Our Staff Members

Neil_website_picNeil Chethik is the Executive Director of the Carnegie Center. He was the former Writer-In-Residence at the Carnegie Center for six years where he mentored writers of all levels and teaches writing workshops. His personal writing focuses on men’s lives and family issues. He is the author of two acclaimed books: VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework and Commitment (Simon & Schuster), and FatherLoss: How Sons of All Ages Come To Terms With the Deaths of Their Dads (Hyperion Books). The latter book was recently made into a half-hour PBS Special. Neil began his career as a staff reporter for the Tallahassee Democrat. Later, he joined the San Jose Mercury News, and wrote “VoiceMale,” the first syndicated column on men’s personal lives. His writings have appeared in hundreds of print and web publications. His website is www.NeilChethik.com.

Sarah Chapman is a mother, wife, writer, and Carnegie Center groupie. She finally talked them into hiring her as Office Manager and Registrar in 2015 and now can be found behind the front desk, eager to help (and occasionally at war with her computer). Sarah has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Washington & Lee University and a Masters of Education in Human Resource Development from Vanderbilt University.

Erica LErica Cook served as a marketing intern and AmeriCorps VISTA at the Carnegie Center prior to being hired as the Children’s Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator in February 2016. She graduated from Berea College with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Peace and Social Justice Studies. A native of Florida, Erica moved to Costa Rica where she lived for 10 years, and now applies her bilingual ability to helping Spanish speakers enroll in tutoring and classes at the Carnegie Center. As the Children’s Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, Erica manages the outreach tutoring program, Carnegie Clubs, in local Title I elementary schools and coordinates volunteers for an array of literary and youth events, including monthly Family Fun and Learning Nights. Erica is a member of Central Kentucky Association of Volunteer Administrators (CKAVA) and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC).

Kimber Gray joins the Carnegie Center as the Marketing Associate. A recent graduate from the University of Kentucky, Kimber earned a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in imaginative writing, and is a Certified Nonprofit Professional accredited through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She realized her passion for nonprofit work and local culture while interning and volunteering around town (Carnegie included). Now, she feels lucky to use her love for language to share the Carnegie Center’s story. You may find her scribbling away while writing a short story, or dancing in Mecca Live productions.

Marcia headshotMarcia Thornton Jones is an award-winning author who has traditionally published 131 books for children with sales totaling more than 43 million copies world-wide. Her works include WOODFORD BRAVE, RATFINK, and CHAMP. She is also the co-author of seven popular series including “The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids”. Marcia, a full time writer, lives in Lexington, Kentucky. She is a workshop facilitator and mentors writers of picture books, chapter books, middle grade fiction, and journaling for The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. For more information, visit Marcia’s website at www.MarciaTJones.com or LinkedIn: Marcia (Thornton) Jones.

Carol Jordan began as the Tutoring Coordinator in September 2011. Prior to working at the Carnegie Center, Carol was an environmental educator with Bluegrass PRIDE. She is a certified teacher and taught kindergarten for three years before working at PRIDE. Her favorite hobbies include reading and traveling. She is also learning to sew and taking Spanish classes. Carol has a bachelor‘s degree from Rhodes College and a graduate degree from University of Tennessee in Social Work.


Jen_mattox_pic_2015Jennifer Mattox
For over ten years, Jennifer Mattox has been the Carnegie Center’s Development Director, and like other staff working at this small nonprofit, she is directly involved with program planning and administration. Her development work brings her into direct communication with donors and prospects, including Kentucky authors and others in the literary community. In addition to coordinating the Kentucky Great Writers series, she teaches writing workshops and seminars–both in the center and at outreach sites, including public libraries and Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Mattox’s publication experience includes seven years of newspaper reporting for The Bourbon Times in Paris, KY and she is currently writing a novel. She is a two-time Kentucky Foundation for Women artist enrichment grantee and is a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Bluegrass Chapter.

jude_picRaised somewhere between the tobacco fields and horse farms of Woodford County, Kentucky, Jude McPherson has been bending and stretching syllables as long as he can remember. A member of the Affrilachian Poets, his first full length collection of poetry ‘on my mind’ is a reflection of his eclectic personality. He has published two previous collections of poetry through blacoetry press; loves taxicab blues revisited (1998) and the book of jude (2000).


Jessica Faye Mohlerserved as a volunteer at the Carnegie Center before being hired as the Marketing and Communications Director in March of 2010, the same year she got married. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2005 with a dual degree in journalism and cultural anthropology. After graduating she joined Nougat Magazine, an arts and lifestyle publication in Lexington, as the Managing Editor & Advertising Director. She was the Communications Manager and Editor at the American Saddlebred Horse Association, before coming to the Carnegie Center. Jessica serves on the Board of Directors for the Northside Neighborhood Association and on the Mayor’s Commission on Youth Development & Public Safety. She is member of Lexington Young Professionals Association, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, UK Alumni Association, Lexington Advertising Club and is a certified Bluegrass Tourism Ambassador. In addition to teaching a Cause Marketing Class she has also been a Carnegie Academic Tutor since 2010. Jessica enjoys spending every free minute with her adorable 6-month-old son and her loving husband, Daniel.

Bronson_headshotBronson O’Quinn likes books and book-related paraphernalia.





Bianca_headshotBianca Spriggs is an Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow based in Lexington, Kentucky where she is currently a Ph.D Candidate in English at the University of Kentucky. Bianca is the recipient of an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in Poetry, multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and a Pushcart Prize Nominee. In partnership with the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, she is the creator of The SwallowTale Project: Creative Writing for Incarcerated Women. Bianca’s work may be found in numerous journals and anthologies including Red Holler: Contemporary Appalachian Literature, The Louisville Review, Muzzle, Caduceus, Tidal Basin Review, The Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and Appalachian Heritage Magazine. Bianca is the author of Kaffir Lily and How Swallowtails Become Dragons. Bianca currently serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Apex Magazine, a monthly speculative literature publication, and the Managing Editor for pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture.

Laura_whitaker_picLaura Whitaker is the Carnegie Center’s Program Director. A native of Lexington and a graduate of Centre College in Danville, KY, she came to the Center as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member in June 2007. After her term of service ended in 2008, she joined our full-time staff. As the Program Director, she coordinates the Carnegie Center’s lineup of classes and events for kids, teens, and adults. She’d love to talk to you about your ideas for new classes! In 2014, Laura received her Masters in Public Administration from the Martin School at the University of Kentucky. She is also a certified yoga instructor, and she teaches a Friday morning yoga class at the Carnegie Center!