Welcome 2016-2017 BHB fellows!

The Belle H. Bennett Fellowship is…

The Belle H. Bennett Fellowship is a 10-month residential program for young women leaders committed to social justice. The program is named in honor of Belle Harris Bennett, one of the original dreamers and founders of Scarritt College. In its college days (1892-1988), Scarritt College educated women (and men, but especially women) to be advocates for justice. Scarritt faculty embraced “learning by doing,” integrating field work into all aspects of the curriculum. Students were placed in social service agencies, “places where practice accompanied theory,” to learn how to work for social change. Established in 2012, the Belle H. Bennett Fellowship program re-imagines the Scarritt tradition by making space for the empowerment of today’s young women. Through experiential learning at site placements, communal living, and leadership formation, BHB fellows engage praxis: reflection and action in the world in order to transform it.

For the duration of the program, fellows explore the dynamics of social change, spirituality, and activism and are encouraged to discern their vocations within this context. Each August, fellows move to campus and live in intentional community. In their community, fellows explore personal and group dynamics, conflict management, community building, and self-care. Rooted in the Scarritt tradition and commitment to field-based learning, BHB fellows spend 20 hours a week gaining practical experience as interns in community-based organizations in Nashville. Fellows also work as team assistants with Scarritt Bennett’s Education Office, connect one-one-one with a mentor, build community at the Center, and meet weekly for personal and professional development.

The purpose of the program is to prepare young women to lead social justice movements and organizations with integrity and the capacity to engage oppression with intersectionality. The program also builds capacities necessary for women to articulate deep, personal conviction about their work and integrate self-care for sustainable, life-long leadership.

We’re proud to welcome our 5th cohort of fellows! 



Krysten Cherkaski attended California State University, Fresno and earned two undergraduate degrees: one in Women’s Studies and the other in Philosophy with a concentration in Religious Studies. Her undergraduate career was not only defined by academics, but by her engagement with on-campus activism, acting as president of her University’s Women’s Alliance, as well as holding the position of Student Coordinator of Gender programs and services at Fresno State’s Cross Cultural and Gender Center. Although originally hailing from New York, Krysten grew up in New Hampshire and has lived in California for the past eight years. Her cross country living experience, coupled with her commitment to intersectional social justice and interest in feminist theology, has led her to the Belle H. Bennett Fellowship.  

Site Placement: The Nashville Food Project (TNFP) brings people together to grow, cook and share nourishing food with the goals of cultivating community and alleviating hunger in our city. TNFP is sharing food and supporting communities in variety of ways: Grow – In their Gardens they grow organic food intensively, and share resources with others interested in growing their own food; Cook – In their Kitchens, they use recovered, donated and garden-grown food to prepare and cook healthy, hot meals; Share – From their Food Trucks they distribute meals from our kitchen and fresh produce from their gardens to people in need.



Monica McDougal is from Osawatomie, Kansas. She attended Washburn University in Topeka and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media. Monica has a passion for social justice and feels called by God to be an advocate for social change. She feels that this fellowship program is the best opportunity for her to begin answering that call. Monica is excited to spend 10 months in Nashville working with Scarritt Bennett and with their amazing community partners!

Site Placement: Plant the Seed (PTS) is a nonprofit that shapes community and school gardens into outdoor classrooms to educate and empower under-resourced young people—building cultural connections, advancing economic justice and improving their overall health and well-being. They see sowing, growing, preparing, and sharing food as a powerful tool for starting cross-cultural conversations and growing together in community. PTS believes everyone has a right to fresh, affordable, culturally-relevant foods and that young people are capable of effecting meaningful change in their diet, their lives and their communities.


TIERANNY WOODSTieranny Woods-4-ZF-5574-08444-1-001-004

Tieranny Woods is from Memphis, TN. She attended Vanderbilt University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and in African American and Diaspora Studies. After participating in the Belle H. Bennett Fellowship program, Tieranny plans to attend Law School. She chose to apply and participate in the Belle H. Bennett Fellowship program because she felt that this program would allow her to gain a greater sense of what her purpose is in life. Tieranny knew that this program would allow her to gain a greater spiritual connection, while actively engaged in social justice work. This program seeks to address the intersectionality of race, gender, religion, etc. in regards to anti-oppression work, and being a black, Christian, woman from a low socio-economic background, this aspect of the program really stood out to her. For these reasons, and more, Tieranny knew that the BHB Fellowship was a great choice for her gap year experience.

Site Placement: The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC), established in 1995, is a non-profit, public interest law firm. TJC serves vulnerable Tennessee families when the most basic necessities of life are at stake. Our compassionate, expert advocacy ensures Tennessee families access vital and basic health care services. TJC also gives Tennesseans a voice by sharing their concerns with policymakers. Through advocacy, collaboration, and community education, TJC creatively tackles barriers to health coverage for millions of Tennesseans. TJC has earned local and national awards for its effective service to Tennesseans. Their goal is to ensure that as many Tennesseans as possible – ideally all – have access to the health care coverage and services they need to thrive.


The BHB fellowship program is possible because of the generosity of our donors! Support the fellowship program with a designated financial gift by donating online or by contacting Keith Belton, Director of Institutional Advancement, at or (615) 340-7472. To learn more about the BHB fellowship program or the Education Department, contact Marie Campbell at