Beyond Auburn Magazine

Summer 2023: STRENGTH WOVEN IN: Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center is open for business

Cover of Beyond Auburn magazine Summer 2023 issue

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Dr. Royrickers Cook

Each spring Beyond Auburn highlights service and engagement efforts across campus. These programs and projects are made possible through meaningful partnerships and collaborations between University Outreach, faculty, campus units, students and an increasing number of community partners.

This element of collaboration has been key to launching and expanding our latest initiatives. For example, the Alabama Rural Health Initiative recently completed the renovation of a vacant health clinic in LaFayette, Alabama, including the installation of the state-of-the-art OnMed® telehealth station. The initiative includes a robust collaboration of more than 50 faculty from six Auburn colleges and academic programs, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and multiple community partners including Chambers County, the state of Alabama, ALFA and Blue Cross Blue Shield. The success in LaFayette will allow us to leverage the experience and replicate this model telemedicine partnership in other locations, creating greater access to health care for residents in rural Alabama communities.

The memorandum of understanding initiated between Auburn University and Tuskegee University during the fall is another prime example of these partnerships. This commitment to combine efforts and resources of each university will result in expanded opportunities for collaboration on high-impact outreach and engagement projects that will benefit our immediate area here in east/central Alabama as well as the entire state.

Working with Auburn’s colleges, Extension, Student Affairs and other university partners, Outreach launched three new initiatives. The first of a series of “Auburn Across Alabama” faculty/student/staff bus tours of regional areas that need outreach engagement was conducted in 2022, with a second tour to be held later this year. The revival of the annual Outreach and Engaged Scholarship Symposium was held in September, showcasing scholarly outreach of Auburn’s faculty and drawing more than 120 participants from across campus. Working with our provost and deans, we convened a Professional and Continuing Education Council with representatives of each college focused on ways to better collaborate, gain greater efficiencies, and improve the administration of Auburn’s non-credit continuing education programming.

In June, Outreach Global, in conjunction with the College of Nursing and the Harrison College of Pharmacy, will lead 50 students in a service-learning project in Athens, Greece. The team will work with a non-government organization that supports refugees, some of whom will be from Ukraine. I am excited that we can offer this service opportunity to support refugees from Ukraine, while providing our students with an invaluable international engagement experience.

As part of our student engagement, Outreach continues to support Campus Kitchen at Auburn University. Since 2011, Campus Kitchen, under the supervision of the Office of Public Service, has partnered with Tiger Dining and numerous student groups to address food insecurity. This collective effort successfully provides more than 20,000 meals annually to those in need.

I recently had the opportunity to provide hands-on assistance in the renovation and establishment of the Bell Missionary Baptist Church Hope Center which will provide a variety of services to Auburn residents. This facility will partner with Campus Kitchen to provide 350 meals weekly. In addition, tutorial services provided by Auburn University students will also be available, thereby creating continuing opportunities for future cooperative alliances.

Collaboration enhances our outreach work and the collective impact that outreach has on critical societal issues, access to educational resources, and quality of life enhancement for all. I am excited about each of these projects and look forward to greater opportunities to partner with internal and external stakeholders and constituencies as we strive to make a positive impact locally and beyond.

As we always say, join us in making a difference!

War Eagle!

Royrickers Cook, Ph.D.
Vice President for University Outreach and Associate Provost
Make a difference

Outreach at Auburn University is an essential component in its three-prong mission of instruction, research and outreach.

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Campus and community friends are invited to use these interactive platforms to share their opportunities, projects and programs.


The AuburnServes network functions as a repository for community partners to chronicle needs and offer volunteer opportunities to students

Outreach Programs and Projects Network

Through this database, Auburn University faculty can share information about their Outreach programs and projects to facilitate further engagement, promotion and partnerships.

Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of the Chambers County Community Health & Wellness Center.

After more than two years of meetings and planning efforts, Auburn University Outreach is thrilled to announce the opening of the Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center, a model unique in the state and nation. University Outreach led a collaborative team to open the doors to increased health care access in LaFayette, Alabama, a beautiful Main Street community with a spirit of inclusivity and the motto of “Strength Woven In.”

At the center of the facility is the state-of-the art OnMed Telehealth Station, providing instant, private virtual access to Alabama licensed health care professionals. Patients entering the station are guided to use diagnostic tools within the station to aid in the overall diagnosis. The medical professional then delivers a prescription to the pharmacy of choice. Once the state pharmacy board has issued approval in Alabama, the station has the capacity to dispense medication directly to patients.

Auburn University faculty and staff will be on-site regularly to provide health and wellness education, vaccinations and health screenings.

Linda Gibson-Young, College of Nursing professor and outreach coordinator, sees limitless potential for collaborations. “The Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center provides endless opportunities for Auburn University faculty, staff and students to connect with the rural Alabama population. We can address health prevention and maintenance needs by connecting patients and resources,” said Gibson-Young. “For example, an elderly patient living with uncontrolled hypertension could connect with nursing for knowledge related to diagnosis, pharmacy to understand medication and side effects, social work for insurance or financial resources, dietetic interns for nutrition, et cetera. As I mentioned, the opportunities are endless.”

The renovation of this city-owned facility was made possible when Chambers County secured funding through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. Additionally, Auburn University, Alfa Corporation and BlueCross BlueShield each provided substantial funding to secure the ongoing operation of this facility through staffing, faculty and student engagement. Community partners aiding in the realization of this project include the City of LaFayette and Chambers County Commission. Auburn University partners include University Outreach, Cooperative Extension and the Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy and Human Sciences, with an extensive list of additional colleges committed to service provision.

The center is open for scheduled demonstrations and visits by contacting or by calling Hollie Cost at 334-740-2897. Once fully staffed, the center will be open seven days a week. For more information, please visit

A historical perspective

During the height of the pandemic, Chambers County experienced one of the state’s highest COVID mortality rates. Chambers County continues to have the highest rate of deaths due to cervical cancer nationally and exceeds the state averages for obesity, hypertension and diabetes. With limited local health care options, those who suffer from these conditions are likely to experience complications from delays in treatment.

As a land-grant institution, improving the lives of the people of Alabama is central to Auburn University’s mission, with Outreach and Extension used as the avenues to share scholarship and research across the state. Based upon this mission and the understanding that access to high-quality, affordable health care and wellness opportunities is a clear means of improving lives, the Auburn University Rural Health Initiative was conceptualized and mobilized.

In 2019, Royrickers Cook, associate provost and vice president for University Outreach, and his team were introduced to a cutting-edge technology through colleagues associated with the OnMed® telehealth corporation. The OnMed® telehealth station, unique in its field, is a self-contained unit that features a screen that presents a life-size clinician to patients entering the unit. Once patients secure the door, they interact directly with this Alabama licensed clinician who guides them to use the available diagnostic equipment, including a high-definition scope, blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter and scales. Readings from these tools provide the clinician with information to diagnose the patient and provide them with a prescription if needed. The station has the capacity to dispense up to 200 different medications once the Alabama Pharmacy Board approves the process.

Considering the access this telehealth station could provide to Alabamians with few heath care options and limited internet motivated Cook and his colleagues to partner with a community to provide this impactful resource. Subsequently, an interdisciplinary team evolved—Auburn University’s Rural Health Initiative team. Faculty members from Alabama Cooperative Extension System, University Outreach, nursing, pharmacy, human sciences, kinesiology, speech, language and hearing, and other disciplines reviewed the possibilities with the technology and determined they could enhance patient experiences by coupling their medical evaluations with health and wellness education, including regular screenings and programming. By presenting this vision to a variety of stakeholders, the team secured funding from the Auburn University Office of the Provost, BlueCross BlueShield and Alfa Corporation.

When evaluating potential communities, the team selected the City of LaFayette in Chambers County based on their health needs and on the willingness of the city’s leadership to collaborate with the evolving Auburn University team. The Auburn University team met regularly with LaFayette and Chambers County leadership to better understand community needs and begin developing a structure to meet them. This exploratory and development phase of the project included connecting with community members at civic group meetings, church functions, city council meetings, festivals and back-to-school bashes; meeting with school faculty and administration; and visiting local businesses and health care providers.

At one back-to-school event, a mother of three told project leadership that she often would not seek medical treatment because she did not have insurance and could not afford self-health care. When told Auburn University was engaged in this project with the city and county, another LaFayette resident expressed great joy that Auburn was becoming so engaged. County Commissioner Sam Bradford, who was chair of the commission when this project was conceptualized, said, “The project is a continuing example of Chambers County not saying ‘we can’t do this,’ but stating ‘what do we do to make this work.’” This exemplifies the county and city motto, “Strength Woven In”.

This state-of-the-art OnMed® station presents a clinician and diagnostic equipment, including a scope, blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter and scales.

