Dr. Laura Boudon
Dr. Laura Boudon joined Georgia State University in February 2020 as Director of Study Abroad Programs. In her role, she leads a team of six professional staff providing study abroad opportunities to Georgia State students and speaking about the academic, personal, and professional impact of study abroad on students’ journeys. Study Abroad Programs supports and advises students throughout the study abroad process, works with faculty across campus to develop GSU study abroad programs, engages students with study abroad and manages student applications and application software. Laura was most recently Director of the Office of Study Abroad at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Florida for almost 5 years, leading FIU’s efforts to increase the number of FIU students who study abroad. During this time, she served as a member of the MSI Summit planning committee for Diversity Abroad from 2016-2018. She participated in Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning Research Seminar on Global Learning and Study abroad from 2015 to 2017. Laura led presentations at the Diversity Abroad conference and the NAFSA region VII conference and co-authored several recent book chapters with colleagues. Laura has more than 15 years of experience in higher education, having also worked at Georgetown University, American University and the University of South Carolina. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the University of Miami, a Ph.D. in International Relations from Florida International University and a Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Laura is a global citizen, having grown up in France and lived a year in Bogotá, Colombia, teaching English and conducting dissertation research. She loves to travel the world and try new foods.
Emily Cahill joined Georgia State University’s School of Public Health in 2014. She currently serves as Executive Assistant to the Dean. In this role, she manages operations, communications, and strategic initiatives for the Dean’s Office and serves on the School’s Leadership Team. Prior to joining the School of Public Health, she worked as an Academic Advisor in the University Advisement Center at Georgia State University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Indiana University Bloomington and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Georgia State University. She has taught Georgia State’s new student orientation course as well as undergraduate courses on introduction to philosophy, and she frequently participates as a witness in Georgia State’s Employment Law Mock Trial organized by the GSU Office of AA/EEO Training and Compliance.
Melissa Duncan is the College Research Officer for the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS). She is tasked with managing a pre- and post-award portfolio for Second Century Initiative (2CI) and Next Generation faculty at the AYSPS, liaising between the AYSPS and central administration offices, training new research administrators as needed, reviewing all proposal submissions, and coordinating research administration for the AYSPS. In this role, she manages federally-funded projects, such as support received by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation, just to name a few. She is also responsible for managing state funded projects as well as private institutions and foundations.
In 2012, after working 12 years as a Grants and Financial Analyst with CARE, International, Ms. Duncan was introduced to research administration by way of Emory University. After leaving Emory in 2015, Melissa worked at Georgia State University as a Grants and Contracts Officer III in the Institute of Biomedical Sciences. She then moved on to Georgia Tech for two years in the role of Senior Grants Administrator, before assuming her current role as College Research Officer in AYSPS.
Melissa earned her Bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University and her Master’s degree from Emmanuel College. Melissa is also a Certified Research Administrator (CRA). In her spare time, she enjoys serving her community through volunteering as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). She also enjoys traveling, reading, theater, and live music.
In her current role as the HR Officer for Facilities Management Services at GSU, Fatou Egegbara works closely with the VP and the directors to develop and implement strategies that increase the acquisition and retention of highly productive employees. Fatou has about eight years of experience in the University Systems of GA (five at GA Tech and three at GSU).
In her previous role as Human Resources Officer for the College of the Arts, she advised College leadership on strategic and operational decisions on human resources management. Fatou also managed the college’s HR transactions, policies, and procedures to support a more productive work environment. While at COTA, she worked with Dr. Lisa Armistead, Associate Provost and Central HR to implement an onboarding system for graduate student assistants that was modeled after the one used at Georgia Tech. The new process has led to efficiency gains and has immensely benefited the graduate student assistants and those hiring them.
During her five years tenure at Georgia Tech as a Senior Recruiting Consultant, she partnered with colleges and divisions across campus to recruit for faculty and staff positions. Prior to joining Higher Ed, Fatou’s private sector experience includes time at Fortune 500 companies like Honeywell and Bank of America. Her experience in both higher education and the private sector has allowed her to possess a wide range of skills and knowledge in her field.
Fatou received her master’s degree in human resources from Suffolk University in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts. She also speaks six languages including French and English.
Donna Frazier is an Admissions Counselor III, for the Georgia State University Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Donna is one of the department’s senior members, who started her higher education career at Georgia State’s Perimeter College, Clarkston. While at Perimeter College, Donna managed the Clarkston and Decatur Admissions Offices with student assistants under her supervision. Donna manages a recruitment territory that includes Dekalb County, South Georgia and several mid-western states. She works primarily with both Traditional and Non-Traditional First-Year students as well as GSU-62. Donna has worked in higher education more than 15 years.
