Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

Meet our staff

Professional Staff

Rachel Vaughn, Director

Rachel Cropped

Director 206-685-2705 rvaughn@uw.edu

Rachel Vaughn

In the Carlson Center, I… have served as the director for five years, and have worked with the Carlson Center for a total of 12 years. My role is to think about the strategic vision for the center, advocate for Carlson and Jumpstart staff, and learn from our students, staff, faculty and community partners to insure our programs are always growing and changing.

I do this work because… I believe deeply in the power of community-campus partnerships to create a more equitable world.

My favorite volunteer experience… is hard to pin down! I have loved my time volunteering in food banks and shelters, being engaged with neighborhood clean ups and trail restoration/urban forest restoration, and fundraising for my son’s school. In the coming year I am deeply looking forward to engaging in volunteer work as a family, now that my kids are old enough to be helpful out there in the world!

Kathryn Pursch Cornforth, Associate Director

Kathryn cropped

Associate Director 206-616-0784 purschk@uw.edu

Kathryn Pursch Cornforth

In the Carlson Center, I… manage the service-learning team, focusing much of my energy on developing and maintaining relationships with departments and individual instructors. I love helping students develop a critical lens on what it means to “do good” and how they can craft a career path that is aligned with their personal and professional goals.
I do this work because… working in/with/for communities has helped me learn who I am, taught me to recognize the privileged positions that I hold, and given me tangible ways to participate in creating justice for all. I want to facilitate other people finding these (or other) gifts through community engagemen

My favorite volunteer experience has been… teaching self-defense through an anti-oppression framework through an organization called Home Alive.

Donna Pham, Community Engagement Manager

Donna Pham

In the Carlson Center, I… lead the day-to-day implementation of our service-learning program as the Community Engagement Manager. My role involves promoting shared progress through developing relationships with and among students, faculty, and community partners.
I do this work because… of the immense growth my service experiences have afforded me. I would not be the person I am today without the opportunities I was provided to critically analyze the contexts of my identity tied to oppressive systems and social change work. I am excited to support students in their identity exploration as they work to empower communities.

My favorite volunteer experience has been… with Vertical Generation where I had the opportunity to co-lead a group of young people through their first experience climbing in a gym.

Katie Wallace, Community Engagement Manager

Katie

In the Carlson Center, I… manage the Undergraduate Community-Based Internship Program (UCBI), as well as foster relationships with new and existing community partners.

I do this work because… it’s engaging and challenging! I deeply value relationships, experiential learning and the opportunity to enhance a student’s college experience. I love how service-learning allows students to connect with our greater Seattle community, as well as dive into the important and difficult work of exploring power, privilege and identity.

My favorite volunteer experience has been… working with high school student leaders every summer through Mt. Rainier Leadership Camp at the Cispus Learning Center.

 

Student Staff

Amber Barcel, UCBI Graduate Mentor

Amber Barcel

Amber Barcel

In the Carlson Center, I…am a Graduate Student Mentor with Undergraduate Community-Based Internships (UCBI). Our team supports undergrad interns and the community partners who host those interns.

I do this work because…I could talk about anti-oppression work all day and this job encourages me to do that. We need to constantly be thinking about our privilege, power, and intentions in non-profit service-based work. I want to continue analyzing this within myself and give space for undergraduate interns to do the same.

My favorite volunteer experience has been…with Omaha Girls Rock in Nebraska! I taught drums and keys to young girls, but also developed beautiful friendships with the other volunteers. Teaching empowerment to young women through music also helped shape my feminist, social-justice lens.

Emma Biegacki, Carnegie Community Engagement Project

Emma Biegacki

Emma Biegacki

In the Carlson Center, I…am helping coordinate data collection and analysis for the UW Seattle Campus Carnegie Community Engagement application process.

I do this work because…I think the Carnegie Community Engagement classification offers a great opportunity to evaluate community engagement activities across campus, both to highlight strong community partnerships and identify areas for growth.

My favorite volunteer experience has been…serving on the inaugural staff of AsylumConnect, a volunteer-run organization that connects LGBTQ asylum-seekers in the U.S. with safe, accessible resources in their area. I loved the interdisciplinary and innovative nature of our work.

Danya Clevenger, Community Partner Liaison

Graduate Student, Community Partner Liaison

Danya Clevenger

In the Carlson Center, I… try to add as much value as possible to the wonderful work of the Center.

I do this work because… every person has so much to teach, and that we grow when we are able to teach others. I am thrilled to support students in this kind of exchange so that they not only learn from others’ experiences, but also help our partners learn and grow as well.

My favorite volunteer experience has been… as a database cleaner for a first generation college student scholarship fund. I loved peeking behind the curtains and using my skills to help the wonderful people who work everyday to get first generation college students through 4 year universities do their jobs more easily, and giving them more tools to talk about their work to funders. I learned a LOT about who those students are and what they go through, while feeling like I was leaving a more long term positive impact.

Lauren Jensen, UCBI Graduate Mentor

Graduate Student, UCBI Mentor

Graduate Student, UCBI Mentor

Lauren Jensen

In the Carlson Center,… I am a graduate student liaison and mentor (GSM) with our Undergraduate Community-Based Internship program.

I do this work because…  I am passionate about working with and learning from the wonderful organizations and assets in the community and engaging with and sharing ideas with undergraduate students/future leaders.

