Martin Luther King Center Staff

Jason Brooks


Jason Brooks serves as the Director for the Martin Luther King Center. Jason holds a BM and a MM in Music Performance from Emporia State University.  Currently a doctoral student at Baker University in the Educational Leadership & Higher Education Administration Program, Jason has been an active advocate for social justice, equity and inclusion within the state of Kansas.  With a passion for educating, he’s facilitated training modules on identity, micro-aggressions, diversity and LGBTQIA+ ally trainings at private and public institutions within the region.  As a past City Commissioner for the Human Relations committee for Emporia, Kansas, Jason has provided guidance and helped trained city officials on cultural competencies.  Jason has conducted workshops and seminars on many issues with a focus on enrollment management, inclusion, institutional  and leadership potential. His professional career has been spent managing and developing programs within a higher education setting to combat the problematic enrollment, retention and graduation rates of Black, Latino, and Native American youth.  Jason was recently published in the Kansas Association of Teachers Education Journal on the topic of “Enhancing Cultural Competences”.

Ja'Mahl McDaniel


Ja’Mahl McDaniel, MA serves as the Associate Director for the King Center. In this role he collaborates with the Director and King Center team in creating programs and campus-wide initiatives for the UK community. Ja’Mahl brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to King Center having facilitated dialogues, diversity trainings and possesses a plethora of other skills, As a proud of alum of UK, Ja’Mahl is determined to be an advocate and change agent for students as they pursue their education.

Ruth Gonzalez


Ruth González Jiménez is from Jalisco, México, but grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at UK in History in the College of Arts & Sciences, with a focus in Latin American and African American histories in May, 2017. During her time as a student, she was a founding member the Latino Student Union and a founding sister of UK’s Colony of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Incorporated. Ruth was also actively involved in serving the greater Lexington Latino/immigrant community, and held a position at Lexington’s only bilingual library (Village Branch). Upon graduating, Ruth was hired as the first Latino Student Community Specialist at the University of Kentucky. Through this role, she continues to serve as a resource to students, while advising the Latino Student Union, Collegiate Curls, & Leading Latinas: A Mentorship Program, and initiates programmatic efforts aimed at improving the sense of belonging and retention of Latino students through the seeAzul: Latino Student Programming Series.

Melody Hall


Melody Hall, our Administrative Support Associate is an integral part of the MLK Center. She supports the Director and both professional staff team members as an office manager. Melody has worked for UK for 15 years and earned her bachelor’s degree from the College of Environmental Sciences now the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment. Also, She completed the three UK business certifications in 2016. She is located in the Gatton Student Center. Furthermore, one of her greatest achievements was being commissioned to be a Kentucky Colonel in 2016. This is very important to her because making a difference in the community is one of her top priorities. Lastly, she loves working with students and making a difference in their lives.


MLK Interns



Tianna Lewis


Classification: Junior

Major: Integrated Strategic Communication, PR Focus, with a minor in Information Studies

Outside Involvement: Involved in PRSSA and participate in various community service events.

One thing you are passionate about: Animals and my studies.


Daejanae Westbrook

Classification: Senior

Major: Psychology/Criminology

Outside Involvement: Involved with the Women’s Club Basketball Team

One thing you are passionate about: I’m very passionate about making people feel good about themselves and making them believe they can achieve great things.