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Meet Our Board of Directors

Jen Koym, President

Jen earned her Bachelor’s of Science from Virginia Tech.  Soon after graduating, she completed a teaching certification program through Mary Baldwin and then dedicated over a decade to working as a science educator in the Virginia Public School System. 


Currently, Jen is completing her Masters of Educational Technology at James Madison University where she also serves as an adjunct professor.  When not teaching or learning, she freelances as a graphic designer specializing in surface pattern design and organizational branding.  She is mom to, Lily, her CHD heart warrior and for whom LilyPads is named, and wife to Todd, her best friend.

Joy Pugh, Vice President

Joy Pugh is the Director of Virginia College Advising Corps (VCAC), a statewide college access program that increases the number of low-income, first generation, and underrepresented high school students that enter and complete higher education.  Currently, 24 college advisers serve 28 high schools in Virginia.  VCAC is the founding chapter of the national College Advising Corps, now with over 600 college advisers serving across 14 states. 

Previously at the University of Virginia, Joy served as an Assistant Dean of Students in the Office of the Dean of Students/Residence Life, and prior to that, as Coordinator of the LGBT Center.  She received her B.A. in Communication Studies from UNC Charlotte in 2001, then took a position as Director of Development for Time Out Youth, a non-profit agency in Charlotte. In 2005 she received her M.Ed. in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University.  She currently serves on the boards of Piedmont Housing Alliance, LilyPads, and as board Secretary of Virginia College Access Network.  Joy is a native-born Virginian who grew up mostly in Elon, NC, and now happily makes a home in Charlottesville with her wife, Bizz, and dog, Chief Noobin.  

Amy Wissekerke, Secretary

Amy Wissekerke is a science teacher and fiction writer. She earned a B.A. in Biology and Masters in Teaching from the University of Virginia, then spent thirteen years teaching Biology and Chemistry in the public schools of Prince William County, the city of Chicago, and Charlottesville. She has also served as President of the Board of Trustees of Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church-Unitarian Universalist. Currently, she lives with her family in Charlottesville, VA, where she is working on a novel.

Peter Dean, MD

Peter is a pediatric cardiologist with expertise in transthoracic, transesophageal and fetal echocardiogram imaging, exercise stress testing and sports cardiology. He cares for patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Dr. Dean is the medical director of the Pediatric Exercise Stress Laboratory and is board-certified in general pediatrics and pediatric cardiology.


Born in New York, Dr. Dean spent his early childhood in Sydney, Australia, and Moscow, Russia, before moving to Vienna, Virginia, in elementary school. He completed his undergraduate studies at Washington and Lee University, where he played football and baseball. He earned his medical degree the University of Virginia, followed by a general pediatrics residency. Dr. Dean completed his pediatric cardiology fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and then joined the faculty at UVA in 2014.  Outside of work, he enjoys spending his time with his wife and four young children.

Susan Kruse

Susan has been advocating for environmental protection and justice for more than 20 years. After launching the Allegheny Defense Project in her native Pennsylvania in 1994, Susan joined the National Forest Protection Alliance, serving as Eastern Field Coordinator and, ultimately, Executive Director. In 2006, she pursued her passion for philanthropic work and became the Director of Development for the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Va. After 10 years of growing Legal Aid’s development program and becoming a major gifts specialist, Susan joined Appalachian Voices in 2016. She is a graduate of Clarion University in Pennsylvania and resides in Charlottesville, Va., with her husband Mike and their two nature-loving boys, Evan and Sebastian.

Joy Miller, MSN., PNP, RN

Joy is a pediatric Nurse Practitioner on the Pediatric Palliative Care Team at UVA Children’s Hospital.  Her focus is in coordinating the care of children with life-threatening/limiting illnesses, educating and assisting those patients, their families and caregivers in making complex medical decisions, and collaborating with colleagues across disciplines to support these medically fragile, pediatric patients and their families. She brings unique experiences in working through ethical issues in the care of vulnerable children and families. She is very active in community service, teaching, research, peer-reviewed journal publications, and making educational presentations to colleagues locally and at state and national conferences. She also serves on a number of UVA panels, councils and committees as an active advocate for Pediatric Palliative Care.

Ashley Hurst, JD

Ashley Hurst is an Assistant Professor at UVA’s School of Nursing. Her teaching focuses on ethical and legal issues in health care.  She is also a member of the UVA Health Systems Ethics Committee and Ethics Consult Service.  Her research interests include studying moral distress in clinicians and narrative ethics.  Previously, Ashley was a partner in an Atlanta law firm practicing in employment law.   Ashley earned a BA and JD from the University of Florida, a Masters of Divinity from Yale University and a Masters in Religious Studies (Ethics) from the University of Virginia.  She resides in Charlottesville and enjoys hiking locally and internationally.

Cody Garrison, BSW

Cody earned her Bachelor’s in Social Work from James Madison University in 2016. She is currently obtaining her master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. She is currently a Clinical Social Worker at UVA Medical center, one year in the BSW position in the Children’s Hospital and then switching over to the Family Medicine Clinic. Her social work experience includes working at the Discovery School of Virginia a therapeutic boarding school for teenage girls with emotional and behavioral issues, Ocean Harbor House, a crisis youth homeless shelter, and Addiction Recovery Systems (ARS) a medication-assisted treatment center for opioid use disorder. She is originally from a seaside town in New Jersey, but has lived in Charlottesville for over two years and enjoys spending her time with her furbaby Sophie.

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