Meet Our Team

Lulu AbdunLulu Abdun, Interfaith Community Engagement Fellow

Lulu helps us in the development of an Interfaith Community Engagement Initiative, which will advance our vision to develop a campus and community climate where people commit to understand, respect, and appreciate others’ religious, spiritual, or secular meaning-making, confront religious intolerance, and work toward equity for all. Specifically, Lulu is working on the creation of a student-led Interfaith Council and engaging more students in this important work.

"Last winter I was able to visit Kenya where my dad is from. While there, my twin sister, little sister, and I got these matching Kenyan flag bracelets with my mom, and I haven’t taken it off since - partly because it reminds me of my identity and partly because it’s extremely difficult to take off. Every day I look at it, and I remember the time I spent on the continent and the symbolism of the flag’s colors - peace, blood, wealth, Blackness, and defending freedom."

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Leigh Ackerman the Coordinator of Volunteerism and OutreachLeigh Ackerman, Coordinator

Leigh promotes, develops, and evaluates community engagement opportunities. Along with our student fellows, she coordinates many programs in the office including Vote Everywhere, Miami SOUP, and RISE Alt. Breaks. She also serves as a liaison to student organizations, maintains ComMUnity Connect, and oversee the Office's social media and marketing efforts.

This little gnome was a birthday gift from a friend during my first year of college. His name is Gnorman (with a silent ‘g’) and he accompanies me everywhere I travel. I take pictures of him in every place I visit, and he is extremely photogenic. I have photographs of him from the past 10 years from vacations with family and friends, a study abroad trip, and several service trips.

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Mitzie CampbellMitzie Campbell, Program Associate and Chief Happiness Officer

As our Program Associate, Mitzie is responsible for maintaining OCES's administrative affairs. She serves as first point of contact for office visitors and as a liaison to numerous offices on campus, including IT Services, Physical Facilities, Accounts Payable, and others. As Chief Happiness Officer, she provides motivation, support, and enthusiasm on a regular basis. Visit the office to get a dose of her positive energy.

"Billie Jean is my pet skunk. She represents several important things about me. Firstly, I grew up on a farm and have always had a lifelong passion for animals and animal welfare. At my home, we have pet cats, dogs, skunks, and even pygmy goats. Animals deserve love, respect, and careful attention and my family tries to provide that for them. In addition, Billie Jean helps to prove an important point about judging people or things based on how they look rather than what’s inside. I live by this principle in my daily interactions. Many people think of skunks as vile, ugly creatures, but Billie Jean is sweet, loving and means the world to me. Never judge a book by its cover!"

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Kelsey Demel, Vote Everywhere Ambassador

As a Vote Everywhere Ambassador, Kelsey represents the Vote Everywhere program and the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Kelsey organizes voter registration efforts, plans and facilitates civic engagement workshops, and generally works to engage students in the political process.

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Sophia Feller, Graduate Program Advisor 

Through a practicum experience in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program, Sophie assists with development and coordination of our RISE Alt. Breaks program. In the role, she advises Site Leaders, facilitates training, researches best practices, and oversees participant recruitment and selection.

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Betsy GroutBetsy Grout, Social Media & Marketing Fellow

Betsy works to promote the work we do in the office on campus and in the community. She works specifically on marketing for Miami SOUP. Along with the other Social Media & Marketing Fellows, she coordinates all office social media.

"If you were to ask any of my friends a fun fact about me or something I love, they would always tell you how obsessed I am with Jimmy Fallon. I tried to get tickets to his show for about a year until I finally decided to just go to New York City and hope I'd get lucky with stand-by tickets. My friends are amazing for waiting in line with me for six hours until we finally heard that we would be seeing his show that same night. This was an absolute dream come true, and to top it off, Jimmy Fallon came around and hugged me after the show. This is an experience I will never forget and I will always cherish these memories I made with my friends."

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Sami HaussermanSami Hausserman, Interfaith Community Engagement Fellow

Sami helps us in the development of an Interfaith Community Engagement Initiative, which will advance our vision to develop a campus and community climate where people commit to understand, respect, and appreciate others’ religious, spiritual, or secular meaning-making, confront religious intolerance, and work toward equity for all. Specifically, Sami serves as a student representative on the RSSI Committee and assists in the coordination of Better Together Week events.

"I’ve been playing softball for as long as I can remember, since I was in first grade, so it’s been a huge part of my life.  I now coach beginners (10 years and under...a little rough) in the summer, so softball still is a huge part of my life. I’ve made many of my best friends on the softball field, and I know that I will continue to make lasting friendships as I continue to coach and play.  Playing for all of these years has taught me that with hard work, perseverance, and teamwork, anything can be achieved. I know that I will continue to use this lesson throughout the rest of my life, on the field and off."

