Meet the Staff
Dr. Rolando Herts
Director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning
Dr. Herts is a native of the Arkansas Delta region. He was recently selected as an Executive Academy Fellow with the Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Leadership Institute after his first year directing The Delta Center and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area. Previously, he served as Associate Director with the Office of University-Community Partnerships at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. As a Leadership Newark Fellow, he was presented the Berkowitz Distinguished Service Award for his commitment to the Greater Newark community. He also is a former Teach For America Mississippi Delta corps member and a former Emerging Engagement Scholar with the Engagement Scholarship Consortium. Dr. Herts holds a Ph.D. in planning and public policy from Rutgers Graduate School-New Brunswick. He also holds a M.A. in Social Science from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in English from Morehouse College. His interest areas include university-community engagement and partnership development, community-based tourism planning, place branding/marketing, and regional development.
Program Associate for Education and Community Outreach
Lee Aylward is a transplant from the hills of Mississippi to the Delta. Education and learning were instilled in her early, and she tried almost all of the universities in Mississippi and the University of Alabama in order to further that education. Reading has always been paramount to her. It is this love of reading that prompted her to get both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Library Science, and she went on to get certification in Reading. Since graduating from college, she has been a mother, administrator of a U.S. Army education center, a public librarian, a school librarian, reading teacher, real estate agent, and finally an associate in the Delta Center for Culture and Learning where she coordinates community outreach and education.
Born and raised in Arkansas part of the Delta, Pat loves the Delta and its flat land. She completed her BS in Speech, Communication, & Broadcasting from the University of Central Arkansas in 1984, where she gained experience in broadcast radio, theater, and the media. She joined the University in August of 2005 and served as the Senior Secretary in Family and Consumer Sciences for more than 9 years. In FCS she was best known for always having candy for all the children, form the little ones in the Child Development Center, to the older ones attending college. In January of 2015 she moved DTHATCH- Down The Hall, Around The Corner, Honey to the Delta Center for Culture and Learning where she plans to use her gift of gab for good. “You could say that I never met a stranger.”
She loves cycling and reading. She lives with her husband of nearly 27 years and two Pomeranians, Kasey and Bandit. “Big Poppa” is almost never seen, but often mentioned.