Skip to main content
MenuSearch & Directory


Interested in contacting 软妹社's Division for Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement? Learn about the DICE's leadership and staff.

Rochelle Smith, M.S.

Vice President of the Division for Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement 

Headshot of Rochelle Smith, smiling while wearing a black blazer and white blouse.
Rochelle D. Smith, M.S.

Rochelle D. Smith, M.S., (she/her) is the second vice president of DICE. She is an accomplished diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioner and senior-level administrator in higher education, with more than 24 years of experience. Smith earned her Master of Science degree in health behavior research from Washington University School of Medicine, a bachelor鈥檚 degree in psychology from Chicago State University, and certification in executive leadership from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. 

Smith has devoted much of her career to tackling complex institutional challenges with a data-driven and research-based approach. Making campuses more welcoming for people from backgrounds historically underrepresented in higher education has been one of her priorities. Smith's previous position was the inaugural associate dean of diversity and inclusion and associate chief diversity officer at the Yale School of Medicine.

Prior to joining Yale, Rochelle worked for 20 years at Washington University here in St. Louis, where she had been assistant provost for diversity initiatives. Rochelle founded the Washington University Diversity Pipeline Consortium for STEM, and her experience also included co-designing two faculty-of-color retention programs at Washington University that resulted in a record number of these faculty receiving tenure. In addition, she led the M.D./Ph.D. diversity effort and founded three student affinity groups at the university.

At the Yale School of Medicine, Rochelle provided strategic direction to the Dean on diversity, equity and inclusion; equal opportunity; discrimination and harassment; and retaliation. She helped address inquiries and concerns on those same issues raised by Yale community members.

Areas of Expertise

  • Faculty-of-color retention programs
  • Founding affinity groups
  • Visionary strategic leadership
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM

Fun Fact

Outside of her work, Rochelle enjoys submerging herself in the arts and spending time with her daughters. 

Phoebe Cook
Head and shoulders portrait of Phoebe Cook

Executive Assistant

Dubourg Hall, 202

Phoebe Cook earned her bachelor's degree in communication management from Atlantic 10 conference school La Salle University in 2017. She then moved back home to Charlotte, NC, for a few years before becoming the first Black, female, full-time assistant coach for the 软妹社 Women's Volleyball Team. As a coach, Phoebe served as the head recruiting coordinator and was an interim director of operations for the team. After coaching for two full seasons at 软妹社, Phoebe accepted her current position as an executive assistant for Rochelle Smith, vice president of diversity and innovative community engagement. Phoebe hopes to obtain her master's degree from Saint Louis University in a field of her choosing and is excited to bring energy and her communication expertise to the growing and exceedingly excellent DICE team.

Fun Fact

In high school, Phoebe participated in a home stay in Madrid, Spain!

Allison Brewer, M.A.T.
Allison Brewer, headshot. They are wearing a navy jacket over a blue and white striped top and glasses and smiling at the camera.

Assistant Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

Center for Global Citizenship, Suite 124

Allison Brewer, M.A.T., (they/them), is an advocate and expert in the field of special education, cross-categorical disabilities, and applied accessibility as a community-based practice. Brewer is an openly disabled administrator and identifies as autistic and has narcolepsy with cataplexy. It is the combined lived and professional expertise that led Allison to launch Voice(Is), a disability-led consulting business. As a public speaker and/or educational advocate, they鈥檝e led or attended ~1,500 IEPs and 504-related meetings, trained educators/support staff in 200 schools across 90 districts and 10 different states. Allison began their journey as a special educator across north St. Louis, where partnering with families to build education equity led to building a collective national network of self and community advocates. Gaining an M.A.T. in Cross Categorical Disabilities from Webster University helped ground them as an advocate when they needed it the most鈥攖hrough the protection of their own civil rights after facing disability discrimination in the workplace. As a leader in the field, Allison has served as an expert witness in a number of due process cases, working alongside families and civil rights attorneys holding our learning institutions accountable. 

