Campus & Community Voter Engagement Summit for Missouri and Illinois

The 2019 Campus & Community Voter Engagement Summit will be held Thursday, September 12th from 9:30am-4pm in St. Louis. The Summit is hosted by the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement and the Center for Social Development in the Brown School at Washington University. Registration is free for all attendees with lunch and parking included. The Summit will bring together administrators, faculty, and student leaders from colleges and universities in Missouri and Illinois to explore this year’s theme: “Pathways to Participation: Creating Environments to Empower Student Voters.”


Summit Agenda and Location 

PDF of Agenda agenda and location can be downloaded here

LOCATION: Brown Lounge, Brown Hall, Washington University in St.  Louis


9:30 am – Registration/Check-in

10:00 am – Welcome & Introductions – Theresa Kouo & Dr. Gena McClendon, Washington University; Jacob Wilson, CEEP/SIUE

10:15 am – Roundtable 1: Counting US: Partnerships for Full 2020 Census and Election Participation

  • Ethel Byndom, Office of St. Louis County Executive
  • Natalie Furlett, Campus Compact
  • Jennifer Lohman, St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition
  • Vicki Washington, St. Louis Area Voting Initiative

11:15 am – Roundtable 2: Research & Assessment for Inclusive Democracy

  • Dr. Jillian Martin, Washington University
  • Dr. Gena McClendon, Washington University
  • Jacob Wilson, CEEP/SIUE


12:15 pm – Break

12:30 pm – Lunch & Learn: PRESS the Vote – A New Collection of Election Engagement Resources for Community Colleges – Verdis Robinson, Campus Compact

1:15 pm – Panel Discussion: Working with Election Officials – Laws, Resources, & Partnerships

  • Brent Davis, Director of Election Operations, Illinois State Board of Elections
  • Eric Fey, Democratic Director, St. Louis County Board of Elections
  • Debra D. Ming-Mendoza, Madison County (IL) Clerk
  • Gary Stoff, Republican Director, St. Louis City Board of Elections

2:15 pm – Guided Group Discussion: Creating Pathways to Participation: 2018 Lessons & 2020 Planning

3:15 pm – What’s Next?: Collaboration, Goal Setting, and Planning for 2020 and Beyond – Jacob Wilson, CEEP/SIUE


Keynote speaker: Verdis L. Robinson

Verdis L. Robinson is the Director for Community College Engagement at Campus Compact. As an advocate of community college civic education, Robinson leads Campus Compact’s Community Colleges for Democracy network as part of his portfolio and continues the work he began two years ago as the national director of The Democracy Commitment (TDC), expanding membership, resources, and programming opportunities for community colleges.  Before becoming national director of TDC, Robinson was a tenured Assistant Professor of History and African-American Studies at Monroe Community College (MCC) in Rochester, NY, where he taught web-enhanced, writing-intensive, service learning history courses for ten years.

Additionally, Robinson is a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Faculty Seminar on Citizenship and the American and Global Polity, and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Faculty Seminar on Rethinking Black Freedom Studies: The Jim Crow North and West. He is also a Public Scholar of Humanities New York. Robinson is the author of Bacon’s Rebellion and the Transformation of America (2014), a Reacting to the Past game in development, A Charge to Keep, I Have: The Biography of Bishop Charles Campbell (2001), and has co-authored the upcoming Beyond These Gates: Mountains of Hope in Rochester’s African-American History (2018) as well as contributed to Higher Education’s Role in Enacting a Thriving Democracy: Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Theory of Change (2018).

Robinson also serves on the advisory boards for the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, Bringing Theory to Practice, and the Reacting Consortium Board of Reacting to the Past (RTTP) as its chair of the inclusion committee. He holds a B.M. in Voice Performance from Boston University, a B.S. cum laude and M.A. in History from SUNY College at Brockport, and an M.A. in African-American Studies from SUNY University at Buffalo.  He is currently the Lenora Montgomery Scholar at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. Read more about Robinson and the summit by downloading the flyer here.



Michelle Black

Michelle Black, Campus Election Engagement Project 

Michelle Black is a student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where she is pursuing a master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration. Michelle has experience in non-profit program management, as well as working with students and volunteers in a variety of settings. Michelle earned a B.A. in English from Truman State University, a J.D. from Northern Illinois University, and an M.S.W. from the University of Georgia. In her free time, she enjoys photography, hiking, reading, visiting national parks, and volunteering with the Friends of the Glen Carbon Public Library.

