Employee Bios

Meet our Faculty, Admin, and Staff

Take a look around at our AAC team below, or search the full school directory.

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Making your college experience as great as possible requires a lot of teamwork. Feel free to use the department filters below to find who you are looking for. 

Faculty Bios

Faculty Bios

AllFacultyAdjunct Instructors
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VP of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean

Paige Williams

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Associate Dean, Design

Mark Thomas

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Liberal Arts Chair - Assistant Professor

Emily Everhart

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Studio Arts Chair, Sculpture

Keith Benjamin

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Associate Professor, Photography

Emily Hanako Momohara

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Associate Professor, Painting & Drawing

Jimmy Baker

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Associate Professor/Head of Creative Writing

Matt Hart

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Associate Professor, Print Media

Matthew Dayler

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Assistant Professor, Illustration

David Butler

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Assistant Professor/Head of Digital Arts Animation

Loraine Wible

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Assistant Professor/Head of Design

Kate Tepe

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MAAE Coordinator

Stephen Kenny

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Associate Director of Exhibitions, Assistant Professor

Matt Coors

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Adjunct Instructor / Adjunct Liaison

Ian Hersko

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Adjunct Instructor

Terence Hammonds

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Adjunct Instructor

Lindsey Whittle

VP of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean

Paige Williams

Currently the Academic Dean at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, she exhibits locally, nationally and internationally including exhibitions in Germany, the Ukraine, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York. She has been selected as an Artist in Residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts in New York, The University of Alaska in Anchorage, The Neu Rathaus Gallery in Munich, Germany and The Vermont Studio Center. Grants include an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a Summerfair Award to Individual Artists.

Associate Dean, Design

Mark Thomas

Mark is Professor and Associate Dean at AAC.  Professor Thomas has developed courses in graphic design, illustration and design history. He is a published author of internationally distributed textbooks on design and design methodology. He has designed numerous exhibitions, catalogs, and posters. An award-winning designer of educational board game design, he also holds a U.S. Patent for a color demonstration device for teaching color theory. He is a past President and active board member of AIGA Cincinnati.

Liberal Arts Chair - Assistant Professor

Emily Everhart

Emily specializes in eighteenth and nineteenth-century European art. She has presented in national conferences and received grants and fellowships for research in the U.S. and abroad. A portion of her doctoral thesis will appear in a forthcoming publication by the Georgia Museum of Art. Her current research interest is in manifestations of eighteenth-century sociability in landscape architecture.

email:eeverhart@artacademy.edu

room:N211

phone:513.562.6278

Studio Arts Chair, Sculpture

Keith Benjamin

Keith Benjamin is a sculptor and professor living and working in Cincinnati. His creative work involves repurposing, re-valuing, and rearranging items and materials from the home that he shares with his wife and two children. He has shown his work regionally and internationally. In 2011 he was awarded a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

phone:513-562-6272

room:N213

Associate Professor, Photography

Emily Hanako Momohara

Momohara has served as visiting artist in many residency programs including the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Red Gate Gallery Beijing. She received a 2011 Ohio Arts Council Excellence Grant. Recently, she exhibited in the Chongqing Photography and Video Biennial, Japanese American National Museum and the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center.

Associate Professor, Painting & Drawing

Jimmy Baker

Baker has taught in the Studio Department at the AAC since 2004. He has exhibited work in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Basel, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, and other American cities. His work has been featured in many publications, private collections, as well as permanent collections at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Zabludowicz Art Trust, Taschen Foundation, Cincinnati Art Museum, Columbus Museum of Art, Progressive Insurance Collection, and JP Morgan Chase Collection.

email:jbaker@artacademy.edu

room:N413

phone :513-562-6292

Associate Professor/Head of Creative Writing

Matt Hart

Matt Hart is the author of Radiant Action, Radiant Companion, and six previous collections of poetry. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and several fellowships. Additionally, he is a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety. He plays guitar and shouts in the bands TRAVEL and THE LOUDEST SOUNDER.