Donna earned a B.A. in Psychology from Virginia Union University and is currently pursuing an MBA at Georgia State University. Prior to her career in higher education, Donna work over 10 years in the field of Criminal Justice as a Juvenile Probation Officer and Case Manager for federal offenders.
During the 2020, COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and the reemergence of racial unrest in the U.S. and around the globe, Donna served as the Georgia State University Staff Council Chair (2020-2021) and a member of Georgia State’s inaugural Racial Equity Task Force. Subsequently, Donna was elected to serve as a member of the Georgia State University Presidential Search Committee, tasked with electing a successor for former President Mark Becker.
Donna is a creative, solution-oriented team-player, who is always seeking opportunities to develop her leadership skills and expand professionally.
After hours Donna enjoys producing community television, travel, fine arts and serving community through her local ministry. A fun fact about Donna is that her high school and college mascots were Panthers, so technically she has been a “Panther” since high school.
Jennifer Harris is the Business Manger III for the University Library. In her role, she oversees budget and financial operations which includes ensuring compliance with GSU and BOR policy. She also serves as grants administrator for pre and post award management. In 2005, she earned her B.B.A in Management from Georgia State University. A career employee, she has previously served in financial roles for GSU Housing and the Department of Biology. An avid supporter of GSU Athletics, Jennifer spends her spare time attending various sporting events such as a football and basketball.
Emily Heberlein is Assistant Project Director on the Population and Global Health Team at the Georgia Health Policy Center. In her role, she supervises and leads multi-disciplinary project teams, managing all aspects of the grant lifecycle. Her areas of expertise include evaluation, monitoring, and quality improvement. She has experience in a range of evaluation approaches to plan, coordinate, and conduct studies of complex and adaptive initiatives to produce actionable and timely results for funders and stakeholders. She also provides evaluation technical assistance to internal and external clients. She has a particular area of research interest in maternal and child health, including group prenatal care and telehealth.
Dr. Heberlein holds a PhD in Public Health from the University of South Carolina, a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management from Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Northwestern University.
Japera Hemming, PhD is an Assistant Project Director with the Georgia Healthy Policy Center at Georgia State University. She is an experienced educator, engaging facilitator and research program administrator with expertise in achieving data-driven outcomes. She is actively involved in health systems transformation and is committed to advancing health equity, whole-person health, and social justice research.
Dr. Hemming leads a project supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that examines cross-sector alignment to facilitate recovery from the triple crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic recession, and the ongoing impacts of systemic racism.
Dr. Hemming’s work designing, managing and implementing programs that close opportunity gaps is reflected in a variety of organizations including Georgia Policy Labs, Morehouse School of Medicine, the National Research Mentoring Network, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award Programs, and the National Diversity Council. She is proud graduate of Spelman College where she earned a BS in Environmental Science. She also holds an MA in Environmental Policy Design from Lehigh University and a PhD in Public Administration and Policy from the University of Georgia.
Linda Lee is the Assistant Director of Student Experience, serving three applied mathematical graduate student programs. She joined the Robinson Graduate Student Experience team, in 2017, after participating nearly 15 years on various teams at Georgia State University and a Fortune 10 healthcare company. Linda is a servant-leader with expertise in Program, Project and Talent Management, and Student Success. She is also a credentialed Judgement Index Practitioner. Her warm style of engagement, coupled with her unique blend of relational, tactical, and strategic capabilities, enable her to quickly identify the individual, team, and operational needs, close gaps, and move forward with what matters most. Linda has a passion for cross-functional team collaboration, training and development, and delivering results that exceed stakeholder expectations. Initially from Northern, KY, Linda pursued her undergraduate degree in business administration at Northern Kentucky University before relocating to Atlanta, GA. Outside of Robinson, Linda enjoys extending hospitality to others, utilizing her culinary skills, hiking, teaching, reading, and writing.
LaTisha Mitchell-Johnson is the assistant director of engagement for the Honors College. In this role, she plans and executes honors college events, oversees the Honors College Ambassador corps, assists with recruitment initiatives, and serves as the college’s liaison for the Parent and Alumni boards. LaTisha is also the founder and co-chair of the college’s first ever Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion committee and serves on the Georgia State University Staff Council.
