Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Lisa Benton-Short

Lisa Benton-Short

Chair of the Department of Geography, Director of the Sustainability Academic Program, Associate Professor of Geography

"I firmly believe that GW has the explicit responsibility and obligation to prepare students with the knowledge and practice of being socially responsible citizens in a diverse democracy and increasingly interconnected world. One way to do this is to integrate Service-Learning into the classroom. For many years I have integrated Service-Learning into many of my upper-division courses. I have done so to show students the power of geography to make a difference. I organize class-based projects for a community partner. For example, in my urban planning class, I organized students to work with Casey Trees to map campus street trees. In my urban geography class, I’ve assigned students to map social services in DC and to produce an analysis of the accessibility to these services on behalf of our community client, So Others Might Live, a community-based organization that focuses on the homeless and the poor. So Others Might Live, in turn, has used this information to fill gaps in services, and to apply for grants. In my graduate seminar on Urban Sustainability, I have had students conduct research around sustainability planning for the Urban Land Institute and the Brookings Institution.

Integrating Service-Learning requires significant time to initiate, organize and manage. But I believe strongly that Service-Learning enriches the classroom experience and challenges students to learn valuable practical skills and can transform their thinking about the subject matter. By integrating Service-Learning into my classes, students learn by doing."

Manuel Cuellar

Manuel Cuellar

Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literatures and Cultures

Manuel R. Cuellar is an assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American literatures and cultures in the Department of Romance, German, and Slavic Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University. His research and teaching at GWU focus on Mexican and Latin American literary and cultural studies with an emphasis on race, gender, and sexuality, combining ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, and studies of contemporary and classical Nahuatl. Dr. Cuellar has been a practitioner of Mexican folklóricodance, as an instructor and performer, for over 20 years. It is precisely his strong background in Mexican traditional dance that has led him to explore its impact in the configuration of lo mexicano (“Mexicanness”) as part of his intellectual project and the relationship that dance has to questions of citizenship, indigeneity, and queerness in Mexico. This scholarship now extends to US Latinx Studies with a focus on community-engagement as part of an initiative of the Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service at GWU.

Elizabeth Fisher

Elizabeth Fisher

Professor of Classics, Classics & Semitics

Involvement with the DC community as a GW faculty member began in the early 80’s at a GW information session on GW’s neighboring School Without Walls. A teacher there was excited about the prospect of Latin at SWW and brought television instructed Latin into the SWW curriculum, offering an occasional opportunity for our undergraduates to assist as discussion leaders for SWW students enrolled in Latin. When that teacher left to be part of the DC School Board, a new partnership.She visited my GW Advanced Latin class and inspired our GW students with her enthusiasm for secondary school Latin teaching as a career offering abundant employment opportunities, a satisfying life style, and the prospect of affecting students’ lives at an important point in their intellectual and social development. Together, Jane Brinley and I developed an undergraduate Latin teaching internship for GW students at SWW and launched it in Fall 2012. Since then, we have had eight interns in the SWW classroom; one is now teaching at DCPS Charter Latin School. We would like to explore the possibility of opening this program for GW classical humanities students at the SWW/Francis Stevens campus located a short walk from GW on N Street NW. A program description is available at here.

 

Leslie Jacobson

Leslie Jacobson

Professor of Theatre

Has spent over 40 years producing, writing, directing, and teaching theatre committed to addressing societal challenges and giving voice to people often marginalized by the dominant culture. She has created theatre with women in the prison system, with the homeless, at risk youth, and in a number of communities internationally. She is the Founding Artistic Director of Horizons Theatre. Under her leadership from 1977 to 2007, Horizons introduced Washington audiences to over 100 new plays and playwrights, receiving a variety of awards, and Jacobson has been nominated for the Helen Hayes Award in the category of Outstanding Director three times. She has been a Professor of Theatre at The George Washington University since 1977, where she developed a number of new courses at the University, including a course exploring Theatre for Social Change; and serving as Department Chair for 13 years. You can see some of her work here.

Larry Medsker

Larry Medsker

Director of the Data Science Program, Research Professor of Physics

Director of the Data Science graduate program and co-director of the GW Teach program. His work in Physics Education Research includes studies of active learning in SCALE-UP environments, and he is on several grants that improve graduation rates for STEM majors, with focus on women and other under-represented students in STEM majors. As PI for a $1.5M NSF Noyce grant he will be responsible for managing Noyce scholarship awards for students who plan to become STEM teachers in high-need schools. This project involves collaboration with the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service to engage freshmen and sophomores in work with high-need populations. These students will be eligible to apply for Noyce Scholarships in their junior and senior years.

