America Walks Launches the Georgia State Walking College

Established in 2015, The Walking College is a competitive, 6-month, remote-learning fellowship. Participants complete a series of modules covering topics including the basics of the historical underpinnings of the car-centric transportation landscape and the basics of design and policy that foster safe, inclusive, accessible design for non-motorized transportation while developing essential leadership skills – like navigating the public policy process, effectively engaging decision makers, and how to foster a local advocacy movement. Over the course of the program, they also create a blueprint for taking action on a particular problem in their community.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve expanded our Walking College Program to now include multiple State Walking Colleges! Get to know the Fellows and Mentors from Georgia’s Class of 2021.

Thanks to AARP Livable Communities for their funding support of this program.

Georgia State Walking College Fellows

Cozette T. Pointer
Cozette is a military veteran.  Originally from North Carolina, she moved to Georgia after retiring from the Air Force after 24 years of honorable service. 

Since being retired Cozette has stayed active.  Until the pandemic she volunteered at various theatres in and around the Atlanta area.  She is an avid reader and a member of four book clubs, one of which she started herself in 2021.  Cozette has run 110 half marathons (13.1 miles) in all 50 states, completing her 50th state (Hawaii), the day before her 50thbirthday in 2018.  While she still runs weekly, her true physical activity enjoyment comes from walking as she takes the time to just be in the moment and notice the beauty that surrounds her. 

Cozette holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Sports and Health Sciences from American Military University and resides in Walton County, Georgia (Loganville) with her husband Brett. 

Taryn Bell
Taryn Bell has served as a middle school English Language Arts teacher for 12 years, and has had the pleasure of teaching in three countries. She is a new resident of Atlanta’s Center Hill community where she is a member of the Neighborhood Association and serves as the Chair of the Zoning Committee.

Taryn is actively involved in Eco-Action’s Atlanta Watershed Learning Network where she is learning to advocate for sustainable green solutions, in order to address urban stormwater and flooding issues. She seeks to address the lack of safe walkable areas in her neighborhood, by creating secured routes for residents.

David Maryniak
My name is David Maryniak and I grew up in a small farm town (Eden) south of Buffalo NY. I have a BS degree from Rochester Institute of Technology (1987) and a PhD. From the University of South Carolina (1993). My degrees are in the field of chemistry and have been teaching at Augusta Technical College since 1993. I believe that the mind and body are connected and view that exercise and nature are an important facet of exercise for the brain.

I have always been an active person and enjoy bicycling, canoeing, hiking, and photography. I am a licensed (The Nature Conservancy) tour guide for Columbia county to give tours of Heggie’s Rock. It is a granite monadnock, not unlike Stone Mountain. It has a fascinating array of rare plants and animals and is a fantastic 1-mile walk. 

Marielena Gutierrez
Marielena is the Metro Atlanta School Outreach Coordinator (SOC) for the Georgia Safe Routes to School Resource Center. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from Yacambu University in Venezuela. Native Spanish speaker. Had been working with Safe Routes to School since 2017.

Marielena’s background includes community and environmental development, community outreach, as well as marketing and financial education in the US and Venezuela.

Lauren Blais
Lauren is actively involved with local transportation issues in Athens, where she serves on both the Athens in Motion Commission to implement the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan, and on TSPLOST.

Althea McKenzie-Palomino
Althea is a Registered Professional Nurse of 25+ years and member of GirlTrek Organization for  5+ years. She is a Wife, Mother, and Grandmother who lives in McDonough, GA and is passionate about walking, gardening & reading.

Althea started a neighborhood walking group, The Bud Kelley Park Trekkers, and the Southside Sistahs GirlTrek walking group – trekked regularly at Clayton International Park (both groups are in a pandemic-related hiatus).

Rachel Umana
Rachel Umana is the founder and executive director of Bike Walk Macon, where she works to make bicycling and walking safe, fun, and convenient for everyone in Macon-Bibb County, Georgia.

Inspired by her passion for exploring her city by bike and foot, Rachel founded Bike Walk Macon in July 2015 with the support of the 8 80 Cities Emerging City Champions Fellowship program.

She is a Mercer University graduate, with a B.A. in Social Entrepreneurship, Psychology, and Spanish. Rachel serves in several community leadership roles, including the boards for the Macon Transit Authority and the Macon-Bibb Pedestrian Safety Review Board. 

