Denise Ocasio Thomas
Denise O. Thomas has been a part of the OMED: Educational Services team since May 2016 , becoming the the inaugural associate director of equity, engagement, and retention in November of 2022. Prior to her most recent appointment, she served as the assistant director of retention initiatives. Denise has spent the last twelve years in higher education, of which the last eight have been dedicated to student success and retention, primarily working with underrepresented students in higher education and STEM. Denise’s had an undeniable passion for promoting student success by systematically addressing factors that impact student persistence. In her current role at Georgia Tech, Denise manages several programs and initiatives, including the Edge first-year peer mentorship program, the internal component of the Women of Color Initiative, OMED Welcome Carnival, and Tower Awards celebration. Additionally, Denise is responsible for data collection, assessment, and reporting for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, grants, and enterprise initiatives and development via OMED.
Prior to her current role at Georgia Tech, Denise served as a coordinator for Latino recruitment and retention (LASSO) at Georgia State University, where she managed the Goizueta Scholarship foundation, administering an over 4.9-million-dollar grant through scholarships and outreach initiatives in the promotion of Latinx scholars. During her tenure in this role, the program was recognized as one of the 2015 National Excelencia in Education recipients.
Denise graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Florida International University and an M.Ed. in Professional Counseling and Student Affairs from the University of West Georgia. Denise is currently working on her Ph.D. in Educational Policy, emphasizing the social foundations of education from Georgia State University. Her educational and professional experiences have fueled her dedication to creating accessible and relevant spaces for students in their pursuit of education.