Our Staff

Chelsey Reid

Interim Director, Prevention Education Specialist

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Chelsey has a passion for improving community health and wellness through programming, education, and direct advising. She is thrilled to bring her experience in higher education to the VIP Center to serve the University of Kentucky campus community through violence prevention efforts. Chelsey completed her undergraduate education at Georgetown College and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Health with an emphasis on Health Behavior at the University Of Kentucky. In her spare time, Chelsey enjoys quality time with family and friends, teaching yoga, and spoiling her dogs, Maggie and Dolly Parton.

Words that inspire: 
“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” - Cheryl Strayed, Wild

Emily McKenzie

Survivor Advocate

"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

Survivor Advocate

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lenzi moved to Lexington, KY at 5 years old and set roots with her family.  Lenzi graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Social Work.  Lenzi has spent nearly the last 10 yearspracticing in the community with at-risk children, families, and individuals, by providing support and advocacy to those without a voice.  Lenzi has a sincere passion for working with vulnerable populations to combat gender-based violence, and empowering individuals to become the best version of themselves.  Lenzi feels the VIP Center is the perfect fit for her strengths and practices to push the social paradigm towards equity and social justice. In Lenzi’s free time, she enjoys her family, raising awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Neurodiverse community, and mentoring high risk children in the foster care system.

Words that inspire:
“I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” – Cynthia Occelli

Amanda Hamilton

Staff and Faculty Engagement Specialist

Amanda joined the VIP Center team after spending the last four years as a Resident Director because of her passion for supporting and advocating for college students. Originally from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Amanda recieved her Bachelor's of Arts in History from Genorgetown College and then went on to receive her Master's of Education in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Texas State University-San Marcos. Some of her favorite things are: checking out new movies and shows on Netflix, reading (especially Harry Potter), listening to music (her taste ranges from classical to bluegrass to Lorde and Beyonce), and hanging out with her partner and her adorable dogs, Charlie and Max.

Words that inspire:
"It always seems impossible until it is done."  - Nelson Mandela

Stephanie Smith

Program Specialist

Steph joined the VIP Center team in January 2017 and is absolutely thrilled to be in the Program Specialist role. She is 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. Originally from Eastern Kentucky, Steph moved to Lexington to pursue a degree in Social Work at UK. She lives for music, literature, poetry, hiking, coffee, plants, laughter, art, photography, and cats.

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