Lyshandra Bennett is the Business Manager II for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute. She oversees the institute’s business and financial operations, course scheduling, and grant management. Lyshandra earned her B.B.A. from Georgia State University and MBA from Mercer University. Previously, she worked with an interdisciplinary research initiative funded by GSU’s Second Century Initiative and the Next Generation Program. In this role, she managed pre-award and post-award for sponsored programs supported by the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health, Department of Justice, European Commission, Atlanta Housing Authority, and various private foundations. Lyshandra has served on Staff Council and the College of Arts & Sciences Staff Executive Committee. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, exploring restaurants, and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House.
Shayla Bennett is Assistant Project Director for the Georgia Title IV-E Child Welfare Education & Training Program in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies – School of Social Work. Shayla oversees the administration of the Title IV-E program for all eight of the University System of Georgia participating schools of social work. Shayla is the lead facilitator in planning and managing the program administrative portal system. She is also responsible for the contract, budgets, and monitoring the federal claiming process for all certified public expenditure of the participating universities.
Since joining the school of social work in 2006, Ms. Bennett has served in administrative roles for other grant/contract supported programs in the university such as; senior training and technical assistance coach for The Georgia Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant – The Georgia Alcohol Prevention Project; and as evaluation coordinator for the Georgia Strategic Prevention System and the Georgia Treatment Alcohol Recovery Clubhouses for Youth.
Ms. Bennett has a bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism from Georgia State University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Valdosta State University.
Shayla is also an active GSU alumna. She is a proud member of the Panther Athletic Club and is a basketball & football season ticket holder. She serves on the Georgia State University Library Board of Advocates as well as on GSU Alumni Association Board of Directors as Constituent Partners Committee Chair.
Jez Catambay-Lopez joined Georgia State University in November 2017 as the Associate Director of Student Life for Perimeter College. In her role, she leads a team of 13 professional staff providing co-curricular growth for students at the five Perimeter campuses. From speaker series and leadership development to student clubs and Homecoming, Student Life represents the primary engagement point for students outside the classroom. Working collaboratively with academic and student services departments across the University, she has initiated a renewed focus on the educational connection between curricular and extra-curricular campus life.
Prior to joining the team at Georgia State University, Jez served as Director of the New Student Center for Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida, where she helped to establish strategic partnerships between academic departments & student services to increase campus enrollment by 4% over prior years. During her career at Miami Dade College, she served as chair of multiple steering committees, including the North Campus Commencement team and the Ashoka Institute chamgemaker team. As Director of Student Life for Miami Dade College’s North Campus, Jez served as a liaison for students to connect with local, state and federal legislators, and was instrumental in developing opportunities for legislative advocacy for students and staff. Her campus involvement included the oversight of 54 student organizations and management of multiple large-scale annual flagship events, including the MDC Rally to Vote, with over 15,000 students and community members in attendance.
A recent transplant from Miami, Jez loves exploring the food, culture and geeky-fun side of Atlanta. She spends her free time most summers competing in an international scavenger hunt to benefit Random Acts of Kindness worldwide.
Theresa Glasheen joined Georgia State University’s School of Public Health (SPH) in 2013. She currently serves as the inaugural SPH Department Coordinator for Health Policy and Behavioral Sciences. This department includes the Health Management & Policy and Health Promotion & Behavior concentrations. Position responsibilities include developing graduate course scheduling, maintaining department databases, assisting with SPH accreditation, faculty promotion and tenure, and handling all business expenses including travel, reimbursements, subcontract awards, contractor, and consultant invoices. Theresa also serves as the primary point-of-contact between the graduate and undergraduate programs, the Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services, the Office of Grants and Contracts, and the Office of the Dean.
Prior to this role Theresa served for 5 years as a Project Coordinator at a university-level research center within SPH: The Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development. Within this center, Theresa managed a statewide grant for Georgia with the National SafeCare Training and Research Center. This position included coordinating home visitation statewide trainings, overseeing all aspects of implementation, maintaining provider databases, preparing state reports, and managing the grant’s budget. Theresa has also served as a program coordinator for numerous research grants including Dad2K, which was an adaptation of SafeCare that worked with at-risk fathers, and Project Intersect, which worked with a statewide therapist network who served youth victims of commercial sex trafficking.
