Awakenings Crew

Staff | Board Members | Literary Reviewers | Art Committee

Laura Kinter

Executive Director

Laura Kinter serves as the Executive Director of Awakenings. She holds a B.A. in Film and English from Vassar College and moved to Chicago from Philadelphia. Her passion for education through storytelling, grassroots community building, and the arts has helped Laura guide Awakenings through exponential growth over the last several years.

Laura is active in the Ravenswood community as both a business leader and a resident, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. Laura has gone through 40 hour sexual assault crisis intervention training.

Jeri Frederickson

Creative Director

Jeri began at Awakenings as a volunteer and has gone through the 40hour sexual assault crisis intervention certification.

She comes from nonprofit and commercial organizations on the administration and production end of theatre and writing. She studied Theater, English, and Spanish at Hope College and holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her book You Are Not Lost is published with Finishing Line Press. She has two monsters, deemed to be cats, and an affinity for people, coffee, and motorcycles.


Jacqueline Valdez

Programming Coordinator

Jacqueline first encountered Awakenings as a programming intern, and later joined the Art Committee before becoming Programming Coordinator. She is a block printing artist who engages with repetitive printing and paper-making practices in order to meditate on trauma and connect with her Mexican heritage. Jacqueline holds a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Art History with a focus in Latin American Colonial and Contemporary Art and is invested in creating art and writing for social change. Gardening, furniture rehab, and macrame are some of her many hobbies.

Board of Directors

Christina Bourne

Christina Bourné

Board President

Christina Bourné is an accomplished arts administrator, educator, and performing artist based in Chicago, IL. She began her career as a public speaker and guest soloist for women’s and youth enrichment conferences across the Midwest before becoming a teaching artist and arts administrator.

During her career she has helped to create in-school and after school programs, facilitated workshops and lectures and even a concert series to discuss social and cultural issues such as race, gender equality, and collective non-violence through the lens of the arts.

Her past leadership roles in arts administration have been Director of Creative Engagement at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University where she grew the department’s program reach to 20,000+ participants per year, Interim Executive Director of Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, and founding member and Program Manager for Enrich Chicago—an arts led movement aimed at undoing racism and building racial equity within the sector.

When not enhancing lives through arts advocacy or arts and enrichment program development, she can be found performing with her family of nine—comprised of her seven siblings and her mother—The Bournés. Christina is an independent non-profit consultant working with individuals and organizations throughout Chicago and nationally with a focus on fundraising, board development, strategic planning, and organizational leadership.

Bronwyn Pearce

Board Vice President

Bronwyn Pearce is originally from South Africa where she spent over fifteen years leading and implementing large social impact programs. Bronwyn earned a Master’s in Management Degree in the field of Public and Development Management from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and describes herself as a champion for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Megan Rupp Ugolino

Board Treasurer

I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in History from Ohio State University in 2010. After graduation, I joined Dominican Volunteers USA (DVUSA) as a full-time volunteer working with Heartland Alliance as an English Language Training (ELT) Instructor for refugee and immigrant families. Following my volunteer year, I was hired by Heartland to continue as an ELT instructor where I worked, in various positions within Heartland, for the next five years.

In 2017, I was asked to return to DVUSA and have the privilege of serving as the Executive Director today. Dominican Volunteers work for eleven months in full-time positions as educators, healthcare workers, companions for isolated seniors and individuals who are incarcerated, case managers, and advocates for survivors of domestic violence and ecological justice. Our mission is to create lifelong allies and advocates for justice and liberation through accompaniment, kinship, simple-living, and community.

I enjoy engaging my hands through cooking, baking, woodworking, gardening, and knitting. My preferred escapes are reading, playing guitar, traveling, riding my motorcycle, and Harry Potter movie marathons with my wife, Cara, and our grumpy rescue pup, Oscar.

Sarah Wisemen

Board Secretary

Sarah graduated from Purdue University with a BS in Management and a BA in Foreign Language and Literature in 1996. She obtained her MBA (with focus on Strategy and Organizational Development) in 2011 from the University of Chicago. Sarah has spent the bulk of her career in the Corporate Real Estate Services industry holding a wide variety of roles from Human Resources to Business Development.