Associate Professor, Print Media

Matthew Dayler

Matthew Dayler’s work has been exhibited at the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, The Brooks Museum in Memphis Tennessee, and Galerie Edition Schedler in Zurich, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Australia, Miami, NYC and LA. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently faculty at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and is one of the founders of Higher Level Art.

Assistant Professor, Illustration

David Butler

St. Louis native and Ohio-based Artist David Butler within the figurative painting tradition. He attained his BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design, he places Black figure in environments and narratives to provoke dialogue on identity, and his life experiences. His recent focus is interpreting Blackness sans trauma through the lens of existence, beauty, and life in the now showcasing the intersection of identities, and their experiences in culture.

Assistant Professor/Head of Digital Arts Animation

Loraine Wible

Loraine Wible is a Cincinnati based artist, educator, and pataphysics enthusiast who tries to uncover structural methods of institutions through absurdism and humor. She grew up in France where she studied filmmaking and diverse art movements related to surrealism. Her work combines digital tools such as video, animation, algorithms, sound, 3-D modeling, and other computer arts to create bridges between the architecture and the narrative.

Assistant Professor/Head of Design

Kate Tepe

Kate Tepe is a multi-media artist who creates work related to group and personal identities, interpersonal relationships, and community networks. She has over a decade of experience working with brand identity and development, communications, marketing, and art education and programming. Kate has a socially engaged practice but has also worked with brands such as Massimo Zanetti, Target, and Pepsi, and creative partners such as the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Public Schools, University of Dayton, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

MAAE Coordinator

Stephen Kenny

Stephen Kenny is a painter, illustrator and educator living and working in Cincinnati, OH

Email:skenny@artacademy.edu

Room:S556

Associate Director of Exhibitions, Assistant Professor

Matt Coors

Matt is an artist who has worked in a wide variety of media, including drawing, sculpture, photography, and digital processes. He earned an MFA from the University of California, San Diego in 2009. He is also the co-founder of two former art galleries: Publico in Cincinnati and Double Break in San Diego.

Adjunct Instructor / Adjunct Liaison

Ian Hersko

Ian Hersko is an artist, educator, and curator living in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He currently teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in both the studio and liberal arts and has a personal interest in critical theory.  Hersko is also the founder and operator of Rainbow, a queer and trans focused gallery and project space in Cincinnati.  In his own artistic practice, Hersko creates multimedia installations and objects that contemplate touch, loss and anti-monumentalism.  Before becoming an educator, Hersko worked in social work, which informed his approach to teaching and community building.   

Email:ian.hersko@artacademy.edu

Room:S6th Floor Adjunct Office

Adjunct Instructor

Terence Hammonds

Adjunct Instructor

Lindsey Whittle

Lindsey M Whittle, a fashion/performance artist, with a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and an MDES from the School of the Art Institute Chicago. She taught English in Japan, was Artbin Director for Kiki Magazine and free-lanced as art director/costume director for Yellowhaus videos and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Whittle makes colorful, transformable/wearable objects and also co-runs PIQUE gallery/Airbnb.

Faculty Work

Faculty Work

Our faculty have a diverse set of skills and experiences that they bring to the classroom. The AAC faculty have exhibited internationally, produced books, run DIY art spaces, made billboards, screened films at festivals, organized protests, painted murals, toured in bands, spoke at conferences and endless more creative outputs. 

Students bring the enthusiasm, and faculty will provide the experience to build a collaborative learning experience together. 

Administration Bios

Administration Bios

AllAdministrationPresidentAdmissionsBusiness Office
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President

Joseph Girandola

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VP of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean

Paige Williams

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Vice President of Administration and Finance

Lea Wagner

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Vice President of Enrollment and Retention

Chris Bridges

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Executive Assistant

Lacey Haslam

President

Joseph Girandola

Before assuming his role of president at the Academy of Art Cincinnati, Joe Girandola began his career in arts administration as the Artist Residency Director at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE. From Omaha, Girandola was recruited to become the Assistant Director for the Santa Fe Art Institute. His time in Santa Fe opened the doors to teaching where he transitioned to Higher Education in the Art Department at Pomona College in Southern California. From his experience at Pomona College, Girandola assumed the role as Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Girandola relocated with his family to Cincinnati in 2012 as the Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP). Prior to accepting the role as President of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Girandola served as Interim Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at DAAP.