My favorite volunteer experience has been… collaborating with villages in Peru to change and implement new medical practices and providing healthcare to women.

Iman Mohammed, Community Engagement Assistant

Undergraduate Student, Community Engagement Assistant

Iman Mohammed

In the Carlson Center, I… support the service-learning process as a student assistant and engage in daily communication with students and community partners. I also take part in amazing projects and great discussions on how to support all students interested in service-learning.

I do this work because… I enjoy helping students connect with communities and creating mutually-beneficial relationships between organizations, students, and faculty. I also strongly believe in promoting social justice and working with the Carlson Center gave me the opportunity to not only have discussions, but to focus on ‘how to improve’.

My favorite volunteer experience has been… putting together a back-to-school event with Neighborhood House where we provided low-income families with school materials, winter coats, and shoes!

Erica Ratner, UCBI Graduate Mentor

Graduate Student, UCBI Mentor

Graduate Student, UCBI Mentor

Erica Ratner

In the Carlson Center, I…am part of a team that coordinates Undergraduate Community-Based Internships (UCBI). I act both as a liaison for community partners located downtown, the in the international district, and in pioneer square, and as a mentor for students engaged in serving these partners.

I do this work because…I am passionate about community, social justice and diversity. I believe in serving others and in the power of community-engaged service to deepen our understandings of equity, politics, and civic engagement.

My favorite volunteer experience has been…participating in a year of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), a national community service program. I travelled across the Midwest and worked with different nonprofit partners every 4-6 weeks in team-based direct-service.

Alex Strout, MSW Practicum Student

Alex Strout

Alex Strout

In the Carlson Center, I…work with the Service Learning team to coordinate CSL positions, support Rachel in the Carnegie application process, and on strategic planning initiatives.

I do this work because…of the opportunity to use the University of Washington’s vast institutional power and resources to advance the anti-oppressive work already being done in communities across Seattle. I find joy in helping students explore their identities as social change makers and connecting other students with opportunities to develop their critical lenses.

My favorite volunteer experience has been…three separate City Council races knocking on doors and fielding answers from community about issues that matter most to them. Driving people to get registered to vote and on election day.

Heaven Tesfamariam, Community Engagement Assistant

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Undergraduate Student, Community Engagement Assistant

Heaven Tesfamariam

In the Carlson Center, I…support service-learning as an undergraduate student assistant, through communication with students, faculty and community partners. I also help coordinate the Gen ST 350 registration process, a way for students to get credits for demonstrating the learning done through their internship.

I do this work because…I have done service-learning in the past and I believe that it is an excellent way for students to connect what they’re learning in the classroom to the real world through incredible community experiences. I strongly believe that working in these communities and witnessing firsthand the social issues facing our society today is the first step towards creating a more equitable world.

My favorite volunteer experience has been…working with the kids club at Mary’s place. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate career.

Kriya Velasco, Community Partner Liaison

KriyaKriya Velasco

In the Carlson Center, I… manage faculty, community partner, and student connections. I’m also designing a curriculum for our stakeholders to better integrate the elements of service and learning together.

I do this work because… healthy communities create healthy citizens, and it is the active participation of people that creates stable, flourishing communities. I believe that service is essential to one’s growth as a human being and to our society’s progress toward equity. Service, to me, is an expression of our love for life.

My favorite volunteer experience has been… teaching yoga classes! Yoga has vast transformative powers–physically, emotionally, mentally, and otherwise and I feel honored to pass this tradition to students.

Evan Walker, UCBI Graduate Mentor

Evan Walker

Evan Walker

In the Carlson Center, I…work as a Graduate Student Mentor with the UCBI program. I am surrounded by great co-workers and staff that all care enormously about serving students and our greater communities.

I do this work because…I want to positively contribute to the wealth of resources that the university provides undergraduate students. I did not take advantage of the resources myself as an undergrad student, and thus it is important for me to be a part of the energy and work that supports student growth and learning.

My favorite volunteer experience has been…tutoring elementary school students after school. The willingness to continue learning and being silly after classes are over was always a joy to be a part of.

Elizabeth Woodruff, UCBI Graduate Mentor

Amber Barcel Photo

Elizabeth Woodruff

In the Carlson Center, I…collaborate with undergraduate students and community partners in my role as a Graduate Student Mentor with the UCBI program.

I do this work because…I’m passionate about being a resource in connecting students to the larger community, and the community to our students on campus. It is so energizing to support students as they do amazing work in their communities, for their communities.

My favorite volunteer experience has been…as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate in Whatcom County.

Hanna Youn, Community Engagement Assistant

Undergraduate Student, Community Engagement Assistant

Undergraduate Student, Community Engagement Assistant

Hanna Youn

In the Carlson Center, I… communicate with students and community organizations regarding Service-Learning courses or General Studies 350, hoping to encourage long term relationships across the community.

I do this work because… it teaches me that admin work is not the end goal, it’s a tool which facilitates a deeper goal of engaging the neighborhood. It reminds me that my job is not to be a task-completer, but to honor the tasks at hand out of my commitment to the relationships at hand.

My favorite volunteer experience has been… singing and playing the favorite songs of a woman in hospice care. To be invited into a stranger’s vulnerable hours was a unique gift that reminded me that service is not a performance, it is freely offering what you have.