Kentucky 2018 Fellows

Meet the 2018 Kentucky Fellows
(back to NLC 2018 Fellows)

Rick Adams

Law Clerk, Law Student, Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, Jefferson County

Kentucky_Rick_Adams_-_Rick_Adams.pngRick Adams is a law student at University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. He is the Executive Editor of the University of Louisville Law Review and a member of the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division Editorial Board. The Board oversees the production of the Law Student Division’s flagship publication - Student Lawyer Magazine – as well as Before the Bar Blog, and the Student Lawyer Podcast. Through the University of Louisville’s partnership with Central High School’s Law Magnet Program, Rick served as a legal writing mentor for high school sophomores. Outside of school, Rick works as a Law Clerk at the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Jefferson County. Previously, he worked as a Senior Fellow for Hillary for America during the 2016 presidential campaign. Before law school, Rick completed American University’s Graduate Gateway Program in International Affairs, while working as a Government Relations and Media Intern with a national security think tank. Rick graduated from Centre College, majoring in History and Government. He was a four-year letterman on the Colonel’s football team and a member of Phi Delta Theta. Rick is from Bowling Green, Kentucky and will return home after graduating law school to complete a judicial clerkship in the Western District of Kentucky. When he has free time you will find Rick enjoying Louisville’s outstanding local food scene, watching UofL sports, or reading anything but a casebook.


Carolyn Allen

Attorney, Clark Law PLLC

Kentucky_Carolyn_Allen_-_Carolyn_Allen.jpgCarolyn Allen is an attorney at Clark Law PLLC and is COO of Focusing on criminal defense work, she zealously pursues her mission of providing quality legal representation to individuals throughout the Commonwealth. As COO of, she works to develop technology to address consumer facing legal issues and develop marketing strategies for various platforms. A native of Southeastern Kentucky, Carolyn graduated from Georgetown College, magna cum laude, with a B.A. in English and Political Science in 2013. While at Georgetown, she served on student government, was a member of several honors societies, and studied abroad at Oxford University. Carolyn earned her Juris Doctor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 2016. During law school, she was a regional finalist in the TYLA National Mock Trial Competition, served as Moot Court Board Vice President of Administration, externed with the Kentucky Innocence Project, and was awarded the IOLTA and CASE Project Fellowships. In her third year, she was granted a limited-license to practice law with the Ackerson Law Clinic. While working at the clinic Carolyn served as legal counsel for victims of domestic and sexual violence and secured dozens of protective orders for her clients in family court.

Since passing the Kentucky Bar Exam in October 2016, Carolyn has worked tirelessly to educate the public about House Bill 40, passed in 2016, that allows for the expungement of low-level felonies.Through her work with and Clark Law she has provided over 4000 free expungement evaluations, practiced in over forty counties, and worked with clients on four continents to ensure their past mistakes will no longer haunt them. For her efforts, Carolyn was awarded the 2017 Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Clarence Darrow Prodigy Award, given to a member that demonstrated precocious legal knowledge and criminal defense advocacy skills. New to Lexington, Carolyn enjoys exploring the city, including its many local coffee shops, breweries, and restaurants.


Naseem Ansari

Clinical Research Associate, Medpace

NLCKentucky_Naseem_Ansari_-_Naseem_Ansari(1).jpgNaseem is a native Kentuckian who currently resides in Kenton County. She is currently a Clinical Research Associate at Medpace, a clinical research organization focused on accelerating the development of drugs, biologics, and medical devices. Naseem works to ensure clinical trial sites across the country are compliant with regulations outlined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and helps these sites update their policies and procedures when compliance is not met. Previously, she spearheaded an initiative at the Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland that sought to clinically integrate HIV and Hepatitis C screening and linkage to care services within the standard of care. Prior to these roles, Naseem worked as a research assistant at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, with the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program, and was a Brown Fellow at the University of Louisville.

