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Welcome to Athens, Ohio!


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

8:00am-9:00am: Coffee Hour and Registration


9:00am-10:00am: Welcome and Presentation by City of Athens Mayor Patterson and Dr. Nellis


10:15am-11:15am: Concurrent Sessions


Concurrent Session 1a:  Community & Career Connected Learning Partnerships: Build it to Last

Jacqueline Yahn, Ed.D., Eastern Campus Program Coordinator, Middle Childhood Education, and Assistant Professor of Middle Childhood Education in the Department of Teacher Education at Ohio University’s Gladys W. & David H. Patton College of Education 

Allison Ricket, BB2C Network Director and Education Engagement Specialist at Building Bridges to Careers Building Bridges to Careers Network Director​

Description: This presentation will highlight the partnership that Ohio University, Building Bridges to Careers, and local schools have forged to support community and career connected learning in P-12 schools seeking to disrupt educational practices that lead to outmigration of Appalachian Ohio’s youth.

Moderator: Chris Knisley


Concurrent Session 1b: Turning Crisis into Opportunity


Dilnavaz Cama, Department Manager for Student Life Willie J. Young, Sr. Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement at The Ohio State University (she/her/hers)

Rachel DeMooy, Program Manager for Student Life Willie J. Young, Sr. Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement at The Ohio State University (she/her/hers)

Description: Based upon experience at OSU, this session will discuss the recommendations and implementation plan intended to reinforce campus-community partnership, well-being, community-building and outcomes-based results.

Moderator: Mary Nally

Concurrent Session 1c:  Community & Campus Days 2000-2006: Lessons Learned from an Ohio University & Multicultural Genealogical Center Partnership

Dr. Vibert Cambridge, Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society and former Chair, Department of African American Studies

Ms. Ada Woodson Adams, Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society and the Chesterhill Multicultural Genealogical Center

Ms. Elizabeth Williams, Mount Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society

Description: During the period 2000-2006, there were concerns at Ohio University regarding recruitment and retention of African American students, Ohio University’s Department of African American Studies, along with the Multicultural

Genealogical Society of Chesterhill launched “Community & Campus Days.” This earlier work created networks that continue to support the Mount Zion Baptist Preservation Society and Ohio University to this day.


​Moderator: Paul Logue

Concurrent Session 1d: Sustainable Outdoor Recreation: The Baileys Trail System in Appalachian Ohio

Jason Reed, Wayne National Forest Athens District Ranger

Amy Renner,  Village of Chauncey Mayor,  Outdoor Recreation Council of Appalachia (ORCA) Vice Chair

Jessie Powers, Outdoor Recreation Council of Appalachia (ORCA) Executive Director

Description: The Baileys Trail System is the region’s first local government-led, intentionally holistic outdoor recreation development project. This session will focus on the strategies used to catalyze asset-based sustainable recreation development.

Moderator: Boone Troyer

12:15pm-1:15pm: Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent Session 2a: Community and Asset-Based COVID-19 Relief: The Case of the International Student Task Force at Ohio University

Oumarou Abdoulaye Balarabe, Doctoral Candidate at Ohio University Fulbright Scholar |Holmes Scholar Graduate Student


Faustina Mensah, Graduate Assistant for Assessment and Academic Improvement at Ohio University Patton College of Education

Hayasa Tahmazyan, recent OHIO alumna, International development practitioner with a focus on humanitarian-development nexus

Majed Zailee, Ohio University Graduate Student

Joan Mickelson, International Student Task Force Athens Community Member

Dr. Gerry Kzric, Ohio University Program of Intensive English (OPIE), Director

Kathy Fahl, Ohio University Interim Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program (

Description: This session will detail the efforts of a student movement to engage peer student leaders, Ohio University’s leadership, Athens community members, and Athens city leadership in order to work together as a community to support the international student population.

Moderator: Boone Troyer

Concurrent Session 2b: Pandemic Collaborations: Village of Gambier and Kenyon College Wastewater Surveillance Program

Jan Thomas, PhD., Senior Advisor for Community Relations, and Professor of Sociology and Women's & Gender Studies at Kenyon College

Ian Smith, P.E. LEED AP, Vice President for Facilities, Planning and Sustainability at Kenyon College

Joan Slonczewski, PhD., Professor of Biology at Kenyon College

R.C. Wise, Village Administrator for the Village of Gambier

Description: In May 2020, a local resident and Kenyon Professor of Biology stepped forward with a proposal to the Gambier Village Council: let Kenyon test the wastewater treatment plant influent for the prevalence of shed COVID-19 virus. This presentation will explore how this town-gown partnership provided Gambier and Kenyon the confidence to build a pathway of gradually opening the campus and the Village and strengthened the relationships along the way.

Moderator: Courtney Lefebvre

Concurrent Session 2c: Rural Action and the Farm to Ohio Working Group

Tom Redfern, Director of Sustainable Agriculture at Rural Action

Molly Sowash, Sustainable Agriculture AmeriCorps Service Member at Rural Action

Description: This initiative brings together campus and community partners to create the tools needed to connect interested farmers with the OHIO culinary market, while advocating for an equitable food system that includes the using educational tools to create conscientious food consumers at the student level.

Moderator: Mary Nally

Concurrent Session 2d: Connecting OHIO’s Inclusive Strategic Plan to Work in our Surrounding Community

Duane Bruce, Ohio University, Interim Assistant Director, Multicultural Center, Ohio University Division of Diversity and Inclusion 

Micah McCary, LGBT Center Director at Ohio University and Athens City Councilmember

Description: The Ohio University Division of Diversity and Inclusion will be highlighting their recent inclusive excellence strategic planning process.

