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The Team

Who We Are


Cirecie A. West-Olatunji, Ph. D. 


Cirecie A. West-Olatunji serves as full professor and director of the Center for Traumatic Stress Research at Xavier University of Louisiana. She is also a past president of the American Counseling Association (ACA), past secretary of Division E: Counseling and Human Development in the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and a past president of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD). She has received numerous awards from national organizations and is an ACA Fellow.

Nationally, Dr. West-Olatunji has initiated several clinical research projects that focus on traumatic stress and systemic oppression. Her publications include three co-authored books, several book chapters, and over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. West-Olatunji has delivered research papers throughout Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Constance West, Ph. D.


Dr. Constance West is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with 20+ years of professional experience. Her specialties include: Disaster Mental Health, Health Clinical Psychology (primarily, related to HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases), and Juvenile Forensic Psychology. More specifically, Dr. West has considerable experience in the following areas: stress and coping with acute and chronic stressors (such as, natural disasters, chronic and/or infectious diseases) and the promotion of equity (with respect to race and ethnicity) across medical, mental health, juvenile court, and educational settings.

Over the course of Dr. West’s professional career, she has worked in government, medical, mental health, court, research, and educational settings, including: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , Atlanta Veterans Administration Medical Center (Atlanta VAMC), the Fulton County Juvenile Court (FCJC), the Grady Infectious Disease Program (Grady IDP), and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Currently, Dr. West operates a private practice (Sankofa Services, LLC; located in Stone Mountain, Georgia).

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Ashlei Petion, Ph.D.

Research Associate

Dr. Ashlei Petion is a Research Associate with CRESTSprogram and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Dr. Petion’s academic and professional interests include generational trauma and healing in Black families and communities, multiculturalism and social justice issues in counseling, and qualitative and mixed methods research.


Dr. Petion has served in a number of leadership and advocacy roles including Graduate Student Representative for the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, Leadership Intern for Chi Sigma Iota, Intern and Fellow for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights LGBTQ Institute, and she currently serves as the Graduate Student Representative for the American Counseling Association. Dr. Petion previously served as the CRESTSprogram Graduate Assistant from 2019-2022, leading the UPLIFT newsletter production, interviewing contributing scholars, and managing the Q&A feature for all webinars.

Jonae Bond

Graphic & Web Designer

Jonae Bond is a professional brand designer, content creator, social media manager, and web designer. She was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Jonae specializes in branding, marketing, content creation, website development, photography, and social media advertising.

Jonae graduated Summa Cum Laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with an Honors degree in Mass Communication. She manages the CRESTS website and develops branding and marketing collateral.

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Madison Brydie

Social Media Intern

Madison Brydie is currently a junior at Xavier University of Louisiana studying Mass Communications with a minor in Political Science. A native to the Michigan Metro Detroit area, she began her career at Xavier through leadership positions on campus, working extensively with event coordination and student engagement. She hopes to bring awareness to CRESTSprogram  through social media efforts that increase two-way communication. 

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