Diane Zablotsky, Ph.D.
Faculty Director
Levine Hall

Dr. Zablotsky earned a Bachelor of Science in Individual and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University in 1980 and a Master of Arts in Social Science from the State University of New York in 1984. After working in long term care for several years, she earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Maryland in 1990. Before joining the faculty at UNC Charlotte in 1992, Dr. Zablotsky worked as a social science analyst at the National Institute on Aging (National Institutes of Health) and Post Doctoral Research Associate at the Andrus Gerontology Center (University of Southern California). Her research has focused on aging, health care, and the impact of HIV/AIDS on midlife and older Americans. Before joining the Levine Scholars Program she was Associate Dean of Student Support in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Interim Chair of the Department of Sociology. She is currently a board member of BRIDGES Academic Leadership for Women in North Carolina.

Abey T. Dessie
Associate Director
Levine Hall

Before joining the Levine Scholars Program, Abey served as the Senior Assistant Director and Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at UNC Charlotte. He has worked in higher education for the last nine years and his experience includes working at East Carolina University and UNC Wilmington. Prior to his time in higher education, he worked at the United Nations Information Centre in Washington, DC. Abey grew up in the Greater Boston Area and the Triangle of North Carolina. What he enjoys most about his profession is the opportunity to guide students and families through the college search and selection process. In his spare time, he serves as a youth mentor and on the Board of Directors for a local non-profit. He completed his undergraduate degree at East Carolina University in Psychology and Sociology.

Porscha Elton
Coordinator of Scholar Support and Initiatives
Levine Hall

Porscha Elton earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Secondary Education at Wake Forest University in 2014 and a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Leadership from Appalachian State University in 2016. Currently, Porscha is working on her Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership at UNC Charlotte. Prior to joining the Levine Scholars Program, Porscha taught high school English in western NC and served as an Academic Advisor and LC 101 Instructor at Western Carolina University. Porscha is originally from rural Western North Carolina, and while NC is always home, she loves to travel. Porscha enjoys guiding students through their time in college and assisting them in finding their path and passion for the future. In her free time, Porscha enjoys working with her local youth group, hiking, and competing in running events.  

Stephanie LaClair
University Program Associate
Levine Hall

Stephanie LaClair joined the Levine Scholars Program in 2019 and provides broad-based support in office management, budgeting, student services, and recruitment.  Originally from upstate New York, she has spent the last fourteen years in the Charlotte area, thirteen of them working at UNC Charlotte.  Stephanie is a fervor advocate of students and mentor.  Before making her shift to higher education, Stephanie had a long and successful career with the U.S. Department of Justice.  Outside the work, Stephanie is an avid audiophile and voracious reader.  


Heather Smith, Ph.D.
Faculty Fellow
Levine Hall

Heather Smith, Ph.D. is the Levine Scholars Program Faculty Fellow supporting civic engagement, research and study abroad. She is also a professor of Geography and the Ph.D. Program Director, as well as the Director of the CLAS Urban Studies Minor. A Morehead Scholar, she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduate degrees in Canada. Dr. Smith’s research focuses on globalization, urban restructuring, immigrant settlement and socio-spatial inequality. She is the recipient of the 2014 Provost’s Faculty Award for Community Engagement and the 2017 Harshini V. De Silva Graduate Mentor Award.

Rachael Gaskin
Graduate Assistant
Levine Hall

Prior to her time at UNC Charlotte, Rachael grew up in both Birmingham, Alabama and the Charlotte Metropolitan Area. Rachael earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in both History and Political Science from UNC Charlotte and is currently working towards a Master of Arts in History, concentrating in Public History. Her academic and research interests focus on women's history; their experiences and the uncovering of their specific voices from existing historical narratives. Prior to her time with the Levine Scholars Program, she held an internship in archival collection processing at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library, where she processed 2 archival collections and continues to volunteer in her free time.  Rachael joined the Levine Scholars Program in the Fall of 2018, where she serves as the Graduate Assistant of Civic Engagement and Scholar Support. When she is not working or studying, Rachael enjoys reading and exploring the city of Charlotte with her friends.