Sara Barber, MA, is the Executive Director of SCCADVASA. Prior to joining SCCADVASA, she was the Executive Director of a batterer
intervention program that offered services in seventeen South
Carolina counties and has thirteen years of experience in this
field. She has published research on the effects of increased
supervision on offender completion outcomes. Current research
topics include gender differences in client evaluation tools and
the parenting attitudes of participants in a batterer intervention
program. She has a Master’s Degree in Criminology and Criminal
Justice from the University of South Carolina.
Community Change Coordinator
Page Chilton is originally from Tennessee but moved to Columbia, SC in 2003 to attend Columbia International University, where she graduated with a BA in Humanities. In 2013 she helped found and organize Girls Rock Columbia, a summer camp that uses music as a tool to empower and educate young girls and trans* youth in the local community. She is currently the board Treasurer for the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, a national non-profit that provides resources to Girls Rock camps across the world.
Coordinator of Primary Prevention and Specialized Advocacy
Olivia earned a Bachelor of Arts in Writing from Carnegie Mellon University and Master of Public Health degree from Boston University. While living in Pennsylvania, Olivia worked with residents of halfway houses on issues around communicable disease prevention and treatment. She noticed that many of the women she worked with were discussing past or current experiences with sexual abuse and domestic violence. Olivia was driven to pursue further education through a master’s in public health based on this and other experiences, along with a desire to better understand the broader picture of factors contributing to intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
Olivia focused her MPH work on sexual and domestic violence prevention and intervention, mental health, health law, and the specific needs of women, children, and adolescents. As the culmination of her studies, she investigated and presented on the intersections between incarceration and sexual assault. During her time in Massachusetts, Olivia worked as a teen dating violence interventionist at Boston Medical Center, Boston’s safety net hospital, which sees the majority of low-income and underserved residents of the Greater Boston Area. In this position, Olivia worked with adolescents who had used physical aggression against a partner and guided them in developing strategies for reducing use of violence and building feelings of self-efficacy around violence reduction, with the ultimate goal of developing healthy relationships, healthier long-term attitudes and behaviors around violence, and greater connectedness to other community resources. She also contributed to an evaluation of this brief motivational interview intervention model. Additionally, Olivia worked with a midwifery advocacy program, promoting legislation on behalf of families in the state. She also worked for Boston University’s Department of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance coordinating dance programming and student/community engagement. Originally from Florida, Olivia enthusiastically returned to the Southeast in August 2016 to join SCCADVASA as the Prevention Coordinator.
Portronda Lowery grew up in Columbia, SC and has served SCCADVASA since
2012. She holds a BA degree in Accounting from Columbia College and 15 years
of experience in the field. Portronda enjoys traveling, Gamecock football and
basketball and reading. She is married and has 2 sons and one daughter.
Training and Special Events Coordinator
Courtney-Christie was born in Quantico, VA and now lives in Columbia, SC with her husband and 3 sons. Courtney-Christie has been with SCCADVASA since 2011. Prior to joining SCCADVASA she worked in Richland County School District One with the Richland One Community Coalition (ROCC). ROCC focused on preventing risky behaviors in high school students. Courtney-Christie is also the Owner of Operation B.L.A.S.T. (Boys Learning About Science and Technology), an educational organization created to keeping African American boys between the ages of 6-14 engaged in (hands on) Science, Math & Technology. She studied at Midlands Technical College and Ashford University.
Director of Member Support and Community Justice
Dr. Valerie Ekue has over 26 years of combined comprehensive experience in business
management/administration, human resources/grant management, student support services,
organizational leadership, training, customer service and medical affairs. Dr. Ekue served eight
years at USC as a Grants Coordinator in the Arnold School of Public Health’s Department of
Epidemiology & Biostatistics while also teaching a first-year seminar course for three years.
Prior to this, Dr. Ekue served as an Executive Assistant at Providence Hospital and an Executive
Management Analyst at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Ekue was trained as
a court/crisis advocate through the Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM) and has
volunteered at STSM and Sistercare. Dr. Ekue graduated with a doctoral degree in
Organizational Leadership from Argosy University and focused her dissertation on typological
barriers preventing African American women from self-reporting domestic violence to formal
support agencies here in S.C.
