Current Exec Board Members

Partner 2017

Taylor graduated in 2017 with a major in Global Development Studies and French Language & Literature with a minor in African-American and African Studies. She conducted research on Intimate Partner Violence and its prevalence amongst college-aged Black women while at UVA. In May 2015, Taylor traveled to Sénégal where she spent time with rural farmers outside of Thiés learning about organic agricultural practices. At UVa, she is the Director of Philanthropy for an organization called Fashion For A Cause which hosts an annual fashion show to raise money for a local non-profit organization. Taylor is originally from Harlem, NY and she grew up training to play tennis professionally.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Artem Demchenko


Partner 2016

Artem is a graduate from UVA's school of Architecture and Global Sustainability program. As one of the co-founders, he brings his love for design, and sustainability to the table. He enjoys Star Wars, playing Soccer, and good coffee. He is also a Life Long Dalai Lama Fellow, and believes that compassion and care for the environment should be the foundation for all technological innovation!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Shantell Bingham

Co-Founder of GFC

Director 2014-2016

Shantell is a recent graduate from UVA's Master’s in Public Health program. As one of the co-founders she brings her love for health, the built environment, and community to the table. She enjoys reading insightful novels and short stories, making art, and growing things no matter what it is. She is a Life Long Dalai Lama Fellow, and believes that effective collaboration starts with compassion! 


Director 2018-2019

Emma is a fourth year Urban and Environmental Planning major and Architecture minor. She enjoys running, being outside and making art. As a Charlottesville native, Emma is excited to extend relationships between the University and the Charlottesville community. She is interested in ways gardening and nature elements can be brought into cities to enrich the wellbeing of communities. 


Partner 2017

Brianne graduated in 2017 with a major in Women and Gender Studies and Global Sustainability. She is interested in the ways that gardens can enhance green space in urban settings and is passionate about the power that collaborative methods can have in empowering and creating mutual benefit between all stakeholder groups. While a member of Growing for Change, she developed and taught service-learning course to carry out GFC's mission.


Co-Director 2020-2021

Leah is a fourth year student in the Architecture School, and has been in Growing for Change since her first semester at UVA. She is passionate about spending time with kids, growing her own food, and working in the fabrication lab. She hopes to pursue a career in playground design or kid centered architecture after graduation. 


Co-Director 2019-2021

Mara is a fourth-year studying Media Studies and American Studies. She started gardening as a small child in her grandparents' backyard, and has carried that hands-on passion with her while becoming involved in food and housing justice advocacy through GFC. In her free time, she loves to knit and watch reality TV with her roommates. Before stepping into the director role, Mara served as the group's membership and education coordinator. 


Director of Finance 2018-2021

Sabrina Sampson is a fourth-year Economics and Global Sustainability major with a minor in Spanish. She likes to travel, try new foods, draw, take care of her houseplants, and spend time outside. Sabrina really enjoys being a part of GFC and appreciates the opportunity to connect with members of the local community outside of UVA in a meaningful and hands-on way.

Jesse Auer

Design Coordinator 2020-2021

Jesse is a current fourth year in the School of Architecture with a concentration in Design Thinking and a minor in Studio Art. She has been in GFC since her first year, and considers it the highlight of her college career! She's passionate about horticulture and gardening, as well as making connections with Westhaven residents. After school she hopes to pursue a career in Landscape Architecture and focus on regenerative and sustainable designs.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Webmaster 2020-2021

Leah is a fourth year majoring in public policy & leadership. She joined GFC her first semester after transferring to UVA in an effort to create positive impact in the Charlottesville community. She has loved connecting with residents and other GFC students. In her free time, she enjoys trying to keep her house plants alive, binging Netflix shows, and writing. She hopes to continue food security and housing affordability advocacy after graduating. 

Past Members
Santiago Roca

Past Partner

Santiago is a fourth year architecture student. He works as one of the Design Coordinators for Growing for Change. Santiago is a world traveler having grown up in Spain and France, and spent time in India and Mexico during his gap year. Santiago is currently working on a project in Armenia to design a earthquake resistant model for the city of Gyumri, Armenia. 

Kathy Nguyen

Former Director of Finance

Kathy is a Public Health graduate student who is interested in the role sustainability plays with public health. She is interested in studying environmental health disparities, from exposure to pollution to food insecurity. She loves to hike, go to art/music events, and try new restaurants downtown. She really appreciates growing up with a vegetable garden in her backyard and hopes to promote the accessibility of gardening to all!


Design Coordinator 2020-2021

Ryan is a second-year grad student in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department. He joined GFC his first semester at UVA, and when he's not otherwise in lab, loves spending his time hiking out in the mountains, hunting for minerals, and tinkering. Also an avid member of Engineers Without Borders, he hopes to continue work in both domestic and international sustainable development efforts after graduation.