2021 Cohort | Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship

Introducing the 2021 Cohort of the Public Engagment Faculty Fellowship

We are proud to support the 2021 cohort of the Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship.

The 2021 cohort of Fellows and Mentor Fellows are University of Michigan-Ann Arbor faculty across schools and colleges, representing all forms of public engagement. There are two roles in the program:

  • Fellows are faculty who are relatively new to public engagement work or who are interested in trying something new in their public engagement practice.
  • Mentor Fellows are faculty with more extensive experience in public engagement. Mentor Fellows will work closely with Fellows, providing guidance, connections, mentorship based on their own expertise and networks in public engagement.

You can view all participants in prior cohorts of the Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship here.

Meet the Fellows


Michelle Bellino

Assistant Professor - School of Education

Michelle Bellino is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Education. Her research centers on the intersections between education and youth civic development, with particular attention paid to contexts impacted by armed conflict and forced displacement. Across diverse settings, she explores how experiences with violence, asylum, and peace and justice processes influence young people’s participation in schools and society, future aspirations, as well as educational access and inclusion. In her work, she traces youth experiences from schools to their homes and communities in order to understand how knowledge and attitudes toward historical (in)justice travel across public and private spaces, as well as between generations. She draws on ethnographic methods and youth participatory action research to ask how young people construct understandings of justice and injustice, while shaping an evolving sense of themselves as local and global civic actors. She has been recognized as a Peace Scholar by the United States Institute of Peace and a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Spencer Foundation. Her book, Youth in Postwar Guatemala won the Council of Anthropology and Education’s Outstanding Book Award in 2018.

Abigail A. Dumes

Assistant Professor - Literature, Science, and the Arts

Abigail A. Dumes is a medical and cultural anthropologist, and she is an assistant professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Michigan. Her first book, Divided Bodies: Lyme Disease, Contested Illness, and Evidence-Based Medicine, was published with Duke University Press in September 2020. Her ongoing research explores the relationship among gender, contested illness, infectious disease, and environmental risk in the United States.

Monica Dus

Assistant Professor - Literature, Science, and the Arts

Dr Dus has been an assistant professor in MCDB since 2015; she heads a research lab that studies the effects of sugar on the brain, teaching BIO 305 Genetics and MCDB 459 Neuroepigenetics, and is involved in several outreach activities, such as hosting the How to Science Podcast, organizing the Food & Brain workshop with the Museum of Natural History, and mentoring the pre-science undergraduate club FIRST, Future in Research, Science and Teaching.

Ashley Gearhardt

Associate Professor - Literature, Science, and the Arts

Dr. Ashley Gearhardt is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Clinical Science area at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Yale University with training on the underpinnings of both excess food and alcohol consumption. Dr. Gearhardt currently investigates the contribution of reward dysfunction (e.g., craving, liking) to eating-related problems across the lifespan. She uses a multi-method approach to explore the neurobiological, psychological, and behavioral factors that contribute to problematic eating behavior. Dr. Gearhardt also investigates the role of addictive processes in compulsive overeating and is the Director of the Food Addiction Science and Treatment Laboratory. Her research has received funding from the National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and her research has been featured on media outlets including the New York Times, ABC News, the Today Show, and Time Magazine.

Annette Joseph-Gabriel

Assistant Professor - Literature, Science, and the Arts

Annette Joseph-Gabriel is an Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies. Her research focuses on race, gender, and citizenship in the French-speaking Caribbean, Africa, and France. Her book, Reimagining Liberation: How Black Women Transformed Citizenship in the French Empire (University of Illinois Press, 2020) mines published writings and untapped archives to reveal the anticolonialist endeavors of Black women in the French empire. She has published articles in peer-reviewed journals including Small Axe, Slavery & Abolition, Eighteenth-Century Studies and The French Review, and her public writings have been featured in Al Jazeera, HuffPost, The Conversation US and The Conversation France. She is a recipient of the Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics. She is also the managing editor of Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International and production editor of Women in French Studies.

Wei Lu

Professor - College of Engineering

Dr. Wei Lu is Professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Prof. Lu uses multi-scale and multi-physics modeling and experimental approaches to address emerging challenges in energy and nanomechanics. Examples include mechanical electrochemical processes in Li-ion battery systems, self-assembled nanostructures and their applications, and morphological evolution and properties of nano/micro scale structures. He has over 160 publications in peer-reviewed journals and over 100 presentations and invited talks in international conferences, universities and national labs including Harvard, MIT and Stanford. He also has plenty of publications in conference proceedings, encyclopedias and book chapters. Prof. Lu was the recipient of many awards including the CAREER award by the US National Science Foundation; the Robert J. McGrattan Award by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Elected Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; U-M’s CoE Ted Kennedy Family Faculty Team Excellence Award, CoE George J. Huebner Jr. Research Excellence Award, Novelis/CoE Distinguished Professor Award, Faculty Recognition Award, Department Achievement Award, Robert M. Caddell Memorial Research Achievement Award; and the Gustus L Larson Memorial Award by American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was invited to the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Conference multiple times.

