Kathryn Buford, Chief Visionary Officer/Lead Editress

Kathryn is a writer, creative consultant and sociology PhD student at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she received the department’s prestigious summer Diversity Fellowship for two consecutive years. Her current research explores social entrepreneurship, women’s art and emancipatory knowledge across the African diaspora.

Kathryn honed her interest in creative resistance across the African diaspora as a research fellow at the University of Chicago exploring the relationship between hip hop, feminism and international black freedom movements. Graduating with honors and departmental distinction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she completed her honor’s thesis on Afro-Venezuelan involvement in the Bolivarian Revolution. She later visited and lived in Venezuela to learn more about Afro-latino activism. She has also travelled to Spain to conduct graduate research on black identity and solidarity in Europe.

As a graduate student, Kathryn has developed various curricula concerning social change, including “Sociology of Black Activism,” which she co-taught with her current advisor, Dr. Patricia Hill Collins. She is also the creator and Founding Editor of the University of Maryland’s, Sociology News Magazine. In addition to Live Unchained, her writings have appeared in various online media outlets including Everything PR, Argophilia and SiliconANGLE, where she is a Junior Editor and curates the technology and social change series.

Kristen Nicole, Chief Technology Officer/Writer

Named by Forbes as a top influencer in Big Data, Kristen Nicole is a Senior Editor at She got her start with 606tech, a Chicago blog she dedicated to the social media space, going on to become the lead writer and Field Editor at Mashable. Kristen Nicole has also contributed to other publications, from TIME Techland to Forbes. Her work has been syndicated across a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, and MSNBC. Kristen Nicole’s latest accomplishment has been co-authoring The Twitter Survival Guide, and she’s currently completing her second book on predictive analytics.

Sam Vernon, Outreach Director

Sam graduated from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 2009 with an award for Excellence in Drawing. Spanning a range of media, Vernon employs drawing, painting, photography and printmaking to pay homage to the past and revise the traditional ghost story, addressing questions of postcoloniality, racialization, sexuality, and historical memory. She is a 2010-11 A.I.R. Emerging Artist Fellow and recipient of the A.I.R. Emma Bee Bernstein Fellowship. Her first solo exhibition, Think On It—Then Lay It Down For Good was on view at A.I.R. Gallery in 2011. In 2010, she was selected to execute a large-scale mural by the City of New York’s Department of Transportation which was installed under the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO, Brooklyn summer 2011. Sam has exhibited with The Invisible Dog Art Center, The Wassaic Project, Skylight Gallery, Lesley Heller Workspace, Spattered Columns and Radiator Gallery. She currently serves as Program Administrator of the Art in Public Places program in Prince George’s County, MD.

Dr. Iyelli Ichile-Hanks, Research Director

Iyelli is an Assistant Professor in the Department of African-American Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Her research explores the participation of Africana women in organized resistance, particularly that which reveals complementary roles played by women and men in self-liberation, and draws upon cultural knowledge from African societies. Iyelli also seeks opportunities to teach/create/take action against various forms of oppression outside of the classroom.

Lucía Asué, International Relations Specialist

Lucía is a journalist, filmmaker and former Communications and Media Director for the High Counsel of Black Communities in Spain. Lucía wrote and directed the documentary, “The Invisible City,” an award-winning documentary about life in Canada Real, the largest illegal settlement in Europe. Her work has been shown at the World Social Forum and continues to gain international acclaim. Lucía has a degree in journalism and a Masters in Development and International Aid from the University of Compultense in Madrid and has also studied at the film institute of Madrid. She has travelled across the world interviewing Spanish ex-patriates for the program, “Spaniards in the World.” She also works as a volunteer leading audiovisual workshops for children in various countries across Africa and Europe. Lucía is fluent in Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Jaimee Todd, Legal Advisor

Jaimee is a lawyer and visual artist based in New York. She earned her J.D. at the University of Miami School of Law and studied at The Arts Student League in New York. She believes in using her work to support social change. Jaimee’s paintings have been included in the Visual Aids: Postcards From The Edge charity exhibition, which benefits New York City artists living with AIDS. Her poster prints have been re-produced to generate awareness about triple negative breast cancer, in honor of one of her relatives. She has also designed and sold postcard prints to commemorate the Haitian earthquake and donated 100% of the proceeds to charities serving the quake victims. Jaimee is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

Kathy Chamberlain, Operations Advisor

Kathy is a consultant to nonprofits and social enterprises and is studying for an M.S. in Organization Development and Knowledge Management at George Mason University. She is also a Graduate Intern at the Social Innovation Fund of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Kathy has extensive experience working for corporations, trade associations and nonprofits. Her goal is to improve the capacity and sustainability of community-based organizations by using existing staffs and resources.

