Meet the Inaugural Cohort of Midwest Engaged Scholars
Learn more about the participants.
Aaliyah Baker, Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Leadership, Cardinal Stritch University
Aaliyah Baker is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Leadership at Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Baker began her career in education as a classroom teacher with Milwaukee Public Schools. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Multicultural Education from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Before joining the faculty at Cardinal Stritch University, she was an adjunct instructor at Marquette University, Teaching Assistant at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and site facilitator and Co-Director for research at the Cardinal Stritch University Literacy Centers. Dr. Baker has conducted research on African American parents who homeschool which allowed for a unique exploration of educational theory and practice through the experiences of African American children within and outside of the school setting. In this research, she conceptualized the problems Black parents and their children experience with traditional education, explored the narratives of Black families who homeschool, and presented the larger implications for the education of Black children in America. Through the use of qualitative methods, the conceptual framework was constructed by the existing theories and research on race and race related concerns in education, learning and development, and experience and meaning. Sociocultural theory and critical race theory converge in this research. Sociocultural theory provided a lens for studying marginalized populations, particularly students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. This research is also positioned within multicultural education and critical pedagogy. A critical race theoretical framework offered a lens for understanding how the act of homeschooling, as culturally responsive and ideologically revolutionary, challenges hegemony and transforms education on the constructions of race and power. Social justice becomes both a process and a goal in this research. Theoretical foundations for social justice education call attention to the dynamic and complex social processes embedded in the practice of schooling and sociocultural perspectives in education. The critical issue Baker is most interested in developing with regard for the Midwest Engaged Scholars Initiative is fostering collaborative learning environments and approaches to civic engagement and transformational approaches to service learning that embrace identity and human agency.
Amanda Furst is the Director of Public Interest Programs at the University of Minnesota Law School, where she directs the Saeks Public Interest Residency Program, the Public Interest Field Placement, and the Remote Semester Program, along with other summer and post-graduate fellowship programs to support students interested in public interest legal careers. Both the Field Placement and the Remote Semester place law students directly into the community, both in Minnesota and nationally, to contribute their legal skills to organizations in need while earning credit. For the Residency Program, the first of its kind for law schools in the country, third-year students serve full time for credit at a government agency or nonprofit organization locally, and have a guaranteed post-graduate position at the same organization. Amanda also provides counseling and resources to students interested in public service, engages in employer relations, and provides development support. In 2018, Amanda was recognized as an Unsung Legal Hero by Minnesota Lawyer. In 2015, Amanda won an Advising & Mentoring Award by the Graduate & Professional Student Assembly at the University of Minnesota. A 2008 graduate of the University of Iowa College of Law, Amanda started her career as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she developed a Medical-Legal Partnership Project, addressing legal needs impacting patients’ health in post-Hurricane Katrina with the Tulane Community Health Clinic. She also served as a staff attorney in the Employment and Public Benefits Unit, then in the Housing Law Unit, of Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, a legal services organization, in New Orleans. Currently, Amanda serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Gender Justice, a legal & policy advocacy nonprofit devoted to addressing the causes and consequences of gender inequality.
As an Engaged Scholar, Amanda will develop and expand the Minnesota Advocacy & Community Engagement Program (MAP), now in early-stage development with Dr Brian Hilliard with the University of Minnesota Medical School. The goal of MAP is to give students in professional programs a toolkit to advocate for the needs of the communities in which they will serve, using their status and privilege as professionals to support policies, laws, and practices that support community needs.
Lucien Gonzalez is a pediatrician, and a nationally recognized advocate and educator in pediatric substance use and behavioral health. His research will explore the role of medical culture in perpetuating institutional stigma and bias and their contribution to the science-practice gap around pediatric substance use. Beginning with Pediatrics, Lucien seeks to induce a meaningful shift in the culture of medicine around how we perceive, characterize, and respond to substance use and the people and communities it affects. His specific vision, “House of God: Under Renovation”, was prompted by reflections on his work in post-graduate education, and behavioral observations and conversations among individuals who wield power in systems that serve these vulnerable young patients and their families. Responses to substance use and addiction are emotion-laden, impacted by physicians’ personal experiences, and entangled in racial, ethnic, gender, and other biases and disparities. Knowledge gaps, belief-based medical practice and expectations around adult substance use may contribute to the slow adoption of recommended practice for children and teens. In addition, medical culture engenders bullying, and inadequately address- es provider fatigue. Lucien hypothesizes that, collectively, these contribute to bullying and stigmatizing of patients with substance-related concerns, and their continued marginalization and inadequate care. To substantively narrow the science-practice gap, he believes these factors must be addressed at the systemic level, and involve pediatric health system leadership. Lucien obtained his BA in Psychology from Bates College in Lewiston, ME, and subsequently received MS in Physiology and MD from University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester. He completed an internship in Pediatrics at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, NH; Pediatrics residency at New York Medical College at Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY; and fellowship in Addiction Medicine at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He is incoming Chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics Commit- tee on Substance Use and Prevention.
