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CDA Student Spotlight: Allison Plattsmier

Posted by on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 in Current Students.


Allison Plattsmier is currently a second year Community Development & Action (CDA) student who will be graduating in December of 2016.  She took a few moments to tell us about some of her experiences during her time within the CDA program and her future pursuits.


Where are you from?
I’m from Nashville, TN (Yes, we do exist!).  Outside of one year that my family lived in Huntsville and the three years I went to college in Chattanooga, I have lived here my whole life.
What did you do before CDA?
I came into the program straight out of undergrad. I studied Political Science: Public Administration and Nonprofit Management with a minor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I worked as a Special Events Intern for the American Diabetes Association, as the Curriculum Development Assistant for Village Virtual LLC, and as the Website Editor/Administrative Intern for the Chattanooga Downtown Rotary Club. Additionally, I completed a yearlong IT Apprenticeship and served as a peer mentor to first-year students and a tutor for student athletes.

Why did you choose CDA?
My undergraduate program focused primarily on theory and I liked that CDA had a more hands-on, practical approach. I also liked that the program focused on the social justice/advocacy side of nonprofit work.
What are your major interests?
My interests are in food security, nutrition as it relates to mental health and preventable disease, eliminating barriers to equality, and ensuring equal access to public resources for disadvantaged populations.
Where did you do your practicum?
I completed my practicum with Hands on Nashville and The Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee (TAMT). With Hands on Nashville, I worked on launching a collective impact model by interviewing residents in the North Nashville area. With TAMT, I am assisting with program evaluation for their two signature programs, the Transit Citizen Leadership Academy (TCLA) and the Transit Government Leaders Conference (TGLC).
What has been your favorite class & why?
My favorite class was Becoming a Change Agent. It was the most hands-on class and allowed me to really get out in the community and use what I was learning.
What do you want to do post-graduation?
I am pursuing an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice at Trevecca and I hope to finish my requirements to become a Certified Nonprofit Professional with the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. I was offered a position as Executive Director of Amputee Blade Runners (ABR), an organization dedicated to providing free running prostheses, which are not covered by insurance, to amputees that are seeking a more active lifestyle. I am excited to work with both TAMT and ABR to enact change in these vastly different areas of need.


What are you involved in on campus?  Off campus?

On campus I serve as:

  • Writer for HerCampus Vanderbilt
  • President of the National Society of Leadership and Success
  • Peabody Peer Career Mentor
  • CDA representative on the Peabody Honor Council
  • GSC representative on VUPD’s Community-Oriented Results and Expectations Committee
  • Student representative on the VUPD Appreciation Committee

Off campus:

  • Associate Director of Programs and Development for TAMT
  • Executive Director of ABR
  • Nashville 30 Under 30 Honoree- Fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Deputy Chair of Young Professionals in Transportation- International
  • Programming Chair of Young Professionals in Transportation- Nashville
  • Moving Forward Public Engagement Task Force Member
  • Client Liaison for the Heimerdinger Foundation
    DoSomething.org Ambassador
    FUTURO Arts Leadership Committee Member
    FUTURO Civic & Education Engagement Committee Member
    Doing Good Public Relations Volunteer
  • Radio Free Nashville Development Volunteer
  • American Red Cross Development Volunteer
  • Member of Young Nonprofit Professionals and Association of Fundraising Professionals


What do you do for fun?
I host theme/murder mystery parties, play trivia, go to movies, play escape games, sing, dance, run, read, and volunteer 😀  But, overall, my favorite thing to do is hang at home with my husband, Kris, and our two cats, Jacinda and Sheena.


What advice would you give new or prospective CDA students?
Make the most out of your experience, both on and off campus. Strive to take advantage of every opportunity because it is a one-of-a-kind experience.


What has been the most valuable thing you have learned as a CDA student?
The power of implicit bias in our everyday interactions and the need to tackle issues from a systemic level in order to see radical change.


Thank you for sharing some of your story with us, Allison!

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