Okeoma Mmeje

Assistant Professor - Medical School

Dr. Okeoma Mmeje is a fellowship-trained physician-researcher with expertise in reproductive infectious diseases. She has in-depth leadership, organization, project management, and communication skills and expertise. In clinical practice, Dr. Mmeje manages general obstetrics and gynecology conditions, emphasizing recurrent or persistent cases of vaginitis. As a physician-scientist with more than ten years of experience, Dr. Mmeje had led academic teams in implementing and evaluating reproductive health programs to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services for vulnerable and marginalized populations. Dr. Mmeje is also a champion for creating, implementing, and assessing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in academia to foster an environment where all are welcomed, accepted, valued, and supported.

Rachel Rafael Neis

Associate Professor - Literature, Science, and the Arts

Rachel Rafael Neis is an associate professor in the department of history and frankel center for Judaic studies and holds the Jean and Samuel Frankel Chair in Rabbinic Literature. Their research, writing, and teaching in ancient Jewish history in Roman Palestine and Persian Mesopotamia and in rabbinic literature focuses on the limits and definitions of humans and animals, norms and variation, and the production of knowledge and access to it. Their award-winning first book was The Sense of Sight in Rabbinic Culture: Jewish Ways of Seeing in Late Antiquity (Cambridge, 2013) and they are currently completing their second book length project, When a Woman Gives Birth to a Raven: Rabbis and the Reproduction of Species in Late Antiquity. An accomplished painter and visual artist, Neis, has in recent years turned to comics and zine-making, and is in the early phases of two projects – Talmud-Zine and Antiqui-Zines – both involving collaborations with scholars and activists and designed to critically engage and diffuse knowledge about premodern sources.

Sarah Melissa Peitzmeier

Assistant Professor - School of Nursing

Sarah Peitzmeier is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing. Her research focuses on gender-based violence and sexual health in marginalized populations, particularly LGBTQ communities. Her current research projects include 1) developing a sexual assault prevention intervention for transgender young adults, 2) adapting an existing sexual assault prevention intervention for online delivery in the time of COVID, 3) understanding how to prevent physical harms associated with chest binding in transmasculine individuals, and 4) developing better ways for clinicians and service providers to screen for and address intimate partner violence in trans communities.

Kira Thurman

Assistant Professor - Literature, Science, and the Arts

Kira Thurman is an assistant professor of History and Germanic Languages & Literatures. A classically-trained pianist who grew up in Vienna, Austria, Thurman focuses on two areas of research that occasionally converge: the relationship between race and classical music, and Europe's historical and contemporary relationship with the Black diaspora. Her research on the history of Black musicians in Europe has received numerous fellowships, awards, and honors, including the Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin, a DAAD best article prize from the German Studies Association, and a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey. Her book, Singing like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms is forthcoming with Cornell University Press this fall. New Yorker music critic Alex Ross praised it as "one of the most original and revelatory books to have been written about classical-music history in many years...An instant classic that deserves the widest possible audience." A firm believer in public engagement, Thurman has written for the New Yorker, New York Times, Frieze Magazine, and The Point, served as a consultant for PBS documentaries and public radio projects, and has worked with different orchestras, opera houses, and music ensembles on programming and public education. Together with colleagues across the United States and Europe and with the support of the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., she runs the public history website, blackcentraleurope.com.

Anthony Vanky

Assistant Professor - Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Anthony Vanky, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in Urban Planning at the University of Michigan Taubman College, focusing on the use of technology-based practices in city-making and urban planning. He has previously held teaching appointments at Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At MIT, Anthony was a founder and academic programs manager of MIT designX, an academic accelerator dedicated to advancing innovation and entrepreneurship in design, cities, and the built environment. He was also a research lead at the MIT Senseable City Lab, a multidisciplinary research group. At the lab, Anthony additionally served as the Lab’s partner and outreach strategist, where he connected companies’ and governments’ interests in smart cities to the research of the Lab and MIT. Trained as an urban designer and architect, he has worked on projects across the United States, and his design work has been exhibited widely, including at the Venice Biennale, the Dutch Design Week, the Gwangju Design Biennale, and New Orleans DesCours. Anthony’s own research considers the use of digital data and pervasive sensing technologies in designing, planning, and evaluating urban environments, and spans the disciplines of urban design, urban technologies, innovation studies, and public health. Anthony has widely presented on topics of design, technology, and urbanism including at Harvard University, the British Government, and several dozen private and public organizations. Anthony holds prior degrees from the MIT and Tulane University.

