Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Whitney Cipolla
President
Mental Health Association Oklahoma
Whitney Cipolla is a proud graduate of The University of Tulsa with a B.A. in English and Women’s and Gender Studies and a former Blue Houser.  After graduating in 2017, she taught 6th grade English Language Arts at Tulsa Honor Academy through Teach for America.  Whitney recently received her Master’s in Public Administration from OU-Tulsa and serves as an Advocacy Specialist for Mental Health Association Oklahoma.  She is excited for the opportunity to support an organization like the Little Blue House that promotes social justice on TU’s campus and in the larger Tulsa community.

Alex Wade
Vice-President
Oklahomans for Equality
Alex Wade is an Oklahoma native raised in Bartlesville but has lived in Tulsa for the past 6 years. He received his Bachelors in English and Gender Studies from The University of Tulsa, and for the past three years, he has worked for Oklahomans for Equality as an advocate for the LGBTQ community. As a TU alumnus, Alex is honored to be on the Board of Directors and looks forward to supporting the Little Blue House as they continue to enrich the lives of TU students.

Allison Edwards
Treasurer
ONE Gas
Allison N. Edwards is Manager of Rates and Regulatory for ONE Gas, Inc., and joined the board as Treasurer in September 2019.  Prior to working at ONE Gas, she spent seven years in banking.  She has a Master of Science in Accounting and Financial Analysis, a Bachelor of Science in Finance, and is a Certified Public Accountant.  Allison has also served as a director on the board of Oklahoman’s for Equality.

Members-at-Large

Amanda Chastang
University of Tulsa
Amanda is the Director of Multicultural Affairs and Office of Diversity and Engagement Associate at The University of Tulsa. Having a passion for social justice and movements, Amanda received her B.A. in Conflict Studies with a focus on Race, Ethnicity and Culture Conflict and Gender Conflict from DePauw University. She then continued her higher education at the University of Tulsa by earning her M.A. in History with a concentration on the intersections of Race, Women and Gender. As a Tulsa native, Amanda is excited to serve on the Little Blue House Board and promote social justice and equality throughout the Tulsa community.

Lauren Hillenberg
AlphaGraphicsTulsa
Lauren is a 2016 graduate of The University of Tulsa with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and a B.A. in Film Studies. They began providing pro bono design work for local non-profits through Third Floor Design, an internship based out of the university’s School of Art. After three years of managing marketing and communications at Bishop Kelley High School, Lauren moved into their dream position of print design and marketing at AlphaGraphics Tulsa, where they hope to offer educational opportunities for students in the near future. They are honored to serve on the board of the Little Blue House, an organization with a mission that fosters a spirit of equality, inclusion, accessibility and social justice for all.

Colleen McCarty
Colleen McCarty is a TU graduate (BA ‘08). She was a “blue-houser” from 2006-2008, and served as co-president of the Coalition for Women’s Issues (now named Society for Gender Equality) her senior year of undergrad.   In 2017, McCarty went back to TU to attend law school (JD ‘20). She served as an Articles Submission Editor on the Tulsa Law Review. Her law review note, “When Voters’ Intent Backfires: Interpreting Inconsistencies Created by Voter-Approved Criminal Justice Reforms within Oklahoma’s Drug Court Statute” was published in the Spring 2020 Issue of the Tulsa Law Review. McCarty is married to Rusty Rowe (honorary “blue-houser”) and is a mom to two humans and two energetic Australian shepherds.

Don James McLaughlin
University of Tulsa
Don James McLaughlin is an assistant professor of 19th-century and early American literature at The University of Tulsa. Specializing in the medical humanities, disability theory, and queer literature, he has published on the importance of disability history to understanding the life and writing of poet Walt Whitman. His book in progress explores the development of phobia as an available social and psychological diagnosis among writers ranging from Cotton Mather to Frederick Douglass. While completing his PhD, he partnered with Women’s History Curator Connie King to create an exhibit on LGBTQ history at the Library Company of Philadelphia titled “That’s So Gay: Outing Early America.” In his free time, Don James enjoys rock climbing, gardening, traveling, and playing fetch with his dog Parker. A dedicated advocate for queer interfaith representation in higher ed, Don James is honored to be joining the Little Blue House community.

Bruce Niemi
Tulsa County Election Board
A product of the Cold War, Bruce Niemi was born in Tulsa during the closing days of the Berlin Airlift. On May 1, 2019, Bruce was sworn in as vice chairman of the Tulsa County Election Board following a long career in education and public affairs. From 1984 to 2014 he taught history and social sciences at Tulsa Community College. He served a term in the House of Representatives for the state of Oklahoma from 1990 to 1992 where he passed legislation mandating training in mental illness as part of the curriculum police certification as a peace officer. In addition to teaching, Niemi was employed as city manager of several municipalities municipalities in the Grand Lake region, and a city planner in Tulsa, Broken Arrow, and Prince George’s County, Maryland. In 2010 he reorganized the town government of Boynton, Oklahoma, when it was shut down by the District Attorney of Muskogee County. In the late 1990s Bruce was a member of the Board of Directors of Morton Comprehensive Health Services during which time the clinic’s board regained status as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Primary Care. Previously as executive director Bruce got the Tulsa Community Action Agency back on its feet after federal regulators threatened to withdraw funding from the local anti-poverty, Head Start organization. In recent years, Niemi became associated with several community and civic organizations as a member the board of trustees for the Coalition for the American Dream Little Blue House, the Urban League of Greater Tulsa, and the United Nations Association of Eastern Oklahoma. He also serves as a lector at Trinity Episcopal Church. Bruce holds the B.A. degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in occupational and adult education from Oklahoma State University. He is enrolled in the education for ministry program of the School of Theology of the University of the South (Sewanee).  Dr. Niemi is married to the Honorable Theresa G. Dreiling, Judge of the Tulsa County Juvenile Court, and is the father of two adult daughters, Meredith and Julie.

Amanda Swope
Muscogee Nation
Amanda Swope is a Tulsa native that grew up in the public school system before receiving her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Northeastern State University and a Masters of Public Administration with a focus in Public Policy from the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. She is descendant of the Osage Nation and a citizen of the Muscogee Nation where she is currently employed as the Tribal Juvenile Justice Program Director. In addition to this role, Amanda serves as the youngest and first indigenous Chair ever elected of the Tulsa County Democratic Party. She has worked on numerous state and local campaigns since 2010 and brings policy and data analysis, and research experience to the board as well as management, fundraising, grant writing, and strategic planning experience for progressive nonprofits in the Tulsa area. Amanda is looking forward to helping drive the conversation of social justice in Tulsa through an interfaith lens with the Little Blue House.

Andrea Waldron
Tulsa CARES
Andrea Waldron grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts, but found her home in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2016. While finishing her degree in American Studies at Oklahoma State University- Tulsa she championed local democratic campaigns , as well as serving a term as Chair reestablishing the Oklahoma Stonewall Democrats.  Today, she works as an administrative assistant for Tulsa CARES, a non profit serving those living with HIV and Hep-C.  In her free time she enjoys snuggling her retired champion corgi, drinking wine, and crocheting.