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.
Jen McAndrew as 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 the 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 local district on outreach to local media, universities, businesses, and school districts. In her civic life, Jen is currently serving as President of the Melrose Education Foundation.
Maggie manages three of Tisch College’s student programs: the Tisch Summer Fellows program, Honos Civicus Society, and the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement. 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 handles the organization and processing of daily events as well as provides support to staff, students, faculty and guests. Her administrative duties include processing paperwork, vendor payments, travel and reimbursements. Kathy also work closely with CIRCLE , The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, handling events and special projects as well as providing administrative support. Kathy’s background includes administrative duties in various companies. She was active in volunteering with the youth in her community and was employed by and involved in her local YMCA’s after-school program.
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.
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.
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.
Felicia M. Sullivan
Senior Researcher, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Felicia M. Sullivan is a community advocate, educator and researcher passionately committed to transformation towards a more just society. For 25 years, Dr. Sullivan has worked to build individual, organizational, and community capacity to be more civically engaged and empowered. She has strived to do this through authentic communication, compassion and connection. As Senior Researcher at CIRCLE, her diverse research portfolio encompasses multiple methods designed to inform policy and practice towards greater equity for marginalized and disconnected young people. She is also an Associate Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Boston teaching in multiple colleges on campus and online.
Before her work at CIRCLE, Dr. Sullivan worked in community-based practice primarily in multi-ethnic, urban settings developing innovative programs for diverse community needs through organizations dedicated to arts & culture, social justice, community communication, and education. She received her doctorate of philosophy in public policy from the John W. McCormack Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts Boston and holds a Masters of Arts in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research.
Dr. Sullivan’s home and personal civic work is centered in Lowell, MA. She is known as an inclusive leader who passionately believes in the potential of people and the realization of a better society.
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
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.