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Faculty Fellows

The Tisch Faculty Fellows program convenes a diverse group of faculty members from across Tufts University for interdisciplinary discussions about teaching and research and builds the capacity of Tufts faculty to integrate civic engagement into their work. Faculty Fellows develop a course, research project, or other initiative designed to strengthen the connections between their individual disciplines and civic life. They receive a stipend that can be used for salary or research/teaching expenses, and they meet four times per semester to share perspectives and discuss common themes, challenges, and resources. To date, more than 100 colleagues, representing every Tufts school, have participated in the program, which is open to any member of the Tufts University faculty.

For more information about the Faculty Fellows program, contact Diane Ryan, Tisch College’s Associate Dean for Programs and Administration, at

2020-2021 Tisch Faculty Fellows

Learn more about the current cohort of Faculty Fellows.

Jennifer Burton

Jennifer Burton

Professor of the Practice, Theatre, Dance, and Performance

Jennifer Burton is a filmmaker and helms the independent film company Five Sisters Productions. Her films include More Than Human (a feature documentary exploring how robots are already disrupting our ethical, cultural, and social lives, directed by Abby Child, currently in production); Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens (a feature documentary on gender, identity, and drag), The Happiest Day of His Life (MTV/Logo) and Manna From Heaven(MGM/SONY). Corporate projects include the "Your Ford Story" campaign of mini-documentary commercials for Ford Motor Company and film/storytelling workshops for L Brands, Inc. Working with Tufts student filmmakers, she has produced the Half the History project, a series of short films on women in American history, and Old Guy, a comedic take on ageism in the media. Her publications include Call and Response: Key Debates in African American Studies (W. W. Norton), co-edited with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and The Prize Plays and Other One-Acts: Zora Neale Hurston, Eulalie Spence, Marita Bonner, and Others (Macmillan/G.K. Hall). Burton earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in English and American Literature, writing her dissertation on hope in American literature and film.

Dr. Angela Castellanos

Angela Castellanos

Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Tufts Medical Center

Dr. Angela Castellanos is a pediatric hospitalist at Lawrence General Hospital and Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Tufts Medical Center. During her pediatric residency, she became a founding member of the Las Doctoras Recomiendan podcast with host Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez. This Spanish-language podcast provides culturally appropriate health information for Latinx families, with goals of improving health literacy and empowering caregivers. Launched with a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018, the podcast has more than 70 episodes and listeners in more than 30 countries. The Las Doctoras Recomiendan podcast was awarded the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Pediatric Trainees Anne E. Dyson Child Advocacy Award. As a Tisch Faculty Fellow, Dr. Castellanos will study how parents and caregivers learn from health information delivered through this podcast and how it affects health behaviors. She will also support and mentor medical trainees interested in working with Spanish-speaking patients to develop partnerships with local community organizations in order to improve health education and health literacy in the Latinx community.

Dr. Angela Castellanos has a long-standing interest in health communications and first became interested in podcasting and medicine as an undergraduate at Stanford University. She obtained her medical degree at Harvard Medical School and completed her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She has worked as an editorial fellow for the New England Journal of Medicine and is currently the digital media fellow at the Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Bridget Conley

Bridget Conley

Research Associate Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Bridget Conley is the Research Director of the World Peace Foundation and Associate Research Professor at The Fletcher School. At WPF, she is the lead researcher on the “Tracking COVID-19 in Detention” and  Mass Atrocities projects. Her research has focused on memory following mass atrocities and has produced a book, Memory from the Margins: Ethiopia’s Red Terror Martyrs Memorial Museum (Palgrave 2019). She is the editor of How Mass Atrocities End: Studies from Guatemala, Burundi, Indonesia, the Sudans, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq (Cambridge University Press 2016). She has published on issues related to the 1992 – 1995 war in Bosnia, mass atrocities and genocide, and how museums can engage on human rights issues.

