Our Awesome Staff

Sarah E. Russell, Office Manager

Sarah joined our staff in November 2018. She has been a huge asset to our team. She helps to keep our office running smoothly on a daily basis.

Sarah moved to Somerset County in the fall of 2018. However, she is not a stranger to the area. She visited the area frequently from 2004 through 2011. She even did an internship with the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center. As well as working as a typist for Sargent’s Court Reporting in Johnstown. She is originally from the Gettysburg area.

She holds an associates degree in Graphic Design and Printing Technologies from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology inLancaster, PA. She also has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Central Pennsylvania College in Harrisburg, PA.

Since graduating from college she has worked as a Review Technical Associate for SRA International, Inc. in Frederick, MD, an IT company. SRA is a subcontractor who does grant work for the government and educational systems. As well as a Travel and Entertainment Administrator with Voith Holding Inc. in York, PA a German engineering company.

Her knowledge of Microsoft Office, Graphic Design, grant compliance, and office dynamics has been helpful. In her spare, time Sarah enjoys the outdoors, spending time with her rescue dog Bandit, and traveling to new areas with her husband Austin. She also volunteers with the Shade Creek Watershed Association and Graef’s Lutheran Church in Cairnbrook, PA. Sarah can be contracted by phone at 814-701-2787 or emailed at [email protected]ntdev.com for all scheduling purposes.  


Brooke L. Sheeler, M.S., Senior Grant Associate

Brooke joined the Aspire team in 2015 as an intern while pursuing her undergraduate degree at Slippery Rock University. After graduating with a B.S. in Communications – Public Relations, Brooke came back to Aspire full time and received her M.S. in Integrated Marketing & Communications from West Virginia University in 2018. She has now been promoted to Senior Grant Associate, working to oversee a junior grant writing team and a growing list of large-scale development projects. Some of her main accounts include: Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, LCT Energy, Laurel Arts, Adventures in Training with a Purpose, and more. To date, her application awards have totaled over $3 million in state and private funding. 

In her spare time, Brooke enjoys hanging out with her rescue dog Tito while having animal welfare at the top of her priority list. She is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan and will never turn down the chance to watch the Pirates, Penguins, and Steelers. Brooke is honored to serve Laurel Arts as the Vice President, Board of Directors.  To talk to Brooke about your next project, you can email her at [email protected].

Kate Colligan, M.S., Ph.D. (ABD), Senior Associate

Kate recently joined Aspire, adding considerable talent in the fundraising and development space. Ms. Colligan served as the Director of the Elsie H. Hillman Archives from 2010-2014, where she managed all aspects of a large private archive – one that captured the incredible lifetime service and contributions of Mrs. Elsie H. Hillman. Additionally, Kate served the University of Pittsburgh, Graduate School of Information Science from 2000-2010, winning over $300,000 in grants to support collections development. In her role as Assistant Professor and Archivist, Kate taught a variety of graduate courses for the Departments of History, Sociology and Women’s Studies. Kate holds a Doctor of Philosophy (ABD), Master of Library Science and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.

Kate is proud to have offered volunteer board or professional consulting to a variety of Pittsburgh area organizations, including Chatham Baroque, the Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Cares, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, Insisterhood Project: A Multimedia Documentation project of the Women’s Movement in Pittsburgh. Ms. Colligan also enjoyed a consulting experience with former Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack, where she researched policy and legislative issues, important across the Commonwealth. Kate started with Aspire on April 1, 2019 and continues to grow the depth and breadth of her professional client base, which includes the Mary S. Biesecker Library, Pittsburgh Film Office, Johnstown Symphony Orchestra and more! To talk to Kate about your next project, you can email her at [email protected].




Ashley G. Beener, Grant Associate

In November of 2016, Ms. Ashley Beener joined the Aspire team after employment as a Field Representative for United States Congressman Bill Shuster. Ms. Beener develops competitive grant proposals at the private, state, and federal level. She has experience working with a range of non-profit projects involving environmentally friendly initiatives, fire departments, the Arts, and community centers. Ms. Beener has experience and success across the following funding sources: Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance, the Laurel Highlands Tourism Grants, the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, PA Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant, FEMA, Firehouse Subs, Gaming and Economic Development Funds, Multimodal projects, the Mellon Foundation, the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Recent awards include a $500,000 grant from the R.K. Mellon Foundation towards expansion of Twin Lakes Center for Drug & Alcohol’s rehabilitation and detox services. Ms. Beener also specializes in applications to the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program with 2017 round $1 million awards for two economic development projects in Allegheny and Fayette Counties. Ms. Beener received her undergraduate degree in History and Political Science from Waynesburg University and is currently furthering her education at Widener Commonwealth Law, expecting to receive her Juris Doctorate in 2021. To start your next project, feel free to contact her at [email protected].

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