Susan Harvey, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences, University of Kansas
Susan Harvey, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences at the University of Kansas. Dr. Harvey serves as the Undergraduate Program Director of the Community Health program at KU and instructs courses in Health Behavior Theory, Program Assessment and Evaluation, and Administration of Health Promotion Programs. Her research centers around work with underserved and diverse communities focusing on improving food security and building environments conducive to healthy eating and physical activity behaviors. Harvey has experience in conducting formative, process, and impact evaluations on several school- and community-based interventions. She currently has funding with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in the evaluation of community-based programs to address food insecurity. Harvey utilizes a community-based participatory research approach in the development, implementation, and evaluation of health promotion programs, and involves undergraduate and graduate students in her collaboration with communities. Currently, she and her students are engaging in work with an underserved community to develop a bike shop program for students and adults to encourage active transport. She is also working on several projects with her students to address food waste and farmer gleaning programs within her community. She currently serves as a Faculty Affiliate for KU’s Food Insecurity Committee, and a Faculty Ambassador for the Center for Service Learning. Harvey has received several teaching awards recognizing her work with students. In 2018 she was the recipient of the KU Center for Service Learning Excellence in Service Learning Award, which honors faculty for implementing service in a manner consistent with good practice and for demonstrating an impact on students and the community both in and out of the classroom. Dr. Harvey resides in Lawrence with her husband, two young daughters, and their Golden Retriever and enjoys doing outdoor activities with her family.
Karlos Hill, Associate Professor and Chair, African and African American Studies, University of Oklahoma
Karlos K. Hill is an expert on racism and race relations. Hill is Chair and Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is also the Founding Director of the African and African American Studies Distinguished Lecture Series at the university.
Hill is a frequent commentator on issues of race, equity, and social justice. He has been quoted in USA Today, Vox, the Dallas Morning News, Texas Public Radio, and numerous times in local and regional news outlets. His weekly podcast Tapestry: A Conversation About Race and Culture has a global following.
Hill specializes in the history of lynching and the anti-lynching movement in America. His core research aim is to uncover the various ways in which racial violence has been central to the black experience in America. Additionally, Hill’s research explores how black Americans have resisted racial violence and how black resistance has changed over time. His book Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory was published by Cambridge University Press in July 2016. Beyond the Rope is an interdisciplinary study that draws on narrative theory and cultural studies methodologies to trace African Americans’ changing attitudes and relationships to lynching over the twentieth century. Whereas African Americans are typically framed as victims of white lynch mob violence in both scholarly and public discourses, Hill reveals that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centu- ries, African Americans lynched other African Americans in response to alleged criminality, and twentieth-century black writers envisaged African American lynch victims as exemplars of heroic manhood. Beyond the Rope illuminates the submerged histories of black vigilantism and black-authored narratives of the lynched black body in order to demonstrate that rather than being static and one-dimensional, African American attitudes toward lynching and the lynched black evolved in response to changing social and political contexts.
He is also completing a second book entitled The Murder of Emmett Till: A Graphic History to be published by Oxford University Press. Emmett Till is the most remembered lynch victim in American history. Till’s murder is often cited for sparking the Civil Rights Movement. The Murder of Emmett Till: A Graphic History’s primary aim is to commemorate the 60th anniversary [August 28, 2015] of the 1955 Emmett Till murder by providing an up-to- date and concise narrative of the murder that is reflective of the latest scholarship and recent developments in the case such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) reopening of the Emmett Till murder case in 2004, the US Senate’s formal apology for lynching in 2005, the FBI’s 2006 Emmett Till murder investigative report, and the passage of the 2008 Emmett Till Unsolved Crimes Act.
Hill has been awarded several prestigious fellowships and grants. Most notably, Dr. Hill was twice awarded the Consortium for Faculty Diversity Fellowship (Luther College, 2008-2009 and St. Olaf College, 2007-2008) and the prestigious Coca Cola Museum Fellowship in 2001.
Besides teaching and research, Hill is heavily involved in community outreach and engagement.
