Sarah Seames, Director of the McKeen Center for the Common Good, works with students, faculty, staff, and community partners to foster collaboration between the College and communities in ways that augment student learning and benefit the public good. In addition to directing the Center, Sarah facilitates campus discussions on privilege, manages the Center's alumni network, and coordinates the Leading for the Common Good student development series. Her professional interests include meaningful dialogue facilitation and reflection as a tool to connect experience and learning. Sarah currently serves on the Family Selection Committee of Habitat for Humanity / 7 Rivers Maine and the Volunteer Engagement Advisory Committee for the United Way of Mid Coast Maine.
Sarah’s interest in civic engagement and public policy and her experience with non-profit organizations inform her daily work with students. Before coming to Bowdoin, Sarah coordinated community service programs at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and promoted student civic engagement at the state level in her work with the New Hampshire and Maine Campus Compacts. Nationally, Sarah has served as a Youth Engaged in Service (YES) Ambassador for the Points of Light Foundation, based in Washington, D.C. Sarah completed her Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School for Public Service, where her capstone research focused on connections between student socio-economic status, working while at college, and participation in campus activities.
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Nhi Nguyen, Assistant Director, helps connect Bowdoin students to community partners and opportunities in the community. Her primary responsibilities include overseeing Bowdoin’s school-based mentoring groups, the America Reads and Counts tutoring program, the Common Good Grant program, Community Immersion Orientation Trips, and Aspirations in Maine programming. Nhi also co-advises the 32 student-led service groups that make up the Bowdoin Volunteer Corps.
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Shawn Gerwig, Administrative Coordinator, is responsible for the daily running of the offices of the McKeen Center. Providing administrative support for the Center director, staff, students and faculty working with community service and community-based teaching/research programs, her primary responsibilities include management of the departmental budget and finances, event coordination, oversight of the departmental web pages, development of office publications, and general public relations.
Shawn was raised with the idea of community participation and service as part of her everyday life – giving whatever you can - no matter how little. Mostly through informal and unorganized service, she and her family regularly helped elderly neighbors and fellow church congregants in whatever way they needed. Currently Shawn is a board member for Family Focus, an organization committed to providing affordable community-based services (childcare, special needs programming, information and referral, parenting support and education) for families with children in the Midcoast area. She also participates regularly in service projects directed through First Parish Church. On campus, Shawn is particularly interested in inviting Bowdoin staff to take advantage of the resources of the McKeen Center.
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Janice Jaffe, Associate Director, works with students, faculty, and local agencies to develop and strengthen partnerships that enhance student learning through community-engaged research while fostering mutually beneficial ties between the campus and community. She assists students to connect their work in communities to their academic passions and skills and to link their international work to the local context of Maine through the oversight of the Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowships and the Global Citizens Grant, as well as Seeking the Common Good series of public events. Janice provides support to faculty interested in linking their research and teaching to local communities, as well as to students doing community-engaged independent research.
In her fifteen years as a professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at Bowdoin Janice saw students' depth of understanding and sense of civic engagement increase as they put classroom theory on international issues such as immigration into practice at the local level. Mentoring students in course-based collaborations with agencies including the Maine Division of Migrant and Immigrant Services, Preble Street, and the Maine Migrant Health Program enabled Janice to deepen her longstanding commitment to addressing the needs of immigrant communities. Her work translating oral histories of Hispanic immigrants for Latino Voices in New England (2009), as a leader of interpreter training workshops for immigrants in Portland, and as a member of the Maine Judicial Branch's Advisory Group on Limited English Proficiency continue to inspire her and inform her efforts to bridge cultural differences and connect students and faculty with international communities in Maine. Currently, Janice is actively involved as a medical interpreter, interpreter trainer and officer on the Board of Partners for Rural Health in the Dominican Republic.
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Nancy Jennings serves as Senior Faculty Fellow at the McKeen Center while chairing and teaching in the Education Department. She also advises independent study projects that involve community-based research in Maine schools. At the Center, Nancy participates actively with staff in planning and programming that connects the Center’s work to the academic program. Along with Janice Jaffe, she is co-chairing a working group that is examining faculty public engagement in their research and teaching.
Prior to coming to Bowdoin, Nancy taught in K-12 public schools in Illinois and Minnesota. She has done research on educational reform in rural schools of poverty in Michigan, South Carolina and Maine. Stemming from her work in Maine, Nancy helped develop Bowdoin’s Island School Project that connects Bowdoin education students to high school students and teachers in one of three Maine island communities. Her recent research focuses on students’ transition to college and their academic and social development while in college. This work is in collaboration with other researchers from seven liberal arts college called the New England Consortium on Assessment and Student Learning. Nancy is particularly interested in looking at the role civic engagement plays in students’ academic engagement and sense of well-being.
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Andrew Lardie, Associate Director for Service and Leadership, oversees our co-curricular service programs, including the Alternative Break program, student volunteer groups, and annual service events such as Common Good Day. He also works with our Assistant Director, Nhi Nguyen, on our youth and education programming and will be the primary contact for students exploring community engagement opportunities and for community partners seeking to work with our students.
Andrew has been an educator and mentor for ten years, and is passionate about using education to promote a more just and democratic society. He has taught K-12 math and science in Maine and Georgia, and worked in Admissions for highly selective liberal arts colleges. He completed his BA in Biology at Reed College and his Master of Arts in Teaching at Emory University.
Some of Andrew's interests include quantitative and media literacies, hiking, music history, audio production, and mindfulness meditation. He has lived in 5 US states and is excited to be settling into midcoast Maine with his wife Margaret Boyle, Assistant Professor in Spanish, and family.
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