Our Staff

Taryn Henning
[she, her]
Director
taryn.henning@uky.edu
 
About:
"Coming from a background in youth and young adult development, anti-sexual violence, and community engagement, I am very excited to be able to serve the UK community in my role as VIP’s Director. It is incredibly important to me that my work be carried out through an intersectional lens and with an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and I work to bring all of that into my professional and personal lives. When not working, I enjoy reading young adult fiction, cooking (and eating), and traveling. Please feel free to stop by the office to say hello!​"
Words that inspire:
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” - Lilla Watson​
 
 
Chelsey Reid
[she, her]
Prevention Education Specialist
chelsey.reid@uky.edu
 
About:
Hi, there! My name is Chelsey and I have the pleasure of serving the UK community as the Prevention Education Specialist at the Violence Intervention & Prevention Center. In striving to prevent interpersonal violence at the university, I work with programs like Green Dot and Consent Culture. I am also the advisor for Green Team, our student organization for students who are committed to supporting our mission to shape a violence-free UK. Growing up in Kentucky, I learned firsthand about the need for prevention-based health practices. Supporting the creation of equitable systems through programming, teaching, and training to improve community health outcomes is what drives my work. Interpersonal violence is a public health issue that requires both an intervention and prevention response and I am proud to be a part of the team leading that work at the university. Outside of work, I enjoy practicing yoga, spending time with friends and family, and trying to keep up with my dogs (Chance, Maggie, and Dolly Parton).
Words that inspire:
“A violinist has his violin, a painter his palette. All I had was myself. I was the instrument that I must care for.” - Josephine Baker
 
 
Emily McKenzie
[she, her]
Survivor Advocate
emily.mckenzie@uky.edu

About:
"I am a graduate of Berea College where I studied Gender Studies and Philosophy. It is also where I first developed a passion for social justice work. I obtained my MSW from UK and CSW from the KY Board of Social Work. I went on to coordinate and provide services to survivors of sexual violence in rural communities before joining the VIP Center. UK provided me with the skills to apply my passion in the real world, and I am excited to give back to an institution that gave me so much. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, listening to live music, catching up on my favorite podcasts, eating good food, and loving my sweet senior pup."
Words that inspire:
“Service is the rent we pay for being.” - Marian Wright Edelman
 
 
Lenzi Dodgen
[she, her]
Survivor Advocate
lenzi.dodgen@uky.edu
 
About:
“I was originally born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and moved to Lexington, KY at 5 years old to set roots with my family.  I graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Social Work.  I have spent several years practicing in the community with at-risk children, families, and individuals, by providing support and advocacy to those without a voice.  I have a sincere passion for working with vulnerable populations to combat gender-based violence and empowering individuals to become the best version of themselves.  I feel the VIP Center is the perfect fit for my strengths and practices to push the social paradigm towards equity and social justice. In my free time, I enjoy my family, my dog, and volunteering in the community in different capacities.”
Words that inspire:
“I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” – Cynthia Occelli
 
 
Amanda Hamilton
[she, her]
Staff and Faculty Engagement Specialist
amanda.hamilton1@uky.edu
 
About:
“I joined the VIP Center team in 2017 because of my passion for supporting and advocating for college students. Originally from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, I received my Bachelor's of Arts in History from Georgetown College and then went on to receive my Master's of Education in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Texas State University-San Marcos. Some of my favorite things are: checking out new movies and shows on Netflix, reading (especially Harry Potter), listening to music, and hanging out with my adorable son, partner, and dogs, Charlie and Max.”
Words that inspire:
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela
 

Stephanie Smith
[she, her]
Program Specialist
stephanietarasmith@uky.edu

About:
"Hello! My name is Steph. I'm from Eastern Kentucky and am currently a student here at UK studying Social Work, as well as Appalachian Studies. I am absolutely thrilled to be in the Program Specialist role here at the VIP Center. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to help and engage with students, faculty, and staff at UK, and to be able to work toward VIP's mission to end sexual and gender-based violence in ways big and small. When I'm not working, I love to hang out with my zoo (2 dogs, 3 cats) and read."
 
Words that inspire:
"Sometimes there's only a hint, a possibility. What's magical, sometimes, has deeper roots than reason. I hope everyone knows that." - Mary Oliver