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Tisch College Staff


Read about Tisch College's Deans and Board here.

Administrative, Communications, and Program Staff

Abigail Adgate

Communications Specialist

Abigail is the Communications Specialist at Tisch College. Her background is in non-profit communications and prior to joining Tisch College, she worked as the Marketing Director at Cambridge Center for Adult Education and Marketing/Scholars Program Manager at the Freedom Trail Foundation. She holds a B.A. in History and a M.A. in History with a concentration in Public History from Northeastern University. 

Sara Allred

Associate Director of Student Programs
Phone 617.627.5666

Sara is Tisch College's Associate Director of Student Programs. In that role, she supports the Director and helps oversee a broad portfolio of civic learning and engagement opportunities for Tufts students and providing support for community partners working with students. Previously, Sara managed the Tisch Scholars Program, facilitating community-building among Scholars, overseeing their annual community projects, and supporting their ongoing training and development. Before joining Tisch College, Sara was an elementary/middle school art teacher with the Baltimore City Public School System.  She has a strong background in community-based art service work, and her teaching focused on addressing social issues through art. She also worked on arts education access and arts integration advocacy initiatives in Baltimore. Sara holds a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the Massachusetts College of Art and a Master’s degree in teaching from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Heather Barry

Special Adviser for Global Strategy and Student Initiatives

Heather Barry is the Special Adviser for Global Strategy and Student Initiatives, currently working on the transition of the Institute for Global Leadership programs into Tisch. She was formerly the Associate Director of the IGL and part of the Institute’s growth for more than 30 years. She is the author of “Educating for Global Leadership: The Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC) Program” in Innovations in International Education. She was the Principal Investigator for the U.S. Department of Education Fund for Innovation in Post-Secondary Education grant “Creating a Blueprint for Leadership and Citizenship Development: The EPIIC Educational Process.”

Jessica Byrnes

Communications Program Manager
Phone 617.627.3556

As Communications Program Manager, Jessica works closely with the Dean's office and provides strategic leadership on special initiatives and all College event programs, such as the Tisch College Solomont Speaker Series. A part of the communications team, Jessica supports outreach efforts to reach the entire Tufts community through a broad range of projects that engage students, faculty, alumni and community members. She is also the Program Director of the Tufts Campaign School, an innovative week-long program for college undergraduates to learn how campaigns work and to hear directly from industry experts via faculty-led sessions, workshops and site visits. Jessica is a Tufts graduate (A12) who majored in Peace & Justice Studies with a focus on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. She is passionate about civic engagement, voting and dogs (of course). 

Jessye Crowe-Rothstein

Global Programs Manager
Phone 617.627.4845

Jessye manages Tisch College’s  First-Year Global Programs, working with Tufts 1+4 Fellows and Civic Semester students and program partners. Before joining Tisch College, Jessye worked in admissions at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Her background also includes working for an international volunteer service provider offering opportunities for high school and college students, and managing summer education programs focused on public policy solutions, sustainability, and consensus-building. Jessye holds a B.A. in Peace & Justice Studies from Tufts University and a M.A. in International Education Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Shanley Daly

Senior Events Coordinator

Shanley serves as the Senior Events Coordinator at Tisch College, supporting the event needs of the communications team at Tisch College. Some of these events include the Distinguished Speaker Series, Civic Life Lunches, and the Tufts Campaign School. Before joining Tisch College, she worked as a community outreach and events coordinator in public libraries. She holds a B.A. in English from Salem State University.

Patricia DiGiovanni

Associate Director of Research Administration

Patricia (Tricia) DiGiovanni is Associate Director of Research Administration at Tisch College. In this role she supports Tisch investigators in submitting proposals for sponsored funding and managing sponsored awards. She also partners with the budget center to provide sponsored activity projections for use in the overall University’s financial planning. Prior to her role at Tisch, Tricia worked in Accounting and Management at Merrimack College. She holds an MBA with an accounting concentration from Suffolk University.

