Office of Active Citizenship and Service

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Meet the Staff

Clive Mentzel, PhD | Director

Pronouns: he, him, his

Raised in South Africa, Clive comes to Vanderbilt University from London and joined the Office of Active Citizenship & Service as Director in July, 2012. A specialist on the transition to democracy in South Africa, has a PhD in Political Science from Johannesburg University and has a special interest in emerging democratic governments and political processes aimed at securing increased political participation and accountability, especially at the local level. Clive also worked in London for a decade, playing a leading role in the development and implementation of a nationally mandated accountability process that holds elected representatives accountable to their constituents. Prior to that, Clive worked as an adviser to some of the participants in the South African negotiation process in the nineties that led to a peaceful transition to democracy in that country, and prior to the first democratic elections initially worked in support of the multi-party negotiation process and then subsequently worked in the Independent Electoral Commission as National Director of Voter Education. Following this he participated in post-apartheid institution-building including the construction of a state government and subsequently, as Chief Executive of a political party. At present Clive teaches a class on the transition to democracy in South Africa with an emphasis on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the spring, a class on theory and practice of Conflict Resolution and dealing with deep rooted conflict in the fall, in the Political Science Department. Also affiliated with the Center for Medicine, Health and Society, he co-teaches a class on local perspectives on wellness in refugee and immigrant communities. Clive co-teaches an elective course with the School of Nursing designed for students interested in exploring the intersections between primary care, climate change (according to WHO, currently the greatest threat to global health), health, social justice and policy. He is also proud to be the adviser of the Vanderbilt International Relations Association, the African Students Union and One, and serves regularly as VuCeptor.

Contact Clive: clive.mentzel@vanderbilt.edu or (615) 322-3127

Holly Jones, B.A. | Administrative Assistant

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Holly Jones earned her Bachelor’s in Human Services from Lindsey Wilson College. Holly performs all administrative duties for OACS and she is the primary person for the vehicle loan program, reserving P-cards, and room reservations. Holly has had the opportunity to intern and volunteer with many non-profit organizations and some of her volunteer work includes: working with children in a after school program at Gallatin Shalom Zone, help raise funds for Potter’s Children Home in Bowling Green Kentucky, and volunteering at a day camp in Gallatin Tennessee. During Holly’s spare time she enjoys gardening and boating with her husband.

Contact Holly: holly.j.jones@vanderbilt.edu or (615) 343-7878

Meagan Smith, M.S. | Assistant Director

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Meagan Smith received her Master of Science degree in College Counseling and Student Development at Azusa Pacific University, where she focused her graduate studies on the development and impact of academic service-learning. Meagan joined the OACS team in 2015 after serving as the Associate Director for Service-Learning and Communications at East Carolina University, where she worked closely with faculty and community partners to integrate service engagement with academic coursework. She was also responsible for managing voter engagement initiatives, program assessment, the university’s web-based service involvement tracking platform, the service-learning faculty fellows program development, and student supervision and advisement. Meagan also has experience in residence life as a hall director, and with international service after spending four months living, serving and learning with a community in northeast India. Meagan is passionate about inspiring students to become active members of their communities who are committed to creating a more just society. She also loves a good hike at Radnor Lake, Live on the Green concerts, spending time with her family, and anything by Brene Brown.

Contact Meagan: meagan.smith@vanderbilt.edu or (615) 322-7822

Vacant | Senior Program Coordinator

 

Lauren Moon, M.A. | Program Coordinator

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Lauren joins OACS following work with the IDEX Fellowship in Social Enterprise in Hyderabad, India where she designed sustainable programs for institutions in the Affordable Private School sector and developed a curriculum to address gender inequalities in education. Prior to India, Lauren worked and studied at Columbia University, earning her M.A. in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Teacher’s College. As an undergraduate at Furman University, she earned her B.A. in Communication Studies with a focus in rhetoric. Through a variety of domestic and international work with NGOs and for-profit social ventures, Lauren studied the importance of humility and respect for culture and community when serving others. At OACS, Lauren seeks to spark a curiosity within and among students, such that they critically question and explore the nuances of service while learning and affecting social change in their broader world.