Brewer is new to higher education and is excited about applying their experience as a social innovator, advocate, and community organizer to the Jesuit mission of Saint Louis University. Their framework of operating is heavily influenced by the cross-racial disability-justice movement that developed under apartheid in South Africa after a student uprising in Soweto. Brewer hopes to bring the spirit of the disability-justice rally call to their work here at 软妹社: 鈥淣othing about us, without us.鈥

Job Description

As AVP of DICE, Brewer is tasked with bringing an innovative spirit to the work of structural transformation by employing strategies that introduce new ideas, methods, and practices required to move forward with transformative change, specifically for internal and external stakeholders, in an effort to help the university achieve inclusive excellence.鈥 They will help the university develop innovative and transformational work that centers those who have historically been marginalized and ensures that instruction, research, and services advance justice and equity for people of all races, genders, abilities, countries of origin, incomes, and other identities and backgrounds. The assistant vice president will help create a coordinated, equitable system for the university鈥檚 community engagement efforts in the St. Louis region, prioritizing healing and repairing past harms perpetuated by its staff, faculty and students in the city鈥檚 most vulnerable neighborhood.鈥

Areas of Expertise

  • Applied Accessibility as a Community-Based Practice
  • Cross Categorical Disabilities and  Special Education
  • Inclusive Instruction and Professional Development
  • Institutional Innovation & Social Impact

Fun Fact

You might find Brewer somewhere whittling with headphones on, say hello! They nerd out about liberatory frameworks found in comic books, through magic, beyond the stars, and in the future (aka: superheroes, fantasy, sci-fi, and dystopian future genres). They are an amateur oboist and enjoy aerial silks classes with their teen in their very limited free time. Go visit their family business and local coffee spot right down Grand, MoKaBe鈥檚 Coffeehouse!

Katie Heiden-Rootes, Ph.D., LMFT
Katie Heiden Rootes, headshot. She is looking at the camera while wearing a grey sweater and light blouse.

Assistant Vice President for Research

Morrissey Hall, 1133

Dr. Katie Heiden-Rootes, (she/her) is a family scientist and mental health professional specializing in the advancement of systemic theory, training and research on health and healing with the LGBTQIA+ community and their families. Her scholarship is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Missouri Foundation for Health, and Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions. Dr. Heiden-Rootes founded and supervises in the Queer & Trans Wellness Clinic @ 软妹社 in the Center for Counseling and Family Therapy, a community-facing and accessible resource for mental health services. In 2022, she was awarded the Norm White Award for Engaged Scholarship and Service by the Faculty Senate of 软妹社. 

In her academic home, the Medical Family Therapy program in the School of Medicine as an associate professor where she teaches courses and lectures on human sexuality and gender, cultural humility, and qualitative research. Her work today is marked by the celebration of difference, engaging in difficult dialogue, and becoming comfortable in discomfort.

Areas of Expertise

  • Institutional Research
  • Training & Consultation
  • Equity as Wellness
  • Advocacy
  • Cultural Transformation

Job Description

The assistant vice president champions initiatives designed to cultivate a climate of equity, trust, wellbeing, honesty, transparency, and integrity where all are valued and differences are deemed as assets. The role focuses on leading strategic initiatives around institutional research, compliance, reporting, policy, communication, and advocacy. There is a focus on meeting and exceeding civil rights compliance standards at the local, state, and federal levels. Activities include providing training, leadership, and programming for cultivating equitable and sustainable structural and cultural transformation that is data-informed, community-driven, culturally responsive, and rooted in our Jesuit Mission. 

The role is housed in the Division of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement (DICE) and works closely with the Vice President for DICE, the Provost, the Director of Institutional Equity and Diversity/Title IX Coordinator, and collaborates with associate provosts, deans, faculty, staff, students, committees, and constituencies throughout the University to fulfill responsibilities.

Fun Fact

Katie is a mama obsessed with her two favorite humans (the JoBear and Emmettson). You will see them featured on her slide decks. She is a water enthusiast, spending vacation time on or near lakes and oceans. And, without prompting, she will show you her Peloton bike, quote her favorite trainer (Cody Rigsby), or talk about 90s music.

Michael Hankins, Ph.D.
Michael Hankins, headshot, wears a 软妹社 polo shirt and smiles, standing in front of a brick wall.

Special Assistant to the Vice President for Recruitment in STEM



Dr. Michael Hankins is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and a special assistant to the vice president for recruitment in STEM at 软妹社. As a 软妹社 alumnus (B.S. Chemistry 2009, Ph.D. Integrated and Applied Sciences 2017), Dr. Hankins is excited to be at 软妹社 in these roles. He hopes to use his teaching experience and work in diversity, equity and inclusion to carry out 软妹社鈥檚 Jesuit mission of creating a robust academic environment that is welcoming to all.

Job Description

The Special Assistant to the Vice President for Recruitment in STEM creates, implements, supports, and assesses programming efforts to recruit STEM students to the university with emphasis on those students from marginalized and under-represented communities in the Division of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement.