From these interactions as well as survey data, the collaborative university/community team developed priorities for the rural health initiative that would be housed in a previously vacated health clinic owned by the City of LaFayette. This building is conveniently located between one of the two grocery stores in town and the Department of Human Resources. As a part of this project, the building was renovated through ADECA funding secured by the Chambers County Development Authority.

After almost two years of team planning, consulting with professionals and engaging with the community, the Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center rolled out a soft opening in February and hosted a ribbon cutting in April. Now open, the center lobby prominently features the OnMed telehealth station with state-of-the-art diagnostic technology, enabling visitors to receive a complete medical evaluation in approximately fifteen minutes. The lobby and the patient evaluation rooms are used by university faculty and students from multiple disciplines to deliver health and wellness programs and screenings to Chambers County residents. As examples, speech, language and hearing clinicians and students are providing evaluations and treatment to adults and children. Pharmacy students are slated to provide medication management programming and nursing students assist visitors with diabetes management, asthma care and other health needs. In response to one pressing need identified by the community, the dietetics program is engaged in developing community- centric nutrition programming. Once executed, this combined programming holds the key to generational health and wellness throughout the county.

The power of partnership

Teamwork was key to the realization of this project. Numerous entities contributed their expertise to make OnMed station a reality. According to Chris Busby, deputy director of the Chambers County Development Authority, these partnerships were critical to the success of the project. “I couldn’t be more excited to see this project come to fruition. It comes thanks to a tremendous amount of work and collaboration between the City of LaFayette, Chambers County Commission and Auburn University,” said Busby. “As a rural community, we are often lacking in certain resources, so partnerships are critical to bringing about growth, and we are extremely grateful that Auburn University chose to make this investment and impact in our community. This project is yet another example of Chambers County thinking outside the box to provide resources and opportunities to our residents.”

Auburn University personnel actively engaged in reaching this milestone include: Royrickers Cook, associate provost and vice president for University Outreach; Paul W. Brown, associate director, Alabama Cooperative Extension System; Hollie C. Cost, assistant vice president for University Outreach and Public Service; Laura Downey, associate dean and assistant director, Human Sciences Extension; Linda Gibson-Young, professor and outreach coordinator, College of Nursing; Jennifer Kerpelman, professor and associate dean for Research, Graduate Studies and Outreach, College of Human Sciences; Tim Moore, interim dean, W.W. Walker Professor, College of Pharmacy; Rachel Snoddy, Chambers County Extension coordinator; and Chippewa M. Thomas, director, Office of Faculty Engagement, professor, counselor education.

LaFayette and Chambers County officials participating in the planning and implementation include Sam Bradford, Chambers County commissioner; Chris Busby, deputy director, Chambers County Development Authority; Debra Riley, Chambers County commissioner; Louis Davidson, LaFayette city clerk; Jim Doody, LaFayette fire chief; and Kenneth Vines, mayor of LaFayette.

For more information about the Chambers County Community Health and Wellness Center and the Rural Health Initiative, visit

Group of students and mentors.

With the assistance of University Outreach Advancement Officer Carrie Collett, University Outreach secured seven projects for Tiger Giving Day. Tiger Giving Day is a 24-hour university-wide crowdfunding initiative that supports outstanding students, innovative programs and life-changing research. Donations from Tiger Giving Day will help build capacity for Outreach to continue its mission of partnering with communities, businesses, schools and government to help people meet their educational goals and to improve quality of life all across the state.

AuburnServes will use funds to update and enhance the network platform to provide students the ability to organize and track their Outreach efforts and to connect partners with other outreach efforts across campus. AuburnServes is a platform that utilizes an online volunteer recruiting and management database for community organizations working with student volunteers and service-learning students at Auburn University. Through this platform, students are offered innovative ways to engage in a variety of service- learning and experiential education opportunities locally, regionally and even internationally. These opportunities support learning by application and reflection in course-based service, field experience, directed study and other engagement experiences. Faculty and staff can participate in the network by registering classes as a service-learning class and by volunteering the class for service activities.

Campus Kitchen will use funds to develop an app that can be used by volunteers and partners, supporting operations, streamlining communications and accurately supplying the data needed for record keeping. With this app, an accessible dashboard will also be available for partners to voice their concerns and further needs. The app will provide critical assistance in delegating shifts to volunteers, gaining new insights on how to streamline operations, and viewing data instantly while it is being updated.

Government & Economic Development Institute will use funds to provide programs across the state and provide scholarship opportunities for those who are unable to afford tuition. An important part of the mission of the Government & Economic Development Institute is promoting economic prosperity in Alabama communities and improving quality of life for our citizens. GEDI does this by providing expertise, support, training programs and interactive workshops that grow businesses and empower entrepreneurs.

Global Community Day Festival showcases the diverse populations of Auburn University and the surrounding community, enhancing unity and creating space for multi-cultural learning and teaching. The event encourages dialog and understanding of all communities. Funds raised will help underwrite the cost to host international music artists, provide transportation for international student performers and provide educational materials for festival attendees. Additional funds will help provide meals for student and community member volunteers and assist with marketing costs.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will use funds to purchase seven computers, two of which will enhance hybrid class configurations, allowing for continued engagement for members who cannot attend in person. OLLI at Auburn University serves community members aged 50 and over from all educational backgrounds. OLLI provides stimulating, intellectual and cultural non-credit courses promoting personal growth, health and wellness, educational enrichment, new friendships and community building through diverse social interactions.

The Rural Health Engagement Program funding will help establish a program that allows Auburn University students in all health care related fields of study to engage with the Rural Healthcare Project. The RHP is a University Outreach initiative in partnership with the Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, Human Sciences, and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System that addresses significant health disparities across rural Alabama.

Young Professionals in Training (YPiT) donations will fund transportation and technology needs and educational materials for Auburn University mentors and their mentees from Lee and Macon counties. Funds will also help raise awareness for the program in Lee and Macon county schools. YPiT is an Auburn University Outreach mentoring and tutoring program designed for fifth through 12th grade students in Lee and Macon counties. This program exposes students from underrepresented populations to majors and careers at Auburn University. YPiT’s goal is to empower students and offer a pathway to Auburn University.

Together, we are making a difference!

Khari Allen Lee, College of Liberal Arts alumnus and visiting scholar in the arts and humanities, performed a jazz concert for the women in Tutwiler Prison last fall.

Khari Allen Lee, the Daniel F. Breeden Eminent Visiting Scholar in the Arts and Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts, performed a once-in-a-lifetime concert in fall 2022 through the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project, or APAEP.

In a small chapel within the walls of the Tutwiler Prison for Women, Lee led a group of women incarcerated there in gospel songs, soul music and a moving chorus of “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers.

“I realize that with my work as a musician, as an artist and as an educator, that something is being done through me,” Lee said. “I don’t know what it is or all the details, so I just do my best to be of selfless, loving service and just let the work happen. I’m surely changed, but can any of us really put it into words?”

Lee’s performance was part of his outreach work with the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities. The APAEP, an Auburn University initiative that provides access to sustained, quality education to people incarcerated in Alabama, has hosted concerts at prisons since 2005.

Audience members, identified by their initials to protect their privacy, described the performance as moving and inspirational, with many sharing they’d never thought they’d hear live music again.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve heard an actual instrument,” said MK, an APAEP student at Tutwiler. “It really took me somewhere. It’s a great honor for someone to see that we are human and that we are still here.”

The concert was open to individuals throughout Tutwiler Prison, including those enrolled in the college degree program offered by Auburn and APAEP. Through that program, students can complete a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies.

“I wanted an education, and incarceration is often lots and lots of time doing nothing,” MR said. “We work hard to lift each other up and support each other, and I was very appreciative of Auburn of being willing to come and take the time, effort, energy and money to invest in us.”

The college degree program began at the Tutwiler Prison for Women in 2022, and almost a dozen students were admitted for its first semester. Courses are taught by Auburn faculty and graduate students, along with other educators across the state.

APAEP Academic Program Manager Shaelyn Smith said the concert and other arts opportunities are an essential part to offering APAEP students some of the same opportunities they’d have on Auburn’s main campus.

“Music really does unite the community,” Smith said. “Moments like this are my favorite part of this job. Bringing experiences like these to the students in the college program as well as people in general population is so remarkable, and bringing Auburn University experiences to the prison campuses is so important for connection and community.”

YPiT students packaging food for a shelter.

Young Professionals in Training, a college pipeline program for underserved students, housed in the Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement, is in its second year. The purpose of the program is to give students tools that enable them to succeed at Auburn University or other options they choose after high school. The components of the program include academics, social and emotional learning, community service, mentoring and a parent session.

This year’s theme, “Civically Engaged at Every Age,” has provided students with the opportunity to gain knowledge about the importance of civic engagement and governance. During the fall semester of 2022, the students learned about food insecurity from Whitney Lee of Campus Kitchen and packaged meals for a local shelter. They also received instruction from Alabama State Representative Jeremy Gray and mayor of Camphill, Alabama, Messiah Williams-Cole, about the creation of laws and the importance of voting and volunteering.

