2021-2022 Virtual ESI Cohort

The 2021-2022 cohort of Engaged Scholars consists of 22 engaged faculty, staff, and administrators from Campus Compact member institutions across the country. This group of Engaged Scholars will meet virtually over the course of a year, attending virtual retreats and monthly meetings, participating in mentorship opportunities, and pursuing scholarly projects. Read more about the outstanding individuals selected for this cohort below.

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Presented in partnership with the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility at Swarthmore College

  • Orientation to ESI – April 23, 2021 2:30-4PM EST
  • Retreat 1 – June 16-18, 2021 – 2-4PM EST
  • Retreat 2 – September 15-17, 2021 – 2-4PM EST
  • Retreat 3 – December 8-10, 2021 – 2-4PM EST
  • Retreat 4 – March 16-18, 2022 – TBD- Maybe in person at Swarthmore
  • Monthly virtual meetings time/day TBD begins in October 2021

Scholars are expected to:

  1. Attend and actively participate in every aspect of the Initiative, including: virtual retreats, bi-monthly virtual meetings, and any individual or small group collaborative or mentoring meetings.
  2. Complete all required preparation (e.g., pre-readings, assessment, assigned tasks, etc.) and resulting action items.
  3. Actively communicate with program directors and fellow cohort scholars throughout the experience ensuring the highest level of engagement and collaboration.
  4. Pursue a scholarly project (individual or collaborative) of their choosing.
  5. Submit all program reports by the due dates.

2021-2022 Engaged Scholars

James Blair | California State Polytechnic University Pomona

James J. A. Blair is Assistant Professor in Geography and Anthropology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He is also Graduate Coordinator at the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies, Cal Poly Pomona. Blair holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Rooted in cultural and environmental anthropology, as well as human geography, his research employs ethnographic and historical methods to advance the interdisciplinary fields of political ecology, science and technology studies (STS), and regenerative studies. Blair’s work centers on energy, environment and sovereignty in the Americas. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Fulbright-IIE, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Social Science Research Council and the Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Blair has published peer-reviewed articles in: Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space; Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society; the Journal of Ethnobiology; and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (JRAI). He serves on the Editorial Board of American Anthropologist as Book Reviews Editor. In recognition of his promise as an early career scholar, the Anthropology and Environment Society (A&E) granted him the Next Generation Award. Blair has sought to make a broad impact as a public anthropologist, bridging the social and physical sciences through community-based action research, teaching and advocacy. His public writing has appeared in the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Expert Blog, the North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) Report, the A&E Engagement blog and The Economist. In addition to his research, Blair has professional experience in environmental policy, as an International Advocate for NRDC, as well as Land Agency Coordinator for Sierra Club.

Kimberly Coates | Bristol Community College

Kim Coates is an assistant professor of English and the coordinator of humanities programming at Bristol Community College. She received her Ph.D. in cultural analysis and theory and advanced an advanced certificate in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies from Stony Brook University. Her research and teaching interests include literature and literary theory, queer feminism, and mindfulness. She is the founder and editor of Evocations Review, a digital literary and art journal.

Brian Davenport | Eastern Washington University

Brian Davenport, PhD currently serves as Associate Dean for Honors & Community Engagement at Eastern Washington University. In this role, Dr. Davenport seeks to connect the university and the community in meaningful ways that serve both the academic mission of the university as well as the goals of the community. Prior to coming to EWU, Dr. Davenport earned a PhD in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University and served as an assistant professor of Leadership & Organizational Studies at the University of Southern Maine. Split between two passions, Dr. Davenport’s research interest spans across both leadership and community engagement. His current focus centers broadly on the institutionalization of community engagement and on how community engaged teaching can be more responsive to the needs of all involved.