Moderator: Dani Underhill

1:30-2:30pm: Keynote, Ryan Stubenrauch, Partnership During Crisis


Ryan Stubenrauch has more than a dozen years of experience working as an attorney, communications strategist, and government affairs advisor to a wide range of clients.


Mr. Stubenrauch has worked with both government and private sector clients in 10 different states. He’s helped a wide variety of private sector clients—from small businesses to billion-dollar companies—deal with communications during a crisis. Stubenrauch has also worked with government—from local officials to statewide executives and members of Congress—on critical legal, political, and media relations issues.


Mr. Stubenrauch has been interviewed by many local, national, and international news outlets. He’s served as spokesperson and crisis communications advisor for many organizations during a difficult time. Earlier in his career, he served as an assistant attorney general for several years prosecuting complex criminal cases and organized crime. Mr. Stubenrauch also served as Mike DeWine’s Senior Policy Advisor.


He’s a noted speaker and instructor on Ohio public records laws, media relations, and crisis communications issues. He graduated from The Ohio State University and Capital University Law School.


Mr. Stubenrauch and his wife Josie live in Lewis Center, Ohio, where they are the proud parents of three children.

Moderator: Tom Pyle

2:30pm-3:30pm: Keynote, Cynthia Calhoun, NASA Aerospace Engineer Supervisor


Cynthia Calhoun is an Aerospace Engineer Supervisor serving as Deputy Chief of the Program and Project Assurance Division at NASA John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She is responsible for assuring NASA systems are of high quality and operate safely, to ensure a successful mission for NASA programs and projects. This includes overseeing an annual budget of 14 million dollars and staff of 60 employees who evaluate the safety, reliability, and quality of aeronautics and space systems design and fabrication, and technology or research and development activities that could evolve into space systems. 

She has also received numerous awards throughout her career for her accomplishments, including the NASA Equal Employment Opportunity Medal for her STEM outreach efforts with underrepresented and underserved students. She was a founding member of the Greater Cleveland Indeed We Code (IWC) camp, which teaches African American girls coding, and also helped develop a partnership between the Ohio university Russ College of Engineering and the International Women's Air and Space Museum in Cleveland to create an engineering summer camp.


Ms. Calhoun has a Bachelor’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio University  and a Master’s in Management Information Systems from Duquesne University. She served on the OHIO Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2010 to 2016.

Description: Various programs and initiatives will be presented on how companies, educational institutions, professional technical societies, and community organizations are addressing the need to engage underserved and underrepresented communities in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Introduction: Mei Wei

Moderator: Courtney Lefebvre


Thursday, July 15, 2021


9:30am-10:00am: Coffee Half Hour


10:00am-11:00am: Concurrent Sessions

Concurrent Session 3a: Synergies Between Campus and City Sustainability Planning in Athens

Paul Logue, City Planner, City of Athens

Elaine Goetz, Director of Energy Management and Sustainability at Ohio University

Sam Crowl, Associate Director of Sustainability, Ohio University and Athens City Council Member

Sarah Conley-Ballew, Director of Sustainable Energy Solutions, Rural Action

Description: This session will explore the synergy between the City of Athens and Ohio University’s commitments to improving sustainability in our infrastructure and operations. All presenters are members of the Athens Environment and Sustainability Commission.

Moderator: Chris Knisley

Concurrent Session 3b: Partnerships to Solve Community Health Problems

Richard Hodges, Director, OHIO Alliance for Population Health, Ohio University

Orman Hall, Executive in Residence, Ohio University

Kerri Shaw, Associate Professor of Instruction, Ohio University

Description: This session will present the power of community health data, available to participants, and strategies for addressing health challenges based on the data.

Moderator: Boone Troyer

Concurrent Session 3c: Rooted Together: The Mid-Ohio Market at Columbus State Community College

Lisa Phillips, PhD., Administrator – Student Advocacy and Financial Stability

Matthew Austin, Manager – Mid-Ohio Market at Columbus State

Tammy Tucker, Agency Relations Manager – Mid-Ohio Food Collective

Description: The Mid-Ohio Market is a collaboration between Columbus State Community College and the Mid-Ohio Food Collective. It is an innovative program which provides nutritious food free of charge to students and the Columbus community.

Moderator: Courtney Lefebvre

Concurrent Session 3d: Rock Painting at Kent State U: Impact on Race and Community Relations

Todd Kamenesh, Associate Dean of Students for Conduct and Community Engagement, Kent State University

Description: At Kent State University in the 1920’s, a large rock situated in green space on a part of the KSU campus that faces Main Street began getting painted with messages. On September 2nd, 2020, when sunlight shone on the rock the message painted was “White Lives Matter.” And on September 7th: “Blacks Have No Home Here.” What resulted has been a KSU and community passionate conversations on free speech, university policies, and institutional racism.

Moderator: Dani Underhill​


11:00am-12:00pm: Panel Discussion

Partnerships Key to Communications Success during Global Pandemic


Arundi Venkayya, Chief Communications Officer at the Ohio Department of Health

Jack Pepper, Director, Administrator Athens City County Health Department Athens City/County Health Department

Gillian Ice, Special Assistant to the President for Public Health Operations at Ohio University 

Description: This session will describe communication challenges and best practices and the critical role of partnerships throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Introduction: Hugh Sherman, President, Ohio University

Moderator: Rebecca Robison-Miller, Senior Director of Community Relations for the College of Health Sciences and Professions, Ohio University

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