Community Engagement Luminaries

CCESL is introducing a new way for DU faculty, staff, and students to connect with other community-engaged practitioners through the Community Engagement Luminaries! Luminaries are faculty and community leaders who have experience in campus-community partnerships. They are a vibrant network of community engagement advocates who are available to support DU faculty and students through individual consultations, syllabi review, and more.

Take a look at CCESL’s first six Luminaries, which include three DU faculty members and three community partners. Interested in connecting with them? Fill out a brief request form here.

Faculty Luminaries:

John Tiedemann – Teaching Associate Professor, University Writing Program

John Tiedemann has been teaching community-engaged courses in the Writing Program since its inception. He co-founded the DU Community Writing Center, which has partnered with The Gathering Place and the Saint Francis Center since 2008. And from 2011 to 2019 he served as Faculty Director of the Social Justice Living & Learning Community. John is committed to insuring that writing and the arts remain central to antipoverty, antiracist, and pro-worker activism and education both on and off campus.

Alejandro Cerón – Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

Alejandro Cerón is an anthropologist interested in the social and cultural aspects of health, especially sociocultural epidemiology, public health practice, and the right to health. After joining DU in 2013, he started incorporating short ethnographic projects in some of his classes, like Applied Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, and Medical Anthropology, usually involving a community partner, and with the educational goal of bringing together experiential learning and community-engaged courses. In 2019, he cofounded the DU Ethnography Lab (DUEL), aimed at catalyzing collaborations among students, faculty, and community partners. 

Julia Roncoroni – Assistant Professor, Counseling Psychology, Morgridge College of Education

Julia has been a faculty member in the Counseling Psychology Department, at the University of Denver (DU), since 2016. She leads the Health Disparities Research Lab where they conduct community-engaged and patient-centered research that aims to promote health and culturally sensitive health care, particularly in racial/ethnic minority, low-income, and medically underserved communities. She is passionate about teaching and believes that the counseling psychology classroom can be a uniquely transformative space where students learn to connect theory and practice through experiential learning. Opportunities for students to ask questions and seek answers to them, take risks, think on their feet, and justify their response enhances their capacity to think critically about the world they live in and be cognitively flexible, culturally sensitive, and civically engaged.

Community Partner Luminaries:

Bryan Rojas-Araúz  – Scholar-Activist and Mental Health Provider

Bryan is currently a bilingual postdoctoral trauma therapist at Reaching Hope, where he is working to develop a Latinx and Spanish-language services program. He is also co-authoring a book, Taking Action: Creating Social Change through Strength, Solidarity, Strategy, and Sustainability and helping to create a documentary focused on the experiences of undocumented immigrants and an accompanying cookbook exploring their connection to their country of origin through food. He has nine years of experience providing bilingual mental health services and working with Spanish-speaking communities including children, adults, and families. His research and professional interests include immigration psychology, DREAMers’ mental health, ethnic identity formation, critical consciousness, and cultural competence development. He is a Hip Hop Educator, poet, documentary filmmaker and scholar-activist. 

Kassandra “Kasey” Neiss – Data Activist

Kassandra currently works as Frontline Farming‘s Data Activist and Project Protect Food System Worker‘s Data Lead, and also sits on various data teams in the farm, food, and hunger movements in Colorado. Kassandra launched KISN Research & Consulting in May 2020, which is a small research company specializing in qualitative research, evaluation and analysis. In sixteen years of collaborative organizing and fundraising, and eight years in research and data, she has developed strong systems design skills, employed a range of mixed-method research methodologies, and worked with diverse stakeholders on a range of social impact, policy, and educational projects.

Ozy Aloziem – Racial Equity Advocate & Radical Imagineer 

Ozy is Denver Public Library’s first Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Manager. In addition to her role at DPL, she is a well-regarded facilitator & speaker and has served as a racial equity & racial healing consultant for several organizations across the nation. Ozy is a scholar that is deeply committed to collective liberation and healing. As a critical Black feminist, she prioritizes racial and gender equity in her scholarship and activism. She uses this focus to amplify the voices of marginalized communities that are left on the fringes of research, public policy, and global conversation.

Want to connect with another faculty member to brainstorm ideas, get feedback, and learn about their successes (and maybe even some mishaps too)?!?! Or want to get the perspective of a community collaborator who has been a partner on a community-engaged project?? Then look no further than the Community Engagement Luminaries! To request a consultation with a luminary, please fill out this very brief request form.

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