UACT Staff and Trainers

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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.

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Urgyen Joshi
GCO Trainer

Urgyen is a current graduate student in Community Engaged Research and Practice at UMass Amherst, a trainer with UACT, and practitioner of Abhyas Somatics. Their work explores intersections of somatic embodiment, cultural organizing, transformative philanthropy and theater for social transformation. They find joy in cultivating and supporting spaces for individual and collective liberation, playfulness and connection. And decaf coffee! That’s the ticket to lasting joy, really.

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Elaina Wolfson
Outreach Coordinator

Elaina Wolfson is a Public Health Psychology double major at UMass Amherst and part of the outreach team for UACT. After looking for a community to engage with about social justice issues and social change, she discovered UACT and GCO in the spring of 2021. Elaina is passionate about Black Lives Matter and equitable education. As the outreach coordinator she hopes to help other people passionate about social change find GCO!

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Leslie Abraham

Organizing for New Movement Leaders (2.0) Coordinator

Born & raised in El Paso TX, Leslie graduated from Smith College and then worked as a research fellow for a participatory action research project in Springfield, MA. In addition to helping develop and support UACT's Organizing for New Movement Leaders class, they also spend their time graphic scribing and community art projects. Previously, they have been involved in community organizing and political advocacy, collaborating with community leaders and organizations in Texas and Massachusetts. They hope to always be working at the intersections of art, healing, and justice, and are lucky to have many communities to come home to and build with. Leslie likes to spend their time making art, drinking tea, or learning about herbal medicine and astrology.

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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 of knowledge-making to change society. 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 a ten-year-old kid, builder partner, and the best pup.