Harward Center for Community Partnerships
161 Wood Street
Lewiston, ME 04240
Center Leadership and Operations
Darby Ray, Director of the Harward Center, Donald W. and Ann M. Harward Professor of Civic Engagement
Darby spent the first half of her career as a professor of religious studies, teaching and writing in the areas of feminist and liberationist Christian thought and the meaning of work. As an early adopter of what was then called “service learning,” Darby began building her own capacity and the capacity of her faculty colleagues for pedagogy that centers collaborations with off-campus partners in the pursuit of social justice, community well-being, and student learning.
Darby arrived at Bates in 2012 to direct the Harward Center for Community Partnerships and has been happily working with her wonderful Harward Center colleagues and a range of Bates students, faculty, and staff to champion and deepen the College’s civic mission through collaborations with a range of local and statewide community partners.
In her more-than-Bates life, Darby enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, playing games with friends, singing, dancing, and curling up in front of a fire with a good book and a glass of wine.
Kristen Cloutier, Associate Director for Center Operations and Program Coordinator for Project Pericles
Kristen Cloutier serves as the Assistant Director for Center Operations and the Program Coordinator for Project Pericles, a consortium of colleges and universities that promotes civic engagement through public policy. She also manages the Davis Projects for Peace program, which offers Bates students the opportunity to design a grassroots project, anywhere in the world, that promotes peace and addresses the root causes of conflict among parties.
Kristen received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University and her Master’s degree in Leadership Studies from the University of Southern Maine. She is a resident of Lewiston (her hometown) and has served on the City Council, the School Committee, and for a brief 10 months as Mayor. She is currently the State Representative for District 60 in the Maine House, where she serves on the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.
Kristen enjoys travel, dogs, and collaboration.
Community-Engaged Learning and Research Program
Ellen Alcorn, Associate Director of Community-Engaged Learning and Director of Bonner Leader Program
Ellen Alcorn manages Bates’ relationships with local K-12 partners, creating opportunities for Bates students to serve as mentors and tutors in classrooms and after-school settings as well as organizing fieldwork experiences for 130-150 education students each semester. Ellen also oversees the Harward Center’s student civic leadership programs, including the Bonner Leader Program, Community Outreach Fellows, the Bates Civic Action Team (BCAT), and the International Student Experiential Learning Fellowship.
Ellen received her B.A. from Bard College and her M.S.Ed from the University of Southern Maine. Prior to coming to Bates, she taught high school English and adult education, and worked as a professional magazine writer. In her spare time, Ellen enjoys spending time with family and friends, writing, knitting, sewing, and hiking with her dog.
Sam Boss, Associate Director of Community-Engaged Research and Learning
Sam Boss is the Assistant Director of Community-Engaged Learning and Research at the Harward Center. He grew up in rural, central Maine, and currently lives in Auburn with his spouse Katie and two children, Clara and Elliot. Before coming to Bates, Sam completed a PhD in History at Brown University.
He enjoys teaching a First-Year Seminar at Bates that examines contemporary issues such as immigration, poverty, housing, and environmental justice by exploring Lewiston and its fascinating past. He is active with several local boards, committees, and non-profit organizations, including the Auburn Conservation Commission, the Stanton Bird Club, Maine Community Integration, Valo, and the Maine Humanities Council Veterans’ Book group.
His favorite hobbies are gardening, fishing, and baking/cooking, and he goes to Range Pond State Park in Poland with his family every chance he gets.
Community Volunteerism, Student Leadership Development Program, and Democratic Engagement & Student Activism
Hamza Abdi, Assistant Director of Volunteer Programs & Community Partnerships
Hamza Abdi serves as the Assistant Director for Volunteer Programs and Community Partnerships. In this role he is responsible for coordinating volunteer programs, overseeing the work-study program, assisting with student leadership programs, and strengthening community partnerships. Prior to joining the Harward Center, he worked as an Academic Administrative Assistant with the language departments and programs at Bates.
Hamza spent most of his life in Djibouti, his native country where he worked with USAID ‘United States Agency for International Development’. He also lived in France for his graduate school and traveled to many countries in Europe and Asia. Hamza has his Master’s Degree in Languages, Literature and Civilizations and is currently working toward his MBA. He speaks 4 languages and he enjoys playing soccer and spending time with his family and friends.
Jenna Dela Cruz Vendil, Associate Director of Democratic Engagement and Student Activism
Jenna Dela Cruz Vendil is an award-winning organizer, activist, and engagement strategist whose passion is to build inclusive systems through social action, public policy, and electoral participation. As the Associate Director of Democratic Engagement and Student Activism, Jenna leads the college’s democratic engagement initiatives and will launch a new program to support emerging student activists on their journey for social change.
For nearly 15 years, Jenna supported youth and student engagement within political and social movements in Maine. As Field Director of the League of Young Voters, Jenna built coalitions with student groups to move issues on voting rights, tax fairness, marriage equality, and student loan forgiveness. As the statewide organizer for Planned Parenthood, Jenna increased digital engagement and coordinated high-visibility actions to halt Federal and State efforts to defund reproductive health programs. In 2009, Jenna became the first Asian American woman elected in Portland, serving on the School Board for nearly a decade to advance educational equity, strengthen student voice, and increase community engagement.
