The Team

Maeva Renaud. Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Maeva Renaud is a multi-media and performing artist who currently resides in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Multi-Media Communications with a concentration in Film and Television Production from Florida Atlantic University. She believes in the power of the arts to help transform communities both on a social and economic level. Renaud is a graduate student in Eastern University's Urban Studies Program focusing on Arts in Transformation. Her working thesis is on the power of the arts in cultural tourism and development. Renaud is also a travel planner and concierge.

Photography and Spoken Word

                                   Hannah Poon. In 2006 Hannah graduated with her Bachelor’s of social work from the University of Calgary.  Upon working a year in the field of social work with youth, as well as individuals experiencing addictions, homelessness and mental illness, Hannah became very dissatisfied with the roles she played as a social worker.  She felt that her positions did not offer the hope and skill building that she wished to work on with her clients.   Late 2006 she found a position at the Mustard Seed Street Ministry as the Arts and Culture Programmer and Facilitator.  It was then that she realized the potential of Art in Social work settings.   Facilitating art-making held the answer she was looking for, it provided her clients with a space for self-actualization, and transcendence bringing forth hope.  It was also excellent in helping people build self-confidence, realize their own resiliency and develop community.  After working three years at the Mustard Seed and working on various collaborative projects such as TMC (This is my City), Coat Check, Oedipus Evolving and the guerilla art initiatives of Provincial Boom Commission, Hannah decided to continue furthering her education in this field of study.  Today, Hannah works at Prospect Human Services as an Arts facilitator teaching art to adults with disabilities and is pursuing her Masters in Arts in Transformation.  She enjoys practicing in most mediums but works primarily with painting, drawing, sculpture and textiles.
Visual Arts

Drick Boyd is Associate Professor of Urban and Interdisciplinary Studies at Eastern University and a community/popular educator particularly in the area of leadership development. Dr. Boyd is an ordained American Baptist pastor and member of the West Philadelphia Mennonite Fellowship. His particular areas of interest and engagement include racial justice, grassroots leadership development, urban theology and spirituality, educational reform, and gun violence prevention. He is married to Cynthia Boyd and father to three adult daughters. In his spare time he likes to ride bike, play guitar and play basketball.

Graduate Course Facilitator

Amber Aasman is an artist, music teacher, and student living in Hamilton, Ontario. She graduated not so long ago with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Fine Arts and Peace Studies from McMaster University. Approximately 3 weeks later she began graduate studies at Eastern University, concentrating on Community Arts. This is the type of art that holds her attention and passion, though she continues to create independent artwork on the side (can be viewed She works as a private piano teacher out of her home studio, as well as for an organization called Urban Arts Initiative (UAI), located in the arts district of Hamilton. At the UAI Amber facilitates programming for "at-risk," homeless, and street-involved youth. In her free time, Amber enjoys local music and cultural events, travelling, and camping.

Music and Visual Arts

Sylvie Gallier Howard has over fifteen years of experience working in the non-profit industry, where she has gathered extensive experience in fundraising, board development, strategic planning, financial planning, executive management and leadership transition. For the majority of her career Sylvie has served in non-profit leadership positions, including three years in Latin American non-profits and a five-year tenure as Executive Director of Empowerment Group (EG), an economic development organization in Philadelphia. Sylvie has an MA in Sociology with a concentration in gender studies and a BA from Columbia University in International Relations. Since 2007, Sylvie has been working with foundations and non-profits throughout Philadelphia in a consultant role. She has worked with Foundations in grant-making as well as with non-profits in fundraising and other areas of organizational development. Sylvie lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two sons. During her free time, she likes to take photographs, do yoga, swim or travel wherever she can.


Kelly finlaw is a 2006 graduate of grace college with a bachelors in art education. Currently she is pursing her masters degree in urban studies through eastern university. Kelly is an art teacher, artist, sister, daughter, friend, and a generally perky person. She lives in NYC, where she walks to work everyday and loves her community, job, and neighborhood. She is also a professional visual artist that frequently paints murals, publishes prints, and doodles incessantly. Her heart is to see the renewal of all things and play her role in that through the arts.

Visual Arts

Dr. Vivian Nix-Early is the owner of a private clinical practice and consulting service, and is Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of BuildaBridge International. A licensed clinical psychologist, educator and musician by training, Dr. Nix-Early has over 30 years of experience working with youth in community settings. She is co-author of Taking it to the Streets: How the Arts Are Transforming Communities (Baker Books 2003). She serves as Dean and is a primary faculty member of the BuildaBridge Institute, teaching Arts in Education, Arts in Healing and Arts, Creativity and Human Development. She is a Master Trainer for the BuildaBridge model, preparing local and international teams for service in their communities. Prior to 2010, Dr. Nix-Early spent 30 years in higher education, serving first as professor of psychology and associate provost at West Chester University, and more recently as Dean of the School for Social Change at Eastern University. Dr. Nix-Early received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from New York University in 1979. She is a licensed psychologist in the states of Pennsylvania and New York. She is also a board certified music therapist, having completed her post-graduate Certificate in Creative Arts Therapy: Music Therapy at Drexel University. Dr. Nix-Early is a licensed Music Together In-School Provider and currently engages the Music Together Curriculum within therapy with pre-school children who have experienced domestic abuse.