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Ethel Byndom, Office of St. Louis County Executive

Ethel Byndom serves as the Director of Community Engagement (formerly Community Empowerment) – for the St. Louis County Executive. Before joining St. Louis County Government, Ethel served 8 years as the St. Louis Regional Director for the Office of Secretary of State. She also served as the Deputy Compliance Manager for Congressman Dick Gephardt. She is a native St. Louisan, and has a rich history of political and community service. She served 11 years with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, both in the St. Louis and Kansas City offices and is actively involved in her church and community. She once served as Statewide Director for voter registration, and has solely registered over 3,000 voters.

In a volunteer capacity, Ethel served 17 years as the President of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police – District 7 Public Affairs Department. She is an executive board member of the St. Louis City NAACP. Ms. Byndom attended the Olin School of Business at Washington University, and has earned certification in Project Management from Missouri State University. 

The Office of Community Engagement is a newly formed department in St. Louis County Government. The Office seeks solutions to alleviate poverty, match the needs of county residents with available resources, and to help improve the lives of all St. Louis County residents. She addresses many organizations, groups and residents on behalf of the County Executive. She is the county representative for the 2020 Census.

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Brent Davis, Director of Election Operations, Illinois State Board of Elections

Brent Davis is Director of Election Operations for the Illinois State Board of Elections, In this role, he oversees the Division of Election Operations, which is responsible for Agency publications, forms, candidate nomination filing, field training of election judges, canvassing of official election results, education materials and outreach to election officials, and answering inquiries from the public and candidates. Brent has worked for the Board for over 14 years. Prior to his current position, he worked in other Agency roles including campaign disclosure, voter registration, election information, and training and resource development.

Eric Fey

Eric Fey, Democratic Director, St. Louis County Board of Elections

In January of 2015 Eric Fey was appointed Director of Elections with responsibilities for administering all federal, state and local elections within St. Louis County. Eric is also a member of the National Association of Election Officials, International Association of Government Officials, Missouri Association of County Clerks and Election Authorities, and is a member of the advisory board for the Citizenship Education Clearinghouse at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In his free time, Eric enjoys participating in international election observation missions having observed in numerous countries such as Ukraine, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan. Eric also enjoys hunting, fishing, swimming, and playing dartball. Eric earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Webster University. During that time, he worked for the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition where he was passionately fighting to increase voter participation and workers’ rights. In 2014, while working for St. Louis County Council, he received his Master’s in Public Policy Administration from the University of Missouri St.Louis.

Natalie Furlett

Natalie Furlett, Campus Compact

Natalie Furlett is currently the Director of Campus Compact for Illinois, a partnership between 36 Illinois college and university campuses dedicated to upholding the public purpose of higher education. Prior to ILCC, Natalie spent time building student-community ties at Northwestern as the Coordinator of Student Community Service before taking on the role of Associate Director of the Norris Center for Student Involvement. She holds an MBA in Nonprofit Management from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA and a BA from the School of Public Administration at American University in Washington DC.  Natalie currently serves on the Governor’s Service Illinois Commission, IL Count Me In 2020 Steering Committee, and on the Board of Directors for The Safe Haven Network.

Theresa Kouo,

Theresa Kouo, Washington University

Theresa Kouo is the Assistant Director for Civic Engagement Education at the Gephardt Institute. With responsibilities for the management and strategic development of the Civic Scholars and Engage Democracy programs. Theresa fosters student civic mindedness, engagement, and leadership in civic life, most often as educator, facilitator, and trainer. Theresa is originally from the Metro Detroit area, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, as well as a Master of Social work with specialization in community organization and focus on children, youth, and families. Theresa comes to WashU after years in the nonprofit sector, with interest and skills in youth development, social justice education, racial equity, intergroup dialogue, community organizing and political engagement.

Mary Simon Leuci

Dr. Mary Simon Leuci, Missouri Campus Compact Director

Dr. Mary Simon Leuci is the director of engaged scholarship for the University of Missouri (MU) Extension and Engagement and director of Missouri Campus Compact, which fosters integration of civic and community engagement work and learning into the curriculum and operations of its diverse network of approximately 20 Missouri colleges and universities.  Prior to accepting her current position, she served as assistant dean of the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and community development program director for University of Missouri Extension. Under her leadership, numerous new collaborative and innovative community engagement programs were developed. She also led a national effort for program evaluation and impact in extension community resource and economic development.  For approximately five years, she co-led the MU Extension’s annual program planning engagement process with local citizens across the state. The 2017 process included community conversations with multiple stakeholders across the state, which laid the foundation for program reorganization.

