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Brown Leadership Institute Faculty Profiles

Brown Leadership Institute: Leadership Development for High School Students

Robin Rose, Senior Associate Dean of the School of Professional Studies has served Brown University for over 30 years, as a therapist, as the chief student affairs officer and as the founder and director of the Leadership Institute and the Brown Environmental Leadership Labs. She also founded and directed the Brown Outdoor Leadership Training (BOLT) program, a nationally recognized outdoor leadership program. Dean Rose has a national reputation as expert on leadership development programs for youth and experiential education. She currently supervises all summer programs within the School of Professional Studies. She is passionate about environmental issues, gardening, snorkeling and learning from and with young people.

Kisa Jo Takesue is the Director of Leadership Programs in the School of Professional Studies at Brown University. Raised in Hawai'i and Massachusetts, she established her longtime connection to Brown in her undergraduate years, receiving an A.B in American Studies.  She obtained her Master's in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and worked in Texas as a community-based social worker, providing supportive services to teen parents, immigrant families, and medical patients. She returned to Brown in 1996 to serve as a dean in the Office of Student Life and, later, as the inaugural director of the Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center and the Student Activities Office. During her tenure at Brown, she has collaborated with students and colleagues to implement a wide range of educational programs focusing on leadership and diversity. For six years she taught the Women and Leadership course in the Brown Leadership Institute. Takesue has presented workshops at national conferences on topics related to student development and support and has co-authored an article in the Journal of College Counseling and a book chapter about multicultural student services and academic affairs. A founding member of the Asian/Asian American Alumni Alliance of Brown University, Takesue is a volunteer with Youth in Action, a Providence non-profit organization where young people work for positive social change.

Changing Business: Becoming a Social Entrepreneur

Dan Levinson graduated Brown University in 1982 and Stanford Business School in 1988. Levinson has been in the private equity business, founding Main Street Resources in 1998. These years of running private equity funds and transactions has given Dan a strong foundation in analyzing, sponsoring, and executing complex human-scale opportunities. Over the last five years, Dan has evolved his firm and personal interests into a platform for creative entrepreneurial philanthropy and impact investment, working closely as a venture partner with many businesses, investors, nonprofits, and socially responsible businesses in transition and development, including Green Village Initiative (co-founder/chair), The Schumacher Center for New Economics (chair), The Center for Non-Profit Excellence (recent past chair), Social Enterprise Greenhouse (board member), and many others. Dan believes enlightening our political-economic system is the key to addressing our core social, economic, and environmental challenges—and that the best way to achieve this is through experimenting and modeling local/tangible impact enterprises and projects. Dan is an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship and social enterprise at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and a regular speaker/facilitator of conversations and conferences on the subjects of new economy and impact investing. For his efforts Dan has received the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2013 Distinguished Citizen Award, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) 2014 Outstanding Philanthropist award, and many others.

Kelly Ramirez is the CEO of Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG), and the founder of the SEEED Summit. Kelly has taught Social Enterprise at RISD, Salve Regina, Providence College and in the Brown Leadership Institute. Previously, she directed the Social Enterprise Initiative at the William Davidson Institute (WDI) and was an adjunct lecturer in Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She has consulting and project management experience with organizations including Aid to Artisans, the Ford Foundation, the European Commission, USAID, the State Department, and Roche. Kelly also worked as a political analyst for the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service, an election monitor for the OSCE, and served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Slovakia. Kelly received MA Degrees in Public Policy and Urban Planning and a BA in political science from the University of Michigan, completed a leadership certificate program at the Ross School of Business, and received a scholarship to attend the Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management. She was named a Woman to Watch by the Providence Business News, is a 2014 BALLE Fellow, and was recently appointed to the Rhode Island Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.

