Innovation Fellows

Ashley Bowen

Ashley Bowen graduated from the University of Chicago with her BA in Economics and is now pursuing graduate studies in Education and Economics. Throughout her career in education, Ashley has been dedicated to ensuring equity for all students, and improving access to services and opportunities for all. Ashley worked in special education with KIPP Public Charter Schools, and interned for the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives. In 2015, she served as the Co-Director of the launch of Rooted School, an innovative high school developing career-ready and college-ready students. As a McLean Institute CEED Innovation Fellow, Ashley will work to develop strong education programs in the Mississippi Delta that drive community and economic development.

Brittany Byrd

brittany-byrdBrittany Byrd is a native of Minneapolis, MN. She recently graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she attained a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a minor in Military Science and Leadership. She is currently a second-year student in the School of Pharmacy working towards a Doctorate of Pharmacy. Brittany has a passion for helping others through healthcare; she is the 2016-17 Vice President of Student National Pharmaceutical Association, an organization dedicated to helping the underserved and fighting health disparities through the advancement of pharmacy practice. In Spring of 2016, she became a commissioned officer in the Mississippi Army National Guard and is currently a Second Lieutenant working as a Human Resources and Personnel Management officer in the Adjutant General Corps. Brittany is excited to be a CEED fellow and to continue her mission of public service through the McLean Institute.

Robert Patterson


Robert Patterson is a Mississippi resident from Como. Patterson graduated from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science in 2011, and completed his B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of MS in 2016. His interests are in personal and community health. He is a first year graduate student in the Masters in Health Promotion program at the University of Mississippi. Robert’s research is on the effects of exercise on cognitive ability. As a CEED fellow, he plans to evaluate some of Mississippi’s problems such as food insecurity and obesity, and to help eliminate these health concerns while providing an opportunity for economic, community, and personal development. Future aspirations are to provide a recreational facility for educational programming and resources for health purposes.

Ryan Snow


Ryan graduated from the University of Missisippi in the spring of 2016 with degrees in Public Policy Leadership and Economics from the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. He is currently a graduate student in Sociology. Ryan has also been a member of the CEED program since the first cohort in 2014, and worked extensively with a number of community organizations. During his time with the McLean Institute, Ryan has worked with the Mississippi Development Authority, including completing a client survey for their Entrepreneur Center for his senior honor’s thesis. Currently Ryan is working with McLean to expand a state wide youth program that links communities across Mississippi together. He is also working on creating a marketplace for small artisans and producers in rural areas.

Jan Vidal


Janice Vidal is a native of Port Antonio, Jamaica, but currently resides in Horn Lake, Mississippi.  As a post-traditional student, Janice graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Mississippi – Desoto with a BS in Social Work and is now pursuing a Master of Arts in Higher Education/Student Personnel.  As an undergraduate, Janice was selected as the 2013, Outstanding Student in Social Work, and a 2014, Taylor Medalist, for the School of Applied Sciences.  She also served as the President of the Student Social Work Organization (SSWO), and was an Ole Miss Ambassador.  Throughout her tenure as president of the SSWO, Janice attended National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and other multi-cultural conferences in-state and out-of-state to enhance her personal development.  She spearheaded fundraisers and community activities including a community health fair, a Healthy Kids Day for the YMCA, and a food drive and clothes drive to support the House of Grace Domestic Violence Shelter.  In 2013, Janice was the project coordinator for the Hattiesburg Disaster Response Team (Operation Drop Box), and spent a weekend in Hattiesburg distributing supplies, assisting with cleanup and moving, and collecting data on residents for the Red Cross.  Janice has done volunteer work with Palmer’s Home and spends her free time doing volunteer work for the House of Grace Domestic Violence Shelter.  She is actively involved in civic engagements and is board member on the Horn Lake Planning Commission. Because of her unwavering commitment to service, she was recently voted as a board member for the House of Grace Domestic Violence Shelter.  Janice is the first year graduate student on the Student Affairs Professional Development Committee and is a member of Black Graduate Professional Student Association (BGPSA).  She is excited to be an Innovation Fellow, and intends to uphold the vision and mission of the McLean Institute, by actively pursuing resources and opportunities for marginalized individuals, through partnerships, community involvement, and service learning.  Additionally, she will continue to motivate, support, and empower scholars, to view the world altruistically, so they become engaged in career-building service opportunities.


