LGBTQ Alumni Association - A Chapter of The University of Alabama Alumni Association

Welcome

Greetings Fellow Alumni, Family, and Friends,

We are thrilled to launch the UA LGBTQ Alumni Association with each and every LGBTQ+ voice within the UA family. Our mission is to:

  • Strengthen the entire University of Alabama community by elevating the voices of LGBTQ+ persons and their allies,
  • Foster community among LGBTQ+ persons affiliated with The University of Alabama and their allies,
  • Develop financial and professional resources for LGBTQ+ students and young professionals affiliated with The University of Alabama,
  • Ensure that adequate services are provided to LGBTQ+ students so that they can be healthy, happy, and can pursue success on campus and beyond.

During the first two years of the LGBTQ Alumni Association, we hope to unite and engage the influential network of UA LGBTQ+ alumni in order to achieve our goals. We encourage you to become a member, get involved, sign up for our newsletter, and help strengthen our UA community and our LGBTQ+ family.

Best,

Chase Sanders (‘13) and Will Thomas (‘10)
Co-Founders

 

Events

We have tons of great events around the country – wherever our alumni are! Check on our Facebook page for up-to-date information.

If you would like to hold an event in your area, please message us on Facebook or reach out to us at ualgbtqalumniassociation@gmail.com.

In the past, we have had events that have been co-sponsored by Druid City Pride and at venues like Icon in Tuscaloosa, Pitchers in Washington, D.C., and many others. If you would like to co-sponsor one of our events, we would love to hear from you!

Membership

Individual Membership dues are $25 per individual (plus fees) and provides membership from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019.

The Founding Membership, available until December 2018,  option includes 2018-2019 individual membership, as well as a $25 donation to be split between UA Safe Zone and a scholarship endowment, $50 total plus fees. Founding Members will receive recognition and a certificate of appreciation from the LGBTQ Alumni Association and the National Alumni Association.

Membership is open to all University of Alabama alumni, friends, and parents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, or anyone who consider themselves to be an ally in good faith.

Sign up and pay your membership dues here: http://www.rollpride.org

If you have any questions regarding membership, please reach out to us at ualgbtqalumniassociation@gmail.com.

Resources

UA Safe Zone

The UA Safe Zone Resource Center provides educational outreach, community support, and crisis intervention resources for LGBTQIA+ members of the University of Alabama community and their allies. The SZRC offers help connecting people at UA to LGBTQIA+ inclusive resources, provides training on LGBTQIA+ topics for UA students, faculty, and staff, facilitates LGBTQIA+ community building programs on campus, and works with the Safe Zone advisory board to advocate LGBTQIA+ interests at UA.

Capstone Alliance 

Capstone Alliance is the campus organization for LGBTQA+ faculty, staff, and graduate students and their allies.

Spectrum

The purpose of Spectrum is to provide a supportive community environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, asexual, and queer, (etc.) students and their allies at the University of Alabama, while working for greater understanding and education within the University and its surrounding communities about LGBTQ+ individuals and the discrimination that exists against them.

GRADient

Gradient is a Graduate Student organization for LGBTQIA+ people and their allies. Our mission is to provide community support and advocacy for LGBTQIA+ identified graduate students.

Officers

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Will Thomas – President

pronouns: he/him/his

Will Thomas currently lives in Washington, D.C., where he is pursuing a Masters of Public Health from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. He also works there in the Department of Health Policy on issues such as Medicaid, HIV/AIDS, and primary health and prevention. Additionally, he consults on issues related to the Farm Bill, seniors’ issues, and LGBTQ food insecurity and nutrition. Prior to pursuing his MPH full time, Will worked in nutrition and aging policy with organizations such as Meals on Wheels America, AARP Foundation, and Hunger Free America, where he worked on protecting protect safety net programs, including efforts that restored $46 million in sequestration funding to Older Americans Act nutrition programs in 2013, and the most comprehensive overhaul of AARP’s nutrition policy positions in a decade.

