Announcing the 2022-2023 Engaged Scholars

June 29, 2022

The field of community-engaged scholarship is new in its naming and old in its application. As with all fields, community-engaged scholarship depends on the diversity of its practitioners to move the field forward. Now, more than ever, we as a field strive to move forward with equity at the center of all we do by working with practitioner-scholars to develop the field through uplifting voices from diverse perspectives.

To move these goals forward, Campus Compact is pleased to bring together 15 faculty and practitioner-scholars who were selected from an outstanding field of applicants to form the newest cohort of the Engaged Scholars Initiative.

Elizabeth Brandt | The Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation

Liz serves as the Community Engagement Director at the Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation (Princeton, NJ), a national non-profit organization, and its network of 70+ colleges and universities across the United States who are working to advance campus-community engagement in higher education. In this role, she designs and manages initiatives for supporting Bonner Program campuses and works to advance the field.

Growing up as a rural, low-income Kentuckian, Liz was the recipient of the Corella & Bertram Bonner Scholarship which provided her access to higher education. In undergrad, she had transformative experiences studying abroad in Ghana, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Guatemala. After graduating, Liz worked as a Campus Organizer for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, a non-profit that trains college students in grassroots organizing tactics to tackle issues such as homelessness, renewable energy, and student debt.

Liz returned to Centre College serve as the Coordinator of the Bonner Scholars Program and Community Service where she managed the four-year developmental cohort program and campus-wide community engagement initiatives. She also focused on curriculum change, helping to successfully develop a Social Justice Minor and served on the Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty committee to develop social justice academic coursework and internships.

Liz completed a M.S. in Higher Education with concentrations in Administration & Leadership and Educational Policy from Drexel University in 2021. Her master’s thesis focused on understanding the pathways and barriers faced by community engagement professionals, drawing on and delving more deeply into the field’s scholarship to conduct a quantitative study. Liz also holds a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology from Centre College. Liz enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, and exploring new cultures and communities. Liz has traveled to thirty-two U.S. states, fifteen countries, and five continents.

Jonathan Chism | University of Houston-Downtown

Jonathan L. Chism is an Assistant Professor of History and a fellow for the Center for Critical Race Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown. He received a PhD, a Master of Arts, and a Bachelor of Arts from Rice University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Methodist University, Perkins School of Theology. Jonathan’s current research examines the intersections between race, religion, and disability studies. His research explores diverse ways African American religious groups and figures have pursued social justice and transformation. He has presented academic papers at the American Academy of Religion, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and the Society for Pentecostal Studies. He is the co-editor for Critical Race Studies Across Disciplines: Resisting Racism through Scholactivism, with Lexington Books (2021). He is the author of Saints in the Struggle: Church of God in Christ Activists in the Memphis Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968, published with Lexington Books (2019) and 30 Day Journey with Martin Luther King Jr., published with Fortress Press (2019). Jonathan is also an ordained minister and has established organizations that advocate for prisoners and persons with disabilities.

Sunah Hyun | Tufts University

Sunah Hyun, Ph.D. is currently a senior researcher for the student programs team at Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University. She focuses on designing and implementing a comprehensive assessment strategy across all programs run out of Tisch College. As a developmental psychologist and community-based researcher, her research reflects a desire to serve as a liaison to bridge academic research and the local community (especially immigrant and low-income communities), inform policy, and develop innovative intervention strategies. Before this position, she finished her NIH-funded T32 postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. During her training, she utilized different methodologies to assess psychosocial stress across developmental periods and cultures to identify risks and reduce health disparities in mental health outcomes. She received her B.A. in Social and Cultural Communication from the University of Washington, Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Ph.D. in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University. During her Ph.D. training, her research focused on understanding low-income families, children’s cultural adjustments in the US context, and identifying specific areas of resilience to address the risks that arise for these vulnerable groups. As an Asian, female, and non-US citizen researcher in the US context, she strives to support students with similar backgrounds.

Valerie Ifill | Drexel University

Valerie Ifill, M.F.A. is a dance educator, researcher and performer focused on university-community partnerships and making dance more accessible. Assistant Professor of Dance at Drexel University, Valerie’s research explores movement in community-engaged learning; identity development; and expanding representation in dance. Valerie has founded and directed university-community dance programs at Drexel University through Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships in Philadelphia, PA, and at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC. Certified to teach Inside-Out Prison Exchange courses, Valerie teaches classes for groups of university students and incarcerated citizens. Black Girls STEAMing through Dance is a collaborative interdisciplinary research project making Dance, Code, and Product Design with electronic textiles accessible to Black girls, of which Valerie is a co-founder. Supporting Community-engaged work at Drexel University, Valerie is a Faculty Fellow with the Lindy Center of Civic Engagement. Valerie’s research and/or movement workshops have been presented at the National Arts Education Association conferences, International Conference on Urban Education, National Dance Education Organization conferences, the Journal of Dance Education, the South Carolina Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance conference, The American College Dance Association festivals, Blumenthal Performing Arts Educational Lunch & Learn series. Valerie earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Oregon, completed the Independent Study Program at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a Dance minor from Kent State University.

