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Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

Faculty Fellows

The Tisch Faculty Fellows program convenes a diverse group of faculty members from across Tufts University for interdisciplinary discussions about teaching and research and builds the capacity of Tufts faculty to integrate civic engagement into their work. Faculty Fellows develop a course, research project, or other initiative designed to strengthen the connections between their individual disciplines and civic life. They receive a stipend that can be used for salary or research/teaching expenses, and they meet four times per semester to share perspectives and discuss common themes, challenges, and resources. To date, more than 100 colleagues, representing every Tufts school, have participated in the program, which is open to any member of the Tufts University faculty.

Interested faculty members should cintact Chris Swan, Tisch College’s Faculty Liaison, at

The 2017-2018 Tisch Faculty Fellows will be announced in the coming weeks. The 2016-2017 Tisch Faculty Fellows were:

Hilary Binda

School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Hilary Binda has served as the Director of the Writing Program and Writing Studio and as a faculty member in the Visual and Critical Studies Department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts since 2005. Since 2013, she has also served as the Director and teacher of the SMFA’s introduction to the visual arts and humanities. Binda’s research focuses on the relationship between the literary and the visual registers as this productive tension informs the emerging discourses of time and sexuality in early modern England and as this tension resonate in the contemporary discourses of queer and feminist theory.

As a Tisch Faculty Fellow, Binda will build on her experience teaching in prison in order to develop relationships at Tufts with others interested in helping to develop prison higher education programming through a Tufts Prison Initiative that will benefit both Tufts students & faculty and incarcerated people in Massachusetts. Her work will include participation in the National Conference on Higher Education in prison, communication with and visits to prison higher education programs, a speaker event, and attending a faculty training institute for bringing university students inside to teach with incarcerated people.

Dale Bryan

School of Arts & Sciences

Dale Bryan is Assistant Director of the Peace and Justice Studies (PJS) program in the School of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Tisch College Faculty. PJS is the oldest credential-conferring academic unit in the University with students in a leadership role and voice in the administration, programming, and curricular developments; the program has also been long recognized for its substantive community internships.

Bryan’s Faculty Fellowship will support the Medford Conversations project, a community engagement initiative that involves numerous Tufts departments, city government offices, and local nonprofits. Through public conversations, these various stakeholders combine their voices to encourage people to create and act on visions for a sustainable, just, and thriving Medford, Massachusetts.

Julie Dobrow

School of Arts & Sciences

Julie Dobrow is Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, a Senior Lecturer in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, and the Tisch College Senior Fellow for Media and Civic Engagement. Her research centers on the content and effects of media on children; on issues of gender and ethnicity in media; and on how children make sense of these images in the world of animated programming. She also studies the intersection of history and communication studies.

Dobrow’s Faculty Fellowship will support the development of an interdisciplinary initiative on media and civic engagement and an opportunity to engage with colleagues in both fields. The initiative will include events and course development, including the Tisch College-sponsored course on media and political campaigns taught by renowned journalist David Gregory in Fall 2016.

Bonnie Donohue

School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Bonnie Donohue is a Senior Lecturer in Photography at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. As a photographer and video artist, her work maps places of disruption, conflict and loss while examining race, class, economy, politics and cultural erasure. She is particularly interested in locations where ordinary people, after years of displacement, have successfully united with a singular notion of taking back their patrimonial heritage from dominant forces.

Donohue’s Faculty Fellowship will support her work on one such location: the former Iron Curtain. Her work will connect with the European Greenbelt, a grassroots movement for nature conservation and sustainable development along that corridor that connects national parks, biosphere reserves, and other protected areas in this historically significant zone.

Mags Harries

School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Mags Harries is a Lecturer in sculpture, installation, and public art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She frequently designs her work with landscape materials and responds to environmental issues. Harries has an increasing interest in water and city scale elements of infrastructure, pathways and connections. Many of her temporary projects involve community participation and social action.

As a Faculty Fellow, Harries will present A STEAM Effort, a series of artworks focused on global warming. The initiative will include a colloquium that combines the artistic work with presentations from scientific experts on climate change.

Linda Hudson

School of Medicine

Linda Hudson is an Assistant Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on examining the contribution of social, political, and behavioral determinants of health on disparities in health outcomes among vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on chronic disease prevention and detection.

Hudson’s Faculty Fellowship will allow her to pursue a project that is well-aligned with this research interest. She will launch an initiative to foster the transferability of skills and knowledge of cardiovascular disease to African-American women within their faith communities using a Train-the Trainer model.

Penn Loh

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Penn Loh is a Lecturer in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (UEP) and Director of its Masters program in Public Policy Program and Community Practice. He partners with various community base building organizations in the Right to the City Alliance and Center for Economic Democracy, and he has published broadly on environmental and social justice issues.