She currently holds a Global Leadership role and is responsible for a team of 400+ professionals across the world. Sarah grew up in a household where Art of all types but most particularly visual arts, were held in high esteem. She brings to the board a passion for art and artists, strong business acumen and a love for managing and collaborating with teams.

Joy Airaudi

Joy Airaudi received her BA in International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison and her JD from Chicago-Kent College of Law.  She has fought for justice and fair and compassionate treatment for survivors of domestic and sexual violence for over twenty years.

She has volunteered with Rape Victim Advocates for over twenty years as a volunteer medical advocate, educator and board member where she set policies and developed programs and trainings for the largest freestanding sexual assault center in Illinois.  She worked as a prosecutor in Cook County for seven years, where she focused on domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

Joy also designed and conducted trainings for police officers, attorneys, nonprofit staff and volunteers and the general public as the Program Attorney for the Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime where she published the article “Making the Connection between Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking” in the journal Juvenile and Family Court Justice Today.

She worked with congressional staff to improve national anti-stalking legislation and with local agencies to draft House Bill 3423 to grant appellate rights to incarcerated domestic violence victims.  She has been doing pro bono work with local domestic violence and sexual assault agencies in conjunction with the ABA Subpoena Defense Project to assist them in protecting client confidentiality. She was the recipient of Sarah’s Inn’s 2015 Together Strong Award for her work on behalf of domestic violence survivors.

Joy has been the chair of the board of directors of the Awakenings Foundation since 2017.  She works as an Administrative Hearing Officer for Chicago Public Schools. 

Mallory Margaret

Mallory Margaret

Mallory is an artist and ecological educator most concerned with creating caring spaces that center a return to land and a return to body. Her support of social-emotional learning stems from the belief that personal growth opens portals to new possibilities in collective liberation. Mallory is working towards her certification in horticultural therapy as well as being on her way to be a Department of Health Certified Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor through NYC Anti-Violence Project. She partners these healing modalities and trauma-informed lenses with a healing justice framework.

Mallory has co-created programming centered around regenerative, nature-based artmaking with Queens Botanical Garden, Grow NYC, NYC Department of Civic Engagement, Wave Hill Public Gardens and Cultural Center, Chicago Parks District, Chicago Public Schools. Jane Adams Hull House, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Teachers for Social Justice, Depaul University, among others. Mallory currently runs the Children’s Garden and youth programs at Queens Botanical Garden. Her work has been funded by Crossroads Fund, Terra Arts Foundation, Night Out in the Parks, and the Dorr Foundation. Her curriculum and facilitation work has been featured in Transform the Harm, New York Times, Teaching Artist Podcast, All of It WNYC, and BronxNews. You can find a portfolio of her work at www.MalloryMuya.com

Stephanie Taiber

Stephanie Taiber

Stephanie Taiber is a Chicago based artist, teaching artist, arts administrator, and yoga instructor. Stephanie’s art practice uses photography and installation to reify emotional states and explore the impact of relationship dynamics on identity. In her studio, Stephanie works with still life and collage, incorporating her own rephotographed and repurposed images of the natural world with domestic objects to address inner tensions with broader societal resonance. Her creative use of personal history to make work that extends beyond the biographical self transforms moments of upheaval into narratives about the fragile process of healing.

Stephanie’s 2020 solo exhibition at Filter Space in Chicago is the subject of her forthcoming photobook, Bearing His Flowers, published by Yoffy Press and supported by a Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs Individual Artist Grant. In 2020 Stephanie received 3rd place in Center Santa Fe Curator’s Choice Award and Honorable Mention in the Julia Margaret Cameron Fine Art Awards. She has been featured by PH Museum, Lenscratch, Float Magazine, and Fraction Magazine, among others.

