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24-Hour Crisis/Support Hotline: (615) 322-SAFE (7233)

About Us

The mission of the Project Safe Center is to provide information, support, referrals, and education about sexual and intimate partner violence (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking), as well as consent, healthy relationships, and healthy sexuality to the Vanderbilt University community. Project Safe serves as a central resource for those impacted by sexual and intimate partner violence and can assist with navigating the University’s resource and support network (including the University Counseling Center, Student Health, the Title IX and Student Discrimination Office, Equal Employment Opportunity, the Employee Assistance Program, and the Vanderbilt University Police Department), as well as external support and law enforcement resources.

In 2017, Vanderbilt University was recognized by the Campus Prevention Network with its Prevention Excellence Award, in recognition for Vanderbilt’s demonstrated commitment to the highest standards in sexual assault prevention. In 2019, and for a third time, Project Safe has been named Campus Partner of the Year by Housing & Residential Education! The award recipient is selected by student Residential Education staff.

Our staff include:

Cara Tuttle Bell, JD, MA

Cara Tuttle Bell has served as Director of the Project Safe Center since its founding in 2014. Cara previously served as the Associate Director for Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity at Vanderbilt University and as Director of Programs for the Women’s Center at Northwestern University. Cara holds a JD from Vanderbilt University Law School, Master of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville, and her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Ball State University, where she graduated summa cum laude. Cara was selected as the 2015 recipient of the Mary Jane Werthan Award, which is presented to a member of the Vanderbilt community who has contributed to the advancement of women at Vanderbilt on a systemic level. The award is named in honor of Mary Jane Werthan, the first woman member of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. In 2016, Cara received the K.C. Potter Outstanding Service to Students Award from the Vanderbilt University Office of the Dean of Students. In 2017, Cara was nominated to participate in Vanderbilt Leadership Academy, a nine-month learning journey for high-performing leaders from academic and administrative areas at both Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Cara serves as a Senior Lecturer in the College of Arts and Science within the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, for which she teaches the Seminar on Gender and Violence. Cara provides institutional advocacy on aspects of University response systems and processes involving sexual violence and represents Project Safe on various University task forces and committees, including the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault and the Officer Education Sexual Assault Prevention Committee. Cara also serves as co-chair of the University’s Staff WAVE Council.

Otis McGresham, M.Ed.
Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist

McGresham_Otis- HeadshotOtis holds a Master of Higher Education Administration degree from Texas A&M University and a BA in Organizational Communication from Western Michigan University. Along with his passion for serving students, he brings a variety of professional experiences covering multiple functional areas of student affairs. Advocacy and education have been a consistent part of Otis’ student affairs career. Previously, Otis has served as the Assistant Director for Interpersonal Violence Services and Advocacy and the Rape Prevention Education Coordinator in the NC State University Women’s Center, and Coordinator of Student Assistance Services and Hall Director at Texas A&M University. Otis’ focus is on creating and maintaining educationally purposeful environments where all students feel safe, empowered, and encouraged to participate fully and authentically in the university experience. Otis is the primary coordinator of Project Safe’s bystander intervention and healthy masculinity programming.  He is currently pursuing his Ed.D.

Lucine Markarian, BA
Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist

Lucine joined the staff of the Project Safe Center in April 2019.  Lucine previously served as a crisis hotline and resident victim advocate with Turning Point, Inc., in Mount Clemens, Michigan, where she served persons and families impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice, with minors in sociology and women’s and gender studies from Michigan State University, where she lead the Anti-Human Trafficking Club.  Lucine also previously provided hotline and direct crisis intervention response with DC Safe in Washington, D.C.  Lucine is the primary coordinator for Project Safe’s healthy relationships and dating violence prevention programs.

Olivia Darrow, MSW
Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist

Olivia joined Project Safe Center in September 2020. Prior to joining the team at Vanderbilt, she worked as a Victim Advocate & MAP Volunteer Coordinator at the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville. There she supported those affected by sexual violence with medical accompaniment, navigating the criminal justice system, and assistance accessing needed resources. As an advocate on the Gender, Romantic, and Sexual Minorities outreach team, Olivia worked to make services more accessible and affirming for individuals of all identities. She also served as the volunteer supervisor and training facilitator for the Sexual Assault Center’s Medical Accompaniment Program. Previously, Olivia provided court advocacy and assistance obtaining protective orders for those affected by domestic violence at the Jean Crowe Advocacy Center. Olivia holds a Master of Social Work degree with a focus on Organizational Leadership from the University of Tennessee.

Heidi Welch, BFA, MLIS
Administrative Assistant II

Heidi joined the staff of the Project Safe Center in August after working at the Vanderbilt Department of History for fourteen years. Prior to working at Vanderbilt, she taught art at The Ensworth School for eight years. Heidi holds a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts after attending the Pratt Art Institute, in Brooklyn, NY, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She also holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN. She loves both creativity and organization. Heidi channels her creative energy to cooking and organic gardening and loves to walk Radnor Lake on the weekends.



Contact Us:


Office Phone:  (615) 875-0660

24-Hour Crisis Hotline:  (615) 322-SAFE (7233)

Location:  2304H Vanderbilt Place (West Side Row Cumberland House), Nashville, TN 37235