SPEAKERS AND PRESENTERS
Kendra Brewster earned her doctorate in Critical Social and Personality Psychology from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and is now an Assistant Professor of Public and Community Service Studies at Providence College. Brewster’s work focuses on the combination of critical consciousness and compassion in a variety of contexts from experimental to participatory action research and service-learning courses. Her teaching and research address classical social psychological issues pertinent to self, identity, and pro-social behavior through a lens of feminist methodology and critical race theory. Throughout, Brewster positions community engagement as a quintessential intergroup contact zone and examines how individuals participate in intergroup relationships – what is and what could be – where social difference and power in relationship are often conspicuous. Such work intends to understand how and under what circumstances intergroup relationships might be mutually liberatory.
Noemí Custodia-Lora is the Vice President of Lawrence Campus & Community Relations at Northern Essex Community College. With a focus on the Hispanic community, she is passionate about increasing access to higher education and fostering community and international partnerships. She leads the Center for Adult Basic Education (including correctional facilities education), the Center for Professional Development, and the new Center for Equity and Social Justice. She spearheads PIÈS Latinos de NECC, the only Hispanic focused initiative that supports professional immigrants to validate their foreign credentials an continue their career paths in the USA. She is also a board member at several organizations including the National Skills Coalition on Racial Equality Panel, the Lawrence Alliance on Education, the Haverhill Latino Coalition, YDO, and EparaTodos. She also leads several projects in collaboration with university partners and community-based organizations in the Dominican Republic. Noemí holds a BS in Biology from Universidad de Puerto Rico, a Ph.D. in Physiology-Molecular Endocrinology from Boston University and, a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship from Tufts Medical School, Boston. She was born in Puerto Rico to Dominican parents and currently lives in Haverhill, MA with her two daughters. When she is not busy with work, you can find her caring for her 60+ indoor plants and 9 freshwater snails, or cooking with her daughters.
Margaret N. Freije, Provost and Dean of the College. Dr. Freije was named Provost and Dean of the
College of the Holy Cross on July 1, 2017. Previously she served as the Vice President for Academic
Affairs and Dean of the College (2014-2017), Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of
the College (2013-2014), Associate Dean of the College (2004-2013), and Class Dean for the Classes of
1999 and 2003. As Provost and Dean of the College, she provides leadership, strategic direction and day-
to-day management for all facets of the academic life of the College as well as the Offices of Admissions,
Financial Aid, Institutional Assessment and Career Development. Dr. Freije is a professor of mathematics
and has been a faculty member in the department of mathematics and computer science since 1986. In
addition to teaching courses in mathematics, she has taught a variety of seminars in the College’s first
year program. She was honored with the Holy Cross Distinguished Teaching Award in 1997. She earned
a B.A in mathematics from Boston College and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Brown University. She is a
specialist in algebraic number theory and arithmetic geometry. Her research has been published in
the Journal of Number Theory and the Pacific Journal of Mathematics. She co-authored, with David
Damiano, the textbook Multivariable Calculus (Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC). In addition to her
research in mathematics, she has published and given presentations on Jesuit liberal arts education,
mission and faculty development, and advising in the liberal arts. She is chair of the Association of Jesuit
Colleges and Universities Conference of Chief Academic Officers and is a member of several
professional organizations including the American Council of Academic Deans, Association of American
Colleges and Universities, and the American Association of University
Raúl D. Gutiérrez has been a full-time faculty member at Holyoke Community College since 2013. Raúl is originally from Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León, México but he moved to Chicago, IL when he was 11 years old. He is an Associate Professor of Latinx Studies at HCC. He is the co-advisor of the LEA Club (Latinx Empowerment Association). He holds Bachelor's and Master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also was the Foreign Languages Department Coordinator, the coordinator of the Community College Public Humanities Center at HCC and the coordinator for the One Campus, One Theme. In Fall 2020, his department launched the Latinx Studies major at HCC. Raúl is a strong believer that representation matters and that is why he worked in collaboration with colleagues to create the Latinx Studies major and has partnered with community organizations through the Service Learning program and Student Engagement at HCC. He was also nominated and selected to participate in the Engaged Scholar Initiative for 2019-2020 by the Eastern Region Campus Compact. His areas of expertise include community engagement in the academic setting and contemporary Latin American and Latinx literature, culture and film. He is especially interested in the cultural and artistic production in the Mexico-U.S. border. He continually advocates for immigrant rights and Latinx rights in general.
Cynthia Lynch has spent the last 24 years in higher education. Currently she serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and the Frederick E. Berry Institute for Politics and Civic Engagement at Salem State University. Cynthia provides strategic direction for the university’s public engagement initiatives and develops programs that align civic engagement programming with the strategic plan; challenge and begin to address injustices facing our communities; connect students, faculty, staff, and alumni with the greater community; and increase voter engagement and civic participation. Cynthia has presented at numerous national and regional conferences about the intersection of civic engagement and student success. Cynthia’s research focuses on Critically-Engaged Civic Learning, a social change framework she co-developed, that is a restructuring of service-learning approaches aimed to effect community change.
KerryAnn O’Meara is Professor of Higher Education and 2020 President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education, the premier research association for scholars who study higher education. KerryAnn's research examines faculty careers and academic rewards systems with a particular focus on organizational practices that support and limit the full participation of women and faculty of color. Her work has been widely published. She consults with universities on promotion and tenure policy reform, faculty development programs, and organizational practices that sustain equitable workloads. KerryAnn is PI of an NSF ADVANCE grant, the Faculty Workload and Rewards Project, to work with academic departments on workload equity. KerryAnn lead a pilot that worked with over 80 faculty search committees at UMD (2016-2018) and is conducting ethnographic and experimental work on faculty hiring as part of the UMD System AGEP PROMISE project (2018-2023). KerryAnn is an internationally recognized expert on diversity and inclusion in faculty affairs, has completed both longitudinal and randomized control trials on faculty retention and workload reform projects, showing positive results from evidence based interventions. She is a sought after speaker, consultant and partner on reforms to make academe more inclusive for women, faculty of color, and engaged scholars.
