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Black History Month - Faculty Spotlight: Brandi Slaughter & Ebonie Cooper-Jean UMD SPP Alumni Board



The University of Maryland School of Public Policy Alumni Board's video and podcast series interviews new faculty Brandi Slaughter and Ebonie Cooper-Jean and is facilitated by alumni Delisha Thompson (UMD 18’).


Brandi Slaughter is the Associate Clinical Professor; Program Director, The Karabelle Pizzigati Fellows Initiative in Advocacy for Children, Youth and Families. Brandi brings a wealth of public policy experience to her roles at the University of Maryland having served nonprofits and government in advocacy and lobbying roles. At the outset of her career, Brandi offered direct service to children and families—mainly those considered high-risk youth at several Columbus settlement houses. As an advocate for policy change, she has supported the development of state and federal policy which has impacted people with disabilities, the health of Ohioans, and children and families. She worked in the Ohio Senate as a legislative staffer and has lobbied on behalf of the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission. While at Public Children Services of Ohio, she advocated for reforms to the foster care system. She has coordinated and mobilized advocates from across the country to pass a bi-cameral, bi-partisan federal bill, “Fostering Connections to Success Act” to support children in foster care. At Voices for Ohio’s Children, Slaughter led policy reform and system change to maximize the well-being of Ohio’s children, most notably work to expand Medicaid in Ohio and defense of the Affordable Care Act at the congressional level. Through teaching, Brandi has inspired graduate students to use there power and influence to advocate for reform. Her passion of bringing voice to marginalized communities is apparent in all of her work.


Slaughter is an ordained clergy with the Church of God in Christ and has served in various ministry positions. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Morgan State University, and a Juris Doctor from Capital University with a concentration in Child and Family Law.


Ebonie Cooper Jean is a lecturer and is connected to UMD’s Do Good Institute. Ebonie is a trusted consultant and social entrepreneur, Ebonie is the Principal of Friends of Ebonie, LLC, and Executive Director + Founder of the Young, Black & Giving Back Institute (YBGB). For the past decade, Ebonie has used her research, thought-leadership, and expertise to inform national and local projects and speaking engagements related to nonprofit DEI, African American donor engagement, church ministry, partnership development, and fundraising strategies. In 2013 Ebonie released the groundbreaking research as an NYU scholar entitled: African American Millennials: Discovering the Next Generation of Black Philanthropy for the Effective Communication of Non-Profit Organizations. Findings from his report inform her career pedagogy: Engage, Enrich, & Empower.


Strategic partnerships have included the Lilly Endowment, Wells Fargo Advisors, IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Central Carolina Community Foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, Board Source, Teach for America, United Way of the National Capital Area and unum.

Ebonie is also immersed in her passion for education and teaching. Having taught and lectured at the Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies, Trinity University, and Johns Hopkins’ Social Innovation Lab, Ebonie currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Ebonie also fulfills her passion for teaching through preaching and her call to ministry. She is currently on the ordination track within the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Ebonie was recognized by ESSENCE Magazine and JET Magazine, in November 2016 and September 2013, respectively, as one of the nation’s top leaders for her innovation around African - American millennial philanthropy. Ebonie’s leadership and achievements have also been featured on WABC Eyewitness News NY, CNN’s HLN network, The Washington Post, and Huffington Post Impact. She is a National Museum of African American History & Culture Ambassador, and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Black Benefactors Giving Circle (DC) and Reid Temple AME Church. Ebonie is a proud graduate of North Carolina A&T State University (BS), New York University (MS) and Wesley Theological Seminary (MDiv.)


In this interview, a few highlights we discussed:

  • The events that shaped and lead Brandio and Ebony into that policy/non-profit spaces;

  • How their HBCU's undergraduate education influences how they teach;

  • How they empower their students and community; and

  • How they perceive their role as black educators, and what impact they hope to make inside and outside the classroom.


The interview was produced by Evan Papp (UMD SPP ‘11) of Empathy Media Lab. The views expressed do not represent official positions of the school or alumni network.