The Academic Community Engagement (ACE) Fellows program promotes and sustains community-engaged teaching, research, and scholarship through a cohort-based program.
ACE Fellows develop community-based projects congruent with their research, scholarship, and/or teaching interests. They may choose to start a new project or develop existing work. Fellows receive a $1,000 award each year of the two-year fellowship, which can be used toward project-related expenses, travel costs, honoraria for speakers and panelists, etc.
Interested faculty must submit an application, cover letter, CV, and letter(s) of support from a community partner(s), colleague(s), and/or student(s) when applications re-open in 2023.
The Office of Civic & Community Engagement will contact each applicant’s Dean or Department Chair as part of the application process. Applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of previous ACE fellows, members of the ACE Advisory Council, and community partners.
ACE Fellows Cohort
Alexandra Brewer, Assistant Professor, Sociology
Through her work as an ACE Fellow, Dr. Alexandra Brewer hopes to bring a community perspective to her course ‘Opioids in American Society’ by partnering with Twin City Harm Reduction Collective. Brewer is excited for her research to connect with the community so that she might learn more about the practical ways to fight the opioid crisis in Forsyth County.
Erin Brinkley, Associate Professor, Counseling, School Counseling Program Coordinator
As an ACE fellow, Dr. Brinkley will work alongside Brian Calhoun – associate professor of practice in the Department of Education – bringing both their experience and expertise together to create a podcast highlighting the different ways that individuals and organizations on Wake Forest’s campus serve the Winston-Salem community. Through their podcast, Calhoun and Brinkley will highlight the various activism-focused volunteer efforts in the Wake Forest and Winston-Salem communities, helping to generate enthusiasm and participation in OCCE initiatives.
Brian Calhoun, Associate Professor of Practice, Education
Throughout his Fellowship, Brian Calhoun will partner with Dr. Erin Brinkley – associate professor of counseling and school counseling program coordinator – bringing both their experience and expertise together to create a podcast highlighting the different ways that individuals and organizations on Wake Forest’s campus serve the Winston-Salem community. Through their podcast, Calhoun and Brinkley will highlight the various activism-focused volunteer efforts in the Wake Forest and Winston-Salem communities, helping to generate enthusiasm and participation in OCCE initiatives.
Courtney DiVittorio, Assistant Professor, Engineering
As an assistant professor of engineering, Dr. Courtney Di Vittorio plans to include her students in bridging the gap between civil engineering scholarship and community organization decision-making. Dr. Di Vittorio is excited to inform local water quality management in local watersheds to make decisions that are socially, economically, and environmentally responsible based on her research in hydrology and remote sensing.
Andrea Gómez-Cervantes, Assistant Professor, Sociology
During her time as an ACE Fellow, Dr. Andrea Gómez Cervantes plans to guide sociology students in their understanding of immigration policies in her new course – ‘Immigration Lab’ by partnering with immigrant-led/immigrant-serving organizations in Winston-Salem. Through the fellowship, Dr. Gómez Cervantes is looking forward to meeting other faculty with similar interests, and enhancing her teaching pedagogies as it relates to community engagement and service-learning.
Hannah Harrison, Assistant Teaching Professor, Writing
As an assistant teaching professor of writing, Dr. Harrison is hoping to deepen her students’ direct engagement with local leaders in the Winston-Salem community through collaboration. She is looking forward to developing a unit of her course that examines how food-based organizations use rhetoric and marketing to express their mission, allowing students to write for and with local food actors. As an extension of the course, she hopes to turn the classroom-based experience to create a small internship program where students would work hand-in-hand with a community partner to develop a marketing plan for the semester, using writing and visual design to promote their mission and goals.
Lauren Miller, Assistant Teaching Professor, Spanish
As an assistant teaching professor of Spanish at Wake Forest, Dr. Lauren Miller is looking to develop a long-term partnership with Speas Elementary – a dual immersion school -and a Hispanic-serving, English-only elementary school in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School system that would allow Wake Forest students to tutor minority and majority language-speaking children and encourage bilingualism in our community. Her hope is that this work would create additional partnerships and internships for graduate students enrolled in the Interpretation and Translation Program at Wake Forest.
Ryan Shirey, Associate Teaching Professor, Writing, WFU Writing Center Director
As an ACE Fellow, Dr. Ryan Shirey plans to work with local writing centers by piloting a “training trainers” model that would help community members enhance their peer writing tutoring and mentoring skills so that they can work with their peers and neighbors in various community contexts. A key aspect of his work is developing a durable, sustainable network of community-based writing centers. He hopes to build relationships with organizations and community members by providing workshops, training sessions and writing feedback.
Mir Yarfitz, Associate Professor, History
Dr. Mir Yarfitz is excited to explore how his scholarship as an associate professor of history intersects with the Winston-Salem community. Dr. Yarfitz is actively involved in social change in Winston-Salem and is specifically interested in the intersection between Latin American Studies and LGBTQ+ history. One of his goals as an ACE Fellow is to continue to develop Neighbor-to-Neighbor – a mutual aid project he began at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has helped more than 300 families throughout the Piedmont Triad – with more connective opportunities for members of the Wake Forest community.
Meredith Farmer, Assistant Teaching Professor, Core Literature
Throughout her ACE Fellowship, Dr. Farmer encouraged her students to examine the relationships between literature and their communities. Through two courses throughout her ACE Fellowship – Environmental Destruction and Slave Narratives, Global and Local – her students worked on projects alongside community partners. Students in her Slave Narratives, Global and Local Course worked alongside the Old Salem Museum and Gardens to develop their “Hidden Town” project, which makes hidden histories of the roles that slaves held in our community far more visible.
