Nashman Faculty Spotlight: Erin Wentzell

Erin Wentzell is an assistant clinical professor in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Health, Human Function and Rehabilitation Science and the Academic Director for Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency between GW Physical Therapy program and Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is part of our Nashman Affiliated Faculty and recently Itohan Amu, a Scholar with the Nashman Community Engaged Scholarship team sat down to learn more about Wentzell’s work.

As an instructor Wentzell teaches a community engaged service-learning course called “Interprofessional Community Practicum”, which discusses health equity, social determinants of health, and how health is impacted by community and socio demographic factors. Professor Wentzell incorporates service learning into her course, her students work with community partners in the DC area who work with underserved populations. Students hear about the communities in class but are able to see it face to face and understand it better through their service and partnership.

Professor Wentzell and her course work with community partners that look at health in a broader sense in underserved populations. Catalysts sports, Whitman Walker Health and Youth Services, Washington Senior Wellness, Department of Defense, HSC Kids in Action adaptive sports program, NRH adaptive sports and boxing program, The Playtime Project, the National Park Service just to name a few. While teaching this course, professor Wentzell has learned that she’s not the only one out there doing community engaged scholarship. She is motivated by the amazing people in the DC area with a level of passion and engagement. She noted that while “it takes a lot of upfront work to set up partnerships, there is nothing compared to it, because students end up learning from it, the community benefits from it, and we are proud of it at the end.”

Wentzell believes that it is important for GW professors and students to be involved in the community because they need to realize that we are all neighbors and part of the Foggy Bottom community. However, she notes it is also important that we ensure it is reciprocal relationship, the community helps the students grow and develop and we can make an impact in the community and that makes the community a better place for all of us.

Wentzell imparted some healthy wisdom to an outside of GW audience recently check out her quote in w Outside magazine

One Year Later: Knapp Fellow Kristen McInerney

I am drawing connections between their sense of belonging and creating a community of practice

“I am drawing connections between their sense of belonging and creating a community of practice within our school community to help affect their academic achievement.”

Kristen Mclnerney is a Knapp Fellow for the 2018-2019 school year. Her research is on newly arrived immigrant students’ experiences in high school and honoring their voices. She has some big takeaways from her Fellowship year. “I have learned so much this year, including survey development, utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods, and going through the IRB process. It has been a difficult but great year. What first started as just ideas, has started to come to fruition. I still have a lot to do but the research is coming together in a way that I never thought was possible. The Nashman Center connected me with the GW Art Therapy Department to build community connections for the school that I work at and also with Dr. Jordan Potash who has helped create a living mural lesson plan that will help our students and staff create a mural.”

The Knapp Fellowship made Kristen’s ideas possible and she completed a pilot study. “The funds have helped me get study items translated to Amharic, Dari, Spanish, and Arabic for my students and their families. Translation services are very expensive; the Fellowship enabled me to make the IRB and research process accessible in home languages.” Kristen recently presented her preliminary data at the CIES conference in San Francisco in April. She notes that this work will extend into next year, and data from the pilot study, will inform a larger study in the fall, Kristen’s dissertation study. Presenting at the Symposium provides her with the opportunity to receive feedback and connect with other students. She notes, “the opportunity to present at the community Symposium through the Nashman Center provides practice in presenting my data and opportunities to connect with other students and faculty. I even had a few students volunteer to help as research assistants in the Fall. The connection with folks and the questions they ask after they heard my presentation was a great opportunity to get feedback.” McInerney finds her two-year research process very rewarding. “Through the Nashman Center, I’ve connected the community with my school. There are doors being opened now with faith-based organizations and other parts of GW with my school. I’ve learned that our GW and local community is extremely generous and that there are bridges just waiting to be built. It’s absolutely worth taking the time to build those bridges and deepen those connections between the community and our school.”

Kristen has undeniably made great connections in her Knapp Fellowship year to propel her project even further. The Nashman Center is proud of Kristen’s community engaged scholarship!

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How to get course credit for attending the Spring 2019 Symposium

We are glad you’re here and learning about community engaged scholarship.

