Derick Brown, a native San Franciscan, brings more than 20 years of experience leading neighborhood engagement strategies and addressing complex community issues and has an intimate knowledge of the Fillmore/Western Addition neighborhood where he grew up. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Derick most recently worked with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) as a Senior Community Engagement Advisor since 2018. He was responsible for implementing the department’s community relations strategy, securing and strengthening partnerships with CBOs, private companies, and universities, and building relationships with community thought leaders. Prior to the SFPD, Derick was San Francisco’s Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services where he managed the Mayor’s community relations strategy. He comes to USF committed to continuing and enhancing the tradition of inspiring USF students to serve others and pursue successful careers in public service.
Director, Engage San Francisco
Karin Cotterman, Ed.D., directs Engage San Francisco, a university-community initiative focused on achieving community-identified outcomes supporting children, youth, and families. As a professional in the field of community engagement, Karin has focused on how race impacts campus-community partnerships and social justice work, as well as how white-identified folks can work to dismantle racism. Additionally, Karin is a mother-scholar-activist-poet with two white sons. She is engaged in research, writing, and action related to discussing race with white children in an effort to resist race-based oppression through an intersectional lens.
Director, External Relations
Leslie Lombre joined the McCarthy Center in June 2014 as the Associate Director, leading Development and Communications for the Center’s programs. She previously worked as the Director of Development for the Museum of the African Diaspora and the San Francisco Center for the Book. Leslie comes from an extensive background in the public and commercial broadcast marketplace including the promotion/syndication of PBS-produced series and programs including Time Magazine, Money Magazine, and Goldman Foundation Award Specials. Leslie serves on numerous Boards of non-profits. With a B.A. degree in Communications and Public Policy from UC Berkeley, Leslie has used her expertise and cultural competency to promote diverse images across broad audiences.
Director, Community Engaged Learning
Star Plaxton-Moore is the Director of Community-Engaged Learning directs institutional support for community-engaged courses and oversees public service programs for undergraduates. She designed and implements the Community-Engaged Learning and Teaching Fellowship for faculty, a Community Partner Co-Educator Fellowship. Her scholarship focuses on faculty development for engaged teaching and scholarship, student preparation for community engagement, intersections of feminism and community engagement, assessment of civic learning outcomes, and community engagement in institutional culture and practice. She has co-authored two books, The Student Companion to Community-Engaged Learning and The Craft of Community-Engaged Teaching and Learning. Star also consults with independent K-8 schools on service learning and community engagement. She holds an Ed.D. in organizational leadership from USF and a M.Ed. from George Washington University. Star lives in San Francisco with her spouse, Andrew, and her two fantastic kids.
Beth Gonzales joined the McCarthy Center in 2016 as the Program Assistant. Beth was born in the Philippines and grew up in San Francisco. She graduated from Mercy High School and studied business management at Holy Names College. Beth previously worked for a global energy and sustainability consulting firm. Outside of the office, Beth loves to travel and is an avid softball player in the Bay Area.
Assistant Director, Community Engagement and Public Service Programs
Angeline Vuong is an educator, organizer, and policy advocate with over ten years of experience advancing policies and programs promoting justice and equity. She currently supports community-engaged learning across the University, combining her public policy background with pathways for young people who are committed to public service and community engagement in ways that honor their lived experiences. She has experience working as a lobbyist, academic researcher, and consultant at the local, state, federal, and non-government sectors including organizations such as UNICEF, Center for American Progress, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Angeline holds a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from Trinity University.
Program Manager, Community Engaged Learning
Jacqueline Ramos is a poet, educator, movement worker, and public health researcher — born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission district. For over 10 years, she led health initiatives at the University of California, San Francisco –– combating the prison industrial complex. Her research builds on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline by nurturing spaces for youth to thrive in their agency. Currently, she lifts practices of community-engaged learning across USF and leads the Community Empowerment Activists, which prepares students as movement workers –– organizing against systemic oppression. She developed an expressive arts and critical resistance curriculum for justice-involved youth, Queens and Kings Rising: Telling Our Story & Embracing Our Power to Be Our Greatest Self. Jacqueline’s life purpose is to serve the oppressed and believes in a reimagined world when led by the people –– committing herself to be a vessel of radical love.
Youth Engagement Coordinator
Carla Trujillo is a driven professional passionate about creating a more equitable education system. Her work centers on uplifting, fostering, and building relationships with students and community members. Carla joined the McCarthy Center as a Graduate Assistant for Engage San Francisco while earning her master's from USF in Higher Education and Student Affairs. She is a dedicated educator committed to preparing, inspiring, and educating students. Carla is joining us in her new role as Youth Engagement Coordinator for the LTMC Equity Interns and Rising DONS, two programs driven to support San Francisco youth achieve their full academic potential.
Literacy Program Manager, Engage San Francisco
Dresden joined the McCarthy Center in 2019 as the Graduate Assistant. She coordinates undergraduate participation in K-5 literacy tutoring at various sites in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco. Dresden is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Policy at UC Riverside. She comes to us from San Luis Obispo where she received her BS in Psychology at Cal Poly. Dresden is passionate about Black prosperity and creating a more equitable education system.
Program Assistant, Engage San Francisco
Camille Batiste joined the McCarthy Center team in 2022 as the Program Assistant for Engage San Francisco, helping bridge community-campus partnerships with the Western Addition. A graduate of USF with a BA in International Studies, she is passionate about building social equity through collective learning and action. Currently, she is pursuing her master's in Urban and Public Affairs at USF.
Graduate Assistant, Engage San Francisco Literacy
Cassidy Steele is a Graduate Assistant at Engage San Francisco Literacy Program, where she supports undergraduate tutors working in the Western Addition. Cassidy is a USF graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. Cassidy has dedicated several years to working with children in the home, school, and community settings and is passionate about working with LGBTQ+ children and adolescents. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychological and Brain Sciences with a double minor in Education and LGBTQ Studies at UC Santa Barbara.
Graduate Assistant, Engage San Francisco Literacy
Kiah Cassidy joined the McCarthy Center in 2023 as the graduate assistant, coordinating undergraduate participation in K-5 literacy tutoring in the Western Addition. She is pursuing a master's degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at USF. Originally from Washington State, she received her B.A. in Biology from Lawrence University. During her undergraduate studies, she worked in various educational settings as a tutor, mentor, summer counselor, and volunteer coordinator. After completing her undergraduate work, she continued educational work in nonprofit settings until deciding to pursue her master's in higher education administration. She is passionate about equal access and improving support systems for underserved communities.