Dr. Leuci is co-founder of MU’s Community Development Academy and is known for her work in organizational and participatory processes. Her research has focused on leadership and organizational learning as well as program evaluation.  She was inducted into the international Academy of Community Engagement Scholarship in 2015, is an APLU Food Systems Leadership Institute fellow and a National Extension Leadership Development fellow.

Leuci earned her B.S. in Agriculture, M.A. in Adult Education, and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri.

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Jennifer Slavik Lohman, St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition

Jennifer Slavik Lohman is a local activist and volunteer. After she was introduced to voter protection issues as part of the 2008 Obama for America campaign, she worked as a polling place supervisor for several years. In 2018, Lohman collaborated with WE CAN to give presentations to campaigns about ways to present voting information accurately and effectively in campaign literature. She also helped coordinate polling place volunteers and signage for the 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection effort in the metro area. Lohman is currently working with other groups to form the St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition. The organization hopes to amplify what each group has to offer and provide a voter protection resource guide for the community. A 1994 graduate of Notre Dame Law School, Lohman has worked as a litigator and federal district court clerk. She is the co-founder of Indivisible St. Louis. 

Amy Ludwig

Amy Ludwig, Campus Election Engagement Project National Director

As Illinois Campus Compact’s former Associate Director, Amy oversaw programming and coordinated and developed conferences for faculty, staff and students. She was responsible for helping member campuses grow and develop their service learning and civic engagement programs and for managing the finances of the organization. Amy graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism and spent her first three years working in advertising. In search of a change, Amy enrolled and graduated from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration, and upon graduation, moved to Chicago and began working at DePaul University in the Office of Student Life. While working at DePaul University, Amy became passionate about student’s involvement in their community and the electoral process, which led her to Illinois Campus Compact. For six years, Amy has worked to ensure the highest possible quality of ILCC programs and works with each institution’s community service staff to bring resources, ideas and experts to better their work. Amy joined CEEP in 2014 as the Illinois outreach director and saw the direct positive impact CEEP had on engaging students, faculty and staff. She became CEEP’s National Director in late 2016. Amy is excited to bring new and innovative resources to schools across the nation and to help them implement long term electoral engagement programs on their campuses.

Jillian Martin

Dr. Jillian Martin, Washington University

Dr. Jillian A. Martin (she/her/hers) is the Assistant Director for Strategy and Evaluation within the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Martin leads the evaluation, assessment, strategic development, and organizational learning activities for the institute. She received her PhD in Counseling and Student Personnel Services and M.Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia in Athens, GA and her B.S. in Biopsychology from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA. Prior to receiving her doctorate she worked at Georgia College and State University as a community director and Christopher Newport University as the assistant director of student activities for diversity initiatives. While a doctoral student at the University of Georgia, she was the doctoral intern for assessment and evaluation with the Department of University Housing. Her dissertation was a qualitative case study of student and community affairs at a private liberal arts institution in Ghana. In addition to her research interests in higher education and student affairs in the Ghanaian context, she is also interested in assessment and evaluation, student affairs socialization, professional learning, and qualitative research methodologies. Dr. Martin is passionate about inclusion and equity, civic and community engagement, and data-informed practices in higher education.

Dr. Gena McClendon

Dr. Gena McClendon, Washington University 

Gena Gunn McClendon, PhD, is director of the Voter Access and Engagement and the Financial Capability and Asset Building initiatives at the Center for Social Development. Her work primarily involves policy research analysis and consultation with community-based programs, academic institutions, state and federal policymakers and advocacy groups. McClendon’s program development and policy advocacy work focuses on issues related to voter suppression and civic participation of low- and moderate-income households and marginalized populations. Her research focuses on identifying and advancing practice and policy strategies that support an inclusive democracy and the professional training of social work students. She also leads the Financial Capability and Asset Building Initiative, which focuses on the development and research of a post-secondary curriculum in financial social work. Other interest areas are the racial wealth gap and coalition development.