In 2020-2021, she is a Faculty Fellow at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. Her project is, “Connecting people to resources: A Proposal to Support the Tufts Educational Re-entry Network,” which will be developed in conversation with the Tufts University Prison Initiative at Tisch College. It is part of the Tufts Educational Re-Entry Network (TERN), which aims to build programming for formerly incarcerated people in MA, valuing those in the network with lived experience of incarceration as leaders of the project. Working closely with formerly incarcerated people who have experience with re-entry challenges and opportunities, this project aims to create, workshop and launch a dynamic and sustainable online hub connecting people needing re-entry support with resources available through the larger community networks.

Eileen Crehan

Eileen Crehan

Assistant Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Studies and Human Development

Eileen T. Crehan is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Studies and Human Development. Her research focuses on access to and dissemination of health information for autistic individuals, such as sexuality and relationship education, primary care, and physical activity. Dr. Crehan is particularly interested in how autistic adolescents and adults navigate systems as awareness of autism beyond childhood increases. Her research lab, the Crehan Lab, works in conjunction with their Autism Community Advisory Board, a group of stakeholders who provide feedback on research priorities and methodologies.

Autistic adults face significantly more health costs and challenges than their neurotypical peers. This disparity is driven by many factors, such as limited provider knowledge about autism or barriers to navigating the necessary care system. As a Tisch Faculty Fellow, Dr. Crehan will be working with an advisory board to develop and present information on autism in adolescence and adulthood to local medical providers. Feedback on this training will be used to inform future roll outs of this program, with the goal of increasing access to health services and thus improved outcomes for autistic adults.

Kim Dong

Kim Dong Breen

Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine

Kim Dong Breen, DrPH, MS, RDN is an Assistant Professor and the Associate Director for the Online Master of Public Health Program in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at the School of Medicine. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science from the University of California, Berkeley, her Master of Science in Nutrition from the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University, and her Doctor of Public Health from the School of Medicine at Tufts University. She is also a registered dietitian and completed her dietetic internship at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center. Dr. Dong Breen also completed a NIH R25 funded fellowship, the Lifespan/Brown Criminal Justice Research Program on Substance Use and HIV.

Dr. Dong Breen’s research focuses on healthcare access, food insecurity, and dietary quality as determinants of health, particularly with people living with HIV and individuals involved with the criminal legal system. For her current projects, she uses mixed methods to explore health disparities, causes and consequences of food insecurity, and healthcare access among adults under probation supervision; and to evaluate the transition of healthcare from jail to community for people with HIV. Her Tisch fellowship project will focus on exploring food insecurity and perceptions of political voice due to the COVID-19 pandemic among people that receive SNAP benefits.

Laurie Goldman

Laurie Goldman

Senior Lecturer, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning

Laurie Goldman is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning. Her research and teaching focus on how dynamics within and across organizations influence policy and planning practice. She is especially interested in creative problem solving, inter-organizational collaboration, and the contributions of actors whose knowledge and influence derives from lived experience. Laurie received a Ph.D. from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the Technion in Israel. Ongoing experience as a community organizer, policy advocate, and organizational consultant inform her research and teaching and sustain her dedication to social change. 

As a Tisch Faculty Fellow, Laurie will develop a series of interactive case studies that draw on her participation in anti-displacement advocacy in the gentrifying neighborhood of Union Square, Somerville. The project will focus on the six years of organizing, advocacy, and planning that led to the negotiation and ratification of a precedent-setting Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signed by the Union Square Neighborhood Association and the private developer of the transit-oriented mixed-use development. Activists involved in the Union United Coalition and the Union Square Neighborhood Association’s CBA negotiating team will participate in the case study design and piloting in UEP classes and in the Somerville Community Corporation’s Leadership Development Institute.

Sara Johnson

Sara K. Johnson

Assistant Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development

Sara K. Johnson is Assistant Professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development. She received her B.S. in Youth and Family Services from Michigan State University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies (as well as a Certificate in Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology) from the University of Connecticut. Prior to her appointment as Assistant Professor, she was a postdoctoral fellow and Research Assistant Professor at the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts.