Meet the Mentors


María Arquero de Alarcón

Associate Professor - Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

María Arquero de Alarcón is an associate professor of architecture and urbanism, and the director of the Master of Urban Design at Taubman College University of Michigan. Originally from Spain, she is trained as an architect, landscape architect and urban designer, and she is passionate about teaching and learning, and exploring new partnership and ways of working. You can find some of her work at MAde Studio (www.made-studio.org), a research-based, collaborative design practice that integrates design strategies promoting cultural resilience and environmental adaptation. Through a combination of grant-funded research initiatives, urban design experimentation, and site-specific interventions, her collaborative work advances design approaches integrating the knowledge co-generated with local partners and residents. She is particularly interested in examining the impact of urbanization in the territory, and the role of citizens and community groups stewarding place and devising more just and better futures. In her teaching of graduate design studios, interdisciplinary seminars and workshops, she incorporates multicultural, experiential learning components in partnership with local actors in geographies across the Great Lakes Region, Latin America, India and Europe.

Lisa DuRussel

Assistant Professor of Practice - School for Environment and Sustainability

Lisa DuRussel – RLA, LEED AP is an Assistant Professor of Practice within SEAS, the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. As a practicing landscape architect and educator, Lisa draws from 15 years of professional design experience where she has led the design and implementation of award-winning projects that innovate on ecological design. Her practice, Site Science, places focus on research-based design and implementation strategies that integrate deep ecological design principles into functional and experiential landscapes. Through the craft of design and experimentation, Lisa’s work amplifies collaborative action in the ecological realm. Lisa has held project leader positions with established design firms: West 8 urban design + landscape architecture, Future Green Studio Brooklyn, MNLA New York, and Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects Chicago. She currently collaborates with Unknown Studio on green infrastructure initiatives along the Middle Branch in Baltimore. Her work has been published for the Landscape Architecture Foundation, and in Landscape Architecture Magazine, World Landscape Architecture, and Metropolis. Lisa received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and her Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Michigan.

Mustafa Naseem

Clinical Assistant Professor - School of Information

Mustafa Naseem is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Information at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Mustafa’s interests lie at the intersection of technology and poverty. His recent work has focused on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to improve public service delivery in global health and understand the impacts of gender inequity in patriarchal contexts. Mustafa has taught and led ICT, design, and entrepreneurship programs in six countries in Africa, Asia and North America, and prior to joining Michigan Mustafa was the ICTD Expert-in-Residence at the ATLAS Institute, University of Colorado Boulder. He received his master’s degree from the ATLAS Institute on a Fulbright Scholarship, and was shortlisted among 12 finalist Rolex Awards for Enterprise Young Laureates in 2016.

Sheria G. Robinson-Lane

Assistant Professor - School of Nursing

Sheria G. Robinson-Lane, PhD, MSN, MHA, RN is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing in the department of Systems, Populations, and Leadership. Dr. Robinson-Lane’s work aims to reduce health disparities and improve health equity for diverse older adults and family caregivers managing pain and chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Robinson-Lane’s research addresses the ways in which older adults adapt to changes in health, and particularly how various coping strategies effect health outcomes. Her current work is focused on improving the ability of Black, Latinx and other diverse older adults to successfully age in place through culturally responsive and community engaged care practices along with effective caregiver support. To this end, she has developed and presented numerous presentations and publications on effective clinical practice and the care and symptom management of older adults with chronic disease. Dr. Robinson-Lane completed her PhD in Nursing at Wayne State University in Detroit and a postdoctoral fellowship in Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Teresa Satterfield

Professor - Literature, Science, and the Arts

Teresa Satterfield is a Professor of Romance Linguistics, and a faculty affiliate in Linguistics and the Combined Program of Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. She studies (1) language and literacy development in bilingual children; (2) complex adaptive systems models that inform language contact and language change phenomena; and (3) the intersection of bilingualism and ethnic-racial identity in children. The focus of Satterfield’s scholarship is the emergence of linguistic knowledge in populations that have not been traditionally represented in mainstream language models. Broader impacts of her research aim to make visible US bilingual experiences, particularly as lived by people of color, to maximize the learning opportunities for bilingual children, and to promote equitable access to educational resources in underserved communities. Satterfield’s research engages with numerous community and academic partners, and has resulted in the construction of an intergenerational, community-based ‘ecosystem’ that is uncovering novel ways to address important educational concerns. In addition to founding and directing the En Nuestra Lengua LIteracy and Culture Project, Satterfield heads the En Nuestra Lengua Lab Group, and directs the ENL Club Lector, a literacy intervention for Spanish-speaking adolescents which leverages technology and provides outlets for Spanish-language maintenance and social support. Satterfield serves on committees and advisory boards aimed at increasing the University’s public engagement mission both locally and internationally.

Sarah Stoddard

Associate Professor - School of Nursing

Dr. Stoddard‘s research addresses the health of adolescents and emerging adults, with a focus on substance use and violence. In partnership with community organizations and schools, she studies the application of behavioral, family, and ecological approaches to preventing youth violence and substance use among vulnerable populations of youth. Dr. Stoddard is an appointed member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Preventive Services Task Force, a committee that provides evidence-based recommendations about community preventive services, programs, and other interventions aimed at improving population health.