people and places. Her current research focuses on spatial differences in opioid misuse and mortality and other diseases and deaths of despair. In another line of research, she examines associations between various social and public health policies and health behaviors and health care access. ​ 

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Mary Kate Lee Program CoordinatorMary Kate Lee | Program Coordinator

Mary Kate Lee graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development. The focal point of her work at Oswego was developing and implementing outreach initiatives for students to engage in healthy lifestyle practices. This work has translated to her professional life as the Center’s program coordinator, where she is responsible for managing the Healthy Monday Syracuse campaign and maintaining campus and community partnerships.

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Tom Dennison photoTom Dennison | Advisor

Tom Dennison is a professor of practice emeritus in the department of public administration at the Maxwell School, and a senior research associate with the Center for Policy Research and a faculty affiliate with both the Aging Studies Institute and the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration at Maxwell. Tom earned his Bachelor’s degree in management from Syracuse University, a Master’s degree in hospital administration from George Washington University and a Doctorate in health planning and administration from Penn State University.

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Graduate Lerner Fellows

Lerner Fellow Katie Mott

Katie Mott

Katie Mott earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry. Prior to attending graduate school, she designed green stormwater infrastructure for the Philadelphia Water Department. She now is a graduate student in the Falk School, earning a Master’s of Science in Food Studies. Katie’s interest in Public Health arose when interning with NGO Soil for Life, an organization that teaches urban gardening in townships lacking access to basic necessities such as food and clean water, in Cape Town, South Africa. Katie’s thesis research focuses on an independently-owned grocery store in a predominantly African American and Latino neighborhood, where 40% of residents live below the poverty line.

Lerner Fellow Stephanie Spera

Stephanie Spera

Stephanie Spera is a duel Master’s in Public Administration/International Relations student at the Maxwell School. She received her Bachelor’s degree in History from St. John Fisher College and spent two years working in the education sector before returning for her Master’s at Syracuse University. Stephanie has also worked at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and 211 community helplines. In summer 2018, she undertook an internship in Cape Town, South Africa, where she worked to improve health literacy initiatives among illiterate women and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Her research interests include public health, education, affordable housing, and immigration.


Lerner Fellow Sean Withington

Sean Withington

Originally from the U.K., Sean Withington grew up in various places around Scotland and England before moving to France, and, soon after, Dubai. A short career in public relations followed Sean’s graduation from the University of Leeds with a degree in Economics and History. Four years after completing his undergraduate degree, he decided to return to university with the eventual goal of starting a career in conflict prevention and resolution.



Lerner Fellow Angie Mejia

Angie Mejia

Angie Mejia is a doctoral candidate in the department of Sociology at Syracuse University. Her current research encompasses immigration, mental health, ethnicity, emotion work, and citizenship by looking specifically at U.S. Latinas’ experiences with depression and depression treatment. As a critical theorist and public sociologist, she collaborates with other women of color and share (via performance and public presentations) their experiences of crossing (and surviving) the affective borders constituted by the interaction of neoliberal forces, identities, U.S. cultural practices, and the availability of mental health treatment to minority women.  Angie’s work has appeared in Action Research, American Public Health Journal, Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) and Theory in Action.


Lerner Fellow Alumni

2017-2018: Jordana Gilman (MD/MPH), Carolee Lantigua (MPA), Eunice Lee (MPA), Ibrahim Malik (MPH)

2016-2017: Ahmed Malik (MPH), Mia Mazur (MPA/IR), Guillermo Perez (MPA), Katie Wood (MPH)

2015-2016: Malcolm Philogene (MPH), William Reed (MD/MPH), Katie Wood (MPH)

2014-2015: Maidel De La Cruz (MPA), Bridget Lenkiewicz (MPH), Roberto Martinez (MPH), Timothy Smilnak (MD/MPH)

2013-2014: Brianna Cameron (MPH), Sadie Conrad (MPA), Roberto Martinez (MPH), Katie Oja (MPH)

2012-2013: Mary Doohovskoy (MPA), Ian Grant (MPH), Matthew MacDougall (MPH), Leah Moser (MPH)

2011- 2012: Ian Grant (MPH), Matthew MacDougall (MPH), Gabby Mirsaidi (MPA), Leah Moser (MPH)