Young Professionals Board

AHA's Young Professionals Board is made up of young Alabama leaders who help us create more AHA! Moments for inquisitive minds statewide. Our YP Board helps us grow awareness for what the humanities are and implements new humanities programs.

Jessica Chriesman, Board Chair

Jessica Chriesman, board chair, is a filmmaker from Birmingham. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she made a variety of films. Since 2015, she has had the privilege of screening films in festivals across the United States. Compelled by stories of people and places, in her budding career Jessica has focused on spreading the stories of nonprofit organizations and the populations they serve. She is currently the Manager of Programs and Engagement at Opportunity Alabama.

Isaac Jones, Vice Chair

Isaac Jones is a music artist and native of Birmingham. He currently works in Birmingham as an Implementation Manager for Case Status working to help member-based non-profit organizations improve their community engagement via software tools. He is also a member of the Young Professionals Board for Urban Impact.

Alexis Sankey, Secretary / Treasurer

Alexis Sankey is a Highland Home, Alabama, native who moved to Birmingham to further her work with nonprofits and civic organizations. Sankey has several years of experience with developing and implementing community programming, outreach strategies, grants, communications and capacity building. She currently serves as the Development Specialist for YWCA Central Alabama. Sankey attended Auburn University and received a BA in psychology with a minor in community and civic engagement and later received an MS in management and leadership from Amridge University. Alexis Sankey is the Founder of Social Services Consulting, currently assisting with a government contract for the AL Air National Guard.

Stephanie L. Coker, Ph.D.

Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and English from Mississippi College and the master’s and doctoral degrees in French from Louisiana State University. She taught French at universities in Mississippi, Kentucky and Oklahoma before becoming Assistant Professor at the University of North Alabama. She enjoys introducing students to cultures of the French-speaking world. In the classroom, she incorporates music, film, literature and current events to develop students’ language proficiency and cross-cultural understanding. Each year, she coordinates National French Week on campus and hosts high school students for “French Day at UNA.” With a grant from the FACE Foundation, she organizes the UNA Tournées Film Festival. In addition, she leads an interdisciplinary summer program for UNA students in Paris, France.

Krishula Edwards

Krishula Edwards works as a Trauma Counselor for a nonprofit organization, The Family Sunshine Center. She is a graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida (B.S. in political science and M.P.A. in public administration) and Troy University in Montgomery (M.S. in counseling & psychology). She is a long-term member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, a member of the Junior League of Montgomery and a board member of Community Action Partnership of Middle Alabama. She is a member of Mayor Steven Reed Young Professional Council. She loves Alabama and its rich culture and believes that the humanities develop informed and critical citizens. Without the humanities, democracy could not flourish.


Erin Hutchins

Erin Hutchins is a native of Anniston, Ala., and the beloved daughter of Carl and Joyce Hutchins. An alumna of Auburn University, Erin received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in May 2009. In December 2011, she graduated with her Masters of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management from Auburn University, and received a Graduate Certificate of Nonprofit Organization and Community Governance.

Erin has recently returned to her beloved alma mater, Auburn University, and now serves as the Inclusion and Diversity Coordinator in the Office of Alumni Affairs for the Auburn Alumni Association. Since December 2015, Erin has worked tirelessly to provide meaningful and engaging programs and events for alumni of color as well as alumni who are differently abled and, part of the LGBTQ+ community. The largest event to date is Black Alumni Weekend which in 2019 had 600 attendees as they celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Integration of Auburn Athletics.

Amelia Johnson

Amelia Johnson is the Director of College Advising at Indian Springs School. Originally from Montgomery, she earned a B.A. in religious studies and women’s and gender studies from Kenyon College and a Master’s degree from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. She loves Birmingham and Alabama and is proud to work with AHA to increase awareness of our rich cultural landscape among other young professionals across the state.

Lisa Simmons

Lisa Simmons serves as an External Evaluator at the Auburn Center for Evaluation in the College of Education at Auburn University. She is a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University (MA) and Auburn University (BA and PhD). Her professional work with K12 schools and nonprofits in Alabama spans the state and includes may efforts to improve the quality of life for students and their families through STEM education, health and safety initiatives, and out-of-school programming. Lisa grew up in Birmingham and is proud to be on the Young Professionals Board working alongside the Alabama Humanities Alliance.


The AHA Young Professionals Board seeks to establish a board of young professionals across the state of Alabama that represents a diverse cross-section of identities and professions. The board, which generally meets bi-monthly, consists of 15 young professionals from the state of Alabama between the ages of 21 and 40.

Individuals may apply for membership twice during the calendar year. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The current spring deadline is May 31, and the fall deadline is November 15. Interested applicants must complete the online application form below, which includes submitting a resume and a statement of interest detailing your leadership skills, involvement in other organizations, and why you would be a good candidate for the YP Board. Please send all AHA YP Board inquiries to

Apply Here

Signature Events - Reflect, Alabama

The first Reflect, Alabama online conversation was curated in the summer of 2020 in response to the raging coronavirus pandemic. Seeing an end to in-person events and a dire need for meaningful human connection, the AHA YP Board developed an online conversation series that invited Alabamians to explore life during the pandemic with experts from the education, journalism, public health, governmental and community sectors. Since then, the event has evolved into a bi-monthly online conversation series with Alabama experts and community representatives on humanities topics such as women’s suffrage, LGBTQ+ history and social justice.