The first session of the 2023 academic year kicked off with YPiT students learning the essentials of time management and goal-setting through the creation of a vision board. This exercise gave them insight on the importance of organization and planning as applied to their academics, personal lives and careers. To further their understanding about civic engagement and governance, students took a historical bus tour to Tuskegee where they met with the mayor, members of the chamber of commerce and other city officials. They also toured Tuskegee University and Air Museum, the community’s medical mobile unit, and met civil rights leader Bernard Lafayette.

Other YPiT endeavors planned for the 2023 academic year include collaborating with Auburn University School of Pharmacy to host a community health fair and participating in an urban planning simulation through Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment.

Since the program’s inception, one student has been accepted into Auburn University and seven students have participated in Auburn First, Auburn’s dual enrollment program. YPiT is accepting applications for new students. Contact Venus Hewing at or Jefferey Turnipseed at for further information.

Women’s Philanthropy Board members gathered on campus in 2022.

In 2001, Dean June Henton, staff and volunteers from the College of Human Sciences attended a conference in Texas focusing on the convergence of women, money and philanthropy. During the program, they learned women were on track to become the primary wealth holders in the United States by 2010 for the very first time in the country’s history. This monetary shift was slated to occur for many reasons including women earning more money than ever, women inheriting money from parents, women divorcing or never marrying and women outliving their spouses. Sensing the need for women to become better educated, more enabled and empowered about personal financial decision making, Dean Henton and the team outlined the very first programmatic blueprints of what would become the Women’s Philanthropy Board.

Upon the team’s return to Auburn, plans for WPB were further refined. WPB’s mission was established with the goal to educate, enable and inspire women to develop their full leadership potential, achieve independence as financial decision makers and donors, serve as mentors for future generations of philanthropists, and broaden the base of financial support for the College of Human Sciences.

An initial group of Auburn women with a shared desire to equip women for the roles of personal financial decision makers were identified as potential members of WPB. They also knew that WPB would help women continue and excel in the roles of philanthropists.

In the fall of 2002, WPB held its first educational program and featured noted philanthropist, athlete, and College of Human Sciences alumnus Bo Jackson. During the spring of 2003, WPB held its Spring Symposium and Luncheon to feature the renowned financial journalist and TV commentator Jean Chatzky. Chatzky was so impressed with WPB’s efforts that she returned her speaker’s fee as a donation to the organization. In addition, in 2003, WPB made a first step in its philanthropic footprint by awarding a $4,000 scholarship to a student in the College of Human Sciences.

In subsequent years, WPB continued to expand its educational programs, mentoring initiatives, and philanthropic impact. Speakers such as financial journalist Knight Kiplinger, Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, and professional golfer Nancy Lopez, shared their thoughts on leadership, entrepreneurship, financial responsibility and philanthropy. Students began attending WPB programs and learning from national leaders on topics including investing, retirement planning, taxes, insurance, corporate responsibility and citizenship. WPB made additional steps to expand its philanthropic footprint by increasing its scholarship giving to $25,000 a year, providing faculty awards and funding grants in support of students, faculty and staff in the College of Human Sciences. In 2005, a $100,000 endowment was established to provide permanent funding to WPB scholarships. In honor of Dean Henton’s retirement in 2019, the endowment was renamed the Dean June Henton-Women’s Philanthropy Board Scholarship Endowment.

In 2008, WPB adapted its mission to share financial and philanthropic education with children. Camp iCare was established to teach kids ages six to 12 to identify their values and the causes they care about, how to be money smart, how to be a philanthropist, and how to develop a legacy. The camp grew from a one-week, small camp in Auburn to being a trademarked brand and has since held more than 80 camps in central Alabama, Chicago and Maryland. In addition, WPB inspired the creation of REAL Cents, REAL Change, a teen program teaching money smarts, leadership, teamwork, legacy building and philanthropy. A new program, iCare Kids, has evolved from both youth programs and will be offered statewide in 2023.

WPB’s mission later inspired another educational focus, the blending of financial and philanthropic study at the collegiate level. In 2010, WPB provided seed money to fund the course Gender, Wealth, and Philanthropy that would ultimately serve as the impetus for a minor in philanthropy and nonprofit studies and, ultimately, a bachelor’s degree at Auburn University.

With the addition of youth programming and the new academic curriculum, it was decided that an academic center should be created that could support the growth and development of the new programs beyond the scope of WPB’s original mission. The Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies was thereby established in 2011 to accommodate the burgeoning programs. Today, the Women’s Philanthropy Board serves as the flagship division of the Cary Center.

By 2014, WPB was prepared to expand its membership and impact through the introduction of its men’s auxiliary, The Phils. In what is believed to be the first men’s auxiliary of a predominantly women’s philanthropic organization in the United States, members of The Phils had the opportunity to support the mission of WPB and, thereby, encourage and support their wives, daughters, mothers and friends to become more empowered in their personal financial positions.

The same year, WPB expanded its mentoring initiatives by creating and sponsoring the Student Philanthropy Board. SPB provided an opportunity for Auburn students to join a preprofessional, official Auburn University student organization designed to prepare participants to work or volunteer in the nonprofit field. In addition to learning from local nonprofit leaders, SPB members learn by engaging in community service projects, writing and awarding mini-grants, and selecting an annual Nonprofit Employee of the Year award.

The Women’s Philanthropy Board’s recognition and impact are far-reaching. WPB received state-wide and national attention, for example, when in 2016 former First Lady Laura Bush served as the Spring Luncheon keynote speaker, and in 2018 when Dr. Jane Goodall selected the WPB Spring Luncheon as one of her only appearances in the United States and only appearance in the southern U.S. that year. Both events attracted participants and media from all over the state and country, with both women speaking to sold-out audiences.

Today, WPB continues its original mission to educate, enable and inspire individuals to be financially sustainable and philanthropically engaged. It carries forward its commitment to practicing collective philanthropy and developing the next generation of philanthropists. Because of the support of members and partners throughout the last 20 years, WPB has impacted thousands of individuals including Auburn students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.

As it commemorates its 20th anniversary and to ensure its future, WPB has begun a campaign to secure endowed funds for excellence, including a special 20th Anniversary Fund in honor of this historic year. Because of people who believe in its mission and invest in its programs, WPB will make an even greater impact during its next 20 years.

For information about the Women’s Philanthropy Board, contact Kim Walker at 334-844-9156 or or visit online at

DiscoverMed Camp provided more than 30 scholarships to Alabama high school students interested in health care.

When school is out, camp is in. Each year Auburn Youth Programs, or AYP, a program area within the Office of Professional and Continuing Education, serves thousands of youths who travel from around the globe to attend one (or more) of the 60-plus summer camps and programs offered on Auburn University’s campus.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of academic partners, Auburn Youth Programs offers several scholarship opportunities so students can develop skills, explore a passion and experience campus life with little or no out-of- pocket expense.

In 2022, a total of $124,500 was awarded to over 200 campers, making summer camp at Auburn University more accessible than ever.

More than 50 high school students attended 21st Century Explorers camp through the Alabama 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant, a U.S. Department of Education program which supports expanded learning opportunities outside of regular school hours. Campers participated in hands-on experiences on the Auburn University and Southern Union Community College campuses. Participants explored college and career options, focused on a variety of content areas including health care, architecture, aviation, design and construction, and took part in mentoring training in preparation for fulfilling their 40-hour volunteer requirement.

Construction Management Summer Academy for Young Women is hosted by the Auburn University McWhorter School of Building Science. The camp afforded 14 females the opportunity to learn about the exciting and diverse career opportunities available in construction management through hands- on construction projects, a field trip to an active construction site, and industry-specific team exercises to evoke critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Discovery MedCamp, hosted by the Southeast Alabama Area Health Education Center and led by the Auburn University Interprofessional Education faculty team, awarded more than 30 combined full and partial camp scholarships to Alabama high school students interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. The camp’s mission is to empower students to make informed decisions about their future career paths and introduces nine areas of health care, including osteopathic medicine, nursing, social work, speech and audiology, pharmacy, dietetics, physical therapy, occupational therapy and athletic training. Campers also toured the labs and went behind the scenes at East Alabama Medical Center for an up-close look at the real world of medicine.

Auburn University College of Architecture, Design and Construction offered 15 full camp scholarships to high school students attending Architecture Camp. During the weeklong camp, students learn and gain guidance from faculty within the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. The workshop- style program begins with basic design concepts and leads students through real-world architectural design experiences. As they complete and present their projects, students gain a broad perspective of the various aspects of design.

The World Affairs Youth Seminar, conducted by faculty, staff and students from Auburn’s College of Education and members of the Persistent Issues in History Network, awarded seven students with partial camp scholarships. The seminar uses the Model United Nations forum to examine global issues in a real-world context. Participants assume the role of country delegates and strive to accurately represent the viewpoints of their assigned country in daily MUN General Assembly sessions.

