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The Team

Committed to Our Cause

Team: Team


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Chelsea Souder, MPH (she/her)

Founder & Director

Chelsea is motivated to help create a world where people can plan their families as they see fit, including to have or not have children, and to parent them in safe and healthy environments with equitable access to healthcare regardless of race, socioeconomic status, class, or zip code. She has a Master’s in Public Health, specializing in Maternal and Child Health. She has professional and academic experience in delivery of reproductive healthcare and advocating for survivors of violence. She has sat on boards for abortion and LGBTQ+ healthcare and she has contributed to multiple publications on abortion access delivery of care. She currently sits on the board of Survivor’s Rising, Nebraska Religious Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, and is a member of the Abortion Care Network’s Racial Justice and Equity committee. She is the Founder and Director of Nebraska Abortion Resources (NEAR), Nebraska’s only state wide abortion fund! Chelsea was the Project Manager for the Regional Logistics Center (RLC), a collaborative patient navigation project between Hope Clinic and Planned Parenthood Fairview Heights, both in Southern Illinois. She is also the Co-Owner of Hope Clinic in Granite City, IL. She has four wild children who keep her busy and tired. In her limited free time, she enjoys water sports, kickboxing, Asian food and is slightly obsessed with Adele. 

Treasurer & Events Committee Chair

Kirstin Clephane (they/them)

Kirstin has worked with other abortion resource networks in Indiana - where they are from - to provide both financial and emotional support around pregnancy, parenting, abortion and adoption options. Kirstin is also working toward their PhD at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and works as a Court Appointed Special Advocate within the Lancaster County juvenile court system.


Sandy Griffin (she/her)

Secretary & Marketing Committee Chair

Sandy was born and raised in Nebraska and has long been passionate about fighting for reproductive justice in the state. She holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science and has spent the past four years working with nonprofits, reproductive health organizations, and political campaigns. When not working or volunteering, you can usually find her making attempts at baking, listening to an obscene amount of pop music, or spending time with her fiancé and their two elderly cats. 

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Meg Mikolajczyk (she/her)

Board Member

Meg has years of experience in the area of abortion access, having provided legal counsel to abortion providers, lobbied for Planned Parenthood in Nebraska, teaching university courses regarding public health, and volunteering to support minors accessing abortion. She is currently the Executive Director for the Nebraska Civic Engagement Table.


Meg is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison with dual degrees in Anthropology and Political Science. She received her Juris Doctor from University of Nebraska College of Law in 2011, along with multiple awards for exemplary legal abilities, and a passion for social justice work.  After graduation she entered private practice, arguing before the NE Supreme Court on behalf of the right of same sex couples to divorce and as one of the lawyers representing landowners against TransCanada and the Keystone Pipeline.  She also experienced success in federal court regarding Nebraska’s ballot initiative process. 


Meg is active in the community, serving on the Nebraska Conservation Voters Board, League of Women Voters of Lincoln and Lancaster County Lunch and Learn and Nominating Committees, and the Lincoln Mayor’s Commission on Women and Gender in addition to the NEAR board.  She dedicates time as an adjunct professor of public health policy at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and youth sports coach.  


Meg enjoys spending time with her family, including her spouse, Aaron Bowen, their kids Beatrix Ginsburg and Mick Shriver, and her stepdaughter Holly. She loves traveling, true crime, running, coffee, and any celebration involving cake.   


Dr. Sofia Jawed-Wessel (she/her)

Board Member & Research Director

Dr. Sofia Jawed-Wessel (PhD, MPH) teaches and generates new knowledge in the area of public health as an Associate Professor at The University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Director of the Midlands Sexual Health Research Collaborative. The long-term goal of her research trajectory is to understand how people’s intimate relationships are impacted by sexual and/or maternal objectification. Dr. Jawed-Wessel’s teachings utilize a sex-positive and pleasure inclusive approach to providing medically accurate, comprehensive sexuality education to undergraduate students as well as in the local Omaha community. Dr. Jawed-Wessel also fights for women’s rights and reproductive justice and has successfully argued in favor of comprehensive sex education in Omaha Public Schools. She is a 2017 Ten Outstanding Young Omahan's recipient as well as a 2017 Women’s Center for Advancement Tribute to Women Honoree and she received the 2017 Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women Outstanding Achievement Award. Her 2016 TEDxOmaha talk “The lies we tell pregnant women” was promoted by and has being viewed over 3 million times across platforms.  


Amber Barcel (she/her)

Board Member

Amber was born in Suwon, South Korea, and raised in rural Nebraska. She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Peru State College, and a Master's of Social Work degree from the University of Washington- Seattle. Her first role in the sexual health and rights field was as a sex educator and Teen Council facilitator at Planned Parenthood in Omaha. This is also where she was introduced to Nebraska's abortion community, and the broader reproductive justice movement.

Amber is currently the Director of Public Policy at Advocates for Youth, a national nonprofit that works alongside thousands of young people as they fight for sexual health, rights, and justice. She holds state and federal policy expertise in sex education, abortion, "parental rights", domestic violence and sexual assault, LGBTQ+ health and rights, HIV/AIDS, and budget advocacy. She has presented at conferences hosted by Sistersong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, Yale University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Coalition of STD Directors, the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.


Outside of her work, Amber enjoys pole dancing, playing piano, quiet getaways where she can be next to bodies of water, and walks and cuddles with her standard poodle (Patti). Spending most of her life in rural Nebraska taught Amber that the support we need is best offered by the communities that surround us. For this reason, she is often seen as a resource to others. She is looking forward to giving back to her Nebraska community through serving on the NEAR Board of Directors.

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Kenna Barnes (she/they)

Board Member

Kenna (she/they) is an LGBTQ+ activist in Nebraska who works to support the livelihood and growth of the trans and queer community.  Kenna works as the Advocacy Manager for Black and Pink National and has worked in social justice spaces for seven years. Their focus includes creating programming for LGBTQ+ sex workers, young people, and people living with HIV. She completed her Master’s Degree in Health Behavior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and specialized in LGBTQ+ experiences with unintended pregnancy. Kenna believes that communities know exactly what they need, it's up to us to give them the resources and space to do it.

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