Executive Director: Brett Morash, Ph.D.

“Having devoted my life to helping people rise above adversity and working in and around higher education the mission simply called to me. I can think of no other organization that bridges academic excellence and rigor with experiential learning to prepare the next generation of leaders in the poverty space than SHECP,” says Morash, whom assumes his new duties 15 January.

Dr. Morash is the Executive Director of the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP).  He is also a retired U.S. Naval Officer having served at sea and on land around the globe. At the Consortium, he leads a small team of professionals focused on offering innovative courses in poverty studies coupled with experiential internships in poverty-focused agencies throughout the United States in order to educate students for a lifetime of professional and civic work diminishing poverty.

Immediately, prior to joining SHECP he was the Director of Operations and Finance at the New York City based Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF), dedicated to ensuring injured veterans and their families are thriving long after they return home by finding and funding innovative programs in communities where veterans, their families and caregivers live and work. Prior to BWF and after his retirement from the Naval Service Brett became the Vice President of Veterans Services at Services for the UnderServed, a New York City based non-profit. His team was focused on the needs of veterans living in poverty, with a focus on employment, homelessness, mental and physical health.  He has also been an adjunct professor at Norwich University since 2012, where he teaches courses on Comparative Religion and Cultural Competency within the Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis program.

Prior to retirement from the Navy he was on the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College, where he taught Operational Planning focused on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response. During this tour, he was sent to lead the Operational Planning Team for the Navy’s medical response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Prior to this tour he served on five different ships including two cruisers and a destroyer, as well as the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, where he led the efforts for the U.S. military efforts toward humanitarian assistance in the region as the Theater Security Cooperation Branch Chief.

Dr. Morash is a 2015 graduate of the Salve Regina University where he earned his Ph.D. in the Humanities, with his dissertation entitled “The Rise and Fall of the Union of Islamic Courts.”  Additionally, he holds Masters Degrees from the U.S. Naval War College, and Framingham State University, and a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. While at the U.S. Naval War College he was selected to serve concurrently as an Associate Fellow on the CNO Strategic Studies Group, and as a Fellow on Halsey Group (Alpha). During his time at Halsey Group he developed the “Naval Obscurants” concept for which, he was awarded the 2006 William Middendorf II Award for Student Research.

His military decorations and awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, three Naval Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals, and various unit and service awards. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NYC Veterans Alliance a New York City based non-profit that helps veterans in pursuing political activism.  He lives in New Rochelle New York, with his wife and two children.

Academic Director: Stephanie Rolph

Stephanie Rolph is Associate Professor of History at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. A native of Mississippi, Stephanie received her PhD from Mississippi State in 2009. In addition to her work with SHECP, she also serves as Director of Community Engaged Learning at Millsaps and offers college classes to women at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. Stephanie is an active scholar of the post-1945 American South. Her publications have appeared in The Right Side of the Sixties and the Journal of Southern History. Her first book, Resisting Equality: The Citizens’ Council, 1954-1989 will be available June 2018 from Louisiana State University Press. rolphsc@shepherdconsortium.org

Internship Director: Amy K. DeHart

Prior to joining SHECP in October 2014, Amy was Assistant Director for Conferences, Programs, and Marketing for the Virginia Military Institute Center for Leadership and Ethics from 2009 – 2014. This position capped her 15 year association with conference and program development for the Institute.  She earned her B.A. from Earlham College, and has worked for many years in program development, communications and organizing. dehartak@shepherdconsortium.org

Alana AbbotDirector of Development: Alana Abbott

Alana Abbott has over 25 years of experience in strategic development largely within the not-for- profit sector. Prior to joining SHECP in September of 2016, Alana worked in management consultancy for Plaid, LLC.  There she helped institutions of higher education and not-for-profits better achieve their missions through re-organizing their strengths and mitigating their weaknesses.  A native of Canada, Alana’s formal education is in the fields of economics, anthropology and law in both Canada and England. Her background has prepared her for a career helping to shape and develop not for profits, charities and government agencies. alana.abbott@shepherdconsortium.org

Communications Director: Sam Kille

Sam Kille brings more than two decades of nonprofit communications and leadership experience to his role as Communications Director. He has secured coverage in print and broadcast outlets around the world, and has appeared on several national programs, including CNN American Morning, Wake Up With Al, MSNBC Live, FOX News Live, Katie CouricCBS Early Show, Celebrity Apprentice, Anderson Cooper Live, and Wall Street Journal Live. Before joining SHECP, Sam was the communications manager for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, a grant-making organization that supports post-9/11 impacted veterans. Prior positions have included public affairs officer for Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster relief organization, and regional communications director for the American Red Cross in Greater New York. He began his professional career as an award-winning military journalist and public affairs specialist in the U.S. Marine Corps. sam.kille@shepherdconsortium.org

Work-study Students

Balen Essak

Balen Essak is currently a junior at W&L who is planning on majoring in economics and minoring in Poverty and Human Capability studies. He competes on the school mock trial team and like playing racquetball and running to stay in shape. As well as that, Balen serves on the W&L Hillel Board as the Speaker’s Chair. After school, Balen plans on attending law school and eventually becoming a public defender. Balen was a Shepherd Intern in the summer of 2017 placed at the Washington, D.C., Public Defender Service.

Alex Woodward

Alex Woodward is a sophomore at W&L who plans on majoring in Global Politics and minoring in Poverty and Human Capabilities. She enjoys church and spending time with friends and family. Alex is also an avid fan of The Bachelor. In the future Alex plans on attending law school to become a human rights lawyer. She is looking forward to many more years working for SHECP.

Laura Calhoun

Laura Calhoun is a junior at W&L who is planning to major in Strategic Communications and minor in Poverty and Human Capability Studies. She is the founder and president of W&L’s Rotaract Club, and enjoys taking pictures in her free time. Laura plans to attend law school after receiving her undergraduate degree and hopes to work for a nonprofit someday.

Philemon Kinoti

Philemon Kinoti  is a junior international student from Nairobi, Kenya, majoring in Global Politics and minoring in Education Policy. He enjoys hanging out with friends, writing and playing pool. Besides SHECP, Philemon is a member of the Washingtonian Society and African Society. He has previously worked for the LGBTQ Resource Center and the Office of Student Affairs at Washington and Lee University. Philemon plans on pursuing a career in International Law.