As a first-generation college graduate, Jenna’s activist journey was fostered at Bates by fellow students, faculty, staff, and an incredible alumni network. Jenna is thrilled to be back at her alma mater to continue the work she fell in love with as a student, and shaping the journey for future Bates activists and voters.
Outside of community building, Jenna finds joy in taking care of her succulent babies and designing the next family adventure with her partner Marc and her real baby, Mateo Cruz.
Ronan Goulden, AmeriCorps VISTA Civic Leadership Fellow
Ronan Goulden serves as the AmeriCorps VISTA Civic Leadership Fellow at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He is responsible for organizing and promoting community-engagement opportunities to Bates students — helping to connect them to college aspirations programming in the Lewiston/Auburn community. Hailing from Lagunitas, California, Ronan has come to call the Lewiston-Auburn Area his home, graduating from Bates College as a double major in Environmental Studies and Sociology.
As a student, Ronan worked with numerous community partners through the Bonner Leadership Program. This engagement culminated in the completion of a Sociology Honors Thesis on the experience of language and accent-based workplace discrimination against BIPOC members of the L/A workforce. Opportunities like these allowed Ronan to enact his passion for creating meaningful partnerships with members and organizations of communities, something he is excited to continue as a VISTA. Outside of community engagement, Ronan loves to bike, explore the public art and culinary experiences of L/A, and spend time in the beautiful landscapes of Maine.
Professor Lori Banks, Bonner Faculty Fellow, Assistant Professor of Biology
Meet Professor Banks
The Harward Center is very excited to have Professor Banks join our team as the Bonner Faculty Fellow. In addition to her Harward Center role, she serves as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Bates College. Dr. Banks has great enthusiasm and passion for community education.
Most recently, she and students in her Fall 2021 Cellular Biochemistry course partnered with a Lewiston Middle School teacher to create video presentations for LMS students about the importance of nutrition and balanced diets in a healthy lifestyle. In addition, Dr. Banks’s students oversaw a recipe contest among the middle school students and eventually gave each of them the winning recipe and all the ingredients to make it at home, with the ingredients sourced locally from Valley View Farm in Auburn.
Professor Banks has a B.S. in Biology from Prairie Valley A&M University and a Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine. She served as a postdoctoral researcher in molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine before arriving at Bates. As a protein biochemist, her research focuses on host-pathogen interactions and novel antimicrobial development.
Professor Leslie Hill, Harward Center Faculty Fellow, Professor Emeritus of Politics
Meet Professor Hill
After retiring from the Bates College faculty – where Leslie taught courses examining gender politics, African politics, as well as the politics of race in U.S. law and policy – she is the Harward Center’s Faculty Fellow for 2020-21 and 2021-22. Aiming to enrich Bates instructors’ knowledge of racial inequities and social justice advocacy in Maine, she organizes opportunities for faculty to discuss and design learning projects that prepare students to think critically with, learn from, and work collaboratively with community partners to address white supremacy and advance racial justice.
Her own community engagement has included helping to design Maine Initiatives’ racial justice community grantmaking program, “Grants for Change”, and joining Maine Women’s Fund grantmaking committees to invest in projects that transform the lives of women and girls. In the Bates community, Leslie has collaborated to design a platform for connection and collaboration among retired Bates faculty; participated in development of a mentoring program for current faculty; and, worked with staff, students, and faculty to recommend curricular changes to foster student capacity to critically discern, examine, and discuss difference, power, and equity as an essential part of a Bates education.
Leslie’s relaxation and pleasure come from nurturing her collection of indoor plants and in her quest to sample treats from every shop listed on the “Ice Cream Map of Maine”.
Professor Emily Kane, Harward Center Faculty Fellow, Professor of Sociology & Gender and Sexuality Studies
Meet Professor Kane
We are thrilled to have Professor Emily Kane join the Harward Center as a Faculty Fellow this year, bringing significant expertise in community-engaged learning and research from her work in the Bates Sociology department and Gender & Sexuality Studies program. With nearly three decades of teaching experience at Bates, Professor Kane has continually fostered engagement opportunities with the L-A community through her stellar CEL courses & research.
Over the last 20 years, Professor Kane has been a leader of community-engaged work at Bates College. This has taken many forms in her career and has included the teaching of numerous Community-Engaged Learning courses such as Community Engagement, Social Justice, and Social Change (FYS 376); a plethora of community-engaged research, with a focus on locally relevant topics such as gender equity, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and poverty; and sitting on multiple committees for the Harward Center & L-A Area, including serving on the People Team for the HUD Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and Growing Our Tree Streets Transformation Plan. This work has been recognized statewide, with Professor Kane being the recipient of the 2013 Donald Harward Award for Faculty Service-Learning Excellence from Maine Campus Compact.
