To help prepare the more than 200 students engaging in service internships this summer, the Pace Center piloted a joint orientation program centering around Communities of Practice. To that end, we brought together students to learn from community partners as they shared in their insights about the issues facing their fields.

2021 Event Recap

On Friday, May 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. students engaged in discussions, learned about new and exciting aspects of the issues that matter most to them, and connected with peers. The event concluded with a talk Krista Tippet of On-Being, co-sponsored by Princeton Public Lectures, the University Center for Human Values, and the Program in Journalism.

Welcome Panel Discussion

Eric Marsh, WHYY News & Information Community Exchange

WHYY’s News & Information Community Exchange (N.I.C.E.) is a mutual aid, journalism collaborative funded by the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund. Managed by Eric Marsh, community outreach organizer for WHYY, the goal of N.I.C.E. is to organize, support, and develop grassroots news and information content creators who serve their communities and who, in turn share content, sources, wisdom and audiences with WHYY and each other. By utilizing the industry leading reputation and experience of WHYY, N.I.C.E. partners are able to collaborate with one another and grow their relationships and professional capacities while helping WHYY connect with diverse communities and build relationships and trust.

Pastor Karen Hernandez Granzen, Westminster Presbyterian Church

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Pastor Karen is entering her third decade with the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Trenton, NJ. Westminster Presbyterian Church is an urban, multicultural, multiracial and More Light congregation. Pastor Karen has dedicated herself to bringing people and institutions together to organize around service and justice work. Pastor Karen is an experienced organizer for systemic change. She is an active member of several boards, commissions and councils in Trenton and Princeton including the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF), the Princeton Civil Rights Commission, and the Trenton Latino Advisory Council. She is a former board member of Isles, Inc.

Dr. Timothy Eatman, Educational Sociologist

Timothy K. Eatman, Ph.D., an educational sociologist and publicly engaged scholar, serves as the inaugural dean of the Honors Living Learning Community (HLLC) and Associate Professor in the department of Urban Education at Rutgers University - Newark. Prior to this his primary network of operation and leadership for over a decade was with Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA) serving as Director of Research (2004 – 2012) and Faculty Co-Director (2012 to 2017). Tim’s national association leadership continues as one of three national co-chairs of the Urban Research Action Network (URBAN) and as board vice chair (chair elect) of the International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE) which awarded him the 2010 Early Career Research Award. A widely sought-after speaker, workshop facilitator, and collaborator who has earned local, national and international recognition for his leadership in advancing understandings about the multi-faceted impact of publicly engaged scholarship in the university of the 21st century. This year he was recognized by the University of Illinois College of Education with its 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Thomas von Oehsen, Trenton Circus Squad

Thomas von Oehsen is founder and executive director of Trenton Circus Squad, which inspires young people to take big leaps in life. Squad members learn how to cooperate, push themselves and serve their community – all through the astonishing practice of circus arts.

Communities of Practice

Designed to promote cross-program and interdisciplinary dialogue, Communities of Practice are spaces for students to think about the intersecting nature of their internships and interests. This provides space for students to ask questions and find peers that are grappling with the same issues, share resources and support each other.

To join the Community of Practice that you have been assigned, click on the respective link below: 

Arts Community of Practice Speakers

Victoria Davidjohn '19

Victoria Davidjohn graduated from the English Department in the Class of 2019 with certificates in theater and music theater. A recipient of the Martin A. Dale Fellowship, the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, and the New York Women's Foundation Directing Award, she is currently serving as the Coordinator for Academic and Student Engagement at the Lewis Center for the Arts. At Princeton, she served as the President of Princeton University Players and as the Music Theater Representative on the Lewis Center for the Arts Advisory Committee. Upcoming projects include the dramaturgy of OK Trenton, a new documentary theater piece at Passage Theater.

Thomas von Oehsen, Trenton Circus Squad

Thomas von Oehsen is founder and executive director of Trenton Circus Squad, which inspires young people to take big leaps in life. Squad members learn how to cooperate, push themselves and serve their community – all through the astonishing practice of circus arts.

Criminal Justice Community of Practice Speakers

Steve Marcus '10

Steve Marcus is a public defender at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. He represents adults accused of serious felonies and challenges systemic injustice through strategic civil rights litigation. Notable recent cases include successful lawsuits against the District of Columbia jail regarding its insufficient response to COVID-19, and against the United States Marshals Service regarding its unlawful cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Prior to joining the Public Defender Service, Steve served as a law clerk for judges on the Southern District of New York and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He received his B.A. from Princeton University, where he majored in the School of Public and International Affairs, and his J.D. from New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar. Between college and law school, Steve worked at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, where he assisted New Jersey residents returning home from prison.

Education Community of Practice Speakers

Sarah Tantillo '87

Sarah Tantillo, Ed.D. is the creator of The Literacy Cookbook and author of The Literacy Cookbook: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction, Literacy and the Common Core: Recipes for Action, Using Grammar to Improve Writing: Recipes for Action, and Hit the Drum: An Insider’s Account of How the Charter School Idea Became a National Movement. She has consulted in NJ and nationally with schools (esp. urban schools) seeking to improve student achievement since 2007. She is currently the Managing Director of Humanities at the Great Oaks Legacy Charter Schools network in Newark. Sarah taught high school English and Humanities in both suburban and urban NJ public schools for 14 years, including seven years at the high-performing North Star Academy Charter School of Newark. She also founded and ran the NJ Charter School Resource Center and NJ Charter Schools Association. She has studied at Princeton (B.A. ’87), Harvard (M.Ed. ’91), Johns Hopkins (M.A. ’95), and Rutgers (Ed.D. ’01). Her dissertation was on culture formation in charter schools. She writes two blogs: The Literacy Cookbook and Only Good Books.