She graduated from the University of Louisville in 2013 with a degree in Biology and Political Science and from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health in 2016 with her Masters in Public Health. While pursuing her degrees, she was incredibly active in her community and within on-campus life. She volunteered and interned at the Family Scholar House, the Americana Community Center, the Kentucky Racing Health Services Center, and at AVOL, Inc. Naseem also served within student government. These days, Naseem gives her time to Brighton Recovery Center for Women and is a member of Kentucky Young Democrats.


Trent Ashcraft

HS Social Studies Teacher, Christian Academy School System

Kentucky_Trent_Ashcraft_-_Trent_Ashcraft.JPGDerek Trent Ashcraft is a native of southern Ohio, but now calls Louisville, KY home. Trent graduated from Morehead State University in 2008 with a BA in Social Studies. After getting married and moving to Louisville, Trent began his teaching career at Christian Academy of Louisville; where he still teaches today. In 2015 he received his Masters of Education from Indiana University Southeast.

In addition to teaching multiple disciplines within the Social Studies, including multiple Advanced Placement courses, Trent is active in his students' lives outside of the classroom. He is a class sponsor and has taken hundreds of students to the annual Kentucky Youth Assembly and Kentucky United Nations Assembly which encourage students to be informed and engaged citizens. Additionally, Trent has help lead multiple medical mission trips to La Paz, Honduras.

Though an active member of his church and community, Trent spends much of his time busy being a husband and father.


William Brammell

Attorney, Dressman Benzinger LaVelle PSC

Kentucky_William_Brammell_-_William_Brammell.jpgBill Brammell is an associate attorney in Dressman Benzinger LaVelle’s Louisville office, practicing primarily in the areas of civil and commercial litigation and white collar criminal defense. Prior to joining DBL, Bill clerked for the Honorable Gregory F. Van Tatenhove in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Before clerking, Bill worked and lived in Washington, D.C., where he was a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF). The PMF program is a competitive leadership program that fosters a commitment to public service by providing its Fellows with special career training and rotational opportunities within the Federal Government. During his time as a PMF, Bill worked at the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Bill obtained his J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2010, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture and Natural Resources Law. Bill also obtained his Masters of Science in Democracy and Democratization from University College London, in England, and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Louisville where he was Student Body President and graduated magna cum laude.

Outside of the office, Bill enjoys the Arts. To this end, he recently completed the Fund for the Arts NeXt! Program in Louisville, a leadership development program which aims to engage emerging professionals with the goal of “Inspiring Arts Ambassadors for Life.” Bill is also an avid outdoorsman who takes every opportunity he can to get outside, whether it be backpacking, hiking, hunting, or paddling. He particularly enjoys these activities when his wife, Chelsey, and daughter, CeCe Scout, will join him.


Andrea Brown

Attorney, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government

Kentucky_-_Andrea_B.jpgAndrea C. Brown is an attorney for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, the second-largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Andrea joined the Lexington Law Department in 2014. She currently serves as legal counsel for a number of boards and commissions, including the Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, and the Infrastructure Hearing Board. Andrea advises elected and appointed officials as well as organizational clients on a range of complex legal and policy matters, including land use, real property, civil engineering, municipal expenditures, public procurement, public works projects, data security and privacy, open records law, and labor and employment. Additionally, Andrea prepares ordinances, resolutions, and legal opinions on various legislative issues for the Urban County Council.

Andrea is a committed public servant and passionate community volunteer. Her professional experience as a lawyer for the City of Lexington has given her insight on the impact of public policy and decision-making on a local level. Decisions on planning, zoning, taxation, public safety, the provision of public services, and the availability of public information have a tremendous impact on local communities. This awareness continues to motivate Andrea to provide the highest level of service to her clients and to improve the quality of life for all citizens.

Andrea is also active in a number of community organizations. She is currently in her second term as the Professional Development Chair for the Lexington Urban League Young Professionals. She is the Technology Chair for the John Rowe Chapter of the National Bar Association, a member of the Fayette County and Kentucky Bar Associations, and a member of the Central Kentucky American Inn of Court. Andrea also volunteers with the YMCA Black Achievers Program and Step by Step Lexington.

