Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Staff

Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Jermaine Cruz

Dean Jermaine Cruz

Jermaine Cruz serves as Assistant Dean for Diversity & Inclusion at Albany Law School in New York State’s capitol city of Albany. He is a seasoned law school administrator with over 20 years of legal education experience including, legal clinic and targeted program administration, JD admissions, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and strategy development. A diverse set of experiences in legal practice, policy development, and communications inform his comprehensive and holistic approach to ensuring an accessible, equitable, fair, and positive law school experience for all law students rooted in clear and effective administrative and academic policy and procedure. Mr. Cruz has presented nationally on law school recruitment and retention strategy and general diversity issues in legal education. 

Immediately prior to his appointment at Albany Law School, Dean Cruz served as Director of Admissions at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.  He has worked in JD admissions at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law (his alma mater) and managed the administration and recruitment efforts of the clinical legal education program at Georgetown Law. He has worked in private practice at Hannon Law Group, LLP, in Washington, DC, where he focused primarily on complex commercial litigation and employment law.

Dean Cruz had a successful career in communications prior to pursuing his law degree.  He is an alumnus of the National Journalism Center in Washington, DC and has worked with Black Entertainment Television and for the New York State Senate.  He was also part of the communications team at Bread for the Work, Inc., where he focused on international anti-hunger campaigns with a strong focus on Africa and Latin America.

In addition to his law degree, Dean Cruz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Ithaca College and a Master of Arts in African & African American Studies from the State University of New York at Albany.

Assistant Director of Diversity & Inclusion Bria Barnes

Bria Barnes

Bria Barnes comes to Albany Law School as an experienced facilitator, workshop leader, and equity educator with years of experience in public and private K-12 environments across the tri-state and New England area. Bria joins the essential work of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion as our new Assistant Director of Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives under the guidance Assistant Dean for Diversity & Inclusion, Jermaine Cruz.

With a masters degree in Education, Culture, and Society from Rutgers University, Bria has worked collaboratively and constructively with a number of institutions in hopes of creating more inclusive communities on their campuses. In the past several years, Bria has revised school policy, created mission-driven procedures, and expanded student programming through an equity lens as the Assistant Head of School for Community, Equity, and Belonging at The White Mountain School in Bethlehem, NH, and Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion at The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, NJ. 

Coordinator of Student Programs Owen Collier

Owen Collier

Owen Collier is the Coordinator of Student Programs at Albany Law School with the departments of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Student Affairs. Owen is an educator, leader, and creative who brings to the table experience in education and event production. As an educator in New York, Owen strove to create meaningful experiences for K-12 students learning virtually due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. He continued his career in education as an English Language Assistant in Spain, where he promoted language learning through conversation and interactive opportunities. Owen seeks to use technology to increase learning opportunities and engage students in new ways. Prior to his work in education, Owen worked in live production and events in Binghamton, New York.  

Owen holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Binghamton University. His career is a commitment to the growth and advancement of community through education, language exchange, and shared experience through events.