Introducing the 2022 Cohort of the Public Engagment Faculty Fellowship

We are proud to support the 2022 cohort of the Public Engagement Faculty Fellowship.

The 2022 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 Mentors

Mark Clague

Associate Professor of Musicology & Associate Dean of Collaborations and Partnerships

Mark Clague, Ph.D., serves as Associate Professor of Musicology, Arts Leadership, and American Culture at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, where he is also Associate Dean of Collaborations and Partnerships. His research, teaching, and public engagement work focuses on music in the United States, its artistic and economic history, its commercial and non-profit institutions, and its impact on formations of community through the politics of song. His research on the U.S. national anthem has led to publications, such as the article “‘This Is America’: Jimi Hendrix’s Star-Spangled Banner Journey as Psychedelic Citizenship”(2014), the recording Poets and Patriots: A Tuneful History of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (2014), the Star Spangled Songbook (2015, and the forthcoming book O Say Can You Hear?: A Cultural Biography of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (W.W. Norton, June 2022). His work has sparked collaborations with the Smithsonian Museum of American History, Los Angeles Grammy Museum, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and in recital with baritone Thomas Hampson at the Library of Congress. His anthem commentary is available at and through The Conversation and He posts to Twitter as @usmusicscholar.

Deb Gordon-Gurfinkel

Lecturer & Founding Director, Telling It

Deb Gordon-Gurfinkel is the Founding Director of Telling It, a trauma-informed and healing centered program for youth that draws from the best practices of social work filtered through the expressive arts. Deb is also a lecturer at the Residential College where she teaches two engaged learning courses, Community Empowerment through the Arts and Advance Practice in Community Engagement through the Arts. A native of Great Britain, Deb completed a Bachelor’s in Education at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and worked as a middle and high school teacher before moving to San Francisco in 1986. Deb shifted the focus of her practice to using the expressive arts in support of the healthy social emotional development of children experiencing homelessness. She received an award from the National Endowment for the Arts to continue this work. After moving to Ann Arbor in 1999, Deb founded Telling It and was hired as a lecturer at UM in 2002 through the Arts of Citizenship program. Telling It has been a finalist for the Roslyn and Jimmy Carter Award, semi-finalist for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities’ Coming Up Taller Award, and Deb has received the Ginsberg Award for Outstanding Faculty Member.

Melanie Manos

Janie Paul Collegiate Lecturer

Melanie Manos is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, lens-based media and installation, utilizing her body in absurd and precarious actions to convey everyday implications of economic insecurity and gender bias. She’s a 2021 Knights Art Challenge Grant recipient, a Kresge Arts in Detroit 2020 Fellowship Awardee, a University of Michigan 2021-22 Center for World Performance Studies Faculty Fellow, and Institute of Humanities 2020 Summer Faculty Fellow for her project Visualizing Women’s Work. Manos has performed and exhibited internationally including in England, Canada (Museum London), Belgium, and Japan (The Museum Of Contemporary Ceramic Art) as well as in the US at venues including Zuckerman Museum/Atlanta, Spanish Kitchen/Los Angeles, and Simone DeSousa Gallery/Detroit. Manos holds a BA from UCLA, and an MFA from University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design where she has been teaching engagement courses for over a decade, including international engagement in Japan. Manos collaborates with Sarah Buckius as The ManosBuckius Cooperative focusing on labor and the human/technology interface. MBC videos have played in video/electronic festivals globally in over 22 countries, most recently in Nenagh, Ireland, for the town’s 800th anniversary. You can find her on Instagram @melanie_manos, at, and at

