LGBTQ+ Center Action Team (LSAC)

The LGBTQ+ Center Student, Staff, and Faculty Action Team, also known as LSAC, consists of individuals from across the Kent State University campus system, united by a common goal to make Kent State an inclusive and safe place for the LGBTQ+ community. The committee has three focus areas under which we focus our efforts: Inclusion, Wellness, and Advocacy, all of which were identified as needs in the Center’s last strategic planning session.  LSAC is about ACTION and getting things done, not just advising and brainstorming ideas but helping to move projects and initiatives forward for the betterment of our students, faculty, staff, and overall community.

Spring 2022 LGBTQ+ Center Staff/Faculty/Student/Community Action Team (LSAC) Members


Headshot of Cameron Aloway

Cameron Aloway

Hi everyone! My name is Cameron Aloway (he/him/his) and I am a senior studying Public Relations at Kent State University. Currently, I work as one of the student interns for the university's LGBTQ+ Center and serve as its liaison for the center LGBTQ+ Living Learning Community. 


Headshot of Lawrence Carter
Lawrence Carter

Lawrence (he/him/his) has been a part of the KSU Community since 2013.  He brings 35 years of hospitality industry experience to his position with the KSU Foundation as their Asset Manager for the KSU Hotel & Conference Center.  While serving as a member of LSAC , he has also enjoyed supporting the Rainbow Run, LavGrad and other LGBTQ+ Center initiatives and events.  Lawrence is also a member of the KSU Hospitality Advisory Board serving the program from which he earned his Master's degree in 2020.  In his spare time he enjoys proudly owning a gay small business, Pet-Tique, with his husband, working with pet rescues toward adoptions, and volunteering for LGBTQ+ community events such as Pride and The Gay Games. 


Headshot of Cristin Compton
Cristin A. Compton

Cristin A. Compton (she/her/hers) is an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies at Kent State. Her academic research explores how people communicatively organize around identities in various contexts. In her free time, she enjoys biking and hiking across northeast Ohio, listening to podcasts, attempting home improvement projects, and all things sci-fi/fantasy. 


Headshot of Kristan Dolan
Kristan Dolan

Kristan Dolan (she/her/hers) serves as the Associate Director, Marketing & Communications for the Division of Student Affairs. She is in charge of all division level marketing and communication efforts and works closely with University Communications and Marketing, along with other marketing units at the university, to advance division level objectives. Kristan has been at Kent State since 2011 working at times with Kent State Athletics and the Center for Student Involvement. She is an eternally optimistic, die-hard Cleveland sports fan and mom of two boys, Rocco and Dominic. She completed her undergraduate degree in Sports Management from Campbell University in North Carolina.


Headshot of Serena Gestring
Serena Gestring

Serena Gestring (she/her/hers) is a freshman majoring in Emerging Media and Technology. While this is her first year as a Kent State student, this is her second year interning at the KSU LGBTQ+ Center! Serena is very excited to continue her work at the Center and is hoping to meet new people. Once she graduates, she wants  to pursue a career in web development. In her free time, Serena enjoys spending time with her pit bull (Deimos) and her family, reading all kinds of books, doing jigsaw puzzles, watching movies/tv with her sister, and going on walks.


Headshot of Linda Hoeptner-Poling
Linda Hoeptner-Poling

Linda Hoeptner-Poling, PhD, (she/her/hers) Associate Professor of Art Education at Kent State University, is past president of the NAEA Women’s Caucus, past president of the Society for Educating Women, Distinguished Fellow for the Ohio Art Education Association, a HERS Institute Alum class of 2018, a Brain Health Research Institute member at Kent State University, the 2018 Ohio Art Education Association Ohio Art Teacher of the Year Awardee, and the 2021 NAEA Women’s Caucus Maryl Fletcher De Jong Awardee. She also holds a certificate in Gerontology and has been a reviewer for various art education journals. Her research threads include feminist activism, narrative inquiry, the symbiotic relationship of motherhood and academia, inclusion, and art education for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.


Headshot of John Hummell
John Hummell

John (he/they) is the Assistant Director for the Office of Safety & Security within University Housing at Kent State University. John has worked with University Housing since 2012, and regularly collaborates with the LGBTQ+ Center and supports the center's initiatives. John was the recipient of the LGBTQ+ Faculty/Staff Award in 2019, and is proud to be a member of LSAC!


Headshot of Tricia Knoles
Tricia Knoles

Tricia Knoles (she/her/hers) is a Sergeant at KSU PD as well as the Community Resource Officer.  She has worked here for 17 years and loves her job. She has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ since she was in high school. Tricia loves being able to do community outreach programs, bridging gaps between police and other communities, and meeting new students, faculty and staff. 



Headshot of AJ Leu
AJ Leu

AJ Leu (they/them) is the Diversity and Career Development Director in the College of Communication and Information at Kent State University. Leu is an experienced diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) professional and an active member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and the National Diversity Council. Leu is a Kent State alumna who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 2012, a Master of Education in Higher Education and Student Personnel in 2014, a Graduate Certificate in College Teaching in 2015, and a Graduate Certificate in Institutional Research and Assessment in 2016. Leu has a demonstrated passion and commitment for various topics related to DEI&B, including identity development, competency and best practice trainings, employee resource groups, and student success and retention initiatives. AJ lives in Akron with their partner and tiny human. 


Headshot of Katie Mattise
Katie Mattise

Katie (they/them/their) serves as a director in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. They work with others to create, provide and facilitate opportunities for people to engage in meaningful conversation around various social justice topics. Outside of their position, Katie enjoys playing video games, reading books and spending time outside. They love connecting with people, so please reach out to say hi!


