Advisory Council Members
Cierra Campbell Bridges is a proud wife and mom, born and raised in Richmond, Texas. She began her educational journey at The University of Texas at Austin, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of Education. Cierra is a current PhD student researching Black Women’s experiences at predominantly white universities. Cierra has dedicated 10 years of her professional career to the UT Austin by working in administration, international education, student success, and recruitment. She currently serves as an Assistant Director in the Office of Admissions, working to support the needs of transfer students. In all of her spare time, Cierra loves to serve her family, church, and sorority sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.
Candice S. Young is an education advocate, philanthropist and businesswoman. A native Houstonian, she graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2006 with a B.S. in Corporate Communication and in 2010 with an MBA from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Candice is the Head of Marketing and Investor Relations at Railroad Ranch Capital Management. Prior to joining RRCM, Candice spent five years in Austin at the Texas Exes Alumni Association managing constituent relations and driving revenue to achieve record breaking milestones. For the past 10 years, her consulting practice has provided brand management, business strategy, financial management and investment analysis solutions. Candice is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and enjoys lifelong learning, international travel, intellectual debates and Broadway shows in her spare time.
Shawn Faith Washington is a first-generation college graduate and current PhD student in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A Dallas, Texas native, Shawn is a community college graduate, a two-time graduate of The University of Texas-Austin receiving a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction – Cultural Studies in Education, and a bacherlor’s degree in Government (Honors). Her study of interest includes the intersectional identity development of African-American women in higher education through holistic co-curricular programming, and international educational experiences via study abroad. A world traveler, when Shawn is not busy studying, she likes to design and sew clothes, write poetry, and volunteer at her church and within her community.
Leonie Hunter is a serial entrepreneur with a specialized focus on community development. In 2011, Leonie graduated from California State University at Northridge with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a minor in Black Studies. Shortly after, Leonie began her 5-year tenure at the University of Texas at Austin, where she served in many departments, including the African and African Diaspora Studies and The Institute of Urban Policy Research & Analysis. At UT, Leonie completed several impactful projects to help enrich communities of color within Austin and the University of Texas. Some of her highlights at UT include developing a conference focused on improving birth outcomes for black women, writing several policy briefs, and being one of the first FLI Advisory Council members. Leonie now enjoys managing her businesses, participating on several advisory boards, and in her free time, painting and watching movies with her husband.
Brandelyn Flunder graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2007 with a B.A. in History and in 2013 with a M.Ed from the Program in Higher Education Leadership with a focus in College and University Student Personnel Administration. She currently serves as the director for the Multicultural Engagement Center and has 12+ years in higher education. Specific interests within higher education and student affairs includes college access, mentorship, and alumni relations. Brandelyn loves traveling, reading, and beginning new workout journeys. She is wife to Travis for ten years and mommy to four boys ages 17, 8, and 3-year old twins. She lives by this quote: “Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.”