Alison McNeil, Business Advisor

Alison McNeil is a community builder, arts & culture administrator and an educational researcher from the Washington, DC metropolitan area. For over 12 years, she’s provided community engagement, grant making, assessment, evaluation and program development support to performing arts organizations, federal agencies, for-profit educational consulting firms, educational nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities.

Out of a desire to advance the arts and support those that bring the arts to the stage, she co-founded Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA), a networking and professional development organization for performing arts administrators. Alison has always been passionate about being of service to the arts community. As such, she has previously served on Step Afrika! and Tappers with Attitude’s Board of Directors and on the Emerging Arts Leaders DC’s Steering Advisory Committee. She currently serves on the Alexandria Commission for the Arts’ Dance Resource Panel. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Hampton University and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from American University.

Jessica Solomon, Outreach Advisor

Jessica is a cultural worker – part practitioner, part creative, part healer making meaning while offering  witness, support and challenge to individuals, groups and organizations through capacity building and collaborative art-making. She comes from an eccentric patchwork quilt of people from what she calls the “Purple Sector” - the DIY, homegrown industries built on sweat equity, community sustainability, creativity, love and innovation.

Jessica is the Chief Experimenter at Art in Praxis, a shapeshifting lab dedicated to art-making as a facilitator + catalyst of goodness.. She is most proud of her work as Former Artistic Director and Founder of The Saartjie Project, a black women performance ensemble exploring the intersections of race, gender and power. She also randomly tell stories on stage and breaks out into song.
Jessica graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with degrees in Communications Studies and African-American Studies. And, received her Master’s in Science in Organization Development from American University. She is the recipient of two Young Artist Program Grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for Community Arts Projects and the Hal Kellner Award for Social Justice from American University.

Delphine Fawundu-Buford, Creative Consultant

Delphine is a photographer, artist and educator. She is best known for her critically acclaimed photograph Patiently Waiting which graced the cover of the book Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers and was used to promote the accompanying exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. A cultural anthropologist at heart, Delphine has traveled to Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Spain, Egypt, Jamaica, Holland, England and Cuba to create imagery that documents and celebrates a multitude of cultures. Delphine has also received numerous fellowships and grants from foundations such as the Soros Foundation, The Puffin Foundation, Fund for Teachers, National Association for Black Journalist, and the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Daisy Giles, Creative Consultant/Writer

Daisy graduated in May 2011 with a BFA degree in Art and a BA degree in African American and African Studies. Daisy’s most recent and well-known works are her portraits. Her portraits aim to express the true nature of her subjects or what she imagines their true nature to be – away from the restrictions of technology, modernism, current trends and the physical world. She is passionate about portraying women of color in this way especially, her own identity being vital to her artistic pursuits and interests.

{ . . . . and you? }

If you’re interested in joining out team of writers, business, or creative consultants, please contact


Ari Melenciano, Social Media

I am very excited about working with Live Unchained for a variety of reasons. For one, as a very passionate artist and observer of art, to work in an arena where there are so many like me is mind-blowing and such an honor. I enjoy browsing through Live Unchained website from time to time as I am always bound to find some sort of inspiration. Not only am I incredibly excited to join a team of artists and social changers, I am also incredibly excited to bring my eye to the table and design all that I can in hopes to further improve Live Unchained. I love how many opportunities there are to be artistic within the organization – that alone, makes me very excited.

Nesrien Hamid, Multimedia Journalism

My name is Nesrien (pronounced Nes-reen). I recently graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs. No, I don’t know what I am going to do with that. Perhaps, a few years down the line, I want to go back to school to pursue an MFA in Film. While I currently live in Washington, D.C., I went to high school in Abu Dhabi, UAE (a teeny-tiny, very hot, country in the Middle East) and was born and (partly) raised in Alexandria, Egypt. I am happy to be working with Live Unchained and look forward to learning more about African artists as well as making connections with others passionate about transformative art.