“We appreciate our academic and community partners for all they do, from creating exceptional curricular experiences, to providing funds for camp scholarships. They’re making Auburn accessible, opening doors to the university, and I think that captures the mission of Outreach,” said Jim Franklin, OPCE assistant director for Auburn Youth Programs.

Several full and partial scholarships are offered through AYP’s campus and community partners. Scholarship applications open December 1, and deadlines vary by program. For more information on Auburn Youth Programs, camp offerings or scholarship opportunities, visit

AYP, offered through the Office of Professional and Continuing Education, is an extension of University Outreach that sponsors and executes a variety of summer programs designed to educate and inspire youth. AYP exists to promote educational and enjoyable summer programs to empower youth to find their passion, strengthen skills and shape their future.

Journalism associate professor Nan Fairley and Mark Wilson, director for the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities, meet with interns Deliyah Johnson and ZaNaerial Marshall and Beatrice Legacy editor Mary Howard at J.F. Shields High School.

During the height of the COVID pandemic, Jack Shelton and others with a decades-long focus on rural Alabama through the Program for the Academic and Cultural Enhancement of Rural Schools, or PACERS, asked several small rural communities what they needed. Citizens in Beatrice, Packers Bend, Pintlala and Camp Hill all agreed they needed a newspaper.

Associate professor Nan Fairley, a longtime advocate of community journalism, joined in to help the nonprofit PACERS Rural Community News Network.

“Despite what I perceive as great odds, this effort and the work of citizens in four rural Alabama communities gave birth to four newspapers, the Beatrice Legacy, the Packers Bend Times, the Camp Hill Chronicle and the Pintlala Ledger,” Fairley said.

“This is an amazing story of local citizens creating newspapers that are truly making a difference in their communities. Each issue is full of stories that celebrate history, share trusted health information, and celebrate the unique places where the newspapers are published,” she added.

Now serving as the director of PRCNN, Fairley said 2022 was a big year for the nonprofit, as they received a grant from the Daniel Foundation. Also, the evolving story of the newspapers and their role in democracy was featured in a podcast “Democracy and the Informed Citizen,” a five-episode series presented by the Alabama Humanities Alliance. All episodes are now available for downloading and streaming on AHA’s website:

The future is even more promising. Fairley said, “Beyond a sign of hope, the PRCNN is, in my opinion, a ‘civic necessity’ that is now building a solid foundation to become a sustainable model for other rural communities. As more editions are rolling out, I know that the citizens who are capturing the stories of their places can see it when they deliver the newspapers that are building community, sparking conversations and more. And I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

The opportunities for research and collaboration with students and faculty are rich. For example, two students at J.F. Shields High School, Delijah Johnson and ZaNaerial Marshall, are now on staff of the Beatrice Legacy, supported through a collaboration with the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University.

The students are helping cover events and news from J.F. Shields School and the Monroe County community. “They have been a wonderful addition to the Beatrice Legacy staff,” Legacy editor Mary Howard said.

Intern Johnson commented, “I think it is a good opportunity. It felt good knowing that I could write something for the newspaper, knowing I was doing something good for the community.

In October 2022, PRCNN editors Freddie and Mary Howard of Beatrice and Gary Burton with the Pintlala Ledger joined others on a panel with Pulitzer Prize winner and Auburn journalism alum Cynthia Tucker at the School of Communication and Journalism’s annual J-Day to discuss “Issues and Innovations in Rural Journalism.” Also attending J-Day were teens involved with PRCNN newspapers who were excited to meet Tucker as well as Auburn journalism students.

For more information on the PRCNN papers, including how to receive copies online, contact or

Kids drawing

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the Cary Center for the Advancement for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies’ youth programs have made a positive impact with its participantsin the areas of financial competency, philanthropy and leadership. The Cary Center youth programs are iCare Kids, Camp iCare, and REAL Cents REAL Change. Each is a trademarked program, and they collectively provide diverse learning curriculums, outreach opportunities and instructional/training materials.

Last year, the Cary Center youth programs entered into a memorandum of understanding with College of Human Sciences’ faculty Portia Johnson, assistant professor and extension specialist in consumer and design sciences, and Adrienne Duke, associate professor and extension specialist in human development and family science, for the purpose of achieving various aims and objectives related to educating and building capacity while pursuing scholarly research in youth across Alabama. Using the iCare Kids curriculum which advances topics related to human and character development, money management, philanthropy and legacy building, it is estimated that more than 500 youths will be positively impacted throughout 2023 because of this partnership. Regional extension agents were trained last fall in the iCare Kids curriculum and will deliver the content and capture data throughout the program delivery process.

In addition to delivering iCare Kids throughout the state, Cary Center youth programs have teamed up with local nonprofit organizations such as Storybook Farm to deliver bimonthly reading programs.

Hundreds of youths participated in programming this year. Camp iCare, the original program of the Cary Center youth division, will also take place in various areas in the summer of 2023.

All Cary Center youth programs are designed to foster one’s imagination, develop leadership, encourage compassion and highlight the need for youth to be money smart while helping others. After participating in one of the programs, youth feel empowered and encouraged to make a difference in the world.

Cary Center youth programs have also partnered with schools, municipalities, nonprofits and community foundations to impact participants. Thus far, the Cary Center youth programs have partnered with more than 25 youth-serving organizations throughout the state of Alabama and as far away as Chicago and Maryland. To learn more about teaming up with the Cary Center youth programs, see and subscribe to our news venue at For more information about Cary Center youth programs, please contact Lauren Faulkner at or 334-844-3506

Kids holding flags

Auburn University’s Outreach Global office successfully hosted its second annual Global Community Day Festival on April 15, 2023, at the Auburn University Intramural Fields. Through special performances, a global attire fashion show, international vendors, music and dancing, games, crafts, and international food tasting, the domestic and international communities in the area shared and celebrated their cultures while learning about others.

Teacher workshop participants and center staff at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park.

Fourth grade teachers and students of Alabama history now have a unique, local history resource for learning about their community. The historic Scott- Yarbrough House (Pebble Hill), an 1847 Greek Revival style cottage owned by Auburn University and operated by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts, partnered with Yarbrough Elementary School veteran educator Shannon Brandt to create lesson plans on Pebble Hill’s history.

The lesson plans, now available for free download at, include topics such as Creek Indian history, identifying places through maps, and the lives of those first families of Auburn who were enslaved. A virtual tour of the house is available on the site as well.

Fourth grade students and teachers from Pick Elementary and Yarbrough Elementary Schools in Auburn visited Pebble Hill in fall 2022 for tours of the house and rotations related to Creek Indian art and recreation. “The impact of the interactive and engaging activities leaves students with lasting impressions,” says Jennifer Beth, a teacher at Pick Elementary School.

Brandt and the center offered an Alabama history workshop for teachers in the summer of 2022, including a field experience at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park. Tina Williams of Yarbrough Elementary School found the workshop a needed resource for her work. “The Pebble Hill workshops taught me how to connect Alabama History to the students’ everyday lives,” Williams says. “In return, the students are able to understand that history is relevant and all around them.” A summer 2023 workshop will include a tour and conversation with staff of the Museum of Alabama at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery.

“We are honored to work with local educators and students to make the unique history of the house and the stories of the land and people come alive for residents of Auburn and beyond,” says center director Mark Wilson. “Students have great questions, and they challenge us to think more deeply about this historical asset and its educational value.”

Shannon Brandt sees local history as a key to unlocking student interest in the subject of history. “Students recognize familiar names and places during the lessons and begin to connect how the past has shaped their current lives in Auburn,” she says. “When students see the impact on their lives it increases engagement and curiosity in the history classroom.”

The Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities creates opportunities for reflection on the human experience using the creativity of the arts and the wisdom of the humanities. For more information on the center and its programs, the history of Pebble Hill, or to schedule a tour, visit

Members of University Outreach receive a check for $25,000 presented by Auburn Heritage Foundation. Pictured from left: Jim Franklin, OPCE assistant director for Auburn Youth Programs; Hope Stockton, assistant vice president for University Outreach and Professional and Continuing Education; Mary Norman, president, Auburn Heritage Foundation; Dr. Royrickers Cook, vice president for University Outreach and associate provost; and Sam Hendrix, author, “Auburn: A History in Street Names.”

University Outreach members gathered at the steps of Samford Hall on Monday, Dec. 12, for a check presentation by Auburn Heritage Association to the Sam and Mary Ellen Hendrix Endowed Fund for Excellence.

The endowment was made possible through a campaign by the Auburn Heritage Association, which raised more than $21,000 to cover initial publishing costs for the book “Auburn: A History in Street Names.” Proceeds from book sales fund the endowment to provide academic camp scholarships for Auburn Youth Programs, or AYP. The “camperships,” which cover the cost of registration, on-campus lodging and meals, provide the opportunity for local youth to attend weeklong academic summer camps at Auburn University.