Jo Krish, Literacy New Jersey

Jo Krish is program coordinator in Mercer County with Literacy New Jersey, which provides free instruction to adults who need help with reading, writing, math and speaking English. Trained volunteer tutors work with adults one-to-one or in small groups to help them improve their language and literacy skills so they can reach their life goals.

Health Community of Practice Speakers

Blessing Agunwamba '10

Blessing Agunwamba graduated from Princeton in 2010 with a degree in molecular biology and a certificate in neuroscience. She spent a year at a community health center as a Princeton Project 55 Fellow, helping the center transition from paper charts to electronic health records. It was there that she discovered her passion for creating efficient and effective processes. Blessing transitioned to clinical research, focusing on early phase cancer immunotherapy research. As a study coordinator, and later manager, at a major cancer research hospital in New York City, she piloted a number of processes that improved her team's patient management, supply management, and record keeping, earning institutional wide acknowledgement. Blessing continues to work in oncology research, opening immunotherapy trials across the United States and working with global vendors. When she is not working on clinical trials, Blessing can be found singing, and has had the pleasure of performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Spain, Germany, and Japan.

Gregory Paulson, Trenton Health Team

Gregory Paulson is executive director of the Trenton Health Team. While working as a field paramedic, Gregory Paulson helped many patients who needed emergency care, and many who sought refuge in the emergency room when they actually needed accessible primary care and social services. A desire to improve how the healthcare system responded to patients led him into healthcare administration, and in 2013, to Trenton Health Team (TNT) as one of its first employees. As THT Deputy Director, Greg led the effort to develop and launch the Trenton Health Information Exchange (HIE) and worked to build its value for stakeholders through expanded reporting and analytics. He also worked to hire THT’s initial staff and establish programmatic and operational infrastructure to create a foundation for the organization’s growth. Greg was promoted to Executive Director in May 2015.

Human Rights Community of Practice Speakers

Katherine Clifton, Office of Religious Life, Refugee Resettlement

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Katherine Clifton graduated from Princeton in 2015 where she focused on the social and political importance of literature and theatre. After graduating, she returned to Serbia to explore hostilities between the Roma and Serbs and support refugee aid efforts funded by the Dale Fellowship. She then pursued Masters degrees at the University of Oxford in Refugee and Forced Migration and Public Policy as a Rhodes Scholar. At Oxford she tutored refugee youth, participated in BADA's summer theatre intensive, and gave tours of the university to international students. She is delighted to be back at Princeton coordinating the Religion and Resettlement Project, and involved in the community as an ESL tutor at Princeton High School, a mentor in LALDEF's FUTURO program, a member of the Human Values Forum, a Wilson College fellow, and an academic fellow for the men's squash team.

Robert Falk '85

Rob Falk '85 currently serves as general counsel of Truth Initiative, a non-profit that seeks to inspire young people free of tobacco, vaping and nicotine addiction. Previously, he served as general counsel of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, Whitman-Walker Health, a social services organization that meets the health and welfare needs of the LGBTQ, HIV and low-income communities in Washington, DC, and of DC General Hospital, a large urban public hospital. He also serves on the global board of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the board of the Council for Legal Education and Opportunity, which creates opportunities for minority and first generation college students to pursue legal careers. In his free time, he studies improv.

Policy/Communications Community of Practice Speakers

Ray Chao '15

Ray Chao '15 is the general manager of audio at Vox Media, where he leads podcast strategy, growth, and partnerships. He previously led strategy and business development at New York Public Radio and was a management consultant at Oliver Wyman. 

Harrison Miller '84

Harrison Miller is the founder and managing partner of Unite & Renew, a political philanthropy working to create a more functional, productive, and unified US Congress. By investing to advance systems reforms at the state and federal level, Unite & Renew fights to shift politicians’ incentives away from tribalism and extremism, and towards productivity, compromise, and a truly representative democracy. Harrison is also a Senior Advisor and Former Managing Director at Summit Partners, a global growth equity firm with $40B under management. At Summit he served as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee, co-led the creation of Summit’s venture capital practice, and led Summit’s investments in numerous leading technology companies. Prior to Summit, he was an early member of the management team, serving in a series of senior general management roles from 1998 to 2003. Prior to Amazon, he led sales and marketing at Lightspan, an online education startup that went public in 2000; helped create and run micro-lending programs in the developing world with two NGOs; and was an elementary school teacher in New York City. He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an AB in Religion from Princeton University. 

Sustainability/Food Justice Community of Practice Speakers

Curtis Leonard '20

Curtis Leonard joined The Food Project as the research and evaluation fellow in August 2020 after graduating from Princeton University with a degree in Anthropology. His academic research focused on intersectionality and accessibility in National Parks and other outdoor environmental spaces. Outside of his studies, he dedicated much of his energy in college to a leadership development program that used backpacking and hiking as a catalyst for personal growth. At The Food Project, he is supporting an evaluative alumni outreach project, spending time with Root Crew youth on the North Shore, and working on innovative models for distribution to help our food systems become more resilient and adaptable. 

Nagisa Manabe, Northeast Organic Farming Association

Nagisa Manabe is executive director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-NJ) and owner of River Stoan Farm in Princeton, NJ.

Distinguished Teaching Lecture

Krista Tippett is a National Humanities Medalist and bestselling author. She founded and leads the On Being Project - a groundbreaking media and public life initiative - and is the creator and host of the Peabody Award-winning On Being radio show. Tippett takes up the great animating questions of human life: What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? Who will we be to each other?

The fourth annual Distinguished Teaching Lecture in Service and Civic Engagement is sponsored by: Princeton University Public Lectures, the University Center for Human Values, the John H. Pace, Jr. '39 Center for Civic Engagement, and the Program in Journalism.