Kelly Powers

Kelly Powers

A passionate education advocate, Kelly Powers has dedicated her career to leading innovative work to positively impact young children and families. An accomplished entrepreneur and organizational leader, Kelly currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning, one of Chicago’s largest non-profit providers of early childhood education programs. As COO, Kelly oversees Finance, Facilities, IT, Marketing & Communications, and People & Culture. Kelly is a member of the executive team at the Center and is responsible for the internal operations to ensure the Center continues to thrive after transformational growth in 2021. Prior to Carole Robertson Center, Kelly served as the Executive Director of VOCEL, an early childhood education non-profit she co-founded in 2013. Under Kelly’s leadership, VOCEL grew from an early-stage start-up working with 18 children to a well-established organization in the early learning sector deploying programs in 17 community areas across Chicago impacting over 300 children and families annually. Prior to founding VOCEL, Kelly’s career included teaching 1st & 2nd grade in St. Louis, Missouri; coaching teachers in CBOs and elementary schools across Chicago; and managing a team of educational coaches at Teach For America.

Early in her career, Kelly realized the tremendous impact quality early learning experiences provide to children and has she has remained committed to leading in organizations that focus on delivering exemplary programming to children, youth and families. A native of the Chicago suburbs, with a deep commitment to equity and justice, Kelly believes in the potential of each child and works daily to ensure that a child’s zip code is not the determinant of their educational opportunity or trajectory. Kelly is a graduate of University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business where she earned her MBA with concentrations in Strategic Management, Entrepreneurship, Managerial & Organizational Behavior and Operations Management. She was a member of the inaugural cohort of Neubauer Civic Scholars at Booth. During her undergraduate career, Kelly was a Hunt Leadership Scholar at SMU where she earned her BA in Communications & English. Outside of her professional commitments, Kelly is an avid reader, an aspiring (at home) chef and a dedicated cyclist.

Chase Yeung

Chase Yeung

Chase Yeung is the founder and CEO of 7QUBES, an On-Demand/Software-as-a-Service company that brings accessible technology to underserved communities. Chase has a proven strategic and management track record with over 20 years of experience driving innovation and growth in the finance and technology industry. Prior to 7QUBES, Chase was CIO of Basepoint Capital, a private equity firm specialized in capital investments in consumer and small business lending products. Before joining Basepoint, Chase was the Head of Data and Technology at Argon Credit. Chase holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an MS in Computer Science from Northwestern University.

Marthe Leach

Marthe Leach

Marthe Leach has dedicated her career to advancing equity. She graduated from Indiana University with a BA in English and Communications & Culture. After a brief stint interning for Chicago magazine, Marthe pivoted by joining Teach For America. Her work teaching in high-needs public schools lasted beyond the two-year TFA commitment and after seven years as a teacher and case manager in Chicago Public Schools, Marthe joined Braven as the founding program manager in Chicago where she launched the Braven Career & Leadership Accelerator at National Louis University. She thrives in ambiguous environments and finds joy in innovation and building programs. She scaled enrollment for the Braven Accelerator at National Louis University to recruit and serve over 55% of the eligible population, managed the development of Braven’s COVID-19 response product, and led program execution for Braven’s local innovation product, BravenX. She is now the director of Braven Online, an innovative national career development pilot serving promising underrepresented college students from across the country, and is launching Braven's sixth university partnership with Northern Illinois University. Marthe has served on the Illinois for Education Equity regional strategy team and as the executive chair of Awakenings’ Associate Board. She joined the Awakenings Board of Directors in 2022. She lives in Chicago with her partner and big red hound dog, Ruby.

Art Committee

Celyse Biesiada 
Carol Chang
Jacob Chapparro
Taylor Dalton
Trissa Dodson
Ania Garcia
Jen Hasso
Chase Hauser

Laurie Hrad
Leah Huskey
Raeleen Kao
Raina Kor
Jeremy Lampkin
Gillian Marwood
Abby Mros

Ramona Pozek
Lena Romano
Leah Taylor
Bianca Thompson
Daniel Washelesky
Lauren Wood
Ru Zhou