Fellows Scholarship Recipients

Capella University Fellows

One degree of change can make all the difference in the world.

Capella University seeks to provide the most direct path between learning and employment. But we don’t want to stop there: we believe in giving back by changing lives where we work and live.

The Capella University Fellows Program is our investment in helping to build the talent and leadership skills required to mitigate social and economic inequities. Employees from select Fellow corporate partners and community organizations are chosen to participate in the program annually.

October 2021 Fellows recipients

Angela Adams, MSN in Leadership & Administration

Thompson Child & Family Focus, Registered Nurse
Charlotte, North Carolina

Angela’s goal is to support healthcare providers in understanding the damaging effects that adverse childhood experiences have on a child’s physical and mental health. With this awareness, healthcare providers will be better equipped to provide trauma-informed care to this vulnerable population. She hopes to create a positive cultural shift that meets the unique needs of children who have faced adversity.

Michelle Bilski, Master of Social Work

Catch, Adult Blended Case Manager
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

By earning a master’s degree, Michelle plans to continue to build bonds and relationships with the participants she works with. Michelle wants to take the knowledge that she gains from her master program experience by educating her employees and raising mental health awareness.

Wendy Castilla, MS in Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis

Atlanta Community Food Bank, Benefits Coordinator
Atlanta, Georgia 

Wendy’s primary goal and mission is to do her small part in the restoration of human dignity that is so often a casualty of poverty. Through working with individuals in correctional facilities, transition services and advocacy and resource centers, Wendy will serve adults who have cycled through the judicial system and face challenges where education and behavior modification can positively impact their lives in a way that supports the beloved community. 

Erin Chambers, Master of Social Work

Avivo, Re-Entry Program Supervisor
Twin Cities, Minnesota 

Erin hopes to utilize this degree to strengthen the Twin Cities community through organization development, service collaboration between social services and the criminal justice system, and to advocate for policy that focuses on evidence-based practices in terms of holistic and harm reduction approaches.

Shawna Cook, MS in Marriage & Family Therapy

Thompson Child & Family Focus, Intensive In Home Specialist
Charlotte, North Carolina 

Shawna believes that the healing of one person has the power to heal many. With a focus on marriage and family therapy she will work with people to create mentally, spiritually, physically and relationally healthy lives. Shawna’s desire is to build and strengthen communities starting with families. 

Kristen Elliott, Master of Public Health

Atlanta Community Food Bank, Nutrition Specialist
Atlanta, Georgia

With a Master's in Public Health, Kristen will gain the skills to develop and manage client-focused and trauma-informed community programs. She is very interested in how the beliefs, biases and socioeconomic backgrounds of programming staff (and the leaders who hire them) influences how a program is received by the community.  Are we helping or are we furthering sanctuary trauma?

Matthew Fagan, MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Thompson Child & Family Focus, Admissions Coordinator
Charlotte, North Carolina 

Matt seeks to now give the treatment that he has helped so many obtain over the last few years. By completing a master’s in clinical mental health counseling, he wants to lead the charge to decrease stigma for men seeking mental health treatment.

Brandy Fountain, Doctor of Human Services 

People Incorporated, School Linked Therapist
Twin Cities, Minnesota

Project Summary: Growing up, I felt I could do more in this life. I had this urge a desire to help people in need. I am currently working with FEMA and Samhsa for crisis counseling, and I currently work in inner-city communities that are invisible to some. I love my work, and I love helping people on their healing journeys. I Believe life is too short, and while we are here, let’s rock out and value, love, and respect each other. 

Brandy Green, MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Lutheran Social Service of MN, In Home Parenting Partner
Twin Cities, Minnesota

Growing up, Brandy felt she could do more in this life. She had this urge a desire to help people in need. Brandy is currently working with FEMA and Samhsa for crisis counseling, and currently works in inner-city communities that are invisible to some. She loves her work, and loves helping people on their healing journeys. Brandy believes that life is too short, and while we are here, let’s rock out and value, love, and respect each other. 

Zach Hubinger, Master of Social Work 

People Incorporated, Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor
Twin Cities, Minnesota

Zach hopes to bridge the gap in communication and rapport between providers and the people they serve, particularly at the intersection of mental health, chemical health, and homelessness. He is passionate about prioritizing client needs and advocating for person-centered care, and challenging barriers that prevent people from receiving care and services.

Guesthia Jacques, Master of Business Administration 

Catch, Associate Director
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Guesthia believes that everyone deserves to see themselves in positions of power. When people see others that look like them executing their agency, it empowers them to do the same. Guesthia hopes to help increase the visibility of Black women in executive leadership roles.

