Neil 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.
Erica Cook is the Youth Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator under the AmeriCorps VISTA Program. Erica began volunteering at the Carnegie Center in January 2014 as the Marketing and Communications Associate under Marketing Director, Jessica Mohler. In June she joined the VISTA program as Camp Carnegie Coordinator for the summer. Erica considers herself lucky to have multiple hometowns. A native of Florida, she and her mom moved to Costa Rica in the late 90s to enjoy the tropics and immerse themselves in the “Pura Vida” culture. Upon graduating high school she came back to the U.S. and settled in Kentucky to attend Berea College, where she graduated in 2013 with degrees in Communication and Peace and Social Justice. During her free time, Erica is an activist at heart and enjoys being involved with the community. She also attends live concerts, goes on road trips, and enjoys reading while curled up with her cat, Katniss.
Marcia Thornton Jones
Marcia 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.
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.
Raised 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 Mohler served as a volunteer at the Carnegie Center before being hired as the Marketing and Communications Director in March of 2010. 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.
Bronson O’Quinn likes books and book-related paraphernalia.
Bianca 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.
Luisa Trujillo is the Art Director and Office Manager. A native of Colombia, she moved to Lexington in 2006 and graduated from the University of Kentucky in August 2010 with a major in Communications and a minor in Industrial Design. She started working at the Carnegie Center in September of 2010. Since then, she has helped with various graphic design projects, including brochures, flyers, posters, book layouts and other print projects. Luisa also serves as an English-Spanish translator and provides a much-needed communication bridge for the Tutoring Program and the parents of the Hispanic community. Luisa participates actively in art events in the community with Gallery Hop, the Lexington Art League and the Fashion Collaborative.
Laura Whitaker is the Carnegie Center Program Director & VISTA Project Supervisor. 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. Now, she gets to wear two hats in her position. As the VISTA Supervisor, she supervises recruitment and management efforts for a network of AmeriCorps*VISTA members at 6 nonprofit organizations in Lexington. As the Program Director, she coordinates the Carnegie Center’s lineup of youth, family, and adult programs and workshops. She’d love to talk to you about your ideas for new workshops and classes! Outside of the Carnegie Center, Laura is pursuing a Masters in Public Administration from the Martin School at the University of Kentucky and teaches yoga at Barefoot Works Yoga Studio (and a new Friday morning yoga class at the Carnegie Center!)