TNRPCVs Bios

Shelly Stephenson, Togo, 2006 – 2008
Shelly serving in TogoShelly is a native of Maine and a graduate of the University of New Hampshire. After college, she served as a Business volunteer in Togo, West Africa. She moved to Nashville in 2013 and has volunteered for various non-profits in the city. Shelly is pursuing her Doctorate in Pharmacy at Lipscomb University and hopes to continue helping others through volunteer work in the health care field. In her free time, she enjoys movies, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Elizabeth Ellis, Honduras, 2008 – 2010
Elizabeth served in Minas de Oro, Honduras from 2008-2010 as a Youth Development volunteer. During her service,she worked with a local baseball Elizabeth Bio 2team and promoted literacy and critical thinking through English clubs and story hours at the local library for elementary age youth. She also facilitated classes for young girls ages 12-15 dealing with health education, self-esteem, communication skills,Elizabeth Bio 1 domestic violence, and decision making. Her proudest accomplishment was coordinating, designing and implementing an English as a Second Language program for elementary school teachers in Minas de Oro which empowered teachers to learn English and then teach to their students. Prior to her service, Elizabeth lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee where she attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She currently lives in Nashville and works for the department of Children’s Services.

Dave Keiser, Morocco, 1998-2000 dave@tnrpcv.org
Dave served as a Peace Corps agriculture volunteer in Morocco from 1998-2000.  Dave grew up on a cattle farm in eastern Nebraska where shooting the breeze is taught from birth.  Naturally, he was a great fit for the laid back rural Moroccan culture he was placed in, and fortunately for him, he was in the right place at the right time and was able to supplement a couple of Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture projects.  The first was a tree project that received funding for 4,500 olive and almond saplings that were distributed to 140 farmers.  The second project received funding for bee keeping equipment and training for a local women’s cooperative.  

When he wasn’t out on the arid coastal hills outside Safi, he was in Rabat riding around with Bihi in a tiny truck from souk to souk helping the Peace Corps office during trainings.  During the summer of 1999, he served for 10 weeks as the kitchen coordinator and took care of incoming volunteers and training staff…. He learned how to cook!

He returned to Morocco in 2001 and taught English as a Second Language at the American Language Center (now the Center for Language and Culture) in Marrakech.  He was the board treasurer  from 2003 to 2005 for the High Atlas Foundation that worked with villages in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains.  He was accepted as a Peace Corps Fellow at Western Illinois University in 2004 and graduated with a Masters degree in economics and community development. He worked as an economic developer in Northwestern Illinois until 2007 and currently is a senior research associate with the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.  He served as Co-chair of Peace Corps Connect 2014 in Nashville.

Jennifer Barrie, Belize, 2002 – 2004
Originally from California, Jennifer moved to Nashville in 2005 and worked for nine years to educate students and the community about energy efficiency.  She created and managed the Kilowatt Ours Youth Initiative, a program to teach energy conservation to students and teachers in schools, Jen Bio 1and led and coordinated the Alliance to Save Energy’s PowerSave Schools and Campus programs in the TVA region, helping K-12 schools and college campuses save energy and money.  Previous to making the move to Nashville, Jennifer served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize, Central America, where she lived in a Maya-Mestizo village and worked as an environmental educatorJen Bio 2 and project coordinator. She has also worked as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service in California in Joshua Tree and Yosemite National Parks, and as an environmental educator in outdoor science schools. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and completed a Master of Science degree in Sustainability at Lipscomb University in Nashville in 2011.  She currently analyzes statewide policies for the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

Sheila Denemark Fischer, Jamaica, West Indies, 2004-2006 sheila@tnrpcv.org
Sheila served in Lucea, Jamaica from 2004-2006 as an Environmental volunteer.  During her 27-month service, she worked with the Jamaica 4-H clubs in the work photo of Sheilaparish of Hanover, where she implemented and consulted on environmental projects by developing and conducting educational training programs within 24 rural schools.  She alsLast-days-in-Negril(rev)o established working relationships with key stakeholders in the community to help assist with fundraising initiatives for the Hanover 4-H club. Soon after she arrived on island, she endured hurricane Ivan (a category 5 hurricane). Prior to serving in the Peace Corps, she received her Masters at Webster University in St. Louis, MO.  Currently she works for Nashville Public Television.

Bethany Copeland, Dominican Republic 2012-2014
Bethany graduated from Lipscomb University with a B.A. in Spanish in 2008. She worked at City Year Miami from 2009-2012 and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 2012-2014. While a Peace Corps volunteer Bethany coordinated two national welcome party - my kids were so thrilled that my parents visitedyouth initiatives, a volleyball camp for adolescent girls and a youth empowerment camp for boys, in addition to the various programs she led for 100 youth in her community. Bethany is a fluent Spanish speaker and uses her skills working with Hispanic families as the Operations Manager at Liberty Collegiate Academy in East Nashville. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, biking, hiking, running, playing sports, learning Portuguese, volunteering and spending time with family and friends.