Maggie Delano | Swarthmore College

Maggie Delano is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Swarthmore College. She received her B.S., M.Eng., and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and began teaching at Swarthmore in January 2018. Prof. Delano’s research focuses on the development of monitoring systems for patients with chronic diseases. Her current research involves the development of a fluid status monitor for patients with Congestive Heart Failure. In addition to her work on wearables and monitoring systems, Prof. Delano is interested in inclusive engineering design. She has authored multiple articles for both general audiences and in peer reviewed venues about topics including the design of period tracking apps and algorithmic exclusion of transgender and non-binary people in the body composition algorithms of commercial weight scales.

Meghan Doran | Simmons College

Meghan V. Doran, PhD is a sociologist by training whose research areas include urban politics, activism, and public memory. Prior to her graduate studies she worked as an adult educator and community organizer in Boston-area non-profits. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in sociology at Tufts, Northeastern, and UMass Boston. As Assistant Director for Service-Learning in Community Engagement at Simmons, Meghan’s central role is support and faculty development for community-based learning courses. She also builds and supports community-university partnerships, particularly with organizations that advance women and girls. Her current research is on community perspectives on ethical community-university partnerships. She has a passion for public scholarship, with a specific focus on public humanities. Meghan currently teaches two courses at Simmons: Grassroots Boston: How Activism Shapes the City, and Youth Leadership for Social Justice.

Jamilah Ducar | University of Pittsburgh

Jamilah Ducar began her work with CGR in 2017 as the Assistant Director of Community Relations.

Now the Director of Community Engagement, she leads University efforts and interactions with key neighborhood constituencies by monitoring and addressing community concerns in the greater Oakland area and partnering to advance strategic engagement and public service initiatives across a wide range of stakeholders.

Jamilah serves the institution as co-chair of both the Community Engaged Scholarship Forum and the staff Engagement Community of Practice in partnership with the Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation, Julia Spears. She is on the steering committee for the Pitt United Way Campaign as well as the national steering committee of the Place Based Justice Network.

Jamilah received a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Duquesne University, a Master of Public Management from Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, and will receive a Doctor of Education degree as part of the inaugural Urban Education cohort from Pitt’s School of Education in 2022 (along with teammate Daren Ellerbee).

Ian Khara Ellasante | Bates College

Ian Khara Ellasante (they/them) is an Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Bates College. They are a cultural studies theorist whose current research engages the peoplehoood matrix–a core theoretical construct developed by Indigenous scholars–to examine the persistence of Indigenous and Black cultural identities within the oppressive milieu of settler colonialism and its associated and interlocking regimes: patriarchy, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness. In this context, Ellasante examines the history and reclamation of Indigenous extra-binary gender systems and Two-Spirit traditions, Black and Indigenous feminisms, and the dynamic resistance inherent in Black and Indigenous trans and queer cultures. In addition to their scholarship, Ellasante is a poet and winner of the 49th New Millennium Writing Award in poetry. Their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Feminist Wire, Hinchas de Poesía, The Volta, Nat. Brut, We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics, and elsewhere. As a community-based participatory researcher, they have worked alongside and on behalf of LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit youth communities for over a decade to increase access to stable housing and affirming learning environments.

Theresa Harrison | University of South Carolina

Theresa Harrison is the Project Manager for the Carolina Family Engagement Center (CFEC). The work of CFEC is focused primarily on underserved families and their students (low income, English learners, those with disabilities, those in foster care, migrants, homeless, and marginalized communities). In this role, she also has the opportunity to serve as a Co-PI on a research project Examining Black-White Disparities and Identifying Empowerment Solutions among Custodial Grandparent-Headed Families during COVID-19 in South Carolina: A Mixed-Methods Community-Based Study. Theresa has worked at the University of South Carolina (UofSC) since 2011 in various administrative roles within community service and service-learning programs, residence life, and integrative and experiential learning. She is also a doctoral student in the Educational Foundations and Inquiry program at UofSC and a scholar in the Grace Jordan McFadden Professors Program. Her research interests include community-university relationships and partnerships, critical race and decolonizing pedagogies, and abolition studies. She is an active member of professional organizations such as the National Society for Experiential Education and the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement.

