Mary Ellen joins Generation Citizen with over ten years of experience in nonprofit management, youth development and higher education. Her graduate fieldwork in Costa Rica enhancing access to education in rural communities inspired her to pursue a career working at the intersection of education and community engagement.
After earning her M.Ed. in International Educational Development from Boston University, she spent eight years with the refugee resettlement program at Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island where she led community outreach efforts and implemented a nationally recognized volunteer program. She has since taught in higher education, fostering civic learning in her undergraduate and community college courses in CT and RI. In 2019, she was one of five educators in the country to receive a USDA/NIFA Higher Education Challenge Grant supporting a youth dialogue project that she co-led, engaging high school students across Rhode Island in a discussion about the power of community building. As a Women’s Policy Institute Fellow, she advocated with her team to pass a bill that would make safe and affordable housing accessible to all Rhode Island residents regardless of socio-economic status. Her fellowship inspired her to design a course for the RI-GEMS program to empower middle school students to engage in policy advocacy. She is excited to continue her passion for elevating youth voice through Action Civics.
Mary Ellen was a Youth Service Ambassador with PrepareRI, where she developed civic engagement resources for K-12 educators. She is excited to continue to support teachers in curriculum delivery and development in her role as Program Manager. She also volunteers as a Clifton Strengths Coach with Leadership Rhode Island.
In her free time, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband and their trek packs. She is an avid runner and marathoner. You can also find her walking with her rescue dog, Bart.