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Joe Girandola is an internationally exhibited artist and is a classically trained stone carver from his studies in Florence, Italy. He has since continued his artistic practice working primarily on two and three-dimensional drawings, paintings, and sculptures using a variety of media ranging from duct tape to milk crates. Girandola is the recipient of numerous grants including the 2017 and 2019 BLINK Artist Grant, 21C Pitch Night ArtPrize Grant, 3rd Century University of Cincinnati Studio and materials Grant, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, and a Change Inc. Grant. Joe Girandola will maintain his studio practice while honorably serving the as the 18th leader and President of the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

VP of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean

Paige Williams

Currently the Academic Dean at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, she exhibits locally, nationally and internationally including exhibitions in Germany, the Ukraine, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York. She has been selected as an Artist in Residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts in New York, The University of Alaska in Anchorage, The Neu Rathaus Gallery in Munich, Germany and The Vermont Studio Center. Grants include an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a Summerfair Award to Individual Artists.

Vice President of Administration and Finance

Lea Wagner

Lea has a BBA in Finance from the University of Cincinnati, and MBA in Organizational Leadership from the University of Findlay and has earned a Certified Treasury Professional Certification. She’s a native of Cincinnati and enjoys spending time with her family in her spare time.

Vice President of Enrollment and Retention

Chris Bridges

Chris is a first-gen student dedicated to student success and a more equitable world via transformative art and education. Chris earned his PhD in Higher Education Leadership at Ohio University, and M.S. in College Student Personnel and BPh in sociology/theatre at Miami University. He has served as the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs at Mansfield University, Dean of Students at Yale-NUS, and as Director/Strategic Consultant for Moon Shot for Equity at EAB.

Executive Assistant

Lacey Haslam

In addition to assisting Joe Girandola, President of the Art Academy, Lasey Haslam is the Director of the Archive of Creative Culture, co-founder of the campSITE Schulpture Park and is an adjunct professor at DAAP UC and Kennesaw State University.  Haslam has her Masters Degree from San Francisco Art Institute and holds a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Email:lacey.haslam@artacademy.edu

Room:Outside Joe's Office

Phone:513-562-8743

Staff Bios

Staff Bios

AllAcademic AffairsMarketingStudent ServicesRegistrarHuman ResourcesFacilitiesCommunity EducationBusiness OfficeAdmissions
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Associate Director of Admissions

Brevyn Fleming

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Admissions Operations Manager & Admissions Counselor

Dani Tellez

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Admissions Counselor & International Coordinator

Jordan Gakle

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Associate Director of Academic Success/Liberal Arts Faculty

Megan Martin

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Admissions Counselor

Sam Herbers

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Admissions Counselor

Alison Trimbur

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Video Producer

Markus Cook

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Mental Health Counselor

Casey Riordan

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Associate Director of Professional Development

Audrey Bertaux

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Professional Development Program Assistant

Nytaya Babbitt

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Director of Marketing and Communications

Nicholas Korn

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Business Office Manager

Rose Emory

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Office Manager

Alex Tellez

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Registrar

Alex Siebert

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Executive Assistant

Denise Brennan Watson

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Community Education Assistant and Regional Scholastic Coordinator

Sam Holloway

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Community Education Creative Interactions Coordinator

Tommy Ballard

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Human Resources Officer

Linda Kollmann

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Director of Facilities

Rick Wolhoy

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Facilities Administrator for Student Services

Jake Brinkmann

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Social Media Manager

Dutana D

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Dean of Students

Ricky Pleasant

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Digital Design Manager

Dylan Robinson

Associate Director of Admissions

Brevyn Fleming

Brevyn is a 2018 alum of the AAC.  Having studied illustration and creative writing, she is working on several stories including a webcomic.  She’s extremely passionate and will happily talk about whatever book, game or show she’s currently obsessing over.

