Program Director | Lydia M. López-Ruiz

PhD, University of Puerto Rico

MDiv, Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico 

Dr. Lopez-Ruiz is the Director of the Community and Human Services Program at Esperanza College of Eastern University. She has worked for 15 years as Test Development Consultant for a company that provides services to the Department of Health, the Department of State, and the Department of Education in Puerto Rico. She also has worked as project manager for the administration of computerized professional tests for the Department of Health in Puerto Rico.

As a lecturer, Professor López-Ruiz developed and facilitated workshops about organizational interventions, time management, supervision, and counseling techniques for the community, administrative personnel, associations of counselors, educational related professionals, and pastoral staff. She also worked as a human resource consultant for small and middle size organizations. Her other passion is to work with the community and Christian churches. She has served as a counselor for drug addicts and for the homeless in coordination with the Municipality of Carolina, Puerto Rico as well as at the Palmer Baptist Church as Associate Pastor with youth groups.

Her academic areas of specialty include community development, test development and construction, counseling, and psychology. She has been married for more than 20 years and has two lovely children.


Lori Banfield

DA, Marriage and Family Therapy, Eastern University
MTS, Palmer Theological Seminary
BA, Psychology, Saint Joseph's University 

Dr. Banfield has a love for studying and enhancing the human experience. She appreciates the journey of all and desires to activate her theological and psychological passions to empower each student beyond the classroom. She is an Associate Minister and Worship Coordinator at Gates of Heaven Pentecostal Church (West Philadelphia) and serves as a Chaplain of Discipleship at Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission - Men's Facility. “As Lifespan teaches us, the human brain never stops developing; it constantly absorbs its surroundings and adapts to give the body the best fighting chance at survival. Higher learning of any kind is a suitable environment for absorption, not just for survival or existence but for fullness of life. And to be at an institution that caters to the whole person, well that's a perpetrator of life more abundantly!”

Courses taught: 
PSYC 100 | General Psychology
PSYC 207 | Lifespan Human Development

Tara Carr-Lemke

M.A. in International Relations, Johns Hopkins University
B.A. in English Literature, George Washington University

Professor Carr-Lemke has been associated with Esperanza College since 2007.  In addition to teaching at Esperanza, she teaches Eastern University's State and Local Government for the BSW program at the Esperanza campus. Tara currently serves as Director of the co-curricular, interdisciplinary Explorer Connection and Service Learning Programs at La Salle University. Her professional experience includes grassroots education and advocacy efforts in California, service-learning immersion programming in Tijuana, México, and human rights work in Guatemala and El Salvador. Tara enjoys meeting, teaching, and learning from Esperanza College students as they explore ways of strengthening our communities and constantly learning more about ourselves and one another.

Courses Taught: 
INST 225 | Community Development Seminar
INST 150 | Introduction to Faith, Reason, and Justice
INST 161 | Heritage of Western Thought & Civilization: The Modern World
INST 395 | Community Services Field Experience

Shelita Jackson

MSW, University of Pennsylvania
BSW, Eastern University
Licensed practitioner with the state of Pennsylvania

Professor Jackson’s teaching philosophy is to be a bridge that connects and guides students through the learning process. She believes every student deserves to be treated with respect, to be offered support where needed, to be challenged to reach a place of excellence and to be educated in a manner that prepares them to be successful in their future endeavors. 

In 2014, she received the “Bright Light for Christ” award at Millennium Baptist Church for having a commitment to education and community outreach. She is also the recipient of the 2011 John Hope Franklin Combating American Racism Award presented by the Black Men at Penn at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also an Associate Minister at Millennium Baptist Church.

Her goal as a professor is to not only be an information source, guide, motivator, and educator, but a real life example of what a Social Work practitioner represents. In her classroom, students can expect to be motivated, challenged, encouraged and held to a high standard. Students can expect to discuss real world situations and begin to incorporate their learning into discussion. Her prayer is always that education opens doors of knowledge, confidence, and prayerfully equal access and opportunity.

Courses taught: 
SOWK 105 | Introduction to Social Work

Stephanie Perez-Jarmul                

MSW, Social Work in the Community and Policy Arenas, Temple University
BSW, Temple University

“A college degree can lead to a change in a family legacy. Your children will have greater chances of continuing their education and you will have an opportunity to increase your earning potential while pursuing a career you enjoy.”

Professor Perez-Jarmul grew up in Reading, PA in a community greatly affected by poverty. She is the first in her immediate family to obtain a high school diploma. After high school, she pursued a degree in social work at Temple University and continued on at Temple thereafter obtaining a Master of Social Work degree. Prof. Perez-Jarmul was born to teen parents, her father died of a drug overdose when she was 8 years old after which her Grandparents took on the responsibility of raising her and guiding her to lead a life of Christian values.  Prof. Perez-Jarmul has experience in social work practice in group/community education and program management in the areas of HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health. She has had over 8 years of social work practice within Eastern North Philadelphia's Latino communities. Prof. Perez-Jarmul has worked at Eastern since 2011 and currently coordinates the Bachelor of Social Work degree at the Esperanza campus. She empathizes with her students and enjoys the roles of instructor and mentor.

Courses Taught:
SOWK 110 | Human Diversity and Social Interaction