Meet The Team


Founder & Executive Director

Kristen Newsome, M.Ed.

Mrs. Newsome is a warrior for education, gender, and racial equity with decades of experience in programs and nonprofit management, leadership and career coaching, and mentoring success for both adults and youth. After a career spanning decades in executive, leadership, career coaching, and program management, she founded MSKSI with the intent of connecting young women who have been underserved and underrepresented in STEM higher education, careers, and business ownership with mentors who can inspire them to become the next innovators, problem solvers, and leaders of this age.

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Board Member & CEL Program Advisor

Tumona Austin, Ed.D.

Dr. Austin brings years of experience and heart to MSKSI as one of the co-founders of the Personal Development Mentoring Program.  Her work has made an impact on domestic and international matters via strategic planning consultation, outreach initiatives, and leadership coaching. Dr. Austin is a mentor by nature and is passionate about the rising generation of young women- challenging and supporting them to lean into and manifest the best versions of themselves. She serves as Program Advisor for the CELS Mentoring Program.

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Board Member

Kevin Pitts, MBA

Kevin Pitts is the Executive Director for the Bayou Region Incubator. He is also a seasoned leader, consultant, facilitator, and coach. Mr. Pitts was a managing director in executive education for Duke University Corporate Education and the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He was an adjunct professor at Drexel University and a moderator for Harvard Business Publishing, leading workshops and coaching executives worldwide. 

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STEAM - Math Pathway Mentor

Chance Smith

Mr. Smith is a U.S. Active-duty Army Officer with 15 years of leadership and organizational experience,  analytics and data visualization techniques to inform decisions at the senior levels of the U.S. Government. He has created interactive tools and reduced the time domain experts take to collect content to analyze. Additional skills include data management and machine learning methods in Python, SQL, and cloud computing.  Mr. Smith is a Mentor and Advisor for the Black Math Genius Mentoring Program.

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STEAM - Engineering Pathway Mentor

CEL- Financial Literacy Mentor

Ericka Fernandez

Ms. Fernandez has decades of experience in Quality Control in the Aerospace Engineering field managing the control of engineering changes by imposing disciplines for change management, tracking, status accounting, and compliance verification.  Ms. Fernandez negotiates with engineering teams to develop and ensure best configuration practices and policies are met. She is highly skilled in project management, corporate communications, multitasking, and troubleshooting.  In her second career as a financial advisor, Ms. Fernandez also supports the CEL Program as a Mentor for Financial Literacy.

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Personal Development Mentor

Kaysha Smith

Kaysha Smith is a Mentor for the Personal Development Program and has been a representative community partner of Vista Murrieta High School with MSKSI for over 2 years.  Ms. Smith is passionate about empowering young women to find their voice, make good decisions based on values, and live healthy lives with a focus on holistic wellness.  Ms. Smith is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Special Education and has a heart for educational equity and racial justice in our schools. 

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Advisory Board Member

Shawna Wright, M.Ed.

Ms. Wright has extensive experience working with organizations to explore possibilities in strategic planning, innovation and change management, continuous quality improvement, workforce development, executive leadership coaching, organizational culture, employee engagement, performance outcomes, and program design.  She advances DEIA initiatives and passionately supports opportunity, gender, race, and education equity focused initiatives.

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Jeri Christopher, CPA

Mrs. Christopher is a Certified Public Accountant with over 16 years of accounting experience and over 10 years of nonprofit auditing.  She is a strong advocate for young women having access to opportunity and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance of Black Women Accountants.

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Sonya Sanders

Mrs. Sanders has 20+ years in the real estate industry and has a passion for community service, the military community, and excellent customer service. She is a believer in the importance of children having a mentor in their lives and has previously served on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters from May 2016 to Dec 2021.  Ms. Sanders currently serves as MSKSI Board Secretary and also leads the Parent Engagement Committee.

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STEAM - Life Sciences Pathway Mentor

Dr. Aliya Fredrick, MD, PhD

Dr. Aliya Frederick is a child neurologist at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego and an assistant clinical professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at UC San Diego. Dr. Fredrick is passionate about mentoring BIPOC girls in medicine and life sciences is a member of the UC San Diego Health Sciences Task Force on Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and serves as an associate editor in epilepsy on the editorial board for Child Neurology Open. She currently serves as the Lead Life Sciences Mentor for MSKSI and is a mentor/coach for the MSKSI participants of the MIRE Program.

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Board Member & SOA Program Advisor

Tolu Amele, MBA

Mrs. Amele has years of experience and a proven ability to achieve tactical and strategic initiatives spanning multiple industries bringing fresh perspec-tives and alignment opportunities with leading practices.  She has the coveted ability to blend a rich mix of detail with planning and goal-setting acumen to achieve program objectives.  A true mentor at heart, Mrs. Amele brings her background as an Engineer and Management Consultant to the MSKSI team. She currently serves as the Program Advisor for the Personal Development Mentoring Program.

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STEAM - Technology Pathway Mentor

Monique Parker


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Career, Entrepreneurship, & Life Skills Mentor

Jontrice Wells

Ms. Jontrice Wells is an exceptional example of success and an inspiration to all who come in contact with her. Her passion for success and completion will overcome all obstacles. Her career paths have afforded her the knowledge and experience to serve the community through holistic education and resources to heal the community from the inside out. 

She mentors young women to live an abundantly thriving life through physical wellness, mental wellness, emotional wellness, and financial wellness. 


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Advisory Board Member 

Assata Moore

Assata Moore is a Chicago South Side native, educator, and author who advocates for educating young Black children, using math as the driving force. She also teaches adults how to achieve financial freedom. Mrs. Moore’s motto is “Math is the Blackest thing ever.”She uses a unique approach to enhance mathematical learning capability. As MSKSI Math Consultant and Mentor and through her “Black Math Genius” course, Assata uses a formula easy and familiar to the children that she is working with. 

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 Community Partners

California Commission on the Status of Women & Girls
University Lab Partners & Children's Hospital Orange County (CHOC) Research
California Life Sciences
Million Girl Moonshot
MilliporeSigma/ Curiosity Cube
Black Math Genius
Sankofa Club
Code Queens
Girls Who Code
CSU San Marcos 
Hera Hub Temecula
Vista Murrieta High School
Murrieta Mesa High School
Chaparral High School
African American Parent Advisory Council- MVUSD, TVUSD