2020-1 vista members

2020-2021 VISTA Project Bios


jake hurnerBio: Jake Hurner is a Portland, Oregon native looking to live in Maryland for the first time with the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Armed with a BFA and a can-do attitude he hopes to gain skills with CCMA to create actionable community engagement, promote responsible and ethical solutions, and support VISTA members as they look toward development both as professionals and global citizens. Jake can often be found in the kitchen refining a new recipe, exploring the limits of gouache, or hunting for a great glass of cold brew coffee.

zandra cuffBio: Zandra Cuff is a three time AmeriCorps VISTA, previously serving as a VISTA Leader for North Carolina Campus Compact in 2018. During her time at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she developed a passion for public policy and law, and how these tools can be used to address poverty. Her experience with AmeriCorps VISTA has deepened her belief of the power of community and how we must work together with unique partners to accomplish change. In her free time she enjoys listening to her diverse music collection and playing guitar.

tavon johnsonBio: Tavon Johnson is a current graduate assistant pursing his MEd in policy and leadership at Marquette University. While in undergrad at Morgan State, he developed his penchant for service through various internships based in ethnography and youth development which led to him serving with AmeriCorps State / National programs for three years in a charter school in Wilmington and a youth development and advocacy nonprofit in his native Baltimore after completing his BA in sociology. He is passionate about mentoring and coaching and excited about being a mentor for AmeriCorps VISTA members at CCMA.

Project: The CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA Leaders work directly with the members placed at higher education institutions across the Maryland-DC-Delaware region to encourage and promote the expansion of service and quality campus-community partnerships.

Carroll Community College

kierstin klimasBio: Kierstin Klimas graduated from Temple University in 2019, where she earned her MA and BA in English with minors in both French and Theatre. During her time in Philadelphia, PA, she provided resources for academic success at The Temple Writing Center, as well as served in multiple internships at The Arden Theatre Company, a nonprofit arts institution. She worked to develop and secure funding through grant-writing for Arden programs to provide communities with needed resources and opportunities in education and the arts. During summers, she served military families at the Youth and Children Services at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Project: The Community Resource Liaison CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA project targets low-income students at Carroll Community College who are experiencing barriers to achieving their educational goals. The CCMA AmeriCorps VISTA member will help connect students in crisis with community resources by creating a clear process of intake, referral, follow up, and support. The member will also create proactive programming to connect students with resources prior to crisis points, as well as a website with community resources for students, faculty, and staff.

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