Headshot of Mahli Xuan Mechenbier
Mahli Xuan Mechenbier

Mahli Xuan Mechenbier (she/her/hers) is a Senior Lecturer in English at Kent State University: Twinsburg Academic Center where she teaches Technical Writing, Professional Writing, Introduction to LGBT Literature, and College Writing I & II.  Mahli was adopted from South Vietnam by German-American parents after a Catholic missionary nun found her next to a road outside of Saigon.  She has three cats: Freyja, Hyperion, and Tyr. 


Headshot of Julie Paskiet
Julie Paskiet

Julie Paskiet (she/her/hers) is a Senior Career Advisor in Career Exploration and Development at Kent State University. She specializes in working with students seeking careers in K-12 education and members of the LGBTQ+ population. Julie is the coordinator of the Professionals with Pride career fair at KSU and seeks to connect students and alumni with inclusive and affirming employers for meaningful careers. She enjoys being outdoors, gardening, hiking, camping and spending time with her three dogs.


Headshot of Cassandra Pegg-Kirby
Cassandra Pegg-Kirby

Cassie (she/her/hers) serves as the Director of the Women's Center. She has worked at Kent State for 20 years in a variety of capacities including advising, admissions and the KSU PD. She has a M.Ed in Higher Education from Kent State and is currently working on her Masters in Public Health. She is originally from Erie, PA but currently lives in Kent with her husband, 4 boys, 2 dogs and a cat. She enjoys gardening, yoga and loves finding new ways for creative expression.


Headshot of Erica Pelz
Erica Pelz

Erica (she/her/hers) is the Facilities Mechanical Systems Specialist for Laboratories on the Kent Campus, and has 18 years with Kent State University.  She is the advisor to both Trans*fusion and oSTEM@KSU as well as serving as Vice President of Spectrum, the LGBTQ+ and ally employee resource group.  Erica was one of the driving forces in securing transgender inclusive health insurance for faculty and staff.   In her spare time she enjoys writing for her blog, building crazy holiday lights, and spending time with her wife and three cats.


Headshot of Andrew Snyder
Andrew Snyder

Andrew M. Snyder, BSN, MPH, PhD(c) (he/him/his) was born and raised in rural Salem, Ohio, where he graduated with his high school diploma from Salem Senior High School in May of 2008. Andrew went on to receive his Master’s degree in Public Health degree focusing on Health Policy and Management (2017), and his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2014) degree from Kent State University. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health at Kent State University, focusing his research on the health and wellness of the local LGBTQ+ community.

In the Fall of 2018, Andrew joined the College of Public Health (CoPH) at Kent State University as full-time doctoral graduate assistant after working full-time in the College of Nursing as a Program Coordinator. In this role, he provided undergraduate teaching and advising and supports research-based initiatives. Beginning January 2021, Andrew began a full-time position as the Research Program Coordinator to conduct greater Akron, Ohio’s first LGBTQ+ community needs assessment. Andrew raised $145,000 in local grant funding to support this research project. In January 2022, Andrew became the Director of Program Outreach at the CoPH expanding his role and responsibilities further.

In addition to his leadership roles in the College of Public Health, he served as Administrative Generalist at Community AIDS Network Akron Pride Initiative (CANAPI) from 2016 to 2021.  In his role at CANAPI, Andrew developed and maintained a comprehensive organization policy register, updated organizational financial policies to comply with 501c3 governmental requirements, and reviewed organizational personnel and human resources policies to ensure compliance with federal employment guidelines. To improve access to community resources for LGBTQ+ residents in Summit and Portage counties, Andrew secured $541,510 of grant funding in 2019, 2020, and 2021 through the Ohio Department of Health for the development and evaluation of a mobile application to address identified barriers in the management of HIV care coordination. He currently serves as Principal Investigator for this project, titled “Quality Innovations in the Continuum of HIV Care.”


Image of Megan Sostakowski
Megan Sostakowski 

Megan (she/her/hers) is a Human Development and Family studies major with a concentration in Family Life Education. She is also minoring in LGBTQ+ Studies. She is a cisgender female who identifies as bisexual/pansexual. Once Megan graduates she hopes to continue her education here at KSU and receive a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Her goal is to be a counselor for individuals and families who are involved and a part of the LGBTQ+ community. In her free time she loves to hang out with her friends and play Mario Kart, seeing her family, and spend quality time with her betta fish Larry. 


Headshot of Julie Vandegrift
Julie Vandegrift

Julie (she/her/hers) is the Associate Director of Data Intelligence & Technology in the Division of Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement and has been with Kent State University since 2014.  She is an alumna who graduated with her BIS in 2018 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Higher Ed Administration.  She has served in leadership on various committees on campus with a concentration on those that pertain to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two kids and their dogs.  She enjoys hiking, reading and enjoying the outdoors in Northeast Ohio.


Headshot of Morgan Woodin
Morgan Woodin

Morgan (he/him/his) is a Special Assistant in the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He’s always had a passion for working with the LGBTQ+ community, and enjoys volunteering with the QYou youth initiative at the LGBT Community Center for Greater Cleveland and being as involved as possible with the LGBTQ+ Center at Kent State! Morgan has always been a sucker for a good pun, quality pizza, and the serenity of a Lake Erie sunset in the summer.


Headshot of Steve Young
Steve Young

Steve (he/him/his) is working toward his Ph.D. in the Higher Education Administration program an Kent State and works in the Division on Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement as an Associate Director of Advancement. He is extremely excited to be able to support the LGTBQ+ Center and looks forward to learning and growing from the experience.