Loh is returning to the Tisch Faculty Fellows program for the second time. This year, he will focus on developing a CORE (Co-Research/Co-Education) effort with the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, which works to empower residents to shape a vibrant, prosperous community. The CORE model aspires to cultivate sustained, transformative partnerships through which university and community co-produce knowledge and action toward a more just, sustainable, and democratic society.

Fernando Ona

School of Medicine

Fernando Ona is Assistant Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine. He also holds appointments in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Community Health in the School of Arts & Sciences. His research interests include environmental health, epidemiology, and trauma—particularly survivors of torture, refugees, and asylum seekers.

Ona’s Faculty Fellowship will connect global health and ethnographic work in and around various refugee camps with clinical work at the Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights at Boston Medical Center, as well as in other detention centers and community-based organizations in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany that serve refugees and asylum seekers who are survivors of torture and community violence.

Carolyn Rubin

School of Medicine

Carolyn Rubin is an Assistant Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine. She is a social scientist trained in theories of racial and ethnic inequality, immigration, community development, and qualitative methods. Her research agenda focuses on using collaborative community research partnerships to address health disparities in minority and immigrant communities.

Rubin will utilize her Faculty Fellowship to develop a community-based participatory research course on Boston’s Chinatown for the Tufts Masters in Public Health program. The goal of the class will be to combine research, teaching, and service to the community in order to provide a transformational learning experience for students while addressing vital community-identified needs.

Erin Seaton

School of Arts & Sciences

Erin Seaton is a Lecturer in the Department of Education. Her research focuses on the nature and meaning of narratives with a particular emphasis on the ways in which stories about race, class, gender, sexuality, and education shape identity formation. Her courses program draw on educational and narrative studies to help students explore the diversity of children’s experiences and design creative interventions that strengthen collaboration between individuals, families, schools, and communities.

As a Tisch Faculty Fellow, Seaton will develop an initiative to explore how coursework, curricular materials, and on-site training can open conversations about race, class, and gender that awaken an educator’s sense of civic engagement and ability to teach about social justice in the classroom.

Sarah Sobieraj

School of Arts & Sciences


Sarah Sobieraj is an Associate Professor of Sociology with research expertise in mass media, political sociology, civil society and the public sphere. She directs the Digital Sexism Project, investigating the impact of gender-based attacks against women online on political discourse.

As part of that initiative, Sobieraj’s Tisch Faculty Fellowship will support a project to examine the attributes and contours of gender-based harassment in media. She will investigate this phenomenon through interviews and attendance at several relevant conferences, including Netroots Nation, the Online News Association Annual Meetings, and SXSW.

Jeffrey Summit

School of Arts & Sciences

Rabbi Jeffrey Summit is a Research Professor in the Department of Music and in the Department of German, Russian, and Asian Languages & Literatures. He also serves as Tufts’ Jewish Chaplain and the Executive Director of Tufts Hillel. Summit has a special interest in the field of oral history, and has conducted research on music, identity, and religious experience as well as on oral tradition.

As a Tisch Faculty Fellow, Summit will combine these academic interests to develop a graduate seminar in the Department of Music titled “Social Justice, Advocacy, and Music.”

Tom Vandervelde

School of Engineering

Tom Vandervelde is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research includes the interaction of light with matter, the physics of nanostructures and interfaces, and energy materials. Vandervelde teaches Electricity and Magnetism, The Physics of Solar Cells, Advanced Topics in Optoelectronics, among other courses.

Through the Tisch Faculty Fellowship, Vandervelde will work to add a civic engagement component to a first-year engineering course on renewable energy systems. Specifically, the course will explore intersections of technology and public policy, and the role active citizenship can play in determining the optimal socially responsible energy policy.

Kristen Wendell

School of Engineering

Kristen Wendell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her research focuses on engineering education, specifically learning and teaching dynamics in a range of engineering learning environments.

Wendell’s award-winning work includes the use of community-based engineering to prepare novice urban elementary school teachers in science and engineering, as well as supporting urban students’ engineering discourse. As a Tisch Faculty Fellow, she will endeavor to forge connections between this work and the undergraduate mechanical engineering community at the School of Engineering, creating opportunities for both Tufts students and local schools.

Fang Fang Zhang

School of Nutrition

Fang Fang Zhang is an Assistant Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is a cancer epidemiologist with experience in conducting population-based studies to investigate the role of nutrition in cancer prevention and control. Her research also examines nutrition and cancer survivorship, investigating patterns of weight gain during and after cancer treatment and associated risk factors such as dietary intake.

Zhang will continue this line of research as a Tisch Faculty Fellow through an initiative to build partnerships with both local and online communities of cancer survivors, with an emphasis on civic engagement as the mechanism to promote improved outcomes.