Contact Lauren: lauren.moon@vanderbilt.edu or (615) 343-8904

Melissa Looby, M.Ed. | Program Coordinator

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Melissa Looby earned her Masters of Education at the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in Higher Education Administration – Student Affairs. Melissa joined the OACS team in 2017 after serving as the Graduate Assistant since 2015. Melissa came to Vanderbilt following the pursuit of her B.A. in Music, Spanish, and Secondary Education from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. By combining each of these areas of study, Melissa found her passion for working with diverse populations. Through these experiences, Melissa gained experience in both domestic and international community development and non-profit consulting, specifically interested in Spanish-speaking countries. In her work through OACS and guided by critical service-learning theory, Melissa seeks to challenge students to think critically about their role in sustainable community engagement work, make critical connections between social injustices locally and globally, and develop leadership skills that enable students to be active citizens in their own communities. In her free time, Melissa enjoys volunteering as a refugee youth mentor and tnAchieves college access mentor, backpacking, attending sporting events, dog-sitting, and exploring Nashville.

Contact Melissa: melissa.v.looby@vanderbilt.edu or (615) 343-4856

Tiffany Vazquez | Graduate Assistant

Tiffany Vazquez is currently pursuing her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration at Peabody College. Tiffany received her B.A. in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014. During her undergraduate career, she volunteered with Schools of Hope and The Urban League of Greater Madison. From 2014-2015 she served as an AmeriCorps member with Public Allies Chicago; her AmeriCorps placement was as an Enrichment Program Coordinator in a Chicagoland charter school. From 2015-2017 she worked as a Language and Culture Assistant in Madrid, Spain. At OACS, Tiffany works with the South Africa service-learning program. Additionally, she advises student service organizations and collaborates with OACS staff on campus wide strategic planning initiatives. At Vanderbilt, she is a member of First Friends with International Student & Scholar Services.

 

Layla Shamohammadi | OACS Student Worker

Layla is a junior from Pueblo, Colorado, studying HOD and Spanish. She is the musical director of Vanderbilt Variations, a worship and bible-study leader in the Nashville Navigators, a member of the Mayfield living and learning community, and previous ASB participant in Austin, TX and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The summer after her freshman year, she was a member of the Global OACS South Africa cohort. Since then, she has been an enthusiastic proponent of the OACS office and was hired as a student worker in the 2017 spring semester. During her time in OACS, Layla has helped in the development of the marketing proposal for Local OACS/Dive and other publicity materials for office events. Her service involvement in the greater Nashville community includes internships with World Relief Nashville, where she worked with refugee populations from Myanmar and Iraq, and The Contributor, where she learned about homeless advocacy through weekly interviews with vendors. Layla loves working at OACS because of the community, encouraging atmosphere, and awareness it brings her.

Mary Sellers Shaw | Graduate Student Worker

Mary Sellers Shaw is pursuing her Masters of Divinity at Vanderbilt University. Mary Sellers is originally from Birmingham, Alabama, and she earned B.A.s in Communication Studies and in Civic Engagement from the University of Alabama in May 2014. After graduating, Mary Sellers worked at Nashville’s Room in the Inn through the PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer program, where she helped coordinate their workforce development efforts. As a graduate student worker at OACS, Mary Sellers works with alumni outreach and the Local OACS DIVE program.

 

  Contributors

We would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions working with our staff:

  • Layla Shahmohammadi | Student Worker
  • Izabela Tyszka | Student Worker
  • Melissa Looby | Graduate Assistant
  • Michael Johnston | Site Leader
  • Katherine Burkett | Site Leader
  • Toni Viola | Site Leader
  • Janessa Dunn | Graduate Assistant
  • Catherine Kelly | Graduate Student Worker
  • Alyson Farzad | Practicum Student
  • Hamp Price | Practicum Student
  • Paco Payne | Practicum Student
  • Rui Wang | Student Worker
  • Noemi Monnerville | Student Worker
  • Devon Reese | Student Worker
  • Jonathan Davis | Graduate Assistant
  • Amy Bugno | Graduate Assistant
  • Joi Hayes | Practicum Student
  • Kiersten Chresfield | Site Leader
  • Amanda Blewitt | Site Leader
  • Hemant Nelaparthi | Site Leader

OACS runs on the passion of individuals from various fields, disciplines, and years at Vanderbilt. A number of undergraduate and graduate students have contributed or are contributing to our work and have made a significant impact. Should you be interested in supporting some aspect of our work through a practicum, internship, or volunteer position, we would be happy to speak with you. Please contact oacs@vanderbilt.edu or stop by Rand 305 to learn more.


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Active Citizenship & Service
PMB 356308
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235
(p): 615-343-7878

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