May 2022 Volume 1, Issue 4

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Katrina Washington PhD congratulatory graphic

GEDI's Katrina Washington earns PhD

Katrina Washington has earned her doctorate degree in adult education within the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology at Auburn University. Dr. Washington will officially be awarded her diploma at the graduation ceremony held on May 7 in Neville Arena.

Washington joined the Government & Economic Development Institute (GEDI) team in 2017 and serves as a Human Resources Consultant. In this role, she provides services and support to local governments in the areas of job descriptions, classification plans, pay plans, performance management, organizational analysis, and policies and procedures. In addition, her responsibilities include performing quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Katrina frequently authors and co-authors articles to contribute to literature. She also serves as an instructional designer, develops, and implements training program curriculum and materials, and serves as an instructor for various training programs.

“GEDI is fortunate to have Dr. Washington as a member of our team. Earning her PhD is a testament to her work ethic and commitment to education. Her pursuit of excellence is directly reflected in this professional achievement. Our entire team and the civic officials we serve across the great State of Alabama will greatly benefit from her continued expertise,” said Jeremy Arthur, GEDI Director.

Washington received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Public Administration degree from Auburn University at Montgomery. She began her PhD coursework in August of 2018 while continuing her regular work schedule and attending courses in the evening. When COVID-19 impacted the university, Washington transitioned to online coursework and continued working on her dissertation, “Examining the Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence, Job Performance, Job Satisfaction, and Employee Engagement among Workforce Educators”.

Dr. Washington resides in Montgomery with her husband and four children. The Washington family will be celebrating three graduations in May. Along with Dr. Washington’s accomplishment, her eldest son is earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering, and another son will receive a high school diploma. 

Book cover of Penelope in Repose Poems by Ken Autrey

OLLI member presents book reading and signing 

Award-winning poet and OLLI member, Ken Autrey, presented a reading and book signing for his latest work, Penelope in Repose, at the Sunny Slope Annex on April 19. In addition to Penelope in Repose, winner of the 2021 Helen Kay Chapbook Contest (Evening Street Press), Ken has published three other chapbooks: Pilgrims (Main Street Rag), Rope Lesson (Longleaf Press), and The Wake of the Year (Solomon and George), and is widely published in poetry journals. Ken is an Emeritus Professor of English at Francis Marion University in South Carolina. He and his wife, Janne Debes, now live in Auburn. 

Ken Autrey also helps coordinate the Third Thursday Poetry Series. This series features poetry readings by regionally and nationally acclaimed poets and takes place on the third Thursdays of each month at Pebble Hill. These readings are open to the public thanks to sponsorship by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities, theDepartment of English, and Southern Humanities Review in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University; the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University; and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Learn More about Penelope in Repose
People plant a garden outside

In-service Learning Experience with ACHR and Horticulture Class

In December 2021, the Office of Public Service (OPS) met with the Alabama Council on Human Relations (ACHR) to discuss assistance with their community garden. They were able to partner with Dr. Joshua Weaver, a Horticulture Professor for the College of Agriculture, a senior-level capstone class. The garden will be utilized to provide nutrition and accessible food to 108 participants of the Headstart Program, as well as members of the aging population. The garden will consist of eight raised garden beds and an area with a bench. In conjunction, they are partnering with the Horticulture Club at Auburn University to assist with the garden upkeep and maintenance. This experience provided the students with real-world application in their field of study, but most importantly their contribution to addressing food insecurity. The Office of Public Service offers faculty in-service learning experiences for their classroom, if you are interested in learning more about in-service learning opportunities, please contact Dr. Jocelyn Vickers, Director for Public Service, wilchjl@auburn.edu.

Learn More about Volunteering

Join us in making a difference!


MAY 19, 2022

The Third Thursday Poetry Series will meet at Pebble Hill on May 19 and will feature OLLI poets. Refreshments begin at 6, and the reading is at 6:30.


MAY 12, 2022

The GEDI Entrepreneurship Pop-Up Workshop will take place from 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. at the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. 

CEOE student intern and AU volleyball player


Name: Tatum Shipes 

Year: Senior

Major: Business Management and Communications 

Hometown: Buford, GA

Role in Outreach: Tatum Shipes is a Student Intern for the Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement (CEOE). Her responsibilities include assisting with launching the Auburn University Student Ambassador program, implementing initiatives for GEAR UP Alabama student alumni who are enrolled here on campus, and a variety of other tasks. Taylor was also a member of the Women’s Volleyball team. She will be graduating in May and attending the University of Arkansas in the fall to pursue a Master’s degree and resume her volleyball career. Tatum received a volleyball scholarship from Auburn at age 14. In her free time, Tatum loves hanging out with her friends, meeting new people, and being outdoors. Tatum has truly been an asset to CEOE.

Esperanza House logo


Esperanza House is a non-profit organization with a focus on youth development, childcare, education, and advocacy in the Auburn-Opelika area. 

"Our mission is to improve the quality of life for Hispanic children and families. Esperanza House desires to intentionally develop and implement programs that meet the needs of low-income, Hispanic families and their children in such critical areas as mental health, youth development, childcare, education, and advocacy.

Ultimately, our mission is to lead people into growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We strive towards this by providing Bible studies and devotions for children and their families."

Esperanza House welcomes volunteers  during after school tutoring and special events. Volunteers are instrumental to the work that we do and are a blessing to our children and families.

Connect with Esperanza House 

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