We are working with a terrific group of community advisors to develop our public programs for family, youth, and adult audiences. Learn more about them below.
Ailen Arreaza is Executive Director of ParentsTogether, a national nonprofit parents organization that channels the love parents have for their children into a powerful force for advocacy and political change. In her spare time, she likes to run, host dinner parties, see live music, and write poetry (in English and Spanish). An avid reader and lover of libraries, she serves on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Board of Trustees. Ailen lives in Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood with her husband, two sons, and her mom. She is a native of Havana, Cuba.
Shannon Bauerle is an instructor in Women’s and Gender Studies at UNC Charlotte and the Director of Project Enough, an organization that creates educational opportunities and theatrical productions that center the stories of marginalized communities while raising funds for those in need. She currently volunteers as the Executive Director of the reproductive justice non-profit organization Charlotte for Choice.
Lariza Garzon is the Director of NC and Midsouth Operations at Hispanic Federation (HF). Lariza was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, and has worked for 15 years with immigrant families and agricultural workers in the U.S. and Mexico. Lariza joined HF in March 2022 and is happy to lead the organization’s efforts to strengthen and support Latino organizations in North Carolina.
Angelique Gaines is a Research Associate at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. In this role, she conducts various research and evaluation projects in the Charlotte region. Her work at the Institute has focused on social well-being, economic opportunity, education, civic engagement, and housing.
Ashton Glenn works at Harding University High School in Charlotte as the MeckEd Career Pathways Advisor and is a committed youth advocate. Ashton is a North Carolina native from Raleigh and has served as an advocate for youth in the region for over a decade as an educator, coach, and mentor in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Gaston County school systems. He enjoys working with students, helping them to see their full potential, and connecting with others who share the same passion. Ashton enjoys playing and watching sports, traveling, cooking, and spending time with his family. He proudly supports the mission of empowering today’s youth and continuously strives for equity and equality for all people in whatever role he takes on.
De’Wana Kerney is the Director of International Programs at Central Piedmont. As the director, De’Wana overseas the International Admissions and programming for F-1 Visa students. Her introduction to higher education was by way of International Education in Portland, Oregon in 2009. Since then, she has served in various capacities in higher education to support students with various backgrounds, socioeconomic status, educational levels, ages, ableism, and gender expressions. In her current role, she enjoys collaborating with various college stakeholders to help foster international exchange experiences, co advising the Global Student Association, and advocating to bring awareness of the international student population’s needs and challenges. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling internationally to learn about other countries and cultures.