Faculty, Trainer, Musician, BuildaBridge Co-founder

Vickie Corbitt joined Kirby Bates Associates in October 2011 as the Associate for Search Support Services. Prior to joining KBA, Vickie spent five years as project coordinator in executive search for the Philadelphia office of Korn/Ferry International.  Vickie spent four years as Career Services Manager at Eastern University where she coached adult students in successful career development and transition. She has also taught in the evening programs at Eastern University and University of Phoenix in the areas of cross-cultural communications, adult learning models, and ethics. Vickie received her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management and Master’s of Business Administration degrees with honors from Eastern University, St. David’s, PA.

Classroom Teaching Assistant

Joy Clark, a native of Chester Pennsylvania, received her B.A in Communications Studies from Elizabeth City State University, in Elizabeth City, NC and is working on her Masters in Urban Studies, concentration Youth Leadership at Eastern University’s, Campolo College of Graduate and Professional Studies, Philadelphia, PA. Ms. Clark is a passionate youth development servant, who has lead the Soldiers for Christ dance ministry at her church, for the past 3 years and seeks to bring her experience and passion in youth development programming, to youth serving organizations in Bogota, as well as learn from her experience in Bogota.


Kayla Knox. In 2009 Kayla graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Art with an emphasis in Ceramics. She then moved into a career of computer programming and graphic design. Currently she is working to complete her Masters degree in Urban Studies with an emphasis in Transformational Art. Kayla usually creates multimedia sculptures, but loves throwing clay on a wheel and creating different forms. It is not about obtaining a beautiful piece of well designed artwork, but it is the process of creating the artwork that is a healing and restorative process. Kayla has been married to Jon Knox for three years now and looks forward to seeing how our artistic abilities will be used together.

Ceramics and Visual Arts

Jon Knox. In 2011 Jon graduated from the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture.  He is currently working as a designer for an architecture firm, while working toward becoming a licensed architect.  Jon is interested in discovering how the built environment can enhance human interaction, create social opportunity and promote healthy community.  He feels architecture can work alongside community development to enhance the lives of those in urban environments.  Jon has been married to Kayla Knox for three years and is excited to see how our art and architecture can influence lives.
Architecture and Visual Arts

Greta Tom. After Greta Tom received her BA International Studies from West Virginia University, she spent a year volunteering in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her experiences there led her to spend three years in Nicaragua where she accompanied various projects in a community based cultural center. She returned to the U.S. last fall and began the MA Urban Studies program at Eastern University in order to learn about methods for effective community arts practices. Greta plays the piano and oboe, loves to sing and is (slowly) learning guitar.


Kayla Barnes is a soon-to-be graduate at Rancocas Valley Regional High School. In her aspirations to become a psychiatrist, she has added a number of AP courses to her belt of knowledge. From a young age, Kayla took an interest in culture and the arts. At the age of 9 she began to play the viola and discovered her vocal talent, and is slowly but surely conquering the cello from her list of past times to attempt. She also studies 5 disciplines of dance at Core Academy of Movement in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, and is a member of their competition dance team. Recently, the Star of Hope Baptist Church Dance Ministry was revitalized under her leadership. Her many summers of experience working with children of all ages have prepared her for even larger scale projects. One of her core beliefs is that the spread of the arts in all its forms has the power to heal and change people and communities.

Teacher's Assistant, Dance

Madison Crutchfield is a senior at Parkwood High School, in Monroe, NC. She is an enthusiastic young woman, always eager to help people. Recently her art work was chosen from Parkwood High to be in the Union County Student Artist Showcase, at the Union County Community College. She enjoys Visual Arts and Photography, and learning about other cultures. Her main goal after high school is to enter college and earn a degree in Social Studies with a career as an elementary school teacher. Madison enjoys working with children and is studying about child development and parenting in her senior year of high school.    

Teacher's Assistant, Photography

Stevie Neale is a performer and theatre teacher in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area. Originally from Florida, Stevie has a BFA in Musical Theatre and Political Science and is currently pursuing a Masters in Urban Studies at Eastern. She has taught theatre to children for 11 years in various children's theaters and community development organizations in Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Years of teaching and amazing mentors have instilled in her the belief in the power of the arts to transform people and communities in incredibly beautiful ways.


J. Nathan Corbitt, D.M.A. is President and Co-Founder of BuildaBirdge.  Corbitt has an eclectic interest in life with a diverse and interdisciplinary background. He was professionally trained as a musician and has worked as a congregational musician, public school music teacher, ethnomusicologist, cross-cultural consultant, and professor.   He spent 11 years in Africa serving with a mission agency in the areas of music development and cross-cultural media strategy. In 1992 he joined the faculty of Eastern University and today serves as a professor of Cross-Cultural Studies and coordinator of the Arts in Transformation concentration of the M.A. in Urban Studies Program, Traveling, researching and consulting in over 40 countries has informed his teaching, community service and relationships. In 1997, he co-founded BuildaBridge with Dr. Vivian Nix-Early which has now offered arts-based direct service and training to over 10,000 children, families and teachers in over 24 countries.
Corbitt enjoys teaching and mentoring young people interested in community work, non-profits and the arts; and, especially enjoys seeing the world through first-time travelers' eyes. He has a keen interest in historic house renovation and technology. He is married 42 years to Vickie Corbitt and proud of his three children and seven grandchildren.

Faculty, Trainer, Co-Founder of BuildaBridge

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