Kheprisa Burrell, Marketing/PR

I am a junior Speech and Applied and Communications Major, Public Relations Minor at the illustrious Howard University! I plan on being a music publicist and eventually owning my own music publicist firm after I complete my undergraduate matriculation. Being brought up in New York City around art forms such as music, fashion, literature and media has inspired me to intern with Live Unchained. I love spreading the word about art simply because it constantly evolves. I believe Live Unchained is a wonderful experience that I will end up cherishing as I continue to immerse myself in our world’s many performing arts.

Follow me on Twitter: @_kaprisun

Lawrence Mwai, Social Media

I am a fourth year student at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya. I’m, first of all, grateful for the opportunity to work with Live Unchained. I’m particularly excited about the new skills I am acquiring, new friends I’m meeting and the opportunity to “Live Unchained” myself through creating and connecting.


Simone Marshall, Graphic Design

I am a creative designer full of ambition and determination. I proudly graduated from the Art Institute of Washington with a degree in Graphic Design. I also have a passion to help people grow, whether it’s an individual or an organization – and, I know this, in turn, contributes to my own professional growth. I’m excited to be contributing to the growing success of Live Unchained.



Aleyna Jones, Editorial Assistant/Writer

Aleyna graduated in June 2012 with a BA degree in Modern Literary Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. As an undergraduate student, her experiences studying abroad in Brazil and absorbing the vibrant art, language, and history there laid the foundation for her interest in the rich complexities of African culture. Her writing aims to unveil the beauty and diversity of the African Diaspora and to celebrate her heritage through the universal language of art. Aleyna’s best known for her work with Live Unchained, and she has also contributed to other publications, such as the University of California Education Abroad Program. A global citizen, Aleyna has traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, England, Spain, and Italy in order to gain an all-embracing understanding of different ways of life. She is passionate about paying tribute to the unique and creative endeavors of women of color around the world.

Ashley Ayer, Graphic Design

I’m Ashley and I’m from the big and beautiful state of Texas. I recently graduated from the University of North Texas with a BFA in Communication Design. In a way, “Live Unchained” is like a battle cry, a way to incite rebellion. It’s a constant reminder to live own your terms, that you have your own power inside of you. It’s easy to feel like there’s no one that you can relate to, but Live Unchained can be that place to find others that, just like me, are analyzing and challenging their place in society.

If you love to talk about design, movies, or food, follow me on Twitter: @AshleyAyer

Michelle Muokie, Social Media

I am a fourth year student at Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya. What makes me really excited about this internship is getting to learn a lot about the Live Unchained mission and being involved in what it does. I am also excited about learning more from the various African women who are involved in art and being a part of their lives as they transform through art.

Gary – Hon Laam Fung, Marketing/Social Media

I am from Hong Kong, and I have been a student at the University of Maryland, College Park since Fall of 2011. I am applying to the business school to major in marketing. I like working with Live Unchained (my first internship experience, or practically my first working experience) for the opportunity to learn new things, interact with people, and discover different art works.

I like to meet new friends and hangout, so feel free to add me on Facebook by searching “Gary Fung”.

Miriam Moore, Special Projects/Graphic Design

Miriam holds a BFA in graphic design from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As an undergraduate student Miriam became interested in studying semiotic messages in visual communication. As an SROP (Summer Research Opportunities Project) fellow, Miriam conducted research on the portrayal of African-Americans in American popular culture. This project inspired her to work on other independent studies exploring visual experience in media and graphic design. Miriam has contributed design work for both the University of Illinois Hurricane Katrina Summit and Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration. She continues to work on projects pertaining to race and media, cultural diversity and social change.

Kelsey Nelson, Multimedia Journalism/Marketing

I am a junior at the University of Maryland,College Park majoring in broadcast journalism with a certificate in African-American studies on a pre-law track. After my undergraduate career, I hope to go to law school to receive my JD in sports law. I am most excited to be working with Live Unchained for the new memories I will be creating where I’m learning from the staff of Live Unchained, my fellow interns or by feedback from our readers. I believe “journalism is the first rough draft of history” and as a part of the Live Unchained family I have the opportunity to write about issues so they can be solved in the future.

Follow me on twitter: @Sportsvixenkelz