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Meet Our CBL Consultants

Dominic Bednar

Dominic J. Bednar, EIT is a second year Ph.D. student in the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) at the University of Michigan. He’s a part of both the Urban Energy Justice Lab and the Center for Sustainable Systems. Dominic’s research explores spatial, racial and socioeconomic patterns of residential energy affordability, consumption and efficiency. He identifies spatial clusters of high energy consuming and highly energy inefficient households to best locate residents mired in energy poverty: households struggling/unable to pay their energy bills resulting in utility shut-offs.

Dominic is passionate about integrating academic research on residential energy injustices in a way that engenders community engagement and co-development of impactful solutions. Particularly, he is interested in supporting energy assistance and retrofit policy changes by engaging with residents and local stakeholders. Dominic is a forward-thinking writer, storyteller and researcher. He’s passionate about the environment, social justice, leadership, buildings and dogs. Dominic’s dream is to become a tenured track professor where engaged learning, teaching and research coalesce.

Rachel Cawkwell

Rachel Cawkwell is a Ph.D. candidate in English Language and Literature with interests in nineteenth century British literature, life writing, and prisons. She served as a Mellon Public Humanities Fellow at the National Endowment for the Humanities and completed the Engaged Pedagogy Initiative in 2016. Outside of her academic engagements, she loves her service work with the Prison Creative Arts Project and 826michigan.


Ludmila Ferrari

Ludmila Ferrari is a doctoral candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. Her work examines the conditions and limits of the notion of community within the historical materiality of violence, through examinations of Latin American art, and architecture. She is currently finishing her dissertation with the support of the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship. In close dialogue with her research interests she has developed video installations and community-based art projects in Colombia and the US.  In 2009, she earned the National Prize for the Arts in Colombia with the work Tejedores de Historias, which resulted in the book En la grieta: prácticas artísticas en comunidad (Editorial Javeriana, 2015). 

Marisol Fila

Marisol Fila is a PhD Candidate in Spanish and Portuguese in Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. She received her BA in History from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Marisol’s research interest include twentieth century black press and contemporary online publications by Afro descendants in Lisbon, São Paulo and Buenos Aires. More specifically, her work examines the mechanisms by which Afro descendant groups contest and negotiate the dominant ideologies of national belonging and the dialogues established across time, geographies, languages and medias. Marisol is also interested in Critical Pedagogy and Digital Humanities and in the ways in which technology and digital media can serve as a tool to share her research and work to a wider audience, but also to develop digital projects in partnership with Afro-descendant organizations across Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries. As an EPI fellow, Marisol aims to connect the experiences of bilingual English-Spanish speaking youth living in Ann Arbor with a broader Latino culture, focusing her attention in making visible the lives and daily experiences of young Afrodescendants living in South America. 

Kathleen Hurley

Kathleen is an MA candidate in the School of Education studying Higher Education. She focuses on student access and success in addition to management and organizations. Broadly, Kathleen is interested in how different types of learning, such as community-based learning and
experiential learning, affect student outcomes such as retention and success. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan with minors in Urban Studies, as well as Community Action and Social Change. Through these academic programs, community-based learning was an integral part of the education she received. Now, she wants to create similar experiences for current students and expand the role of communities within higher education settings.

AJ Kuhr

AJ is a doctoral student in philosophy at the University of Michigan specializing in the philosophy of physics. Before coming to Ann Arbor, the native Long Islander received their BA in philosophy from Columbia University and studied mathematics at the City University of New York. Their work is on the historical and philosophical currents behind the speciation of quantum gravity research programs. AJ is proud to be part of a vibrant interdisciplinary community working on foundational questions in modern physics at the University of Michigan.

Katy Rossing

Katy Rossing is a doctoral student in Michigan’s department of English Language & Literature. She studies ecocriticism, prison studies, and poetics. Before coming to Michigan, Katy spent several years teaching college-level writing and philosophy classes in Alabama prisons with Auburn University’s Alabama Prison Arts & Education Project. Since arriving at Michigan, she received a 2018 Rackham Public Engagement Fellowship to support prison advocacy work, and facilitated creative writing workshops for the Prison Creative Arts Project.

Briana Starks

Briana is a doctoral student in the Joint PhD Program in Social Work and Sociology. Her research interests include poverty, reproductive and economic inequality, postsecondary education, the welfare state, and variation in family formation patterns. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley, and worked previously as an Academic Counselor for underserved and nontraditional students.  


Sunhay You

Sunhay You is a graduate student in the Women's Studies and English Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan. Her experience and training in community based learning began as an undergraduate student at Duke University where she participated in DukeEngage, Moxie Project, and Service Opportunities in Leadership. She has continued her commitment to community based learning as an instructor through the Engaged Pedagogy Initiative in 2016, and is currently a Community Based Learning Consultant for CEAL. She will be serving as a Junior Fellow through the Sweetland Center for Writing in 2018, another pedagogy initiative. Beside her investments in pedagogy, her research interests include multi-ethnic literatures of the 20th century, postcolonial theory, transnational feminism, and affect theory.