TCS Board of Directors

Board Chair: Hal Cobb

Dr. Dean Kilpatrick

Dr. Dean Kilpatrick

Dean G. Kilpatrick, Ph.D. is a Distinguished University Professor and a licensed clinical psychologist at the National Crime Victims Research (NCVC) and Treatment Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina and senior investigator who has had continuous extramural research funding since 1972 and continuous NIH funding since 1985. His involvement with the traumatic stress field began in 1974 when he helped establish People Against Rape (now known as Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S.), South Carolina’s first rape crisis center. His primary research interests include measuring the prevalence of sexual violence, other violent crimes, mass violence, and other types of potentially traumatic events, as well as assessing PTSD and other mental health impacts of such events. He has provided invited testimony on the topics of rape, sexual harassment, and compensation for PTSD to several U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate committees.

Dr. Kilpatrick’s research has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIMH, NIDA, NICHD, the National Institute of Justice, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Veterans Administration. He has over 300 peer-reviewed publications, over 60 book chapters and monographs, over 700 presentations at scientific and professional meetings, and eight papers that have been cited more than 1000 times.  

He was a member of two Institute of Medicine Committees and one National Academy
of Sciences Standing Committee. He served as Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Traumatic Stress from 1997-2005 and as President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) in 2005. He has also served as Director of the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center since it was established in 1977 and as Director or Co-Director of the Charleston Consortium Clinical Psychology Internship Program since 1982.

He has received numerous awards for his work including the United States Presidential Award for Outstanding Contributions to Victims of Crime in 1990, the United States Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Allied Professional Award in 2007, the ISTSS Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Field of Traumatic Stress Studies in 2008, the South Carolina Governor’s Award for Excellence in Scientific Research in 2017, the ISTSS Outstanding Service Award in 2020, and the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian award, in 2020.

Treasurer: Vickey Cornelison-Grant

Vickey Cornelison-Grant

Vickey was the Editorial Assistant for the peer-reviewed Journal of Traumatic Stress which is published by the International Society on Traumatic Stress Studies. She has been an event planner for countless pieces of training, including the early National Victim Assistance Academies that were hosted in Charleston, as well as three state victim assistance academies where she served as a faculty member. For many years, she served sexual assault victims in her community as an advocate for Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S (formerly People Against Rape, or PAR),
South Carolina’s first rape crisis center, and has served on their Board of Directors since 2012.

She is the Project Manager for the National Mass Violence Victimization Resource Center, and the Mass Violence Assessment Project, and served in that role on the Mother Emanuel AME project (all of which are funded by the Office for Victims of Crime). In 2013 she was selected as Charleston Magazine’s “Volunteer of the Year” for their annual ‘Giving Back’ event. In 2014 she was awarded the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s ‘Visionary Voice Award’, and was the 2014 recipient of the “Breaking the Silence Award Zonta Awards Gala” for ‘Best Volunteer’. More recently she was presented the 2021 ‘Robert Magwood, Jr. Outstanding Service Award for Crime Victims’ from her peers at the Medical University of South Carolina. Her knowledge and interest in the field of victimization has been acquired from her personal and professional experiences.

Laura Stemkowski

Laura Stemkowski

Laura Stemkowski is an attorney at Motley Rice, who advocates for survivors of humans trafficking and sexual assault. In this capacity, Laura primarily represents individuals who are trafficked or abused by institutional actors, including religious organizations and national hospitality chains. Laura’s other work at Motley Rice involves defective medical devices and drugs. In law school, Laura represented undergraduate student sexual assault survivors in the Title IX process.

Laura is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and has lived in Charleston with her husband for seven years. Laura’s other volunteering activities include Be a Mentor at Meeting Street Academy.

Erin Owens

Secretary: Chanler Abarta

Are you interested in becoming a Board Member for Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. Sexual Assault Center?

Purpose: To advise, govern, oversee policy and direction, and assist with the leadership and general promotion of Tri-County S.P.E.A.K.S. so as to support our organization’s mission and needs.

Send applications to