Meet The Team

"We have found that the harder the work, the more responsibility we provide, and the greater ownership we allow our team to have in shaping our initiatives, the more talented applicants we get. I continue to have a great hope in the future of our country if our current Corps is any indication of the level of commitment and thoughtfulness of our future leaders."

-Sarah Louise Smith, Executive Director

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Stephen Black

Stephen Black, President and Founder

Stephen Black, grandson of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, grew up in New Mexico after most of his family left the state in the 1950's and 60's following his grandfather's role in controversial Civil Rights decisions, including Brown v. Board of Education. Read More >

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Sarah Louise Smith

Sarah Louise Smith, Executive Director

Sarah Louise Smith, a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, graduated cum laude from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in June 2006 with a B.A. in political economy. She received an MBA from The University of Alabama in May 2012. Read More >

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Channing Kennedy Bethke

Channing Kennedy Bethke, National Program Director

Channing Kennedy Bethke, a native of Athens, Alabama, graduated magna cum laude from Birmingham-Southern College in May 2009 with a B.A. in history and political Science and a Distinction in Leadership Studies. Read More >

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Kaitlin Nobles

Kaitlin Nobles, Development Director

Kaitlin Nobles, a native of Pinson, AL, graduated cum laude from Birmingham-Southern College in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in economics. Read More >

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Cameron Shevlin

Cameron Shevlin, Alabama State Director

Cameron Shevlin, a native of Atlanta, GA, graduated cum laude from the University of Alabama International Honors Program with a degree in Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies through New College, a degree in Spanish, and a minor in Liberal Arts through the Blount Undergraduate Initiative. Read More >

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Karli Boulware

Karli Boulware, AmeriCorps Member

SaveFirst Senior Training Coordinator

Karli Boulware, a native of Greenville, AL, graduated magna cum laude from The University of Alabama, where she majored in Accounting. Read More >

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Katelyn Dodd

Katelyn Dodd, AmeriCorps Member

SpeakFirst Middle School Coordinator, CollegeFirst Coordinator

Katelyn Dodd, a native of Panama City, Florida, graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and minors in Early American History and Corporate Strategy. Read More >

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Rebekah McMahen

Rebekah McMahen, Fiscal Officer

Rebekah migrated to the sunny south to attend Samford University, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. In 2015 Rebekah joined the Impact America team as an AmeriCorps Member, and now serves as Fiscal Officer. Read More >

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Lowery McNeal

Lowery McNeal, Recruitment Director, Member Development Director

Lowery McNeal, a native of Trussville, AL, graduated from Auburn University in 2015 with a degree in history. Read More >

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Amanda Sanderson

Amanda Sanderson, Americorps Member

SpeakFirst Program Manager

Amanda Sanderson, a native of Brandon, VT, graduated with Honors from Saint Michael's College in Vermont, with a Bachelor of Arts in peace and justice: conflict studies as well as a minor in psychology. Read More >

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Elizabeth Brim

Elizabeth Brim

FocusFirst Director

Elizabeth Brim, from Bedford, Indiana, attended the University of Chicago, and graduated with honors with a degree in biological sciences in 2016. Read More >

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Jessica Chriesman

Jessica Chriesman, Media Production Coordinator

Jessica Chriesman hails from Birmingham, Alabama, the Magic City. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in filmmaking and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Read More >

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John Gilmer

John Gilmer, Tennessee State Co-Director

A native of Mobile, Alabama, John graduated summa cum laude from The University of the South: Sewanee in 2012 with a double major in French studies and English literature. Read More >

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Kyra Hanlon

Kyra Hanlon, Tennessee State Co-Director

Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Kyra Hanlon graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 2016 with a degree in culture & politics. Read More >

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Stephanie Strickland

Stephanie Strickland, Florida State Director

Born in Jacksonville, FL, Stephanie Strickland received her bachelor's degree in Italian & Spanish from Florida State University where she had minors in environmental science & policy management and Portuguese. Read More >

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Mary Kate Thomas

Mary Kate Thomas, SaveFirst Director

Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Mary Kate graduated cum laude from Samford University in 2016. Read More >

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Sami Thurber

Sami Thurber, FocusFirst Director

Sami Thurber was born and raised in Bethesda, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016 with a major in global public health. Read More >

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Sarah Jane Umsted

Sarah Jane Umsted, South Carolina State Director

In 2016, Sarah Jane Umsted graduated from The University of North Carolina Asheville with a major in political science and double minors in economics and Africana studies. Read More >

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National Advisory Board

Impact America, an AmeriCorps Program, is housed and supported by the Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility at The University of Alabama.  Additional office space is provided by UAB and Maynard, Cooper & Gale, PC.