Woman Money Sign

We sat down with MS-CLD graduate Chrissy Herren to learn about her post-grad endeavors. She's living out the mission of our program and land grant university to lead and serve her community through nonprofit work. Learn more about her organization, First Generation Women Achievers of the Bluegrass, in this interview.

1. Why did you choose to study Community & Leadership Development?

"I wanted to study Community Development to learn more about nonprofit development and creating and developing a nonprofit through community support. In addition, my mother encouraged me to go back to school and earn my graduate degree."

2. How have your studies in CLD impacted your career?

"The studies have shaped my understanding of data, tracking and creating something from an idea. The classes taught by Dr. Kenneth Jones in program evaluation taught me the importance of evaluating the program logistics and the pros and cons of running a nonprofit. Dr. Dyk’s class in Research showed me how to formulate a solid foundation in developing a clear vision for specific study. All the classes in the CLD department led me to start my own nonprofit to benefit the community."

3. What led you to begin nonprofit work?

"The nonprofit work began with my childhood involvement in local arts activities that led me to study arts administration in college to working in the arts and now starting my own nonprofit. My mother’s influence led me to have a deep passion of nonprofit work."


4. Why did you start this organization?

"My graduate research was on the study of first generation students and the struggles they face to finish college and the need of additional academic, career, and financial support. In addition, [I realized] that my grandmothers were first generation students and how one person, one family member, can make all the difference in that person’s life and family. My mother, Susan Herren, and I are the founders of this organization and wanted to make a difference in these young women’s lives."

5. Can you tell me about the work your organization does and the program(s) you run?

"The First Generation Women Achievers of the Bluegrass raises money for women who attend BCTC, UK, and Transylvania who will be the first in their families to graduate from college. We have a mentoring program that helps these students with finance, career, social media, study skills, [and] relationship building. We have developed a partnership with Dress for Success as a referral agency and we will be providing through this partnership additional interview, resume skills and how to dress for work."

6. What differentiates First Generation Women Achievers of the Bluegrass from other organizations?

"This organization works with women who will be the first in their families to finish college. We provide mentoring for them to succeed in crucial areas of their lives."

7. What are some current goals of First Generation Women Achievers of the Bluegrass?

"We currently are wanting to finish raising the $10,000 for the organization to help 20 female students and to launch the mentoring program this fall. We plan to give out scholarships in the spring of 2019."

8. What has been the most rewarding and challenging aspects of nonprofit management?

"The most rewarding [aspect] has been talking with individuals in the community about our organization and raising money for a good cause. The most challenging [part] is getting the word out to the community about our organization."

9. What do you personally spend most of your time on?

"We spend the most time on raising money and developing the mentoring program."

10. How can the community find you and get involved?

"FGWAB accepts volunteers for its mentor program. Those interested in mentoring can send an email to firstgenwomenbg@gmail.com for more information. All donations stay local and can be mailed to the address below. In addition, our website will launch this fall."

First Generation Women Achievers of the Bluegrass

Atten: Magda Perez

Bank of the Bluegrass

215 Southland Drive

Lexington, KY 40503

Chrissy Herren

Christine Herren was born and raised in Lexington, KY. She graduated from Bluegrass Community and Technical College with an Associate’s degree in Arts Administration, followed by a Bachelor of Arts degree Magna Cum Laude in Arts Administration and Theatre from the University of Kentucky. She completed her Master of Science degree in Community and Leadership Development from UK in 2015. Herren is currently working in the finance sector in Lexington, KY.