Rolanda Powell
Rolanda Powell is the Advocacy Campaigns Manager at Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and earned her MBA, Business Administration in 2009 and her B.S. in Communications from the University of North Florida in 2003. She offers 17 years of marketing experience in higher ed; previously serving as Marketing Manager at Georgia Institute of Technology where she is a recipient of the UPCEA Marketing Award and led the marketing launch of several conferences and professional development certificates and courses held virtually and in-person at Georgia Tech’s Global Learning Center. While there, she also completed leadership training, with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

One intentional choice at a time, Rolanda seeks to make the world around her better and draws from her 13 years of experience advocating for faith-based LGBTQ+ communities. Her passion for social justice and equality is displayed in her service as a founding member of the Center Hill Neighborhood Association. She considers the long-awaited installation of three new beacon lights along Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway one of her most rewarding accomplishments as President to date. 

In addition to her community leadership involvement, it is also her vision to re-imagine the Bankhead Drive-in Theater — a westside staple in the 1950s. Rolanda provides free summer outdoor movie events to the NPU-J community, offering the first-ever Bankhead Movies in the Park 2019 and pivoting with COVID-19 to bring the 2020 Westside Pop-Up Drive-In

Liz Kelker
Liz Kelker is a retired Army Vet who continues to receive gratification through selfless service. She is a lifetime member of Girltrek inspiring and encouraging others to join her on a self care journey. She’s a lover of God, family, laughter, kindness and butterflies. She’s active in her church and her community.  

Lois Ricci
Lois Ricci is a Registered Nurse and holds master’s degrees in gerontology and nursing education and a doctorate in gerontology and adult education.

She is a geriatric nurse practitioner/educator, consultant. She is now a consultant and adjunct faculty with Kennesaw State University where she teaches gerontology courses and the Professional Development in Gerontology Certificate Class. 

She has worked in the field of aging for over forty years in both the hospital and academic settings. Lois was the interventionist on the Tai Chi/ Education study at Emory University and the education coordinator for the Emory University Center for Health in Aging. 

Lois was employed at UGA’s Institute of Gerontology on the HERSA grant project to develop the Georgia Geriatric Education Center in Georgia. When the grant ended, she became an independent consultant. 

Lois serves on the Executive Council of AARP and is the GA state Ambassador for Caregiving for AARP. Georgia.  Lois has been a member of Georgia Gerontology Society for more than 20 years and serves on their board. She is a member of the American Nurses Association and the Georgia Advanced Practice Nurses Association. She is chair of Tucker Civic Association’s Lifelong Community/Age Friendly City project. 

Gregory Brown
In his professional career, Gregory serves as a Senior Planner for the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission where he has been employed for 22.5 years.  A native of Pine Hill, Alabama, Gregory received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration/Management from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama (May 1994) and earned his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree with a concentration in Housing and Community Development from Alabama A & M University in Huntsville, Alabama (July 1999).  Brown has been involved in several neighborhood redevelopment projects, transportation improvement projects and land use planning projects.  Brown currently serves as the chairman of Macon-Bibb County’s Pedestrian Safety Review Board. 

Brown is a member of the American Planning Association, Georgia Planning Association, a member of the Planning and the Black Community Division, serves on Bike Walk Macon’s Advisory Council, Lundy Higher Heights Community Enrichment Board of Directors, Co-Chairman of the Macon-Bibb County’s Age-Friendly Advisory Council, International Cherry Blossom Festival Board of Directors, Macon Area Habitat for Humanity Board, and the Macon Arts Alliance Board of Directors.  Gregory is a proud graduate of the Leadership Macon’s Class of 2006, and Leadership Georgia’s Class of 2019.  Gregory also completed the Regional Economic & Leadership Development Program (Region 6) sponsored by the Georgia Academy for Economic Development.   

Gregory is also an active volunteer with many organizations throughout the Macon-Bibb County community (Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Joshua’s Wish Foundation; Douglass Theatre’s HBCU Arts Series Advisory Council; Tubman Torchbearers’).  

Carolyn L. Hartfield
Carolyn, a 72-year old, has been a health and wellness practitioner since the mid-1980’s after she left her Fortune 500 communications consultant job in corporate America to venture into entrepreneurship.  The great success of her first health food store resulted in expansion to a second store, a sports nutrition store, and a café.  

Her passion to pursue better health for herself and others, led her to become certified as a Health Coach through an Emory University program, a Health Literacy Coach through a University of Georgia program, Lay Leader through the Atlanta Regional Commission’s evidence-based Stanford University Chronic Disease, and Diabetes Self-Management programs, and trainer for their A Matter of Balance program. She developed her signature program the ‘Amazing Aging Trilogy’ that emphasizes the connections of Health, Happiness & Harmony through Wellness, Well-being and Wisdom.