Creativity and Social Change

Kali Quinn is a facilitator of compassionate creativity through innovative storytelling and physical play based in Providence, RI where she has taught theatre for the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA and Brown Undergrad Programs and worked as Stateside Faculty for Accademia dell’Arte (Arezzo, Italy). Her two solo shows dealing with grief and intergenerational conflict resolution have been performed at universities and festivals throughout the country. Kali has also facilitated training at: Creative Medicine Series at Brown University, McDonogh School, United Natural Foods, Pearl Theatre Company, Celebration Barn, New England Center for Circus Arts, MIT, Connecticut College, Boston University, Emory College, Bucknell, Clowns Without Borders in Guatemala & Grupo Galpao in Brazil. Kali serves on the national Board for the Network of Ensemble Theaters. Training: BA, University of Rochester; MFA, Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre. www.kaliquinn.com

Leadership for Environmental Justice

Elizabeth Hoover is Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies at Brown University where she teaches courses on environmental health and justice in Native communities, indigenous food movements, Native American museum curation, and community engaged research. Elizabeth received her MA and PhD in Anthropology at Brown University, with a focus on environmental and medical Anthropology as it applies to Native American communities responding to environmental contamination. She is currently working on a book manuscript “’The River is In Us;’ Fighting Toxins in a Mohawk Community,” which is an ethnographic exploration of Akwesasne Mohawks’ response to Superfund contamination and environmental health research. Her second book project , “From ‘Garden Warriors’ to ‘Good Seeds;’ Indigenizing the Local Food Movement” explores Native American farming and gardening projects around the country: the successes and challenges faced by these organizations, the ways in which participants define and envision concepts like food sovereignty, and importance of heritage seeds. Elizabeth has published articles about environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities, the cultural impact of fish advisories on Native communities, tribal citizen science, and health social movements.

Human Rights: Leadership and Action

David Blanding is an Assistant Professor of American Politics and Jurisprudence at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD, where he serves as the pre-law advisor and teaches civil liberties, constitutional law, race and ethnic politics, public policy, political theory, and introductory political science. David is currently working on a book titled Justice Designed: School Desegregation, Voting, and the Politics of Civil Rights, and his previous research has been supported by fellowships from the Ford Foundation/National Research Council and Brown’s Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions. While at Taubman, he taught courses on race, public opinion, and public policy while serving on the Board of Directors of Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE), a non-profit organization that provides scholarships and mentoring to children of incarcerated parents. Before coming to Brown, David worked on litigation and public education campaigns around racial profiling, felon disfranchisement, and school quality as part of the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). David received a B.A. in Political Science from Boston University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Brown.

Human Trafficking in Global Perspective

Elena Shih received her MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and BA in Asian Studies and Women’s Studies from Pomona College. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown’s Watson Institute for International Studies, and is now an Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies in the Department of American Studies at Brown University.

Elena’s research on transnational social movement and market response to trafficking in China, Thailand, and the United States has received funding from the Social Science Research Council, American Sociological Association, Ford Foundation, Freeman Asia Foundation, and the Fulbright Commission. Her dedication to Community-based and participatory ethnographic research methods has been recognized by numerous grants and awards from the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Japanese American Community Service, the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and the UCLA Center for the Study of Women Constance Coiner Award for commitment to working-class, feminist issues, and social change. Elena is a former Fulbright Fellow to the Zhongze Women’s Legal Counseling and Service Center (formerly Beijing University Center for Women’s Law Studies and Legal Aid), and researcher for the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) China Office.

Identity, Diversity, and Leadership

Lynn Hernandez is an Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences in the School of Public Health at Brown University. She received her doctoral degree from Florida International University in Miami, FL in Lifespan Developmental Psychology. She has conducted research in developing and examining behavioral treatments for adolescents of diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds using community-engaged approaches. She has also developed training programs to enhance the cultural competency of services provided in medical, counseling, and educational settings to minority communities. The long-term objective of her research activities is to reduce health disparities affecting ethnic/racial minority youth by developing culturally appropriate and easily accessible interventions that capitalize on culture specific protective factors and promote the development of healthy cultural identities.

Ethan Mereish is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences in the School of Public Health at Brown University. He received his doctoral degree in counseling psychology from Boston College, and a master's degree from the University of Maryland. He completed his pre-doctoral clinical residency at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on understanding the effects of social, psychological, and cultural determinants of health for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals and racial/ethnic minorities as well as factors that promote their resilience.