Abigail Jaimes-Gomez | Mohave Community College

Abigail Jaimes-Gomez is an educational developer and former mathematics faculty at Mohave Community College. Abigail graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration on Community Colleges and Higher Education. Abigail’s expertise focuses on designing inclusive learning environments, developing meaningful student relationships, and advancing equity in teaching and learning.

Tania Johnson | Swarthmore College

Tania Johnson, MA, CRA is director of sponsored programs at Swarthmore College. She reports to the Provost and Dean of the Faculty. Tania served as lead principal investigator on Swarthmore’s NIH BRAD capacity-building grant for sponsored research operations. Tania’s community engagement experience includes serving as a tutor with the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project at the University of Pennsylvania, teaching and directing a faith-based English as a Second Language (ESL) program, and advocating for strong protectiosn for research participants in her role as an IRB administrator.

Tania graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in French and international relations, later completing a master’s degree program in political science with a concentration in international relations at Penn. As a junior, she earned a diplôme from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). Tania has participated in two noteworthy leadership programs in higher education administration: the HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute in 2010 and the Harvard Management Development Program in 2012. She earned the CRA designation in 2013. Tania is a current PhD student at the International School of Management in Paris.

Sara Kohlbeck | Medical College of Wisconsin

Sara Kohlbeck is the Director of the Division of Suicide Prevention at the Comprehensive Injury Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin. In her role, Sara works with collaborators around the State of Wisconsin to research, develop, implement, and evaluate strategies for suicide prevention. Her work currently focuses on suicide prevention among veterans as well as farmers and marginalized populations, including Black and Latinx individuals living in urban areas. Sara is also a PhD Candidate in the Institute for Health and Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her dissertation research is focused on better understanding farmer suicide through qualitative methods, including photovoice. Sara received her Master’s in Public Health from the Zilber School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Sara currently lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband, Aaron, her two children, Grace and Harrison, and her rescue dogs, Brisco and Ollie.

Kristen Marangoni | Tulsa Community College

Kristen Marangoni is an Associate Professor of English as well as Service-Learning Coordinator at Tulsa Community College. Believing that students learn best when they see how their writing matters in their communities, Kristen works to design writing assignments that benefit the Tulsa community. Her students have participated in community engagement work like mapping, tutoring, and helping to establish a college food pantry. Kristen is a Modern Language Association delegate and also serves as a humanities scholar on the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation in America Symposium planning committee.

Aura Pérez | California State University – Channel Islands

​​Aura Pérez is an Assistant Professor in the department of Early Childhood Studies at California State University Channel Islands. Prior to her role at CSUCI, Aura earned her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching with a focus on Early Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Aura’s research focuses on two distinct topics: (1) The Teacher Preparation of Early Educators of Color such as Latinx who have completed teacher preparation programs and utilizing their insights to inform and transform teacher education programs to better recruit, support, and retain Latinx educators; (2) Critical Early Childhood Literacy amongst culturally diverse populations and the ways that literacy can foster culturally sustaining pedagogies, equitable and inclusive learning environments, an understanding of diversity, and social justice. Aura is interested in exploring community-engaged scholarship through a Latinx Children’s Literacy course where students will work with children from local farmworker communities to explore and analyze authentic children’s picture books for children ages 0-8 that depict the nuanced intersectional identities and experiences of Latinx children.

Laura Roberts | Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Laura Roberts is an Instructor in the Department of Integrative and Global Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Director of the Worcester Community Project Center (WCPC). The WCPC is one of 50+ WPI project centers around the world, where students engage in hands-on, community-based research projects exploring the topics situated at the intersection of society and technology. In this role, Professor Roberts facilitates global learning opportunities with local community organizations where students investigate pressing global issues without stepping on a plane. Prior to joining WPI, she worked in the nonprofit sector with organizations addressing health equity, food insecurity, and educational access. As a practitioner turned academic, Professor Roberts brings unique perspectives and experience from the field to her classroom and students’ field experiences.

Laura serves as the faculty advisor for the WPI Food Recovery Network, a student club dedicated to recovering perishable food from campus dining halls for use at a local shelter. She earned her BS from the University of Connecticut where she studied social policy and human development, a MPA from Seton Hall University with a concentration in nonprofit management, and a MEd from Eastern Nazarene College. When she is not on campus, Laura volunteers with local refugee resettlement efforts, the United Way Womens Initiative, and enjoys skiing and travel with her family.