Admissions Operations Manager & Admissions Counselor

Dani Tellez

Dani has been a Cincinnati native since 2000. She is an AAC Alum with a focus in Art History and Painting. When not in the office, she enjoys time with her husband going to concerts, cafes, museums and hanging out with their cats.

Admissions Counselor & International Coordinator

Jordan Gakle

Jordan is from Ann Arbor, Michigan and studied English and Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. As a writer, her primary artistic outlet is through poetry. She has had six poems published in various journals, spanning from undergraduate collections to internationally distributed publications. After moving to Cincinnati on a whim in January of 2021, she fell in love with the city and creative scene here.

Associate Director of Academic Success/Liberal Arts Faculty

Megan Martin

Megan has taught academic and creative writing since 2005. She is the author of two collections of experimental prose, NEVERS and Sparrow & Other Eulogies, and serves as prose editor for the literary journal and small press Coast/No Coast. She holds a BA in English from the University of Iowa and an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Email:mmartin@artacademy.edu

Room:S270

Admissions Counselor

Sam Herbers

I am a Sculpture Artist and Art Academy of Cincinnati Alum, class of 2017. I make costumes and sculptures based on designs from 50’s and 60’s science fiction. I consider my installations and sculptures as an uninhibited view of the future, offering my take on inventions and advancements as I want them to be. Sci-fi movies are crude and mysterious, and I use a mixture of sculptured and found objects to form my creations that play off those ideas. The objects I make are less defined by the guidelines of historical art, but rather somewhere beyond that in a world of fictional futurism.

Admissions Counselor

Alison Trimbur

I am very excited to be working with the Art Academy of Cincinnati! I am originally from Youngstown, OH, and spent a lot of my life in Dayton as well. I graduated from UC in 2018 and have been working in higher education ever since. I enjoy being in creative spaces supporting artists, and in my free time I like to read, write, attend concerts and be with my family. I love meeting new people, so please come say hi!

Video Producer

Markus Cook

Markus Charles Cook is an award-winning filmmaker born and raised in Cincinnati, receiving his degree in Media Communications from Asbury University 2017.  He owns and leads creative direction for the video production house MonCharle.  When he's not on the clock, you can still typically find him behind the camera, working on his own narrative film projects. Or gaming his brain cells away with his friends.
Mental Health Counselor

Casey Riordan

Casey Riordan, LPC, received an MA in Mental Health Counseling from University of Cincinnati and a BFA in Painting from Ohio University. In addition, she maintains a professional studio practice and exhibits her work in museums and galleries throughout the US.

Associate Director of Professional Development

Audrey Bertaux

Audrey earned her MFA from The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University. Audrey is professional theatre artist with over ten years of experience across the East Coast.  Audrey is the Producing Artistic Director and founder of Walterhoope, a Cincinnati performing arts non-profit. Audrey is dedicated to setting AAC students up for success after school.

Professional Development Program Assistant

Nytaya Babbitt

Nytaya earned her BFA at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in illustration. She practices advocacy within her work hoping to impact the community, through empathy and creative thinking. Nytaya is set on helping others achieve their goals.

Director of Marketing and Communications

Nicholas Korn

Nicholas is a digital marketing strategist with over 15 years serving the Cincinnati business community. He is also a playwright, poet and composer. His stage play, Delirium’s Daughters, was produced Off-Broadway in 2015, and he produced 23 plays at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center for the Arts. He is currently publishing a large-scale poetry project called The Wild Sonnets and producing his music series, The Atomic Symphonies. Nicholas is a graduate of Northwestern University with a BA in English Literature.

Business Office Manager

Rose Emory

Business Analyst Specialist. I am a highly motivated, positive individual with great organizational leadership and communication skills achieving success in Fortune 500 corporate roles, business ownership and community leadership by combining broad business acumen and talent for bringing diverse people together around shared interests. Customer service master and efficient problem solver, and experience with project management work.