Leadership and the Future of Science, Technology and Medicine

Dr. Samantha Rosenthal is a Research Associate in the Department of Epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health as well as in the Brown Institute for the Study of Environmental Science. In college she double-majored in chemical and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She worked on pharmaceutical and vaccine development as a chemical engineer and developing novel medical devices and prostheses as a biomedical engineer. After her undergraduate education, she worked full-time for Procter & Gamble (P&G) in Egham, England, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Stamford, Connecticut. At P&G she developed skills and experience such as study design and implementation, innovation, and method development. Samantha then joined the Master’s in Public Health Program (MPH) at Brown University. She received the Global Health Scholarship and Foreign Studies Fellowship and traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to conduct both qualitative research in the local townships and data analysis examining the associations between alcohol misuse and risks for HIV infection (published in AIDS Care). She also spent much of her time in the MPH critiquing empirical evidence and statistical simulation models supporting the concurrency hypothesis—the theory that overlapping sexual partnerships is the main driver of the African HIV epidemics. This work has led to many publications including two in AIDS and Behavior and one in the The Lancet. She received her doctorate in Epidemiology from the Brown School of Public Health in 2014. She received the Community Health Pre-doctoral Fellowship in 2011, and she is currently involved in multiple research topics including how climate change influences emerging infectious disease spread, how social media puts young adults at risk for depression and substance use, and generally how epidemiology can be used to shape health policy and intervene in the progression of disease. Dr. Samantha Rostenthal is also teaching Leadership and Global Health.

Leadership and Global Development

Diana Graizbord is a PhD candidate in Sociology and a Doctoral Fellow in Brown's Graduate Program in Development and Inequality in the Global South. She holds an MA in International Affairs and Development from the New School and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her research and teaching interests include the sociology of development and globalization, poverty and inequality, and international social policy. While her current research is focused on Latin America she has extensive research and practical development experience in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Diana has previously taught courses in the Leadership Institute, as well as in the Sociology and Development Studies programs at Brown University.

Leadership and Global Engagement

John Bierbaum  teaches World History, Psychology, and AP Psychology at Normal Community West High School in Normal, Illinois. He earned his MA in History from Illinois State University and has taught at the secondary level for ten years becoming a National Certified Board Teacher in 2011. In 2013, he was a finalist for Illinois Teacher of the Year. For the past eleven years, he has been the head Mock Trial coach and is a team captain for the McLean County Diversity Project. He has worked with the Choices Education Program at the Watson International Institute at Brown University and implements curriculum workshops for his local school district.  

Kelly Keogh teaches International Relations, Regional World Studies, and A.P. U.S. Government at Normal Community High School in Normal, Illinois. He earned his Master’s Degree in Diplomatic History from Illinois State University and has taught at the secondary level for many years before becoming a National Certified Board Teacher in 2006. In 2008, he was a finalist for the Illinois Golden Apple Award for Teaching excellence. He was a Teaching Fellow for the Choices Education Program at the Watson Institute at Brown University where he contributed to curricular units that include “The End All Wars: World War I and the League of Nations Debate,” “Between World Wars: FDR and the Age of Isolationism,” “The Challenge of Nuclear Weapons,” and “Contesting Cuba’s Past and Future.” He has done workshops for the Choices Program around the country promoting civic engagement. This past fall, he was on a state level task force to create a Global Scholar Certificate for qualifying juniors and seniors in the state of Illinois and has worked with the Illinois Civic Mission Coalition and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation to further the Democracy School designation initiative in central Illinois.

Leadership and Global Health

Cate Oswald is currently Director of Policy and Partnerships for Partners In Health (PIH) in Liberia where she works together with the Liberian Ministry of Health on restoring essential health services in the aftermath of the recent West African Ebola outbreak. In October 2014 Cate was asked to bring her close to a decade of experience working with Partners In Health in Haiti to help lead PIH’s emergency response to Ebola and its transition to broader health system strengthening work; see http://www.pih.org/. In Haiti, she worked hand-in-hand with her Haitian colleagues on efforts to improve monitoring and evaluation and research activities, helped launch their mental health program, supported the implementation of their emergency cholera response, and was an integral member of the leadership team that crafted the response to the 2010 earthquake and the resulting opening of the University Hospital Mirebalais. Cate received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University and her Master’s in Public Health from the Boston University School of Public Health in epidemiology and global health. Cate has experience working on issues of social justice and equality locally in Rhode Island and Massachusetts through homeless rights initiatives, especially in access to nutrition, housing, and health care. Internationally, Cate has worked in Sub Saharan Africa, South America, and the South Pacific on projects aimed at understanding the social context of disease while working alongside communities to improve health outcomes.