Craig Regester

Lecturer and Acting Director, UM Semester in Detroit Program

Craig Regester has been engaged in Detroit community-based work for 30 years. He first worked in the field of youth development in the 1990s with Detroit organizations: SOSAD, La Sed, and Alternatives for Girls. He earned his Masters of Arts in Teaching from Wayne State University; his thesis explored the lack of independent politics (or third-parties) in public secondary civics education. Craig has been involved with Detroit-based labor organizing (and solidarity work) since the late 1990s: first as an organizer with the American Federation of Teachers to win recognition for graduate student employees at Wayne State; then as an organizer with the Southeast Coalition on Occupational Safety and Health (SEMCOSH); and, for the past two years, he has been a steward and active union member with the Lecturer Employees Organization (LEO). Since 2008, Craig has worked as the administrative director and as a lecturer for the U-M Semester in Detroit Program - an immersive urban studies experience that enables undergraduate students (from all three U-M campuses) to develop transformative tools for community-building through reciprocal engagement and co-learning with Detroiters and Detroit community organizations. Craig is the lead faculty member for the popular U-M mini-course, Detroiters Speak, which won a Provost award for Innovative Teaching in 2017. Craig was also instrumental to the launching of the pilot UM-Detroit Connector Bus in 2013 (now the D2A2 service) which has greatly improved public transportation options between Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Meet the Fellows

Patrick Barry

Clinical Assistant Professor & Director of Digital Academic Initiatives

Patrick Barry is a Clinical Assistant Professor and the Director of Digital Academic Initiatives at the University of Michigan Law School, as well as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and the UCLA School of Law. He is the author of several books on advocacy and has recently launched a series of online courses called “Good with Words” on the educational platforms Coursera and FutureLearn. Among Professor Barry’s teaching awards are the Wayne Booth Prize for Excellence in Teaching, the Provost's Innovation in Teaching Prize, and the Outstanding Research Mentor Award. He has also served as the law school’s Faculty Ally for Diversity and been selected as a Faculty Fellow by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s Center for Educational Outreach. A member of the California bar who regularly partners with law firms, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, he is currently working on a project that uses immersive technology to help lawyers and other professionals give and receive more effective feedback. He has a Ph.D. in English in addition to a law degree, and in college he was an All-American soccer player.

Jacinta C. Beehner

Professor of Psychology and Anthropology

Jacinta C. Beenher is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. She is broadly interested in hormones and behavior, specifically as they relate to reproductive success. She founded and currently directs two field sites focused on wild primates: the Simien Mountains Gelada Research Project in Ethiopia (studying geladas) and the Capuchins at Taboga Research Project in Costa Rica (studying white-faced capuchins). She also directs two hormone laboratories – one at the University of Michigan (Beehner Endocrine Laboratory) and one at the Capuchins at Taboga field site (TREX Endocrine Laboratory).

Margit Burmeister

Professor of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics

Margit Burmeister has trained in Germany and Israel in Biochemistry and Genetics. As a postdoc at the University of California in San Francisco, she helped develop a method used in the Human Genome Project. Her research at Michigan focuses on simple Mendelian as well as more complex brain disorders. Her lab identified more than a dozen genes involved in neurological rare disorders, and established the importance of gene x environment interactions in depression and addictions. She directs the Bioinformatics Graduate Program at Michigan, and her lab has hosted students from Germany, Pakistan and China. She has worked or taught in Germany, Turkey, Israel and China. She is passionate to interest more people in their own genetic data.

Ashley Cureton

Assistant Professor

Ashley Cureton is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and School of Education at the University of Michigan. She explores the educational and mental health needs and outcomes of refugee and migrant children and youth and their families in the U.S. and abroad. She seeks to understand how displacement and exploitation impact their overall academic and social development, sense of belonging, and cultural identities. Dr. Cureton’s scholarship builds on over a decade of research and practice focusing on child and adolescent development among refugee and migrant populations in global contexts like India, Jordan, South Africa, Morocco, Peru and Ecuador, to name a few. Dr. Cureton served as a Research Fellow through the United States Department of State in Istanbul, Turkey, working with Iraqi and Syrian refugee youth in school and community settings. She is currently a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Scholar in Global & Intercultural Competence and a former recipient of the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE) in Social Work Leadership and Service Award. Dr. Cureton completed her PhD in Social Work at the University of Chicago and a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.