Debbie Ming-Mendoza

Debra D. Ming-Mendoza, Madison County (IL) Clerk

Married, 1 Son , 2 Grandchildren, Lifelong resident of Granite City, Il

The most important job of a County Clerk is to ensure the integrity of our voting system. Since 2012, I have overseen eight successful elections unmarred by any controversy and found by the Illinois State Board of Elections to be accurate. My office has critical safeguards in place to protect against vote fraud, including purging voter files every two years and including bi-partisan observers and election judges at polling places and in my office through the final vote count.

We also have been proactive about putting into place cyber security best practices, working closely with Homeland Security and the Illinois State Police Cyber Security Unit for training and information sharing. Since 2014, my office has only used paper ballots – the safest method for preventing a ballot from being hacked. We also only use encrypted software and do not use any election equipment connected to an outside network.

I have fought to protect access to the polling place for all voters. I successfully took a stand against budget cuts by the current administration that would have gutted early voting in some areas. My office is run with a mission to provide the best customer service to the citizens of Madison County. For me and for my staff, this is more than a job we go to every morning and clock out at the end of the day. We know the folks that come to our office, some who have been coming for years, some who are the next generation. We deal with families from birth, to marriage and sadly, the passing of a loved one. We work together as a family and we always have each other’s back. I have six years’ experience running the County Clerk’s Office and have overseen eight successful elections. I know how to develop a budget, and I certainly know how to read and interpret a budget and how to live within that budget. I run an extremely efficient and professional office, staffed with experienced men and women. I love what I do and I know every detail of how this office runs. I’m not a back office person, I sit out front, I work the desk and talk to our “customers.” I am deeply committed to protecting the vote of every citizen in Madison County – from outside hacking and from any attempt to limit access to voting.

U.S. Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen has repeatedly warned of hacking of our election process and that is the biggest issue my office faces. I’m very proud of the fact that I was FOUR years ahead of Homeland Security’s direction to election officials on the use paper ballots. My office is well-prepared, well-trained and ready to defend our election process.

Gary Stoff

Gary Stoff, Republican Director, St. Louis City Board of Elections

Gary Stoff is a lifelong resident of St. Louis City.  He graduated from Saint Louis University in 1966 with a BSc in Accounting and graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 1969. Gary has worked for various corporations in the St. Louis area for nearly 30 years. He became the Republican Director of Elections for the City of St. Louis in October 2001.  Gary has been married for 51 years and has three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Jym Washington

Vicki Washington, St. Louis Area Voting Initiative

Vicki C. Washington, J.D., spent her career advocating and fighting for civil rights, social justice, racial equity and human rights. She started her career in North Carolina, where she worked for three legal services programs, Durham County Government and Durham Hospital Corp. In 1990, she relocated to Madison, Wisconsin, where she began her career in higher education at the University of Wisconsin Extension as an assistant to the chancellor for Affirmative Action and Diversity Programs. In 2016, Washington retired from the position of associate vice president for Academic and Student Affairs for the University of Wisconsin System, where her portfolio included managing campus relationships and administering programs to support diversity, inclusion, retention and success for minority and disadvantaged students, LGBTQ students, precollege programs, Title IX compliance and other areas.  Washington then relocated to St. Louis, where she volunteers with the St. Louis Area Voting Initiative, working on voter education, registration and engagement.

Jacob Wilson

Jacob I. Wilson, CEEP/Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Jacob I. Wilson has worked in higher education for the past eight years and has a passion for research, organizing, leadership education, and increasing political learning and democratic engagement on college campuses. He is currently a Faculty Research Fellow in the College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) master’s program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he teaches and advises CSPA students, and the Missouri Director for Campus Election Engagement Program. 

Jacob is a PhD candidate in Higher Education at the University of Arizona studying student voting efforts on college campuses. His research interests include organizational change, campus environments, and social movements. Previously he attended Iowa State University, where he received his BA in Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies. He also attended The George Washington University and received his MA in Higher Education Administration. He has worked on several campaigns, interned at the U.S. Department of Education, managed an academic internship program in Washington, DC, and taught undergraduate leadership courses at the University of Arizona’s College of Education.

2019 Voter Summit Logo
Attendees of the 2018 Summit pictured above.
Attendees of the 2018 Summit pictured above.

The 2019 Summit will be hosted by the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement and Center for Social Development in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Campus Election Engagement Project, Missouri Campus Compact, and Campus Compact for Illinois are Summit co-hosts. The Summit is partially funded by a 2019 NASPA Innovation Grant.

Summit Hosts

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Summit Co-Sponsors

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