Office Manager

Alex Tellez

A native of Texas, Alexandria grew up in a military family and lived on the East Coast until moving to Cincinnati in 2000. Alexandria began studies in Business at Cincinnati State after graduating from Oak Hills High School. She began her work at AAC in summer of 2014 in Community Education’s award-winning Camp Art Academy program.

email:atellez@artacademy.edu

room:2nd Floor Front Desk

phone:513-562-6265

Registrar

Alex Siebert

Alex is a Cincinnati native who primarily uses music as his creative outlet, performing in a variety of ensembles. He has devoted his career to helping people to reach their full creative potential. He believes that the arts play an integral role in shaping peoples’ lives, and enjoys meeting the creative and unique people that inspire the rest of the world.

Executive Assistant

Denise Brennan Watson

A native of South Texas, Denise Brennan Watson was a member of the Coastal Bend English Riding Association and King English Riding Association. Denise holds a Master of Arts in Philosophy, and she completed a double major in Philosophy and Journalism with a minor in English. She loves words and culinary arts.

Community Education Assistant and Regional Scholastic Coordinator

Sam Holloway

Sam graduated from the AAC in 2019 with a BFA in Illustration, minoring in Painting and Drawing. She started her Community Education career in 2016 as an assistant at Camp Art Academy, then excelled as CE’s student work study until her graduation. Sam has a passion to inspire creativity and fun in everyone she meets.

Community Education Creative Interactions Coordinator

Tommy Ballard

After neighborhood-hopping around the Miami Valley, Tommy found a home along the Ohio River in Cincinnati. In 2016 he joined the CE Faculty as an instructor of natural-dyeing, textile printing, and fiber work. Since then, he has coordinated outreach programs such as Artist & Writer in Residence and Portfolio Prep. He enjoys bodies of waters, nostalgia, and a bargain.

Human Resources Officer

Linda Kollmann

Linda spent 25 years in northern Ohio before moving down to Cincinnati and raising her two kids here.  She has worked in HR for 10 years and loves getting to interact with employees on a daily basis.  Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her blended family, especially her granddaughter.

Director of Facilities

Rick Wolhoy

Born and raised in Eastern Kentucky, Rick earned his BFA from nearby Marshall University. Making his way to Cincinnati by the Ohio River, Wolhoy received an MFA at the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Prior to leading the facilities department at the AAC, Rick held the position of Assistant Director of Academic at the University of Cincinnati focusing on the instruction of sculpture, as well as managing the MFA graduate studio facility. While owning and operating Rick Wolhoy, LLC he specializes in a wide variety of design and fabrication throughout the greater Cincinnati region.

Facilities Administrator for Student Services

Jake Brinkmann

Duck Tape Enthusiast, creative adventurist, and maker of things.  Bachelors of Fine Arts at The University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Minor in Marketing at The Lindner College of Business. Before joining the AAC team, Jake worked on sculptures, animatronics, and themed sets for amusement parks and museums. He spent a couple years hand cutting tile for Rookwood Pottery and continues to do landscaping on the side. “Always keep Duck Tape in your car.”

Email:jake.brinkmann@artacademy.edu

Phone:513.867.5309

Office:S660

Social Media Manager

Dutana D

Dutana D is a Minneapolis raised and Cincinnati based artist. She graduated from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 2022 with a BFA in design and a minor in creative writing. Dutana’s work utilizes synthetic hair which is culturally and socially connected to black bodies in hopes to shift the gaze of contemporary spaces while simultaneously combating black erasure. When she’s not in the office she’s most likely attending to her plant babies.

Dean of Students

Ricky Pleasant

Ricky earned his MBA from the University of Cincinnati and his BS in Finance from Alabama A&M University. Ricky’s primary focus is being a resource bank for teens and young adults. He believes that if everyone has the proper information and opportunity, they will be able to fulfill their purpose and accomplish their goals. When he is not working with students, Ricky enjoys watching movies, listening to music, and watching other people play video games.

Digital Design Manager

Dylan Robinson

An experienced designer and illustrator operating out of downtown Cincinnati, Dylan Robinson has dedicated a troubling amount of his brain towards remembering inane comic book trivia, and is capable of putting both feet behind his head, much to the horror of onlookers.

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