About Center4ME

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Meet the Center4ME Staff

Melany A. Pearl
Director 

email mapearl@liberty.edu


Melany A. Pearl, originally from Kansas City, Missouri, began her service at Liberty University in 1996 as office coordinator for the Center for Multicultural Enrichment. In 1998, she was promoted to her current position, director.

Pearl is an alumnus of Liberty where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business and Master of Arts in Human Relations. She has served the university in several volunteer capacities including; administrative advisor of national honor society Alpha Lambda Delta, sub-committee chair on the NCAA self-study, SACSCOC committee member, mentor with the Campus Pastors' Office, and member of the Multicultural Advisory Board.

The director is actively involved with various civic organizations. She currently serves as on the board of directors for both the Martin Luther King/Lynchburg Community Council and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia and was on the inaugural steering committee members for the Lynchburg’s Community Dialogue on Race & Racism.

Pearl’s professional memberships include; National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators, American Association of Christian Counselors, and Association for Christians in Student Development. 

In her personal life, she enjoys international travel and has had the opportunity to visit Mexico, Bahamas, Jamaica, Israel, Palestine, France, Bermuda, Italy, Greece and Turkey.


 


Samantha Newton
Administrative Assistant
For Director Pearl

email snewton5@liberty.edu


 

Samantha Newton was born and raised in Lynchburg, VA and is excited to join the Center4ME team as the special events coordinator. She has a passion for planning events and has planned over 100 weddings and other events.

Samantha is ambitious and seeks God first in everything and for the strength to pursue his will (Philippians 4:13). Along with planning events for Center4ME she runs her own event planning and design business. When she is not working you can find her in her garden, decorating, or on a road trip. Her future goal is to complete her Bachelors in Business and pursue a teaching degree. She is excited to plan special events that celebrate diversity and bring students together.

 
 
 

Kerensa Huffman
Associate Director
Cultural Competency, Assessment

email khuffman@liberty.edu


 

Kerensa Huffman is our Associate Director of Cultural Competency and Assessment coming from the Washington DC area. Having grown up in the Midwest she moved several times having lived in seven states in total.

She spent six and a half years on staff at a multicultural church in DC as the Director of Communications & First Impressions as well as the Youth Ministry Director. As the oldest of five children, all of her siblings are adopted which fostered her passion for understanding diversity at an early age. She has lived in highly Hispanic area outside Chicago, Scandinavian Minnesota, the farm town mentality of Fargo, ND and the urban melting pot of the DC area.

Her overarching desire and heart is for those who leave Liberty, particularly those in ministry, to be grounded in a clear understanding of cultures across the United States. Kerensa’s prayer is for those who walk through the doors of Center4ME would be able to use these learning experiences for the greater good of the Kingdom.

 

Jose Hernandez
Associate Director
LEAD Fellowship

email jghernandez@librty.edu

 

Jose Gabriel Hernandez is originally from a small town outside of Laredo, Texas named El Cenizo. Born into and raised straddling the Mexican-American culture with a father born in Texas and a mother born in Durango, Mexico; with his family split on each side of the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo border. One out of four siblings, and the younger brother to a 10 year veteran of the Iraqi War serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq with the United States Marine Corps.

He began public speaking at the age of 12 with a heart for seeing people broken before the Lord. He has served as a worship leader, youth director (both local and regional), and as anything that is needed to further God’s kingdom. Jose graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelors of Religion and is currently pursuing his Masters of Divinity. He presently attends Thomas Road Baptist Church Spanish Campus: Nuevo Amanecer officially serving as the Director of the Connection Ministry (Guest Services and New Membership Classes) and unofficially serving wherever he needs to serve.


 


Stephanie Smith
Associate Director
LEAD Fellowship

email sdefillo@liberty.edu

 

Stephanie Smith is one of our Associate Directors for the LEAD Fellowship program. She is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico and currently resides in Lynchburg, Virginia.