An enthusiastic collaborator with the Harward Center, Professor Kane is a valued thought partner; the coordinator of the Knowledge, Action, and the Public Good GEC at Bates; and a frequent contributor to Harward Center faculty development programs. Most recently, she worked on the creation of a new assessment tool for Community-Engaged Learning courses, while also involving dozens of students in her Sociology of Gender (GSS/Soc. 270) course in a community-engaged project with multiple local gender-focused organizations. Professor Kane continues her research into Community Action Agency mission statements, exploring the framing and philosophy these agencies take toward the individuals they serve.
Community Outreach Fellows
Gabriel Alvarez ’23
Hometown: Brookline, Massachusetts
Major: Biology, with an Education minor
Gabe enjoys gardening on campus, and he is passionate about environmental causes, prison reentry and injustice, and education inequality.
Gabe is coordinating programming for elderly and younger disabled residents at Hillview and Lafayette Park.
Starr Bradley ’25
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Major: Psychology with a minor in Africana
Starr has a passion for cooking southern recipes and exploring new things. At Bates, she spends the majority of her time in the Office of Intercultural Education helping first generation students build connections and get the desired help they need to succeed at Bates.
She is excited to start the year contributing her time with the Playground Pals Program.
Nimco Jama ’25
Hometown: Hargeisa, Somalia
Nimco was born and raised in Hargeisa, Somaliland. She went to Midland high school in Los Olivos, California. She is currently a Sophomore at Bates. She is interested in studying Biochemistry for now, hopefully going into public health later. She loves working with children. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, running, writing, and playing board games with friends.
Nimco will be coordinating the Big Brother Big Sisters of Mid Maine program!
Emma Johnston ’23
Hometown: Bradenton, Florida
Major: Biochemistry, with an Educational Studies minor
Emma has worked with Lewiston elementary schools since her first-year at Bates, when she was a BCAT. Her love for community engaged work led her to her minor in Education. In her free time, she enjoys baking and hiking.
Emma coordinates placements for America Reads/America Counts tutors and Bates Civic Action Team (BCAT).
Maddie Lee ’24
Hometown: Providence, Rhode Island
Major: Environmental Studies
Maddie enjoys cooking vegan food, reading, and gardening. At Bates, she is part of the Track and Field team and sings in an a cappella group. Maddie is passionate about food and land justice.
Maddie coordinates Food and Nutrition Programming, which includes regular opportunities to volunteer with the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.
Aaliyah Moore ’24
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Major: Politics and Africana with five concentrations including English, Racisms, and Popular Culture
Community engagement is a strong passion of Aaliyah’s that stems from her drive to give back, so she submerges herself in community-driven work every given opportunity. In addition to being a community Outreach Fellow, she works as a Racial Bonner Justice Fellow Developing community engagement relationships and opportunities that center the vision and leadership of BIPOC students and strengthen connections between the College and community organizations that prioritize racial equity, justice, and healing. She also works in the Communications Office at Bates as the Student Liaison, where she attempts to bridge the gap between the Communications Office and students and ensure equity and inclusion. Her motto is “Success isn’t just what you accomplish in your life; it’s about what you inspire others to do.”
Aaliyah coordinates volunteer opportunities for legal reform and social justice.
Annika Mirchandani ’23
Hometown: Weston, Connecticut
Major: Environmental Studies, with an Education minor
Annika enjoys running, baking, and exploring Maine with friends during her free time. She has worked as a Community Outreach Fellow since Winter of 2020, and also works at the Bates office of Admission. She has been working in and with Lewiston Public Schools since 2019, and is really looking forward to her final year as a Community Outreach Fellow working with Blake Street Towers and other elder care programs.
Lauren Nudi ’23
Hometown: Wayzata, Minnesota
Major: Anthropology, with Education and French & Francophone Studies minors
Lauren enjoys spending time outside with friends, reading, and playing frisbee. She loves her role as a Community Outreach Fellow because it gives her the opportunity to connect with Lewiston/Auburn locals and get to know her community better. Lauren is particularly passionate about equal opportunity education and youth mental health advocacy.
Olivia Reynolds ’25
Hometown: Cumberland, Maine
Major: Sociology, with a minor in Education
Growing up and going to school in Maine has encouraged Olivia to get involved with community efforts to make resources more accessible, particularly to new Mainers. Olivia is excited to take initiative through the Harward Center to further the connection between Bates and the residents of Lewiston. Olivia is also a part of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams at Bates. She loves live music, the snow, good food, and the ocean.
Olivia coordinates After School Programs.
Anna Sarrazin ’24
Hometown: Berlin, Connecticut
Major: Earth and Climate Science
Along with her work at the Harward Center, Anna is a member of Bates’s garden club and the a cappella group TakeNote. Anna loves gardening, camping, hiking, and spending time with her dog, Barley.
Anna coordinates the Book Buddies Program, which seeks to foster an appreciation of reading in local elementary school students.
Mary Beth Tune ’25
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Major: Art History and English
Mary Beth enjoys participating in the Bates College Choir, cooking, and spending time outdoors. She worked with Lewiston elementary schools through the BCAT Tutoring program last year.
She loves art and looks forward to helping connect her fellow students with the Lewiston community and making art more accessible.
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