Elaine Donnelly

Director, Tisch College Community Research Center
Phone 617.627.4099

Elaine directs the Tisch College Community Research Center (TCRC), a resource that supports community-based research across all disciplines. Before joining Tisch College, Elaine’s professional and research experience focused on cross-sector partnerships, educational equity issues for low-income students, service learning, entrepreneurship, and community development. She has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston, an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and B.A. from Boston College.

Sam Fried

Program Manager, Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

Samantha Fried is the program manager of the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program at Tufts. Samantha holds a PhD in STS from Virginia Tech. While in graduate school, she was student body president, and belonged to an interdisciplinary program in Remote Sensing (the measurement of distant materials, typically using satellites or drones). Educated in two different worlds that share little in terms of jargon, theories, or methodologies, she learned to think about the connections between these spaces in terms of shared values. Her dissertation and continuing work examine the development of Earth remote sensing technologies, and how this context has shaped our notions of collective action on environmental data. Her research seeks to reconfigure critical theory, action-based coalition-building, and Earth remote sensing technologies around a commitment to civic science.

Michaela Harrington

Program Assistant

Michaela Harrington is a Program Assistant on the Communications team. She currently supports IGL programs transitioning into Tisch. Her role includes working with IGL student groups and organizing logistics for the annual EPIIC Symposium. She holds a B.A. in Linguistics and German from Georgetown University.

Brianda Hernández

Senior Program Administrator and Lecturer
Phone 617.627.8844

Brianda manages the Tisch Scholars program. She previously served as a student programs administrator, leading the Tisch Fund, Honos Civicus, and Leadership for Social Change, and providing support to Tisch College student affiliate organizations and other student groups on campus. Before joining Tisch College, she worked at the Talloires Network, a global coalition of engaged universities committed to strengthening community engagement within higher education institutions. Her background also includes working with grassroots organizations in predominantly Latinx communities in the areas of youth leadership, food, and mental health advocacy. She received her B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning from California State University-Northridge and an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University. Brianda was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She is a lover of good food, the sun, and considers herself a Mother Nature warrior.

Evan Horowitz

Director, The Center for State Policy Analysis (cSPA)

Evan has led cSPA since its launch in early 2020. He had been the "Quick Study" columnist for the Boston Globe, using data to tell stories about policy issues affecting Massachusetts and the nation as a whole. He also contributed data-heavy stories for FiveThirtyEight, NBC's Think, and the Washington Post, and briefly served as fill-in host for WBUR's Radio Boston. Evan has worked at several Massachusetts think tanks, one focused on equitable economic outcomes and another dedicated to improving long-term thinking in capital markets. In the bygone past, Evan was a professor of English Literature, with stints at Stanford, Harvard, Brandeis, Princeton, and the University of North Texas. He also attended the Cordon Bleu, where he learned a set of French cooking techniques that he now uses to keep his family happy at dinnertime.

Lorlene Hoyt

Executive Director, Talloires Network

Dr. Lorlene Hoyt is a Research Professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, a faculty member of the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, and the Executive Director of the Talloires Network. From 2002-2011, she served as Assistant then Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) where she founded MIT@Lawrence, an award-winning city-campus partnership with the City of Lawrence, Massachusetts. She holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. For more information, view Dr. Hoyt's faculty profile

Sunah Hyun

Senior Researcher, Student Programs

Sunah is the new senior researcher for the student programs team at Tisch College. She focuses on creating new evaluation strategies and effective assessment systems to better support Tisch College’s mission and values. As an Asian, female, and alien researcher in the US context, her research reflects a desire to serve as a liaison to bridge academic research and the local community, inform policy, and develop innovative intervention strategies. Before this position, she finished her NIH-funded T32 postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. During her training, she utilized different methodologies to assess psychosocial stress across developmental periods and cultures to identify risk and reduce health disparities in mental health outcomes. She received her B.A. in Social and Cultural Communication from the University of Washington, Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Ph.D. in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University. She is a developmental psychologist, community-based researcher, wife, daughter, and mother of a warm-hearted daughter and cutest furry dog in the world.