In 2012, she graduated from Randolph College with her Bachelors in Political Science and Dance with a concentration in International Relations. Afterwards, she came to Liberty University and received her Masters in Public Policy. She is currently pursuing an Education Specialist degree in order to better serve the students within the classroom setting.  In the future, her goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Government.

Stephanie enjoys serving in the children’s ministry at Blue Ridge Community Church, attending Bible studies, and translating for the Godparent Home. She also loves to travel, dance, hike, and the culinary arts. She has had the opportunity to travel across the United States as well as Costa Rica, Chile, and the Dominican Republic.

Stephanie’s education, knowledge, and cultural experiences will help her to carry out Center4ME’s mission of bringing unity within the diverse set of cultures on campus.

 


David Shinkle
Office Manager

email dgshinkle@liberty.edu


 

David Grayson Shinkle was born and raised in Winchester, Virginia. He is of German, Jewish and Native American decent. Having been born with a cleft lip and palate facial deformity and twenty-four subsequent corrective surgeries, David has had the precious opportunity to face many trials and overcome these trials through God's strength.

David is a Liberty University Alumni, having received his bachelors in Visual Communication Arts. He is the former Executive Chief of staff of TrueLife.org ministries and works as both a marketing specialist and Office Manager for the Center for Multicultural Enrichment.

“As Christians, we must take seriously the responsibility to communicate Christ in the language of the people who need receive Him. Imagery as communication is, perhaps, the most universal of languages; and we are a part of the most media saturated generation who has ever lived. In order to be all things to all men, we must be skilled in the art of visual messaging. I’ve come to work at the Center for Multicultural Enrichment to design graphics to that same end.”
- David Shinkle (2 Peter 1:1-12)
 


Grace Paik
Special Events Coordinator

email spaik@liberty.edu


 

Sungeun Paik was born in Seoul, South Korea and is excited to join the Center4ME tem as the special events coordinator.

Her parents are missionaries, so she grew up learning about God and working in different churches all around the world.

Sungeun fluently speaks four languages (Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, and English), and has visited nearly 25 countries so far.

Her favorite Bible verse is “Do everything in love (1 Corinthians 16:14)”. Her future goals are to complete her Bachelors in Broadcasting and become a film producer.

 

 


Nancy Whalen
Graduate Assistant
LEAD Fellowship

email ncwhalen@liberty.edu


 

Nancy Whalen is originally from Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia. She graduated from Liberty University with her Bachelors in Worship and Music Studies, specializing in Inter-Cultural studies and is now working toward her Master’s degree in Theology with a cognate in Global Studies. In her time at Liberty as an undergraduate Nancy has served as a Prayer Leader, Spiritual Life Director, and Project manager for the Community Care Initiative and worked as a Peer Mentor for LEAD Fellowship. She continues to work at her church as the associate worship leader alongside her fiancée and helps a local family as a nanny to their five foster children and has her own business as a Mary Kay Consultant.

In the future Nancy plans to go to the Caribbean as a full-time missionary starting first in Haiti and eventually going to St. Lucia, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. In each place she hopes to disciple the Christians that are already there and teach them how to disciple other natives. Using her Worship degree, she plans on hosting open air worship services in the streets as well and focus on witnessing to the people in the streets, the deaf and those who practice animistic religions.

 


Bukky Adebayo
Graduate Assistant
Cultural Competency

email aadebayo4@liberty.edu


 

Bukky Adebayo was born in China as a fourth generation Christian. She is thankful that God sent Hudson Taylor’s team to inland China and spread the gospel light to her great grandfather. Grace grew up in the cosmopolitan and coastal city of Guangzhou in China, where her mother taught English at the international school she attended. After high school, the Lord led her to Eucon International College on Saipan, an American island in the middle of the Pacific, for her B.S. degree in Education. Overseas, she served as a bilingual reporter. She also competed in diverse oratory and piano competitions both at home and abroad. In her spare time, Grace enjoys being a concert pianist. She is grateful that God has providentially led her to Liberty University for her M.A. degree in Strategic Communications. She is zealous for God and prays to live a God-glorifying life while serving at the Center for Multicultural Enrichment.