Abdirizak Jama, Master of Business Administration

African Development Center, Officer/Business Advisor
Twin Cities, Minnesota

Abdirizak wants to pursue his MBA with Capella because he wants to develop his leadership skills, and he wants to become a better business strategist. Abdirizak hopes to transform and bring new opportunities to economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Ashley Jimenez, Doctor of Social Work 

Urban Affairs Coalition, Director of Case Management
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ashley has a strong passion for advocacy and has prioritized issues of justice. In receiving her Doctorate, she seeks to identify and address disparities within social systems that negatively affect Black people and the most vulnerable with the goal of creating and implementing more just systems.

Matthew Johnson, Master of Social Work 

Rainbow Health, Case Management Supervisor
Twin Cities, Minnesota

Matt’s goal is to have greater impact in communities that are disproportionately affected by HIV. He hopes to address trauma that can lead to barriers in maintaining health such as issues related to chemical health and homelessness. This would then lead to further reducing transmission of HIV in the community.

Idris Mohamed, Doctor of Business Administration 

African Economic Development Solutions, Director of Business Development, Housing & Workforce
Twin Cities, Minnesota

Idris’ dissertation focuses on Islamic Finance with Islamic accounting procedures that would contribute to shrink economic disparities.

Erin Morris, Doctor of Human Services

Thompson Child & Family Focus, Acquisition Director
Charlotte, North Carolina 

Erin seeks to advance her leadership skills and expand her strategic and innovative thinking skills through her work in the Doctor of Human Services program.  Her goal is to implement equitable and inclusive practices and services within her agency and other partner agencies in the community.  Erin serves on the Equity and Inclusion Committee as part of the Continuum of Care for Charlotte-Mecklenburg.   The goal of this group is to assess whether policies and resource allocation decisions are positively impacting inequities among homeless individuals and families in the community.  She wants to be part of the solution to address these inequities that currently exist in the system.

Amanda Moua, Doctor of Business Administration 

Page Education Foundation, Executive Director
Twin Cities, Minnesota

Amanda’s project aims to explore the philanthropic behavior of Millennials of color and examine giving patterns of communities of color, from past to present, in order to establish sustainable financial giving directly from communities that are most affected by the racial education and opportunity gap in Minnesota.  Amanda also aims to help non-profit organizations refine their social impact data to ensure their longevity and ability to continue serving those who need their services most.

Chukwunonso Obijiofor, Doctor of Nursing Practice

AID Atlanta, Practitioner/Medical Provider
Atlanta, Georgia 

Project Summary: The DNP degree will provide ways of continuing to assist economically disadvantaged population through providing free treatments and reduce the burden of healthcare accessibility.  It will also help acquire/improve skills needed for the ever-evolving health demands in the vulnerable population.

Lauren Pavlacka, Master of Social Work 

Thompson Child & Family Focus, Floor Supervisor
Charlotte, North Carolina 

As Lauren currently works in a treatment facility designed for sex trafficking survivors and at-risk teenage girls, her goals and passion lie with her desire to gain the tools and insight needed to cultivate change within treatment programs that serve vulnerable populations. Obtaining her master’s in social work will help her apply specific knowledge about social systems and trauma-informed care to her work.

Jaime Stampley, MS in Human Services 

Lutheran Social Service of MN, Director of Housing Services
Twin Cities, Minnesota

Jaime’s project addresses the disparity in access to housing especially for people of color. Her goal is to work to transform systems and improve outcomes for homeless youth, families and communities of color through education, which will lead to economic growth and vitality. She will combine the work of community organizing and advocacy to facilitate community-centered solutions that reflect the interests of homeless families, communities of color, marginalized communities, and those living in poverty.

MayPa Yang, Master of Business Administration 

Northside Economic Opportunity Network, Associate Business Advisor
Twin Cities, Minnesota

As a first-generation college graduate, MayPa’s goal is to create opportunities she never had for her clients and community. With an MBA from Capella University, she aims to create comprehensive programming, tools and resources to empower clients to dismantle economic barriers and establish opportunities for business ownership, property obtainment, and generational wealth.

January 2021 Fellows recipients

Marina Brady, Master of Health Care Management 

Sydney Velez, Master of Public Administration

Wanda Vue, MS in Clinical Psychology

Aubrey Fredrickson, Master of Social Work

Barbara Chromy, Master of Social Work

Maihlee Lee, Master of Social Work

Elizabeth Knight, MS in Human Resource Management

January 2020 Fellows recipients

Stacy Heltemes, MS in Human Resource Management Program

Heather Kamia, Master of Social Work Program

Shanika Lambert, Master of Social Work Program

Maria Mills, Master of Social Work Program

Mai Yang, Master of Social Work Program

Anisha Murphy, MBA Program

January 2019 Fellows recipients

Ayan Abdinur (MBA)

Maria Ayala Ramirez (MBA)

Kendall Benson (Master of Social Work)

Jennifer Christianson (MS in Education)

Rebecca Lopez (MS in Human Services)

Ben Phillip (MS in Higher Education)

Nou Vang (Master of Social Work)

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