Samara Jones

Staff Assistant

Samara is the Staff Assistant at Tisch College, supporting Associate Dean Diane Ryan, Associate Dean Taina McField, Associate Dean Peter Levine, Assistant Dean of Diversity & Inclusion Shirley Mark, and providing general administrative support to all. Before joining Tisch College, she worked and volunteered at a variety of not-for-profit organizations. She holds a B.A in International Studies from Muhlenberg College.

Christina Kaltcheva

Program Administrator, Talloires Network

Christina Kaltcheva is the Program Administrator for the Talloires Network. Before joining the TN, Christina was Administrative Coordinator for Tufts University's Institute of the Environment. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International and Global Studies and Environmental Studies from Brandeis University and is interested in community engagement from an international lens as well as social and environmental sustainability and justice.

Andrea Lesaffre

Senior Program Coordinator
Phone 617.627.3956

Andrea serves as Program Coordinator, supporting the needs and tasks of the student programs team at Tisch College. Some of these programs include the Tisch Summer Fellows, Tisch Scholars, and Tisch College’s 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program. Before joining Tisch College, Andrea worked as an event planner in the hospitality industry. She holds a B.S. in Hospitality Management from Southern New Hampshire University.

Jenna Logue

Tisch Summer Fellows Program Administrator
Phone 617.627.3535

Jenna manages the Tisch Summer Fellows program, which provides substantive summer internships in the United States and around the world to more than 100 Tufts students each year. She also provides leadership and support for other student programs at Tisch College. Jenna previously worked with students at Berklee College of Music for the past 13 years as an integral part of the Career Center team. Jenna received her B.A. in Women's Studies from William Smith College and an M.Ed. from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. 

Jennifer McAndrew

Director of Communications, Strategy & Planning
Phone 617.627.2029

Jen McAndrew is the Director of Communications, Strategy & Planning at Tisch College. Jen is a proud Jumbo, receiving her undergraduate degree from Tufts. She also received a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Jen then began a federal career in Washington, DC at the US Commerce Department, followed by service at the US Treasury and the US Department of Energy. Most recently, Jen was senior advisor to Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-5), working in the district on outreach to local media, universities, businesses, and school districts. In her civic life, Jen is currently serving as a member of the Melrose School Committee.

Kathy O'Connor

Associate Director of Business Operations
Phone 617.627.4710

Kathy O'Connor is the Associate Director of Business Operations of Tisch College. She handles the organization and processing of daily functions and various projects. She is responsible for the administrative activities and staff who provide support to Tisch College. Kathy handles financial paperwork, helps coordinate various events throughout the year, and interacts with various departments at Tufts to acquire the up-to-date information and strengthen the relationships necessary to keep Tisch College functioning optimally. Kathy’s background includes administrative duties in various companies. She was active in volunteering with the youth in her community, and before joining Tisch College she was employed by and involved in her local YMCA’s afterschool program.

Deepika Pahari

Deepika is an AmeriCorps member that helps the Tisch College Community Research Center (TCRC) build capacity. Deepika is passionate about health equity and aspires to become a medical professional. Before Tufts, Deepika worked with hospital and community partners to build capacity and advocate for homeless and low-income families. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is pursuing her master’s degree in Biotechnology from Northeastern University while completing her service year.

