The 2018-2019 Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee

As part of the Poverty and Homelessness Week structure, this year will also have structural organization and oversight by a committee comprised of students, faculty, staff, and non-Centre Community organizers. Members for 2018-2019 are as follows:



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Dr. Rick Axtell, Poverty and Homelessness Week Faculty Director

P and H Week Axtell

Rick Axtell is Stodghill Professor or Religion and College Chaplain since 1995.  Concerned about issues of hunger and homelessness, he has served as director of Louisville United Against Hunger and also was a case manager working with homeless men through the St. Vincent DePaul Society.

Axtell’s travels in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Serbia, and Thailand have informed his teaching on issues of hunger, human trafficking, sustainable development, and peacemaking. In 2006, he taught in the UNESCO International M.A. Program in Peace and Development Studies at Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, Spain.

Recent research includes employment trends for day laborers in Louisville’s homeless population and interviews with public housing residents who were relocated in Louisville’s HOPE VI housing redevelopment. He is the co-author ofThe Other Side of HOPE: Squandering Social Capital in Louisville’s HOPE VI, published in Journal of Poverty in 2015. Axtell is also the co-editor of Ethics as if Jesus Mattered: Essays in Honor of Glen H. Stassen (Smyth & Helwys, 2015). Axtell has also studied liberation theology and religion and violence in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. His articles on the topic of religion and violence have appeared in the Encyclopedia of Religion and War and The Merton Annual.


Hannah Gibbs, Poverty and Homelessness Week Student Director

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Hannah (right) with Director of Residence Life Brian Daniel (left) at New Hope Food Pantry

Hannah is a senior Environmental Studies major at Centre College with a professional goal of working to address systemic, environmental, and social injustices through direct policy action. An Eastern Kentucky native by birth and upbringing, she is happy to talk about the region with anyone who is interested or who stands still for long enough. This has developed in her a genuine love for the mountains, large family gatherings, and traditional Bluegrass music which she fully acknowledges are not everyone’s cup of tea. For Hannah, being involved in Poverty and Homelessness Week this year is an opportunity to address the issues inequality of access and opportunity in the region of Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia as well as providing an opportunity to affect the service community and culture at Centre College into one of deliberate, widespread action within the communities that the campus is seeking to serve.


Anna Bushong, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

P and H Week Anna
I am a Centre sophomore with an intended major of biology and anthropology/sociology. I am also Bonner Scholar that has been primarily focusing on food security and poverty this past year through my bonner service site, Grace Cafe. Poverty and Homelessness Week is a great opportunity for students and community members to grapple with the complex web of issues that encroach daily into the lives of individuals experiencing poverty. Understanding is the first step towards motivated action and this week can act as a launching pad for those that choose to connect. That is why I wanted to be involved in this week and hope others dive in with us.


Michael Baird, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member



I am a senior art history major from Russell, Kentucky. I am honored and excited to serve as a member of the committee due to both biographical interest as I grew up in the geographical area that is the focus of this year’s programming and my academic interests. Spending the first two summers of my time at Centre studying the region of eastern Kentucky afforded me the opportunity to begin to recognize the perceived and real structural and institutional issues that affect the area. I am also passionate about the rich and varied artistic legacy of eastern Kentucky that has been misrepresented in popular culture and academic study, having very real implications for the perceptions of Appalachia. I look forward to being able to further explore these topics and working with others to do the same.


Laura Hancock, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

P and H Week Laura Hancock

Laura Hancock is currently a Junior biology major at Centre. She serves as the Recruitment and Marketing Vice President for Alpha Delta Pi Eta Omega and enjoys singing in Centre Singers, playing piano, and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House of the Bluegrass. She also spends time volunteering at The Nest Center for Women and Children, which piqued her interest in serving on the Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee at Centre.  When she is not at school, she enjoys hanging out with the 200 sheep on her family’s sheep farm and her border collie named Bonnie.


Jimmy Robinson, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

P and H Week Jimmy
Jimmy (left) with Assistant Director of Residence Life Jessica Haralu (right) on Centre move-in day

My name is Jimmy Robinson. I am from Owingsville, KY, which is in eastern Kentucky. I recently graduated from Centre and am now back as the Community Service and Bonner Coordinator. This is issue is one that literally strikes close to home for me, so I am looking forward to being involved in any way that I can.


Will Vineyard, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

P and H Week Will Vineyard

My name is Will Vineyard and I was born and raised in Louisville, KY. I am a senior at Centre and a history major. After my experience working at Total Action for Progress this summer with veterans experiencing poverty and homelessness, I wanted to continue exploring this issue from a different prescriptive after returning to Centre. I think this will be an excellent opportunity to approach this topic in new and dynamic ways.