Dr. Ekue has a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Webster University and
received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from The College of New Rochelle where she
received high honors and minored in Psychology. Dr. Ekue’s research interests includes intimate
partner violence and sexual assault among survivors residing in marginalized communities,
effective advocacy, policy reform, intervention/prevention, program development, population
approaches, community coordinated responses to IPV, health risks and disparities associated
with IVP and sexual assault among LGBTQ/immigrant populations and trauma informed care.
Dr. Ekue is a member of the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society in Business,
Management and Administration, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the
National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Ashton Petta is from Lexington, South Carolina and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2016, with a Bachelors of Social Work. She is with SCCADVASA as an MSW intern, and is attending the University of South Carolina for her Masters of Social Work. Ashton will be with the SCCADVASA team for a year before graduating in May of 2017
Director of Systems Advocacy
Katie graduated with distinction with her Bachelors of Science in Social Work from New York University
and her Masters of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. She has over 15 years’ experience
working in prevention programming starting in New York City’s Lower East Side community and, since
2001, in the Columbia/Midlands area of South Carolina. Katie has expertise in creating and managing
ecological perspectives to create systemic change. She was Community Education Director at Sexual
Trauma Services of the Midlands from 2007-2011 where she collaborated with a variety of partners and
stakeholders to implement sexual and domestic violence prevention and education in schools,
churches, universities and colleges, and other community groups around Richland, Lexington, and
Newberry Counties. In 2011, Katie and her husband relocated for 3 ½ years to Tanzania in East Africa
where Katie worked with local women’s rights organizations and programs to support the development
and equality of Tanzanian women and girls.
Katie was lead author on The Evolution of a Sexual Assault Program, published in the January 2012
edition of The Sexual Assault Report. She has facilitated many state-wide conferences and served on
state-wide advisory boards and roundtables and she has created culturally appropriate resource
materials on sexual and domestic violence in Swahili for Tanzanian audiences. Katie is also a former
adjunct Social Work professor at the University of South Carolina. She returned to South Carolina in May
2015 and serves as SCCADVASA’s Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator.
Prevention and Inclusion Specialist
Hi I’m Tyquan!
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the College of Charleston with classes focused on the inequality experienced by people of color, LGBTQ, and immigrants in a wide array of institutions and systems. During my undergraduate career, I have partnered with nonprofits such as Communities in Schools, EMPOWERR, and Enough Pie and I have been able to work with individuals diagnosed with autism and sexually and physically abused young men. These experiences have allowed me to work intimately with children as a mentor, a brother, and most importantly, a friend. As Charleston native, I spend my time working with grass roots organizations to intimately impact my hometown I love so dearly. Through life and professional experience, I have worked with kids who are determined “at-risk” educating them on safe sex, drug usage, and the education system, which at times, holds them at disadvantages. I believe in the innate ability of children of this generation (and generations to follow) to make the biggest impact on their peer groups, their families, their communities, and the world.
Program and Administrative Assistant
Taunia returned home to South Carolina after living in West Virginia for the last 10 years. She is devastated by the loss of her mountains and her snowy, West Virginia winters, but is happy to be returning to family, farmland and the Columbia flea markets.
She started at SCCADVASA in September of 2016 and is more and more enthusiastic about it every day!
Kathleen Heavner James, MSW
Coordinator of Limited English Proficiency Outreach
Kathleen partners with member organizations to grow capacity at reaching and caring for individuals who do not primarily communicate in English; with underserved communities to develop their understanding and utilization of available resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Previously, Kathleen was in a direct service role at Lutheran Services Carolinas, working with unaccompanied children and foreign-born survivors of human trafficking, most of whom were native to Central America. Kathleen's passion for immigration rights and language access was ignited during a year of volunteer service in central Mexico, where a friend--named Soledad--told her that "after living in the United States for eight years, the biggest thing I learned is that the US is a lonely place. For everyone."
Kathleen is committed to making her home state less lonely, more welcoming, and responsive to the needs of underserved crime victims, particularly those facing communication barriers.