  • Areas of Work and Expertise
  • Chemistry faculty (Assistant Professor, NTT)
  • Recruitment (first-time full-time freshmen, transfer students, non-traditional students)
  • Community Engagement (creating partnerships to support recruiting pipelines)

Fun Fact

Michael is a former 软妹社 student who enjoys playing video games, watching sports and anime.

Michael Jackson, M.A.
Michael Jackson, headshot, wearing a blue button-down shirt and blue striped tie, stands in front of a brick wall and smiles.

Special Assistant to the Vice President for Retention & Leadership Development

DuBourg 102


Michael Jackson serves as special assistant to the VP of DICE for retention and leadership development. He is completing his doctoral degree in higher education/administration at Iowa State University. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree from Missouri State University in criminology, and has a Master of Arts degree in political science from Iowa State University. Recently, he was selected to share a part of his research, 鈥淓xploring Leadership Capacities and Experiences of African American Male College Presidents,鈥 at the 21st Annual International Leadership Conference in Ottawa, Canada. Jackson received invaluable support and feedback from global leaders that he will reflect on as he continues to implement various leadership components in higher education.

Before transitioning to academia, Jackson effectively held several leadership positions in the business sector, and successfully led a Fortune 500 company, while overseeing about 2,600 associates. His hobbies include reading, running (full/half marathons), traveling and horseback riding. Two noteworthy quotes that he often reflects on and guide his work are:

"Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be."

"Start by doing what鈥檚 necessary, then do what鈥檚 possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible." 

Aubra Ladd
Aubra Ladd, headshot, stands in front of a brick wall and smiles. She is wearing a tan and white plaid shirt over a brown top.

Program Coordinator - Center for Social Action

Center for Global Citizenship, Suite 134



Aubra Ladd joined 软妹社 in December 2021, as the program coordinator for the Division of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement. Born and raised in Chicago, Aubra moved to St. Louis to attend 软妹社 for both her bachelor鈥檚 degree in communication (2021) and is currently working on her master鈥檚 degree in communication (2023). While a student at 软妹社, Aubra served as a leader in several positions such as a resident advisor and the president of Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society. She hopes to draw from her experience as a student and working with others to coordinate programming for DICE. As a student on 软妹社鈥檚 campus, Aubra hopes to use her experience to identify undergraduate and graduate needs and work within the Jesuit Mission of creating a sense of community that facilitates the development of all.

Job Description

The Program Coordinator in the Division of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement works to coordinate volunteers for community events and community organizations. On the DICE team, Aubra specializes in helping to coordinate university-wide programming, workshops and training. 

Areas of Work and Expertise

  • Programming (#Occupy软妹社 Programming, DICE Open House, 1818 Grant, Graduate Wellness Series)
  • Community building
  • Intercultural communication, copywriting and editing 

Fun Fact

Aubra is obsessed with pop-culture vampires (she's looking at you, David!) and is a Scooby-Doo mega fan. And yes, she thinks Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated! is the best.

Richard B. Marks Jr., Ed.D
Richard Marks, wearing a pink suit, maroon tie and white shirt, stands in front of a brick wall and smiles

Assistant Vice President
Director of the Cross-Cultural Center for Global Citizenship

Center for Global Citizenship, Suite 124M

Richard B. Marks, Jr., Ed.D, (he/him) is the executive director of the Cross-Cultural Center for Global Citizenship at 软妹社. He is a graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, with both a bachelor's in African American Studies/sociology and a master's in higher education administration in student affairs. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. Richard's dissertation "As the World Turns: Being Black and Gay on Campus in the 21st Century" explores factors contributing to the Black gay men at a predominately White institution (PWI) in southern California using the intersection of race, sexual identity and social capital-institutional agents. The themes emerged: self-identity, coming-out, racial & cultural dissonance, (toxic) masculinity, religion/spirituality, institutional support, and family affairs. 

Richard has worked in higher education for over 20 years. He has worked in housing and residence life, student activities, Greek life, student conduct, and diversity education. He has facilitated and presented several topics, including race in higher education, LGBTQ, toxic masculinity, gender roles and expressions, Greek life, various diversity training, team building, leadership, intersectionality, and identity. In addition, he has been the keynote speaker for numerous events. More recently, that includes Chapman University's Black Graduation (2015), Youngstown State University Men of Color Conference (2020), and Midwest Association of Colleges and Universities Residence Halls (2019).

