Meet the VPSE Administration Team
Dr. Valarie Ena Swain-Cade McCoullum, a native Philadelphian who is a public school graduate of the Julia Reynolds Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School and the Philadelphia High School for Girls, and the first Black female President of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, has served at the University of Pennsylvania for over four decades and currently holds the position of Vice Provost for Student Engagement. On behalf of the President, Provost, and Deans, Dr. Cade oversees the work of the University’s pipeline initiatives, more than 150 programs that are designed at all levels of education for groups under-represented in U.S. higher education baccalaureate, graduate, and professional programs, disciplines, and industries with the aim to recruit, enroll, retain, and support underserved community members’ capacity to both persist and thrive—academically, socially, and emotionally—in their chosen disciplines and professions.
With the rank of Provost’s Distinguished Senior Scholar, Dr. Cade is also a faculty member in Penn’s world-class Graduate School of Education, ranked the premier college of education in the United States, where she is an expert in leadership resilience through crisis trauma-informed pedagogy and practice.
Dr. Cade served for 25 years as Vice Provost for University Life, Penn’s chief student affairs officer responsible to the President and Provost for the executive leadership of departments, offices, and services charged with the provision of academic support, wellness, co-curricular, intervention, developmental, cultural, and engagement programs for 24,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at the University of Pennsylvania. In this capacity, she had administrative oversight for over 400 staff and 28 departments with annual division operating and associated budgets of over $55 million.
Dr. Cade completed her baccalaureate degree at Penn State University’s University Park campus, and her graduate and post-doctoral studies at Temple University, Penn’s Wharton School, and Harvard University. Dr. Cade is also the mother of two Penn alumni from Penn’s School of Medicine and Penn’s Graduate Program in Mechanical Engineering.
In addition, Dr. Cade chaired the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania Education Team of the School District of Philadelphia and was a member of the House of Representatives Legislative Black Caucus Advisory Committee on Higher Education. She has been honored, among other prestigious national, state, and local awards, by the University of Pennsylvania for her service distinction and by the City of Philadelphia City Council for her
passionate dedication to educational equity and access. Some of her additional awards include:
- University of Pennsylvania Dr. Helen O. Dickens Lifetime Achievement Award
- Distinguished Daughter of the Philadelphia High School for Girls
- Pennsylvania State University College of Liberal Arts Centennial Fellow
- 50th Anniversary Distinguished Service Award: Delta Sigma Theta Epsilon Gamma
Dr. Cade is the author of five books: two volumes focused on the access and retention of socioeconomically-disadvantaged students and three, additional—highly regarded- works celebrating emerging visual artists in the City of Philadelphia. A highly-regarded painter and photographer, Dr. Cade specializes in still and portrait photographic media and arts media, often employing collage and print techniques, including charcoal, acrylics, and watercolors.
As Chief of Staff, he serves as a senior advisor to the Vice Provost in effective divisional decision-making and execution of strategic initiatives as well as oversees the workflow of the Student Engagement office and administration, including communications and website management.
Carol Henderson directs all VPSE finance and grant administration and works with all VPSE departments and programs.
Pat Ravenell is a native Philadelphian who has worked at Penn since 1973 in various positions, including over 25 years in the Division of University Life (VPUL) where she held the position of Chief of Staff and HR Liaison for VPUL. Pat earned her B.A. in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Penn. Most notably, Pat has also served as the administrative coordinator for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) since its inception in 1988. She often describes her involvement with the MMUF program as being one of the most rewarding aspects of her career at Penn. She is thrilled at the success of the program which, to date, has thirty-five Penn fellows who have successfully completed PhD programs along with many still in the pipeline. Pat retired from her full-time position in VPUL in 2018 but returned to continue to serve as the administrative coordinator of MMUF in the Division of Student Engagement on a part-time basis.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Dr. Martinez grew up in Camden, New Jersey. His experience with academic pipeline programs began in middle school with the NJ SEEDS Scholars Program for high-achieving students from low-income families. With the help of SEEDS and his family, Enmanuel attended Asheville School, a boarding high school in western North Carolina. The first in his family to graduate from college, Enmanuel earned his B.A. in Comparative Literature and Latin American and Latinx Studies from Penn. As an undergraduate, Enmanuel served as President of Cipactli, Penn’s Latinx Honor Society, and participated in the University’s College Achievement Program (PennCAP), McNair Scholars Program and the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. After Penn, Enmanuel earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University, where his graduate studies were supported by a number of national pipeline programs including the SSRC-Mellon Mays Graduate Initiatives, Ford Foundation Fellowship, American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) Graduate Student Fellows Program, and MLA’s Connected Academics Program. The title of his doctoral dissertation was “The Archipelago and the Archive: Transnational Archival Modes and Mediums in Caribbean Literature and States.” Dr. Martinez is excited to return to Penn to serve as the VPSE Postdoctoral Fellow supporting MMUF, PennKipp and the PennRSSA programs.
Allison LaFave is a Predoctoral Fellow in the Division of the Vice Provost for Student Engagement. Allison has been deeply committed to educational access and equity since her college years when she received full need-based financial aid to attend Harvard University. After graduating in 2010, Allison completed a one-year fellowship with a NYC police misconduct lawyer and served as a Teach for America Corps Member at a Brooklyn elementary school. During her graduate studies, Allison has worked as an educational consultant at the Institute for Higher Education Policy and AnLar (a DC-based consulting firm). Over the years, Allison has been a senior administrator for several college access organizations, including Legal Outreach, TeenSHARP, and the Telluride Association. She is currently a PhD Candidate in Higher Education at the University of Maryland, College Park.