Meet the Staff

Courtney J. Jones Carney, Director


Courtney J. Jones Carney began her career at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) as the Assistant Director of Student Services in January 2011. She became the Director of Interprofessional Student Learning and Service Initiatives when the department was created in December 2011. Courtney has a proven record of success in creating and implementing programs that examine leadership, student development, culture, diversity, inclusion, and equity. She has been the driving force in creating co-curricular programming that focuses on race, culture, identity, intersectionality, and equity. Courtney manages a small office that has a huge impact. During this academic year, her office offered 66 diversity; inclusion; and equity programs resulting in 1,638 participants. in total, during the 2018-2019 academic year, ISLSI offered 149 seminars focused on leadership development; global literacy; diversity; inclusion; and equity which were attended by a total of 4,166 people.

During the 2017 - 2018 academic year, Courtney initiated and managed a campus climate survey issued to all students at UMB with the goal of uncovering how individuals and groups who have diverse identities experience the same University.  Her vision, leadership, and sound management principles have directly contributed to the journey towards the creation of superior learning environments for diverse student populations.

In 2017, Courtney received the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s highest honor in recognition of her immense contributions in diversity, equity and inclusion. She consistenetly presents at regional and national conferences on the impact of microaggressions on the work environment and how to build a cultural responsiveness training program from the ground up. Courtney is diligently working to complete a doctoral degree in public administration and plans to study the impact of incorporating cultural competence training into the curriculum of public service professionals. 

Courtney has spent the better part of the 2017 - 2018 academic year crafting a cultural competence academic certificate program which was approved by the University System of Maryland during summer 2018. This certificate will be the first program of its kind at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. It is her goal to create a program that challenges the university to look outside of preparation by education when hiring content creators and professors and instead consider a combination of factors that can include, but is not limited to, education; lived experience; and professional preparation. Additionally, this certificate program will challenge students to critically examine themselves and the ideals that they hold about others while understanding the legacy of white supremacy in the formation of policy and practice in this country. It is her hope that by reframing the lens, program participants will be better prepared to serve their clients and patients in a culturally responsive manner.

Before joining UMB, Courtney worked at Towson University as a Career Advisor (2006-2010) and Morgan State University as an Assistant Academic Coordinator for Student Athletes (2003-2009).

Ebony Nicholson seated outside the School of Social Work

Ebony Nicholson, Academic Coordinator - Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives


Ebony Nicholson joined ISLSI in the fall of 2014 as a Diversity Fellow. At that time, she was pursuing her Master's in Social Work at UMB. Upon graduation in May 2016, Ebony decided to stay with the department to assist in planning and developing some of the diversity and cultural enrichment programming of the department. 

Ebony worked as a Research Assistant Scholar in the School of Social Work, where she focused on women’s professional advancement in higher education as well as diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Before working for ISLSI, she was the Youth and Community Engagement Program Coordinator at Children's National Medical Center and served two years in Zambia as a Community Health Improvement Project Peace Corps Volunteer.

Gregory Brightbill

Gregory Brightbill, Academic Coordinator


Greg Brightbill joined the ISLSI team in 2016 as an Academic Coordinator. In his current role, Greg manages the daily programming and administration of the President’s Student Leadership Institute, the Safe Space program, and the American Sign Language initiative.

Before UMB, Greg worked at the Maryland Institute College of Art for three years and James Madison University for two years, where he earned his master's degree in Education.

Jole' Ruff, Coordinator


Jole' Ruff joined ISLSI in the summer of 2015. She provides management for the various self-defense programs offered through ISLSI and has recently taken on some of the diversity and cultural enrichment programming of the department. Before working for ISLSI, Jole' worked in URecFit (University Recreation & Fitness) at UMB.

Jole' is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree from Morgan State University.

Vanessa Gonzalez, Diversity Fellow

Vanessa Gonzalez joined the ISLSI team in 2016 as a Diversity Fellow and is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work at UMB. She assists in the planning of diversity and inclusion programs of the department. She is a senator for the University Student Government Association and a member of the student group Latinx Unidos for Community Healing and Awareness.

Vanessa is a Los Angeles native. Before joining ISLSI, she was the Site Coordinator for the UCLA Afterschool Program that served children of immigrant families in Los Angeles' Koreatown community.