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UACT Facilitators and Trainers

Terrell James
GCO Trainer 

Terrell is a trainer for UACT and a PhD student in the Anthropology department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research interests are youth organizing, Black power movements, and political/popular education. 

Terrell has worked in and with public schools supporting various community engagement projects and social justice work. He also works with youth to improve food access and advocate for food sovereignty in his hometown Springfield MA.

Brooke Studdard
GCO Trainer

Brooke co-facilitated GCO in the spring of 2022 and is currently training facilitators for the spring of 2023. She will graduate from Smith College in the fall of 2022 and hopes to work for a really cool community-based organization. She is passionate about abolition, sexual and reproductive health rights, immigrant justice, and mental health. Outside of school and work, she enjoys going to the gym and taking naps. Home for Brooke is El Paso, Texas.

Urgyen Joshi
MA Student / Trainer

Urgyen is currently working on a project-based Masters in Community Engaged Research and Practice at UMass Amherst. They are bridging UACT-style relational organizing and deep facilitation work with devised theater practices, aimed at creating theater that is rooted in relational practices and vulnerable exploration of lived experience. They are passionate about grassroots organizing, embodiment and meditative practices, and traveling to meet friends— both old and those yet to be discovered.  

Rebecca Alvara

Office Coordinator/GCO Trainer

Rebecca was born in El Paso, Texas and grew up primarily in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a junior majoring in Gender Studies and Government at Smith College. Her time as a student in GCO ignited a commitment to organizing work and a desire to understand the change that is possible only through community power. She is looking forward to continuing her dedication to this work throughout and after college. In her free time, Rebecca often enjoys knitting, drawing, or journaling. 

Kaila Goldstein 

Alumni Projects Coordinator / Trainer

Kaila grew up in Hopkinton, MA, is a member of the Mount Holyoke class of '22, and is pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies with a minor in Critical Social Thought. They love learning about plants and fungi and getting to know local ecologies wherever they are living. Kaila is passionate about the collective healing and transformational power of education and organizing, and she especially loves working with and learning from the youngest members of our communities. When not doing classwork, Kaila can often be found taking pictures of cool mushrooms to look up later, hugging her friends, needle-felting wool creature gardening, and taking naps. 

Kess Kessler 

GCO Facilitator

Kess Kessler: soup enthusiast, fiber artist, unrepentant horse girlboy, level 6 paladin, kid whisperer, IBS prince, they/them. Kess is committed to the abolition of the nuclear family, traditional schooling, and every imaginable prison. They are a non-traditional student at UMass working toward community building and an education in liberation pedagogy. They are from Wellesley, MA, and currently live in Northampton with Wynonna the cat.

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Char Nim
GCO Facilitator 

Char (they/them) is a senior majoring in Anthropology. They’re interested in the way people navigate and perform identity, immigrant justice, and the people power of relational organizing. They are finding community learning and sharing knowledge about the liberatory effects of critical pedagogy in education, with much love to GCO for jumpstarting this process. Char likes to sporadically crochet, dissect media with friends, and being allergic to cats (including Wynonna). Home is San Gabriel Valley, CA, Hong Kong, and where the people are.

Jen Sandler
Director and Trainer

Jen Sandler is the Director of UACT and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at UMass. Her research and writing focuses on on how people use different forms and practices of knowledge to create positive change. 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 relationships guiding her engagement in these times of extraordinary precarity, injustice, violence, and possibility. Jen's day-to-day is grounded by an 11-year-old kid, builder partner, and the best pup. 

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