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Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

Faculty Fellows

The Fitz Center Faculty Fellows develop transformative community engagement projects based on goals identified by our community partners. They are committed to developing reciprocal relationships with community partners and ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes. The 2022-24 cohort of Fellows worked on projects primarily in Northwest Dayton. The 2024-26 cohort of Fellows have projects primarily in East Dayton, with some crossover projects in Northwest Dayton. For the 2024-26 cohort, several Faculty Fellows projects are in collaboration with Hanley Sustainability Institute. Our funding comes from The Fitz Center Endowment, Hanley Sustainability Institute and the Marianist Foundation. We are grateful for this collaborative support for the program.

Faculty Fellows
Aaliyah Baker, Department of Educational Administration

Aaliyah's project is to support the development, assessment and implementation of the academic, social, emotional and physical outcomes for the students and families in pre K-6th grades by working with Miami Valley Child Development Centers and Ruskin Elementary School. The project advances transformational approaches to service, leadership, and learning by diversifying examples of teaching and scholarship and builds a more robust model for effective and strategic community-based partnerships.

Adam Sheridan, Department of Religious Studies

Adam is establishing an educational garden at the Immaculate Conception School. The primary objectives of the garden are two-fold. First, the garden will assist in the formation of the school’s “peacemakers” in practices of service-leadership. The peacemakers are a student leadership group within the school that focuses on building and fostering community. The garden will assist their formation in practices of care, the common good and charitable works. Second, it will supplement the educational needs of the school’s UD ECHO clients. Immaculate Conception’s diverse student population comes with a range of challenges and barriers to meeting educational goals. Ultimately, the garden at Immaculate conception aims to cultivate community through practices of integral ecology.

Arne Romanowski, Department of Global Languages and Culture

Arne is partnering withMiami Valley Child Development Centers on her project. Research has shown that healthcare practitioners often hold certain negative assumptions about Latino/x/a patients’ health literacy and practices. With the support of the Fitz Center, students in Spanish for the Health Professions class (SPN 326) — many of whom will be future healthcare providers — will take part in a community-engaged project that employs an asset-minded approach, allowing them to experience Latino/x/a families as knowledge practitioners.

Chris Sheehan, Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences

Chris is working with Linden Heights Neighborhood Association, and focused on making improvements and renovations to the Cleveland Park while ensuring all changes are carried out in a safe and sustainable manner.

Glenna Jennings, Department of Art and Design, Hanley Sustainability Institute

Glenna is working with East End Community Services, Omega CDC and Photovoice. This collaboration unites Desert Kitchen Collective, an informal alliance of campus and community members partnering for food justice, with East End Community Services, Omega CDC and the international, UK-based project Photovoice. Currently working with Ellen Mays, East End Director for Child & Youth Development Programs, to provide additional skills and visioning for their Photovoice project, which “designs and delivers tailor-made participatory photography, digital storytelling and self-advocacy projects for underrepresented or issue-affected groups.” Also working with Omega CDC Vice President Rachel Ward and UD faculty Felix Fernando to design and document a community garden on the Omega campus in Northwest Dayton.

Justin Fugo, Department of Philosophy

Justin wis working with Cross Over Community Development on his project. The Center for Urban Farming is an endeavor to address pressing challenges faced by immigrant communities in Dayton, especially those in underserved neighborhoods struggling with food insecurity.

Libby Freeze, Department of Health and Sport Science

Libby is working with Mission of Mary Cooperative in creating a curriculum for the early childhood classrooms at the new MVCDC building at Lincoln Hill focusing on nutrition education, while striving to incorporate local/seasonal vegetables and foraged food available at Mission of Mary’s sites.

Molly Keane-Sexton, Department of English

Molly is working with the Mosaic Institute. The project is meant for healing the people of Dayton, piece by piece, through art therapy. Bringing art to neighborhoods and communities together by creating mosaics and assisting those in recovery in East Dayton via art therapy.

Molly Sayre, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

Molly's teaming with The Dream Center on her project. Working with students as co-researchers, this project will develop a report of programs that provide transitional housing to youth aging out of foster care so that the Dream Center can develop a model for youth in Dayton aging out of foster care, with the goal of developing a Dayton Dream Center based program.

Shauna Adams, School of Education and Health Sciences

Working with Miami Valley Child Development Centers, Shauna's project will utilize the Lincoln Hill urban garden as an inspiration for the curriculum at this center for young learners. The curriculum will honor the brilliance of young learners who are capable thinkers as well as the intelligence and creativity of teachers who will create cohesive, engaging and meaningful learning experiences for children. “Sustainability” is a meaningful topic of investigation for children and includes a multitude of science concepts that can lay the foundation of love for the earth and desire to protect it.


Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

1401 S. Main Street
Dayton, Ohio 45409