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.
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 manages Tisch College’s 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program, working with 1+4 Fellows and service partners throughout the bridge-year experience and supporting Fellows before, during, and after their service placements. 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.
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.
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.
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 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 writes features, profiles, and other stories for the Tisch College website and newsletter, telling the story of active citizenship throughout Tufts University. He also supports the communications needs of the Tisch College Dean’s Office by drafting remarks for various internal and external audiences. Additionally, he provides editorial assistance to the research staff. Alberto has been a freelance writer and editor, and previously worked at national newspapers in his native Puerto Rico, as well as at multinational publishing houses and one of the largest interpretation companies in the United States. He has a B.A. in literature from Yale University.
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 is the Office Manager for Tisch College, and works closely with CIRCLE, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement. Kathy 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. She handles financial paperwork, and helps in the preparation of events throughout the year. 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.
Nevena supports the administrative needs of Tisch College’s student and community-centered work including Tisch Scholars Program, Tisch Summer Fellows, 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program, and community partnership programs. Before joining Tisch College, Nevena’s work focused on community engagement and organizing, including a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the City of Austin in Texas. She holds a B.A. in Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies from Cornell University.
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 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.
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 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.
A 2017 graduate of Tufts University, Marian is the Student Outreach Coordinator, primarily responsible for further engaging Tufts students on all campuses with the programs and goals of Tisch College. When not assisting Tisch College programs, compiling the newsletter, and spotlighting students’ civic work through social media and the website, she coordinates with different branches of Tufts University to strengthen relationships and raise awareness of Tisch College’s resources. Marian studied International Relations and History at Tufts, focusing on Human Rights and the Spanish Empire, respectively.
Civic Life Coordinators at Tufts Professional Schools
Community Service Learning Coordinator, Tufts University School of Medicine
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.
Civic Life Coordinator, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
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.
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
Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
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.
Director of Impact, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
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.
Senior Researcher, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Rey Junco is a Senior Researcher 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.
Researcher, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
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.
IDHE Research Staff
Director, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education
Nancy Thomas directs research on higher education’s role in American democracy, including the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE). Prior to joining Tisch College in 2012, Nancy directed the Democracy Imperative, a national network of academics and practitioners working to advance deliberative democracy in higher education. Earlier in her career, she practiced university law. She currently serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Public Deliberation and senior associate with Everyday Democracy. Her professional interests connect political learning and democratic engagement; equity, diversity, and inclusion; academic freedom and free speech, and; legal issues in higher education. She holds a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a JD from Case Western Reserve University.
Ishara Casellas Connors
Associate Director, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education
Ishara manages the National Study for Learning Voting and Engagement. She works to create resources for campuses interested in learning about their students’ voting and political learning. Previously, Ishara worked as the Director of Future Ready, building a public campaign that engaged K-12, higher education, and community stakeholders to support college and career readiness across Massachusetts. Prior to that position, Ishara worked in policy and development roles with community colleges and universities in New Jersey, New York, California, and Massachusetts. She holds a MA in Higher & Postsecondary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Senior Researcher, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education
Inger serves as a researcher at IDHE examining predictors and outcomes of college student civic and political engagement, particularly among groups traditionally underrepresented in politics. Her interests include college student learning and development, teaching in higher education, faculty work, and institutional research. She earned a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education and a B.A. from Grinnell College.
Data Analyst, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education
Prabhat is a data analyst with 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.
Program Administrator, 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.
Program Administrator, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education
Alena coordinates day-to-day operations for the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE). She works to recruit campuses in the study, manages the database of participating campuses, responds to their inquiries about voting data, produces customized data analysis for groups of campuses, and coordinates campus data distribution. Prior to this position, Alena was engaged in human rights advocacy (as a project/fundraising manager) and election campaigns (as a field campaign manager with a national opposition party) in Russia. Alena came to Harvard University as a visiting human rights scholar in 2008 and later remained in North America. She holds a MA in Political Science from the University of Toronto.