Jake Kurczek is currently an assistant professor of neuroscience and psychology, at Loras College in Dubuque, IA. He obtained his doctorate degree in neuroscience from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA in 2014. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Jake completed a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at York University in Toronto, ON, Canada and then worked as a visiting assistant professor at Haverford College in Haverford, PA for one year. In 2016, he started his current position, as an assistant professor. Since joining Loras, he has worked at the ground level to build the systematic integration of civic-engagement into every fabric of the Loras experience. As a diocesan college, integrating learning and service in the community is a central role of the college. In his first semester at Loras, he joined the Campus Compact Civic Action Planning committee and worked to co-author Loras’s Civic Action Plan. After submitting the Civic Action Plan, he became a Civic Action Senior Fellow at Loras and works to help faculty incorporate civic engagement in class and scholarship. As a Civic Action Fellow, Jake has worked with the Center for Experiential Learning and the City of Dubuque Department for Human Rights to carry out Loras College’s Civic Action Plan that works to support the City of Dubuque Comprehensive Plan. One project in particular, works to support City initiatives in diversity, equity and inclusion and in the project, Jake created a framework to mobilize expertise in various areas for community-based research, striving to democratize the pro- cess of stakeholder input. Lastly, Jake also worked to form partnerships with Loras College’s Center for Experiential Learning and UnityPoint HealthCare – Finley Hospital for a long-term community-based learning relationship that has provided deep learning opportunities for students in fall and spring first-year experience courses where students study social determinants effects on health, social justice and human rights and carry out service-learn- ing at the hospital.
Tyanna identifies as a Black woman with many passions and skills. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in African-American Studies from Marquette University (MU). While a student at Marquette, Tyanna worked for the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee for 5 years in roles ranging from volunteer mentoring to youth program coordination. After graduation, Tyanna served in two AmeriCorps Programs-Public Allies and Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) working with youth and assisting with community development efforts. She also served two terms as a Health, Water, and Sanitation Volunteer with the U.S. Peace Corps in Ghana, West Africa. Tyanna is the Assistant Director of Service Learning at Marquette University. She is responsible for developing new community partnerships, maintaining relationships with 100+ community partners, managing a student leader staff, and helping faculty and local organizations work towards mutually beneficial partnerships. Tyanna co-leads a dynamic reflection series creating space for service-learning students to critically reflect on their coursework and service. She also serves on the Diversity Advocates Committee at MU, co-developing curriculum and facilitating sessions with MU faculty and staff on diversity and inclusion issues. Tyanna is also pursuing a graduate degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education. Her interests include community engagement, multicultural student affairs, and in- ternational education/study abroad programming. In addition to her work at MU, Tyanna remains active in the Milwaukee community. She is a Community Outreach Coordinator with the Black Lens Program, a cultural pillar of a national film organization, Milwaukee Film. When time permits, Tyanna supports pregnant women as a birth doula, helps facilitate youth programs, and other local projects focused on building a positive narrative of Milwaukee.
LaTrina Parker, P-16 Initiative Coordinator in the Service Learning Academy, University of Nebraska Omaha
LaTrina D. Parker, Ph.D. is the P-16 Initiative Coordinator in the Service Learning Academy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she supports P-12 teachers and UNO faculty in creating valuable service learning experiences for their students. LaTrina earned her doctorate in higher education administration at Saint Louis University, where her research interests included black family culture, racial and ethnic identity, and student development. Her dissertation research was a qualitative study investigating how the experiences of family culture influence the racial identity of African American college juniors and seniors. A grounded theory and conceptual model, model of family socialization in black undergraduate student identity formation, emerged from the data illustrating the effects of family culture experiences on the identity of Black college students. The quality of her research is re- flected in her receipt of the prestigious 2018 NASPA Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award. Recently, LaTrina published some of her research findings in a book chapter on othermothering in higher education, which explored the concept of kinship or close family-like ties of biological and non-biological relation within a higher education context. She also collaborated with peers from her doctoral program on a book chapter on their experience as Black women doctoral students entitled #BlackGirlMagic: A Coalition of Sisterhood. Currently, LaTrina is interested in exploring how prior racial socialization affects African American college students’ tendency to participate in community engagement activities. As racial socialization has been shown to promote positive identities in African American youth, LaTrina believes that service learning educators, equipped with knowledge of the types of encounters that promote positive growth, can shape service learning experiences accordingly while still meeting community-identified needs. LaTrina is passionate about serving others especially supporting and nurturing youth development. Her service and community engagement involvement can be traced back to her experiences in AmeriCorps as an undergraduate student as well as her membership in several student organizations such as the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She is a proud product of Omaha Public Schools, and graduated from Omaha North High School before moving on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and advertising and a Master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Mary Rogers, Assistant Professor of Sustainable & Organic Horticultural Food Production Systems, University of Minnesota
