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Staff

Headshot of Faith Davis.Faith Davis (she/her)

Community Civic Engagement Intern

Faith Davis, ‘22, is a Meyerhoff and U-RISE Scholar double majoring in Biological Sciences and Sociology on the pre-medical track, and the UMBC recipient of the 2021-22 Newman Civic Fellowship. As the Community Civic Engagement Intern with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, Faith assists Alternative Spring Break (ASB) leaders in developing the skills and framework to create an immersive experience that broadens students’ perspectives on social issues in Baltimore. She also organizes programs that empower students to view themselves as agents of change. Prior to joining the Center for Democracy and Civic Life staff, Faith participated in ASB in 2019 and the STRiVE leadership for social impact retreat in 2021. She was a leader for the 2020 and 2021 ASB programs, for which she co-designed curricula to heighten participants’ awareness of social issues related to food justice. Faith competes on UMBC’s Ethics Bowl team and is the president of UMBC’s chapter of Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity. She enjoys rock climbing and training for triathlons in her free time. Faith can be reached by email at fdavis1@umbc.edu.

 

Headshot of David Hoffman.

David Hoffman (he/him)

Director

David Hoffman is Director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Life. He develops and teaches courses about civic communication and culture as a Faculty Fellow in UMBC’s Honors College, and has created and facilitated dozens of programs in which students develop the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and relationships needed to help their communities thrive. He serves as a member (and immediate past chair) of the Steering Committee for AASCU’s American Democracy Project, and as a member of the National Advisory Board for Imagining America. As a member of the inaugural cohort of American Democracy Project Civic Fellows, he led the development of the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Theory of Change, and works with Center for Democracy and Civic Life colleague Romy Hübler and national partners to amplify and implement it. David’s research and publications explore civic agency, civic pedagogy, democratic communication styles and techniques, and culture change within institutions. He is an alum of UCLA, where he served as Student Body President and University of California Student Regent. He earned J.D. and M.P.P. degrees at Harvard University, and his Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture at UMBC. When he’s not working, David often can be found setting his fantasy baseball lineups or taking photos; his practice of taking pictures on the UMBC campus once got him labeled as “the #UMBCsky guy.” David can be reached by email at dhoffman@umbc.edu or by phone at 410-455-1565.

 

Headshot of Romy Hübler.Romy Hübler (she/her)

Assistant Director

Romy Hübler is Assistant Director of the Center for Democracy and Civic Life and an Honors College Faculty Fellow. Through immersive programs, workshops, and courses, Romy works with students, staff, and faculty to develop the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed to build thriving communities at UMBC and beyond. She serves as co-principal investigator for the PLACE Collaboratory at UMBC, a project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that uses community organizing and humanities methods to address community-identified issues in South Baltimore. Romy is UMBC’s institutional representative for the NASPA LEAD Initiative. She works with the American Democracy Project (ADP) as a Civic Fellow and UMBC’s campus liaison. Romy’s recent publications include co-authored articles about the CLDE Theory of Change in the Leadership Exchange, eJournal of Public Affairs and NASPA Knowledge Community Publication, and a chapter about democratic teaching practices in the edited volume Creating space for democracy: A primer on dialogue and deliberation in higher education. She earned her B.A. in Modern Languages and Linguistics, M.A. in Intercultural Communication, and Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture at UMBC. Romy is an avid hiker and enjoys indoor bouldering, reading, and trying new recipes. She can be reached by email at romy.huebler@umbc.edu or by phone at 410-455-3457.

 

Headshot of Charis Lawson.Charis Lawson (she/her)

Program Specialist

Charis Lawson, ’20, is a Program Specialist with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life. She supports the Center’s immersive experiences, programs, staff development, and communications. Charis earned her B.A. in English Communications & Technology at UMBC. As an undergraduate, she participated and thrived in the Center’s courses and programs. She values the Center’s commitment to bringing people from different backgrounds together and equipping them to promote positive change. She is excited to support programs, initiatives, experiences, and people that helped shape her while working alongside individuals she deeply admires. Charis previously served as the Center’s 2020 Political Engagement Intern and as a STRiVE 2020 coach. In addition to her work with the Center, Charis serves as a Marketing and Communications Specialist with the Office of Institutional Advancement. In her free time, she enjoys writing fiction and experimenting with makeup. She can be reached by email at chala1@umbc.edu.