Lisa Kaul | Vassar College

Lisa Radhika Kaul is the Director of the Office of Community-Engaged Learning and the Director and co-PI of the Community-Engaged Intensives in the Humanities Initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additionally, she serves on the advisory committee of the Summer Immersion in the Liberal Arts program and has served as chair of the Bridging Campus and Local Communities working group of the Engaged Pluralism Initiative at Vassar College. A Rhodes Scholar from India, Lisa holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Delhi and an M.Phil. and D.Phil. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Oxford University. She is the lead author of European Identity and Cultural Pluralism: Judaism, Christianity and Islam in European Curricula. Her research focuses on Jewish religious nationalism in Israel, Jewish ultra-orthodox anti-Zionism and the anthropology of protest. Taking a cue from her research, she co-organized the Poughkeepsie Women’s March Across the Hudson in 2017 which drew over 7500 people.

Angie Mejia | University of Minnesota Rochester

Angie Mejia, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor and Civic Engagement Scholar at the Center for Learning Innovation at the University of Minnesota Rochester. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 2019. Being raised in an environment where involvement in social justice was a routine part of family life, her commitment to using critical community-led efforts has been central to her identity. Before entering academia, she worked as a community organizer and promotora de salud (health promoter), serving immigrant communities of Mexican origin in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Angie’s positionality as a queer Latina in academia shapes how she uses her training to prevent the silencing while simultaneously promoting the centering of subaltern voices and non-mainstream knowledge in community-engaged work. Her current research projects use intersectional analyses, critical participatory methods, and arts-based collaborations to study mental health inequities in historically marginalized communities of Color such as community gardeners of ethnic/racial and refugee and immigrant descent, Women of Color in the health and medical sciences, and students of Color in STEM. Her academic work has appeared in Action Research, Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies, Anthropologica, and Cultural Studies Critical Methodologies. Website: https://angiemejia.com/

Niki Messmore | IUPUI

Niki Messmore is the Director of Medical Service Learning at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Her passion for civic engagement began early on in high school, with her advocating successfully to change a municipal tax law. A first-generation college student, she obtained her B.A. in Political Science from Bowling Green State University. After college Niki served in AmeriCorps for 2 years and collectively worked 5 years in the nonprofit sector. She combined her love of service and education by achieving an M.S. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University and has worked in service-learning for the past 7 years at IUPUI. Her community work is rooted in lived experiences of poverty and related social issues, and this drives her towards changemaking. Theoretical frameworks that guide her program design and research are critical race theory and critical service learning theory. Her research interests include the experiences of marginalized students in service-learning, applying trauma-informed practices to service learning, and the impact of an immersive summer AmeriCorps experience on medical student learning.

Kiva Nice-Webb | Westminster College

Kiva Nice-Webb is currently serving as Chaplain/Director of the Center for Faith and Service and Instructor of Religious Studies at Westminster College. Kiva is originally from the Appalachian mountains in North Carolina and lived in Chicago for several years before moving to Fulton, MO to work at Westminster College. In Chicago she served for two years with the DOOR Network before pursuing dual graduate degrees in clinical social work and ministry at the University of Chicago. Kiva is a credentialed minister, licensed toward ordination, through the Mennonite Church USA and has worked in ecumenical Christian and multifaith contexts. Kiva has social work experience with both in-patient psychiatric and community non-profit settings, ranging from domestic violence prevention to mentoring programs. When not teaching religious studies courses or working with students in the Center for Faith and Service, Kiva can be found singing in a local choir, playing piano, or going hiking somewhere nearby.