Richard is a past chair of the Pan African Network in Association of College Personnel Association [ACPA], an active member of 100 Black Men of Metropolitan of Saint Louis, board member of YMCA 鈥 Monsanto in Saint Louis, past vice president/charter member of National Panhellenic Council of Orange County, and a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He is also the president of a diversity consulting company called RBM Diversity Consulting, LLC. 

Job Description

As the executive director of the Cross-Cultural Center for Global Citizenship, Richard works closely in a highly collaborative and creative environment. He facilitates training and workshops throughout the institution among faculty, staff, students and the community at large around diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Areas of Work and Expertise

  • DEI Trainings and workshops
  • Black male persistence
  • Black male college students and mental health

Fun Fact

Richard is a reality TV junkie, loves to cook, enjoys traveling, and is vocally talented. Family is very important to him. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

Luella D. Loseille, M.Ed.
Luella D. Loseille

Assistant Director for Diversity and Inclusion, Cross Cultural Center for Global Citizenship

She | Her

Center for Global Citizenship, Suite 124G

Luella Loseille is the assistant director for diversity and inclusion in the Cross Cultural Center for Global Citizenship and the Atlas Program Coordinator. Born and raised in St. Louis from a Haitian family background, Luella attended Saint Louis University for both her undergraduate degree (anthropology, 2017) and graduate degree (student personnel administration, 2019). While a student at 软妹社, Luella was engaged in a myriad of leadership positions (including being inducted into the 软妹社 Student Hall of Fame Class of 2017) and draws from these experiences to better enrich the student experience at 软妹社 within her role as assistant director for diversity and inclusion.

After graduating with her bachelor's in 2017, Luella served as an AmeriCorp VISTA for one year where she strengthened community partnerships between 软妹社 and community organizations with a social-justice focus on race equity. She also assisted in the creation and implementation of programming relating to anti-bias and anti-racism initiatives including the Stand Against Racism campaign in partnership with YWCA Metro St. Louis. After completing her service year with AmeriCorp, Luella worked as the Atlas program coordinator within the Cross Cultural Center until she became assistant director in 2020. With a strong passion in equity and social-justice work, Luella fervently works to cultivate and maintain an environment in which every member of the 软妹社 Community may be their truest and most authentic self. Luella is also an instructor for Cura Personalis 1 and the adviser to student organization OASIS.

Job Description

The assistant director for diversity and inclusion plans and leads diversity, equity and inclusion programs for students, faculty, and staff, and assists in the development and implementation of programming initiatives for the campus community that contributes to the recruitment and retention of underrepresented, minoritized, and/or marginalized populations. Additionally, the assistant director for diversity and inclusion actively participates in the coordination of related awareness, training, and educational programs in conjunction with student organizations, other university departments, and community partners while assisting in the overall daily operations of the Cross Cultural Center for Global Citizenship.

Areas of Work

  • Atlas Week
  • International Education Week
  • Diversity Movie Series
  • Cultural Heritage/Awareness Months
  • Multiple Cultural Fluency
  • Audre Lorde Scholars
  • Safe Zone 

Area of Expertise

  • Multiple Cultural Fluency
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice
  • Intergroup Dialogue
  • Global Diversity Education
  • Student Personnel Administration and Support

Fun Fact

Luella is an avid anime, manga, video game, and K-Pop fan and enjoys reading fantasy books. She also loves a good K-Drama! 

Erica McBride, M.S.W.
Erica McBride headshot, standing in front of a red brick wall and smiling

MLK Scholars and SafeZone Program Coordinator

Center for Global Citizenship, Suite 124


Erica McBride is a St. Louis native. She attended Saint Louis Public schools for her K-12 education, followed by attending Truman State University. At Truman State she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science (2016), with a concentration in disability studies. As a student at Truman State University, she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc, president of the National Panhellenic Council, Miss Iota Xi in the Alpha Phi Alpha Miss Black and Gold pageant and a Ronald E. McNair Scholar.  

After graduating, Erica became a case manager for the Saint Louis Office for Developmental Disabilities, where she created and became president of the diversity, equity and inclusion committee. In 2020, she obtained a master鈥檚 in social work with a certification in nonprofit management and leadership. In 2020, she also became the program coordinator within the department of biology at 软妹社. In this role, Erica developed and implemented programs to recruit and retain students from diverse backgrounds. Within the Cross-Cultural Center for Global Citizenship, she will be the program coordinator who facilitates the MLK Scholars Program and Safe Zone Competency program that strives to shed light on the systemic use of heteronormativity and cis-normativity on Saint Louis University鈥檚 campus. Throughout college and presently, Erica has facilitated and presented on several topics, including disability advocacy and awareness, intersectionality, international services and supports within higher education and diversity within higher education.