Dr. Amy Frederick, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

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Dr. Amy Frederick is an assistant professor of Art History who has been on Centre’s campus for the last four years, teaching a variety of Art History and Humanities courses and serving as a research adviser for a variety of initiatives at Centre, from Centre’s prestigious John C. Young Fellowship to summer research on Rembrandt van Rijn. Dr. Frederick was a mentor for the the first year of Centre’s Creative Thinking Immersion Program (CTIP), where she served as primary adviser for three students on a project of their own design looking into the cultural, economic, and environmental development and changes of Eastern Kentucky in the face of the decline of the traditional coal economy. Additionally, she teaches a course at Centre on the history and methods of Art, Craft, and Design, with Appalachian art and its role in the development of Berea College playing a significant role in the curriculum. A native of Kentucky, she is passionate about how new economic models (art, tourism, sustainable small farms) might benefit her beloved state.


Jonathan Gambrel, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

P and H Week Jonathan

My name is Jonathan Gambrel and I am a Freshman at Centre College with an intended major of Politics and Economics/Finance. Having grown up in Eastern Kentucky, I have always had a special place in my heart for the mountains of Kentucky and all those who call it home. I have witnessed firsthand the issues of the region and have developed a deep desire to see change. For me, Poverty and Homelessness Week is a perfect opportunity to engage in productive conversation about these issues that plague Appalachian Kentucky and get involved on a direct level. My hopes are that others will be infected with our contagious desire to serve the community.


Landy Lin, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

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I am a first year from Louisville, Kentucky with a possible major in behavioral neuroscience. I have always been passionate about the topic of poverty and am very excited to be able to join this committee  to explore it further, and right at home. I wanted to become involved because this is a great opportunity for first years at Centre College, and allows me to connect more with the rest of Kentucky.


Mindy Wilson, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

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Mindy Wilson is the Assistant Director for the Center for Career & Professional Development. She coordinates Centre’s internship programs as well as provides comprehensive career counseling to humanities students and alumni. She is the co-chair of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty and a member of the Social Justice minor committee at Centre. Prior to working at Centre, Mindy worked in social work with foster care teenagers and has served on several local non-profit boards.


Bailey Tock, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

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Bailey Tock is a first year from Paris, KY.  She does not currently have an intended major, but finds the field of Classics fascinating.  Bailey loves learning, as well as facilitating others’ educational experiences.  Through her involvement with the Poverty and Homelessness Committee, Bailey hopes to spread awareness of these social issues as well as broaden her own horizons.


Christina Smith, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

P and H Week Christina
Christina (center) pictured with two members of the Centre College Bonner Program, Digna (left) and Katherine (right)

I am a sophomore from Ft. Knox, Kentucky, majoring in Biology (and possibly English). As a Bonner scholar at Centre I’ve worked with both Grace Cafe and the local community gardens to work in addressing issues of food insecurity among communities and families living in poverty. Despite having lived in Kentucky for almost 15 years, I have had little opportunity to learn about this issue in the context of Appalachia/Eastern Kentucky, and I hope that I can do this during Poverty and Homelessness Week as well as stimulate conversation about the ongoing systemic issues in this region.


Kayla Buckner, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member

P and H Week Kayla

I am a junior here at Centre college with an intended major of Psychology and minor of Spanish. I am serving on the committee because I have a passion for serving and engaging in the community to build relationships and work on global and complex issues. I am a firm believer in people coming together and uniting for the greater good, and I am thrilled to be a part of the committee to make this happen during Poverty and Homelessness week.


Lorna Closeil, Poverty and Homelessness Week Committee Member


Lorna Closeil is a third year Bonner and Posse Scholar, where she majors in Anthropology/Sociology with a minor in Social Justice and Gender Studies. Currently, she is a resident assistant and a program director of a program she created called MAGIC Leadership and Mentoring Program that mentors young black girls in the Danville-Boyle County area. Lorna became interested in issues of poverty and homelessness surrounding Eastern Kentucky and Appalachia while conducting research for her Anthropology of Human Right’s class, where she discovered how these regions have been relegated invisible because of society’s urban bias. She went on to aid in the facilitation of the first ever Affrilachian Poetry Event at Centre College, where she learned about the rich diversity and the untold stories of the region. Lorna hopes to serve on the Poverty and Homelessness Committee as a way to render the invisible visible, as well as engaging, educating, and doing her part to help alleviate people and communities of their suffering.


Interested in joining next year’s committee? Email Hannah Gibbs at


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