Meet our 2021-2022 AmeriCorps VISTAs!

September 24, 2021

One of the greatest highlights of our year is welcoming a new cohort of AmeriCorps VISTAs!  We are thrilled to introduce our 2021-2022 cohort of VISTAs and spotlight our host sites for the service year.

Our VISTAs serve in the NC Afterschool Corps and the NC Hunger Corps at host sites across the state.  They have the unique opportunity of serving at the intersection of higher education and community engagement and building the capacity of campus and community organization partnerships while also expanding volunteer opportunities for students and community members.

The NC Hunger Corps are AmeriCorps members who support programs and organizations that address food security and healthy eating among low-income children, families, and individuals.  Hunger Corps VISTA members are placed at higher education institutions or community-based organizations and may support on-campus and off-campus food security programs.  This service year we are pleased to host seven Hunger Corps VISTAs.

The NC Afterschool Corps are AmeriCorps members placed at higher education institutions and community-based organizations to build the capacity of afterschool programs that serve underserved children, youth, and families. Corps members primarily work to increase volunteer involvement with and funding for the afterschool program. They also strive to raise community awareness of the value of afterschool programs.

Our host sites are the backbone of our VISTA program.  Host site supervisors commit to guiding and mentoring members through their service year and are often mentioned by our members as one of the greatest aspects of their service experience.  We are pleased to welcome NC Central University, Duke University – Graduate and Professional Student Council Community Pantry, Piedmont Community College, and NC State University – Juntos Program as new host sites this year.

Without further ado, meet the VISTAs!  Be sure to also meet our amazing VISTA Leader, Hannah Fraser.

Neely Griggs – NC Hunger Corps

Service Year Host Site:  Wingate University, Collaborative for the Common Good
From:  West Point, Mississippi
Alma Mater:  University of Mississippi – Public Policy Leadership, German, and Business
Before service:  Working on a certified naturally grown farm.
Hobby:  Loves to go on hikes with her dog and spend time outside.
Fun Fact: Favorite quote is from T.S. Eliot, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”

Anna Johnson – NC Hunger Corps

Service Year Host Site:  Warren Wilson College
From:  Greensboro, NC
Alma Mater:  Warren Wilson College – B.A. in Environmental Policy and Justice, and a minor in Peace and Justice Studies.
Before service:  Worked on campus with the previous VISTA on food security projects.
Hobby:  Enjoys hiking, swimming, kayaking, camping, watching the sunrise/sunset, and everything in between!
Fun fact:  Has been dancing since she was very young, having been trained in most dance styles, from ballet to African to contemporary.

Kieran Layne – NC Afterschool Corps

Service Year Host Site:    UNC Asheville-Marvelous Math Club
From:  Asheville, NC
Alma mater:  Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Associate of Science
Before service:  Served as a champion at Marvelous Math Club – his current host site!
Hobby:  Loves reading fantasy and horror novels.
Fun Fact: His middle name is Wolfgang and he goes by Wolfie when he is with his family.

Marguerite Leek – NC Hunger Corps

Service Year Host Site:    Duke University – Graduate and Professional Student Council Community Pantry
From:  Waynesville, NC
Alma mater:  UNC-Chapel Hill – B.A. in Communications and Global Studies with a minor in Women and Gender Studies.
Before service:  Completed her first AmeriCorps VISTA term at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Hobby:  Enjoys sewing, crocheting, walking, hiking, baking, and watching reality television.
Fun Fact: In college, was heavily involved with local organizations working towards food access in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro community. Also volunteered as a Study Abroad Peer Ambassador and an Academic Advising Peer at UNC.

Mitchell Moravec – NC Hunger Corps

Service Year Host Site:    NC Central University – Campus Pantry
From:  Born in Aurora, OH, relocated to Raleigh, NC for school and beyond!
Alma mater:  NC State University – B.A. in Psychology, B.S. in Material Sciences Engineering; NC State University – Master of Public Administration
Before service:  Served as a post-grad volunteer with Wake County Women’s Center and Wake Up and Read!
Hobby:  Loves Crossword Puzzles (currently on a 63-day streak with the NYT!).
Fun fact: Studied abroad in Oxford, England and Poznań, Poland.

Desiree Ofodile – NC Afterschool Corps

Service Year Host Site:  NC State University – Juntos Program
From:  Raleigh, NC
Alma mater:  UNC-Chapel Hill – B.A. in Biology and minors in Medical Anthropology and Medicine, Literature, and Culture
Before service:  Worked at WakeMed Hospital while studying at UNC.
Hobby:  Enjoys singing.
Fun fact: Completed medical missions in Honduras and Nigeria.

Karen Peirce – NC Afterschool Corps

Service Year Host Site:  Warren Wilson College
From:  Bristol, RI
Alma mater:  Rollins College – A.B.H. in English; Carnegie Mellon University – M.A. in Rhetoric; University of Arizona – Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English
Before service:  Worked as a writer, editor, and in marketing/advancement.
Hobby:  Enjoys reading, watching sports on TV, studying Korean, and bird watching.
Fun fact: Taught English in South Korea, and worked with the Korean Embassy in Washington D.C.

Demetrice Sheard – NC Hunger Corps

Service Year Host Site:  East Carolina University – Purple Pantry
From:  Columbia, SC
Alma mater:  Coastal Carolina University – B.A. in Public Health
Before service:  Worked for a friend’s painting business.
Hobby:  Enjoys working out at the gym or reading about cryptocurrency and stocks.
Fun fact: He knows basic sign language!

Maddy Smith – NC Hunger Corps

Service Year Host Site:  NC State University – Feed the Pack Pantry
From:  Atlanta, GA
Alma mater:  Dickinson College – B.A. in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Food Studies.
Before service:  Volunteering with the local YWCA’s sexual assault hotline. Also taught children about how a farm functions and where their food comes from on an educational farm in Brevard, NC.
Hobby:  Enjoys hiking, dancing, making ice cream, and being outside.
Fun fact: She was present for an animal birth at the farm this summer!

Elly Thompson – NC Afterschool Corps

Service Year Host Site:  Duke University – Office of Durham and Community Affairs
From:  Charlotte, NC
Alma mater:  UNC – Chapel Hill – B.A. in Public Policy with a concentration in Education and a minor in History
Before service:  This is Elly’s second term of VISTA service with the same host site.  Before AmeriCorps, she was completing her undergraduate degree and working in a tutoring program through the YMCA of the Triangle.
Hobby:  Loves painting (when she can find time to do it) and enjoys spending time in nature/taking walks with friends.
Fun fact:  Studied abroad at the University of Bristol in England.

Kevin Tolson – NC Hunger Corps

Service Year Host Site:  Piedmont Community College
From:  Berkley, CA
Alma mater:  JFK University – B.A. in Journalism; North Carolina Central University – Master of Social Work
Before service:  Served as an adjunct professor at NC Central University in the department of Social Work.
Hobby:  Loves learning and considers himself a lifelong learner.
Fun fact: This is his 5th VISTA term!

NC Campus Compact has a long history hosting AmeriCorps projects.  You may read more about our AmeriCorps VISTA program here.