Francisco Gallegos, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
As part of his ACE Fellowship, Dr. Gallegos furthered his work with the ‘Truth and Authenticity Lab’, created in partnership with Dr. Ivan Weiss (Journalism). The lab, created in 2019, supports the work of individuals both on and off-campus who are using the tools of multimedia documentary to examine the philosophical questions generated as the ancient ideals of truth and authenticity face unprecedented challenges in the digital age.
Seth Hayden, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Program Coordinator
Dr. Seth Hayden’s work as an ACE Fellow focused on providing career support to military members and veterans. While his original hope was to offer his career development program as a face-to-face resource, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced him to re-access. Ultimately, the program transitioned to a virtual format, which increased access and even allowed Dr. Hayden to consider expanding the program to include both military veterans as well as the broader community.
Raisur Rahman, Associate Professor, History
When selected as an ACE Fellow in 2019, Dr. Rais Rahman was interested in enhancing student learning in his classes through community engagement, as well as developing a richer understanding of the interplay between the local and global. Through his course, “India and the Global Economy,” Dr. Rahman has been able to connect his students with a variety of individuals from the global and local community in an effort to show them what can be learned when we take a closer look at our communities.
John Senior, Director of the Art of Ministry, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and Religious Leadership, Director of the Collaborative for Religious Leadership
Dr. John Senior used his time as an ACE Fellow to focus on training Wake Forest divinity students in public poetry. Working alongside students pursuing their Master of Divinity, Senior introduced them to public poetry as an alternative form of proclamation and public witness.
Ivan Weiss, Assistant Professor of Practice, Journalism
During his time as an ACE Fellow, Dr. Ivan Weiss developed Environmental Journalism – a project-based course that looked at the residents of a community in conjunction with the built environment. The class focused on the Boston Thurmond Community – a community just north of downtown Winston-Salem – engaging students through classes, independent studies, and internships to form the structure and set the groundwork for a multi-year documentary/multimedia project that involves Wake Forest, as well as other local institutions including, Winston-Salem State University
Elise Barella, Assistant Professor, Engineering
Dr. Barrella utilized her background in civil engineering and city planning in community-based contexts through partnerships with Boston Thurmond United, Mixxer, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, and Forsyth Country Day School. Her research related to transportation access and the lived experience of the built environment in connection with the Spatial Justice Studio at Winston-Salem State University and led an undergraduate student research team at Wake Forest that collaborated with residents to use walking interviews as tools for neighborhood-led audits of accessibility and infrastructure.
Keri Epps, Assistant Professor of Writing, English
Mathis was named an ACE Faculty Fellow at Wake Forest during her first semester. Throughout her fellowship, she started a local community writing partnership in Winston-Salem, alongside her students, with LEAD Girls of NC, Inc.
Marianne Erhardt, Assistant Teaching Professor, English
As an ACE Fellow, Dr. Erhardt worked with the Triad Branch of the North Carolina Diaper Bank developing written content for the organization alongside her students.
TMG Gellar-Goad, Associate Professor, Classics
As part of his ACE Faculty Fellowship, Dr. Gellar Goad helped to host the North Carolina Junior Classical League annual convention for middle and high schoolers studying classics at Wake Forest.
Justin Green, Professor of Practice and Debate Coach, Communications
Justin Green completed his ACE Faculty Fellowship in partnership with Amber Kelsie, both professors, and coaches for Wake Forest’s championship debate team. Through their fellowship, Green and Kelsie worked together to develop an urban debate league that supported the growth of debate at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
Amber Kelsie, Assist Professor of Practice and Associate Debate Coach, Communications
Amber Kelsie completed her ACE Faculty Fellowship in partnership with Justin Green, both professors, and coaches for Wake Forest’s championship debate team. Through their fellowship, Green and Kelsie worked together to develop an urban debate league that supported the growth of debate at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
Rowena Kirby-Straker, Assistant Professor, Communications
Throughout her ACE Faculty Fellowship, Dr. Rowena Kirby-Straker worked alongside Dr. Ron Von Burg in the Department of Communications to develop a community-engaged global learning summer course that examined communication about sustainability.
Tanisha Ramachandran, Associate Teaching Professor and Director, Religion and Public Engagement
As the director of the Religion and Public Engagement (RPE) program in the Department for the Study of Religions, Dr. Ramachandran helps connect students and their academic learning with community-based goals. As part of her Fellowship, Ramachandran worked to expand the program, increasing the number of community partners that RPE students work with, and grounding the program in social justice.
Melva Sampson, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Practical Theology, School of Divinity
Dr. Sampson worked alongside Dr. Katherine Shaner to co-lead ‘Curating Brave Spaces’ in the School of Divinity. As part of her Fellowship, the program created an opportunity for black and white women in ministry to build relationships across racial differences. Together, they worked to expand the program in both community and congregational spaces.
Katherine Shaner, Associate Professor of New Testament, School of Divinity
Dr. Shaner worked alongside Dr. Melva Sampson to co-lead ‘Curating Brave Spaces’ in the School of Divinity. As part of her Fellowship, the program created an opportunity for black and white women in ministry to build relationships across racial differences. Together, they worked to expand the program in both community and congregational spaces.