Olihe Okoro | University of Minnesota

Olihe Okoro, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy, Duluth. Olihe is a strong advocate for the integration of broader patient context and social determinants in patient care and health services delivery to optimize health outcomes. Her research therefore focuses on health disparities affecting minority and underserved populations. More specifically, her work emphasizes the importance of social determinants, provider-associated factors, and structural inequities that influence health-seeking behavior, healthcare utilization, treatment adherence and consequently health outcomes. As a social and behavioral scientist, and community-engaged researcher, Olihe has years of experience working in partnership with Black/African American communities and patient populations to implement community-based health education and promotion around HIV, sexual and reproductive health, prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health and more recently COVID-19. These health interventions leverage the expertise of community members and non-medical persons, and their unique perspectives in identifying, properly contextualizing, and thus addressing relevant health-related issues. Olihe also works with healthcare professionals and agencies to identify and address structural inequities and systemic racism that result in the disparities seen in health, healthcare utilization, delivery and outcomes. Olihe is very passionate about increasing capacity and diversity in the healthcare workforce. She is committed to integrating structural and cultural competencies into pharmacy education and practice; and working with communities to provide relevant mentoring and instrumental support for students of color who aspire to healthcare and allied professions. Through these efforts, Olihe’s work continues to contribute to enhancing health and healthcare for marginalized populations, towards the goal of achieving health equity for all.

Anita Randolph | University of Minnesota
Salvador Rangel | Swarthmore College

Salvador Rangel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Swarthmore College. He is a formerly undocumented, first–generation immigrant who, after various years working in construction and manufacturing, made his way into higher education. After receiving his A.A., Salvador obtained his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University and his M.A. from the University of Kentucky. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a Ph.D. in Sociology in Spring 2020. His past experiences as an undocumented working-class immigrant animate and shape his academic research and desire to promote and generate engaged scholarship. He is working on his first book, La Jungla: Globalization, Transnational Migrant Labor, and the Meatpacking Industry, which analyzes the reliance of the meatpacking industry on migrant workers’ precarity and examines how the industry influences migration patterns over time. Salvador has extended his work on this area of research to include the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on this migrant workforce as the meatpacking industry and its workers have been heavily impacted by virus and its long-term impacts. Salvador’s teaching and research interests include political economy, class, labor, race, globalization, immigration, and the relationship between the legal system and the construction of migrant illegality. He has received honors for his research including his induction as a fellow of the American Sociological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program and the Center for Engaged Scholarship. He has served as an editorial assistant as well as a translator for a bilingual academic journal on Mexican studies. Outside the academy, Salvador engages in public sociology by publishing analytical pieces in mass media outlets that make his research accessible to a broader public.

Jennifer Schoffer Closson | University of Montana

Jennifer Schoffer Closson is a doctoral candidate in the University of Montana Teaching and Learning Department and a licensed speech-language pathologist. She is on the UM Service Learning Advisory Board, a service-learning course instructor, and a clinical educator. Doctoral candidate Schoffer Closson specializes in autism and is a champion for service learning and interprofessional experiential learning.

Dresden Smith | University of San Francisco

Dresden is the Literacy Program Coordinator for Engage San Francisco at the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good. She came to San Francisco from San Luis Obispo, California. Dresden enjoys going to the beach, painting, and spending time with her cat Napkin. Her M.A. is in Higher Education and Student Affairs and she specializes in racial equity in intercollegiate athletics. Dresden has a passion for advocating alongside students, partners, and grassroots activists. Her work and research aims to promote Black prosperity in all facets of life.

Shalini Srinivasan | MSU Denver

I am a chemistry education research whose interests are focused on a) how cognitive (student performance, problem-solving strategies), affective (attitudes, motivations), and contextual (instructional, institutional) factors, individually and in combination, can be leveraged to make education accessible to all students, especially those from at-risk and underrepresented student groups and b) exploring the progression of students’ problem solving strategies across the chemistry undergraduate curriculum. As an immigrant, a woman of color and a woman in STEM, my background, personal and sociocultural experiences have been instrumental in my approaches towards research, teaching, and service at all levels. During my postdoctoral tenure, I was awarded a ‘Women in STEM Scholars travel program’ fellowship as part of the ADVANCE Florida Network; this program entailed engaging in collaboration with a female faculty member from other four year colleges in Florida. To support efforts of STEM students in K-12 and beyond, I have engaged in several outreach initiatives, ranging from serving on a ‘Speak with a Scientist’ panel, judging science fairs and symposia, mentoring an AACT member (a high school teacher) as part of the ‘Science Coaches’ program, and leading financial literacy and career preparation sessions (for high school students) as a volunteer for Junior Achievement. Outside of work, I enjoy reading, Zumba, exploring the vegetarian and vegan culinary scenes in Denver, and spending copious amounts of time filming the antics (much to their chagrin) of my two adorable cats, Dead or Alive and Melody.