Mary Rogers is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable & Organic Horticultural Food Production Systems in the Department of Horticultural Science. Mary fully integrates community engagement in her teaching, research, and outreach responsibilities. Mary has formed multiple relationships with community partners working toward food access and equity in the Twin Cities metropolitan. Her students participate in valuable learning experiences with these partners, and build civic engagement and professional skills. In her role with Growing North Minneapolis, a community-university collaborative, Mary works within a team of community organizers, extension educators, and UMN faculty and staff colleagues to use garden-based learning to enhance workforce skills through urban agri- culture and build pathways to the university for underserved youth. In partnership with farmers, Mary’s research investigates plant insect interactions and biological and environmental strategies to improve the production of organic vegetables and fruit in Minnesota. Mary is also active in promoting community-university partnerships and hosted the national Urban Food Systems Symposium in Minneapolis in 2018, bringing together ~150 individuals from community organizations, extension educators, urban agriculture practitioners, government entities, and academics working in urban food systems to share research, stories, and to learn from each other. Rogers teaches courses titled: Growing Food and Building Community: Urban Agriculture in the Twin Cities; Ecology of Managed Landscapes; Organic Vegetable Production, as well as the professional experience internship for plant science and food system majors. A community-engaged scholar, Rogers works closely with growers and community partners throughout her research and teaching program.
Ryan Spohn is the Director of the Nebraska Center for Justice Research at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he performs statewide and local research and evaluation activities targeted at improving the performance of Nebraska’s juvenile justice, criminal justice, and corrections activities. His areas of research include juvenile de- linquency, families, victimization, and processes of the criminal justice system. Spohn has published in numerous sociology and criminal justice journals, including Criminal Justice and Behavior, Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice Review, Social Forces, and Victims and Offenders. Spohn has a PhD in sociology from the University of Iowa, an MS in sociology from Texas A&M University, and a BS in sociology from Kansas State University. His first professional position was Assistant Professor of Criminology at Kansas State University. His career as an applied and engaged researcher began as an evaluator for the Midwest Child Welfare Implementation Center at the Center for Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In this capacity, he worked within the Federal Children’s Bureau Training and Technical Assistance Network to assist states in implementing and evaluating large-scale interventions in their child welfare systems. In his current position as director of the Nebraska Center for Justice Research, the vast majority of Spohn’s research and evaluation activities are applied projects that involve engagement with the local community, as well as state criminal justice and corrections agencies. Much of this research falls into two categories: prison reentry initiatives and juvenile justice reform efforts. Spohn has also served as a research partner and consultant for the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and is a Fellow of the BJA Innovations Suite Researcher-Practitioner Academy and a Fellow of Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform. His primary goal for the Engaged Scholars Initiative is to immerse himself in a network of scholars, as well as the literature on the scholarship of engagement, to become an institutional strategical leader in community engagement.
Castel Sweet, Coordinator of Community Engaged Learning and Scholarship in the Fitz Center for Community Leadership, University of Dayton
Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Castel Sweet is a sociologist who explores the intricacies of community, culture, and race. Both for herself and those whom she has the privilege to engage with, Castel encourages the unknown to be explored, endeavors to make the unfamiliar familiar, and seeks to cultivate relationships that are transformational instead of transactional. In 2012, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice/Criminology from Hampton University. Thereafter, she earned a Master of Arts in Sociology from Louisiana State University in 2014 and continued on to complete her doctorate degree in Sociology at LSU in 2017. Her dissertation research explored hip hop and rap artists’ embeddedness in local communities, and their interpretation of the connectedness between their work and their communities. During her time at LSU, Castel was involved in various curricular and co-curricular activities including teaching an undergraduate service-learning social work course. Outside of the classroom, she participated in numerous community service related programs and initiatives. As a graduate assistant in LSU’s College of Humanities and Social Science Office of Social Service Research & Development, Castel assisted with the planning and implementation of a $1.5 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, for a three-year afterschool and summer program for African-American males. In addition, she served as the Community Outreach Director for LSU’s Geaux BIG Baton Rouge and served as the Focus Area Director for Volunteer LSU. Being a cultural enthusiast, Castel loves to travel and has participated and mentored national and international cross-cultural immersion service trips. During the last year of graduate school, she was awarded a Distinguished Graduate Assistantship which allowed her to live in Abu Dhabi, UAE. As part of the assistantship, Castel worked with The Petroleum Institute’s student affairs staff, helping to reorganize their student groups and organizations, and created student leadership train- ings and workshops for both the male and female campuses. Castel is currently the Coordinator of Community Engaged Learning and Scholarship in the Fitz Center for Community Leadership at the University of Dayton where she coordinates co-curricular community engagement programming and provides support for the development of community-engaged learning courses and initiatives. Primarily, Castel manages a semester-long co-curricular community engaged learning program where students take a sabbatical from traditional courses and are placed at community organizations working full-time providing direct support to social service agencies throughout the city of Dayton. Complimenting student’s experience in the community, Castel facilitates a course focused on student’s understanding of social and systemic impacts on communities with the goal of increasing their ability to become actively engaged in social change throughout their lives.
