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 of Volunteerism and Outreach

Leigh promotes, develops, and evaluates community engagement opportunities. She coordinates the America Reads/America Counts program and our Alternative Spring Break program in partnership with International Student & Scholar Services. She also serves as a liaison to student organizations, supervises OCES student leaders, and coordinates 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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Ceci Burtis

Cecilia Burtis, Community Engagement Fellow

This semester, Ceci helps organizes Greek Spring Clean in partnership with the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. She collaborates with staff, students, and community organizations to meet community needs and expose students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to nonprofit organizations locally. 

"I love traveling, experiencing new things, and going on adventures. In my left hand is a pair of shoes that have traveled with me to every place I visited while studying abroad (10 countries and 16 cities). The jar contains event tickets accumulated since starting college: train tickets, movie stubs, concert tickets, boarding passes. These items remind me to say “yes” to every new opportunity, and to experience as much as I can wherever I may be.”

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Mitzie CampbellMitzie Campbell, Program Associate and Chief Happiness Officer

As our Program Associate, Mitzie is responsible for maintaining organization of 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. She also works with Leigh Ackerman and our America Reads/America Counts Coordinators to administer this community-based tutoring program. 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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Lisa Combs

Lisa Combs, Graduate Assistant

Lisa works with OCES student interns to develop community-based programming and serves as a liaison to Greek organizations interested in service and philanthropic initiatives. She also assists the Director with special projects and generally works to make connections between the campus and community. Lisa also serves as Graduate Student Liaison to the Asian and Asian American Faculty/Staff Association.

“This was a gift given to me by someone in my cohort. Love is my number one value and guides everything I do in life. For me, love can be a romantic love, a family love, a friend love, a love for the work you do, and self-love as well.”

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Sami Hausserman Sami 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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Zach Fields

Zach Fields, Community Engagement Fellow

This semester, Zach assists with managing ComMUnity Connect, Miami's new volunteer website. He also works more generally to support the programs of the office and to increase student engagement in the community.

“The Lumineers are by far my favorite music group. They are humble and compassionate, with a desire to inspire others and spread joy. They are always thankful and attribute their success to their fans. I could listen to Cleopatra on repeat till the end of time. I feel a personal connection to the unique sound and the band. The Lumineers inspire me to continuously try and spread joy and happiness, while always sticking true to myself and what brings me joy.”

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Bre Helm

Breaysha Helm, America Reads/Counts Coordinator

Bre helps coordinate the America Reads/America Counts tutoring program. She organizes and facilitates tutor training sessions and helps ensure that campus-community partnerships are running smoothly.

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Aleah HolleyAleah Holley, Vote Everywhere Ambassador

Aleah organizes voter registration efforts, plans and facilitates civic engagement workshops and works to engage students in the political process. Vote Everywhere is a program of the Andrew Goodman Foundation, whose aim is to bring down voting barriers, and tackle important social justice issues on college campuses nationwide.

“This book has taught me so much about myself and the black women who have paved my way. While reading this book, I was an intern on Capitol Hill and was developing my life goals and aspirations. A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story has taught me that revolutionary black women are crucial to societal change and that the path to a better world is never easy, but one that tests your very existence."

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Wil Hughes

Wil Hughes, Program Management Fellow

Wil works to develop issues-based programming for students on campus. This past semester, he has organized film screenings, panel discussions, and workshops which address important public issues. Currently, he is working with disability advocacy groups to organize collaborative programming on campus and in the community.

“My favorite Ninja Turtle growing up was Leonardo, but this is Raphael, and that's okay. A bit faded and worn now, Raphael and I started our journey together last summer when a camper gave him to me as an end-of-session gift. Though working at the camp was fraught with countless challenges, seeing Raphael spinning out of control on my keychain whenever I unlock the door brings a smile to my face, and reaffirms why my work matters.”

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Jack Krolak Jack Krolak, Democracy Fellow

As a Democracy Fellow, Jack plays an integral part of 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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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 consults with other Fellows and staff members to support on-going programs through marketing and oversees all office social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. 

"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 a 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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Molly O'Donnell

Molly O’Donnell, Program Management Fellow - Alternative Breaks

Molly works to plan, implement and assess our Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program within the office. She helps oversee the ASB site leader application and selection process, develops ASB site leader trainings, conducts outreach to diverse groups on campus, and generally works to increase levels of student knowledge and engagement with regard to important public issues.

"This bus pass from the last day of my internship at the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority represents my dream of working for a public transit agency. It merges my love for sustainable living, local government, and community outreach. I keep this pass hanging on my bulletin board because it reminds me of my goal to work in public transit and of the culture at the GCRTA, which encouraged every single employee from CEO to bus operators to step up and serve the community as best as possible within a limited budget and with limited manpower. That mantra was the most important take-away from my internship, and glancing at the pass everyday reminds me to work to foster a similar culture in everything I do."

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Megan SensMegan Sens, Student Assistant

Megan is responsible for putting together OCES's weekly newsletter. She also helps prepare for events and generally provides support to the office and its programs.

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Avery WalkeAvery Walke, America Reads/America Counts Coordinator

Avery helps coordinate the America Reads/America Counts tutoring program. She organizes and facilitates tutor training sessions and helps ensure that campus-community partnerships are running smoothly.

"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 everyday 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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Christie Zwahlen

Christie Zwahlen, Director

Christie oversees the development and expansion of community engagement opportunities for students, faculty, and staff and generally works to further institutionalize community engagement at Miami University. She oversees voter registration, education and turnout efforts and facilitates cross-campus collaboration around civic and political engagement. She also serves on the Service-Learning course designation committee, supervises interns and directs all OCES staff and programs. Christie is available to assist and advise students, faculty, staff and nonprofit organizations in the development of campus-community collaborations for the public good. Please contact her to set up a meeting.

“I credit these floaties with my lifelong passion for Reese’s Pieces and fitness. As a kid, I used to wear these in our neighbor’s swimming pool. Swimming (and fitness more generally) has always been crucial to maintaining equilibrium in my life. Candy isn’t very good for the body, but I maintain that it’s good for the soul. We always have plenty in the office, and it absolutely brings people together. Reese’s Pieces will make any meeting better, guaranteed.”

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Photography by David M. M. Taffet