McKinney Center’s Conversations That Matter to host March event

Conversations That Matter will host its third event of the year on Thursday, March 10 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. In this upcoming “Conversation,” hear from Brittany Butler and Dr. Cerrone Foster. This conversation will be moderated by McKinney Center Advisory Board Member and volunteer Michelle Treece, and the McKinney Center’s Community Program Specialist Skye McFarland. Register for this program at

Dr. Cerrone Foster is a native of Newark, NJ where she completed her undergraduate training in Biology at The College of New Jersey. She is an Associate Professor and Assistant Coordinator for the Honors in Discipline Program in the Department of Biological Sciences at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Foster earned a Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences from ETSU, followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cardiovascular Physiology at ETSU. Foster’s research examines the role of estrogen deficiency and aging in cardiovascular disease. She also teaches Introductory Biology and Biochemistry Laboratory and has interest in metacognition and increasing students’ science literacy skills. Foster has received research grants from the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health to fund her work. She also serves on several STEM initiatives to improve undergraduate and K-12 education, including the South Eastern Regional Partnership in Undergraduate Life Sciences, an initiative that assists undergraduate life science departments with curriculum reform. Foster’s life passion is mentoring and preparing the next generation for success.  She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

A favorite past guest and current moderator, Brittany Butler will be a featured guest. A Gray, TN resident, originally from New Orleans, LA, Butler is married, has 3 kids, ages 10, 6 and 5. She works at ETSU in the Department of Chemistry as a lecturer. Butler is the past president of the junior league of Johnson City and has served as the organization’s chair of their first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion task force. She is also an active member of the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Gray.

Supported by a grant from the East Tennessee Foundation, “Conversations that Matter” is a monthly series produced by the McKinney Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. In each “Conversation” two local guests from different backgrounds (age, race, religion, culture, etc.) explore their own culture and perspective, and talk to each other about what makes them unique, discover their similarities, and explore their differences. They will look at where their lives might intersect personally and in the community. The goal of each “Conversation that Matters” is for guests and participants to hear real stories, from real neighbors. This month will feature personal experiences along with real history questions about local Black History and Black History throughout American history.

This monthly series is inspired by the Diversity & Equity Subcommittee at the McKinney Center, and their desire to highlight the experiences of all voices in Washington County, Tennessee, with an intention to include marginalized groups. By showcasing these conversations, the Diversity & Equity subcommittee hopes to open doors to new ideas and perspectives amongst our very own neighbors.

After hearing from one another the moderators and guest conversationalists will give insight on how to move forward.