Theresa graduated from The University of Georgia earning both a Bachelor’s of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences Education and a Master’s of Science in Child and Family Development. She has also earned a Graduate Certificate in Public Health from Georgia State University.
Katelyn Graham joined Georgia State in June 2017 to serve as the Alumni and Events Coordinator for the Honors College. She was promoted to Assistant Director for External Relations in January 2019. In her role, Katelyn develops and coordinates signature events for the Honors College, assists with recruitment initiatives, oversees the Honors College Ambassador Corps, and advises both the Honors College Parents Club and Honors College Young Alumni. Prior to joining Georgia State, Katelyn served in a variety of capacities including admissions, recruitment, financial aid, orientation, and student life at the University of Mobile and The University of Alabama.
Katelyn holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Mobile and Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama.
Kay Hudson is the Project Coordinator for the Center for the Advancement of Students and Alumni into Graduate and Professional Programs (CASA), which serves as an institutional hub that supports the progression of students from all backgrounds into medical, law school, and Ph.D. programs. Her responsibilities include but are not limited to; coordinating education program workshops, managing budgets, and designing marketing material.
Kay graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies (Cum Laude), with a self-designed focus on the Art and Structure of Storytelling. She also holds a degree in Advertising Sales, with a minor in Graphic Design from Mount Ida College of Business. In addition to her academic pursuits, Kay also works as a consultant creating branded content for a leading digital media company. She also serves as national press to film studios which include but are not limited to; Warner Bros, Disney Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Fox Studios.
Ashley Jones is the operations manager at the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. GHPC has a staff of nearly 80 people and annual revenue of more than $12 million. Ashley works closely with the associate director to manage the center’s business operations and support center-wide strategic planning activities to ensure a high performing work environment. Her role includes supporting the center’s proposal development through overseeing the identification of funding opportunities, managing pre-award functions for submission of grant applications, and monitoring contracts through execution. Ashley is also responsible for coordinating across the continuum of human resources including managing recruitment, hiring and orientation of new staff, as well as facilitating staff training and skills development opportunities.
Prior to joining Georgia State in 2016, Ashley spent time in the private sector providing program coordination, project management, capacity-building, and community engagement as a public health consultant. A native of Atlanta, Ga., Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in nutrition science at the University of Georgia, and her master’s of public health from Mercer University. Ashley lives in Atlanta with her husband and enjoys exercising, cooking, planning parties, and exploring the city.
Julie Lawson is the assistant to Jerry Rackliffe, Sr. Vice President for Finance & Administration and has served in this role since July 2016. She also assisted Mary Beth Walker, Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Innovations in the Next Generation program, and other programs as directed by the Provost. Previous to her work in University Administration she worked in the Department of Athletics as assistant to the Executive Senior Associate Director and has over 15 years in higher education experience. She holds a BS degree in city planning from Georgia State University. Julie lives in Atlanta and enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering around the city and reading autobiographies.
Dori Neptune joined the Office of the Associate Provost for Graduate Programs in 2014 as Project Coordinator and is responsible for the planning and implementation of professional development workshops, events, and orientation for new graduate students. Working closely with the AP for Graduate Programs, Dori’s mission includes maintaining databases, gathering data for graduate initiatives, and dissemination of graduate programs information. Dori serves as a liaison on behalf of the Associate Provost to various colleges, offices, departments, and external constituents. In 2018, she was elected to and currently serves as the Communication Officer for the Georgia Council of Graduate Schools. She earned her B.A. degree in psychology, M.A. degree in sociology and graduate certificate in gerontology from the University of South Alabama. Dori is also an Adjunct Sociology instructor at Chattahoochee Technical College.
