2023-24 Student Officers (March 2023 – February 2024)

Walt Shelton


  • Acts as the official student spokesperson for the institute.
  • Provides general leadership and presides over all Student meetings.
  • Serves as the liaison between Students, the Leadership Team, and the Advisory Board.
  • Together with the Vice-Chairperson, organizes informal gatherings that promote dialogue and community among Students.

Walt Shelton (whshelton1@crimson.ua.edu)

Walt Shelton is a Junior from Hartselle, Alabama, double majoring in Economics and Finance with minors in Public Policy and Liberal Arts through the Blount Scholars Program. Outside of his time in Blackburn, Walt serves as a Research Assistant at the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development where he conducts research and analyzes economic data to study and promote economic growth in Alabama. Walt also serves as a Senior Equity Research Analyst for the Culverhouse Investment Management Group, a student run value investing group that manages a portfolio of over $1.6 million. Walt works virtually for Eastside Partners, a venture capital firm based in Huntsville, Alabama with a focus of finding growth stage startups where he assists in researching and analyzing potential investments for Eastside Partners. Walt is also a student of the Blount Scholars Program, a selective, four-year, living and learning community featuring small, seminar-style classes, intensive interaction with faculty, and an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum leading to a minor in Liberal Arts. The past two summers Walt has worked for the office of Rep. Aderholt in Washington D.C in varying capacities. Walt enjoys golfing, hunting, reading, and boating on the lake during his free time.


  • Presides over meetings of Students in the absence of the Chairperson.
  • Together with the Chairperson, organizes informal gatherings that promote dialogue and community among Students.

Rolland Grady (jtgrady@crimson.ua.edu)

Rolland Grady is a junior from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is currently majoring in political science and history with a concentration in legal studies. On campus, she is involved in UA Vote Everywhere, University Stewards, the Honors College, and in her sorority Alpha Omicron Pi, where she works on the philanthropy and academic committees. She is passionate about youth voting and voter education. She loves supporting the Crimson Tide from the Blackburn block on gamedays! Outside of school extracurriculars, she enjoys knitting, getting coffee with friends, going for walks, and reading a good book.

Communications Director

  • Internally publicizes all Institute activities and personal achievements of Blackburn Students and Blackburn Fellows (via Facebook, email, telephone, etc.).
  • Provides appropriate external individuals, departments, and media with relevant information regarding Institute activities and events (i.e. press releases, event descriptions, post-event summaries, etc.).
  • Coordinates the gathering of information for the website and publications.

Mishay Long (malong6@crimson.ua.edu)

Mishay Long is a senior from Priceville, AL. She is currently majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Public Relations. She is involved in the College of Communication and Information Sciences Ambassadors where she gives tours to prospective students, faculty, and guests. Mishay also works part-time as a Branding and Communications Student Assistant with the University of Alabama Center for Economic Development. In this role, she assists in the promotion of state-funded projects that are centered around tourism, healthcare, education, and art. Mishay is passionate about improving her community from behind the scenes, which is why she enjoys the idea of creating project brands, designs, and social media awareness. Outside of classes, work, and extracurricular activities Mishay enjoys being outdoors and active, especially with her dog, Atticus.