Staff & AmeriCorps VISTAs
Todd Lawrence is executive director for Urban Green Lab, a nonprofit organization based in Nashville, Tennessee, and founded in 2009 to improve community health through sustainable living.
A Nashville native, Todd spent the last 15 years on the frontlines of global health, with a focus on strengthening marginalized communities and programs that advance social change. Prior to Urban Green Lab, Todd managed community education initiatives for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, targeting high-risk and underserved populations, and chaired the middle Tennessee chapter of Cervical Cancer Free Tennessee. He taught International Leadership as an adjunct instructor with the Human & Organizational Development program at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education & Human Development and advised students in the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.
Before returning home in 2013, Todd spent two years in South Sudan with the Carter Center’s Guinea Worm Eradication Program (a waterborne parasite) where his team contributed to a 69 percent reduction in disease cases nationwide. He spent five years with the Global Health Council in Washington, DC, leading the historic International AIDS Candlelight Memorial (one of the world’s first AIDS awareness campaigns), coordinating some 1,200 nongovernmental organizations in 119 countries, and contributing to the Council’s policy advocacy efforts for increasing federal global health spending. Todd also trained community health workers as a Peace Corps volunteer on rural farms in Zambia.
Todd has a masters in International Development from American University and a bachelors in Political Science from Furman University. With his outstanding team of experts and volunteers, Todd hopes to ensure that future generations live more sustainable lives in the city that raised him, especially during this unprecedented era of anthropogenic climate change and rapid urban growth.
When not working, Todd is in love with photography, dogs, and family – his ultimate priority.
Allison graduated from Illinois State University in May of 2016 with a B.S. in Community Health Education and a minor in Public Health. With a strong interest in the Community Health field but no definite decision on which of the many career paths she would choose to embark on, she made a split decision to become an Au Pair in Ireland. So, between June and September she lived in a small coastal village called Ballycotton as an Au Pair for 6-year-old twin boys. During this experience she was able to do some major reflection on what exactly she wanted her life to become, both personally and professionally.
Fast forward to November and she is so incredibly happy to be working with Urban Green Lab as the Development VISTA. After spending all 23 years of her life living in the heart of Illinois she is thrilled to be taking on a new city, especially one as unique and dynamic as Nashville. She is looking forward to learning as much as she can about urban sustainability as well as expanding her experiences in the nonprofit world.
In her free time she loves to read (just started the Harry Potter series for the first time ever…finally), watch true crime documentaries on Netflix, and find all of the best vegan food that Nashville has to offer!
communications and community engagement vista
Gwen grew up on a tiny blueberry farm near the coast of Maine. In 2015 she graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies and German from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. In college, Gwen spent a semester studying peace and conflict at the University of Tübingen, a year researching the link between resource management systems and environmental justice in Baltimore, and ran on the varsity cross country team.
In the past year, Gwen ran a farm stand at an apple orchard, taught creative writing to aspiring young authors, worked as the assistant art director for a horror movie about sea monsters, and cooked and gardened at a marine summer camp on a remote island in the Penobscot Bay. In her free time, Gwen enjoys playing celtic fiddle tunes, watching old movies, writing short stories, and running long distances.
Carson Hedberg grew up in Charlotte, NC, and studied geology and environmental science at Vanderbilt University here in Nashville. While in school, Carson was heavily involved in Wilskills, a student run outdoors club. She led her peers on backpacking, climbing, and canoeing trips throughout the beautiful southeast. Carson further discovered her love of teaching and spreading appreciation of our magnificent planet while working as a TA in the geology department and interning with Urban Green Lab’s mobile sustainability classroom. Additionally, Carson participated in paleontology focused research as an undergraduate and published her work in Journal of Zoology in 2016. After graduating, Carson spent the summer in Wyoming working at Fossil Butte National Monument educating the public on the current and past environments, excavating fossils, and exploring the stunning scenery. After a taste of the Wild West, Carson returned to the vibrant city of Nashville and is excited to further her teaching skills and improve the sustainability of her community as the Impact VISTA for Urban Green Lab.
In her personal life Carson enjoys spending time outside whenever she can, especially if it involves hiking, rock climbing, camping, beautiful views, or all of the above. She also loves spending time with friends and exploring all of the groovy music, food, and events Nashville has to offer.
Adeline grew up in a small Ohio town playing every sport she could, which brought her to the Messiah College volleyball team. After a year, she transferred to Lipscomb in the growing metropolis of Nashville, the city she now calls home. In the spring of 2016, Adeline graduated magna cum laude with an Bachelor's degree in Food Systems Management and a minor in Health. She worked her way up in her service club, Pi Kappa Sigma. She began as the service coordinator, then moved on to become the social coordinator, and in her senior year she served as vice president of the club.
Trying to gain as many life experiences during her four years in school, Adeline studied abroad in London and interned at Hale & Hearty, an English company that made gluten free and vegan foods. She spent her summers working in The Adirondacks in New York and in The Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Adeline enjoys being active and playing volleyball on weekends and evenings with different groups around the city and taking her dog, Potato, on walks and to the dog park.