Rebecca Brown Asmo

Executive Director

Rebecca is an experienced nonprofit and development leader with a passion for art, history, and community development. An adopted Ohioan since 2004, she lives in Columbus' Fifth by Northwest neighborhood with her two children.

Rebecca is currently reading Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality by Tomiko Brown-Nagin.


David Merkowitz, PhD

Director of Grants & Programs

A Cincinnati-born professor and writer, David carries out planning and oversight of program activities and serves as the program officer for major grants. He lives in Westerville with his wife and two sons.

David is currently watching Severance.


Marc Smith

Business Manager

A former auditor at Huntington National Bank and current Senior Lecturer in accounting at the Ohio State University, Marc manages council funds and is the glue that holds Ohio Humanities together. He lives in Grandview Heights.


Scarlett Rebman, PhD

Senior Development Officer

Scarlett is an adjunct instructor of history at her undergraduate alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan University, and the former Director of Grants at Humanities New York. Originally from Lexington, Ohio, she currently lives in Columbus with her husband, daughter, and a tuxedo cat named Nessie. 

Scarlett is currently watching RuPaul's Drag Race.


Kiley Kinnard

Advocacy & Communications Manager

A Columbus native, former state and local government staffer, and current graduate student at Ohio University, Kiley lives in Columbus' North Linden neighborhood with her two cats, Apollo and Artemis.

Kiley can't stop listening to Dolly Parton's America.


Melvin Barnes, Jr., PhD

Program Officer

Melvin was born and raised in Toledo and initially joined Ohio Humanities as a summer research fellow in 2019. Before rejoining the team in 2020, he taught history at the Ohio State University and completed his doctorate in Chinese and East Asian history. He lives in Clintonville with his wife and newborn son.

Melvin is watching Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakes Dynasty.


Jim Calder

Program Coordinator

A native of Cleveland and a two-time graduate of Cleveland State University, Jim coordinates Ohio Humanities' digital programs. In his free time, he reads and writes critical theory and hangs out with his 14-year-old pug, Bernie.

Jim is currently reading Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism by Slavoj Žižek.


Aaron Rovan, PhD

Executive & Grants Support Coordinator

Aaron is an adopted Ohioan who has taught English at universities in West Virginia and Pennsylvania and conducted folklore research in several US communities. He lives in Wilmington with his wife and two daughters.

Aaron is listening to Decoder Ring.

Board of Directors

Ohio Humanities board members serve as advocates for the public humanities by promoting the mission and vision of Ohio Humanities to sustain vibrant communities and foster lifelong learning. The Board of Directors are the fiduciary stewards of the organization; as a whole, the board establishes policy and ensures the financial health of the organization.

Nominations are accepted throughout the year. Additional responsibilities and details are listed beneath this list of the current board members as of July 1, 2021.

Kevin Rose | Springfield | Chair
Historian, The Turner Foundation

Brodi Conover, JD | Lebanon
Associate, Frost Brown Todd

David Descutner, PhD | Athens
Dean & Associate Provost, Ohio University

Deena Epstein | Shaker Heights
Retired Senior Program Officer, The George Gund Foundation

Katherine Fell, PhD | Findlay
President, University of Findlay

Jane E. Gerhardt, JD | Cincinnati
Policy Specialist, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Lance Grahn, PhD | Cortland
Retired Dean & Chief Administrative Officer and Professor of History, Kent State University-Trumbull

Vladimir Kogan, PhD | Columbus
Associate Professor of Political Science, The Ohio State University

Stacia Kuceyeski | Columbus
Director of Outreach, Ohio History Connection

Kevin Scott Miller, EdD | Columbus
Director of Government Relations, Buckeye Association of School Administrators

Marilyn Sanders Mobley, PhD | Beachwood
Professor of English, Case Western Reserve University

Dan Moder | Newark
Executive Director, Explore Licking County

Harold Niehaus, PhD | Eaton
Career Connections Director, Preble County Educational Service Center

Mary Jane Pajk | Columbus
Executive Director of Marketing Communication & Engagement, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Emily Prieto | Columbus
Case Manager, Molina HealthCare

Tony Sanfilippo | Bexley
Director, Ohio State University Press

Susan F. Smith | Cleveland
Writer and Speaker

Sarah M. Sisser | Findlay
Executive Director, Hancock Historical Museum

Carey Snyder, PhD | Athens
Associate Professor of English, Ohio University

Jeremy Taylor, PhD | Defiance
McMann Arts and Humanities Division Chair, Defiance College

Thomas Way | Steubenville
Executive Director, Urban Frontier Organization

Join Our Board

Board members share their wisdom and experience, attend quarterly business meetings, serve on committees, review grant applications, evaluate projects, and act as liaisons with various audiences and civic leaders.

In addition, board members are asked to assist with development activities and to make annual contributions to Ohio Humanities. Ohio Humanities is always seeking qualified individuals from the academic and private sectors to serve as board members and guide the organization’s future.

Prospective members should contact Rebecca Brown Asmo, Executive Director, at

  We Need Your Support

Ohio Humanities has supported and produced programs for nearly 50 years that explore history, literature, philosophy, and other humanities disciplines to help share stories, spark conversation, and inspire ideas. Donate to Ohio Humanities today.