Dr. Johnson’s research focuses on how adolescents and young adults develop their sense of self (e.g., identity development) and their beliefs and knowledge about society (e.g., acknowledgment of systems of power and oppression) and how they combine those two things in order to decide what kinds of civic engagement they should participate in and why. 

Jette Steen Knudsen

Jette Steen Knudsen

Professor of Policy and International Business & Chair in Sustainability, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Jette Steen Knudsen is Professor of Policy and International Business and holds the Shelby Collum Davis Chair in Sustainability. She has also been appointed as a Visiting Professor in the Department of Management, Society and Communications at Copenhagen Business School. Her research centers on the interface between government regulation and business actions with a particular focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). She studies the ability of governments in economically advanced industrialized nations to promote social change through regulation of social practices of home country multinationals in developing countries.

Her recent book (with Jeremy Moon) is titled “Visible Hands: Government Regulation of Corporate Social Responsibility in Global Business” (Cambridge University Press, 2017). She has published in journals such as British Journal of Industrial Relations, Business and Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Business Ethics, Policy and Politics, Political Studies and Regulation and Governance. From 2003-2007 Knudsen headed a government-sponsored think tank, The Copenhagen Centre for CSR. She then served as project leader of a CSR task force for the CEO at Maersk, a shipping, oil and retail conglomerate. Knudsen graduated from MIT in 2001 with a Ph.D. in Political Science.

Ron Lasser

Ron Lasser

Professor of the Practice, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Ron Lasser is a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His interests include how design impacts people - Specifically, how ill-structured (wicked) problems are defined and resolved by the integration of multiple perspectives, the risks associated with innovation, and the ultimate impact on society. Ron teaches Junior Design, Senior Capstone Design Project, Mobile Medical Devices and Apps, Societal Aspects of Design, among other courses.

Through the Tisch Faculty Fellowship, Ron will work to have students learn how to introduce technology products in society and prevent the hurdles of acceptance and adoption while promoting inclusive citizenship. They will understand the challenges to have the designer, the design, and society establish transparency, trust, dissemination of truthful information, and empowerment of all constituencies and stakeholders in digital social technologies. The students will participate in a collaborative multi-disciplinary, team-based, semester long project. The focus of the project is to develop a wicked problem solution associated with social digital technology that would not undermine democracy and promotes civic engagement.

Abdul-Malik Merchant

Abdul-Malik Merchant

Muslim Chaplain

Abdul-Malik Merchant serves as the Muslim Chaplain at Tufts University. After his family converted to Islam when he was 8-years old, he was immediately embedded between a multitude of ethnic groups within the Muslim community. Before he turned 18 Abdul-Malik was accepted into Umm al-Qura University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, where he spent the next decade studying traditional Islamic studies in the religion's birthplace. It was after returning home that Abdul-Malik found his passion in serving others pastorally, but also in the academy. Last semester he completed his Masters in Theological Studies, from Boston University's School of Theology, concentrating on practical theology. The nexus of his interests fall at the intersection of spirituality and emotional well-being. These experiences provided him with a cultural reflexivity that he brings to his chaplaincy and academic work. 

While the effects of COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantine are yet to be quantified, Abdul-Malik's Tisch Fellowship project seeks to explore the unique spiritual care and counseling needs of students of color have, especially during times of crisis and challenge. The outcomes for this proposed project will be a formal evaluation and assessment of interfaith spiritual care circles for students of color and others at Tufts University. This proposed project anticipates a peer review paper and submission of an abstract to the American Academy of Religion.

Chris Miller

Chris Miller

Assistant Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Chris Miller is assistant professor of International History at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and co-director of the school's Russia and Eurasia Program. As a Tisch Faculty Fellow he will be writing a series of articles applying economic history to understand the economic aftershocks of COVID-19.

