Blog interview series: Karla Lopez-Owens

Karla Lopez-OwensKarla Lopez-Owens is a native of Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico. Karla and her family illegally crossed the Mexico-U.S. border in 1999, and lived in the country without a legal status for many years, like the reality of nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants residing in the United States.

Currently, she is finishing up her third and final year at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. She aspires to pursue a career in the public sector as she feels a sense of gratitude to her community in central Indiana who has helped her reach her dreams of becoming an attorney.

She is particularly grateful for her mother, stepfather and mentors such as her law professor, Florence Wagman Roisman, to whom she attributes much of her success.
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Blog interview series: Meredith Davis


Meredith Davis is Director of Guardianship Programs at the Center for At-Risk Elders (CARE). She began her relationship with the Center for At-Risk Elders as a Volunteer Advocate and joined the staff this August.

Meredith graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Georgia and will finish a Master’s degree in Human Services with a concentration in Social Services Administration at the University of Illinois – Springfield in December 2017. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the past five years and is passionate about advocacy and person-centered services. Meredith hopes to grow the guardianship program through recruiting and retaining volunteers who want to protect elders from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

In her free time, Meredith enjoys volunteering in her Near Eastside neighborhood and serving as a member of the executive board of her Daughters of the American Revolution chapter. She is also trying to find time to plan a wedding, organize a UGA alumni group in Indy, study, and say yes to all the interesting projects that she hears other motivated nonprofit professionals talk about.

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Blog interview series: Tristan Schmid

tristan_schmid-rita_kohn-broad_ripple_brewpub.jpgEditor's note: And now for something completely different! Here's someone who works at an organization you might not think of as a nonprofit at first glance. 

Tristan Schmid is Communications Director for the Brewers of Indiana Guild, the nonprofit trade group that represents the Hoosier brewing industry. You can find him on social media @TigerSharkMusic.

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Blog interview series: Elle Roberts


Elle Roberts is a musician and freelance writer based in Indianapolis. She is the founder of shehive, a grassroots gender equity project. To contact her, email




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Blog interview series: Ashlee Wilson Fujawa

2014-06-14_09.36.26.jpgAshlee has been the Director of Public Relations at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful since 2010, setting direction for all things creative in the marketing and communications field. She works closely with the programs staff and the media to highlight the amazing things that KIB is doing all over Indy and beyond. You’ll find her most days toiling away at social media, drafting press releases, organizing events and planning, developing and implementing all of the KIB’s marketing strategies and public relations activities; but if you look closely you might find her in the warehouse or driving a dump truck — all in the name of keeping Indy beautiful.

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Blog interview series: Elizabeth Nelson

12088266_10106309267688839_2786641495162533066_n.jpgElizabeth Nelson is the Director of Public Programs at the Indiana Medical History Museum, formerly the Pathological Department of Indiana’s Central State psychiatric hospital on Indy’s Near West Side. Her passion is making history relevant to current conversations about mental health in our community. At Indiana University, Bloomington, her doctoral dissertation focused on psychiatric innovation in France before World War I. Currently, Elizabeth is learning all she can about deinstitutionalization and the community care (and neglect) of the mentally ill in the US since the 1960s. At the Indiana Medical History Museum, Elizabeth is leading a project called “Voices from Central State,” a series of Fall 2016 programs that spotlight the writings of psychiatric patients in Indiana from the 1880s-1990s.

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Blog interview series: Sean Tierney

ST.JPGSean Tierney is a program officer at Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused solely on increasing Americans’ success in higher education. Prior to coming to Lumina, Sean worked for the Maryland and Tennessee state governments, in their respective higher education commissions. He has a bachelor of arts in economics, creative writing and sociology, and master of public policy in education policy from Vanderbilt University. Sean focuses on college and university finance, looking for ways to make education more affordable and accessible and improving the ways colleges are funded.

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Blog interview series: Sibeko Jywanza

gracemichaelphotography2015-2.jpgSibeko Jywanza was born and raised in Indianapolis. He graduated from a boarding school in Piney Woods, Mississippi, called Piney Woods Country Life School. His next stop was Tallahassee to attend Florida A&M University, where he graduated in 2005 with a B.A in Business Administration. A year later he moved back to Indianapolis, IN in order to reengage with his family and community. He found work with a private practice dental office. He worked there for 8 years, five of those as the financial administrator. Sibeko participated in the Community Leadership Certificate program through the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center (INRC) and was a part of the 2013 class. Through the INRC he found out about Public Allies/AmeriCorps and started his 10 month term with Public Allies in the fall of 2014 serving as a Community Catalyst for Near East Area Renewal; a Near Eastside housing community development corporation. Now Sibeko is a Neighborhood Specialist with INRC.


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Blog interview series: Eduardo Luna

Eduardo_(2).jpgBorn in Mexico, raised in the Midwest, Eduardo is passionate about bringing the two cultures together. He is a founding member of NOPAL Cultural, a Latino-American arts organization, and host of Espanglish Night and Radio Calaca music events. He also manages events and appearances of his friend El Camaron Electronico, a luchador whose mission is to bring culture to the community. He currently serves as a member of the Immigrant and Refugee Service Corps section of Americorps, serving as a Staff Artist at Big Car Collaborative. At Big Car he focuses on community outreach and programming that relates to immigrants in Central Indiana. He has a BA in Media Arts and Science from IUPUI. He loves living on the Near Westside with his wife, Emma.




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Blog Interview Series: Jillian Lain

Jillian Lain

Jillian grew up in Valparaiso and moved to Indianapolis to study at UIndy. After graduation she continued her studies of sociology at DePaul University.

Since her return to Indianapolis, she has focused on giving back to the community by volunteering with local nonprofit organization boards and committees, such as Freewheelin’ Community Bikes, Mighty Lotus, and Partners in Housing.

Her professional focus has been doing community outreach on various social and environmental issue campaigns, with a strong focus on serving youth. She was very excited to teach at her alma mater UIndy this past fall. In her free time, Jillian likes to spend time with her husband, Nick, and two dogs, Penny and Nickel.





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