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Natalie Knoepfle Natalie Knoepfle, Social Media & Marketing Fellow

Natalie works to promote the work we do in the office on campus and in the community. She works specifically on marketing for RISE Alt. Breaks and coordinates all office social media along with the other Social Media & Marketing Fellows.

"These lights were a gift from a friend, and they remind me of my favorite T.V. show Psych, which has a pineapple hidden in every episode. Apart from how great the show is, I also have a special connection with it because I always watch and quote it with my family. I am really close with them, and every time I see the lights I think of them, which always makes me feel better if I'm having a bad day." 

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Jack KrolakJack Krolak, Democracy Fellow

As a Democracy Fellow, Jack plays an integral part in carrying out voter engagement and empowerment work at Miami University.  He works to rally administrative and faculty partners around voter registration, education and turnout efforts on-campus with an eye to helping Miami renew its Voter Friendly Campus Designation. He helps to inform students about registration and election deadlines, provides information about issues and candidates on the ballot and engages students as voters and voter advocates for their peers.

"Running is a huge part of who I am, and my GPS watch represents that to me. I use it when I run, but I usually wear it on a daily basis regardless of whether or not I actually plan on running. The idea that I always have it on me and that I could go for a run at a moment’s notice makes me feel free. I’ve had different watches in the past and I’m sure that I will eventually have a new watch at some point in the future, but I get more satisfaction from what my watch means to me, and running in general, than the actual watch itself."

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Ambika Kumar, Miami SOUP Fellow

Ambika is responsible for planning, implementing and assessing Miami SOUP - a crowdfunding, mini-granting dinner which celebrates and supports innovative community change projects in the region. Miami SOUP is an opportunity for teams of students, faculty/staff, and community partners to make a significant impact and contribute towards real change. In addition to her work on SOUP, Ambika also facilitates workshops and presents on behalf of the office on a range of community engagement topics. 

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Makenzie Mercer, Vote Everywhere Ambassador

As a Vote Everywhere Ambassador, Makenzie represents the Vote Everywhere program and the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Makenzie organizes voter registration efforts, plans and facilitates civic engagement workshops, and generally works to engage students in the political process.

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Madeline MarshallMadeline Marshall, Social Media & Marketing Fellow

Madeline works to promote the work we do in the office on campus and in the community. She works specifically on marketing for civic engagement and voter registration. Along with the other Social Media & Marketing Fellows, she coordinates all office social media.

"Softball and baseball is a huge part of my life. My parents met by playing on the same co-ed softball team. I’ve played softball since I was six years old, and I grew up watching my mom and older brother play. Instead of vacations or going to sleepaway camp, I spent my summers at softball and baseball tournaments. In high school, in addition to playing for the varsity team, I coached an elementary school team and umpired youth leagues. I stopped playing once I got to college, but I missed it too much my first year that I decided to try out for the club team as a sophomore."

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Avery WalkeAvery Walke, Community Engagement Fellow

Avery works to support programs in the office and help us prepare for upcoming events. She also meets one-on-one with students and organizations who are interested in getting involved in the community.

"My item is a scallop shell necklace that bears the mark of a pilgrim on el Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James. I got this necklace while I was backpacking through Portugal and Spain. I had always wanted to go backpacking through Europe but after I sustained a back injury in the eighth grade, I never thought I would be able to make that dream into a reality. However, that all changed in the summer of 2017 when I completed the 119 kilometer pilgrimage from Tui, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. So for me, my scallop shell necklace represents my determination, tenacity, and perseverance. My necklace reminds me every day that my injury does not define or control me."

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Sara Williams

Sara Williams, Associate Director for Community-Engaged Learning

Sara oversees the Service-Learning designation process and works directly with faculty to provide support in the development of courses using community-engaged pedagogies. She also works to provide students with a multitude of curricular and co-curricular community engagement opportunities via broad-based, interdisciplinary efforts linking action to co-curricular initiatives, teaching and research in community settings. She is available for one-on-one faculty or student consultations related to Service-Learning, Participatory Action Research, Assessment and a variety of other topics.

"I bought this Little Prince and the fox doll for my son, to remind him that genuine relationships take time and investment. In the story, the fox teaches the Little Prince that it is only when he patiently sits with the fox day after day – not to speak, but to listen and simply be with the fox next to his foxhole – that the Little Prince and the fox slowly develop a unique care and responsibility for one another. I try to emulate the fox’s lesson in my personal relationships and in my work with community partners and students, aspiring to give of the time, commitment, and vulnerability it takes to understand and engage the place and perspective of another."

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Photography by David M. M. Taffet