Authored by Sam Hendrix, “Auburn: A History in Street Names” tells a comprehensive history of the city of Auburn and names each camp scholarship for individuals whose stories are told throughout the book.

“Auburn: A History in Street Names” made its debut in 2021 and sold out in 29 days. A second printing is now available for purchase in Auburn-area bookstores and online. For more information on the book, how to purchase or how to make a contribution, visit

Auburn Youth Programs, a program area within the Office of Professional and Continuing Education, is an extension of University Outreach that sponsors and executes various summer programs designed to educate and inspire youth. To learn more about Auburn Youth Programs visit

Hollie Cost, AVP for University Outreach and Public Service presenting on Maximizing Impact through Effective Partnerships.

The Cary Center Community and Collegiate Programs division responds to the growing need to educate, enable and equip the next generation of nonprofit professionals to be confident, capable and philanthropically engaged. With the Cary Center Nonprofit Affiliate Program, Mix & Mingles, the Cary Center Nonprofit Summit, and other outreach programming, nonprofit professionals receive networking opportunities as well as professional development to help them succeed as leaders.

Throughout the 2022-23 academic year, the Cary Center Community and Collegiate division produced a variety of programs geared toward educating and empowering nonprofit and community leaders to maximize the impact of their work. The sixth annual Cary Center Nonprofit Summit took place on Monday, October 17, 2022, at The Hotel at Auburn University.

Horst Schulze, co-founder of Ritz-Carlton Hotels, philanthropist and author of “Excellence Wins,” was the featured luncheon speaker for the summit, titled “Growing Forward-Excellence Wins.” Three morning training sessions featured renowned executives and leading experts in the nonprofit field and covered the following topics: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Nonprofit Organizations; Building Young Professional Boards in Nonprofit Organizations; and Fundraising for All.

During the summer and fall semesters of 2022, the community and collegiate division partnered with community foundations, broad-reaching nonprofits and the Auburn University Office of Public Service to present training sessions for nonprofits. The program, titled “Grow Your Nonprofit: Resources to Maximize Impact,” took place in Tuskegee, Montgomery and Jasper. During the spring 2023 semester, the community and collegiate division hosted multiple “Grow Your Nonprofit” programs in Opelika, Valley, Auburn, Dothan and Selma. Sessions were led by subject-matter experts and included the following topics: Nonprofit Accounting Basics, Fundraising Essentials, Grant Writing Basics, Board Responsibilities & Effectiveness and Maximizing Impact Through Effective Partnerships.

The Cary Center Community and Collegiate division also held its annual Meet Me at the VIC (Volunteer, Internship and Career) Fair featuring exhibits from 75 nonprofits. The fair took place in the Melvin Student Center on February 6.

The Cary Center Nonprofit Affiliate Program currently serves more than 200 nonprofits in Alabama and beyond and offers educational programming, professional development and networking opportunities to nonprofit professionals. Cary Center nonprofit Affiliates are the first to learn about upcoming programming and membership is free. Join today at:

These programs are made possible by the generosity of these Cary Center Community and Collegiate Program sponsors: Auburn University Outreach; Community Foundation of East Alabama; River Region United Way; KPMG, Auburn University Office of Public Service; Drummond Thorne Stukes Fund for Excellence in the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies; and a community service grant made possible by state Sen. Randy Price and state Rep. Joe Lovvorn.

For more information, contact Brittany Spillman at or 334-844-3557.

Auburn University President Christopher B. Roberts, left, signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday, Dec. 6, with Nak Kyu Lee, president of the Korea Institute of Technology, that will expand upon the collaborative research efforts of Auburn’s faculty and laboratories with local companies supported by KITECH.

Auburn University President Christopher B. Roberts signed a memorandum of understanding with Nak Kyu Lee, president of the Korea Institute of Technology, or KITECH, that will expand upon the collaborative research efforts of Auburn’s faculty and laboratories with local companies supported by KITECH.

KITECH is an application-oriented research institute founded with the mission to support the industry sector, especially the innovation of small- to mid-sized enterprises. Building on the signed MOU between the organizations in 2015, the newly expanded agreement between the institutions includes the establishment of research and/or automotive technology support offices and laboratories, the creation of joint research projects and the exchange of technical information, periodic training symposia and consulting.

“As a land-grant university, Auburn aspires to deliver real-world, practical solutions,” Roberts said while addressing administrators and dignitaries at the ceremonial event held at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. “Through joint research efforts and projects, we can anticipate and meet the distinct needs of the automotive manufacturers and suppliers along the I-85 corridor that have strongly impacted our region’s economic climate. This partnership demonstrates an interchange of education, research and service, with global implications.”

The agreement spelled out a number of desired outcomes including: establishment of research and/or automotive technology support offices and laboratories; exchange of scientific/technical research materials, publications, information and advice; development of mutually agreed-upon collaborative research projects; identification of technical barriers encountered and improvements needed by manufacturers; provision of technical solutions using means and technologies available at both institutions; creation of joint research projects to identify funding opportunities through governmental agencies; and organization of periodic symposia on manufacturing technologies and related subjects.

As identified by Roberts, the I-85 corridor remains a hotbed for automobile suppliers. KIA’s 2,200-acre plant in nearby West Point, Georgia, produces more than 300,000 automobiles per year. Hyundai’s 3.4 billion-square-foot plant just south of Montgomery, Alabama, can produce nearly 400,000 vehicles per year.

“The Auburn-Opelika metropolitan area is an optimal region for joint research between academia and industry in the automobile field,” Lee said. “We plan to embark on joint research with Auburn University on innovative manufacturing technology. We also plan to answer to the demands of parts manufacturers in the region by utilizing the infrastructure and other means available at both institutions.”

Auburn University Outreach will manage the current initiative and coordinate the details of the memorandum of understanding. Since 2015, the Auburn Office of Professional and Continuing Education, a unit of University Outreach, and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering have worked closely with KITECH on projects, including the “Korea US Automotive Technology Workshop” and various technology support and research projects.

“It is a great pleasure to not only continue this collaborative endeavor, but to expand upon it for the betterment of our stakeholders, community members and economic outlook,” said Royrickers Cook, Auburn University vice president for University Outreach and associate provost. The relationship between Auburn University and KITECH is longstanding, and we in University Outreach and the Office of Professional and Continuing Education are proud to be a part of this impactful collaboration.

“As we embark upon emerging electronic vehicle technologies, the expanded partnership positions each of us at the forefront of innovation, technological research and the promotion of economic development in the state of Alabama and beyond. KITECH’s values align well with Auburn’s land-grant mission of Outreach and help us carry out our responsibility to transform research into services that meet our communities’ most critical needs.”

Auburn University, recognized as a Carnegie R1 research institution, continues to cultivate the growing roles that research and collaboration have played in improving business practices, finding new solutions to old problems and improving the quality of lives for thousands.

“In addition to advancing Auburn’s land-grant mission, this partnership demonstrates the value of strategic international and institutional engagements to the economic development of our state,” said Jim Weyhenmeyer, vice president for research and economic development. “Through this partnership with KITECH, we will continue strengthening Auburn’s capacity to lead automotive technology research and development, particularly in the global market.”

Dong Woo “Daniel” Yu, assistant director of Outreach Programs within the Office of Professional and Continuing Education will coordinate details of the joint efforts between KITECH and Auburn University.

“Since the initial agreement was signed in 2015, I’ve been able to work with many Korean manufacturers to assess their technical problems, needs and provide training,” said Yu. “Having the opportunity to extend the resources from both Auburn University and KITECH has allowed us to assist several manufacturers. We’ll continue these joints efforts on a broader scope as we move forward, especially in the areas of emerging EV production technologies.”

Doris Hill and Maria Gutierrez presented “Increasing Outreach and Awareness Programs for Hispanic Families Impacted by I/DD Alabama’s Hispanic Training and Resource Advocacy Network.”

Several Auburn faculty members and graduate students began the year representing Auburn in Honolulu, Hawaii, at The Hawaii International Conference on Education and The International Academic Forum.

HICE is an international conference for educators that provides an opportunity for academicians and professionals from all over the world to come together and learn from each other. A goal of the conference is to provide a space for cross-disciplinary interests related to education to meet and interact with members inside and outside their own disciplines.

IAFOR is a non-governmental organization and think tank founded in Nagoya, Japan, with four goals: to promote international exchange, facilitate cultural awareness, encourage interdisciplinary discussion, and generate and share knowledge. Presentations highlighted programs such as the Alabama Prison Project, Counselor Education Ethics, Hispanic Training and Resource Advocacy Network, Learning Through Storytelling curriculum, Responsibility Center Management system and Transition Unlimited.

