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About the Association of Pan-African Doctoral Scholars, Inc.


The Association of Pan-African Doctoral Scholars, Inc. (APADS) was founded by Drs. Nelle Becker-Slaton, Sandra Cox, and Marion Maddox in 1981.
Together they formed a support group to address the issues and challenges of the doctoral process for Pan-African students.

Members come from the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa, and other parts of the world. APADS was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1994.
The membership is duly proud of its success in helping more Pan-African students obtain their doctoral degrees.

APADS, Inc. is a support organization that fosters and provides mentoring support for Pan-African students and scholars. We are concerned both with ensuring the academic success of students pursuing a doctoral degree and supporting the professional development of Pan-African scholars in educational, research, and corporate settings.

We pursue this endeavor by "mentoring," networking, examining institutional policies and practices, and information exchange.


APADS is a support organization that fosters and provides mentoring support for Pan-African students and scholars.  We are concerned both with ensuring the academic success of students pursuing a doctoral degree and supporting the professional development of Pan-African scholars in educational research and corporate settings. 

We are a multifaceted non-profit organization interested in developing our community through the successes of our Members.



Dr. Marion Maddox, Dr. Nelle Becker-Slaton,
and Dr. Sandra Cox Brunch 
USC; November 12, 2006

In 1981, while studying at the Claremont Graduate School, Nelle Becker-Slaton observed that numerous students were dropping out of the doctoral program.  She teamed with two classmates, Marion Maddox and Sandra Cox to form what is now the Association of Pan-African Doctoral Scholars (APADS). 

Working together, they used the Association to help address the issues and challenges that African American doctoral students faced as they journeyed through the dissertation process.

The group held its first meeting at the home of Nelle Becker-Slaton and for more than fifteen years, she led the Association and helped it to grow into an organization that continues to provide ongoing support to doctoral students, doctoral candidates, and those who have completed a doctoral program. 

In 1994, APADS received its non-profit status and proudly continues to help Pan-African students obtain a doctoral degree


Sherry D. Davis, Ed.D.

Sherry D. Davis, Ed.D.


Ed.D. – University of Southern California
M.A. & B.A. – CSU-Dominquez Hills

Karen Robinette, Ed.D.

Karen Robinette, Ed.D.

2nd Vice President | Membership

Ed.D. - Pepperdine University
M.A. - CSU, Los Angeles
B.A. - CSU, Los Angeles

Andre Crenshaw, Ed.D.

Andre Crenshaw, Ed.D.

Director of Associates

Ed.D. – Pepperdine University

Juanita Coleman-Merritt

Juanita Coleman-Merritt

Executive Director

Ed.D. – Pepperdine University
M.A. – Cal State Dominguez Hills
M.S. – Bank Street College of Education
B.A. – Barnard College

Jeannette Hutton Pugh, Ph.D.

Jeannette Hutton Pugh, Ph.D.


Ph.D. - Pepperdine University
M.S.E. - University of Pennsylvania
B.S. - Princeton University

Katisha Robinson-Smith, Ph.D.

Katisha Robinson-Smith, Ph.D.

Correspondence Secretary

Ph.D., MBA – University of Phoenix
B.A. – Cal State Northridge

Obioma Uche, Ed.D.

Obioma Uche, Ed.D.

1st Vice President | Programs

Ed.D. - Walden University

Candy Williams, Ed.D.

Candy Williams, Ed.D.


Ed.D. – Pepperdine University
M.S. – San Diego State University
B.A. – Cal State Los Angeles

Meryl Walker, Ed.D.

Meryl Walker, Ed.D.

Public Relations

Ed.D. – Grand Canyon University

Evelyn Metoyer-Williams, Ed.D.

Evelyn Metoyer-Williams, Ed.D.

President Emeritus

Early Childhood Education Expert

Ellen Griffin, Ed.D.

Ellen Griffin, Ed.D.


Ed.D. – University of Southern California
B.A. – Kansas State University


  • How much are scholarships and how do I apply?
    APADS awards $500 scholarships to help defray dissertation editing services expenses. Any Associate Member who is in good standing and graduating from accredited institution is able to apply.
  • Can APADS help me with statistical analysis?
    APADS is a support and mentoring organization and we do not provide statistical analysis. We have a short referral list of scholars who provide this service for paid, current Associate Members.
  • Why do I need to join the APADS community?
    The dissertation journey can be lonely, frustrating, complex and complicating. APADS offers a community of dissertation students and candidates who can exchange information, collaborate and share experiences – good and bad. APADS also offers a community of doctoral scholars who have travelled the road and who know the fine details that paves the way to dissertation completion and Final Defense. It takes a village, even at the doctoral level!
  • What kind of support and mentorship does APADS provide?
    APADS hosts a monthly ZOOM meeting every 3rd Sunday for paid Members. In this space, Associates have the opportunity to ask questions of General Members who are content scholars. General Members provide invaluable feedback, recommendations and strategies to get you through the process. Also, the website offers a Forum and a Blog to help Members navigate the dissertation chapters in addition to opportunities to share and engage with others in this doctoral community.
  • I can’t physically attend the in-person meetings. How do I take advantage of APADS support and mentorship?
    APADS provides support and mentorship via ZOOM meetings. Associates and General Members join from numerous institutions across the United States. You can too!
  • Does APADS offer one-on-one coaching?
    APADS does not offer one-on-one coaching but we have a referral list of providers who offer this service.
  • Can I purchase the Chapter Powerpoints and not hold membership?
    You can purchase the Chapter Powerpoints (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) separately from membership at a cost of $50.00.
  • Does APADS review/edit dissertation drafts?
    APADS does not review/edit dissertation drafts. We have a referral list of providers who offer this service.
Image by Christopher Brown



Join our organization as a General Member or Associate Member for exclusive access - plus never pay for courses!


Participate in our events and meetings - no additional charge for members. Confirmations will be sent via email.


Register for our live and on-demand courses to get support working on your dissertation and to obtain mentorship.

Support Us

Show your support by sponsoring our scholars or making a donation to our 501(c)(3) non-profit. It is tax-deductible.


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