Professor of Education
David Donahue joined the McCarthy Center as Senior Director in 2015. Before coming to USF, David was the Interim Provost and Associate Vice Provost at Mills College in Oakland, California, and worked there for more than twenty years as a professor of education. David earned his doctorate in Education from Stanford University after earning a Bachelor’s of Arts in History as a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University. David is a widely-published scholar on topics including service-learning in higher education, human rights, diversity and personal identity. He came to USF committed to the continuation of building a strong community while leading the McCarthy Center in its mission of helping inspire and prepare USF students for lives and careers of ethical public service.
Director, Engage San Francisco
Karin Cotterman joined the McCarthy Center in 2011 as the Assistant for External Relations. Currently, she directs Engage San Francisco, an intentional, systematic and transformative university-community initiative focused on achieving community-identified outcomes supporting children, youth and families in the Western Addition through student learning, research, and teaching. Prior to working at USF, Karin was the Associate Director for Engaged Scholarship at the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. Karin has an M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and holds a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies. Her special interests include ethical considerations in service, community-campus partnerships, and the intersections of identity and service.
Director of Community Engaged Learning
Star Plaxton-Moore is the Director of Community-Engaged Learning at the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at University of San Francisco. Star specializes in working with faculty to integrate community-engaged pedagogy into their courses and plays a critical role in shaping institutional discourse, practices, and policies related to community-engaged program design and assessment, community partnerships, and faculty development. Additionally, Star directs the McCarthy Center’s Public Service and Community Engagement Minor, an interdisciplinary program that prepares students to be engaged and informed citizens. In her 12 years at the Center, she has overseen undergraduate academic public service and service-learning programs; designed curriculum for, and facilitated, the Advocates for Community Engagement student leadership program; and coordinated outreach, support, and training for campus-community partnerships. Star co-authored the article, “Faculty Development for Service-Learning and Community Engagement in Higher Education: A Review of the Literature and Survey of Current Trends,” which was recently published in the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Additionally, Star has presented on aspects of community-engaged learning at regional and international conferences, and provided consultations and invited talks at K-12 and higher education institutions on social-justice oriented community engagement and service-learning models. She has taught service-learning and capstone seminar courses at USF and previously served as a classroom teacher in public schools in Virginia and California. Star received her M.Ed. from The George Washington University and is currently completing course work for a Doctorate in Multicultural Education (Ed.D) at USF.
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.
Assistant Director of Community-Engaged Learning
Fernando Enciso-Márquez joined the McCarthy Center in 2012 and currently serves as Assistant Director of Community-Engaged Learning. He graduated from San Jose State University in 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science, and from USF's Master of Public Administration program in 2015. He previously worked with the San Francisco Public Defender's Office in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood through its community-building agency, BMAGIC. In his role, he advances USF campus-community partnerships and oversees local to global student civic engagement programs. As a native San Franciscan, he is passionate about developing students as responsible social change agents to advocate for marginalized communities. He is actively involved in local social justice causes, and serves on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission Equity Advisory Committee, in addition to the SFUSD's Public Education Enrichment Fund Community Advisory Committee.
Program Manager, Community Engaged Learning
Angeline Vuong joined the McCarthy Center in 2017 as the Program Manager of Community-Engaged Learning. She oversees the Center’s undergraduate public service programs and supports community-engaged learning across the institution. She has a diverse background in the public sector, specializing in immigration, economic and community development issues for government agencies and non-profit organizations. Most recently she worked with UNICEF to design mentorship and education programs for in Vietnam and at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., managing social and economic policy analyses for communities of color. She 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. A native of Texas, Angeline is passionate about social justice, educational equity, youth engagement, and immigration issues.
Program Manager for the Urban and Public Affairs Graduate Programs
Kresten Froistad-Martin joined the McCarthy Center in 2017 as the Program Manager for the Urban and Public Affairs Graduate Programs. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Ethics and Social Theory PhD program at the Graduate Theological Union. Her research interests include ethics, poverty, and efforts toward addressing justice issues. Outside of the office, she is involved with volunteering with a program for families without homes and teaching at San Quentin State Prison.
Associate Director - Programs and Partnerships, Engage San Francisco
Nolizwe Nondabula joined the McCarthy Center team in 2016 and currently serves as the Associate Director of Programs and Partnerships for Engage San Francisco. They additionally sit on the steering committee of the Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project (BLMP), a project fiscally sponsored by the Transgender Law Center. They graduated from Clark University with a BA in Economics and from the University of San Francisco with a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs. Prior to Engage, Nolizwe served as the AmeriCorps Financial Grant Coordinator for YouthBuild USA and cultivated the next generation of LGBTQ leaders as the Mentorship Program Coordinator for the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition. Additionally, they served on the Board of Directors of multiple organizations including New Leaders Council, Brookview House and BUTCH Voices. When they're not basking in Blaqueer excellence, you can find them jiving to the sounds of Afro-house or recharging with the power rangers.
Director of Graduate Programs, Urban and Public Affairs
Rachel Brahinsky serves as director of the graduate programs in Urban and Public Affairs. She also teaches in the undergraduate Urban Studies program. She earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research and teaching center around the challenges of race and inequality in the context of rapidly changing American cities. Her current projects are focused on the San Francisco Bay Area.
Vista Member, Success Center - USF
Jacqueline V. Brown
Jacqueline Brown joined the McCarthy Center as an AmeriCorps Vista Member in 2016. She is currently a candidate for the Masters in Public Health degree at USF. In 2015, Jackie graduated from Northern Arizona University with her Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences, Public Health and minored in Biology and Health Coaching. She interned with the Center of American Indian Resilience, working on renal dialysis diets. Her special interests include food insecurity, health disparities, education, and SciFi movies.
Lead Researcher for Opportunities for All - USF
Zina Besirevic earned her PhD in Human Development and Cognition from University of California Berkeley, and holds Masters degrees in Human Right Education and in Philosophy. Her research is global and cross-cultural, focusing on the development of moral judgment, in particular how people reason about human rights and justice. At the McCarthy Center she is lead researcher for Opportunities for All, a program of the San Francisco Mayor's Office and the Human Rights Commission. The research investigates how youth think about issues of equality, social mobility and civic participation. Zina was the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Public Scholar, a recipient of the United States Congress’s Institute of Peace Doctoral Fellowship and the Jean Piaget International Society Prize. At the core of all her work is a respect for human dignity and reason.