To get course credit just follow these steps

  1. Log on to your GW Serves GivePulse Account

  2. Click on Classes, click on spring 2019, click on your class and scroll down to your class wall.

  3. Post your answers to the prompts that are posted on your class wall your professor can see the answers there and award your credit.

  4. Don’t forget to click Submit!

See pictures below if you need help! Have a great day at #SymposiumGW and learn about how to extend your Community Engaged Scholarship by following us @NashmanFaculty

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Dr. Cleary's Community-Engaged Scholarship Highlighted in GW Today!


Dr. Sean D. Cleary, a member of the Nashman Affiliate Faculty, is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. His work with young adults with autism for class “The Autism Experience: A Public Health Perspective” has been highlighted in GW Today!

We are excited to see a spotlight on the excellent work that Dr. Cleary and his colleagues are doing! Check out the article here. Check out more of our great Nashman Affiliate Faculty here.

2019 SENCER Summer Institute Early Registration Ends April 30

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The SENCER (Science Education for New Civic Engagements and Responsibilities) Summer Institute (SSI) will be hosted by Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio on August 1-4, 2019.

SSI brings together formal and informal educators, learners, and community and government partners for a rich mix of plenaries, workshops, and other sessions that focus not only on what students should learn, but how that learning might be accomplished.

The theme for SSI 2019 is Partnership Power: STEM Learning as a Force for Civic Renewal. In addition to their core focus on effective pedagogy and course design, the Institute program will explore collaborations and partnerships that advance STEM learning and build civic capacity for addressing the critical challenges facing our democracy.

For more information and registration, click here.

Colleen Packard Wins the Nashman Prize

Colleen Packard, a Master’s student pursuing a degree in Master's of Public Health in Community-Oriented Primary Care, has won the Nashman Prize for her Community-Based Participatory Research! Undergraduate and graduate students who present their research at the annual GW Research Days event are invited to submit for consideration for the Nashman Prize, which recognizes excellence in Community-Based Participatory Research.

Read more about her research below, and read more about the Nashman Prize here.

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Colleen’s Project: Parent & Student Knowledge, Attitude, and Perceptions of Youth Sports Injuries the Feasibility of Expanding Athletics Activities Diversity in a Community Non-Profit Organization will be presented at the Nashman Symposium on April 26th sign up here to attend

Colleen did research with Beacon House, a community non-profit organization located in the Edgewood Commons complex of Washington, DC whose mission is to close the education achievement gap for children in Ward 5. Beacon House’s athletics program is a signature offering of the organization, and the tackle football program is the largest and most successful of the sports offered.

However, with increased awareness of concussion risk in youth sports, Beacon House requested this research be done in order to adequately inform any future action by its administration. The purpose of this study is to conduct an assessment of parent and student perceptions of youth sports injuries. The study also surveys Beacon House parents and students to see how the athletics program could potentially expand in the future. The mixed-methods study utilizes survey measures and focus groups to measure both parent and student knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of concussions. The athletics interest form will furthermore show which sports parents and students are interested in playing, either in lieu of or in addition to tackle football. All methods were reviewed by Beacon House before beginning data collection, and Beacon House staff are integral to participant recruitment.

Learn more at

Faculty Spotlight: Manuel Cuellar

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Nana Evison, a scholar at the Nashman Center, spoke with Dr. Manuel Cuellar, one of our Nashman Affiliated Faculty about his Community-Engaged Scholarship. You can learn more about Nashman Affiliates here.

Dr. Cuellar is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literatures and Cultures in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, in the Department of Romance, German, and Slavic Languages and Literatures. His research and teaching at GWU are centered on Mexican and Latin American literary and cultural studies on race, gender, and sexuality using ethnographic fieldwork, archival research, and studies of contemporary and classical Nahuatl.

We asked Cuellar to describe his work and how he incorporated it into his course, SPAN 4480 Studies in Latinx Cultural Production. “My work looks at the role of movement and dance, in particular, in Mexico in public spaces. I study how dance became crucial to understanding questions of national belonging at the beginning of the twentieth century in Mexico right after the Mexican Revolution of 1910. For over twenty years I have been a traditional Mexican folk dancer. One way I have been able to incorporate my knowledge and expertise in Mexican dance is to bring it to the classroom and extrapolate that to service.”