Scholarly presentations from Auburn University included many topics surrounding outreach and engagement. Jeff Long and Adrienne Frank presented “Effects of Responsibility Center Management System on Financial Performance Indicators among Public Universities and Impact to its Colleges.” Chippewa Thomas presented “Mental Health, Rehabilitation, and School Counseling Ethics, Oh My!” Doris Hill and Maria Gutierrez presented “Increasing Outreach and Awareness Programs for Hispanic Families Impacted by I/DD Alabama’s Hispanic Training and Resource Advocacy Network.” Nicholas Derzis, Crystal Smith and Ashleigh Kerline presented, “A Recipe for Multidisciplinary Collaboration Success: Transition Unlimited.” Nicholas Derzis, Margaret Shippen and Angela Hall presented “The Golden Rule in Higher Education: A Perspective on Interdisciplinary and Intercollegiate Research Collaboration.” Rebecca Curtis, Margaret Shippen, Angela Hall, Sharon Weaver and Ashleigh Kerlin presented “What did SHE say? Voices of Women in Prison about their Safety.” Gail Harper Yeilding presented “Learning Through Storytelling: Supporting Teachers with SDG2 Resources in a Time for Building Resilience and Hope.”

To engage with the community and learn more about the cultural and historical significance of Oahu, Chippewa Thomas, director of faculty engagement and Gail Harper, graduate assistant for curriculum and teaching visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial, just a short distance from the conference center. They traveled on a boat to a living burial site dedicated to the men and women of the USS Arizona. The site includes those who gave their lives in the attack and the survivors who have since passed and chosen to be interred with their shipmates. Thomas and Harper were joined in the experience with families from Alabama State and Auburn University. The group left the monument reflective of the conference keynote speaker Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu and her discussion of the Hawaiian concepts of Māhū, kulana and kuleana, knowing they had a role and a responsibility as educators and engaged scholars to continue to press on this year making a difference.

The Government and Economic Development Institute assists municipalities, businesses, and professional associations in many ways. GEDI offers a wide variety of training and professional development programs and certifications. GEDI is also contracted to coordinate and host conferences and special events.

Another service that is offered is research and special projects, such as conducting wage and salary surveys. “GEDI is proud to work with our partners at the Alabama League of Municipalities, the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, the Alabama Association of Public Personnel Administrators, as well as the Economic Development Association of Alabama to conduct their recent salary surveys,” said Jeremy Arthur, GEDI director.

In September 2022, the Economic Development Association of Alabama partnered with GEDI to survey its members on the salaries and benefits offered to employees as well as the activities associated with their positions. A survey of this type had not been done since 2018. The survey results were released in January of 2023 and EDAA members have access to the data free of charge. “This will be a valuable resource as we continue to advance and improve the economic development profession in Alabama”, said Jim Searcy, EDAA executive director.

Another Alabama wage and salary survey was developed through a partnership with the Association of County Commissions of Alabama, the Alabama League of Municipalities, and the Alabama Association of Public Personnel Administrators. The partnership was organized to set the groundwork for a biennial survey conducted on the even numbered years. The result of this partnership is to provide member organizations with a pay study for use in performing human resources and personnel responsibilities. Having biennial reports will provide the participating organizations with current wage and salary data for use in developing organizational pay plans that are competitive in the current market. Workforce development is a critical issue facing employers today, and the information provided by the GEDI surveys will enable employers to recruit and retain quality employees.

These industry surveys are vital to benchmark salary and benefits data across the state within job sectors. The results of these surveys will ensure that these jobs remain competitive with their salary and benefits offerings. These public professional job positions deliver front-line service across our great state every day at the local, county, and regional level. The collection of this data will make sure these staff members can gauge their compensation against similar jobs while helping them achieve their career advancement goals. The result is to ensure Alabamians are being paid a fair wage, which helps them achieve success, have more job satisfaction, and enjoy a better quality of life for themselves and their families. GEDI is proud to play a vital role in helping Alabama citizens thrive.

Students measure the back porch exterior of OLLI at Auburn’s home, Sunny Slope.

On a rainy afternoon in January, more than 20 students strolled down the driveway of historic Sunny Slope to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University. Since the OLLI at Auburn program is designed for adults aged 50 and up, these are not the typical OLLI students. These were second-year students in assistant professor Gorham Bird’s course Architectural Design Studio 2. They came to receive their assignment: design a modern addition to a historic property.

The assignment gives students a hypothetical institutional client with real needs and considerations. Scott Bishop, director of OLLI, met with the students to explain OLLI’s mission to enhance quality of life for the program’s members through courses, hands-on learning and social interaction. She discussed how OLLI’s greatest need is an addition to benefit the growing number of OLLI members who currently meet for classes in seven locations around town due to the limited classroom sizes on the Sunny Slope campus.

Elijah Gaddis, assistant professor of history, provided the students with historical context for the property. Students in Gaddis’ course, Documenting and Interpreting Cultural Heritage, conducted extensive research on Sunny Slope in 2018, revealing its troubled past as a former plantation. Bird said, “As students consider the design for the expansion, they not only think about the physical site constraints and public visibility of the site, but they also must contend with the history of the site and develop a concept around how the design of the expansion reveals, conceals or contextualizes this difficult history.”

Students have measured every inch of the modest, but classic Greek Revival structure and its surroundings. They have sketched columns and railings, investigated the barn and imagined how their designs could enhance the OLLI experience. A wish list of proposed spaces includes more classrooms, an art studio, a demonstration kitchen, a lecture hall and social spaces both inside and outside. These would allow OLLI to provide members with a greater sense of community and more opportunities to remain active and engaged.

Projects like this provide real-life challenges for students to study and develop design solutions as they prepare to become architecture professionals. “We hope students cultivate an eagerness to understand history and empathize with people with diverse cultural/social backgrounds and stages of life than their own. Ultimately, we hope students see the role of an architect as a public servant, to improve the lives of the people they’re designing for.”

To learn more about OLLI at Auburn, visit

Auburn Students visiting the National Memorial for Peace and Justice

Student Involvement and the Office of Inclusion and Diversity partnered on their first experiential learning trip on October 15, 2022, traveling to the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Over 34 students signed up for the experience, many visiting the museum and the memorial for the first time.

While the fall 2022 trip was the first, Student Involvement is planning to host at least one trip per semester to locations throughout the Southeast to provide opportunities for students to connect their in- class learning with real-world experiences from the past and present. The mission of Student Involvement is to provide experiential learning opportunities that engage, educate and empower students through an inclusive and equitable environment. These trips serve to bridge the understanding that Auburn students have about their place in an increasingly globalized society, both on and off campus. Each trip is planned and coordinated by Student Involvement staff, and students can sign up by scanning a QR code or by visiting a link to indicate their interest.

Through pre-educational sessions and debrief opportunities led by staff in the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, students can prepare for these experiential learning trips in ways that allow them to gain the most from the experience, then implement the gained knowledge in tangible ways.

For the spring trip in March 2023, Student Involvement and OID staff traveled with students to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.

Through post trip assessments, students can also help inform the decisions about future travel locations. Each trip is open to undergraduate and graduate students at Auburn. More information about Student Involvement and experiential learning opportunities can be found by visiting

A young girl gets a tour of an Endeavor Air flight deck from the aircraft’s pilot.

The War Eagle Chapter of Women in Aviation International hosted its annual Girls in Aviation Day last fall, providing an opportunity for women of all ages to learn about different facets of aviation in an encouraging, fun environment at the Auburn University Regional Airport. The event was sponsored by Delta Propel, Delta Airlines’ pilot career path program, of which the Auburn School of Aviation is an inaugural member.

In addition to Delta, many notable aviation organizations attended the event. United Aviate, Southwest Airlines, FedEx and Alabama Medevac are just some of the companies with representatives in attendance.

The turnout pleased Dominique Vervil, professional flight junior and president of the War Eagle Chapter of Women in Aviation International.

“I have a heart for serving aviation students at Auburn because they make me feel at home,” Vervil said. “To be able to put on an event with so many reputable companies that people can build relationships with is something I value. I am grateful to these companies for wanting to be involved. It really does help our program. The students who serve it get that frontline access to professionals who work in the fields we are training for.”

As the aviation field continues to see a decline in the number of pilots entering the workforce, Vervil emphasized the importance of getting more women in aviation.

“Auburn is at the forefront of increasing diversity in aviation fields,” said Vervil. “Seventeen percent of pilots in Auburn’s program are women, whereas the world average for female pilots is around eight percent.”

Vervil said Women in Aviation International has empowered her in her day-to-day life.

“It’s really cool when I tell someone I’m studying to become a pilot and no one gives me a funny look,” said Vervil. “I’ve gotten some crazy looks over the years.”

Vervil also shared a recent encounter that inspired her and highlighted the importance of Women in Aviation’s community engagement.

“Something that stood out recently was an older woman of color asked me if I was studying to become a pilot, noting my Women in Aviation shirt,” said Vervil. “I told her I was, and her reaction was moving. She spoke about how growing up, she could never dream of being a pilot, nevertheless someone that looked like her.

That really stood out to me. It’s something I’ll never take for granted.”