LaTisha has a passion for higher education and, as a first generation college graduate, recognizes how the college experience can unlock the potential in underserved communities. Using her lived experience as a student in the Upward Bound TRiO program, and later by through roles in college admissions, new student orientation, career services, student activities and college access programming, she has demonstrated her gift for connecting with students to aid in their personal, academic, and professional growth. Prior to joining Georgia State, LaTisha has served at Clark Atlanta University, University of San Francisco, Georgia Gwinnett College, Agnes Scott College, and the University of South Carolina-Columbia.
A South Carolina native, LaTisha holds a bachelor’s degree from Furman University, a master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership from Mercer University, and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Student Affairs Leadership at the University of Georgia. She has also been recognized for her outstanding leadership, innovation, and commitment to community work in Atlanta as a Young Nonprofit Professionals of Atlanta, 30 under 30 award recipient.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, mentoring through Save a Girl, Save a World, and trying out new restaurants.
Erin Oakley is the planning and resource manager for the Public Finance Research Cluster at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, where she is responsible for the Executive Education in Public Finance training program, internal operations, and special projects. In 2019, Erin served as Administrative Director for the Mandela Washington Fellowship of the US State Department’s Young African Leadership Initiative. Prior to working at Georgia State University, Erin facilitated social enterprise programming at the Center for Civic Innovation and served as trial court liaison with the Georgia Administrative Office of the Courts, supporting the Council of Probate Court Judges and the Judicial Council Committee on Access and Fairness. She began her career at the Georgia Commission on Family Violence as an administrator of intimate partner violence intervention programs.
Erin was a 2018 fellow with the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta and a founding board member of the Dream Warriors Foundation. Through her professional pursuits and other volunteer activities, Erin holds central her career-long commitment to capacity building for public servants through servant leadership and effective programming. Erin is a proud alumna of Berry College in Rome, Georgia, a novice gardener, and an invested community member.
Jackie Slaton serves as Manager of Learning Community Development (LCD) in Georgia State’s Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Online Education (CETLOE). In CETLOE, Jackie has the privilege of curating digital leadership initiatives that prepare GSU students for success in the 21st-century workplace by increasing their digital, professional, and leadership skills while working with industry leaders. As a member of the CETLOE leadership team, Jackie collaborates with administrators, professors, and GSU staff to provide innovative and award-winning programs that serve students at both the downtown and PC campuses.
Jackie holds a BA in International Relations from Wesleyan College and an MPA from the Andrew Young School Policy and is currently a doctoral candidate in the College of Education and Human Development, seeking an Ed.D in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education.
Jessica Smith is a Research Assistant Professor and Assistant Project Director at the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. She joined GHPC in 2016 as a Senior Research Associate and led data analytics for the Medicaid Policy and Business Team, applying her extensive experience in statistical programming and data management to support the research and policy evaluation needs of the Georgia Department of Community Health.
In 2019, Jessica began leading the Medicaid Policy and Business Team as an Assistant Project Director and accepted a research faculty appointment at GSU. Jessica also directs the Center’s portfolio of work related to substance use disorders and conducts research focused on health care delivery and health outcomes for publicly insured populations. In her roles, she manages an interdisciplinary team of senior researchers, research assistants, and administrative staff; maintains lines of communication with state partners and clients; oversees multiple project budgets and contracts; and contributes to the advancement of scholarship at GHPC.
Jessica graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and spent two years in Washington, DC working in economic consulting. She went on to earn a master’s in Economics and a doctorate in Population Health from the University of Wisconsin. She is an avid runner and enjoys being outdoors with her husband and two sons.
Elizabeth Spears serves as the Senior Director of Development for the College of Arts & Sciences. She has been with the college since January 2019. In her role, Spears is responsible for cultivating support from alumni and friends of the College of Arts & Sciences.
Spears holds a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Religion from Baylor University. She is a proud alumna of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies with a Master of Public Administration degree, focusing on nonprofit management. Spears is a Certified Fund Raising Executive or CFRE.
Before returning to Georgia State University, Spears solicited support for Public Broadcasting Atlanta, Southern Poverty Law Center, and The Study Hall.
A native of North Carolina, Spears lives in Atlanta. Most weekends you can find her on the tennis court.
Keyonna Sutton joined the Project Management Office (PMO) as an entry-level Project Coordinator in 2014, worked her way to a Sr. Project Manager position, and was promoted to the Manager of the PMO of Instructional Innovation & Technology (IIT) in 2020. In this role, she defines and upholds the standards for project management, focuses on the development and implementation of project management processes that support and enable technology services, provides training in the fundamentals of project management, and promotes the PMO value-add proposition across the organization. Keyonna also serves as and manages a team of project managers that are responsible for planning, organizing, and managing the completion of projects while safeguarding the projects’ time, budget, and scope. Year-over-year, the PMO supports several high-cost, high-priority, university-impacting strategic initiatives that have a direct impact on faculty, staff, and students.
