UACT Staff and Trainers

GCO Trainer and Acting Director (Spring 2021)

Justin Helepololei is a PhD student in Anthropology at UMass Amherst, a trainer with the UMass Alliance for Community Transformation, and member of Great Falls Books Through Bars, Decarcerate Western Mass, Neighbor 2 Neighbor Holyoke and the Stoke Collective. Justin's work is focused on building the power of frontline communities to abolish prisons and police.

Urgyen Joshi

GCO Trainer

Tom Lee

Alumni magic glue

Tom took GCO in 2019, loved the UACT learning community, and stayed on to co-facilitate the class in 2020. After graduating with his English degree, dabbling in donut making and writing, Tom came back around as a staff member. Today he works at a school in the valley and supports GCO and UACT projects.

Anastasia Lynge

Alumni magic glue

Anastasia is a youth worker currently based in Central Massachusetts. She is passionate about nervous system education, creating spaces for collective healing, and providing community-based harm reduction for vulnerable populations. While she currently has post-pandemic dreams of becoming a trauma therapist, Anastasia finds
joy in going on long hikes, reading 19th century literature, and wearing colorful eyeshadow.

Brennan Tierney

Project Coordinator -- Organizational Resilience and Mentoring

Brennan is a UMass Amherst alumni who was born in Rhode Island and now lives in Northampton, MA. Through UACT, Brennan felt the power of relational-centered organizing. This year he hopes to support organizational resilience by coordinating mentoring relationships and to deepen his own growth as a facilitator and organizer. Committed to (un)learning and a dreamer of solidarity economies, Brennan is grateful to be in this community to explore the important questions and challenges of this moment 

Director, etc.

Jen Sandler is the Director of UACT and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at UMass. Her research focuses on on how people who want to change society understand, produce, and mobilize knowledge. She thinks with and writes about meetings, unlikely coalitions and partnerships, policy change projects, teaching, and other forms of relationality.

Jen earned a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008, and held visiting faculty positions at Trinity College and Bates College before coming to UMass and UACT in 2012. She is intensely grateful to have so many meaningful projects and people guiding her engagement in these times of extraordinary precarity, injustice, violence, and possibility. Jen is also a perpetual but determined novice when it comes to connecting with fertile land, food, art, language, and her own ancestry. Her day-to-day is grounded by a nine-year-old kid, builder partner, the best pup, and a couple of old hens.

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