Daphne Walker, engagement coordinator for the School of Aviation, said events like Girls in Aviation Day are important to cultivating new aviation talent.

“Girls in Aviation Day provides the opportunity to learn about different career fields in the aviation industry,” said Walker. “Younger girls can look up to and learn about our students and other female pilots that attend. This can build a lifelong relationship with aviation and allows them to view it as a career path.”

Exhibition titled “Andy Yoder: Overboard,” featured more than 250 sculptural sneakers—constructed from recycled packing from well-known brands such as Lego, Barbie, Apple and Auburn University—displayed at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art from Tuesday, Aug. 23, through Sunday, April 1, 2023. Courtesy of Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Photo by Randi Evans.

As the state’s only accredited university art museum, The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn recently launched its newest exhibition initiative, Museum in Motion. This effort is part of an enhanced education, engagement and learning unit that advances Auburn’s mission through faculty collaboration, student experience and community outreach. Museum in Motion expands access by bringing innovative art programming to communities across the state. Funded in part by Tiger Giving Day 2020, the initiative will also include two repurposed Tiger Transit buses outfitted for travel and museum encounters.

As part of the inaugural program, third and fourth graders in Calhoun County School System’s Gifted Enrichment Program participated in a weeklong workshop at their school with The Jule. The Gifted Enrichment Program serves students from different populations and economic backgrounds who perform— or have the potential to perform—at elevated levels in academic fields.

Working with teachers from Calhoun County, the museum team developed an animation workshop to augment the school’s visual arts curriculum. Students learned about the evolution of animation, highlighting its development from early photography to surrealism to stop-motion. Educators based the activity on one of The Jule’s current exhibitions, Andy Yoder: Overboard. Inspired by the Great Shoe Spill of 1990, wherein thousands of shoes fell off a cargo ship and into the Pacific Ocean, Overboard features nearly 250 sculptural replicas of Nike Air Jordan 5s. As a result of the environmental disaster, researchers learned information about maritime currents based on where the shoes washed up on shore. Using their creativity, the students considered where their shoes might travel, storyboarded their ideas and created stop-motion GIFs of a grand adventure. Shoes traveled through portals, got captured by sneaky bunnies, and found a new life underwater.

To bring the program full circle, the Calhoun County students visited The Jule as part of a field trip to see the exhibition. Their time at Auburn also included a tour of the department of art and art history’s animation studio, plus a reveal of their vignettes on display in the museum and an online gallery. The two- step exchange with classes in their communities and with an invitation back to the museum deepens the interactions among students, teachers, and museum educators, allowing for meaningful active learning and museum literacy.

Museum in Motion is made possible in part with support from the city of Auburn, Martin Freeman ’77, The Kohnken Family Foundation, The Betty Coston Lassen Endowed Fund for Excellence in Education and the 2022-2023 Season Partners.

Participants of Outreach Global’s Ghana medical outreach program.

The Office of Outreach Global creates opportunities for global engagement, cultural immersion experiences, and contributions to community development across the globe. Through medical and capacity- building outreach programs, the office ensures that communities are not only being supported while Auburn University is on the ground in-country, but that host communities are left with the resources and skills to continue the work. Outreach Global’s service- learning programs accomplish just that.

According to Outreach Global Director Elizabeth Quansah, “The purpose of our noncredit service- learning program is to align and support the academic curriculum with hands-on practical global programs that enhance real-world skill sets, providing volunteering and networking opportunities for students, faculty and staff.”

Outreach Global believes that hands-on, international learning opportunities provide students with unmatched experiences, giving them the momentum to take on the real world.

The Office of Outreach Global, in conjunction with the Auburn University College of Nursing and the Harrison College of Pharmacy, has made several medical outreach trips to Ghana since 2017. “Our flagship service-learning program in Ghana has been impactful,” Quansah reflects. “In early 2020, we examined and provided free over-the-counter medication to over 1,500 patients and helped address health disparities in vulnerable communities in Ghana through our sustained partnerships.”

In June, Outreach Global will continue its medical outreach by hosting and facilitating a 10-day trip to Athens, Greece. Once again working with the College of Nursing and the Harrison College of Pharmacy, the clinic will focus on serving immigrants, orphanages and other underserved communities. The team will work alongside several international organizations including Doctors of the World, Zeuxis and SOS Villages.

As the health needs of local people are met, the Greece program participants will gain invaluable community service and medical experience, while learning about local medical systems and soaking in the culture of Greece. In a short time, participants will positively shape individual lives through meaningful service. The beauty of medical outreach is caring for individuals can transcend dialect and cultural backgrounds.

Prior to the trip to Greece, Outreach Global, alongside Lakami Baker from the Harbert College of Business, will travel to Benin for their annual capacity-building Success Through Entrepreneurship program—a program funded by the US Embassy in Cotonou, Benin. Local Beninians are provided with free entrepreneurship classes taught by Quansah and Baker. These classes present Beninians with the skills they need to advance in the business world, developing the potential of individuals as well as the local and national economies.

As the school year comes to a close with another on the horizon, Outreach Global looks forward to solidifying new global partnerships and enhancing ones already established.

Beat Bama Food Drive

For 29 years, Auburn students have united the Auburn family in the fight against food insecurity in our own backyard. This year, Beat Bama Food Drive celebrated a record-breaking 550,117 pounds of food collected, providing 3,850,819 meals for families in Randolph, Chambers, Lee, Tallapoosa, Macon, Russell and Barbour counties.

From its roots as a simple canned food drive competing against the University of Alabama, Beat Bama Food Drive has become the Food Bank of East Alabama’s largest annual donation. For 48 days leading up to the Iron Bowl, students hosted a series of campus and community events, campaigns and educational opportunities to unite students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends in the fight for a world where access to food is a right, not a privilege.

This year the drive focused on educational experiences and real-world effects of hunger and food insecurity in the local community. It’s so easy to think that these issues only affect those across the world, when, in fact, 10.5% of households in Lee County were food insecure at some point throughout the year. That means in a classroom of 50 students, five of them do not know where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity isn’t just in other countries, states or even cities—it’s right here on the Auburn University campus.

Beat Bama Food Drive students see the need and fight tirelessly not only during the weeks leading up to the Iron Bowl, but throughout the year, so that no family questions the source of their next meal. This year, Beat Bama Food Drive hosted a signature event, The Hunger Banquet. A hunger banquet is a powerful event where participants are invited to engage in a free meal. However, what the participants do not know before attending is that upon arrival, they draw a ticket that places them into either a high-, middle-, or low-income bracket. The income bracket they draw determines which meal they receive that night. The division of the income brackets was rooted demographically in the class structure of the state of Alabama, providing participants a realistic understanding of the impact of food insecurity in their own community. The Hunger Banquet fueled a deeper passion among students to fight harder against food insecurity and continue to educate others about the negative effects.

Beat Bama Food Drive is more than just a canned food drive and philanthropic cause. Beat Bama Food Drive is an opportunity for everyone to learn more and do more to make this world a better place for everyone. Yes, it may be as simple as a can of food, but that can CAN make a world of difference.

Ashli Evans, Campus Kitchen; Johanna Ehrhardt, Campus Kitchen; Melody Scott, Auburn AME Zion food operations; Trevor Aupperle, Campus Kitchen; and Tommy Taylor, Auburn AME Zion.

Since fall 2022, Auburn AME Zion Church, located at 576 Martin Luther King Drive, has received meals each Sunday for sick and shut-in senior citizens. According to Melody Scott, who assists with food operations at the church, “The collaboration with Campus Kitchen has resulted in providing 460 meals to these individuals. In addition to supplying our members with nutritious meals, the students provide exemplary customer service.”

An estimated 15% of the population in Lee County is food insecure (Feeding America, 2019). Campus Kitchen, a volunteer student organization at Auburn University, is addressing that need. The organization delivers between 20,000 and 22,000 meals per academic year. Students work in shifts to recover food from campus dining locations to make nutritionally balanced meals for food insecure individuals throughout the community. For more information about Campus Kitchen, email

Anna-Margaret Goldman, PhD director, Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement

The Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement welcomed Anna-Margaret Goldman as the new director. An Alabama native, Goldman returned to Alabama with her husband and son after serving pivotal outreach roles at The University of Montana, including the director of TRIO Upward Bound and the director of MonTECH at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities. Goldman has desired to work at a land-grant institution for years to create educational opportunities for underrepresented groups in education. Goldman is committed to bring her skills and passion to benefit K-12 students throughout Alabama. Goldman will oversee all current K-12 initiatives and programs within the Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement as well as facilitate new K-12 opportunities throughout the state. She will collaborate with and secure both on-campus and off- campus partnerships and seek unique and innovative funding sources.

Jeffery Turnipseed

Jeffery Turnipseed serves as an Americorps Volunteer in Service to America in Auburn University Outreach. Turnipseed works in the Center for Educational Outreach & Engagement under the direction of Venus Hewing. Turnipseed’s responsibilities include some oversight of the Young Professionals in Training program and the Outreach Student Ambassador program. Turnipseed will work to increase participation in these programs and raise awareness of the work that CEOE and University Outreach does in and for the community.