Delphia Shanks | Hendrix College

Delphia Shanks enjoys a multifaceted career as a professor, scholar, and advocate. After earning a B.A. in Sociology from Grinnell College and both an M.A. in Policy Analysis and Management and a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University, she is now serving as an Assistant Professor of Politics at Hendrix College. At Hendrix, Delphia teaches classes on the carceral state, public policy, inequality, civil society and nonprofits, and research methods. Prior to her time at Hendrix, she taught public policy at Auburn State Prison, a maximum-security facility in upstate New York. She is also a trained instructor through the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.

As a scholar and advocate, Delphia’s research focuses on the policy feedback effects of public policies and how philanthropic efforts shape policy reform, advocacy, and design. Within these areas, she has a special focus on the carceral state. She carries this research into her work on the board of decARcerate, a nonprofit organization that works to end mass incarceration through education, smart legislation, advocacy, and empowering the leadership of people directly impacted by the criminal injustice system. She also volunteers as a grant writer for various local nonprofits. Prior to her time in central Arkansas, she worked at a community action agency in Missouri, was a Teach For America corps member in Louisiana, and helped start a community youth center in Iowa.

When she’s not teaching classes or writing grants, Delphia spends her time outdoors birdwatching, hiking, gardening, or camping and is never far from her hammock.

Tracey Stewart | Swarthmore College

Tracey Stewart will begin a tenure track appointment as Assistant Professor of Music in Fall 2022. Tracey’s research focuses on music, memory, identity, and power among African and African diasporic communities historically and in the present day. She and her students approach music and performance practice as modes of power and mobility and salient historical documents.

Tracey has presented her research during annual meetings of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, the Charles Town International Maroon Conference, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, and the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies lecture series, to name a few. She examines the complex of social and political colonial histories and the ways that those histories remain influential in the lives of present-day marginalized communities.

Tracey is committed to providing students from marginalized local communities access to valuable information about studying at the collegiate level. As her department’s intern for diversity and inclusion at UVA, she and one of her professors traveled to Washington, DC. They facilitated an information session to acquaint Howard University undergrads with graduate studies in music. Tracey’s efforts demonstrate the necessary steps that academia must continue to take if it is to make meaningful progress towards diversifying graduate student bodies and faculty in our nation’s colleges and universities. Students must be recruited, supported, and mentored if a truly diverse faculty is to ever exist. Tracey strives to build and nurture partnerships between individuals and institutions within and between local and campus communities, that will ultimately yield mutually beneficial outcomes for everyone involved.

Jessica Taylor | Virginia Tech

Jessica Taylor received her PhD at University of Florida in 2017. After working as a seasonal for the National Park Service for over a decade and lecturing at Georgia State University, she joined the VT history department as an oral and public historian in 2018. Her current work on campus includes lots of community and institutional collaborations through K-12 resources, archival resources, oral history collecting, and exhibit building.

Kayte Thomas| Carroll College

Kayte Thomas is an Assistant Professor of social work at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. As a transnational feminist scholar, her work focuses on creating liberatory practices which heal communities experiencing ideological conflict due to differing cultural values. As a trauma-focused licensed clinical social worker, she understands this conflict as a source of trauma for all involved and thus in need of healing. Much of Kayte’s’ focus is on aligning faith and practice in transformative ways and both her teaching and research methods are grounded in liberation theology. She has designed several models to improve reception of Syrian refugees in the United States with particular concentration on shared connection in Christian-Muslim interactions. She is currently working on scholarship which aligns Critical Race Theory with Catholic Social Teaching as a means of reconciling divides in Christian social workspaces.

Susan Wallis | University of Nebraska – Omaha

Susan received her BA in Social Work from San Jose State University and Master of Social Work from UNO. She has served as a therapist and hospital-based social worker. Susan was also a substitute k-8 teacher and adjunct instructor at Creighton University. She served as a Community Development Manager and Senior Manager of Advocacy for Rural and Underserved Populations for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She was a former graduate assistant at UNO in the Service Learning Academy and prior to her current role, worked for the Anti-Defamation League. Susan currently serves as the Assistant Director for Faculty Engagement, Strategic Initiatives, and Assessment at UNO’s Service Learning Academy. She is a mom in a blended family and enjoys spending time with her friends and family. Susan loves warm weather and long hugs. She practices mindfulness and works to be fully present in each space she enters.

The Engaged Scholars will participate in a year-long collaborative learning and leadership program that will strengthen their individual and collective scholarship, research, and impact. The program is presented in partnership with the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility at Swarthmore College, with the goals of:

  • Increasing knowledge of community-engaged scholarship
  • Deepening commitment and ability to advance equity and full participation
  • Advancing scholarly objectives
  • Strengthening professional networks
  • Generating individual and collaborative work

We’re so excited to welcome these outstanding faculty and staff to the Engaged Scholars Initiative!

Questions? Contact Nicole Springer at nspringer@compact.org.

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