Emily Morrison

Emily Morrison

Assistant Professor of Sociology & Director of the Human Services Program

Director of the Human Services & Social Justice Program, housed within the Department of Sociology. The heart of Prof. Morrison's research focuses on the experience of intersubjectivity, exploring how people shape and are shaped by the people and environment around them. One context in which relationships are vitally important is within health care. Research shows that the doctor-patient relationship directly affects health outcomes and yet, there is little understanding about how healthy relationships emerge from an enactive approach and so she seeks to address this gap. The essence of this research also informs her broader interests in service-learning, civic engagement, and cultivating meaningful learning experiences.

Dolores Perillan

Dolores Perillán

Spanish Teaching Instructor and Community Engagement Coordinator

In Dolores Perillán’s classes, stories of community engagement in GW date back to 2002, when students were asking “Why ~ Por qué?” Her Spanish class back then partnered with a DC dual language school, still partners till today. Year after year, other students have kept asking many questions, and providing hands-on answers that maintain alive their quest. Community engagement, thus, becomes a fertile hearth of many stories, a radiant spark, as we step out of comfort zones and stretch together, to learn and practice while we serve. Operación Impacto shines its glow-extending aura, as core values are explored, embodied, shared with many in César Chávez, Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong GW Day. Students are the advancing force and vigor, community partners, our educators and heroic figures who keep striving to provide their best. As a recipient of awards and grants in this long journey, I ask myself, “How can the professor be receiving accolades and tributes?” The question stays unanswered … until together, we ALL prevail!

Till we saturate time and eras, that the men and women of races, ages to come, may prove brethren and lovers as we are. (Walt Whitman. From To Him Who Was Crucified. Autumn Rivulets)

Poetica21, A shared journey of trust at the service of beauty and kindness is Dolores’ life-time motif and research. Word in Action: Language Learning as Life Experience her day-to-day.

Jordan Potash

Jordan Potash

Assistant Professor of Art Therapy

Dr. Jordan Potash is interested in bringing art therapy into the community to foster personal wellbeing, enhance relationships, and promote attention to social concerns. These projects take on different forms such as running an art therapy studio for runaway and homeless youth, facilitating arts-based civic dialogue for cross-cultural understanding, encouraging arts for advocacy with LGBTQIA youth, or offering stress management arts workshops. Although his students complete intensive internships, they frequently join him in these and other projects as way to maintain service as central to our profession. In addition to these extracurricular activities, he supervises students working in and evaluating art therapy in community agencies as part of their culminating (capstone) projects. You can view his work here.

Phyllis Ryder

Phyllis Ryder

Director of the Writing Center in the University Writing Program, Associate Professor of Writing

Her work focuses on service-learning and composition, teaching academic literacy, faculty-librarian partnerships for teaching academic research, rhetoric of democracy and public and community writing. She has chosen to teach first-year students for the past decade. Her goal is to put writing in context, so that students reflect on their identities as scholars and citizens, develop habits of critical and situational thinking, and link what they are learning to larger issues and specific communities. In her classes, students explore writing within the context of the DC community. Her work, "Cultivating Change through Counterpublic Writing Pedagogy”, was part of the 2017 conference on college composition and communication. She is leading a faculty learning community on social movements in partnership with the Nashman Center beginning in January 2018.

 

Tara Scully

Tara Scully

Director of the Sustainability Minor Program and an Assistant Professor

At GW, she regularly teaches introductory biology and sustainability courses and laboratories to non-science majors. Currently, she teaches five different courses: Introduction to Sustainability; The Biology of Nutrition and Health; The Ecology and Evolution of Organisms; Food, Nutrition, and Service; and Understanding Organisms through Service Learning. The last 2 courses are service learning courses, which allow students to interact with the community on issues related to food, food access and security, food desserts, pollution, ecological issues, and human impact on other organisms.

Dr. Scully received her MS, specializing in forensic science research with a concentration on fiber evidence and a PhD with a research focus on developmental biology from The George Washington University. She has worked for a nonprofit agency training prosecutors nationwide on how to present forensic evidence—specifically DNA—in criminal cases and is the author of the book Discovering Biology in the Lab: An Introductory Laboratory Manual as well as Why We Eat Food.

Greg Squires

Greg Squires

Professor of Sociology and of Public Policy and Public Administration

Squires has worked with several non-profit advocacy groups and government agencies on a variety of housing and community development projects. He has been an expert witness in fair housing lawsuits, a consultant to civil rights law enforcement organizations, and an organizer and participant in several university-community partnership activities. He is a member of the Urban Research Based Action Network (URBAN) which conducts and advocates for collaborative community based research and the Scholars Strategy Network which connects scholarly research and researchers with non-academic organizations. He served on the Board of the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation in Milwaukee including one term as President, the Advisory Board of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, the Board of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Program in Washington DC, the Community Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board, and the Social Science Advisory Board of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council in Washington DC. He has collaborated with ONE DC in organizing three conferences on equitable development in DC.

