Karissa Culbreath


Karissa Culbreath has worked with URU for 10 years, assisting in the development and implementation of some of URU’s DNI workshops. Particularly, Collective Impact, Recruitment and Retention. She is co-developer with Crystal R. Emery of Building Bridges: The Power of the Sisterhood. Karissa has very keen insight around division based on race (Albuquerque, New Mexico is one of the most divided cities, made up of Latino, Native American, White, and Black. None of these groups intersect.) Karissa has done a tremendous amount of work with URU to create dialogues and collaborations. She is a moderator for Changing the Face of STEM.

Outside of URU, Karissa is the Medical Director of the Infectious Disease Laboratory at TriCore Reference Laboratories and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. In this role, she oversees the clinical service for the largest diagnostic laboratory in the State of New Mexico. She is actively engaged in research to design and evaluate new diagnostic tests for complex medical conditions. Additionally, she is passionate about providing diagnostics to rural communities throughout New Mexico and internationally. Dr. Culbreath is particularly focused on creating a more inclusive environment for girls and students of color who are interested in STEM. She is the director of the Building Outstanding STEM Students Program at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Driven by her passion to empower girls to be anything they desire to be, Karissa authored her first children's book, Daddy’s Little Girl, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Karissa earned her bachelor's degree at Fisk University, her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, and held a post-doctoral fellowship in Medical and Public Health Microbiology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She is certified as a Healthcare Peer Coach by the Physician Coaching Institute.

Nikole Collins-Puri

Nikole Collins-Puri is a social justice visionary, strategist, advocate and mentor who has committed her life to unleashing the potential of untapped communities. Nikole’s work with URU is based in strategy planning, particularly around Collective Impact. She is also a facilitator for Building Bridges: The Power of the Sisterhood.

Outside of URU, Nikole is the CEO of Techbridge Girls, a nonprofit organization that excites, educates and equips girls from low-income communities through STEM, empowering them to pursue STEM careers and achieve economic mobility and financial security as adults. Prior to Techbridge Girls, Nikole worked at AT&T where she spearheaded their diversity and inclusion efforts, at the College Board where she advised states on their college completion strategy for Black and Latinx students, and at the Women’s Foundation of California where she advanced women’s economic security by supporting and awarding grants to visionary grassroots organizations.

Nikole earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of South Florida and her M.P.A. in from Baruch College, City University of New York. [ANY PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS?]

Note: OrLando does our leadership work and as dorky as he is, he is really good at what he does. I don’t get this John Maxwell thing, I don’t think I would include it as an Executive Director.