Dr. Larry Chavis, Director

Clinical Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School; Director, UNC American Indian Center

Larry Chavis researches how weak institutions in developing countries pose challenges for new business formation. He is studying how organizational design affects the delivery of development aid to rural communities and small-scale entrepreneurs in Indonesia.  Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report 2005 summarized his research on the effect of social networks on firm bribe payments in transition economies. Dr. Chavis’ broad interest in social issues affecting firms is reflected in research on the effect of the Iraq war on French wine sales in the United States with Phillip Leslie of Stanford University.  Their research demonstrates that firms should be concerned about grassroots level boycotts and how they are perceived in the market place. Their findings were reported by many news outlets, including U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. As a member of the Lumbee Tribe and a North Carolina native, Dr. Chavis has a strong academic and personal interest in issues facing North Carolina.  Future projects include work on minority entrepreneurship, North Carolina’s changing demographics and rural economic development. He received his PhD in economics from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, an MS in applied economics and management and an MA in Asian studies from Cornell University, and a BA in anthropology from Duke University.

Email: chavisl@kenan-flagler.unc.edu



Jillian Ransom, Administrative Support Associate


Jillian Ransom is from Fayetteville, NC and a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies. As an adult, Jillian has lived in four states; now making her way back home. Her background is in education, specifically working with exceptional children. Prior to working for the American Indian Center, Jillian worked as an Applied Behavior Analysis Therapist with the autism population in Charlotte, NC. She is passionate about educating our youth, giving back to her community and enriching the lives of others. Jillian loves animals and is the mom to a sweet Pekingese; whom she rescued and adopted.

Office: 919.843.4189; Email: jransom@unc.edu


Qua Lynch Adkins, Native Student Engagement Coordinator

quaQua Lynch Adkins, MPH, is the Native Student Engagement Coordinator at the UNC American Indian Center, where she plans and implements programs (i.e. Carolina Horizons, New Native Student Orientation, the Native Pathways to Professional Development Series, etc.), cultivates partnerships, and coordinates events that foster professional development of American Indian high school and undergraduate students.

Qua is a citizen of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe and has strong connections to each of the Tribal Nations in North Carolina and many beyond the state, due to her lifelong community service. Previously, she worked with the NC Commission of Indian Affairs, the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, and the NC American Indian Health Board. Qua earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Campbell University in 2012 and later received her Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Community Health Education from UNC-Greensboro in 2015. She continues to work with universities, museums, and students to promote diversity in creative, meaningful ways.

Qua is a proud member of the Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc. Her hobbies include making traditional arts & crafts, dancing at powwows, cooking, and spending quality time with her friends and family. Qua is committed to empowering Indian Country and providing a VOICE to the seemingly VOICELESS population.

Office: 919.843.5928; Email: qual@email.unc.edu



Jesalyn Keziah, MSW, Community Engagement Program Officer

Jesalyn Keziah, MSW, a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, currently serves as the Community Engagement Program Officer at the UNC American Indian Center, supporting community engagement among UNC community and all statewide Tribal Nations and Native-led community programs, leveraging resources to support program development, and bridging UNC resources with Tribally self-determined initiatives. She also coordinates the Healthy Native North Carolinians Network and the new initiative to develop an American Indian Cultural Garden, along with other community-oriented programming.

Jesalyn is a double graduate of Carolina, graduating with a BA in 2007 as a first-generation college student, then returning after a decade of work experience to graduate in 2020 with her Master’s in Social Work. She is passionate about helping students access and navigate higher education, and serves as Resilience Coach on campus, hosted by UNC Diversity and Inclusion, Carolina Collaborative for Resilience.

Before coming to AIC, Jesalyn spent the first decade of her career serving in various statewide community food justice positions including time at Resourceful Communities, The Conservation Fund, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, and a statewide range of community gardens and local food systems development projects. Jesalyn is a community-oriented gardener, artist, potter, justice advocate, and aspiring therapist interested in Indigenous mental health; she is building her approach interested in the intersections of culture, arts, food sovereignty, nature, and holistic community-based approaches to healing from historical and intergenerational trauma. She recently began caretaking a 100-year-old farm and is happiest in the sun gathering wild native foods or out kayaking on the river.

Office: 919.445.4711;  Email: jesalynk@email.unc.edu