From the president

Cherin Russell is an English major at The University of Kansas (KU) who plans to earn a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and become a grant writer at a consultancy or environmental nonprofit. Having grown up in what she calls the “nonprofit world,” Cherin brought her strong convictions about working for the good of the community to campus. She understands the real work of leadership and change and seeks to make good on her experience as a ‘disrupter’ of the nonprofit world. She recently joined the volunteer team at a local early childhood education nonprofit to assist with grant writing and environmental concerns. Cherin also serves as a mentor within KU’s Academic Engagement and Retention Center and a tutor for the Academic Learning Center. She has been a community volunteer and advocate in the Lawrence, KS community for more than ten years and currently serves as an advocate at KU for non-traditional students and students with invisible disabilities.

Douglas Girod


University of Kansas


Personal Statement

I grew up in at-risk circumstances so I know first-hand how challenging and unfair life can feel. Whether during moments of homelessness or poverty, the situations I experienced made it easy to lose belief in the possibility of improvement. I was able to overcome many battles by learning how to problem solve with hope and help. In the hardest moments, I stayed positive by helping others. My mom spent 25 years doing nonprofit work, and I grew up volunteering and helping struggling community members. This allowed me to problem solve for others, which I have done in the past as the program director of a nonprofit and do today in my roles as a senior peer mentor and academic tutor. I am also learning to live with my hidden disabilities, and it is powerful to have help and offer it to others. My future involves continued civil engagement by grant writing for social and environmental nonprofits. This will be combined with research on slow violence which focuses on the hidden and invisible sources that developed into difficult issues our society faces today. I hope to help nonprofits address the sources of our problems to decrease the increased demand for help.

Cherin Russell


University of Kansas