Dionne Polite has over 18 years of higher education experience. Prior to coming to Georgia State University in 2015, Dionne worked in the Division of Student Services at Morehouse College for seven and a half years. In her work at GSU, Dionne served as Associate to the Director in the J. Mack Robinson’s College of Business (RCB) Office of Undergraduate Academic Assistance, where she managed the departmental budget, oversaw daily operations, supervised a full-time staff member and student assistants, while also working with over 25 RCB student organizations and their faculty advisors. She presented a yearly proposal to the Dean of Students and the Student Activity Fee Committee to affirm the allocation processes to apportion funds to the RCB student organizations, and ensured they adhered to fee guidelines. Additionally, Dionne was selected by the Assistant Dean of Administration and Finance in 2017 to serve on the J. Mack Robinson College of Business Operations Committee. Currently, she serves as Administrative Specialist-Academic, the sole staff member for the University Senate and Staff Council Office, leading day-to-day operations which touches virtually every corner of the university. Her duties entail coordinating university administrator evaluations with OIE, OIR, the Provost Office, elected evaluation committees and the Senate Executive Committee. She also organizes all Senate and Staff Council agendas and meetings, coordinates elections for the Senate, as well as maintains webpages and calendars for these two organizations. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Georgia Southern University and a M.S. in Leadership for Higher Education from Capella University. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Capella University. Dionne is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Amanda Puché is the Director of Development for the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies having served this role since January 2018. Working as the only frontline fundraiser for the college, Amanda focuses on major gift fundraising from alumni, faculty, staff, corporations, foundations and friends. She’s demonstrated success closing a half million-dollar endowment establishing a named faculty chair and several student scholarships during her tenure. Before sharing her talents with the Andrew Young School, Amanda worked for Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, and our very own Office of Annual Giving at Georgia State University.
Amanda is a proud triple Panther having earned a B.A. in journalism, a B.A. in anthropology, and an M.A. in anthropology with a graduate certificate in nonprofit management all from Georgia State University. Amanda is an active community member and regularly volunteers for organizations like The Giving Kitchen, Fringe Festival and the Grant Park Neighborhood Association. In her free time, Amanda is a fitness fanatic, world traveler and self-proclaimed foodie.
Rachel Strickland joined Georgia State University as Assistant Director of Annual Programs in 2015. She was promoted to Associate Director of Annual Programs in 2018. As a member of the Annual Programs team, her focus is growing the donor pipeline for Georgia State through marketing, solicitations, engagement events, and peer-to-peer fundraising. In her role, Rachel directly overseas the direct mail solicitations of the office, faculty and staff giving, segmentation and data analysis, and matching gift fundraising efforts. She also plays an important role in managing the phone program through a third-party vendor, creating and implementing the annual giving strategy each fiscal year, and maintaining strong relationships with various departments and offices across the university. Previously, Rachel worked for Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a fundraising vendor, as manager of the call center on the Georgia State campus beginning in 2013 and managing a staff of 40+ GSU students making fundraising and stewardship calls to alumni, parents, and friends of the university.
Rachel earned her B.B.A. in Business Management from the University of Mississippi in 2012 where she discovered her passion for fundraising working part-time as a student fundraiser through their call center.
Laura Viilo is the Assistant Director of the Urban Studies Institute in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. She been with the institute since its inception just over two years ago; working closely with the director and faculty to build the unit, create new academic programs, and shape research priorities. Responsible for the overall administration of the institute, she works on hiring, grant proposals, events, and strategic planning. She came to GSU in 2015 to work in the Dean’s Office for the College of Arts and Sciences at GSU, supporting the dean and exchange programs at the college level. She currently serves as a Chapter Advisor for Golden Key Intl. Honour Society and as a Staff Senator on the Staff Council.
Prior to joining GSU Ms. Viilo spent five years within the international non-profit sector, including at the Carter Center, and time living abroad as a Peace Corps trainee. A native New Yorker, Ms. Viilo earned her M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University in Washington, DC. She loves volunteering with different organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Atlanta Food Bank and Woodruff Arts Center, and serves on the board of the YNPN Atlanta and My World Program. She also enjoys reading and spending time with her family, dogs, and backyard chickens!
Diana Wrenn Rapp
Diana Wrenn Rapp serves as the Assistant Director of the Atlanta Global Studies Center, a Title VI National Resource Center. In this role, Ms. Wrenn Rapp coordinates and communicates with a growing network of university and community partners who work together on projects and programs that expand language learning and international cooperation in the Atlanta region. In addition, she manages the prestigious FLAS Fellowship Program for graduate and undergraduate students at GSU interested in advanced language learning and global area studies. Before joining the Atlanta Global Studies Center in 2019, Diana taught English as a Second Language to international college students for over 10 years, mentored and trained new teachers, directed special programs, and organized events. Diana’s professional goal is to help build a strong and dynamic global institute in Atlanta that fosters international and intercultural awareness and engagement in students, faculty and the public. In her free time, Diana likes to explore Georgia’s many natural parks and trails.