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Meet the Staff

Nathan Stephens, Director

Photo of Nathan Stephens








 Nathan Stephens is the Director of the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Columbia College and the University of Missouri-Columbia respectively. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis program at the University of Missouri. Nathan’s research focus examines the impact of racialized trauma on the persistence and retention rates of Black male college students. Additionally, his research also studies diversity and inclusion, organizational development, and social justice in higher education. Professionally, his background includes 8 years of experience in non-profit administration experience in organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Parks and Recreation, Housing Authority, and the Youth Empowerment Zone.  

Nathan brings to the BNAACC, 12 years of experience in student affairs having previously served as the Director of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center at the University of Missouri for almost 7 years. It was during that time that Nathan became affiliated with the Association for Black Culture Centers (ABCC) in 2006. In 2007, he submitted a proposal and was granted the opportunity to serve as the co-host for the ABCC annual conference held at the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou, he co-founded the award winning Mizzou Black Men's Initiative (MBMI) which received the ACPA Outstand Male Program of the Year in 2015. His tenure at Mizzou ended as he sought opportunities to gain greater experience in higher education, This resulted in his accepting a position at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (SIUC) as the Director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence. There he was responsible for the administrative oversight of the Black Resource Center, Hispanic/Latino Resource Center, LGBTQ Resource Center, and Women’s Resource Center. Finally, has taught classes as an adjunct instructor in Social Work programs at the University of Missouri-Columbia,  William Woods University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

Nathan is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated who believes strongly in the aims of his fraternity which are: manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind.



Valeri Nesbitt-Howard, Office Support Staff

  Valeri Nesbitt-Howard, joined the Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (BNAACC) staff in January of 2015 as the Office Support Associate.  She assists with the day-to-day operations of the BNAACC including greeting callers and visitors, purchasing programming supplies, managing the facilities, scheduling      space requests, processing paperwork, and maintaining financial records. Valeri attended Central State University and majored in Communications. Currently in her free time she enjoys spending time with her lovely family as well as her church family, Jericho Missionary Baptist Church, loves traveling, networking, reading,    mentoring and cooking. Val will continue to help build, encourage, and inspire others as they pursue their life journeys. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13