He stresses the importance of rehearsal. “At the end of the day, that is what my students do in the classroom; they rehearse ideas. They’re trying to understand different concepts about Latin America and Latinx communities in the United States by thinking critically and rehearsing what it means to interrogate these questions about national belonging, gender, sexuality, and interracial diversity in Latin America and the US.”

We wanted to know Dr. Cuellar’s thoughts about community-engaged scholarship and collaborating with people outside of classrooms. “I think when you think of Latinidad, you usually imagine the Mexican American community on one hand, and the Caribbean diaspora on the other. However, the largest population of Latinx people in the area are from Central America, particularly from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. We need to think about how we engage these particular communities, not just theoretically, especially if we think of the students that we get here at GW: their lived experiences and backgrounds.”

In talking about the community-engaged scholarship that students do in his course, Cuellar notes, “I want them to be flexible in terms of the kinds of service that they can provide, considering their internships and paid jobs, and not to think of this as a burden but as an opportunity to enhance their learning. My responsibility as a professor is to enhance my students’ knowledge and to have them think about how knowledge is created, and the places where that knowledge is created. Without doing community engaged work, we wouldn’t really get to that part. Knowledge can’t be reduced to the classroom. We work with different kinds of organizations because in our department we have an incredible program; it is called Operación Impacto; that is run by one of my colleagues, Dolores Perillan. She has already created an incredible network of various communities. This vast network consists of the Latin American Youth Center, Somos Familia, and DC Bilingual, to only name a few.”

The Nashman Center is delighted to have Manuel Cuellar as a Nashman Affiliated Faculty Member. To learn more about Community Engaged Scholarship Courses, click here.

One Year Later: Knapp Fellow Gillian Joseph and Find Our Women

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Gillian Joseph was one of two winners for the 2018-2019 Knapp Fellowship Award. Her research project, Find Our Women, began with Gillian talking to women who were survivors, and family members of Indigenous women that are missing, murdered or victims of violence. She did this work within her honors thesis research and wanted to find protective factors for these Indigenous women. She began looking at the Dakota Access Pipeline camp, and concluded that decolonizing a space/society is a protective factor for violence against Indigenous women.

To learn more about Gillian’s early phases of the research project, and her inspirations for the project read this article!

After one year of Gillian’s groundbreaking community-based research, she was published in the APA journal through an internship at the American Psychological Association. She focused on Native American issues and met a Native American psychologist, who helped her publish a paper about the intersection of psychology and violence against women. She also has another article under review in the Journal of Indigenous Research .

To read Gillian’s journals click these links:

APA Journal: Journal of Indigenous Research:

Gillian is creating a non-profit organization, Project Find Our Women, which gives money to Indigenous women to tell stories from their communities that aren’t being seen or heard so that other women can relate, and reach out if they are feeling the same violence or treatment. Learn more about Project Find Our Women here.

Gillian is graduating from GW and will get her master degree through a program called Erasmus Mundus, which is a program through the EU and fully funded. She will focus on cross-cultural psychology. She wants to continue her work and extend it to other Indigenous populations. She also wants to expand her non-profit and tell different stories. Gillian has done excellent work, her progress in a year is just amazing. Nashman is so proud of Gillian, and we're excited to see what her future holds!

Class Spotlight: Social Problems in America


Professor Gregor D. Squires, a Nashman Affiliate Faculty member and Professor of Sociology and Public Policy & Public Administration, will be teaching the Social Problems in America (SOC 2105) Engaged Scholarship/Service-Learning class in Fall 2019. The Nashman Faculty Update wanted to highlight this class for those who might be interested as registration comes up soon!

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The class aims to integrate students into the city to see first-hand the problems addressed in the readings, lectures, films, and other classroom activities. It includes guest speakers who are actively engaged in addressing critical issues facing the DC community, attendance and analysis of an event in DC (e.g. Congressional hearing, theatrical performance, political demonstration, museum exhibit) and volunteering with a local non-profit advocacy or service delivery organization. The final paper will be an assessment of the causes, consequences, and potential solutions of a critical social problem based on students’ experiences on and off campus.

To read more about the class, check out the page from Fall 2018 on GivePulse here. You can also check out our previous interview with Professor Squires here.

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