Professor Miller is author of Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia (2018) and The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy (2016). He has previously served as the associate director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale, a lecturer at the New Economic School in Moscow, a visiting researcher at the Carnegie Moscow Center, a research associate at the Brookings Institution, and as a fellow at the German Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Academy. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Yale University and his B.A. in history from Harvard University.

Jayanthi Mistry

Jayanthi Mistry

Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development

Jayanthi Mistry is an applied developmental and cultural psychologist whose scholarship and teaching examines the diverse realities of the human experience among under-represented communities within the United States and across the world. She earned her doctorate in Child Development from Purdue University. Prior to joining Tufts University, she worked at the Center for the Development of Early Education at Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, where she was engaged in research and program development projects for early childhood education. Since then, Dr. Mistry has maintained a commitment to developing effective collaborations with practitioners in educational and community-based human service settings. Recent research projects include investigations of ethnic-racial identities among ethnic minority and immigrant youth, narrative analysis of young mothers’ educational and early parenting trajectories, and research and curriculum development in preschool classrooms.

As a 2020-2021 Tisch Faculty Fellow, Dr. Mistry will implement a research & civic engagement development project that will bring together high school students from Tufts’ neighborhood communities and Tufts students to become involved in a research project as a means of promoting critical awareness and reflections about societal stratification, hierarchies, and inequities. The research experience at the core of the project, designed to promote critical consciousness, will serve as the impetus for students to generate a variety of advocacy and civic engagement projects racial justice, in partnership with City Lights, a non-profit organization, founded by Kerri Bowen, Ph.D., an alumna of the Tufts English Department.

Fernando Ona

Fernando Ona

Clinical Associate Professor, Public Health and Community Medicine

Fernando is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. Fernando maintains faculty affiliations with the Department of Anthropology, Community Health, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, and Race, Colonialism and Diaspora Studies. He also is in clinical practice at Boston Medical Center.  

Fernando trained as a medical anthropologist and epidemiologist and recently completed his Master of Divinity in Chaplaincy with a certificate in Religion and Conflict Transformation. In addition to his faculty position at Tufts, he is the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Fellow at Boston University pursuing his Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership while seeking ordination. Fernando’s participatory action research projects are primarily with refugees, internally displaced populations, and asylum seekers who are survivors of torture. He also works with ultra-poor populations living in informal settlements. Fernando spends his time between Boston, his biodynamic farm in Vermont and the Netherlands.

Floor van de Velde

Floor van de Velde

Floor van de Velde (b. Belgium) is an artist and designer primarily working in the intersection between art, technology, and ecological themes. Her studio practice is focused on work that oscillates between the digital and physical world. She received a MS in Art, Culture and Technology from MIT teaches  additive manufacturing, 3D design, interdisciplinary sculpture, and installation at SMFA.

As Tisch Faculty Fellow, Floor will design and  establish a new Critical Craft and Sustainable Art Lab at SMFA and continue her research in work that connects the visual arts and traditional material practices to contemporary technologies and sustainable design.

Rockford Weitz

Rockford Weitz

Director, Maritime Studies Program, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Rockford “Rocky” Weitz is a Professor of Practice and Director of the Maritime Studies Program at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.  He teaches courses in Global Maritime Affairs and Maritime Security.  His Tisch Faculty Fellow project will explore the possibility of a Tufts University-led stakeholder engagement effort to support the offshore wind energy industry in New England.  The project involves engaging the fishing industry in Massachusetts and Maine, local governments, port authorities, environmental groups, and other stakeholders to identify creative solutions to potential hurdles to offshore wind development in New England.  Northeast fisheries face an existential threat from overfishing and ocean warming, so they need a vision for their own future independent of offshore wind.  The offshore wind industry might consider engaging the fishing industry in a regional and comprehensive way – rather than a project-by-project basis – that tries to build a shared consensus on a sustainable future for both industries.

Apply to be a Tisch Faculty Fellow

The 2020-2021 applicaton period is closed.