Innovation Scholars

AK Burress

Anna Katherine “AK” Burress is a graduate of Water Valley High School in Water Valley, Mississippi.  She is a sophomore at the University of Mississippi.  She is currently enrolled in the Early Entry pharmacy program.  AK was selected to be a mentor for incoming freshman early entry pharmacy students.  She is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and Kappa Epsilon pharmacy fraternity.  These different organizations have allowed her to get involved in numerous philanthropy projects, such as Reading is Fundamental, Feed the Hunger, RebelTHON, and many others in the Oxford community. Through CEED, she hopes to continue her passion of helping others and making a positive change in the area and throughout Mississippi.

Dawn Boddie

dawn-boddieDawn Boddie is a junior majoring in Geological Engineering from Powder Springs, Georgia. Dawn is heavily involved and has a strong passion for finding ways to make Mississippi a sustainable state. President of Students for a Green Campus, which is an environmental group that focuses on making Ole Miss a sustainable campus, she has come up with new ways to aid in her efforts. She was formerly a Student Engagement Fellow with the McLean Institute, and hopes to expound on that mission of teaching everyone how to conserve energy. During the past summer she served as a AmeriCorp Vista at Horizons the summer learning symposium with the McLean Institute. Dawn is also apart of the Pride of The South Marching Band, NAACP, AAEG, and Student Women Engineer’s. After Graduating from Ole Miss, she hopes to go to grad school to pursue her Masters in Geophysics to become a future Seismologist. 

Austin Carroll

austin-cAustin Carroll is a graduate of Jackson Academy from Jackson, Mississippi and currently continues his education at the University of Mississippi as a Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College student majoring in biochemistry with a premed emphasis.   He discovered his passion for health care and medicine through working at the Baptist Hospital in Jackson for two years and also by attending an Ole Miss MedLife medical mission trip to Lima, Peru.  Austin now serves as the current vice president for mobile clinics for the Ole Miss chapter of MedLife.  During his free time, he enjoys reading, playing guitar, and spending time with friends.  As an Innovation Scholar, Austin hopes to impact the health care of rural Mississippi, while learning more about entrepreneurship and the integration between politics, economics, culture, and law.


Jessica Clarke

jessica-clarkeJessica Clarke is a junior Integrated Marketing and Communications major from Franklin, Tennessee. She attended Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville where she was voted Head Girl, was Editor-in-Chief of a Pace Maker award-winning yearbook, and was a Wendy’s High School Heisman finalist. She came to Ole Miss on a cross-country and track scholarship. After deciding not to run competitively for her junior and senior years, she has gone back to trying to serve the community. In Nashville she was a part of Liv-To-Giv, a student led organization that planned a service project every month. She also spent two weeks in Louyang, China serving in a special needs orphanage. She is very excited about the opportunity the McLean Institute offers to be able to immerse herself in the State of Mississippi.

Seth Dickinson

seth-dickinsonSeth Dickinson is a junior Public Policy Leadership and Sociology major from Mantachie, Mississippi. Seth has been involved in the University of Mississippi community in many different ways during his time at Ole Miss. he has served as a member of the Associated Student Body’s Freshman Council, an Admissions Ambassador, a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honor’s College Senate, Director of External Affairs for the student body, Associated Student Body Executive Liaison, and as a member of the University’s Committee on Parking. Seth is also a member of the fraternity of Delta Psi, where he serves as chairman of Alumni Relations. Seth is interested in education, healthcare, and economic development policy and hopes to pursue a career in the legal field in a capacity where he can enable economic and societal growth by way of law and policy.