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 Steans 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 received her Ed. D in Organizational Leadership at the University of La Verne and her dissertation focused on the community engagement experiences of students of color at Minority Serving Institutions.
Roopika Risam is Chair and Associate Professor of Secondary and Higher Education at Salem State University. Her research interests lie at the intersections of postcolonial and African diaspora studies, humanities knowledge infrastructures, and digital humanities. Risam’s first monograph, New Digital Worlds: Postcolonial Digital Humanities in Theory, Praxis, and Pedagogy was published by Northwestern University Press in 2018. She is the co-editor of Intersectionality in Digital Humanities (Arc Humanities/Amsterdam University Press, 2019). Risam’s co-edited collection The Digital Black Atlantic for the Debates in the Digital Humanities series (University of Minnesota Press) is forthcoming in 2020. Her current book project, “Insurgent Academics: A Radical Account of Public Humanities,” which traces a new history of public humanities through the emergence of ethnic studies, is under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press's Critical University Studies series. Risam is on the Salem State team for the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education's Higher Education Innovation Fund grant, "Diversifying the Professoriate: Pathways Toward Equity." She is also the inaugural recipient of the Massachusetts Library Association's Civil Liberties Champion Award for her public scholarship.
Vanessa Rosa is Class of 1929 Virginia Apgar Assistant Professor of Latina/o/x Studies at Mount Holyoke College. Her research explores dynamic and deceptive relationships between state-level diversity management efforts, on the one hand, and community organizing in the context of structural inequality, on the other. Rosa is currently completing a book manuscript titled Revitalizing Cities: Race, Class, and Contested Technologies of Urban Governance which investigates the national-identity making effects of the urban revitalization of two public housing projects in Toronto, Ontario. She has also begun archival research on her new project which explores Puerto Rican women’s tenant activism in New York City from 1945-1970. She has published in the Journal of Critical Race Inquiry, Meridians, and the Canadian Journal of Urban Research. Rosa teaches courses on feminism, race, housing, and cities where she incorporates community engaged learning, including projects with various local organizations in Holyoke and Springfield, Massachusetts. Rosa was named a finalist for the 2019 Ernest A. Lynton Award for Engaged Scholarship and serves on the national steering committee for the Consortium for Faculty Diversity.
Christina Santana is an Assistant Professor of English and the Director of the Writing Center at Worcester State University, Christina studied writing, rhetorics and literacies and earned her PhD in English in 2016. Her work has appeared in the Community Literacy Journal, Currents in Teaching and Writing, and in the edited collection, Innovative Developments in Writing Studio Practice. She and her co-author received the Emerging Researcher Award from College Composition and Communication (2018-2019).
Amit Taneja currently serves as the Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the College of the Holy Cross. He provides leadership on a number of institutional priorities, including faculty & staff hiring, training, policy and practice updates, etc. His research focuses on the intersections of race, class, gender and sexual orientation for LGBTQ students of color on historically white college campuses. He currently serves on the executive board of the Consortium for Faculty Diversity, and as the President of the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers (LADO) Consortium. He has previously worked professionally in Residence Life, Disability Services, Multicultural Affairs & LGBTQ Resources. Amit is trained in the Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) model and has facilitated such dialogues on various campuses, and has taught courses in the IGD program at Syracuse University. He serves as a consultant and speaker on a range of leadership, diversity and inclusion topics.
Wafa Unus is an assistant professor of journalism at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where she also advises FSU’s student-run newspaper, The Point. Dr. Unus is the author of “A Newsman in the Nixon White House: The Enduring Conflict between Journalistic Truth and Presidential Image”. Her research interests include journalism history and the impact of pivotal figures in journalism that have contributed to contemporary practice, as well as local journalism, news deserts and their impact on civic engagement. She is currently working on a book manuscript on Carr Van Anda, the first managing editor of the New York Times, and research on the role of university news publications in filling gaps within emerging and existing news deserts.
Elaine Ward is an assistant professor of Higher Education in Merrimack College’s School of Education and Social Policy. Dr. Ward has 20 years of experience working in U.S. and Irish higher education. Dr. Ward served as coordinator for the national Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement, co-project lead on the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement Framework Ireland Project, has served two terms on the board of the International Association for Research on Service-Learning and Community Engagement and as the 2016 Conference Program Chair. Dr. Ward is co-editor of the book Publicly Engaged Scholars: Next Generation Engagement and the Future of Higher Education and editor of a special issue of the Metropolitan Universities Journal Legacy Lived: A Generation of Ernest A. Lynton Award Recipients Advancing Community-Engaged Scholarship and Institutional Change.
Renée T. White, a distinguished administrator as well as a scholar on race, gender and social inequality, has served as Provost of Wheaton College since July 2016. Prior to joining Wheaton, Dr. White was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Simmons College and as a professor of sociology and black studies and as academic coordinator for diversity and global citizenship at Fairfield University. She started her academic career at Purdue University, where she held a joint appointment in the department of sociology and the African American Studies Research Center. White is the editor of three books and has written for a number of academic journals. A WYE Faculty Fellow at the Aspen Institute, she completed a National Endowment for the Humanities summer Fellowship in Black film