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South Centers

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Center for Cooperatives welcomes new staff

Two new faces have joined the CFAES Center for Cooperatives team in recent months. Joining Program Director Hannah Scott are new Program Coordinator Samantha (Sam) Black and most recently new Program Specialist Melissa Whitt.

Melissa Whitt 

Melissa Whitt is excited to join the OSU South Centers team and is a southern Ohio native.  She brings over 15 years of leadership experience in communications, marketing, community engagement, and business development to the Center for Cooperatives.  
She earned a B.A. in Organizational Communications and an A.A.S. in Electronic Media, with a concentration in video production, from Ohio University Southern Campus, as well as a Marketing Program Certificate from OUS.  

Melissa has a talent for building successful relationships with diverse organizations to facilitate cooperation and help bridge gaps in communication and program development in the Appalachian region. Her previous leadership roles include business development, strategic planning, and human resources for a plastics recycling startup, where she helped develop the operations team, develop and manage onsite business operations for the entire manufacturing facility, coordinate, develop and manage company and community events, engagements and dinners; community relations and development for a regional FQHC behavioral health center, where she worked on public relations and marketing projects, including chairing major fundraisers for youth outreach and prevention programs and setting record breaking numbers for awareness, net profits and engagement.  Melissa also successfully managed a University of Kentucky Research Lab pilot project, focusing on tobacco cessation for teens in Appalachia.  

She resides in Wheelersburg with her husband Jason, and their two children.

Samantha (Sam) Black

Samantha Black is the new program coordinator for the CFAES Center for Cooperatives. 

She is a graduate of Lindsey Wilson College with her B.A. in Human Services and Counseling. Sam has over 14 years of experience working with state and county agencies, and assisting farmers, businesses, and individuals in acquiring grants, program assistance, and scholarships. Previous roles have included overseeing employee management, chief financial officer, office manager, conducting annual audits, creating and implementing policy and procedures, and communications. She enjoys working with the different entities to help accomplish their mission and assisting individuals in meeting their goals. 

Samantha lives in southern Ohio with her husband and helps manage her family’s generational farm, which raises row crops and livestock. When not working, she enjoys working outside on the farm, reading, and cooking.