Harward Center for Community Partnerships
161 Wood Street
Lewiston, ME 04240
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, Assistant 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.
Austin Dumont, AmeriCorps VISTA/Civic Leadership Fellow
Austin Dumont 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. Austin is a native Mainer, having grown up in Auburn, and he is a 2021 Bates graduate, where he majored in Politics and minored in Education.
Austin is passionate about creating mutually beneficial partnerships between Bates and Lewiston/Auburn. He is also passionate about helping others to feel connected to the communities in which they live and work. In his free time, Austin enjoys reading non-fiction, following political developments in Maine and nationally, studying history, going for long walks, and researching his family’s genealogy. He also enjoys spending time with his family, especially his niece and nephew, and friends.
Leslie Hill, Harward Center Faculty Fellow, Professor Emeritus of Politics
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”.
Community-Engaged Learning and Research Program
Ellen Alcorn, Assistant 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, Assistant Director of Community-Engaged Learning and Research
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 and Student Leadership Development Program
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.
Marty Deschaines, Assistant Director of Community Volunteerism & Student Leadership Development
Marty Deschaines is the Assistant Director for Community Volunteerism and Student Leadership Development at the Harward Center. She grew up in Schenectady, New York, graduated from Bates, and has lived in the Lewiston-Auburn area since that time.
She enjoys helping students connect with the many wonderful opportunities our community non-profits offer—ways to address pressing community issues while engaging with a wide range of people. Marty helps to maintain information on volunteer opportunities, facilitates the community work-study program, and assists with Harward Center student leadership programs. Marty serves on the board of Tree Street Youth.
In her down time, she loves to read, work on puzzles, knit, and hang out with family and friends.
Student Project Coordinator
Nimco Jama ’25
Nimco Jama was born and raised in Hargeisa, Somaliland. She went to Midland High School in Los Olivos, California.
She’s currently a Freshman at Bates. She is interested in studying public health and psychology. She loves working and spending time with children and plan to volunteer at the Connors Elementary School.
In her free time she enjoys hiking, running, writing, and playing games with friends.
Social Media Intern
Sacha Feldberg ’24
Sacha Feldberg is the Social Media Intern at the Harward Center. She grew up in a Maryland suburb.
She enjoys featuring students and faculty at Bates and hearing about the interesting work that they do in the Lewiston-Auburn area. Her goal is to increase students’ awareness of the unique opportunities provided by the Harward Center. In her other roles on campus, she enjoys representing the class of ’24 and writing for The Bates Student.
Her hobbies include swimming, cooking, walking with friends, and playing with her guitar.
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Connect with us on Twitter: @BatesHarward