Born in Maryland and raised in Lexington, Andrea is a graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and the University of Kentucky, where she earned dual degrees in French Studies and Political Science, cum laude. She is also a 2014 graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Law, where she served on the Kentucky Law Journal, Black Law Students Association, Women's Law Caucus, and the Honor Council. When she is not working or volunteering, Andrea enjoys spending time with family, walking trails with her miniature dachshund puppy, traveling, cooking, Snapchatting, and searching for the perfect cup of coffee.


Brittany Buchanan


Kentucky_Brittany_Buchanan__-_brittanyischosen.pngBrittany Buchanan, JD, MSSW is a Family Law practitioner and Principal Attorney with Integrity Law Practice. A Kentucky native, affectionately called ""Dr. Bri"" by her students, Brittany is a Millennial voice of Faith, community mending, and interdisciplinary impact. Brittany's professional endeavors and personal convictions align to facilitate the enfranchisement of racially and generationally marginalized populations within areas of justice and education.

Dr. Brittany Buchanan is a national speaker who instructs within various social science and legal disciplines in addition to training other higher education professionals and direct service providers in areas of diversity engagement, domestic violence and victim advocacy. Dr. Buchanan also contracts consultation and support services with schools, corporations, and nonprofits towards identifying systemic sources of oppression and cultivating cultural competency skills.

As an ordained minister and missionary, Brittany has aided victims of human trafficking in Costa Rica and Nicaragua in addition to empowering women and training church leaders throughout Kenya, Brisbane, and Sydney. Through her own mentorship company and other community organizations, Brittany has served hundreds of youth nationally and internationally. She seeks more opportunities to engage students and peers in her unique brand of "shirt off her back" mentorship and teaching.

January of 2018 marks the launch of "The Chosen Chronicles", a series of podcasts and radio broadcasts discussing contemporary issues through a lens of Christianity and the young adult experience. This is also Brittany's debut as an on-air personality with Lexington Community Radio.

Since returning to Kentucky after two years of service in the mission field, Dr. Buchanan harnessed her energy, resources and influence to call fellow Christians and community members at large to "A Call to Unity Through Prayer" that she hosted at a Central Kentucky minor league baseball park. This call was structured to directly confront issues of discord within the community, particularly the Christian church, along lines of race, class and political affiliation and was a resounding success. A continuation of this effort will take place in 2018.

As a New Leaders Council fellow, Brittany aims to sharpen her advocacy skills and understanding of regional and national political processes and reform. Brittany believes that there is a space for the totality of who she is as a young professional, woman of Faith, legal advocate and educator. She endeavors to find it.


Benjamin Carter

Attorney, Carter & Lucas PLLC

Kentucky_Benjamin_Carter_-_Benjamin_Carter.jpgBenjamin recently moved back to the Commonwealth to practice law with his father after spending three years working for a national plaintiff’s law firm in Florida. He has conducted numerous depositions throughout the country, appeared in several courtrooms spanning two states, and drafted hundreds of briefs—always on behalf of individual litigants.

Before practicing, Ben served as a judicial law clerk for a state supreme court justice and then a federal district judge. He obtained his undergraduate degree and MBA from the University of Kentucky and his Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin.

Ben’s passion for policy and politics began at a young age and continued with his involvement in campus campaigns in Lexington and Madison. He spent the summer between business and law school interning for a presidential campaign, and he subsequently pitched in for five days in frigid New Hampshire for the first 2008 primary. After a break to focus on his legal career, he is excited to help in any way he can; as a native Eastern Kentuckian, he is particularly interested in advocating for rural and rust belt communities.

When he’s not working, Ben enjoys going to baseball games and eating tacos. He is an avid reader of The Economist, FiveThirtyEight, and anything written by Stan Greenberg.


