Blue Ridge Fellows Class of 2016-2017:


Rebekah Broughton, Botetourt, VA
James Madison University: Communication and Humanitarian Affairs
Host Family: Brad & Christine Broughton
Employer: Acts 2; Street Ransom
Mentor: Bethany Webb 

Rebekah grew up in the outskirts of Roanoke, Virginia surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. After earning an Associate’s Degree in General Studies in high school, Rebekah transferred to James Madison University where she studied Communication and Humanitarian Affairs. Rebekah made the most of her two years at JMU by volunteering at nonprofit organizations in Harrisonburg and serving at Aletheia Church. She was also heavily involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and served as a member on the Hospitality Team. Through her studies and trips to the Dominican Republic and Rwanda, Rebekah has developed a passion for international missions and humanitarian relief in developing countries. She hopes to eventually return to Rwanda and assist the local church in its efforts to reach hurting and lost people and meet their physical and spiritual needs.   

Jeff Chandler, Bear, DE
The University of Delaware: Biomedical Engineering
Host Family: Steve and Judy Anderson
Employer: Gilbert Medical
Mentor: Danny Farrar

 Jeff Chandler attended the University of Delaware and was actively involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for three years and Vision A Cappella for all four. While there, he co-led multiple Bible studies and managed the funding for a multi-day human trafficking awareness campaign on campus. Between graduation and becoming a Blue Ridge Fellow, Jeff supervised multiple lab techs in a growing cosmetic company while finding creative yet simple solutions for streamlining its organizational systems. He is passionate about helping the helpless and hopes to use his biomedical engineering knowledge and experience to do just that with medical devices.


Patricia Chenette, Clifton, VA
George Mason University: Nursing
Host Family: Chris and Robin Conrad
Employer: Lewis Gale Medical Center
Mentor: Allison Walker 

While at George Mason University, Patricia studied nursing, volunteered as an EMT and ambulance driver, played soccer, and served in Cru as a mentor and leader. Passionate about community and truth, she started a spiritual discussion group with the goal of learning from diverse perspectives in a safe environment. Patricia enjoys playing piano, meeting friends for coffee, practicing healthcare, asking questions, and teaching in church and the community. After the Blue Ridge Fellows program, she hopes to continue working as a nurse and possibly serve in ministry overseas. 

Alicia Dettinger, Brouge, PA
Penn College of Technology: Physician Assistant
Host Family: Brenda Sizer
Employer: Lewis Gale Medical Center
Mentor: Brook Hoffman 

Alicia grew up in the tiny Pennsylvania town of Brogue. She attended Penn College of Technology in Williamsport, PA to become a certified Physician Assistant. In the midst of her studies she found herself becoming increasingly involved in her campus’s student-led chapter of Cru where she served on the leadership team. During her college career she was a resident assistant and worked as an anatomy and physiology tutor. Some of her passions involve hiking, kayaking and trying new restaurants. Alicia hopes to surrender to Jesus in each aspect of her life, serve as a Physician Assistant and become a godly wife to her fiance.

Whitney Gibson, Belpre, OH
West Virginia University: Exercise Physiology with an emphasis in Health Professions
Host Family: Will and Becky McLaughlin
Employer: Carilion Clinic, Emergency Department
Mentor: Jamie Lee 

Whitney was raised in Ohio, but always considered herself a mountaineer. While at WVU, she was active in Cru where she led bible studies, mentored two girls, and served as Vice President of the organization. College helped Whitney realize her love of missions, as she spent her summers serving with Cru in California, the Dominican Republic, and Ocean City, Maryland. Her plans after graduation include growing in her faith and gaining clinical experience so that she can eventually become a Physician Assistant. Her ultimate goal with her career is to serve the whole person, connecting faith and physical wellbeing, in underserved areas in the United States and overseas.

Josh James, Kunming, China
Virginia Tech: Biological Systems Engineering
Host Family: Dan Felton-Petry
Employer: Carilion Clinic, Care Management Department
Mentor: Ken Miller 

Josh graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Biological Systems Engineering. While at Tech, Josh volunteered at two different labs conducting biomedical research. Outside of classes Josh was very involved with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, leading Bible studies for freshmen during his junior and senior years. He also led musical worship for his church most of his time in school. Josh is absolutely crazy about volleyball and regularly spent hours playing each weekend both in the gym and out in the sand. He also loves being around people and helping them with the hard aspects of being at college which prompted him to spend his junior year as a resident adviser. After this year Josh hopes to find a job working with enzymatic processes or in medical research.


Reid Miner, Harrisonburg, VA
Virginia Tech: Building Construction
Host Family: Mike and Shenna Massey
Employer: G & H Contracting
Mentor: Jim Constantine

Reid is from Harrisonburg, VA where he grew up learning to love the outdoors and all things active and athletic. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in Building Construction while serving as a Young Life leader in a nearby town. His volunteer ministry with Young Life developed in Reid a growing sense of the importance of high school ministry.  He plans to continue to volunteer as Young Life leader to help launch the ministry at Glenver high school here in Roanoke this year.  After the Fellows program, Reid wants to continue working in the construction related field.

Takim Williams, Atlanta, GA
Princeton University: Philosophy
Host Family: Jon and Mary Beth Sweet
Employer: Human Trafficking Institute
Mentor: Alan Janney 

At Princeton Takim was heavily involved in Princeton Faith and Action (PFA), a Christian Union ministry, facilitating fellowship and community within the ministry as a leader of the social initiative called "Post-Encounter." His sophomore year, Takim led a student group called The Alternative, whose mission was to expose the harmful effects of the hookup culture and provide an alternative social scene to the monotonous binge-drinking of weekend nightlife. Takim also founded figments speculative fiction magazine, a literary publication for student-written science fiction and fantasy, and served as editor-in-chief his junior and senior years. As a creative writing minor, Takim had the opportunity to write a novella for his senior thesis. He is currently extending and revising his thesis into a bona fide debut novel, simultaneously honing his fiction craft by writing short stories, as he looks forward to launching his career as an author. Takim also took extensive journalism coursework under such luminaries as Joe Stephens of the Washington Post and John McPhee of The New Yorker. He continues to think creatively about how he can use his passion for storytelling, in the areas of fiction, nonfiction, marketing, communications and others.