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Tisch College Staff

Leadership

Read about Tisch College's Deans and Board here.

Administrative and Program Staff

Sara Allred

Scholars Program Administrator
Phone 617.627.5666

Sara manages the Tisch Scholars Program, facilitating community-building among Scholars, overseeing their annual community projects, and supporting their ongoing training and development.  She also provides support for community partners working with Scholars. 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.

Jessica Byrnes

Special Projects Administrator
Phone 617.627.3556

As Special Projects Administrator, Jessica works closely with the Dean's office and provides strategic leadership on events and initiatives such as the Tisch College Distinguished Speaker Series. She coordinates logistics, assists with communications, and further supports efforts to reach the entire Tufts community through a broad range of projects that engage students, faculty, alumni, and community members. Jessica is a Tufts graduate (A12) who majored in Peace & Justice Studies with a focus on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution.

Jessye Crowe-Rothstein

Tufts First-Year 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.

Brianda Hernández

Student Programs Administrator
Phone 617.627.8844

Brianda manages Honos Civicus, the Tisch Fund, and the pre-college summer program Leadership for Social Change. In her role, she provides 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.

Chris Hernández

Jumpstart Site Manager
Phone 617.627.2324

Chris is the Jumpstart Site Manager at Tufts University. Jumpstart’s mission is to ensure that every child in America is ready to enter kindergarten prepared to succeed. Jumpstart recruits hundreds of college students every year and partners them with children in underserved communities; Tufts Jumpstart works especially closely with schools in Somerville. Previously, Chris worked in education in a social service agency that partnered with schools in the West Texas area to provide emotional, social, and educational services for children and their families. He also was an early childhood teacher and teaching trainer that coached on educational excellence and best practices in the classroom. He received his B.A. in Social Work from Texas Tech.

Zachary Hertz

Student Outreach Coordinator
Phone 617.627.5019

Zachary is the Student Outreach Coordinator for Tisch College. He serves as the principal advisor for the nonpartisan JumboVote initiative and he supports the Tisch College communications team, working to connect students from across the university to diverse pathways to civic and political action. Zachary is particularly interested in the mechanics behind voter behavior and the factors that create disparities in voter participation. He holds a B.A. from Tufts (A19) in Political Science, focusing on American Politics and Ethics, Law and Society.

Andrea Lesaffre

Program Assistant
Phone 617.627.3956

Andrea serves as the Program Assistant, 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.

Shirley Mark

Director of Community Partnerships
Phone 617.627.3656

Shirley Mark directs Tisch College’s community partnerships. She works to create resources and opportunities to strengthen and build campus-community partnerships between Tufts University and the local communities of Boston, Medford, and Somerville. Prior to Tufts, Shirley worked in philanthropy and has extensive experience with community organizations and public agencies. Shirley received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampshire College and a Masters in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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.

Maggie McMorrow

Tisch Summer Fellows Program Administrator
Phone 617.627.3076

Maggie 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. Maggie has been working with students at Tufts University for five years and previously worked as an event planner in the restaurant and hospitality fields. She is currently working towards her MEd in Administration of Higher Education from Suffolk University and also received her B.S. from Suffolk University.

Alberto Medina

Communications Specialist
Phone 617.627.2593

Alberto oversees a wide range of communications tasks: writing articles that share stories of civic engagement at Tufts, managing the Tisch College website and social media accounts, preparing remarks and presentations for the dean, etc. Additionally, he provides key editorial support to the CIRCLE research team, managing the research website and writing up and disseminating key findings. Alberto has been a freelance writer and editor, and previously worked at national newspapers in his native Puerto Rico and at multinational publishing houses. He is a graduate of Yale University.

Mindy Nierenberg

Senior Director, Tisch Programs
Phone 617.627.4159

Mindy oversees the development and supervision of projects and programs for Tisch College involving undergraduate, graduate and professional students at Tufts. In 2012, she was awarded the Tufts Distinction Award for University Changemaker. She has served as a national consultant in the field of visual art and civic engagement and taught the Ex College course Art, Activism, and Community: Visual Arts for Social Change. Mindy has worked in higher education for over 30 years. Prior to Tisch, she spent 10 years at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she served as an assistant dean of academic affairs, associate dean of students and founded the college’s office for community and service learning.

Kathy O'Connor

Office Manager
Phone 617.627.4710

Kathy O'Connor is the Office Manager for 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.

Sherri Sklarwitz

Associate Director of Student Programs
Phone 617.627.2002

Sherri works with the programs team at Tisch College to support research and evaluation in addition to facilitating 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.

Elisabeth Soong

Staff Assistant
Phone 617.627.4176

Elisabeth serve as staff assistant, supporting daily functions of Tisch College and welcoming visitors at the front desk. Before joining Tisch College, she worked developing student programs related to Asian-American identity, social justice, and spirituality at the University of Vermont, where she received a B.S. in Psychology.

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.

Rob Tedesco

Business Manager
Phone 617.627.0037

Rob is Tisch College's Business Manager, responsible for a wide range of areas related to finances and budgeting. He came to Tisch College from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, where he was the Assistant Director of Student Affairs. He earned his doctorate in 2015 from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and his research focused on the role of symphony orchestras in society and how they manage the structural deficits that are inherent in their organizations. Prior to living in New Zealand, Rob was a high school teacher. Outside of work, he enjoys going to the gym and helping non-profit organizations with their budgeting. He earned his B.M. from the University of New Hampshire in Music Education and his M.M. in Musicology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Calvin Zhao

First-Year Global Programs Coordinator

Calvin Zhao supports Tisch College’s First-Year Global Programs, serving as the main point of contact for students in the 1+4 and Civic Semester 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

Community Service Learning Coordinator, Tufts University School of Medicine
Phone 617.636.6577

Jen manages the Tisch College and Tufts University School of Medicine Community Service Learning (CSL) Program, a component of the MD curriculum which engages students in community partnerships in order to address health disparities and social determinants of health. She also supports other Tisch College programs at the TUSM campus including the Tisch Summer Fellows, Honos Civicus Society, and the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement. Jen earned her Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Women’s Studies from Colgate University and her Ed.M. in Higher Education Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and has over 15 years of experience in service learning in higher education. Her position is part-time, and her days at the Boston campus are Tuesday and Wednesday, with email and phone availability on the other days. In her personal civic life, Jen serves as the co-chair of her school’s Parent Teacher organization and as a board member of the Sudbury Education Resource Fund.

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

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

As Director, Kei leads all of CIRCLE’s research activities while charting a vision of how that research can inform policy and practice to strengthen youth civic engagement. Kei is particularly interested in providing various organizations and communities with research that would help increase civic and political engagement among ethnic minority and immigrant populations. Kei earned her doctorate degree in 2008 from Loyola University Chicago in Clinical Psychology and has extensive experience in working with youth of diverse backgrounds both as a researcher and a practitioner. Throughout her graduate career, she focused her research on positive youth development, including civic engagement. Prior to joining CIRCLE, Kei taught as Visiting Instructor of Psychology at Knox College, where she became involved as an active collaborator for the Center in Galesburg, a community-based citizen organization. In collaboration with the Center in Galesburg, Kei designed a course in Community Psychology in which she taught college students about various types of engagement and actively involved them in the local community.

Abby Kiesa

Director of Impact, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Phone 401.222.0613

Abby serves as CIRCLE’s liaison to practitioner organizations across the country. She communicates research findings and tracks recommendations from young people, youth and youth-serving organizations, educators and youth workers for future research. Abby Kiesa 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.

Rey Junco

Director of Research, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Rey Junco is Director of Research at CIRCLE, where he applies his extensive experience in quantitative social science research to study various aspects of youth civic and political engagement. Rey has a rich background in several interconnected fields like education, cognitive science, and the use of technology. Before joining CIRCLE, he was a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where he worked on the Youth & Media and the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence projects. Rey has a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pennsylvania State University, and he was a licensed, practicing counselor for a number of years. He also has a D.Ed. degree from Penn State.

Peter de Guzman

Research Program Coordinator
Phone 617.627.0687

Peter de Guzman joined CIRCLE as the Research Program Coordinator in May 2018. 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

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

Noorya is a 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.

Kristian Lundberg

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

Kristian Lundberg joined CIRCLE as an Associate Researcher in July 2018. Previously, he served as a research analyst at PEI Media, where he analyzed financial data from private market firms. Kristian graduated from Columbia University in 2017, earning a B.A. in Economics and Political Science. Kristian focused on the intersections of law, governance, and economics at Columbia, using presidential elections data, income inequality indices and relevant caselaw to perform original research. At CIRCLE, he is particularly interested in the impact of youth civic engagement on electoral politics, democratic institutions, and efforts to reduce structural inequities. Kristian also works as a tutor for middle and high-school students of diverse backgrounds and considers it an honor to support CIRCLE's efforts to promote civic education and youth development equitably and justly.

Adam Strong

Research Impact Fellow, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement

Adam Strong is a Research Impact Fellow at CIRCLE, based in the Washington, D.C., area and focusing on building relationships that deepen and strengthen research to practice. Adam is particularly interested in research-based solutions to build equity in opportunities for civic engagement and socioeconomic mobility. He has long been a solutions-based enthusiast and was a co-founder of Opportunity Youth United, a national grassroots movement of current and former opportunity youth who address local issues in their communities while also advocating to increase opportunity and decrease poverty in America with their policy recommendations. Before joining CIRCLE, Adam served as a Civic Engagement Liaison for Opportunity Youth United, providing strategic guidance and support to their youth-led community action teams. He is currently finishing his master’s degree in public policy from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire, focusing in Strategy & Communications and Statistics & Data Analysis.

 

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.

Dave Brinker

Senior Researcher, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

Dave is primarily responsible for conducting research on voting patterns among college students, drawing on the NSLVE database and other data sources relevant to student civic life. In addition to studying college voting, Dave researches deliberative democratic innovations and the communicative processes by which people build mutual understanding. He holds a doctorate from the Pennsylvania State University.

Kyle Upchurch

Associate Researcher, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education

Kyle is an Associate Researcher at Tisch College's Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE). He helps recruit campuses for the NSLVE study on college student voting, communicates with campuses about their NSLVE data, and works with IDHE’s qualitative research into the political climates of colleges and universities. Before joining IDHE, Kyle received his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and his B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Iowa State University. He has also spent time working in non-profits with both domestic and international missions related to education. Kyle is particularly interested in studying how democracies can function better, specifically with regards to political equality and elections.