Dr. Samantha Rosenthal is a Research Associate in the Department of Epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health as well as in the Brown Institute for the Study of Environmental Science. In college she double-majored in chemical and biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She worked on pharmaceutical and vaccine development as a chemical engineer and developing novel medical devices and prostheses as a biomedical engineer. After her undergraduate education, she worked full-time for Procter & Gamble (P&G) in Egham, England, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Stamford, Connecticut. At P&G she developed skills and experience such as study design and implementation, innovation, and method development. Samantha then joined the Master’s in Public Health Program (MPH) at Brown University. She received the Global Health Scholarship and Foreign Studies Fellowship and traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to conduct both qualitative research in the local townships and data analysis examining the associations between alcohol misuse and risks for HIV infection (published in AIDS Care). She also spent much of her time in the MPH critiquing empirical evidence and statistical simulation models supporting the concurrency hypothesis—the theory that overlapping sexual partnerships is the main driver of the African HIV epidemics. This work has led to many publications including two in AIDS and Behavior and one in the The Lancet. She received her doctorate in Epidemiology from the Brown School of Public Health in 2014. She received the Community Health Pre-doctoral Fellowship in 2011, and she is currently involved in multiple research topics including how climate change influences emerging infectious disease spread, how social media puts young adults at risk for depression and substance use, and generally how epidemiology can be used to shape health policy and intervene in the progression of disease. Dr. Samantha Rostenthal is also teaching Leadership and the Future of Science, Technology and Medicine.

Leadership and Social Justice

Caitlin Bradford Murphy  is a social studies teacher at Hudson High School in Hudson, MA where she has taught for the past fifteen years. Teaching courses such as Ethics, Contemporary Legal Issues, and American Studies, she uses a hands-on approach that allows her students to apply concepts to the real world. While at Hudson High School, she developed a social justice course that encourages students to become actively involved in identifying injustice and working to create social change. Prior to her career in teaching, Caitlin spent six years as a community organizer and advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She holds a M.Ed. from Cambridge College and a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from the University of New Hampshire. Caitlin was a teaching fellow with the Choices Education Program at the Watson International Institute at Brown.

Leading with Empathy in the 21st Century

Xuan Zhao is a PhD candidate at Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University and an exchange scholar at Stanford University. She received her M.Sc. in psychology from Brown University and B.Sc. in psychology from Zhejiang University in China.

As a researcher with the Social Cognitive Science Research Center at Brown University, Xuan’s focus of study is on perspective taking and empathy in people's daily social interaction. Her experimental research also covers areas such as nonverbal behavior, communication, mentalizing, social cognitive development, and human-robot interaction. She has served as a teaching assistant for Brown undergraduate courses on cognitive science, social psychology, and personality assessment and a MBA course on power, acting, and situational leadership at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford. Ms. Zhao has also studied acting and theater, which she integrates into her understanding of empathy, communication, and interpersonal dynamics. In addition, Xuan is interested in social innovation and has co-founded or served with several Chinese social innovation organizations such as Harvard China SEED, CAPE, Fantaspic, and the Green Great Wall Foundation. As a college student, she cultivated her passion for global citizenship when she had the opportunity to visit four continents aboard a ship, circumnavigating the globe in 104 days.

Women and Leadership

Mary Grace Almandrez is Interim Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services, and Associate Dean of the College at Brown University. Departments under her charge are: Brown Center for Students of Color (where she served as director for four years), LGBTQ Center, Sarah Doyle Women's Center, Student and Employee Accessibility Services, Student Conduct, and Student Support. She also oversees the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Program. Prior to her arrival at Brown University, she founded multicultural programs at three private, liberal arts institutions. Her research and teaching interests focus on women of color in leadership, diversity in higher education, and social justice education. She is chair of the New England Multicultural Affairs Think Tank and has served as a board member of Youth In Action and HARI Vidya Bhavan. Mary Grace earned her Ed.D. in organization and leadership from the University of San Francisco, M.S. in human resources development from McDaniel College, and B.A. in sociology from the University of San Diego. She was born in the Philippines and raised in California.

Mind the Gap: Leadership in an Unequal World

Meg Caven is a Ph.D. student in Sociology. She also holds a Master’s in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA from Brown. Her research and teaching interests include inequality, public policy, education, and urban sociology. Her current project investigates the closure of public schools in Philadelphia. Before returning to Brown for her Ph.D., Meg spent several years working in social and economic policy research, and several years teaching middle school in British Columbia.

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