Director - Samuel Feemster

Professor Sam Feemster

M.Div., John Leland Center for Theological Studies J.D., Wake Forest University

Rev. Feemster is the Director of Leland’s Institute for Justice Formation and teaches courses relating to biblical justice as part of the Graduate Certificate in Justice Formation program. He brings to his teaching a background in both ministry and law enforcement. He serves as the pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Arlington, VA. He also served as a Special Agent with the FBI for 28 years and thus has a unique and informed perspective on the intersection of spirituality and law enforcement.

While serving in the FBI, Rev. Feemster conducted a research project at the FBI Academy focused on officer wellness known as Project BeSTOW (Beyond Survival Toward Officer Wellness). Under his leadership, Mount Vernon provides a respite and renewal center for the first responder community known as R.E.S.T. Stop East (Restoring Essential Servants Together).

As Director of IJF, he leads efforts to promote the transformation character of biblical Justice for leaders and communities. Employing the multi-pronged investigative approach of worship, education, advocacy, and evaluation (plus systemic feedback) pursuant to its vision and mission, IJF will accomplish relevant and evolving goals and objectives through the synthesis or convergence of these approaches.

Vonda Bell - Administrator

Vonda Bell

Vonda K. Bell, a member of Mount Vernon Baptist Church, currently serves as the Administrator for the Institute for Justice Formation. Vonda has spent the last decade working and volunteering on numerous boards and commissions.

As a civil servant and member of the Senior Executive Service, Vonda serves as the Chief Human Capital Officer for the Farm Credit Administration (FCA). Prior to joining FCA, Vonda served as the HR Director for the U.S. Census Bureau, where she was responsible for successfully leading an end-to-end optimization of the Human Resources program.

Vonda is a University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) alumnus. She holds degrees from Troy University (M.S. Human Resources) and UAH (B.S. Human Resources). Additionally, Vonda is a Society for Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP), as well as a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)

Rachel Weathers - Research Analyst, Designer

Rachel Weathers serves as a Sales Coordinator with Bank of the West’s Wealth Management Group in San Diego, CA. Prior to her 4 years in the banking industry, Rachel has worked for multiple non-profit organizations conducting research and hosting workshops. Her research includes diversity training, community engagement, and holistic wellness of law enforcement officers, as well as emotional intelligence, dialogue, and conflict analysis skills.

Rachel has co-facilitated two 7-week dialogue programs focused on race, privilege, and ethnicity for college students.

Rachel received her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Shaw University and her Master’s degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University.

Joshua Nelson - Web Developer, Web Designer

Joshua Nelson has nearly 25 years of experience in web development, application development and multi-media development. Most of this work has been in and around health care, public health, health care applications and product development.

Initially working with the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, he created and produced dozens of websites for Public Health and PSA work while there. This culminated in creating a small animation team (10 people) that put together a 20 minute animated movie – working with Dr C. Everett Koop. (The former US Surgeon General).

After leaving the C. Everett Koop Institute he worked for the Interactive Media Lab at Dartmouth. There he started as an Associate Producer as well as a designer and 3D animator. Moving up to Administrative Director he managed multiple multi-media projects including the web presence. He helped create many products here over the years that were funded by the DOJ, NIH, DHS, CDC, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Working with Dr. Joseph Henderson, this work was spun out of Dartmouth and became World 2 Systems, where he has been working for ten years and is a partner.

Concurrently, he went to work at Simbex (an engineering firm in Lebanon NH) and was Director of The Center for the Translation of Rehabilitation Engineering Advances and Technology or TREAT.  This was very rewarding work, helping many people commercialize technologies, but his interest in doing this work ultimately led to the creation of his company, Bee Balm Productions.

Joshua has owned and operated Bee Balm Productions for over six years. During that time he has developed and managed multiple websites and online web applications – often times working with teams to create very complex e-learning products.

Joshua has a Bachelor’s Degree from Dartmouth College, is a member of the board of multiple not for profit and healthcare entities, is an FAA Certified Remote Pilot and has completed coursework at the Tuck School of Business.

Carolyn Murchison Burrell, Grants Coordinator

Carolyn Burrell

Carolyn Murchison Burrell retired from the Federal Government after a distinguished career during which she served in several positions including Director, Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity; Director, Human Resources, and as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Manager.

She was certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Mediator and worked for several years designing Alternative Dispute Resolution programs and assisting employees, supervisors and managers in successfully resolving employment disputes at early stages. She developed and conducted training throughout the government in employment and labor relations laws.

Carolyn owns her own human resources business. A graduate of the University of Bridgeport with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she is currently pursuing a Masters in Christian Leadership at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies. She also serves as Clerk at her Church, Mount Zion Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia under the leadership of Bishop Leonard N. Smith.

Finally, she is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.