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Stephen Black                  Director

112 Temple Tutwiler
(205) 348-6496

Stephen Black studied American history at The University of Pennsylvania where he completed his bachelor’s degree in 1993, graduating magna cum laude, before attending Yale Law School where he graduated in 1997.  Following law school, Stephen moved to Birmingham to become involved in public affairs and to practice law at the firm Maynard, Cooper & Gale.  After three years in private practice, he spent a year serving as an assistant to the Governor, where he researched policy issues and worked on economic development projects.  In 2004, he created Impact: An Alabama Student Service Initiative, the state’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and implementing substantive service-learning projects in coordination with select universities and junior colleges throughout the state.  In 2008, Black was selected as one of ten recipients nationwide for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leaders Award, out of more than 800 nominations, for creating and developing the FocusFirst vision screening initiative.  The award is given annually to individuals who demonstrate creativity and commitment in addressing society’s most pressing health issues.


Rachael Jones                  Program Assistant

100 Temple Tutwiler
(205) 348-6490

Rachael is responsible for managing the logistics of the Center’s day-to-day operations. She serves as the main liaison to other offices within the University as well as to external contacts. Rachael has worked for The University of Alabama since 1996.


Sarah Louise Smith            Research Assistant

110 Temple Tutwiler
(205) 348-6494

Initiatives: SaveFirst, Ethics & Social Responsibility Scholars

Sarah Louise, a native of Tuscaloosa, graduated cum laude from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, in June 2006 with a B.A. in political economy. During her time at Williams, Sarah Louise assisted teachers within the classroom and tutored students at Williamstown Elementary School.  She was active in the advocacy and public awareness efforts of the Student Global AIDS Campaign, served on a student government faculty committee, and taught Sunday school for children at her local church.  In 2005, Sarah Louise worked with the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, an international organization that encourages cross-cultural dialogue by sponsoring forums on current international issues.  She has interned for U.S. Representatives John W. Olver of Massachusetts and Artur Davis of Alabama.  She has also spent part of each summer since high school working at the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 


Lindsey Thomas               Research Project Coordinator
104 Temple Tutwiler
(205) 348-6491

Initiatives: Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative, Service Learning Pro, Tuscaloosa Academic Enrichment, FocusFirst

Lindsey, from Greensboro, Alabama, joined CESR in June 2007, after graduating summa cum laude from The University of Alabama with a degree in human development and family studies in May 2007.  While at UA, she worked in the Office of the President. She also completed internships for Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court Judge Herschel T. Hamner, Jr., and with Child Abuse Prevention Services in Tuscaloosa where she worked with the Nurturing Parenting program.


Heather Christensen        Research Project Coordinator
111 Temple Tutwiler
(205) 348-6495

Initiatives: Documenting Justice, Moral Forum, Faculty Fellows in Service Learning, CESR Scholars, CollegeFirst

Heather, from Madison, Alabama, graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University in May 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history.  During her time at Auburn, Heather was active in the Student Government Association’s Blood Drive Committee, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and served as a Supplemental Instruction Leader in World History. In May 2008, Heather received her Master of Public Health degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a focus on maternal and child health. While at UAB, Heather served in leadership positions in the Public Health Student Association, the Student Association of Graduate Students, and the “What is Public Health?” campaign planning committee.  She also interned with the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity’s Head Start program to research barriers to healthy eating among Head Start families.


Olivia Grider                         Research Project Coordinator
113 Temple Tutwiler
(205) 348-6493

Initiatives: Every Move Counts, Virtual Advantage, CESR website, UA Service-Learning magazine, special projects

Olivia, from Pinson, Alabama, graduated summa cum laude in 2000 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she majored in mass communication with a journalism specialization and minored in history. While at UAB, she was a reporter and held several editor positions with the student newspaper, Kaleidoscope, and worked at The Leeds News in Leeds, Alabama. She was UAB's Journalism Student of the Year in 2000 and recipient of the UAB Communication Studies Department's James E. Mills Scholarship in 1999 and 2000. Olivia spent 10 years writing and editing for national business-to-business magazines and websites, newspapers and other local publications, and her work has won national and regional awards. She joined CESR in December 2009.


Megan Snider                     Research Project Coordinator
104 Temple Tutwiler
(205) 348-1691

Initiatives: Service Learning Pro, Every Move Counts, special projects

Megan, a Tuscaloosa native, graduated magna cum laude in May 2012 from Birmingham-Southern College with a Bachelor of Arts in history with honors. At Birmingham-Southern, Megan participated in the Donald C. Harrison Honors Scholar Program and co-taught a course on ancient Chinese civilization as a Charles B. Vail Distinguished Teaching Fellow. Megan also served as the Advocacy Liaison for the Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Action and participated in the Hess Fellows Program as a Communications Intern at the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, D.C. In her capacity as a Religious Life intern for Birmingham-Southern, Megan coordinated the hunger-awareness event, “Until Everyone Has Plenty,” in which college students and teenagers packed 25,000 meals for Haitian children. In 2011, Megan studied at St. John’s College, Oxford University through the British Studies at Oxford program. Megan is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received the David J. Frailey award for her senior thesis. She joined the CESR staff in June 2012.