A native of New Orleans, Dr. Cola has demonstrated both a passion for science and a deep commitment to helping students succeed. As a self-described scientist-educator, she has over twenty years of experience conducting scientific research and more than ten years of experience teaching; implementing, and developing courses, programs, and workshops designed to increase student learning; improve student retention in post-secondary education; develop the instructional skill of teachers; and ensuring equitable access to resources for high school and college students. An early supporter of Sci High, her passion for Career Technical Education and STEM-focused educational pursuits is unmatched.
A graduate of Joseph S. Clark High School, Dr. Cola earned her B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, before returning home to Louisiana where she earned an M.S. degree in Pathology from Louisiana State University and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Tulane University.
Prior to assuming her leadership role at Sci High, Dr. Cola was Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs/Executive Dean at Delgado Community College, in addition to serving as the administrative leader in the Vice Chancellor’s absence, she designed programs to improve student retention and led initiatives to increase the number of high school students participating in Dual Enrollment courses at Delgado. While Director of the Biology Resource Center at Xavier University, Dr. Cola developed and implemented programs to increase the academic success of both college and high school students studying biology. She also served as the first African American faculty member in Tulane University’s Neuroscience Program, where she taught the Neuroanatomy Laboratory for the Neuroscience Graduate Program and the “Brain and Behavior” course. As a cognitive neuroscientist, Dr.Cola has done clinical research using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to measure regions of the brain in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), stroke, and healthy controls to better understand how dysfunctions in the brain occur.
In her work with NAPE (National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity), Dr. Colaserved as an Equity Instructor promoted student self-efficacy by providing professional development for faculty and administrators related to increasing student access and creating equitable learning environments, especially in Career and Technical Education (CTE) and STEM-related careers. Her demonstrated commitment to active outreach and helping students reach academic and career goals has been unwavering and is consistent with the mission and vision of Sci High to provide a comprehensive education with a deep emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math that prepares students for success in college, careers, and life.