Turnipseed is originally from Calera, Alabama. After completing his VISTA assignment, he plans to finish his degree in software engineering with a minor in marketing at Auburn University, which will put him a step closer to his goal of attending law school.

“My favorite thing about working in Outreach is I get a personal look at the impact that Auburn University Outreach has in the community. In addition, I have learned so much from my coworkers and the students that I work with. During my time here, I look forward to forming connections, learning more and making a positive impact in my area,” said Turnipseed.

Olivia Houlden

Olivia Houlden joined the Office of Outreach Global in January 2023. In her role as administrator, Olivia assists in all the office’s functions, including planning the Global Community Day Festival, maintaining external correspondence, building domestic and international connections and supporting outreach trips.

Houlden is from Texas and earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in international affairs from the George Washington University in 2021. Focusing her studies on international development and sociocultural anthropology, she is eager to positively shape the world through outreach and intercultural exchanges during her time with Outreach Global.

Houlden took advantage of her time in college to intern at Refugee Services of Texas, work as an administrative assistant at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and contribute to research for the Council of Europe’s Pompidou Group. She spent the past year as an English teaching assistant in France, followed by a six-week volunteer stint at a Ukrainian shelter in Hungary. In her free time, she enjoys playing the violin and hiking.

Houlden is incredibly excited to be a part of the Outreach Global team and looks forward to contributing to cultural exchanges and furthering Auburn University’s global engagement.

The ability of the recently redesigned Encyclopedia of Alabama to scale to a variety of screen sizes is demonstrated by the Encyclopedia of Alabama staff on the Digital Wall, a large, interactive digital display at Auburn University’s Ralph Brown Draughon Library.

Encyclopedia of Alabama has a new look. EOA took advantage of recent technical upgrades to improve its accessibility on mobile devices. In addition to working better on the small screens of phones and tablets, the site also looks great on the large screens and visual displays now used in many educational settings. EOA’s enhanced functionality and contemporary look was created by Army of Bees, a premium web design and development firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. The development team was diligent in ensuring the new site offered quality user experiences for EOA’s visitors. The awarding-winning firm has also implemented upgrades for the New Georgia Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Arkansas which, like EOA, are database-driven reference resources that were approaching their second decade of operation in a world of rapidly changing technology. The upgrades for EOA were funded by an Alabama Department of Tourism Product Development Grant and the Alabama Humanities Alliance, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Although EOA’s more than 1.2 million annual visitors will see new looks and functions, they’ll still find the same quality content valued by reporters, researchers and readers from across the globe. Visit EOA today at:

Campus Kitchen 2022–2023 Executive Board Members. L–R. Phillip McCain, Owen Harris, Teja Ramapuram, Ryan Mumford, Barrett Maloney, Brandon Thomas and Elise Fitzgerald. Elise is the 2023–2024 president for Campus Kitchen. She will lead all operations with over 100 shift leaders and the new exec board. Phillip, Owen, Teja, Ryan, and Brandon are all pursuing Medical School in Fall 2023. Barrett will be pursuing a graduate degree in Microbiology.

Campus Kitchen at Auburn University, a student-led hunger relief organization, received a $5,000 grant from Publix Super Markets Inc. This grant, along with other grants and funds, helps to purchase supplies and non-perishable foods for Campus Kitchen. In 2022, Campus Kitchen recovered over 20,000 pounds of food and served over 15,000 meals to members of both Auburn University and Lee County.

Campus Kitchen recently added the Boykin Food Pantry as a new community partner. Students can go to the Boykin Food Pantry three times a week and stock the shelves and pack food for people in need. Campus Kitchen continues to make an impact on food insecurities in the Auburn/Opelika area and plans to make greater strides in the future.

Fulbright in Classroom program at the Valley High School.

Auburn University’s Office of Outreach Global presented its premier Fulbright In the Classroom programs to two high schools: Valley and Lafayette high schools in Alabama on November 3, 2022.

For Outreach Global, the program is an opportunity for past and current Fulbrighters to share their experiences with K-12 and college students in low-income communities in Alabama, introducing students to new places, culture and peoples. The goal is to inspire these students to learn more about global engagement while traveling and having fun. During the two programs, students heard presentations from Auburn University instructors and participated in a mini trade fair that showcased garments, arts and crafts, clothing and accessories from across Africa, Asia and Europe.

These two collaborative programs were led by Elizabeth I. Quansah, director of the Office of Outreach Global, in conjunction with the Auburn University FIC grant recipient, Leslie A. Cordie, associate professor and Fulbright Core Scholar 2020-21; Jason Bryant, associate clinical professor and director of the Truman Pierce Institute; Venus Hewing, manager in the Center for Education Outreach & Engagement; Chippewa Thomas, director of the Office of Faculty Engagement and the president of the Alabama Fulbright Association chapter; and Mac-Jane Crayton, graduate assistant for the Office of Outreach Global.

Outreach Global plans to organize the Fulbright in the Classroom program twice a year across high schools in Alabama and overseas. The two high schools will be included in the Annual Global Community Day Festival where students have the opportunity to join the parade of the flags, global attire showcase and various cultural activities.

The Outreach and Engaged Scholarship Symposium allows faculty, staff, community partners and students to gain perspectives on the impact of outreach and community - engaged scholarship and learn what’s on the horizon for the future. For questions or assistance, contact Chippewa Thomas at or (334) 844-5701.

Gulf–South Summit

The mission of the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Through Higher Education is to promote networking among practitioners, research, ethical practices, reciprocal campus- community partnerships, sustainable programs, and a culture of engagement and public awareness through service- learning and other forms of civic engagement.

Tuskegee University and Auburn University announced an agreement to expand partnerships between the universities and collaborate on community outreach.

Historically Black Tuskegee University and Auburn University announced an agreement to expand partnerships between the universities and collaborate on community outreach. The universities will blend resources and intellectual capacity to address racial and health disparities in communities across the state of Alabama. Faculty research and outreach collaborations will work to address lack of health care access and other social and health inequities in surrounding areas.

Send your Outreach news, opportunities, projects and programs to or send us your email address to join the monthly newsletter mailing list!

The Outreach newsletter serves to provide our Auburn Family with ongoing updates regarding the tremendous outreach initiatives that are collaboratively launched between our unit and others across campus to impact citizens across Alabama and beyond. We are pleased to add this to our publication portfolio and hope this will inspire you to join us in making a difference!

As a land-grant institution, Auburn University has a mission of outreach—engaging its expertise beyond campus to improve quality of life across Alabama, nationally, and even internationally. More importantly, outreach provides opportunities to establish mutually beneficial partnerships between Auburn University and the communities that it serves. Through outreach and extension programs, citizens benefit from greater access to Auburn’s high quality educational resources. Community interaction benefits the university as well, providing valuable insights and information for teaching and research, and enhancing the institution’s relevance to the broader society. Auburn University is recognized by the Carnegie Foundation’s “Community Engaged Institution” designation for the quality and scope of its outreach programming.

Jeff Jakeman: A Remembrance

One of the central figures in the creation and development of the Encyclopedia of Alabama, Robert J. “Jeff” Jakeman passed away on January 24, 2023. A professor of history and archival studies at Auburn, Jakeman was recruited in 2002 to serve as the original managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Alabama, then a fledgling initiative. He was instrumental in securing funding and statewide support for the site, from its planning stages, to its official launch in 2008, to EOA’s affiliation with University Outreach.

The connections he developed as editor of The Alabama Review and as a member of the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Historical Association significantly contributed to EOA’s extensive network of authors, advisors, and supporters.

“He led our successful development of a qualified staff and network of expert writers,” recalls Steve Murray, former EOA staffer and current director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Thanks to Jakeman’s scholarly and leadership contributions, “EOA is the most widely cited source on Alabama history and among the very finest digital projects of its kind,” notes Murray.

Born in Tennessee, Jakeman was raised in Tampa, Florida. He served 26 years in the United States Air Force as an F-4 “Phantom” navigator and officer throughout the Vietnam War era, retiring with the rank of colonel in 1997. He received his Bachelor of Arts in sociology and social science from the University of South Florida in 1972, his master’s degree in history from Valdosta State College in 1980, and his doctoral degree from Auburn University in 1988. Prior to joining the faculty at Auburn, Jakeman worked at the Alabama Department of Archives and History. In addition to his professorial duties, he served as EOA’s editor until his retirement from Auburn University in 2012. He was an avid runner and cyclist, musician, and hobbyist, and traveled extensively after retirement.

Jeff Jakeman is survived by his wife of 52 years, Carol Dressler Jakeman, his daughters Katie and Melissa and their families, extended family and friends, and a host of students and colleagues who honor his life and extraordinary scholarly contributions.

Last Updated: June 12, 2023