Awakenings Crew

Staff | Board Members | Associate Board Members | Visual Art Review Committee | 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 comes from a longstanding freelancer background in nonprofit and commercial organizations on the administration and production end of theatre and writing.

She began at Awakenings as a volunteer and has gone through the 40hour sexual assault crisis intervention certification. She studied Theater, English, and Spanish at Hope College and holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She has two monsters, deemed to be cats, and an affinity for people, coffee, and motorcycles.

Allyce Torres

Associate Director

Allyce is a marketing professional with over four years of experience in the non-profit sector. She has a background in theatre, education and arts adiministration. She has written for Project Heal, ANAD, Howlround, and Reach Women's Magazine. She is a bi-racial latiné lover of (lots of) coffee, Selena, and the Ocean.


Jacqueline Valdez

Programming Assistant

Jacqueline first encountered Awakenings as a programming intern, and later joined the Art Committee before becoming Programming Assistant. 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

Joy Airaudi

Board President

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. 

Christina Bourne

Christina Bourné

Board Vice Chair

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.

She will be stepping into the role of Director of Development for Forward Momentum Chicago in 2020 and is the newly appointed Board Vice Chair of Awakenings. 

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..

Bronwyn Pearce

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

Sarah Wiseman

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.

Associate Board of Directors

Laurie Hrad

Associate Board Executive Officer

Hello, my name is Laurie, my pronouns are she/ her/ hers. I am currently pursuing a Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health & Counseling at Adler University. I was born and raised in the south suburbs of Chicago and went to John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio for undergrad. I'm now loving the north side life!

I had the honor of interning with Awakenings Art this past year and was introduced to this wonderful and supportive community. I enjoy running and biking on the lakefront, playing beach volleyball, and spending time with my family and friends. Recently I have been getting into yoga and experimenting with cooking and trying out new recipes.

I love to travel and explore new locations and cultures! I am so excited to be joining the Awakenings Art Associate Board and can't wait to help further the mission of making visible the artistic expression of survivors of sexual violence.

Bianca Thompson

Associate Board Operations Officer

Bianca Thompson (she/her) is a writer, musician, and theatre artist originally from Belmont, Massachusetts. She graduated from Skidmore College with B.S. in Theatre and moved to Chicago to pursue her passions in acting, writing, music, and advocacy.

She was connected with Awakenings in the fall of 2019 when she participated as a writer and performer in Me Too Monologues produced by Awakenings and Connective Theatre Company. Since then, the Awakenings gallery has become one of her favorite places in the city. She hopes to continue creating and doing work that is intersectional, empowering, and healing.

Kacey Arnold 

Kacey is a Detroit, MI native and DePaul University graduate. She gained a BFA in printmaking, painting, and drawing in 2019 and is currently working on her professional artistic practice.

She has worked with many art institutions in Chicago, including the Art Institute, DePaul Art Museum, and Hyde Park Art Center as an art and archival administrator. Kacey is a plant parent to nearly 20 house plants and is thoroughly obsessed with 80s horror films.

Marthe Leach

Marthe Leach

The past decade, Marthe has been dedicated to serving Chicago’s youth through roles in education. After graduating from Indiana University with a bachelor’s in English and Communications & Culture, Marthe moved to Chicago where she dabbled in journalism and PR before realizing that her true passion was in social justice work. She joined Teach For America and spent over 7 years in the classroom as a learning specialist, teaching primarily science and math.

She helped to found a new high school where she built and managed one of the largest special education departments on Chicago’s south side. Marthe left the classroom in 2017 to join Braven and launch programing in Chicago.

At Braven, Marthe leads core programing, recruitment and workforce strategy to help first generation and low income college students transition into meaningful careers that will lead to economic mobility. She has held leadership positions for Illinois for Educational Equity and Awakenings, and is currently an Elevate Fellow. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, and seeing as much live music as possible.

Carol Chang

Carol Chang is a recent BFA graduate from SAIC, and currently a freelance artist primarily working in oil paint, watercolor, drawings, and photography. She is also a gallery intern at ARC Gallery in Chicago, IL, which supports women artists and is founded by all women.

Her main motivation in life is to continue to inform herself of art and the multitudes of art worlds that exist in the world, including private galleries, non profits, studios, freelances, and other businesses.

She is passionate about fine arts and environmental science and history. She hopes to continue working with the Awakenings Associate Board to the best of her abilities.

Nick Hancock

Nick hails from a small town in Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Studio Art from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. After relocating to Chicago, Nick has primarily developed and worked in operations management in the service industry. He spends his free time reading and exploring/travelling.

Image of Natalie: A light skinned person with chin-length dark brown hair parted to the side. Natalie wears a black top with sheer short sleeves.

Natalie Benson-Greer

Natalie Benson-Greer (she/her) is a Chicago based writer with a BA in Creative Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. Her short stories “Backwoods” and “We Can’t Drown Like Them” are published in Hair Trigger, a literary magazine where she previously worked as an acquisition editor. During her time at Columbia College she served as an executive board member of the college's only writing collective, Speak Your Truth, and worked with the fiction department as a peer tutor. She also worked on The Hokin Project, a student run art gallery on campus. Natalie grew up in Asheville, North Carolina and while she is happily adjusted to city life, she deeply misses the mountains.

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
Mitchell Manar
Gillian Marwood
Abby Mros 

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