Ellen Cartmell

Executive Director, United Way of Mason County

Kentucky_Ellen_Cartmell_-_Ellen_Cartmell.jpgEllen Cartmell is a native of Maysville, Kentucky and is the executive director of United Way of Mason County. She is also the public health policy advocate for the Buffalo Trace District Health Department. Ellen holds a Bachelor’s in French from Centre College, as well as a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Community Development and Nonprofit Management. Passionate about international development, humanitarian aid, and health equity, Ellen’s MPA research focused on U.S. refugee resettlement policies and maternal health programs for at-risk women in Bangladesh, India, South Africa, and Appalachia. Prior to joining United Way of Mason County, Ellen worked in volunteer management at the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at the health department of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) at its global secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. Ellen remains a board member and active volunteer for the American Red Cross and was the 2016 recipient of the Clara Barton Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership, the highest award the organization bestows on volunteers. Ellen is the founder and chair of the Maysville Young Professionals Network, the vice president of the Kentucky Young Democrats, and a 2017 graduate of Emerge Kentucky.


Ethan Epping

Analyst, RowdMap, Inc.

kentucky_ethan_epping_-_Ethan_Epping.jpegOriginally from Northern Kentucky, Ethan Epping is a 2012 graduate of Centre College and a recent transplant to Louisville after several years working on state and national Democratic political campaigns across the country. Beginning as a field organizer on President Obama’s campaign for re-election, he built and managed grassroots field programs for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Alison Lundergan Grimes 2014 campaign for U.S. Senate, and the Virginia State Senate. He joined Hillary for America’s States Analytics team for the Iowa, Nebraska, and Washington State caucuses and then returned to Iowa for the general election as Director of Data and Analytics for the Iowa Democratic Coordinated Campaign. Currently, Ethan works with health plans, physician groups, and hospital systems to make healthcare more affordable by identifying and reducing the delivery of low-value and unnecessary care as an analyst with RowdMap. Outside of work, Ethan serves as treasurer of the Louisville Young Democrats and advocates for open data and civic engagement as a member of the Civic Data Alliance. He also works with the Kentucky Democratic Party and the Louisville-Jefferson County Democratic Party to equip candidates and activists with the technology and training to grow the progressive grassroots movement here in Kentucky.


Dr. Trent Garrison

Assistant Professor, Northern Kentucky University

Kentucky-_Trent_Garrison.jpgTrent Garrison has always had a passion for science. As a kid, he was interested in collecting meteorological measurements for the local weather station. After attending Eastern Kentucky University for his BS and MS in Geoscience, and then working in the environmental field while teaching part-time for six years, he decided to go back to school for a PhD at UK so he could teach full-time.

During this time, he attended MIT’s National Energy Conference with Energy Club Students, and one of the most important messages was from the keynote speaker, Bill Richardson: scientists and engineers need to be more involved in politics!

Dr. Garrison finished in 2015 under the direction of Dr. James Hower with a dissertation titled, "The Environmental Effects of Coal Fires." The focus of which was air, water, and soil quality near coal fires in eastern Kentucky and around the world.

Perhaps due to the geopolicy trip to MIT, Dr. Garrison became more involved in outreach and geopolitics after graduation. In class, discussing current topics is very important; it's a good way to keep students interested. But even beyond that, he feels it is imperative that scientists are involved in geoscience outreach and policy at all levels.

As president of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) Kentucky Section, and executive committee member of other geoscience organizations, Dr. Garrison has been actively involved in outreach for years. He believes it’s important for students, academics, and scientists to appreciate not only the importance of science, but how it influences policy. He is involved in these efforts because he believes we should all do our part in helping students after college, as well as communicating scientific research, not just esoterically at professional meetings, but to the general public and legislators.


Dexter Horne

Graduate Assistant/Student, University of Kentucky

Kentucky_Dexter_Horne_-_Dexter_Horne.jpgDexter Horne is a second year MPA student at the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. As a student, Dexter is motivated by the desire to find answers to social and policy questions with strictly applied empirical methods. When not studying or serving the Martin School as a Graduate Assistant, Dexter can be found in Frankfort contributing to the work of the Legislative Research Commission as a Graduate Fellow in Program Review. A native of Louisville, KY, he previously interned as a Strategic Planning Consultant for Metro Government’s Office of Performance Improvement. He has also worked as a Graduate Fellow for the Council of State Governments and as a student intern in the Admissions Office at Centre College, where he earned his BA in Politics in 2016. While Dexter’s energy and excitement is most often expensed on projects related to service, his pastime passion is for literature and writing. An English minor in college, Dexter loves to script speeches, compose essays, create fiction, and get lost in books. He considers himself possessed with a scholar’s mind and a poet’s soul.


Lateefah Id-Deen

Assistant Professor, University of Louisville

Kentucky_Lateefah_Id-Deen_-_Lateefah_Id-Deen.pngDr. Lateefah Id-Deen is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education at the University of Louisville. She completed her undergraduate degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. After completing her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Iowa State University, she taught high school mathematics in both suburban and urban contexts. She went on to complete her doctorate in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education at Michigan State University, with foci in Mathematics Education and Urban Education. Currently, Dr. Id-Deen teaches mathematics methods courses for prospective mathematics teachers, specifically those preparing to teach in urban schools. Her research explores how students' perspectives on their schooling experiences offer insight for creating more equitable mathematics classrooms. Her published articles and book chapters highlight the connections between strong student-teacher relationships, positive mathematical identities, and student efficacy in secondary settings. Her teaching and research reflect her passion for creating equitable learning environments for students of color in mathematics classrooms.

She is developing a boutique summer program for K-8 students that focus on Mathematics infused with economic and social issues. She is also the founder of Loyal Educational Consulting, LLC, an agency that works with educators to identify and engage with the wealth of learning resources available in diverse communities. One of her passions is to empower teachers and students to understand their collaborative mathematical potential, and to celebrate the relevance of mathematics to their everyday lives.


Carmellia Jackson

Admissions Counselor, Berea College

Kentucky_Carmellia_Jackson_-_Carmellia_Jackson.jpgCarmellia, born and raised in Somerset, Kentucky, resides in Berea, Kentucky. She is currently working at Berea College as an Admissions Counselor, serving the Louisville and Western Kentucky regions. She believes one of the most rewarding parts of her job is being able to offer the opportunity of a lifetime to students who have high academic promise, low economic means, and the drive to be successful in their future endeavors. Carmellia is currently unsure of what she wants to pursue, but knows that she wants to represent marginalized and underrepresented people in many different capacities. She obtained her Bachelors at Berea College in 2016, where she studied both Psychology and Child and Family Studies, with a concentration in Family Studies. At Berea, she worked with the Berea Patrons student philanthropy group and was able to lead over 50% of the college student body in giving back to fellow and future Bereans. In her free time, she loves to watch documentaries, eat, play with her puppy, and attend various workshops to learn more about immigration, race, and gender issues plaguing the region of Appalachia she calls home.


Martina Jackson

VAWA Program Coordinator, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet

Kentucky_Martina_Jackson_-_martina.jpgMartina Jackson is a native of Oak Ridge, TN. She initially came to Kentucky by way of Berea College in 2007. She graduated in 2011 as a first generation college graduate. Obtaining a degree in Peace and Social Justice. During her time at Berea, Martina was heavily influenced by her late me mentor Dr. Michelle Tooley, who planted a seed of seeking justice for marginalized communities. After graduating she lived along the east coast and made her way back to the bluegrass early last year. Her career has largely been spent with organizations like the NAACP'S Environmental and Climate Justice Program, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula, a foster care agency, Corporation for National and Community Services, and higher education affiliated institutions. Martina has a great passion for addressing community issues, especially violence and inequality in vulnerable communities. Currently she holds the position as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Program Coordinator for the state of Kentucky at the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet's Grants Management Branch. In her role, she oversees aid projects that focus on addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. She spends her time outside of work with Diego, her 5 year old son, exploring new places, hiking and power-lifting.


Devon Joiner

Financial Officer, Bluegrass Area Development District

Kentucky_Devon_Joiner_-_Devon_Joiner.jpgDevon Joiner who was originally born in Newport News, Virginia to a naval military family. He has lived in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and District of Columbia but spent half of his childhood in Eastern Kentucky living in a small town called Inez. His family called him “the man of few words” by him only speaking when he had adequate knowledge on a topic. He spent 4 years as an intern at Inez Deposit Bank. Through his years of college, he obtained a Bachelor’s of Business Administration, Accounting emphasis from University of Pikeville. While attending University of Pikeville he worked as a Tax Preparer. Then he continued to obtain an M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from Colorado Technical University while he returned to Kentucky from living in District of Columbia after his undergraduate studies. He is currently a Financial Officer for Bluegrass Area Development District. His passion is to provide opportunity to individuals to obtain education and skills to create a healthy career through a scholarship fund or establish a non-profit organization. He also has passion in helping others in personal finance to create budgets to obtain personal goals and relieve financial stress in a person’s life. His hobbies consist of exercise, reading, watching movies, and traveling.


Samuel Jones

Associate Attorney, Goldberg Simpson, LLC

Kentucky_Samuel_Jones_-_Samuel_Jones.jpgSamuel E.T. Jones is an Associate Attorney with Goldberg Simpson. His practice primarily includes Insurance Defense and Business and Commercial Litigation.

Samuel is a native of Texas, but was raised primarily in Paducah, Kentucky. He graduated from Paducah Tilghman High School in 2004. He graduated with a B.S. in Political Science with minors in Economics and Spanish from the University of Louisville in 2010 and received his J.D. from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2013. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in October of 2013 and is also licensed in the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky.

While in law school, Samuel received his limited license to practice law in the Kentucky Legal Clinic and counseled a variety of clients on small claims and probate matters. He was actively involved the Student Bar Association, Trial Advocacy Board, Black Law Student Association, and served as a Staff Writer for the Kentucky Journal for Equine, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Law. He also served as a summer clerk for Justice Bill Cunningham of the Kentucky Supreme Court and was a U.S. District Court Judicial Fellows Program Member in the Eastern Kentucky District of Kentucky. He received the Dr. John T. Smith Outstanding Graduate Student Award for his work in recruiting and mentoring students about higher education and career development.

In 2016, Samuel completed the nationally acclaimed Entrepreneurship MBA program at the University of Louisville where he developed additional skills pertaining to developing start-up companies, venture capital, and effective business management, which add to his abilities to respond to a variety of client and business needs. He was awarded the Rotary Leadership Fellow Scholarship and served as President of the Entrepreneurship Club.

Samuel currently serves as a Board Member for YPAL Cares, Inc., a Member of the Rotary Club of Louisville, a Member Mentor with the 100 Black Men, Inc., a Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and as a Board Member for the LMPD Training Advisory Board.


Crystal Kinser

Director, Alumni Affairs, Teach For America

Kentucky_Crystal_Kinser_-_Crystal_Kinser.jpgCrystal, a Kentucky native, received her public relations degree from Union University in 2007. Upon returning to Kentucky after graduation, she began working for the University of Kentucky in the Office of Undergraduate Research. While working at UK, Crystal volunteered at the E7 Community Center in Lexington. There she developed the Let’s Do Science program and led weekly science lessons with student participants. Crystal eventually accepted a position at the E7 Community Center managing volunteers and the tutoring program—increasing the active volunteer base 40-fold during her tenure. In 2011 she moved to Hazard, Kentucky as one of the charter staff members of Teach For America – Appalachia. After holding several positions within the organization, she now serves as the Director of Alumni Affairs supporting nearly 250 Teach For America alumni across Kentucky, West Virginia, eastern Tennessee and Western Virginia. Crystal’s work ensures Teach For America alumni, regardless of their chosen career field, have the resources and capabilities they need to continue working toward all children having access to an equitable education. According to Crystal, the best part about her work is knowing she’s making a positive difference by enabling others to do good and fulfill their potential. When she’s not working, you can find Crystal hanging out with her dog, a flat coated retriever named Jefferson, volunteering for causes she believes in, and enjoying the walkability of her downtown Lexington neighborhood.


Julianna O'Brien

Social Media Coordinator, Berea College


Julianna O’Brien, born and raised in Akron, Ohio, fell in love with Appalachian Kentucky during a six-week volunteer commitment with Christian Appalachian Project. After graduating with a dual degree in Business Administration and Political Science she completed a year of service with Christian Appalachian Project and then worked for the same organization for the next five years in a variety of roles including Home Repair Coordinator and Coordinator of Volunteer Recruitment This time spent living and working in the Appalachian community fully cemented Julianna’s passion for service to Eastern Kentucky.

Currently, Julianna works managing social media at Berea College. The first coeducational and interracial college in the South, Berea admits only students whose families are unable to afford the high cost of tuition and awards each of them a Tuition Promise Scholarship, meaning no student pays for tuition. The College has a long-standing commitment to interracial education; Berea is among the most racially diverse private liberal arts colleges in the United States. In her role, Julianna promotes the mission of the college and invites others to become supporters and make possible a high-quality education to bright and talented students who have limited economic resources.

At the age of 21, Julianna’s father came out as gay. This moment, and coming to understand the lack of acceptance and discrimination her father had faced his whole life, crystallized a passion and desire to serve to LGBTQ+ community. As part of her NLC Fellowship Julianna aims to equip herself to be a more effective public advocate and ally for her dad and for others like him.

Julianna married her true partner Mike six years ago and together they have a three-year-old son Cooper. On a typical Saturday, you can catch them riding their bikes into downtown Berea for breakfast at Native Bagel Co, picking up CSA veggies at the farmer’s market, and finally a visit to the local library.


Ashley Oliver

Assistant Director, Center for Student Accessibility, Eastern Kentucky University

Kentucky_Ashley_Oliver_-_Ashley_RO.jpgAshley Rhae Oliver, Esq. is an attorney and an activist, currently serving as the Assistant Director of the Center for Student Accessibility in Eastern Kentucky University. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee in 2010, moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of St. Thomas School of Law, and was then sworn in as an attorney in the State of Minnesota in October 2013. She was a law clerk at the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, and received the Dean’s Award for her work in the Community Justice Civil Rights Legal Clinic for spearheading a symposium titled “How are the Children VI Symposium: "Re-Imagining Public Education in Minnesota.”

After law school, she chose to work in higher education compliance, initially serving in the University of Kentucky athletic compliance office, where she created the first custom elite student-athlete protocol. She then moved to Minneapolis, serving as a student conduct officer and as a Title IX investigator at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. She is an award winning civil rights activist, receiving recognition in 2013 for co-authoring a report for the United States Commission on Civil Rights titled Unemployment Disparities in Minnesota, which highlighted current trends that contributed to racial disparities, and ways to close unemployment gaps between blacks and whites in Minnesota and the Twin Cities region. She has co-chaired the defense of the Minnesota African-American Museum’s mechanical lien, pro bono, and, in 2015, was appointed as Chair of the Legal Redress Committee of the Minneapolis Chapter of the NAACP, where she investigated discrimination complaints and provided legal clinics to citizens of the Twin Cities and was subsequently honored with the Mission Award for Service in Community from the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

In 2016, she was invited to present at Harvard Medical School‘s Global Health Catalyst on the intersection of cognitive behavioral health in sports and race. She has hosted seminars to universities, businesses, and religious groups on topics such as white allyship in minority-led social justice movements, engaging millennials in social justice, and constitutional rights during traffic stops to young men of color. Currently, she is a member of the Lexington Urban League Young Professionals, a mentor to both the Freshman Academy and Diversity Scholars programs at Eastern Kentucky University, a member of Kentucky Association for Professional African-American Women, and a Girl Scouts troop leader.


Simarpreet Rattan

Supplier Relationship Manager, Lexmark International

KENTUCKY_Lexington_Simarpreet_Rattan_-_Simarpreet_Rattan.pngSimarpreet Rattan graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Wright State University. He also holds an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.B.A. from the University of Kentucky. Simarpreet has studied abroad in Italy, England and France and has work experience in Japan, Vietnam, China and South Korea. Simarpreet has travelled to 20 countries and brings a wide breath of international knowledge and experience to enrich the Lexington community. Simarpreet came to Lexington in 2006 when he joined Lexmark. He is currently a Supplier Relationship Manager at Lexmark International. Simarpreet is a graduate of Leadership Lexington class of 2016-17, he is the chair of international hospitality program at University of Kentucky. Simarpreet is actively involved in the Lexington community and volunteers at the Hope Center, Commerce Lexington, the Asian Network Diversity Association at Lexmark, and the Sikh Association of the Bluegrass.


Sherelle Roberts Pierre

Public Information Officer, Lexington Department of Public Safety, Lexington Fayette Urban County Government

Kentucky_Sherelle_RobertsPierre_-_Sherelle_Pierre.jpgSherelle Roberts Pierre is an Emmy winning journalist, public relations operative, involved citizen, Emerge America graduate and leader. She currently serves as the Public Information Officer for the Lexington Department of Public Safety. In addition to working in government, Sherelle is an adjunct faculty member at Midway University, in the Integrated Communications and Marketing Program.

Sherelle attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism in 2005. Throughout college Sherelle worked at WOUB Radio/Television, a National Public Radio and PBS affiliate. Following college Pierre began her professional journalism career at WMDT-TV in Maryland. She then 2007 moved to WKYT-TV in Lexington, Kentucky.

In 2010 Pierre began her career as a public servant in Lexington city government, as the Public Information Officer for the Lexington Division of Police. During her time with the Lexington Police, Pierre earned her Master’s Degree in Management/Public Administration. In 2015, she made the transition to the Department of Public Safety.

Giving back to the community in her personal time is also very important to Pierre. She is member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, an international service organization. She is a mentor and volunteer for middle and high schools girl at the Phenomenal Ladies Academy for excellence in Lexington, Kentucky. Each Tuesday Pierre volunteers as an English and math tutor at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. Pierre also serves as a member of the public relations team at First Baptist Church Bracktown in Lexington, Kentucky.

Pierre serves on the board of directors of three local agencies: The Fayette County Health Department, Women Leading Kentucky and the Community Relations Board of Federal Medical Prison in Lexington, Kentucky.

She is married to Daniel Pierre.


Morgan Szabo

Programming Associate, Muhammad Ali Center


Morgan Szabo is currently the Programming Associate at the Muhammad Ali Center. At the MAC, Morgan works with students from all over the world to pursue her passion for education and social justice.

Prior to her role at the MAC, she worked in education and programming for The Food Literacy Project and Beaded Treasures Project in Louisville, KY. While in college, she held an internship at the World Affairs Council with their International Visitors Program.

As a busy graduate student, Morgan enjoys her free time exploring new places, with her friends, and at the park.


Tiffany Tatum

Legislative Aide, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government

KENTUCKY_MBE_Headshot_-_Tiffany_Tatum.JPGTiffany Tatum is native Kentuckian, raised in Lexington. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Kentucky in 2004. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Tiffany worked as an Investigator for the Lexington Human Rights Commission, where she investigated complaints of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. During that time, she also attended graduate school and eventually earned her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Kentucky State University in 2010.

Soon thereafter, Tiffany served as the campaign manager for a first-time local political candidate. After a successful campaign, Tiffany began her employment with the City of Lexington, as the Legislative Aide to back-to-back 1st District Councilmembers. In this position, she serves as an adviser to the Councilmember on local policy, constituency matters and manages the Councilmember’s schedule and all district projects.

In her spare time, Tiffany serves as the Chair of the Registration Committee for the Lexington Bluegrass Area Minority Business Expo and is on the planning committee for the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame.