Meet our staff



Ashley Archer Doehling

Social Justice Program Coordinator

Ashley Archer Doehling (she/her) is the Social Justice Program Coordinator in the RISE Office. Originally from Leesburg, Georgia, Ashley completed her undergraduate degree in political science at Georgia Southern University and her masters in Higher Education at Florida State University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Higher Education here on campus. In the Center, she works with the Social Change Peer Educators, the Social Justice Living Learning Community, and develops the social justice workshop curriculum. Ashley is passionate about dialogue, empowering peer leaders, educational accessibility, and integrating socially just curriculum and teaching practices into campus communities. In her free time, Ashley enjoys crafting, playing board games, traveling, language learning, and reading mystery novels. 



Ahavah Davis

Graduate Assistant

Ahavah is currently pursuing her PhD in Counseling and School Psychology. She was born and raised in Prince George's County, Maryland and went to Towson University in Baltimore to receive her bachelor's degree in Athletic Training. After undergrad, she moved to Tallahassee to get her Master's in Sport Psychology. During her master's program, she worked at Florida A&M University as an Assistant Athletic Trainer for four sports teams and served more than 60 athletes. Ahavah's career goals are to become a sport psychologist and to continue advocating for underrepresented populations. She is now a Graduate Assistant in the Center and oversees Engage TLH. In her free time she enjoys cooking, trying new restaurants in the area, and watching movies. If you want to find new places to try in the Tallahassee area, follow @havieatz !



Caroline Stevens

AmeriCorps VISTA Leader

Caroline is originally from Montgomery County, MD, right outside of Washington, D.C. She spent a few years volunteering as a mentor with the Truancy Prevention Program in that county while in college. It was there that she discovered her passion for service, as she realized the impact she was making as a mentor. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Caroline pursued that passion for service and joined AmeriCorps. She spent last year as the Recruitment Coordinator VISTA at Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee in Knoxville, TN where she helped recruit mentors, plan events, and engage matches. Motivated by her work in the organization, she decided to dedicate another year to service as the VISTA Leader for the AmeriCorps Florida VISTA Network here at FSU. Caroline is super excited to get to know a new city/state, and even more excited to be in driving distance of the ocean again! When she is not in the office, you can usually find her camping, trying new vegetarian recipes, or slowly making her way through her “Want to Read” book list.  



Laryn Flikkema

(850) 644-1382


Laryn Flikkema

Assistant Director

(850) 644-4555


Gabriela Laracuente Sanchez

Administrative Assistant

With a deeply rooted passion for all-things literature, languages, grammar, and collecting way more books than she can read, Gabriela’s life and career have been driven by a desire for change, particularly in those areas. From a young age, she noticed a lack of representation and a gap in the stories found in traditional publishing. This observation inspired her to complete an Associate of Arts at Florida State College at Jacksonville and a Bachelor of Arts in English at Florida State University. Throughout her undergraduate academic career, Gabriela focused on Editing, Writing, and Media and completed a minor in Women’s Studies. These prepared her for her involvements with The Experience, the Kudzu Review, and Howland Literary Agency. Most recently, her understanding of the power of representational diversity and the strong connection between leadership and storytelling has led her to the role of Administrative Assistant at the Center for Leadership and Social Change. As Gabriela supports the development of all Center programs and helps guide students to involvements that build community-engaged and civically responsible leaders, she envisions change, not just within publishing communities but also far beyond those.   



Portrait of Maria-Paula McIntyre

(850) 645-6981


Maria McIntyre

Community Engagement Coordinator

Maria-Paula McIntyre serves as the Program Coordinator for EngageTLH and the Community Ambassador Program. She enjoys building relationships that support developing community-led initiatives. During her time at the Center she has been dedicated to many programs, starting with youth mentoring and currently partnering with non-profit organizations across Tallahassee. Maria-Paula was born in Cali, Colombia and loves growing in her identity as a Latina in the United States. She commits to embracing her roots and creating spaces for the many voices of Latinx individuals to thrive. In her free time she enjoys practicing mindfulness, learning new languages, searching for music from other countries, reading Igbo literature, and drinking tea.



Anna Mitas

(850) 644-1881


Anna Mitas

Statewide AmeriCorps Programs

Anna King Mitas was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Florida State University and is currently pursuing her master’s in social work at FSU. After 10+ years in the corporate world of recruitment and management, she was determined to change the trajectory of her career and hone in on her passion for inspiring change in the world. She joined the AmeriCorps | Florida VISTA Network in 2018 as the Program Manager of a large intermediary host site to AmeriCorps VISTA programs throughout the state of Florida. She is committed to strengthening and building a diverse range of initiatives designed to alleviate poverty through indirect service in communities across Florida. As part of the Service and Leadership team in her role as Program Manager for the AmeriCorps | Florida VISTA Network, she supervises over 25 sites and over 30 VISTA members annually. In addition, the program currently hosts 11 sites and up to 40 AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates, who engage in direct service. She is a networker, passionate about connecting individuals to services and opportunities for professional and personal growth. She strives to strengthen and expand her network daily, to better support the success of her team and their community initiatives. In her free time, she is mom to two teenagers, tends to her plants, pets, and occasionally finds time for her favorite hobby, reading. 



Jesmel Moreno

Graduate Assistant 

Jesmel (she/her) is the graduate assistant working with a few different programs under civic engagement and leadership like Florida State Alternative Breaks, Service Leadership Seminar, FSU Votes Coalition, and Community Dialogue. She is pursuing her Master's now in Social Work and received her Bachelor's degrees from Florida State as well in the areas of Sociology and Psychology. Born and raised in the heart of Kissimmee, FL, Jesmel LOVES any opportunity to be engaged with the community and her own culture through food, music, storytelling and beyond so you can always find her in some pocket of Tallahassee or campus at an event she stumbled upon. While Jesmel is still figuring out her career pathway, right now she enjoys working with aging populations providing respite to caregivers, helping students identify their leadership capacity, and exploring opportunities related to grassroots initiatives promoting health and wellness throughout underserved communities. In her free time, Jesmel enjoys being at Paperfox mysteriously enjoying a hot London Fog while online window shopping -- shameless plug, If you haven't been you need to go! 



Logan Payne

Graduate Assistant

Logan is a graduate assistant with the Center for Leadership and Social Change currently pursuing a Master’s in Social Work with a clinical concentration. A life-long Floridian, Logan was born and raised in Wesley Chapel, Florida and attended the University of Florida where he received dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Psychology and Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. As an undergraduate student, Logan was involved with service and leadership through Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and had the opportunity to practice community engagement through an internship with a local family resource center. In his free time, Logan enjoys running, listening to music, watching Survivor, and hanging out with his cat, Bagel.

(850) 645-0184


Raymond Figueroa

Administrative Associate

Ray Figueroa serves as the travel and human resource representative on the administrative team for the Center for Leadership & Social Change. He was born and raised in New York City and has traveled to many places during his eight-year military career. Raymond began his career with four years active duty in the U.S. Navy before most recently finishing up in the Air National Guard. His family is originally from Puerto Rico, and he loves to cook all types of foods, but mostly [or especially?] Spanish food. He has two small children, ages 3 and 6, and in his free time enjoys watching sports and movies, playing video games, and reading and collecting comics. Raymond has always wanted to learn Mandarin and hopes to continue his education here at FSU.



Hannah Puckett

Graduate Assistant

Hannah is a graduate assistant in the Center for Leadership and Social Change primarily working with the Community Ambassador Program. She is originally from Toledo, a small town in Eastern Illinois. She received a bachelor's in social work with a minor in criminal justice from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Hannah is currently in the joint pathway graduate program for social work and criminology. Her goal after graduation is to work within the juvenile justice system to promote rehabilitation and treatment by bridging the gap between research and practice. Hannah’s previous research experience is in practicum site accessibility and diversion courts. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, listening to music, sifting through thrift/antique stores, and trying new foods.

(850) 644-9567


Joi Phillips, Ph.D.


Dr. Joi N. Phillips currently serves as the director of the center, which houses the CoRE and RISE offices (the offices of Community Rooted Engagement and Representation, Inclusion and Student Equity, respectively). Dr. Phillips is a very proud alumna of the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and got her start at the center as a graduate assistant at the then-Center for Civic Education and Service. After completing her master’s degree, Dr. Phillips became the coordinator for the Center’s America Reads Mentoring Program while completing doctoral work in the Educational Policy and Evaluation program in the College of Education. Dr. Phillips’ work centers on the relationship between policy and civic participation. Her work is focused on how communities and higher education institutions develop and sustain partnerships. Dr. Phillips is a proud wife and mother of two who enjoys reading fiction novels and trying new recipes and kitchen gadgets. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

(850) 644-2775


Erin Sylvester Philpot, Ed.D.

Assistant Director

Dr. Erin Sylvester Philpot is the Assistant Director for Leadership & Identity Programs at the Center, where she works with the Service Scholar Program, leadership programs, and a variety of recognition and scholarship programs. A proud FSU alumna, Erin was a member of Service Scholars, Alternative Breaks, and completed the Leadership Studies Certificate as an undergraduate. She received a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from the University of South Carolina and her doctorate in Higher Education Leadership & Policy Studies from Florida State. Her research interests include barriers to access in higher education, and ways in which we can make higher education more affordable and more accessible for students from historically under-represented or marginalized groups. Erin has worked professionally in Student Conduct, Fraternity & Sorority Life, & Event Planning. In addition to her role as mommy to her son, Truett, and spending time outdoors, Erin also advises Chi Omega Sorority and Omicron Delta Kappa.



Paige Rentz

(850) 645-8780


Paige Rentz

Media Specialist

Paige Rentz grew up just down the road in Sneads, Florida. After years working as a journalist in several states, Paige turned her passion for social issues and storytelling to her role as the center's media specialist, where she gets to promote the amazing work of the students and staff working here each day to make the world a better place. She also works with TEDxFSU and the university's National Coalition Building Institute affiliate team. Paige is a proud alumna of Chipola College, Sarah Lawrence College, and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In her free time, you can find Paige searching for the perfect photo lighting, reading, playing video games, or walking her dogs, Frankie and Johnny.



Bridgid Shannon

(850) 645-8782


Bridgid Shannon

Community Engagement Coordinator 

Bridgid Shannon has moved over 35 times and lived in nine states. Constants have been marathon dialogues, building relationships, noting social-ecological dynamics, and fostering community-driven, positive, sustainable social change by engaging stakeholder voices across difference through art, literature, and storytelling. English and Intergenerational Studies were Brie’s focus at Rollins College, followed by graduate studies in Children's and Young Adult Literature and Creative Writing at Hollins University (M.A. & M.F.A.). Brie's work in education stretches from 3-year-olds to senior citizens. Most immediately, she taught AP English, Journalism, and Engaged Citizenship through Service-Learning at Pine View School for the Gifted in Sarasota, where she was actively involved in professional development, shaping service-leadership curricula, and the PeaceJam family for more than 10 years. Through her role at the Center for Leadership & Social Change, she coordinates the Moellership program and PeaceJam Southeast. When Brie's not serving with students, you can find her reading, researching, writing, or on an adventure with loved ones— camera in hand.



Vanessa Solomon

(850) 645-2705


Vanessa Solomon

Program Associate

Vanessa Solomon is a native Georgia Peach who hails from Albany, just a few miles away from Tallahassee, Florida. Over the course of her two decade career here at Florida State University, she is very passionate about the Center for Leadership & Social Change where she serves as a Program Associate. Vanessa earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Tallahassee Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Flagler College – Tallahassee Campus. When not serving at FSU, Vanessa enjoys family, concerts, taking selfies with her daughter – Danielle and her dog Remy. She is a die-hard lover of chocolates, cheese, salty chips and road adventures. Her aim is to own a small local business in Tallahassee, Florida.



Jabreon Jackson

Graduate Assistant




Dr. Sierra Turner

(850) 645-2363


Dr. Sierra R. Turner

Program Director, Student Equity & Inclusion

Dr. Sierra R. Turner serves as the Director of the Office of Student Equity and Inclusion. A proud military brat, Dr. Turner received both her master’s degree in Spanish and her doctorate in Instructional Leadership with a concentration in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education from the University of Alabama. Before coming to FSU, Dr. Turner was a faculty member at the University of Alabama and the University of Montevallo where she taught courses in Spanish, Latin American Studies and African American Studies. Her interest in diversity, equity and inclusion is the result of the two years of work she did as the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the University of Montevallo. A proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Dr. Turner enjoys spending time with her family, binge watching her favorite TV shows and cooking.



Challen Wellington

Graduate Assistant

Challen is a proud St. Louisan by birth and culture. Challen earned a bachelor's degree in dance an a minor in Jewish Studies from Loyola Marymount University. After college she worked in the finance industry and quickly learned that her passions were working with college students and helping further the work of social justice. Challen went on attended William & Mary where she earned a Master's in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership. She is currently a doctoral student in the higher education program and a graduate assistant working with Multicultural Leadership Summit, Estonko, Cultural Graduation, and Service Scholars. In her free time Challen is an avid reader, she loves to cook, travel, dance, nap, and endlessly watch A Different World and Grey's Anatomy. 



Sandi White

(850) 644-8365


Sandi E. White

Business Manager

Sandi White manages all things money at the center. Sandi majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. She began working at the center in 1997. If you have questions about how and where to buy items for your programs, get to know her.



Headshot of Grace Wilson

(850) 644-7827


Grace Wilson Fennema

Program Coordinator

Grace Wilson Fennema is a program coordinator focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion work.

Grace was born and raised in Middle Tennessee, a short drive outside of Nashville. She is a first-generation college student who earned her bachelor's degree in 2D Studio Art with a double concentration in printmaking and photography from The University of Tennessee. There she became involved in residence life as a student leader and student employee. She earned her Master of Education from the University of West Georgia in 2018 where she studied College Student Affairs and interned with the Safe Zone program. She also had the opportunity to advise the planning committee for the South Atlantic Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls's annual conference in 2017.

Grace came to FSU in 2018 to advise the agencies, specifically the Pride Student Union and Women Student Union. She also coordinates the Allies & Safe Zones program. With her interest in gender and sexuality, Grace has served on multiple university committees to advocate on behalf of students with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities. She is the chairperson for the Division of Student Affairs’ LGBTQ+ Student Life Task Force.

In her time outside of work, Grace enjoys spending time with her partner Matt, and their cocker spaniel, Bailey. She loves to cook, especially experimenting with new dishes, and enjoys making charcuterie boards for movie nights at home.



Ta’lia Gordon

Graduate Assistant

Ta’lia Gordon is a Masters student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program. She was born and raised in Ridge Spring, South Carolina, and attended the University of South Carolina where she received her Bachelor of Arts in History with a concentration in secondary education. At UofSC Ta’lia was involved in various organizations ranging from A Center for Leadership and Social Change Peer Educator, University Ambassadors and served as the very first Captain of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, worked for the Vice President of DEI to develop research methods and workshops tailored towards promoting more inclusive spaces on campus and served as a member of Alpha Kappa Psi Inc. Ta’lia currently oversees The Black Student Union, coordinates different cultural events and facilitates training and workshops on campus around diversity, equity, inclusion, and access topics to promote intentional inclusivity here at Florida State. In her free time, Ta’lia enjoys doing makeup, cooking, catching up on documentaries, and trying out new food while supporting local small businesses. 



Gabrielle Ulate

Graduate Assistant

Gabi Ulate is a first year master’s student in Florida State’s Higher Education program. She grew up in Northern Virginia and attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where she received a B.S. in Human Development and Sociology, along with a minor in music. At Virginia Tech, Gabi participated in service organizations and served in Housing and Residence Life for more than three years. Gabi currently oversees amazing leadership programs such as Service Scholars, LeaderShape, and the Women’s Leadership Institute. In her free time, Gabi enjoys watching movies and TV shows, painting her nails, cooking, exploring local thrift shops, watching college football, and spending time with friends!


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