We are Rockefeller’s learning and change agent — working to promote education, coalition building, community, allyship, and advocacy.
Ashton Murray, Ph.D. (he/him)
Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Dr. Ashton Murray is the strategic leader, subject matter expert, and change agent for diversity initiatives. Responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating Rockefeller’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, Dr. Murray establishes and drives efforts that build a more inclusive community by implementing a strategic DEI plan to enhance recruitment, retention and development of a diverse faculty, staff, postdocs and student body. He also creates and administers programs and activities that integrate excellence and equity into the fiber of the university and serves as a highly engaged advocate for the campus community.
Before joining Rockefeller, Dr. Murray was DEI director at New York University Langone Medical Center where he led DEI initiatives within the graduate school focusing on recruitment and retention and served as a trusted consultant on diversity interventions implemented at the faculty and departmental levels. Prior to that, he worked at Duke University where he developed training programs in cultural competency and diversity for the schools’ leadership, and at the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on efforts to improve diversity and inclusion. Dr. Murray has a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies, focusing on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership, from North Carolina A&T State University and a Master of Divinity from Wake forest University, focusing on ethics and morality.
Ahram Kim (she/her)
Ahram Kim helps to recruit, develop, and retain a diverse university community and works closely with cross-functional stakeholders to further increase DEI objectives. She works internally to assess, create and deliver DEI training and programs, in addition to establishing and implementing DEI best practices. Ahram’s efforts also extend beyond the Rockefeller community to promote STEM interests in potential faculty, staff and students of diverse backgrounds.
Before joining Rockefeller in 2022, Ahram was the Senior Project Manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at NYC Health + Hospitals. Prior to that, she was the Language Access Coordinator at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. During her tenure at the Health Department, she was a founding member and Secretary-Treasurer of the Asian American/Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group and was also a member of the Race to Justice Workforce Equity and Inclusion Workgroup that focused on embedding a racial and social justice lens on employee retention activities. Before that, she was a community organizer at the MinKwon Center for Community Action, and an AmeriCorps apprentice at Public Allies/Center for Neighborhood Leadership. Ahram received her BA, double majoring in Politics and Spanish Literature, from New York University.
Kelly Ann Turner (she/her)
Kelly Ann Turner develops and maintains administrative processes to best support the organizational objectives of the ODEI. She reports directly to the Chief Diversity Officer/Vice President of DEI, supporting his and the department’s day-to-day needs, including, calendar/agenda management, scheduling, document review and management, budget reconciliation, event planning and welcoming committee support, as well as serving as a contact/liaison and department resource for students, postdocs, staff and faulty.
Kelly Ann has more than 20 years experience providing support to leadership of nonprofit organizations, including working as the Development Coordinator at the Environment Defense Fund, managing the board of Trustees for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and working as an administrative coordinator at Pfizer, Inc. Kelly Ann majored in Psychology at Morgan State University.
Bianca Cotto, Ph.D. (she/her)
Equity Building Fellows
Dr. Bianca Cotto is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Nathaniel Heintz’s lab at The Rockefeller University. She earned her Bachelor of Science with honors in neuroscience from Georgia State University. She then received her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. As a graduate student in the Department of Neuroscience under the mentorship of Dr. Dianne Langford, she studied the combinatorial effects of cocaine and HIV-1 Tat on astrocyte metabolic function and the subsequent dysregulation of metabolic communication between astrocytes and neurons. Currently, her postdoctoral research addresses cell-type specific vulnerabilities within the motor cortex that contribute to the development and progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with a particular interest in mitochondria biology. She was awarded pilot funding from the Kavli Neural Systems Institute to develop and apply a strategy to facilitate the isolation of mitochondria in a cell-type specific manner. This has allowed for the characterization of cell type-specific mitochondrial dynamics in the cortex. Twitter: @biancacottoPhD
Calvin Leonen, Ph.D. (he/his)
Equity Building Fellows
Dr. Calvin Leonen is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Hironori Funabiki’s lab at The Rockefeller University. He studies how the enzyme cGAS is regulated by the cell cycle and has general interests in chromatin biology and science education. Calvin is from the village of Yigo in the Pacific Island of Guam. He went to Seattle University where he got his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and then attended University of Washington to obtain his Ph.D. in chemical biology. Calvin has worked in programs promoting social justice and community involvement with students from the high school level to the graduate level. As an Equity Building Fellow, Calvin is interested in working to help create a better sense of community and belonging within the Rockefeller University and identifying barriers and solutions for the accessibility to higher education in STEM for underrepresented and minority groups.
Priyanka Lakhiani (she/her)
Equity Building Fellows
Priyanka Lakhiani is a 5th-year graduate student in Dr. Leslie Vosshall’s lab at the Rockefeller University. She works with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes on their reproductive behavior and rapidly-evolving climate adaptations. As an Equity Building Fellow, Priyanka hopes to build community and collaboration between underrepresented trainees by establishing DEI programming and safe spaces at the Rockefeller University. She is originally from Mumbai, India, and graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi.