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.
As Communicaitons 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 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 serves as the 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Kathy O'Connor is the Administrative Manager 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.
Jennifer Howe Peace
Interim Director, Generous Listening and Dialogue Center
Dr. Jennifer Howe Peace is the interim director of the Generous Listening and Dialogue (GLAD) Center housed at Tisch College. Prior to this role she served as 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.
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.
Daniela Sánchez, A20, is Tisch College’s Student Outreach Coordinator. She serves as the principal advisor for JumboVote, the nonpartisan student organization which promotes civic engagement and student voter turnout. She supports the Tisch College communications team and programs team, working to connect students from across the university to diverse civic pathways and opportunities. Daniela is passionate about the intersection of art and social justice. She is a recent Tufts graduate with a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Spanish.
Elisabeth serves as a staff assistant, supporting daily functions of Tisch College. 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.
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
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.
Deputy Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
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
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.
Senior Researcher, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
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.
Project Manager, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Sarah Keese joined CIRCLE in 2020 as the Project Manager, restructuring processes and enabling CIRCLE to deepen its vital efforts and strengthen our civic engagement work. Joining the team from Albania, Sarah has a background in database management with the Department of Defense and worked on a USAID project in Albania focused on deterring radicalization and violent extremism through women’s empowerment, youth engagement, and civic strengthening. Despite this seemingly disparate background, Sarah is passionate about the mission of CIRCLE to collaborate with and recognize youth as assets in their communities. Through her work in international development, she has seen firsthand the impact that youth can have within their communities as agents of resiliency and change and appreciates the value of research and data to inform these crucial programs.
Communications Team Lead, Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
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.
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.
IDHE Research Staff
Director, Institute for Democracy & Higher Education
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.