Erica is currently a Ph.D. student within the higher education administration program at 软妹社. 

Areas of Work and Expertise

  • Disability services and support
  • TRIO programs
  • Community engagement
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice
  • Recruitment and retention (students of color, first generation, LGBTQ+ and students with disabilities)
  • Student Advising and Support
  • Crisis intervention

Fun Fact

I love traveling, cooking, reading books, volunteering, and watching Tik-Tok videos.

Bryan Sokol, Ph.D.
Bryan Sokol, headshot, wearing a black 软妹社 polo shirt, stands in front of a brick wall smiling.

Assistant Vice-President
Director of the Center for Social Action

Wuller Hall, Suite 204


Bryan Sokol, Ph.D., is an associate professor of psychology and the director of the Center for Social Action at 软妹社. He was trained as a developmental scientist at the University of British Columbia in Canada where he focused on the psychological and social factors that promote positive youth development. He has been a faculty member at 软妹社 since 2007. His current research is directed toward applied contexts that enhance young persons鈥 sense of agency, empathy, purpose and spirituality.

Job Description

Bryan leads the CSA team and help to forge stronger, more effective learning partnerships and service opportunities with the surrounding community.

Areas of Work

  • Community-based research and teaching
  • Impact assessment and evaluation
  • Readers 2 Leaders program
  • Service-immersion programs

Areas of Expertise

  • Rich knowledge of the Catholic, Jesuit mission
  • Scholar-practitioner with training in developmental psychology
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity-and-inclusion, faith-and-justice, and the spiritual-emotional wellbeing of young people

Fun Fact

Bryan is a dual citizen of Canada and the USA; his favorite color is orange.

Bobby Wassel, Ph.D.
Bobby Wassel, headshot, wearing a grey 软妹社 polo shirt, stands in front of a brick wall and smiles.

Director - Center for Social Action

Center for Global Citizenship, Suite 134


Bobby Wassel, Ph.D., serves as the Director for the 软妹社 Center for Social Action. He has over 17 years of experience connecting students to service and community engagement opportunities, and helping students reflect on how these experiences shape their values and purpose in life. Before joining 软妹社 in 2006, Bobby spent a few years as a campus minister at the Catholic Newman Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and also spent a year volunteering in Appalachia, working with the rural poor, at an intentional living community based upon Catholic social teaching.

He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology from Indiana University, and both master's and doctoral degrees in higher education administration from Saint Louis University. Bobby has presented at numerous regional, national and international conferences on such topics as social change and action methods, assessment of faith and service engagement, and organizing high-quality service experiences for college students. He currently resides in Kirkwood, Missouri, with his wife Kelly and two children (Daphne and Keenan).

Job Description

Bobby works to connect 软妹社 students, faculty and staff to community engagement opportunities, as well as maintaining relationships with the over 500 community organizations that partner with the University. He also oversees such programming as the 1818 Community Engagement Grant Program, Community Service Federal Work Study Program, and Year of Service initiatives. Bobby facilitates the operations of the Center for Social Action, including finance and budget, database management, and assessment.

Areas of Work and Expertise

Bobby鈥檚 areas of interest and expertise include the following:

  • Organizing high quality community engagement opportunities for students
  • Assessing motivations, personal development and impact of community engagement experiences on college students
  • Vocational discernment processes for college students
  • Social-change methods; equipping students with the knowledge and skills to engage in advocacy
  • Historical analyses of social-change movements
  • Catholic Social Teaching as a foundational platform for social change

Fun Fact

Bobby is an avid runner and hiker 鈥 he got engaged to his wife Kelly towards the end of the New York City Marathon. Bobby enjoys science fiction/fantasy books and movies.

Leah Sweetman, Ph.D.
Leah Sweetman, headshot, wears a blue blouse and stands in front of a red brick wall, smiling.

