A lifelong Alabamian, Cost is a three-time Auburn graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, an M.Ed. in Special Education, and a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation and Special Education - Behavioral Disorders. Before her position at the University of Montevallo, Cost worked in the Auburn area in mental health and special education roles in the Lee County school system, East Alabama Mental Health and Lee County Youth Development Center, at Auburn University as a graduate teaching and research assistant and assistant director of the Summer Clinic program, and later as assistant professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. At the University of Montevallo, Cost was professor of Special Education and responsible for program coordination, assessment and accreditation activities in the department. During her tenure, she launched the university’s service-learning program and developed two major civic engagement initiatives, “Falcon Scholars in Action,” a community outreach program with Shelby County non-profit agencies engaging university students, and the “Montevallo Connection” initiative which promoted collaboration between the university and the city’s public schools.
Cost’s community engagement and advocacy extended beyond campus to civic leadership, in which she served for more than 16 years as an elected Montevallo city council member and Mayor. In her two terms as mayor, she was responsible for all municipal operations including budget management, direct supervision of ten department heads, infrastructure maintenance and improvements, and overall promotion of civic engagement, social equity and inclusivity for citizens. During her administration she initiated a Students’ Institute, a Junior City Council, and a comprehensive recycling program among several other citywide initiatives.
A graduate of Leadership Alabama and Leadership Shelby County, Cost has received a number of educational, municipal and civic engagement certifications from the Alabama State Department of Education, the Alabama League of Municipalities, and Auburn University’s Community and Civic Engagement Imagining America Institute. She has a comprehensive record of disciplinary research, grant acquisition, publication and presentation across her special education, civic engagement, and community development dossier. Among her many notable scholarly and public recognitions, Cost was named a Kettering Foundation Research Fellow, the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Humanitarian of the Year, the Alabama Main Street Hero Award, Gulf-South Summit Outstanding Service-Learning Collaboration Award, and Auburn University’s Academy for Civic Professionalism Alumni Award. She has been active in community service at both the local and state level including board service with the Shelby County Chamber, Alabama Environmental Commission, Alabama League of Municipalities, Montevallo Sister City Commission and many other initiatives.
Janie Brown graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Commerce and Business Administration majoring in Marketing and obtaining concentrations in Sales Management and Market Research. Janie has been with Auburn University since 2000. Before joining Auburn as a graphic artist, she served as a manager with Creative Services at the Opelika-Auburn News for nearly 10 years. Mrs. Brown offers graphic and creative support to all of Outreach's units and projects. Janie grew up in Auburn and continues to enjoy the area with her husband and daughter.
In 2012, Whitney Lee graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a Marketing degree and a Marketing Research Certificate. In 2020, Whitney earned her certificate in Nonprofit Management from UAB and Women’s Entrepreneurship from Cornell University. In January 2022, she will begin her Masters of Community Planning with a Minor in Economic Development.
After a decade in retail management, Whitney began her career in the nonprofit sector as a Nonprofit and Cause Marketing Strategist. She partnered with nonprofit executives to grow their personal and professional brands, human-to-human. In 2018, she relocated to Auburn, AL to join the AmeriCorps Vista program. While at Auburn University, she has worked in Auburn Outreach, Auburn University Foundation, and the Office of Inclusion and Diversity. In November 2021, Whitney rejoined Auburn Outreach as the Outreach Programs Administrator in the Office of Public Service.
Whitney is dedicated to serving others in the community, from mentoring high school students to providing food and resources to families in need. In 2021, she began the Women in Nonprofit Foundation (WIN Foundation), a platform dedicated to supporting and partnering with women-led organizations in Alabama to alleviate poverty in rural communities. Motto: “Success is on the other side of service.”
Dr. Jocelyn Wilcher Vickers is a 4-time graduate of Auburn University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies in 1998, a M.Ed. in Adult Education in 1999, an Ed.S. in Adult Education in 2002, and a Ph.D. in Administration of Higher Education in 2012. She came to Auburn University as a transfer student in 1995 and after graduating with her undergraduate degree, she made the Auburn/Opelika area her home. Prior to University Outreach, she has been with Auburn University for 23 years in the Office of Inclusion and Diversity for 18 years and the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction for 5 years. In addition to her job, Dr. Vickers advises three student organizations and occasionally teaches classes at Auburn University. She spends her free time volunteering at her church and in the community as well as spending her time with her partner Jermaine and their son Jaylin.
Joyce Thomas-Vinson earned a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Alabama. She came to Auburn University in 1994 as a Program Developer with the Outreach Program Office. She transferred to the Auburn University Department of Psychology where she served for ten years as the support services coordinator for Project Uplift. Joyce joined the staff of the Office of Public Service in July of 2008. In addition to serving as the Coordinator for the AuburnServes network, she is the advisor for Campus Kitchens at Auburn and Circle K International.
Ralph Foster is AVP Emeritus, having retired in 2020 after more than 31 years in the Outreach division. He continues to contribute to a number of special projects for University Outreach. A third generation alumnus, he has a BS in business administration from Auburn. Foster also received an MS in human resources from Troy University, and has additional study in adult and continuing education at the University of Georgia National Leadership Institute in Adult and Continuing Education. Foster’s professional and civic engagement includes board and committee positions in several state, regional, and national academic and community organizations. He has received a number of awards and recognitions for his civic and professional engagement over the years, including the title of Fellow in the Society for Advancement of Management, the highest professional designation of that international organization. His publications include journal articles and book chapters on ethics, education, management, marketing, and civic engagement.