Her passion to pursue better health for herself and others, led her to become certified as a Health Coach through an Emory University program, a Health Literacy Coach through a University of Georgia program, Lay Leader through the Atlanta Regional Commission’s evidence-based Stanford University Chronic Disease, and Diabetes Self-Management programs, and trainer for their A Matter of Balance program. She developed her signature program the ‘Amazing Aging Trilogy’ that emphasizes the connections of Health, Happiness & Harmony through Wellness, Well-being and Wisdom.

Carolyn continues her passion for health and wellness through her group leadership programs that include monthly hikes and weekly walks, among other adventurous activities.  She is founder of the nonprofit, Happy Healthy Lifestyles, Inc. and continues to lead the weekly Just Walk! a Walk with a Doc program, now virtual, sponsored by AARP Georgia, under her Walk for Wellness program ( As leader of the first Just Walk! a program of Walk with a Doc, she encourages men and women to walk in local parks and their neighborhoods. She also became a certified Tai Chi for Health instructor through the Tai Chi for Health Institute. 

Carolyn, representing AARP, received a Profiles of Positive Aging Award. She has community partnerships with AARP Georgia, DeKalb County Parks and Recreation, REI, Georgia Conservancy, on the Georgia Recreational Trails Advisory Committee of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and volunteers with the National Park Services Trails and Rails program, among others. She has been interviewed by various TV, radio and print publications, including CNN and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. 

In her warm and natural way of speaking she engages her audience in a very personal way with humorous experiences and challenges she has faced and overcome.  

For more information:   Email –; telephone – 678.231.4973 call/text); Website – and working on her new book entitled The Joy of Aging – A Lifestyle of Health, Happiness and Harmonious Living.

Cecilia Houston-Torrence
Cecilia Houston-Torrence is the retired Community Involvement Banking Officer for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. Houston-Torrence served as the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta’s liaison to non-profit and civic organizations to evaluate opportunities for the FHLBA to increase its commitment to the community. 

During her twenty-six years of employment at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Houston-Torrence has worked in the Housing Market Analysis, Correspondent Bank Services, Business Development and Human Resources Departments. 

Houston-Torrence served as the President of the League of Women Voters Atlanta/Fulton County for four years and is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the Leigh Torrence South West Atlanta Youth Foundation.

Her other volunteer activities have included: American Red Cross Minority Recruitment Board, Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia, Anti Prejudice Consortium, Atlanta Inter-Faith Aids Network, Atlanta Urban Ministries, American Cancer Society, EarthShare of Georgia, March of Dimes, National Black Arts Festival Gala Committee Chair 2011, Senior Connections, Midtown Assistance Center, Families First, Future Foundation and Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta. 

Ms. Houston-Torrence has generously provided leadership as a member of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta’s Salute to Women of Achievement Campaign, Logistics and Steering Committees for 17 years. She was also a member of the inaugural class of the Women’s Policy Institute. She is currently the Chair of the Atlanta Citizen Review Board and was selected by Fulton County Chairman Robb Pitts to serve on the Election Task Force. In addition to her many volunteer activities, for the last 36 years Cecilia has been a member of Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church where she serves as the Parish Life Coordinator and Chairs the Bereavement Ministry, Vice President the St. Anthony Council of Catholic Women, member of the KeenAgers, Covenant House Ministry, Health Ministry, and the Anti-Racism committee. She was nominated by then Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and is now a member of the Southeastern Lieutenancy of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. 

Cecilia has been honored by the Trumpet Awards Foundation at the annual “High Heels in High Places” luncheon, inducted into the YWCA of Greater Atlanta’s Academy of Women Achievers, named as one of Rolling Out Magazine’s twenty-five most influential women in Atlanta, recipient of the Butterflies and Allies award by Chayill, Inc., Atlanta Business League’s Women of Influence, and received the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Torch Award. Cecilia was also the first African American woman to be inducted into her High School Athletic Hall of fame in 2012 for Tennis and Volleyball. 

Cecilia is married to Leigh Torrence, Sr. and has one Son, Leigh, Jr. who is a retired professional football player who played with the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons and currently is an Assistant Defensive Back Coach with the New York Jets. She is also the proud grandmother of Leigh Anthony Torrence, III Logan Torrence, and Lena Noel. 