Jennifer Howe Peace

Senior Researcher

Dr. Jennifer Howe Peace is a Senior Researcher working on a new curricular track within civic studies focusing on the intersection of religious diversity and civic life. This is a three-way collaboration between Tisch College, the University Chaplaincy, and the Department of Religion at Tufts funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations with additional support from the Argosy Foundation. Prior to this role she served as Interim Director, Generous Listening and Dialogue Center and director of Tufts University Chaplain ad interim at Tufts from 2019-2020. Before coming to Tufts, Dr. Peace was the first associate professor of Interfaith Studies at Andover Newton Theological School where she co-founded and co-directed the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education, a joint program between Andover Newton and the Rabbinical School at Hebrew College. Dr. Peace is the founding co-chair of the Interreligious and Interfaith Studies program unit at the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and the founder of the AAR-affiliated Association for Interreligious / Interfaith Studies. Most recently she served as a faculty consultant for the Bridging Faith Traditions Program at Yale Divinity School and continues to serve as senior advisor to the Pluralism Project at Harvard. Dr. Peace has been an interreligious organizer and educator since the 1990’s.  She was a founding board member of the United Religions Initiative, a founding leader of the Interfaith Youth Core, and the director of the Interreligious Center for Public Life. Author of numerous articles, essays and chapters on interfaith cooperation, Dr. Peace is co-editor of Interreligious/ Interfaith Studies: Defining a New Field. She co-edits a multi-year series called Interreligious Studies in Theory and Practice, for Palgrave, Macmillan. Her first co-edited book, My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (Orbis 2012), received a 2013 Catholic Press Association Book Award.

Katherine Pinney

Program Assistant for Research

Katherine is the Program Assistant to Research, supporting (CIRCLE), the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (IDHE), the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education, and the Tisch College Community Research Center (TCRC) in an administrative capacity. She’s also involved with various projects and research with the teams. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Economics from Westfield State University.

Joslin Regalado

Student Outreach Coordinator

Jos serves as the Student Outreach Coordinator, working with both the Student Programs and Communications and Events teams at Tisch College. In her role, she acts as the primary liaison for JumboVote, supports the pre-college program Leadership for Social Change, and in general, works to promote, publicize, and celebrate opportunities, students, programs, and courses at Tisch College. Jos is a Jumbo herself, recently completing her undergraduate experience with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and minor in Dance. 

Noel Reyes

Associate Director, Community Partnerships

Before joining Tisch College, Noel spent 15 years in the Boston Public Schools as a history and English teacher and instructional coach. As a classroom teacher, Noel is passionate about creating learning communities that explore the moral considerations and boundless possibilities that arise out of our shared humanity and the meaning and modes of literacy in a changing and connected society. As a teacher educator, Noel has taught classes related to curriculum design and pedagogy for the Boston Teacher Residency Program and Harvard Graduate School of Education, and has worked as a mentor teacher with Breakthrough Greater Boston. 

Noel views his role at Tisch College as an opportunity to have a positive impact on community organizations and also develop future leaders who will center the needs of vulnerable communities in working towards a more equitable society. He believes that the work of justice begins with listening and understanding the needs of communities, and that relationships are the foundation for learning, activism, and social change.

Noel holds a masters degree in education from UMass-Boston and a BA in Ethnic Studies and Political Science from Brown University.

Frank Roche

Civic Life Coordinator, Athletics

Frank Roche is extremely excited to be returning to Tufts as the new Civic Life Coordinator for Athletics. He serves as a connection and point person between athletics, community organizations, and Tisch College programs with an emphasis on building Civic Identity, Leadership, and Agency. Frank was a Jumbo football player and graduated from Tufts in 2019 and then returned to earn an MAT in middle and high school teaching. After receiving his masters degree, Frank taught ELA and Special Education at Revere High School and coached football at Everett High School. A native of Arlington, MA. Frank has a deep connection to the Tufts and the Greater Boston community. He hopes to be a valuable resource for coaches, players, and community partners so that civic engagement opportunities in Tufts Athletics are accessible, organized, and impactful.

Sherri Sklarwitz

Director of Student Programs
Phone 617.627.2002

Sherri directs the programs team at Tisch College, supports research and evaluation, and facilitates connections with student organizations across campus. She earned her doctorate in 2015 from Boston University, and her research focused on designing assessments to understand how student attitudes can change after participating in global citizenship coursework. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, Sherri taught civics to middle school students in Somerville. She earned her B.S. from Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations, and her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Judith Taliaferro

Assistant to the Dean
Phone 617.627.3453

Judi Taliaferro serves as Assistant to the Dean, managing Dean Solomont's schedule and the daily operations of his office as well as supporting the broader Tisch College administrative team. Before joining Tisch, she spent the past eight years supporting the executive team at a Community Health Center in East Boston. Before that, she workd for 10 years at a therapeutic public day school, serving students in the Medford Public Schools and surrounding communities. Judith is also continuing her education online at Southern New Hampshire University.

Calvin Zhao

Student Programs Administrator

Calvin Zhao supports several Tisch College student programs. Before joining Tisch College, he coordinated community engaged learning courses at New York University Shanghai, working with students, faculty, and community partners to create mutually beneficial service-learning experiences. He received his B.A. in Economics from Boston University, where he developed his interest in higher education through his involvement with BU Admissions, Orientation, and Summer Term.


Civic Life Coordinators at Tufts Professional Schools

Jennifer Greer-Morrissey

Program Manager, Civic Life, Health Sciences
Phone 617.636.6577

Jen oversees the Tisch College Civic Life programs at the Health Sciences Graduate Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine.  She works with the Civic Life Coordinators at the respective schools to strengthen student civic engagement and leadership, support community partnerships, facilitate collaboration, and advance service learning efforts that promote health equity.   This work builds upon her 10 years at Tufts University School of Medicine as Tisch’s Coordinator of their Community Service Learning (CSL) program.  Jen earned her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Women’s Studies from Colgate University and her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and has over 20 years of experience in service learning in the Boston area. In her personal civic life, Jen volunteers in her local Parent Teacher Organizations and serves as a mentor for women in triathlon. 

Awes Hassan

Civic Life Coordinator, TUSM & Friedman

Awes Hassan joins us as the Civic Life Coordinator supporting Tisch College programming with both Tufts University School of Medicine and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.  Prior to this role, Awes was an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Tisch College Community Research Center (TCRC) assisting their student cohort project in partnership with the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center and organizing the first TCRC community research forum. Awes received his B.S. in Public Health from UMass Amherst where his interest in health equity and justice was cultivated.

Erin King

Civic Life Coordinator, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Phone 508.839.7991

Erin King was hired as the Cummings-Tisch Civic Life Coordinator in the Spring of 2017. Based out of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Erin works with the support of Tisch College to promote civic life and community engagement. Prior to this position, Erin worked in the field of animal rescue and is passionate about working with underserved communities. She earned her master’s degree from Tufts University in 2016, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology & anthropology with minors in leadership, philosophy, and religious studies from Christopher Newport University. Erin is also a graduate of the President’s Leadership Program, through which she engaged in academic study and experiential learning surrounding fields of leadership, service, and civic responsibility. In her spare time, Erin enjoys the outdoors, rock climbing, and spending time with her horse and greyhound.

Nancy Marks

Community Service Learning Coordinator, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Nancy Marks is the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine’s Community Service Learning Coordinator. In this capacity, she works closely with student groups and their members who are interested in community engagement and education to address oral health disparities. Nancy also works with student leaders on leadership development, and she created and oversees Dental Central, a web-based portal that supports community service learning. Nancy holds an MS in labor education and community organizing from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is also an artist whose focus is on the intersection between arts and health.


CIRCLE Research Staff

Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg

Newhouse Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Phone 617.617.6272

Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg is the Newhouse Director of CIRCLE. She oversees CIRCLE’s wide-ranging portfolio of research and impact projects with its diverse partners and for audience groups. Kei has a background in Community Psychology and Social-Emotional Learning, which she applies to various projects at CIRCLE. Before coming to CIRCLE, Kei worked with young people and families at a public high school, and at an emergency room and community health center as a therapist in training. Working with people who faced numerous structural challenges made her want to work with systems that created those challenges in the first place, which attracted her to CIRCLE.

As a leading voice in the youth civic engagement field, Kei is frequently featured in major outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, National Public Radio, C-SPAN, Channel 1, and NBC. Kei is a recipient of the Jobs for The Future Distinguished Fellowship for Student-Centered Learning (2016-2018),  and serves on the National Board of Generation Citizen, Democracy Works.  Most recently, she played a major role in development of the Our Common Purpose, a commission-report from the AAA&S, and the Educating for American Democracy initiative.  She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University, with an emphasis on positive youth development and community psychology.

Abby Kiesa

Deputy Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Phone 617.627.6969

Abby serves as CIRCLE’s Deputy Director. She is the organization's liaison to practitioner organizations across the country and she communicates research findings and tracks recommendations for future research from young people, youth-serving organizations, and educators. Abby came to CIRCLE from Campus Compact (Providence, RI) where she directed a national campaign to increase college students involvement in public life and facilitate students’ critical role in the call for higher education institutions to fulfill their role as public and community resources. Prior to Campus Compact Abby worked at Madison House at the University of Virginia advising student-led community partnerships. While completing a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Villanova University she served on Villanova’s Taskforce on Service-Learning and co-created a service-learning course within the Center for Peace and Justice Education.

Peter de Guzman

Associate Researcher, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Phone 617.627.0687

Peter de Guzman began working for Tisch College's CIRCLE team as the Research Program Coordinator in 2018 and became Associate Researcher in 2021. Previously, Peter served as Tisch College’s Student Outreach Coordinator, where he coordinated Tufts’ nonpartisan JumboVote initiative and supported the student programs and communications teams. At Tisch College, Peter now supports the research team on quantitative and qualitative research evaluating voter registration campaigns. Peter also supports the Institute of Democracy & Higher Education’s research, particularly the National Study on Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE). Peter is particularly interested in studying civic identity and political engagement among ethnic minority populations and youth. During his time as an Tufts undergraduate, he studied Chinese and International Relations, studying abroad in Hangzhou and Beijing.

Noorya Hayat

Senior Researcher, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Phone 617.627.8859

Noorya is a Senior Researcher at CIRCLE working on qualitative and quantitative research that helps promote civic learning and engagement in the k-12 education system and beyond. She is interested in narrowing gaps in civic education, awareness, and life-opportunities for under-resourced communities by providing evidence-backed research for decision-making and policies. She holds an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a focus towards global education and citizenship for the 21st century, monitoring and evaluation for improving education systems, and applied data analysis. She also has a background in economics and anthropology, as well as teaching experience in early childhood education.

Alberto Medina

Communications Team Lead, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Phone 617.627.2593

Alberto Medina leads CIRCLE's communications. He collaborates with CIRCLE leadership on strategic communications, oversees the editorial work to produce and disseminate research, and maintains CIRCLE’s digital presence. Alberto began working with CIRCLE in his previous role as Communications Specialist at the Tisch College of Civic Life—CIRCLE's institutional home—where he led a variety of communications efforts and initiatives. A graduate of Yale University, Alberto previously worked as a freelance writer and editor and at national newspapers in his native Puerto Rico. He is a commentator and advocate on Puerto Rico’s political status.

Kelly Siegel-Stechler

Senior Researcher, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Kelly Siegel-Stechler is a Senior Researcher at CIRCLE, where she studies civic development and political socialization in schools. She is primarily focused on projects that advance civic learning and development in K-12 education, as well as questions related to youth political and electoral engagement. Prior to joining circle, Kelly worked as a Research Fellow with the Institute for Education Policy at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, where she supported their work on civic development as it relates to curriculum, instruction, and school culture. Her professional background is in educational programming and youth outreach and engagement. She has led programs in global and multicultural education including Model UN, interfaith debate, and international exchange programs. She also has a background in political science and international relations. Kelly is passionate about advancing equity and strengthening democratic institutions by improving opportunities for all young people to access and use the skills and knowledge they need to meaningfully participate in civic life.

Sara Suzuki

Postdoctoral Researcher, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Sara Suzuki is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CIRCLE, working on projects at the intersection of activism and community change. Her research focuses on the development of young people as sociopolitical actors who resist and challenge systems of oppression. She employs the theoretical frameworks of critical consciousness and positive youth development in her work. In her research, Sara also pursues methodological innovation in anti-racist and anti-oppressive research (e.g., QuantCrit). Sara has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College, and a B.A. in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. She currently serves on the “Emerging Scholars” and “Inclusion, Equity, and Social Justice” committees in the Society for Research on Adolescence and is an active member of a Boston-based community organizing home.


IDHE Research Staff

Nancy Thomas

Director, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education
Phone 617.627.4802

Nancy L. Thomas directs the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. IDHE is an applied research center that studies higher education’s role in American democracy and supports college and university student political learning and participation. The Institute's signature initiative, the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) examines student voting rates, patterns, and conditions. Through NSLVE, nearly 1,200 U.S. colleges and universities receive tailored reports containing their students’ aggregate voting rates following each federal election. Her work and scholarship interests include college student civic learning and participation in democracy, campus climates for political engagement, deliberative democracy, political equity and inclusion, and campus free speech and academic freedom. She holds a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a law degree from Case Western Research University’s School of Law. She is also an associate editor at the Journal of Public Deliberation, a senior associate with Everyday Democracy, and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.

Adam Gismondi

Director of Impact, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

Adam serves in a variety of capacities at IDHE, working with qualitative research, resource production and dissemination, and social media outreach. His research is largely centered in the civic media space, and his doctoral dissertation focused on how college student social media use impacts student civic learning and engagement. Adam also currently serves as a part–time faculty member at the Boston University School of Education, as an advisory board member for SXSWedu, and as president of the William & Mary Alumni Boston Chapter. Prior to working in a research capacity, Adam spent six years working as a student affairs administrator. He holds a BA from William & Mary, an MEd from the University of Florida, and a PhD from Boston College.

Prabhat Gautam

Data Manager, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

Prabhat is the Data Manager of IDHE and works to maintain the NSLVE database. Prabhat supports the systematic processes of data management and analysis, as well as generation and dissemination of data in the service to colleges and universities interested in learning about their students’ voting habits. In addition to other analytical outputs, he creates interactive data visualization products for campuses and the general public. Prabhat’s interests include design and development of new research that seeks to explore questions of equity, diversity, and inclusion in political learning. He is also interested in understanding pathways of non-traditional leadership that help improve college student political engagement. Prior to this, Prabhat has worked within varied contexts of policy advocacy, higher education, and international development. He has an M.P.A from Cornell University and a B.A. from Kenyon College.

Mari German

Outreach and Resource Specialist, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

Mari is the Outreach and Resource Specialist for the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tisch College. She supports the communication, outreach, and impact needs for the team and is involved in the campus reauthorization and recruitment processes for the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement. Her background is DEIJ, community and higher education focused. Prior to joining IDHE, she was a Mentor/Trainer at The Posse Foundation which brought her full circle as a Posse Scholar. Mari holds a double B.A. in Africana and Hispanic Studies from Hamilton College.

Duy Trinh

Program Administrator, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

Duy is a Program Administrator for Tisch College's Institute for Democracy & Higher Education and is responsible for maintaining and managing campus relationships of all 1,100 participating NSLVE campuses. Duy is particularly interested in working with campuses to help them understand their NSLVE reports, how to use our study as a resource center, and the impact of their work on college students and civic engagement. She holds an M.S. from Northeastern University and B.A. from Connecticut College.

Victoria Tse

Outreach and Data Analysis Specialist, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

Victoria is the Outreach and Data Analysis Specialist at IDHE. Her role gives her the opportunity to be involved in NSLVE data analysis and the creation of data visualizations as well as recruitment and communications with NSLVE campuses. Coming from a quantitative social science background, Victoria is interested in the intersection of quantitative research and community building and engagement. She holds a B.A. from Smith College in Economics and an M.A. in International Economics from The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. 



Kenann F. McKenzie

Director, Generous Listening and Dialogue Center

Kenann F. McKenzie, M.Ed., Ph.D. is the Director of the newly created Generous Listening and Dialogue Center (GLADC) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. She previously served as the Director of the Aspire Institute at Boston University, supporting the preK-12 educational sector with professional development opportunities rooted in social justice and community engagement. She has taught courses in research methods and the foundations of education.

Dr. McKenzie has a multinational, multicultural framework that shapes her approach to education and research. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 7 and grew up in New York City. For the last 20 years, she has worked in the higher education sector as an academic counselor, researcher, lecturer, policy analyst and administrator. She has also worked as a K-12 administrator. Prior to leading Aspire and now GLADC, she served for several years as the Executive Director for the National Board of Education Sciences (NBES) with the U.S. Department of Education.

Dr. McKenzie has a BA in Africana Studies from Cornell University, a M.Ed. from the University of Virginia in Social Foundations of Education, and a Ph.D. in Politics and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts with her family. Dr. McKenzie serves on the Beverly School Committee and is the producer of the Aspiring Spirit Podcast, which focuses on a shared vision for collective good.

Deborah Donahue-Keegan

Associate Director of the Generous Listening and Dialogue Center (GLADC), Social-Emotional Learning & Civic Engagement Initiative | Lecturer, Department of Education

Deborah Donahue-Keegan, M.S.W., Ed.M., Ed.D. serves as the Associate Director of the Generous Listening and Dialogue Center (GLADC), is a Senior Fellow at Tisch College, and oversees the Center's Social-Emotional Learning & Civic Engagement (SEL-CE) Initiative. She is also a Lecturer in the Tufts Department of Education, as well as a member of the university-wide Bridging Differences Task Force, the Tufts JED Campus committee, and the university's Mindfulness and Resilience Collaborative.  

Deborah holds a B.A. in History from the College of the Holy Cross, an M.S.W. from Boston College, and Ed.M., Ed.D. degrees from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She serves as an Advisor for SEL4US, a national SEL advocacy organization. Deborah co-founded and co-leads the Massachusetts Consortium for SEL in Teacher Education (MA SEL-TEd). She has authored articles and chapters focused on Social-Emotional Learning, contemplative practices, and educator professional development. Deborah is co-author of the forthcoming book, EQ Goes to College: An Emotional Intelligence Framework for Colleges and Universities (Kendall Hunt Publishing). Deborah's research and teaching focus on ways that transformative social-emotional learning can be leveraged for well-being, equity, belonging, and racial literacy in K-12 and higher education environments.

James J. Fisher

Program Administrator, Generous Listening and Dialogue Center (GLADC)

James J. Fisher serves as the Program Administrator of the Generous Listening and Dialogue Center (GLADC) at Tisch College. He provides support and coordination for programming and communications at the GLADC. James holds a B.A. in Black World Studies and History from Miami University and an M.A. from the Ohio Contemporary History Institute. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D., focusing on music and governance.

Helena Vaughan

Program Assistant, Generous Listening and Dialogue Center (GLADC)

Helena Vaughan (she/her) serves as a program assistant of the Generous Listening and Dialogue Center (GLADC). She helps support the programming for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and coordinates K-12 professional development within the Boston Public Schools. Helena holds a B.A. in Justice and Peace Studies from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Boston College, with a focus on adult mental health. Having grown up internationally, Helena brings a global perspective and understanding to all work she does.