Keyonna is a long-term GSU constituent, earning both her BS in Psychology (’07) and BA in Sociology (’10) from Georgia State University. She has served on Staff Council, is a recurring GSU Cares volunteer, and has served as a subject matter expert in presentations on project management for various departments and student programs.
Keyonna has shared her love for GSU with her spouse and children, who are now part of the GSU community. In her spare time, she enjoys reading murder-mystery novels, gardening, and DIY projects.
Crystal L. Turnage
Crystal L. Turnage is a Police Sergeant for Georgia State University Police Departments Community Outreach/Crime Prevention Unit. She is an accomplished Law Enforcement official with over twenty years of dedicated service. She oversees and coordinates signature events for the Police Department/University. Crystal is a certified Peer Support Counselor who functions as a support and debriefing resource for employees and their families. Crystal also serves as the Outreach Coordinator for Harm’s Way Non-Profit Domestic Violence organization, where she partners with other stakeholders to combat the efforts of Domestic Violence.
Crystal graduated from Saint Leo University with a Master of Criminal Justice specializing in Critical Incident Management. Crystal is also an Adjunct Criminal Justice Instructor with Atlanta Technical College and believes that the essence of education is to make learning contagious. Prior to this role, Crystal served as a police officer in various capacities at the Forest Park Police Department. Crystal has helped to bring about positive change in the community through various outreach programs educating the public and helping them to understand how to navigate the criminal justice system. In her spare time, she enjoys movies, riding her motorcycle and fishing.
Iris Trejo Valencia
Iris Trejo Valencia is a Retention Coordinator for the office of Latinx Student Services and Outreach (LASSO) at Georgia State University (GSU). Iris implements new initiatives and programs to support our Latinx students and provide them with a culturally rich experience. Iris also coordinates and oversees the cohort meeting programming for over 100 Goizueta scholars for the Atlanta campus. She is a former Goizueta scholar and graduated with B.S. degree in psychology from GSU. During her time as an undergraduate at GSU, Iris became one of the chapter founders of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Incorporated. She also found her passion for higher education while working as an undergraduate student at the LASSO office.
Prior to joining GSU, Iris spent five years gaining graduate and undergraduate admissions experience and developing new initiatives to provide prospective students with a more welcoming campus experience. She earned her Master’s in Education degree in Higher Education Administration at Georgia Southern University. Iris enjoys finding new ways to make the higher education experience more accessible to first-generation students. She is glad to return to GSU and work in the office that she once considered her home away from home.
Adrienne Veal serves as the Director of Donor Relations for the division of University Advancement. In her role, Adrienne leads a team to create, implement, and manage the University’s donor recognition programs and stewardship efforts. Working closely with advancement leadership, senior administrators and top donors, Adrienne and her team ensure that donors are recognized and thanked graciously and that they remain engaged with the University in ways that make them feel the impact of their philanthropy. Before joining the University in 2008, Adrienne was an executive recruiter for the fashion industry.
Adrienne earned a B.A. in Theatre with a minor in French from Kennesaw State University. In her free time, she enjoys working out, baking/cooking, painting, gardening and spending time with her husband and fur-kids.
Jyll Walsh is currently the Program Manager at Prevent Child Abuse Georgia which is housed in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. In her role, she works to educate and advocate for programs and policies that support kids and strengthen families. Additionally, she manages statewide training and technical assistance for family serving professionals to prevent and mitigate child abuse and neglect. She also recently completed her Doctorate in Public Health at GSU and the Civic Leader Fellowship at Hands On Atlanta.
Dr. Walsh was previously an ORISE fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, where she supported communication efforts related to the “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program for parents of children with developmental delays.
Ashley Watts is the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations in the office of Career Services and Alumni Relations in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYS). In this newly created role, she manages alumni-related programs and events, social media, and serves as the staff advisor for the AYS Alumni Council, as well as provides career counseling to alumni and students of AYS. Ashley began her tenure at Georgia State in October 2013, previously working in the central University Career Services office as a Career Counselor and Employer Relations Coordinator. She loves to connect people to one another, to services, and to resources that help them achieve their goals, and she is passionate about career development because of the strong link between career and one’s identity. This is best reflected in Ashley’s favorite career quote, “The career development process is, in essence, a spiritual journey reflecting our choices concerning how we will spend our time on Earth,” Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2005. Ashley is a native Texan and holds an M.Ed. in Higher Education from Abilene Christian University and a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University.
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.