ORee Crittenden
ORee Crittenden, C5C6 quadriplegic injured in 2001. I’m this assistant director of Access 2 Independence(A2i) in Columbus GA which opened in 2008. A2i is the newest Center for Independent Living in the state of Georgia. We serve the southwest Georgia, Chattahoochee valley area. After my spinal cord injury in 2001 I returned to Columbus State University in Columbus GA to pursue my BA music and communications degrees. I graduated in December of 2005 with a BA music and a minor in communication with a concentration in film and art history.

Since graduating I have been involved in the disability community through multiple organizations to include the Mayor’s Commission for People with Disabilities of Columbus GA, TFL Advisory Council, the CAC/Citizens Advocacy Committee of Columbus GA. I am also a member of the Advisory Board for the Recreational Trails Program for the Georgia Department of national resources. As a person with a disability I’ve tried to give back as much to the community as possible. I was a member of the Shepherd Smash wheelchair rugby team for seven years. My third year with the team we were able to make it to compete at the wheelchair rugby nationals. Through my experience with The wheelchair rugby team I was able to offer peer support through sports for individuals that we met and clinics that we held during my time as a team member. I have tried to use my experiences as a disabled person as well as my experiences prior to becoming disabled to encourage as well as support others in their journey with disability. 

As a person with a disability I try to not let it hold me back and I always try to pursue things that will make me happy. Prior to my injury I was an extreme outdoorsman, I enjoyed kayaking, whitewater, downhill mountain biking, climbing and repelling as well as all other sports that allowed you to be outdoors. For me the outdoors was always my place to recharge my soul. I continue to participate as best I can in outdoor activities.

Georgia State Walking College Mentors

Armand Turner is from Gary, IN. After graduating from Indiana University in 2014, Armand spent the next two years working at several Parks & Recreation Departments across the states, including Denver Colorado and the surrounding cities of Dallas, TX. In 2016 Armand took on the role of Recreation and Intramural Sports Coordinator at the Historically Black College of Albany State University, in Albany, GA. After 3 tremendous years working for the University, he settled in Savannah, GA in 2019 and began working with the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Grant. Here Armand has played the role of working with African Americans within the county, who are currently low-wealth, to improve their ability to live healthier, more active lives.

Eunice Glover is currently the President of Center for Enhancing Organizational Learning and Development, LLC (CEOLdevelopment). She has over twenty years of experience helping organizations manage change, building teams and communication structures. She served as a Visiting Professor at the Keller Graduate School of Management, DeVry University, where she taught compensation, benefits, diversity, organizational development, training and development and organizational leadership. She served as an Instructor at Howard Community College where she taught Business Communication and Social Entrepreneurship.

Before founding CEOLdevelopment, Ms. Glover worked at Clayton State University as the Director of Human Resources, Assistant Vice President of Operations, Planning and Budgeting and she served as an Adjunct Professor.

As a management consultant, Ms. Glover works with organizations to assist them in improving their bottom-line. Her consulting experience includes executive coaching, career coaching, teambuilding, HR business process outsourcing, customizing training solutions and using learning and development tools and instruments to solve business problems. Ms. Glover has worked in a variety of industries across all the major functions to produce system-wide processes and solutions in areas of performance management, communication, leadership effectiveness and organizational development and design. She has extensive experience in rolling out major technical projects, developing human resources management systems, organization reengineering, and developing career enhancement and diversity programs.

Ms. Glover has a master’s degree in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Management from Georgia State University. Eunice Glover has received certifications and awards in the following areas: Bain-Based Results Coaching Certification; Social Emotional Intelligence Certification; Professional in Human Resources Award- SHRM; Napoleon Hill Certified Trainer; Sherpa Coach Certification; Outstanding Leadership Award– Southern Crescent SHRM; Senior Volunteer Professional – Georgia SHRM State Council; Teaching Excellence Course Plus (TEC Plus), DeVry University; and Work/Life Coaching Training/Certification. 

Sally Flocks founded PEDS, an organization dedicated to making the Atlanta region safe and accessible to all pedestrians, in 1996 and served as its President & CEO for 23 years. Sally also co-founded America Walks and served on its Board of Directors for over a decade. 

Sally earned a doctorate in history from Yale, and skills she learned there – research, writing, and public speaking – facilitated her success as a pedestrian advocate. Due to a medical condition, Sally has been unable to drive most of her adult life. Walking and public transit have been her primary modes of transportation, and her ground-level experiences have been invaluable when working with transportation professionals and elected officials.