Prior to moving to Washington, Will completed a Masters of Science in Agricultural Economics at Auburn University in 2013, and a Bachelor of Science in Commerce and Business Administration at The University of Alabama in 2010. While at UA in 2009, he was awarded the William P. Bloom Award, a Premier Award given annually to a junior who has worked to improve relations between different groups for his work with the Alabama International Relations Club and SGA, and was a member of the Anderson Society. He is originally from Madison, Alabama.


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Chase Sanders – President Elect/Vice President

pronouns: he/him/his

Chase Sanders brings a diverse experience in the advocacy and nonprofit space to the UA LGBTQ Alumni Association leadership team. In his professional career, he is committed to enhancing and driving brand experience and programmatic strategies within the nonprofit space. As Events Manager for Leadership Greater Washington, he facilitates the management of the various leadership programs and events that engage the organization’s community impact. Prior to joining LGW in 2017, Chase produced events for the NGLCC- America’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce. From innovative programming to inspiring gala dinners, he enjoys challenging his events skills and creativity to provide memorable experiences. Chase got his start in DC back in 2015 with a public media nonprofit startup.

A proud Alabama native, Chase received his BA in Music Administration from The University of Alabama in 2013 and his MBA from the University of Missouri in 2015. He enjoys cooking his favorite Ina Garten recipes and exploring parks with his partner, Jon, and their long-haired dachshund, Jezzy.


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Jarrett CocharoTreasurer

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Jarrett Cocharo lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where he is a senior financial analyst at University of North Texas Health Science Center. He manages the billing, accounting and financial reporting for federally sponsored grants at UNTHSC. Prior to this role, he worked in internal audit at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and external audit at Ernst & Young LLP. While at EY, he passed the Uniform CPA Examination scoring in the top ten candidates who took the exam in Texas. He is also an alumnus of Teach for America where he taught algebra II for two years at OD Wyatt High School in Fort Worth ISD.

Jarrett graduated from The University of Alabama in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Information Science. In 2011, he graduated with a Master in Professional Accounting from The University of Texas at Austin. He loves to travel and looks forward to exploring South America this coming year.


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Joe TomlinTreasurer

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Joe has been in retail/business/commercial banking since he has been out of graduate school and has made his career on making strong and long lasting relationships with clients and new prospective clients alike.  He has a strong financial analysis acumen and is also a strong communicator within small, medium, or large group settings.  He has served in the capacity of Treasurer, VP, & President for the Columbia, SC NAA Chapter for over a period of 7 years and still remain active with it.  While he was President, he developed and still maintain great relationships and friendships, with many former and current Chapter Presidents nationwide.  If given the opportunity, Joe knows that he could help bring value and experience to either of these positions in accordance with the entire Executive Leadership team.  Joe’s excited for the fall membership drive to start and to help make this the flagship LGTBQ Alumni Association!


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Kayla LisenbySecretary

pronouns: they/them/theirs or she/her/hers

 As their ‘day job,’ Kayla serves as the Assistant Director of the LGBTQ+ Center at Wake Forest University, where their duties include education, advocacy, and support around sexual orientation and gender identity for the entire campus community. They have been doing LGBTQ work within higher education for the last five years, and they believe their professional experiences translate well to the work of this organization.

Additionally, Kayla has served as secretary for the Pride Winston-Salem organization over the past two years, so they would bring experience serving as a secretary in a community organization capacity to the role. They also currently serve on the national board for LGBTQ higher education practitioners, where they have spent the last year re-writing all of the by-laws and guiding documents for the organization, so they would bring that experience to the role of Secretary.


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Kenny Cantrell – University Relations Coordinator

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 Kenny is a 2010 graduate of UA Law. While in law school, he was President of OUT-Law, the LGBT+ affinity group for law students. He was also a Notes Editor for the Alabama Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Law Review. Kenny has also served on the board of the National LGBT Bar Association from 2011-2013. Currently, he is a civil litigation attorney in Orlando, Florida with the Cole, Scott and Kissane, P.A. Besides this, Kenny is adept with organizational management, and he excels in leadership.