Director of Community Engaged Learning - Center for Social Action

Center for Global Citizenship, Suite 134


Leah Sweetman, Ph.D., serves as the director of community-engaged learning for the 软妹社 Center for Social Action. She has more than 20 years of experience in community engagement and higher education.
Leah has a research interest in how universities prepare students to serve in new and diverse settings and is working on ways to integrate those best practices into 软妹社鈥檚 community-engagement programs. She has presented at numerous community-engagement conferences and has co-authored articles on service learning, voter engagement, and social justice education. Leah regularly teaches courses in public-policy analysis and the policymaking process. She is the co-chair of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) Community Engaged Learning Professionals Conference and has served on a number of community-development boards and committees in St. Louis.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Marquette University, a Master of Science in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Ph.D. in public policy analysis and administration from 软妹社. 

Job Description

Through her work, Leah assists faculty with creating new community-engaged learning courses or redesigning existing courses to integrate meaningful community service and reflection experiences into the curriculum. She also chairs the voter-engagement committee at 软妹社 and is passionate about helping students make connections between their service commitments and their civic lives. 

Areas of Work and Expertise

  • Community-engaged scholarship
  • Student-voter engagement
  • Public Policy and Social Change

Fun Fact

Leah is a big fan of snow cones. To date, the best ones are sold in California on the Santa Monica Pier. She also enjoys spending time with her family exploring the great neighborhoods, parks and art spaces in St. Louis.

Melissa Apprill, J.D
Melissa Apprill, headshot, wearing a navy blue sweater and light blue blouse, stands in front of a brick wall and smiles.

Assistant Director of the Good Neighbor Project/Campus Kitchen

3711 West Pine Blvd, Wuller Hall 204

Campus Kitchen 软妹社
303 S. Grand Blvd, Reinert Hall 132A

Melissa Apprill (she/her) joined 软妹社 in 2018, as the program coordinator for Campus Kitchen 软妹社. She received a B.A. in political science from 软妹社 in 1991, and before returning home to the University, she earned a J.D. from Temple University in 1997, and spent 15 years working in the legal profession in the United States and Canada. Regardless of her profession, Melissa鈥檚 vocational calling has always been community-facing, whether serving at Annunciation House in El Paso, working in the City of Philadelphia鈥檚 civil rights unit, or volunteering in her church, children鈥檚 schools, or with organizations such as Sts. Peter and Paul Community Services and Fr. Dempsey鈥檚.

As the Campus Kitchen coordinator, she manages hundreds of volunteers, maintains partnerships with a dozen community organizations, and provides thousands of meals and companionship to St. Louis residents, especially those living in and around 软妹社鈥檚 neighborhood. From working in the community to embracing her role as a student mentor, she epitomizes the 鈥淕ood Neighbor鈥 Initiative she will lead in the Division of Diversity and Innovative Community Engagement.

Fun Fact

Melissa is a terrible speller, but she loves playing Skrabbell (did she spell that correctly?). And nothing beats a family picnic at the beach! 

Jessica Trout, M.S.W.
Jessica Trout

Assistant Director for Advocacy and Civic Engagement - Center for Social Action

Center for Global Citizenship, Suite 134


Jessica began working in higher education in 2014 at McKendree University as the inaugural staff member in the Center for Community Service. She moved to 软妹社 in 2017 into a new position in the Center for Social Action focused on advocacy and social change. Prior to her work in higher education, Jessica graduated from Saint Louis University as a first-generation college student with a bachelor's degree in social work and international studies. After graduating, she moved to the Federated States of Micronesia to teach high school for two years. In 2013, she completed her Master of Social Work degree at Columbia University in New York City, with an emphasis in social policy. During her studies in New York, she worked with Voices of Women Organizing Project, a community-organizing nonprofit working with survivors of domestic violence. After six months in Central America during college, and various trips back to the region, as well as time along the US-Mexico border, Jessica has a passion for immigration policy.

Job Description

The advocacy program coordinator maintains relationships with regional and national advocacy groups, as well as advises student organizations focused on community service and social-justice activities. The program coordinator leads and supports integrative educational opportunities that promote leadership and spiritual formation, advocacy skills, and political engagement among students and the broader campus community. Examples of programming include Policy Pods, social justice and advocacy training, and the Kino Border Initiative Spring Break Immersion. 

Areas of Work 

  • Policy Pods
  • Social justice and advocacy training
  • Student advising and support
  • Coalitions
  • Neighborhood associations
  • Immigration and border immersion

Areas of Expertise

  • Immigration
  • Student-leadership training
  • Coalition building
  • Social-justice education
  • Community partnerships

Fun Fact

Jessica's dog's name, Tiko, comes from a Micronesian word, Fitikoco, meaning chaos, and he lives up to it, especially in his greetings!