The 2013-2014 VISTA Fellows:
Matt Denton -- Coordinator of the BOLD Program & Summer Camps
Matt was raised in Huntsville, AL. After high school, he attended Carson-Newman his freshman year, so he is familiar to the area. After his first year, he transferred to Auburn University, followed by the University of North Alabama. He then signed up for AmeriCorps and is working with the B.O.L.D. outreach and summer camps. In his spare time he enjoys to rock climb, mountain bike, and whitewater kayak.
Lindsay Hummel -- Coordinator of Tutoring & Mentoring
Lindsay works with the Jefferson County Family Resource Center as the Coordinator of Tutoring and Mentoring. In her role, she oversees three programs: the BOOST after-school program in the Jefferson City Housing Authority and corresponding BOOST Summer Camp, a tutoring program in the Jefferson Middle School, and the weekend backpack resource program in the Jefferson County School District. Her duties include—but are most certainly not limited to—grant writing; program and curriculum development; data collection and analysis; and networking with anyone she possibly can. She is thrilled to be a part of the Jefferson City and Carson-Newman community.
Lindsay was born and raised in west-central Illinois next to a cornfield and cow pasture. She moved to Charlotte, NC at the age of sixteen and completed her A.A. at Central Piedmont Community College. She then moved to Knoxville, TN and subsequently completed her B.A. in Psychology and Honors English at the University of Tennessee; she is also currently completing dual certifications in Nonprofit Management and Policy and Grant Writing. Whenever Lindsay discovers a spare moment resembling the ever-elusive “free time,” she can be found dreaming of her perfect closet and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
Matt Hutchins -- Coordinator of College Access & Equity
Matt is serving at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dumplin Valley in Jefferson County as the Coordinator for College Access & Equity. Some of his duties include revamping the volunteer intake and management process, grant writing, and connecting Club teens to college access programs. He recently moved with his wife Dayna from Stillwater, Oklahoma where he graduated from Oklahoma State University with his M.S. in International Studies in December. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Arkansas Ft. Smith, majoring in History. He chose this VISTA position because of his interest in the region and the opportunity to work in a small community. Jefferson City has been very welcoming and Matt is eager to learn more about the area and meet new people.
Matt and Dayna love spending time outdoors and exploring historic neighboring cities. They often plan trips around food recommendations and the chance to visit public landmarks. Matt is a big sports fan and claims allegiance to the Arkansas Razorbacks, St. Louis Cardinals, and Oklahoma City Thunder. Admittedly, he has found it hard to get work done during the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
Brandi Jordan -- Coordinator of Refugee Education & Life Success
Brandi was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky and will always consider it home. At a young age she began traveling overseas, the people and issues that confronted her sparked a passion for international development and as a result she has committed to walking with impoverished communities. She graduated from Carson-Newman College where she was double majored in environmental biology and cross-cultural sociology. Currently, she is doing her masters work in International Development through Eastern University. She lives in Knoxville, TN and works for Global SEEDS; she began working at GS three years ago as a CN Bonner and has fallen in love with the work and the people. During Brandi's VISTA year she will be serving as the Volunteer Coordinator, helping to engage the larger community in the work that is being done through GS. She is a firm believer that all people are creative beings and that everyone has a responsibility to harness that creativity for the greater good. Most importantly, she is passionate about bringing together the oppressed and oppressor and helping to facilitate the process of mutual liberation.
Neekta Khorsand -- Coordinator of the Journey Program
Neekta is a born and bred Californian and holds a B.A. in English Literature and American Studies from San Francisco State University as well as a M.A. in American Literature from the University of East Anglia. She came to Jefferson City, TN by way of the I-40, her mom's love of road trips, and an overwhelming desire to move somewhere and do something tangible rather than sit in a room theorizing about fictional characters and the impenetrable thoughts of long dead authors. As the Coordinator of College Access and Equity at The Journey Program, Neekta spends her time at the Juvenile Court figuring out how to better serve the young clients the program serves as well as how to best support the brilliant Carson-Newman volunteer mentors. More often than not, this incorporates advocating for our students and dispelling the belief that "young offenders" means "young criminals" while figuring out the best practices for our program.