Allison Floyd

allison-floydFrom the small town of Magee, MS, what enticed Allison to attend Ole Miss is the nationally ranked Patterson School of Accountancy. As a junior, she’s currently pursuing her interest in Accountancy along with a minor interest in Spanish. After completing undergrad, she plans to continue her studies as a graduate student here in efforts to eventually become a Certified Public Accountant. In addition to being an Innovation Scholar, the capacities in which she has served and is currently serving include being treasurer of the Lambda Sigma chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc; being a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and the Honors College; being the Director of Membership and Recruiting for the National Association of Black Accountants; being a scholar of both the LuckyDay and Provost programs; being an ambassador for Ernst & Young, LLC; and being a member of Competition Corps. Volunteering at an ACT workshop in the MS Delta deepened the passion she had for helping high school students become better prepared for future endeavors. Through her participation in this program, she hopes to learn more about the needs that younger students in impoverished areas of MS face. Being privy to this information will help her to become a liaison between these students and opportunities that interest them as well as a mentor.

Elena Bauer

elenaElena Bauer was born in Champaign, IL, but spent her entire childhood living across the United States and Freiburg Germany. She is bilingual in German and English and completed her education through high school in the U.S. and Germany. She is studying Business Management and minoring in Mathematics at the University of Mississippi. At UM, she is an Honors College student, and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma society. She has been actively involved in community service in Clarksdale, Mississippi, serving as a volunteer teaching assistant, academic tutor, art instructor, and most recently serving as the Assistant Director of the Meraki Job Training Program – part of Griot Arts Inc. Elena is very passionate about workforce development and community engagement. She is currently working with McLean to build a sustainable job-training program for the community in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Karson Nelson

karson-nelsonKarson is from Madison, Mississippi and is passionate about the people and issues of the state of Mississippi. She is a Public Policy Leadership major in the Trent Lott Leadership Institute, with minors in Spanish and Education. She loves the University of Mississippi where she has been a member of the Associated Student Body Senate, UM Judicial Council, UM Bipartisan Coalition, UM Students for Education Reform and Kappa Delta Sorority. Karson grew up doing service work in her hometown where her love for serving others started. Since then, she has lead mission trips to Nicaragua and been a missionary in Chicago, Illinois. She continues to help her current town of Oxford, Mississippi by tutoring and mentoring elementary aged students. Karson hopes to pursue a future in education policy reform in order to give all students the opportunity for success by alleviating poverty through education. 

Nikki Park

nikki-parkNikki Park is a junior Accountancy major from Virginia Beach, VA. Most mornings she can be seen running along the Whirlpool Trails with her teammates on the Ole Miss Cross Country and Track team. She is also a member of the Honors College, Beta Alpha Psi, and a student consultant for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on campus. She first began exploring and studying the Mississippi Delta through her involvement in the Mississippi Water Security Institute. She hopes to continue to broaden her understanding of the socioeconomic challenges facing the Delta in order to utilize the abundant resources at UM to help create sustainable solutions within these communities.


Brady Ruffin

bradyBrady Ruffin is a junior Integrated Marketing Communications major with a Business Administration minor from Clinton, MS.  Growing up close to Oxford, Brady always knew that The University of Mississippi was the place for him. This past summer, Brady served as an Orientation Leader.  Currently, Brady is serving as the Co-Director of Special Events for the Student Activities Association, Coordinator of Freshman Council, and an Ole Miss Ambassador.  Brady is passionate about youth education and reform specifically in the state of Mississippi.  With the help of the McLean Institute, Brady plans to research the youth in Mississippi and form a service project to implement next summer.


Kendall Walker

Kendall Walker is a sophomore Elementary Education major from Tupelo, MS. She served as a MOST mentor during the summer of 2017 and was able to mentor a group of upcoming high school seniors and introduce them to the University of Mississippi. Kendall is involved with the Leap Frog Tutoring Program where she can help children in the Oxford and Lafayette School system improve their reading scores. She is also a part of BSU, E.S.T.E.E.M. and Sisters of Faith on the UM campus. Kendall is working on a business plan to start her own day care facility in Mississippi.