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Capella University Fellows Program Expands into Atlanta, Charlotte, and Philadelphia

Capella University Fellows Program Expands into Atlanta, Charlotte, and Philadelphia

The Fellows program expands beyond Twin Cities and triples number of nonprofit leaders to receive graduate degree scholarships.


Original press release at Capella University Fellows Program Expands into Atlanta, Charlotte, and Philadelphia | Business Wire


MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Capella University – an institution dedicated to providing flexible online degree programs to help working adults advance in their careers – has selected the new cohort for its Capella Fellows Program. Finalists were chosen from promising community members in four metropolitan areas – Atlanta, Philadelphia, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Charlotte – and will be awarded full-tuition scholarships for a Capella graduate degree program of their choice.

“At Capella we are continuing to find ways to invest in the promising leaders of our communities,” said Dick Senese, president, Capella University, “Expanding the Capella University Fellows Program is a natural next step to increase the impact of our Fellows and their home organizations to strengthen their communities by applying what they’re learning to address pressing community issues.”

First launched in 2018 in the Twin Cities area, the Capella University Fellows Program mission is to build the talent and develop leadership skills required to mitigate social and economic challenges in the communities it serves. This cohort is the largest yet, growing from seven Fellows in the last cohort to 21 Fellows, resulting in a total of 42 Fellows since program inception. All Fellows are currently employed by local nonprofits and started taking Capella courses in October 2021.

As part of the fellowship, the new cohort of talented leaders will continue to use their unique backgrounds and expertise to make a distinct impact in their communities. The Capella Fellows Program is built on changing lives where Capella students work and live.

“We are continuously focused on building Capella University to become a more inclusive, trusted partner dedicated to having significant impact on the diverse communities we serve,” says Barbara Butts Williams, executive dean, social responsibility and community engagement, “Building our partnerships in new metro areas across the country will have a significant impact on many more individuals than just our Capella University Fellows.”

The current cohort includes:


  • Wendy Castilla, Atlanta Community Food Bank
  • Kristen Elliott, Atlanta Community Food Bank
  • Chukwunonso Obijiofor, AID Atlanta


  • Angela Adams, Thompson Child & Family Focus
  • Shawna Cook, Thompson Child & Family Focus
  • Matthew Fagan, Thompson Child & Family Focus
  • Erin Morris, Thompson Child & Family Focus
  • Lauren Pavlacka, Thompson Child & Family Focus


  • Michelle Bilski, Catch
  • Guesthia Jacques, Catch
  • Ashley Jimenez, Urban Affairs Coalition

Twin Cities

  • Erin Chambers, Avivo
  • Brandy Fountain, People Incorporated
  • Brandy Green, Lutheran Social Services of MN
  • Zachary Hubinger, People Incorporated
  • Abdirizak Jama, African Development Center
  • Matthew Johnson, Rainbow Health
  • Idris Mohamed, African Economic Development Solutions
  • Amanda Moua, Page Education Foundation
  • Jaime Stampley, Lutheran Social Services of MN
  • MayPa Yang, Northside Economic Opportunity Network

The selection committee consists of leaders representing nonprofit organizations, prominent foundations, and government entities from across all metropolitan areas.

“Educating leaders in communities like ours across the country will have a much larger impact,” said Jacob Frey, Mayor of Minneapolis, “We’re thrilled to continue our ongoing partnership with Capella University and are proud to see their continued investment in new metropolitan areas.”

The Capella Fellows Program is a part of the University’s commitment to addressing education disparity, career advancement, and employment. Learn more here:

About Capella University

Capella University ( is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1993, the university is dedicated to providing flexible, professionally aligned online degree programs designed to help working adults advance in their careers. Known for its commitment to learner success, academic quality and innovations in online education, Capella pioneered competency-based direct assessment programs allowing students to learn at their own pace. For more information, call 1.888.CAPELLA (888.227.3552). Media Contact: Elaine Kincel – – 202-557-4920.

About Thompson

Headquartered in Matthews, North Carolina (Mecklenburg County), Thompson Child & Family Focus is a human services leader transforming lives through early childhood, family stability, and mental health services. As a solutions-driven organization committed to rewriting narratives for the most vulnerable in our community; Thompson achieves this by providing comprehensive, evidence-based services, and trauma-informed care, for children (ages 0-18) and their families, virtually and in-person. Thompson employs over 270 staff across several locations in Matthews, Charlotte, Arden, and Wilmington, NC, and is led by President/CEO, Will Jones.

To read more about Thompson’s continuum of services online, go to, or email