Charles H.F. Davis III

Assistant Professor of Higher Education

Dr. Charles H.F. Davis III is a third-generation educator committed to the lives, love, and liberation of everyday Black people. He is currently an assistant professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education and founder and director of the Campus Abolition Research Lab. Dr. Davis teaches courses and conducts research on issues of race and racism, systemic oppression, and structures of domination in education and its social contexts. Dr. Davis has been nationally-recognized as a 2020 Emerging Scholar by Diverse Issues in Higher Education and was awarded the 2021 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Davis maintains an active ethnographic research program concerned with understanding digitally-mediated student activism, political engagement, and social movements at the intersections of campus and community. Dr. Davis is co-editor of Student Activism, Politics, and Campus Climates in Higher Education (Routledge), The Black Lives Matter Reader (University of California Press), and has produced nearly three dozen scholarly publications. Dr. Davis’ work has been featured by Academe, The Boston Globe, Change Magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, EdSurge, EdWeek, Inside Higher Ed, Los Angeles Times, and other national and local media outlets.

Sam Hansen

Mathematics and Statistics Librarian

Sam Hansen (They/Them) is the Mathematics & Statistics librarian for the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a mathematics storyteller, and the producer of the podcast Relatively Prime: Storytelling in the Mathematical Domain. Their research is in the dynamics of citation aging, with a particular focus on the differences in citation behavior between mathematical and natural sciences, and how and why the world of mathematics needs to tell more stories. They also work as a database developer for the digital humanities projects PodcastRE and Media History Digital Library. When not working or podcasting Sam spends as much time as possible cycling and nerding out about coffee (decaf only).

Irene Hwang

Lecturer and Assistant Chair of Architecture

Irene is assistant chair of architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where her research and teaching studies public opinion and architectural literacy in order to understand how to shift the discipline and profession of architecture from a rarefied good and service into a basic human right. She serves as PI of the Equity in Architectural Education Consortium (EAEC), which leverages various resources and forms of capital to collectively reduce inequities and disparities for current students of color and other underrepresented groups in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs of architecture. Irene is co-founder of the UM-Public Design Corps, which offers University of Michigan students the opportunity to engage in socially-driven design through mission-driven partnerships.

Donald J. Peurach

Professor of Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation

Donald J. Peurach is a Professor of Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation in the University of Michigan’s School of Education. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Dr. Peurach’s research, teaching, and outreach focus on the organization and management of education systems, with a particular focus on network-based continuous improvement. He is currently co-leading the establishment of the EdHub for Community and Professional Learning, the School of Education’s center of online learning for families, community advocates, educational professionals, and policy makers. Dr. Peurach is co-editor of The Foundational Handbook on Improvement Research in Education (Rowman and Littlefield, 2022); author of Seeing Complexity in Public Education: Problems, Possibilities, and Success for All (2011, Oxford University Press); and co-author of Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools (2014, University of Chicago Press). Dr. Peurach holds a BA and teaching certificate from Wayne State University, an MPP from the University of Michigan, and PhD from the University of Michigan.

Stephanie D. Preston

Professor of Psychology

Dr. Stephanie D. Preston is the head of the Ecological Neuroscience Laboratory and a Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. She completed an MA and PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley where she studied the biological bases of food hoarding in animals. This was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine studying the neural substrates of emotion and decision making. She is interested in the intrinsic effects of emotion on decisions, particularly decisions about resources such as altruistic aid, material goods, money, food, and social support.

Parth Vaishnav

Assistant Professor

Parth Vaishnav is an Assistant Professor of Sustainable Systems at the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) at the University of Michigan. Parth is interested in finding ways in which we can stop emitting carbon dioxide and other harmful atmospheric pollutants from transportation and from buildings. There are deep inequalities that exist in people’s access to basic energy services, within the United States and globally. Parth wants his research to help develop technologies and policies that reduce inequalities and prevent new ones from emerging. Solutions that work well in the real world require a good understanding of people’s circumstances, needs, and preferences. This is best done by seeking people’s participation when defining the problem and designing solutions, as well as in implementing them. Parth therefore hopes to get better at engaging communities in his research and in disseminating the results of it. Parth has a PhD from the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University and an MPhil in Technology Policy from Cambridge University.