Rosana Urbaez | Merrimack College

Rosana is the Director of Hands to Help, a community resource center located in Lawrence, MA. Rosana graduated from Merrimack College with a Masters’s in Higher Education in 2016. Also, Rosana holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In this community-facing role, Rosana is committed to building and supporting programs that facilitate economic opportunities for Lawrence and surrounding communities. After the pandemic hit, Hands to Help’s focus shifted to include the food insecurity many residents were experiencing. Through initiatives with community leaders, Rosana and her team have begun to understand the scope of the work needed to tackle food justice. Hands to Help hopes to continue to learn and bring forth programming that authentically supports existing initiatives to bring about meaningful change.

Lisbeth Valdez | Merrimack College

Lisbeth was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She moved to the United States in 2008 at the age of 12. She graduated from UMass Dartmouth with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Affairs at Merrimack College. During her time studying at UMass Dartmouth, Lisbeth lived in Washington, D.C. for a semester to conduct research related to Human Trafficking. Before she landed a position at Merrimack College, she was a field organizer for a political campaign, worked at Lawrence High School as a paraprofessional and interim GEAR UP Counselor. She is now the Assistant Director of Hands to Help, a Community Outreach Center that provides a variety of free services to the community of Lawrence and surrounding communities.

Gavin Weiser | Illinois State University

S. Gavin Weiser is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Foundations and co-coordinator of the College Student Personnel Administration master’s program. Gavin holds affiliate faculty status at ISU in both Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as with Latin American/Latino/a Studies. Gavin earned hir Ph.D. in Foundations of Education & Inquiry from the University of South Carolina’s College of Education. Beyond this, ze also completed a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of South Carolina. Gavin worked for several years as a university administrator in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at Carolina focusing on social justice and diversity work. Prior to this Gavin was an outdoor educator for Princeton University, leading urban youth on backpacking and other outdoor adventure activities.

Sarah Wolter | Gustavus Adolphus College

Sarah Wolter is an Assistant Professor of Critical Media Studies, Communication Studies, at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Most of the courses she teaches examine the changing nature of information at the intersection of content, platform, media systems, and government systems. In the spirit that teaching and learning grounded in academic and civic responsibility supports the development of engaged civic leaders, scholars, and citizens, she has integrated community-engaged projects into eight courses, spanning introductory seminars to upper-level capstones, with the most common types of projects as semester-long practicums in civic engagement and media education partnerships. She is part of the original design, implementation, and refinement teams for Gustavus Adolphus College’s Public Discourse, a nationally-recognized practicum in public advocacy and civic engagement. Wolter has earned multiple professional awards, including the President’s Civic Engagement Steward Award sponsored by Minnesota Campus Compact. Wolter earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her research centers on understanding the influence of media on democracy. Wolter’s scholarship has evolved into two related foci: 1) sport communication, specifically the influence of media texts on culture and institutions, and 2) communication pedagogy, assessing and developing media literacy and civic engagement teaching and learning. Wolter has disseminated community-engaged pedagogical practices and ideals to broader audiences in journal articles, edited collections, and over twenty-five conference presentations. Wolter’s work has been published in journals such as The Journal of Community Engagement in Higher Education, Communication & Sport, and The International Journal of Sport Communication.

For questions regarding the 2021-2022 Campus Compact Engaged Scholars Initiative please contact Marisol Morales, Vice President for Network Leadership at mmorales@compact.org.