Benjamin Hagler, Tunisia, 1964-1966
Ben Bio 1Benjamin served as a Peace Corps volunteer architect/city planner in Tunis, Tunisia from 1964-1966. His work involved the design of a project for a new Government Center for the capital city as well as Historic Preservation surveys of the Medina [old city]. After returning from the Peace Corps, he worked in Atlanta, GA as an architect andBen Bio 3 interior designer. He was inducted into Leadership Atlanta in 1969. He served as a volunteer at Project Open Hand, an organization devoted to serving meals to people living with AIDS.
Benjamin retired in 2012 and is currently living in Franklin, TN. He is currently serving as a volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee in the Culinary Arts Kitchen as well as other service projects helping the LGBT+ community in the Nashville area.

Lacey Cook, Togo, 2002-2004
maison de la femmeLacey was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She received a B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. After graduating, 330Lacey was invited to join the Peace Corps where she served as a Girls Education volunteer in Togo (Africa). There she worked closely with the local Red Cross chapter raising awareness for education and health issues. Lacey currently works at Humanities Tennessee and is the Director of the TN Young Writers’ Workshop and Co-Director of the Appalachian Young Writers’ Workshop. She also directs youth programs including Letters About Literature, Student Reader Days, and the children’s and young adult programming for the Southern Festival of Books. In 2015, Lacey became a Massage Therapist. She also enjoys reading, learning new languages, and trying new recipes.

Allison Stewart, El Salvador 2004-2007
Allison moved to Nashville in 2013 when she joined HCA as a Sr. Project Manager in the area of Unified Communications. Prior to that, she lived in the Johnson City, TN area near her hometown of Damascus, Virginia. Allison has a MBA and BA in Political Science along with several certifications including her PMP and CCNA. She served in El Salvador from Allison Stewart Bio2004 to 2007 as a Municipal Development Volunteer in Santa Catarina Masahuat, Departamento de Sonsonate, El Salvador and her third year served as a volunteer coordinator for the Municipal Development program in San Salvador. While a PCV, Allison came to love community organizing and managing both small and large projects. One of the larger projects she managed was building two classrooms at the local school, but her favorite activities revolved around youth workshops and interacting with kids the community.

Amanda Frick, Peru 2005-2007
Amanda has roots in the rural farmlands of central Missouri and in the mountains of North Carolina. After earning her undergraduate degree in Political Science at NC State, Amanda served as a A Frick bio picYouth Development volunteer in Celendin, Peru from 2005 to 2007. Her primary projects were supporting the local special needs school and coordinating after school and extracurricular activities for high school students in the town of 20,000, high in the Andes Mountains. Amanda moved to New York City after service where she lived and worked in Brooklyn and completed her MPA at New York University. She relocated to Nashville in 2013. She is a proud East Nashville homeowner and stays busy with her job at Habitat for Humanity, various volunteer activities and exploring Nashville’s cuisine and music scenes. 

Amanda McRoy, Cameroon 2009-2011, Peace Corps Response Zambia 2012

Amanda, a native of North Carolina, obtained her Bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in Vocal Performance.  Following completion of her degree she servedAmanda M bio pic 1 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon, West Africa, from September 2009 to November 2011, serving as a Community Health Volunteer. Amanda worked with a government run hospital in her village, while also spending a lot of time working on secondary projects.

Amanda also served as a Peace Corps Response volunteer in Zambia from January to April of 2012 where she was a part of the Saving Mothers, Giving Life pilot program. She was a liason between numerous NGOs and the communtiies of Zambia to begin searching for solutions to many of the problems that plague the women’s health sector.

Amanda M bio pic 2
Amanda served as the Peace Corps Campus Representative and Recruiter at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville 2012-2015 while pursuing her Master’s in Speech Language Pathology (SLP).  She has since completed this degree and  is using her Masters in SLP to work with the geriatric population at a local Skilled Nursing Facility while pursuing her PhD in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) with hopes or returning to an international platform as she continues in her doctoral program.

 

Melissa Eli, South Africa 2010-2012

Melissa Eli earned a Bachelor’s in International Business from Palm Beach Atlantic University and her Master’s in International Administration and Development from the University of Denver before joining the Peace Corps in South Africa in 2009. In South Africa she worked to develop economic and Melissa Eli Biolivelihood projects based on existing value chains. After the Peace Corps she was a project manager and worked to kick start a five-year asset-based community development project. She also had the opportunity to finalize the establishment of a transitional home for sexuallyMelissa Eli Bio2 abused children. Currently Melissa is a consultant with c3 Consulting where she helps drive and support institutional change. She hopes to return to the international field to promote value chain development in the future. Melissa also works with The Phakamani Foundation, a micro-finance institution in sub-Saharan Africa. Melissa is married to fellow TNRPCVer Derek Eli. They spend most of their time playing with their new daughter Ruby.

2 Comments

  • Gary Morley says:

    I served as a PCV in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) 1963-65 with Carthol Williams, a PCV from Tennessee. Is Carthol a member of TNRPCVS? I’d like to get his mail address.

  • Derek Eli says:

    Hello Gary. I don’t know of a Carthol in our group. I can definitely ask around to some of the others. I bet serving in East Pakistan in ’60s was an awesome experience!

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