Our Mission

The Center for Advocacy, Response & Education (CARE) believes in the strength and resilience of individuals and communities impacted by sexual/relationship violence. Our focus is supporting survivors and offering educational opportunities for the campus community. We offer a safe, inclusive, survivor-centered space while providing confidential support focused on individual needs and concerns.

Our Vision

We envision a campus where:

  • Sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual harassment is not accepted.
  • Victims and Survivors receive the advocacy, compassion, and support they deserve.
  • Our campus community challenges the practices and policies of our institution regarding sexual and relationship misconduct.
  • Education surrounding sexual and relationship violence is a part of every Huskers’ experience.
  • The campus community is trained in how to support survivors with empathy and compassion as well as provided available resources and referrals.
  • Prevention is everyone’s responsibility.

Meet the Team

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Melissa Wilkerson

Director, Advocate | she/her


My passion for working with survivors began in 1993 when I first started volunteering with a service that assisted victims of domestic violence. My first professional position as an advocate was in 2001 in the Denver area at the District Attorney’s Office where I worked until 2014. I’ve been with the university as an advocate since 2018 and feel incredibly fortunate to work on this campus supporting survivors and working to help create a safer campus community. Outside of my work on campus, I stay busy with my family and our goldendoodle, Mavis. I love to spend time outside and enjoy gardening as my favorite self-care activity. I’m a huge college basketball fan and believe that March Madness is the most wonderful time of the year.

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Jenessa Jarvis

Survivor Support Advocate | she/her


I’m originally from Arizona, but first moved to Nebraska to attend Concordia University, where I played softball and earned my Bachelor’s in psychology, behavioral science and criminal justice. My work in advocacy began when I served as a CASA advocate. Additionally, I completed an internship with the Lincoln Police Department in their Special Victims Unit. After graduation, I worked at the Pima County Attorney’s Office as a victim advocate, supporting victims of crime through both crisis response and throughout the court process. I returned to Nebraska to join the CARE team as a Survivor Support Advocate in 2022. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with and provide a space for survivors who are not only navigating a difficult path, but also emerging into adulthood.

Outside of my professional life, I am an aunt to my three young nephews, I help coach college softball, and like to workout & stay active. For self-care, I enjoy walking my dog and doing yoga. Two of my absolute favorite things to do are travel and go on lake/camping trips with my friends!

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Meredith Cain

Administrative Coordinator | she/her


I am a double UNL alumna, as I received my bachelor's degree in Women’s/Gender Studies in 2015, and my master’s in Child, Youth and Family Studies with a specialization in International Family Studies in 2020. My background includes a variety of roles supporting people, including working at a substance abuse treatment center for women, psychotherapy clinics, a national research project on early childhood, and in community outreach at a local mentoring program. As the administrative coordinator, I keep the CARE team organized and assist in various areas such as data analytics, communications and intake processes. In my free time, I stay busy with home DIY projects, reading, thrifting, traveling and playing with my dogs Pearl and Olive.

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Abbey Ragain

Prevention Program Coordinator | she/her


I am passionate about empowering individuals to get involved with creating positive social change and providing education that is essential for individuals and communities to thrive. I find inspiration in community and get so excited about young people working to make our world a better, more inclusive place- I am incredibly excited to get to work with our amazing, change-making Undergraduate Peer Educators.

Before joining the CARE Team, I coordinated the Suicide Prevention Program at UNL. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of Kansas where I spent time examining the margins that limit the personal and political wellbeing of individuals and communities through research and outreach activities. I also spent hours in the dance studio, acquiring a minor in dance and performing with The University Dance Company.

Outside of the office I can be found in front of live music, shopping for groovy, vintage clothes, collecting vinyl records of all my favorite albums, and enjoying time with sweet friends and family.

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Katie Bogen

Clinical Psychology Graduate Assistant – Violence Intervention for Survivors of Trauma and Abuse (VISTA) Lab | she/her


I have worked closely with trauma survivors - including folks who have experienced sexual and dating violence, stalking, hate crimes, trafficking, and harassment - since 2015. In my previous role, I facilitated violence prevention programming across 35+ middle and high schools in New England. I was trained as an advocate for survivors of identity-based violence in Rhode Island before coming to UNL to begin my PhD in Clinical Psychology. My research and clinical work dovetails violence prevention and human sexuality - I hope to empower trauma survivors to live joyful, consensual, and fully-embodied intimate lives. Through the Trauma Recovery Clinic (TRC), I provide evidence-based interventions like Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure to individuals experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or related symptoms. It is my privilege to work as a TRC therapist, and to join the CARE team this year. I am a passionate social justice advocate focused on celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, combating antisemitism, and participating in anti-racist action. Bright spots in my life are: my two cats (Abra and Eevee); caffeine; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; the city of Providence, Rhode Island; yoga at Holmes Lake; classical vocal training; my glittering queer community; and my raucous Jewish family.

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Harper Jones

Clinical Psychology Graduate Student Therapist | she/her


While originally from Kentucky, I completed my bachelor’s degree majoring in both Biology and Psychology at the College of Wooster in Ohio. Post-graduation, I worked as a researcher and interventionist at the Center for Trauma and Children, contributing to research surrounding secondary traumatic stress and childhood trauma.

At UNL, I am working towards my PhD in Clinical Psychology with a focus on the intersection between sexual functioning, sexual trauma, and resiliency. I’ve worked as a therapist in the Trauma Recovery Clinic since 2022, focusing on providing evidence-based interventions such as Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure to individuals experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related symptoms following sexual assault and other traumatic experiences.

Outside of school and work, I am shamelessly obsessed with my two dogs and spending time outside gardening, hiking, walking around the lake. I also find solace in rock climbing, cross stitching, and adventuring at local stores and farmers markets.

Contact Us

CARE is located in Louise Pound Hall, suite 211.

  • Office Hours
  • Monday-Friday: 8 a.m-5 p.m.
  • Phone
  • 402-472-3553
  • Email
  • care@unl.edu
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