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. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or (615) 322-3127
Holly Jones, B.A. | Administrative Assistant
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: email@example.com or (615) 343-7878
Erika Larson, M.Ed. | Assistant Director
Erika is a graduate of Vanderbilt’s Peabody College where she earned a M.Ed. in International Education Policy and Management. She has enjoyed learning and serving at OACS in multiple capacities over the years. Prior to Vanderbilt, Erika worked as an Alternative Breaks Coordinator at the Volunteer Resource Center at University of Colorado-Boulder. While studying at CU, Erika cultivated her roots in service while earning a B.A. in Political Science and a certificate in the Study and Practice of Leadership, with an emphasis in Social and Environmental Justice. She was part of the INVST Community Leadership Program, which trained her in grassroots organizing, group facilitation, and strategic communication in the context of social change. Erika looks forward to leveraging her commitment to service-learning and international experience to facilitate critical discussions about alternative approaches to community development, and to design opportunities that encourage students to reflect deeply on their lived experiences and the lived experiences of others.
Contact Erika: firstname.lastname@example.org or (615) 343-2205
Dave Brown, B.A. | Senior Program Coordinator
Dave Brown earned his B.A. in English Literature from the University of California, Davis in 2002 after spending his senior year abroad at the University of Stirling, Scotland. From 2004 to 2006 he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Azerbaijan, working as an ESL teacher in a rural secondary school and acting as a community organizer and partner to multiple international NGOs dealing with refugee affairs from the Nagorno-Karabakh War. He returned to the United States after a three month tour of Southeast Asia and worked for six years as an Enrollment Coordinator with the Big Brothers Big Sisters youth mentoring program in Boston, Massachusetts. Dave moved to Tennessee in 2013 with his wife Anna who received her MFA in Creative Writing from Vanderbilt. They live in West Nashville and enjoy music, travel, baseball, cooking, and the outdoors.
Contact Dave: email@example.com or (615) 875-8360
Lauren Moon, M.A. | Program Coordinator
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or (615) 343-8904
Meagan Smith, M.S. | Program Coordinator
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: email@example.com or (615) 322-7822
Melissa Looby, B.A. | Graduate Assistant
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Melissa is a second-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Education degree in Higher Education Administration at Vanderbilt University. Hailing from Marengo, Illinois, Melissa recently graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida with a B.A. in Music and a double minor in Spanish and Secondary Education. Her passion for working with students to develop their leadership skills through the lens of service has led her to OACS where she is thrilled to be serving alongside the students, faculty and staff of Vanderbilt. Melissa is so excited to create meaningful relationships with the Vanderbilt, Nashville and global communities and continue pursuing active citizenship during her time at OACS. During her free time, you can find Melissa hiking Tennessee’s beautiful trails, reading in her hammock, singing and playing music, going to songwriting rounds, or hanging out at a local coffee shop.
Contact Melissa: firstname.lastname@example.org or (615) 343-7878
We would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions working with our staff:
- 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 email@example.com or stop by Rand 305 to learn more.