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Alex ReederUniversity Relations Coordinator

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 Alex Reeder graduated from the University of Alabama in 2017 with a BS in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry and currently lives in Montgomery, AL, where they work as an Engineer at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, AL. While at UA, Alex held several leadership positions within Spectrum, including being Treasurer/Interim President and President during their final two years at the university. They also served as Volunteer Coordinator for the Southeastern LGBTQA+ Student Conferences held at UA in 2013, 2014, and 2015, and they were awarded the Elliot Jackson Jones Memorial Scholarship by Safe Zone in 2016. Finally, Alex was chosen to be the student speaker for the 2017 Lavender Graduation ceremony.

Aside from their involvement with Spectrum, Alex was the Executive Vice President for Cultural Experiences and Diversity within the Honors College Assembly, Vice President of Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honors Society, and was a member of the four senior honoraries. They were also a member of the university-wide Subcommittee for Diversity and Inclusion, which was formed to devise a list of recommendations to be presented to the UA administration regarding the tangible actions and initiatives they could implement to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. The LGBTQIA+ community at UA holds a very special place in their heart, and they are honored to continue to serve them on this leadership team. Alex’s pronouns are they/them or he/him.


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Andi LawheadMembership Chair

pronouns: they/them/theirs or he/him/his

Andi Lawhead graduated in 2017 from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and currently serves as the Alabama State Organizer for URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity working to remove the homophobic language from Alabama’s sexual health education law and fight for abortion access. While at UA, Andi was involved with the rugby team, Theta Tau, and the Alabama Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Justice. They are currently based in Tuscaloosa. When they aren’t working or writing, Andi can be found caring for their two cats, volunteering with the Yellowhammer Fund, and contacting their legislators. Andi’s pronouns are they/them or he/him.


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Thomas TurpinMembership Chair

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Thomas Turpin is currently the Director of Bands at Westwood High School in Austin, Texas. Prior to his appointment as Director of Bands, he served as both Associate and Assistant Director at Westwood. During his time at Westwood, Mr. Turpin has taught all four concert ensembles, and all three symphony orchestras, leading each group to consistent UIL Sweepstakes ratings and Concert and Sightreading Evaluations. Mr. Turpin has also served as the Marching Band Director for the Westwood Warrior Marching Band.

Before coming to Westwood, Mr. Turpin served as Assistant Director of Bands at John Paul Stevens High School in San Antonio, Texas, where he coordinated the marching band program and co-conducted all four concert ensembles and the Jazz Band.

Mr. Turpin is a proud native of Alabama, having grown up and attended Athens High School and The University of Alabama for his secondary education. During his time at the University of Alabama, he served as Section Leader, Drum Major, and Graduate Teaching Assistant for the “Million Dollar Band,” and also played French horn in the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band. Mr. Turpin was also a member of The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps in 2004 and 2005.

Mr. Turpin is an active drill designer for marching organizations across the United States, an ensemble clinician, and a leadership consultant. His professional affiliations include Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA), Texas Bandmasters Association (TBA), the Texas Music Adjudicators Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and Phi Beta Mu. In his spare time, Mr. Turpin loves hanging out with his dog Tucker, traveling, being a self-proclaimed “foodie”/amateur Patisserie connoisseur, and working for local Austin charities like Austin Pets Alive!.


Ellen CooganOutreach Chair

pronouns: she/her/hers

Ellen Coogan lives in Washington, DC and is a Fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), where she advocates for transparency, fairness, and civil liberties on issues related to domestic surveillance, government profiling, and inter-agency data sharing. Ellen is interested in the impact of technology on human rights. She previously worked in immigration law at the National Immigrant Justice Center and at Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto and maintains a focus on immigration by exposing and monitoring government data systems and unauthorized data sharing.

Originally from Des Plaines, Illinois, Ellen is grateful for her time at the University of Alabama. She graduated in 2014 with honors in Philosophy and Spanish and spent many hours in the old ten Hoor Hall talking with classmates and professors about what justice really means. Ellen was Vice President of UA’s Interscholastic Ethics Bowl debate team, winner of several philosophy department awards, and Philanthropy Chair for the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. Inspired by her coursework, friendships, and experience in Tuscaloosa, she then attended Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, where she was a Dean’s Fellow, Webster Scholar and David M. Becker Public Interest Fellow. In law school, she became involved with OUTlaw and gained the courage to share her true self with the world. Ellen loves exploring DC and connecting with new friends—on weekends, you can sometimes catch her on the dance floor at Adams Morgan’s queer and lesbian space, A League of Her Own (ALOHO).


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Charlie Bice – Communications Chair

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Charlie Bice graduated from UA in 2013 with a double major in International Business and Spanish. While at the University, Charlie was a member of Creative Campus, the Anderson Society, a member of the Student Leadership Council, the Mortar Board as Treasurer, and Alabama International Relations Club as Tuscaloosa Initiative for Language Education Coordinator. Currently, he lives in Birmingham and works as a project manager at Kinetic, a web design and development firm, where he has assisted in building and maintaining for several Fortune 200 companies, in addition to several well-known Alabama nonprofits. In addition to being involved with the UA LGBTQ Alumni Association, Charlie is also heavily involved in Sidewalk Film Festival, as a screener for Sidewalk and SHOUT, Sidewalk’s concurrent LGBTQ film festival. He is excited to help the association in its inaugural year. Roll Tide!


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Patrick WeaverCommunications Chair

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Patrick is a 2016 graduate of UA where he received a degree in public relations while minoring in communication studies and political science. He spent a great deal of his undergraduate career working as a House Boy for Pi Beta Phi, being involved in performing arts groups like The Million Dollar Band, and working amongst faculty and staff in internships and leadership roles within the office of First Year Experience & the Career Center.

Patrick was raised in a rural town south Alabama town where he was heavily involved in his church, dance studio, and community. He served as his high school’s SGA President and Class President for two years, before serving as a campaign chair for multiple UA SGA campaigns. Patrick has an extensive background in working and presenting to C-level executives through his year as an outside sales rep in financial technology, and he currently serves as a Digital Media Strategist and Editor for Odyssey Media Group. In his free time, Patrick hosts a political podcast, goes for runs with his dog, and teaches dance and baton private lessons where he resides in Nashville, Tennessee.


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Austin Gaddis Scholarship Chair

pronouns: he/him/his

Throughout Austin’s time at the University and thereafter, he has sought to increase the visibility of LGBTQ+ folks in broader communities. He’s so excited about the opportunity to identify and highlight deserving students for their work both inside and outside the classroom to make the University a more inclusive space.

While on campus, Austin served as chair of the Anderson Society, columnist for The Crimson White, a fraternity president, and an out, anti-Machine member of the Greek system. His experience and growth at the University led him to later become chair of his law school’s Committee for Inclusiveness and Diversity and now informs his work as part of his company’s Pride and Allies Network.


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Adam HarbisonScholarship Chair

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Adam Harbison is the Director of Congressional Affairs at the National Community Pharmacists Association, where he advocates for the interests of America’s 22,000 independent, small business pharmacies before Congress. Having grown up in rural Crane Hill, Alabama, Adam is passionate about the need to support rural communities and improve their access to healthcare. Adam obtained his undergraduate degree in healthcare management from The University of Alabama. He received a Master’s in Sustainable Rural Development from Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland as a 2010 George Mitchell Scholar. Adam served on Capitol Hill for 5 years as Legislative Director to Rep. Morgan Griffith where he advised the Congressman on health policy and served as a negotiator for the Drug Quality and Security Act. Adam has also served in volunteer roles with the National Capital Chapter of the UA National Alumni Association completing multiple terms as Treasurer and Membership Chair.


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Wesley Glass Programming Chair

pronouns: he/him/his

Wesley graduated from Alabama in 2011 with a BA in Spanish and International Relations with a minor in Theatre. While at the University, he was involved in the Wesley Foundation Methodist student ministry and Alpha Psi Omega, the theater honor society, and served as their recruitment chair his senior year. After graduation he worked at the West Alabama Chapter of the American Red Cross through an Americorps grant to help recruit and train disaster response volunteers in eight counties in Western Alabama in the year after the April 27th tornado. Once that job ended, he went to tourism school in San Francisco and now lives in Washington as a home base for guiding group travel around the United States and in Spain and Portugal.


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Russell Howard – Programming Chair

pronouns: he/him/his

Russell C. Howard is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama where he attended Shelton State Community College, and The University of Alabama. As a student, he was involved in several local, state and federal political campaigns. He also spent most summers away from Tuscaloosa working as a staff member with TEAMeffort Summer Missions Camp.

Russell enjoys being an advocate for his community. Currently he is the Office Manager of RealtySouth – Tuscaloosa and serves as a founding board member and Director of Druid City Pride as well as being a deacon at First Presbyterian Church – Tuscaloosa.


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A.J. Collins Nominating Chair

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A.J. graduated from Alabama in 2013 as a double major in Economics and Political Science, with minors in Mathematics and Computer-Based Honors. As a student at Bama, he was involved in a number of campus groups, including Sigma Phi Epsilon, the Coordinating Council for Honor Societies, Alabama Action Abroad, and the Honors College Ambassadors. Upon graduating, A.J. then worked for a year as an SAT/ACT Prep instructor in Washington, D.C., teaching at four different local schools with diverse student bodies ranging across the D.C. area’s socioeconomic spectrum.  He then attended the University of Virginia School of Law, where served as the first openly LGBTQ Student Bar Association President, and was involved in a number of other student organizations, including Lambda.

A.J. currently works as an attorney at Baker Botts L.L.P. in D.C. focusing in litigation and white-collar investigations and is a member of his firm’s GLBT Affinity Group. As part of his practice, he additionally takes on pro bono clients from across the D.C. metropolitan area in a wide variety of cases. A.J. also volunteers as a member development advisor for a local chapter of SigEp. In his spare time, he’s either cheering on Bama, UVA, and D.C. area sports teams, watching reality television, listening to musical soundtracks, or trying new craft beers.


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Kyle Richardson Nominating Chair

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Kyle has been a part of Mystic Krewe of the Druids Board since 2010 and served as Vice President for 3 years.  He is also a Board member for Druid City Pride.    Through his business, Icon, he can help promote membership, events and awareness.  Kyle believes his experience and connections here can be a great asset.


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Walt James – Tuscaloosa Community Chair

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Walt graduated from UA with a BA in Communications in 1976 and a MS in Elementary Education in 1984. He founded the Miss UA Pageant while a student there in 1974. He is still active in this program. He is retired and has the time to put into this chapter to get it off the ground and running. He is a PR graduate and a former caterer. He has much to offer. He is thrilled this chapter is being formed.


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Justin Bond – Atlanta Community Chair

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Justin Bond currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia and works in fiber network design for a telecommunications firm. Prior to that, he worked as a Network Operations and IT Business Analyst. He graduated from UA in 2014 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.


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West HoneycuttWashington, DC Community Chair

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West Honeycutt currently lives in Washington, D.C., where he works as Director of Planned Giving for the National Parks Conservation Association. Prior to joining NPCA, he lead the national planned giving program for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, where he raised more than $17 million in gift expectancies. A former board member and executive chairman of Equality Alabama and the Equality Alabama Foundation, West was instrumental in hiring the organizations’ first executive director and lobbyist. Since 2017, he has served on the Board Development Committee for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.

West received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The University of Alabama’s College of Arts and Sciences, where he served as SGA Senator and president of his fraternity. He is originally from Springville, Alabama.


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Caroline Beard Colquhoun – Nashville Community Chair

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Caroline is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Spanish literature at Vanderbilt University, where she also teaches undergraduate Spanish language courses. Her primary research interests are issues of migration and gender in contemporary Spanish peninsular literature and film, and she was the recipient of Vanderbilt’s 2018 E. Inman Fox Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2016, she earned her MA in Spanish literature at Alabama, where her thesis was named Outstanding Master’s Thesis in the Humanities. Prior to her return to the Capstone, she worked for three years as an advertising account executive at Red Square Agency/Red Square Gaming in Mobile, AL. While there, she also served on the board of the local chapter of Public Relations Council of Alabama and coordinated volunteers for Bayfest, a non-profit concert festival. Caroline earned her BA from Alabama in 2011 with a double major in Public Relations and Spanish. During her undergraduate years, she was a member of Capstone Men & Women, the XXXI, Student Executive Council, and the Capstone Agency. As a native Middle Tennessean, Caroline is proud and excited to serve the Capstone in Music City.