Nadia Volchansky

Nadia Volchansky

Assistant Professor of Interior Architecture

In over ten years of academic experience, she has focused her efforts on leading students in local and global development through design activism. Her international initiatives include work in Haiti, South Africa, and currently, Puerto Rico. She has also worked with local organizations in the Washington, D.C. area, including the D.C. Central Kitchen, Bethesda Cares, The Closet, New Hope Housing, Inc., and others, helping clients with infrastructure, facility, and other challenges. She introduces students to design activism in her classes, as well as via the annual GW Interior Architecture Design Charrette, an inter-disciplinary design competition, in partnership with local community entities. Her interests are centered on design thinking and activism, specifically, on applying creative problem-solving to conventional design challenges, as well as non-design needs. She is currently working on an MBA, intending to blend strategic and design thinking as a unified problem solving tool in organizational and business environments.

Hiromi Ishizawa

Hiromi Ishizawa

Associate Professor of Sociology

Dr. Ishizawa received her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006. She joined GWU in 2008 after spending two years at the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota as a post-doctoral research associate. Her research interests are in the areas of social and family demography, immigration, sociology of language, and urban sociology. Her primary research goal is to understand diversity in immigrants’ pathways of incorporation into a host society. In particular, she focuses on the residential and familial contexts in which immigrants and their children reside, and how these contexts affect whether, and the manner in which, they are integrated into a host society. She has published work that examines many aspects of immigrant integration, including minority language maintenance, civic participation, health, sequence of migration within family units, intermarriage, and residential settlement patterns among minority language speakers. Her current research expands on her two recently published articles on civic participation focusing on voting among Asian young adults across immigrant generational status.

Sangeeta Prasad

Sangeeta Prasad

Associate Professor of Psychology

Sangeeta Prasad (she/her) is a psychologist who engages in long terms family work in a mixed income practice.  She currently works part time for Kindred as Senior Adviser and Parent Facilitator and is an adjunct Professor at The George Washington University’s Human Services and Social Justice program. Dr. Prasad worked for many years at the Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants, Young Children and Families. Her areas of experience include early intervention to prevent the continuation of transgenerational trauma in families and cultural training focused on adapting psychological practice to better meet the needs of minority communities. Dr. Prasad’s experience in cultural training stems from her internship at the National Asian American Mental Health Institute (RAMS), her experience co-creating and supporting grassroots domestic violence interventions for BREDS India, and direct service work with members of oppressed communities over the past fifteen years, including as a clinician and bilingual pre-kindergarten teacher.  She holds an undergraduate degree in Spanish and International Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, a Masters in Risk and Prevention Counseling from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The George Washington University. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Sangeeta grew up in a Telugu-English speaking household with her parents, brother and grandmother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She currently resides in Washington DC with her husband and two daughters.

jodi

Jodi Kanter

Professor of Theatre

Jodi’s focus is on strengthening communities through theatrical improvisation, dramaturgy, writing and performance. To this end, over the last twenty-five years, she has created dozens of workshops and performances in a wide variety of settings, including prisons, hospices, libraries and community centers. She is also a trained facilitator of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed.  At GW, she teaches “Dramaturgy” and “Performance, Identity and Social Change” in the Theatre and Dance Program at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design.  These courses engage students in working with groups both inside and outside GW, providing direct service and / or enhancing their capacity for serving others.  In 2019, she created and now continues to serve as the faculty advisor for TR4CE, a group of students dedicated to community engagement through and around performance.  GW students from all disciplines are invited to get involved.

 

jameta

Jameta Nicole Barlow

Assistant Professor of Writing, CCAS Department of University Writing Program

Jameta Nicole Barlow, PhD, MPH, is a community health psychologist, assistant professor of writing in the University Writing Program and affiliate faculty member of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program and the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. At GWU, she teaches a writing course on science and health, focused on women’s health. Dr. Barlow utilizes decolonizing methodologies to disrupt intergenerational trauma, chronic health diseases and structural policies adversely affecting Black girls' and women's health. She has spent 22 years in trans disciplinary collaborations with physicians, public health practitioners, researchers, policy administrators, activists, political appointees, and community members in diverse settings throughout the world. Dr. Barlow holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English from Spelman College, a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Maternal and Child Health from The George Washington University and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology from North Carolina State University. Her most recent community based effort, the Saving Our Sisters Project, focused on Black women's mental health and well-being, employed writing and the personal narrative.