Vaughn Watson, Assistant Professor of English Education in the Departent of Teacher Education, Michigan State University
As Assistant Professor of English Education in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, Vaughn’s community-engaged scholarship extends research perspectives and theoretical approaches emphasizing community-engaged literacy practices of youth and communities of color. In critical ethnographic research, including community-based collaborations with teaching artists in the Verses Project, a literacy-and-songwriting initiative, Vaughn analyzes how literacy practices of youth such as songwriting and music production build and ex- tend the already-present knowledge and lived experiences of youth and communities of color as emerging forms of civic engagement. This research has identified new forms of knowledge and teaching practices across the collaborative work of teaching artists and youth. Vaughn’s research, teaching, and teacher education initiatives thus involve constructing frameworks and enacting participatory modes of inquiry to broaden epistemological stances and extend meanings of socially and culturally situated theoretical approaches to community-engaged literacy teaching and learning. His ongoing, university-based Youth Participatory Action Research inquiry with undergraduate students of color considers how teacher candidates, teacher educators, community collaborators, and educational researchers may meaningfully build with perspectives and questions of secondary youth and undergraduate students of color as a stancetaking toward educational equity. Vaughn’s current research, teaching, and teacher education initiatives bring together these areas of research interest in the designing, enacting, and assessing of participatory, community-based research activities with youth, teaching artists, and teacher candidates in the context of a songwriting-and-music production initiative. This work considers how community collaborators, teacher candidates, teacher educators, and educational researchers may meaningfully build with perspectives and questions of youth of color, reframing possibilities of community-engaged literacy research, teaching, and teacher education at a time of changing mandates for student work, and teacher practice. Vaughn earned his Ed.D. in the Department of Curriculum & Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Learn more about the facilitators.
Marisol Morales serves as the Vice President for Network Leadership for Campus Compact. In this role Morales provides guidance, inspiration, and practical support to network staff across the country, helping state and regional directors achieve local goals while advancing shared network priorities. She also leads
Campus Compact’s efforts to increase inclusion, equity, and diversity internally and in higher education community engagement. Prior to joining Campus Compact Ms. Morales was the founding Director of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement at the University of La Verne from 2013-2018 and the Associate Director of the Ste- ans Center for Community-based Service Learning and Community Service Studies at DePaul University. Marisol holds a BA in Latin American/Latino Studies and a MS/MS in International Public Service Management both from DePaul University. She is currently pursuing her Ed. D in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne. Her dissertation is focused on the community engagement experiences of students of color at Minority Serving Institutions.
Julie Plaut, Assistant Dean of the College, Director of Faculty Engagement and Research, Swearer Center, Brown University
Julie Plaut became the Swearer Center’s first Director of Faculty Engagement and Research in April 2018; she also serves as Assistant Dean of the College. Prior to coming to Brown, Julie was Executive Director of Minnesota Campus Compact and Director of Academic Initiatives at the national Campus Compact, where she created and facilitated the first cohort of early career faculty and staff leaders, who called themselves the Engaged Scholars for New Perspectives in Higher Education. She is delighted now to be collaborating to support new regional cohorts. In addition to publishing articles and reports in the field, she has served on numerous task forces or committees for national associations and chaired the boards of several nonprofits. Julie’s work is grounded in a deep commitment to critical, democratic and asset-based approaches to collaboration and change. Her undergraduate experiences at Stanford University—with the Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford in Washington, and the Urban Studies Program—started her on the path of engaged scholarship. She later earned a Ph.D. in History from Indiana University, where she helped establish and lead the campus office for community partnerships and taught community-engaged courses in American Studies.