CEP Team

Melinda Hall, PhD

Melinda Hall - Assistant Director of Grants, Curriculum

Melinda C. Hall (PhD, Vanderbilt University) is Interim Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Stetson University. She is Assistant Director of Grants for the Community Education Project, Stetson’s higher education in prison program. She has also served as the Chair of the University Faculty Senate, Chair of the Philosophy Department, and Director of Gender Studies. Professor Hall’s research specialties are bioethics, Continental philosophy, and the philosophy of disability. She is the author of The Bioethics of Enhancement: Transhumanism, Disability, and Biopolitics (Lexington Books 2016). Her current book projects focus on the ethics and politics of risk and on claiming a disability history of philosophy. Professor Hall is also the author of articles published in Disability Studies QuarterlyInternational Journal of Feminist Approaches to BioethicsPhilosophy Compass, and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, among other venues.

Jelena Petrovic, PhD

Jelena Petrovic - Interim Director and Co-Founder, Faculty and Student Liaison

Jelena Petrovic, who earned her PhD from the University of New Mexico, is an Associate Professor in communication and media studies at Stetson University. In 2015, she co-founded the Community Education Project with other Stetson professors. In her work with CEP, she focuses on strategic planning and partnerships, organizational culture, the development of new educational programming for CEP, and connecting current and former CEP students with needed academic and professional resources. In addition to this work, Petrovic also has been offering courses and workshops in media studies, migration and identity, cultural studies, interpersonal communication and public speaking to CEP students. Her research focuses on media representations of national identity and immigration in Europe as well as critical pedagogy in carceral spaces.

Denise Yezbick, PhD

Denise Yezbick - Writing Specialist, CEP Anthology Series Editor

Denise Yezbick earned her PhD in English from Wayne State University. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Eastern Michigan University, Lawrence Technological University, and Stetson University. Now retired from teaching, she does editing work, which has included the two publications of CEP—More Than Our Blues and What Grows There. Currently, she works with CEP students as a writing mentor and editor.

Rick Wheatley

Rick Wheatley - On-Site Program Coordinator

Rick Wheatley, who earned his BS from the University of Wisconsin, is the on-site program coordinator at Tomoka CI. In 2021, he was hired as the garden manager for the Community Education Project. In his work with CEP, he focuses on the development of a space within the prison to build and maintain a garden, provide education and resources about community gardening, bio-dynamic organic gardening, and developing partnerships with the community. In 2023, he became the on-site program coordinator, focusing on coordinating with the Tomoka Administration and CEP, providing support and logistics for students, volunteers, and CEP staff relating to work within Tomoka CI.

Sarah Cramer, PhD

Sarah Cramer - Director of Food Studies

Sarah Cramer earned both a master of public health degree and a PhD in agricultural education from the University of Missouri. She is an assistant professor of sustainable food systems in the Department of Environmental Science and Studies at Stetson, and the CEP director of food studies. She teaches a variety of sustainable food systems courses at Tomoka CI and supervises independent student research on relevant food systems/food studies topics. In 2021 she earned the pedagogy award from the Association for the Study of Food and Society for her teaching at Tomoka. Her research interests include garden-based learning, alternative food networks, gender and agriculture, and institutional food system change.

Royanne Dowden, PhD

Royanne Dowden - Administrative Assistant

Royanne Dowden, who graduated from Kean University with a BA in Communication in January 2021, is the Administrative Assistant for the CEP. She assists the CEP leadership team with paperwork, event coordination, and social media posts. She has greatly enjoyed working with a program dedicated to such a meaningful cause.

Sam Houston, PhD

Dr. Sam Houston - Internship Supervisor

Sam Houston, who earned his PhD from Florida State University, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Stetson University. He serves as internship supervisor and re-entry guide specialist. He has given talks on American Islam and storytelling as ethics in Islam at Tomoka Correctional Institution. His research focuses on moral formation in Muslim and other faith-based forms of activism and community organizing, and has appeared in the Journal of Religious Ethics, the American Journal of Islam and Society, the Journal of Africana Religions, and Religion Compass.
Christlie Poteau profile picture

Christlie Poteau - Student Intern

Christlie Poteau, a current Undergraduate student at Stetson University, is a Psychology major and a Certificate of Community Engagement minor. She is an active Bonner Foundation Scholar, Fronk Scholar, WISE Mentor, and serves CEP in assisting the managing and progress of the CEP FaceBook page and ongoing CEP projects under the supervision of Dr. Sam Houston.