 

Headshot of Tess McRae.Tess McRae (she/her)

Senior Intern for Civic Design and Engagement

Tess McRae, ‘22, is a Humanities and Kaplan Scholar majoring in Civic Renewal and Creative Expression through the Individualized Study program. In her role as Senior Intern for Civic Design and Engagement with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, she envisions and supports activities that foster community such as the Civic Courage Journaling Project, Retriever Tales, and STRiVE; helps to develop, apply, and share the Center’s civic tools on campus and in national forums; and develops visuals that communicate the Center’s philosophy, including the logo for the Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Theory of Change. She also represents UMBC on the University System of Maryland (USM)’s Civic Engagement Student Leadership Committee. Tess was the Site Coordinator at STRiVE 2021 and a coach at STRiVE 2020, and she will be a coach at STRiVE 2022. She attended STRiVE as a participant in 2018, and also participated in Alternative Spring Break (ASB) 2021 with a focus on food justice. Tess served previously as the Director of Communications for UMBC’s Student Government Association (SGA). She has also held positions as a graphic designer for commonvision, a peer facilitator for the Introduction to an Honors University (IHU) program, and a Study Abroad Ambassador with the Education Abroad Office. Tess is a poet, artist, musician, and theater fan who loves to sing and play piano… sometimes simultaneously. She can be reached by email at tmcrae2@umbc.edu or by phone at 410-455-1808.

 

Headshot of Garrett Posey.Garrett Posey (he/him)

Political Engagement Intern

Garrett Posey, ‘22, is a Humanities Scholar double majoring in Political Science and History with a certificate in Mandarin. As the Political Engagement Intern with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, he will support the development and implementation of political engagement strategies on campus and beyond. UMBC has been a welcoming home for Garrett since he first arrived on campus in Fall 2018. He is excited to find his place in the Center’s broader goals and mission, and to support communities at UMBC and beyond in effecting beneficial change. Garrett has worked as a Tour Guide and a Grit Guide for UMBC’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions to introduce prospective students to the campus experience on daily tours. He also supported two POLI 100 classes as a Teaching Assistant, which convinced him of his passion for political science and political engagement. During the summer of 2019, he served as a Democracy Summer Fellow with Congressman Jamie Raskin, learning valuable political advocacy, organizational, and teamwork skills in conveying the Fellowship’s goals to constituents and Members of Congress alike. Garrett also interned with the Hagerstown and D.C. offices of Congressman David Trone in fall 2020 and spring 2021, supporting the Congressman’s constituents by addressing public comments and taking comprehensive notes for reports about the briefings and hearings he attended. Outside of work and school, Garrett enjoys being active, playing tennis, playing guitar, going for walks, and reading books and the news. He also loves to spend time with two gray cats: his cat, Penelope, and his girlfriend’s cat, Klondike.

 

Headshot of Markya Reed.Markya Reed (she/her)

Graduate Assistant

Markya Reed, ‘18, M.A. ‘23, Applied Sociology, is a Graduate Assistant with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life. She supports the Center’s immersive experiences, workshops, and programs. Markya hopes to foster opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and create environments which allow all members of the UMBC community to come together and create positive change both on and off campus. She also serves as a Peacework Fellow through the Shriver Center. As an undergraduate student, Markya participated in and facilitated Alternative Spring Break (ASB) programs related to disability rights, food security, and homelessness in Baltimore City from 2014 to 2017; participated in the STRiVE leadership for social impact retreat in Summer 2014; and served as a STRiVE coach from 2015 to 2018. She also served as a Senator and Vice President of UMBC’s Student Government Association. She graduated from UMBC with a B.A. in Psychology. Over the past few years, Markya has worked with immigrant youth in Baltimore City through various nonprofits and has served as a Youth Development Promoter with Peace Corps, Costa Rica. During her service, she discovered a passion for writing and spends her free time writing screenplays for small film festivals. Markya can be reached by email at markya1@umbc.edu or by phone at 410-455-1815.

 

Headshot of Caleb Ruck.Caleb Ruck (he/him)

Assessment and Special Projects Intern

Caleb Ruck, ’22, is majoring in Modern Languages and Linguistics (Spanish & German) with a minor in Anthropology and a certificate in Intercultural Communication. As the Assessment and Special Projects Intern with the Center for Democracy and Civic Life, he conducts research with the aim of understanding and evaluating the impact of the Center’s initiatives and work. He participated in Alternative Spring Break (ASB) 2021 with a focus on transformative justice and decarceration. Caleb also works for Initiatives for Identity, Inclusion & Belonging (i3b) as a graphic designer and social media manager, and for the Student Events Board (seb) as a graphic designer (and former event programmer). In his work, Caleb strives to make the world a more welcoming, diverse and equitable place and to uplift minoritized voices. In his free time, Caleb enjoys goaltending in ice hockey, cooking and playing the guitar poorly. He can be reached by email at calebruck3@umbc.edu.