Core team

Mary Beth Collins, J.D., M.A.

Executive Director

Amy Washbush, Ph.D

Associate Director for
Engaged Research and Co-Create

Brian D. McInnes, Ed.D.

Faculty Fellow

Alexandra Wells

Co-Create Program Coordinator

Sandie Thao

Co-Create Researcher

Jessica Fischer

Continuing Education Lead Coordinator

Gregg Potter

Continuing Education PR

Mikala Wong

Operations Coordinator

Michael Maguire, M.S.

Faculty Associate and
Undergraduate Liaison

Student team members

Prerna Rana, Co-Create Graduate Research Assistant

Linnea Hjelm, Co-Create Graduate Research Assistant

Emma Flanagan, Co-Create Graduate Research Assistant

Chandani Bhandari, Graduate Student Outreach and Infrastructure Intern and Co-Create Project Assistant

Lindsey Mathews, Co-Create Undergraduate Research Assistant

Natalia Iding, Co-Create Undergraduate Research Assistant

Laura Evans, Graduate Research Assistant and Co-Create Graduate Assistant

Janel Hutchison, Outreach and Engagement Lead and Co-Create Graduate Assistant

Mai Chia Xiong, Civic Health of Wisconsin Intern

Garret Zastoupil, Special Projects Graduate Assistant

Kayleigh Dietz, Graduate Student Web Manager

Mallory VanMeeter, Communications and Dissemination Graduate Assistant

Janessa Thao, Undergraduate Fundraising and Development Intern

Kelly Fagin, Undergraduate Fundraising and Development Intern

Cuauhtemoc (Temo) Guizar, Undergraduate Outreach and Administration Intern

Bethy Olson, Undergraduate Outreach and Administration Intern

Visit our student alumni page to connect with those who have helped build the CommNS into what it is today!

Student alumni page

Steering committee

A campus governance committee that includes faculty, community partners, and graduate students who oversee our activities and development as a UW-Madison center.

Chandani Bhandari, CommNS Graduate Student Outreach and Infrastructure Intern and Co-Create Project Assistant
Abha Thakkar, Executive Director, Northside Planning Council & Editor of Northside News
Carolee Dodge Francis, Professor, Undergraduate Program Chair in the Department of Civil Society and Community Studies
Carolina Sarmiento, Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Society and Community Studies
Constance A. Flanagan, Vaughan Bascom Professor of Women, Family, and Community & Associate Dean Emerita School of Human Ecology
Jennifer Gaddis, Jane Rafferty Thiele Faculty Fellow, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Society and Community Studies
Karen Reece, Vice President of Research and Education Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development
Monique Liston, Founder, Joyful Militant & Chief Strategist at UBUNTU Research and Evaluation
Reginold A. Royston, Assistant Professor, Coordinator,, Black Arts + Data Futures Workshop in the Department of African Cultural Studies
Sarah Schlosser, Program Manager, Organizational and Leadership Development Program at UW-Madison, Division of Extension

Thank you to our previous steering committee team members!

Lori Bakken, Civil Society and Community Studies Professor & Evaluation Specialist
Connie Flanagan, School of Human Ecology Associate Dean
David Liners, WISDOM Director
Salli Martyniak, Forward Community Investments Executive Director
Jonathan Patz, UW Global Health Institute Director
Boyd Rossing, School of Human Ecology Professor Emeritus
Ethen Pollard, Civil Society and Community Studies Graduate Student
Matthew Calvert, Youth Development Specialist, UW Extension

Advisory board & affiliates

Advisory board

External advisors who connect the CommNS to stakeholders in Wisconsin and the world while advising on opportunities and trends in the sector.

Stephanie Schlecht, Executive Director, Schlecht Family Foundation; Current Board of Advisors Chair
Bob Sorge, President, Madison Community Foundation; CommNS Planning Group Member; Past Inaugural Board of Advisors Chair
Diane Ballweg, President, Endres Manufacturing Company Foundation and Board Member of various area nonprofit and philanthropic organizations; teacher and pilot
Julie Bauer, Executive Director, Alliant Energy Foundation
Steve Goldberg, Owner, Steve Goldberg Consulting, LLC; Board Chair, Wisconsin Philanthropy Network
Jen Hannon, Shareholder, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.; member of Estate Planning, Estate and Trust Administration Practice Group
Eugenia Podesta, Director, Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship, Vital Voices Global Partnership; Co-Owner, Synergy Co-Working
Noah Salata, American Family Insurance, Community Investment Consultant
Mark Schar, Senior Researcher and Lecturer, Stanford University; Managing Director, One Page Solutions
Tony Shields, President and CEO, Wisconsin Philanthropy Network
Sarah Wendt, Greater New York City Area Nonprofit Consultant
Jeanan Yasiri Moe, Director of Strategic Communications, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Board Chair, Give Back Foundation


Collaborators, friends, experts, scholars, and practitioners whose work connects with the CommNS and whose work we strive to lift up!

Erin Peot
Kasey Keeler
Boyd Rossing
EG Nadeau
Alice Pauser
Dani Rischall
Paul Mross
Laurel Lunde
Karen Reece
Molly Tomony
Jason Kauffeld
Mari Gasiorowicz
Troy Washington
Abby Pansch
Ginny Hughes
Angela Rose Black
Robert Mayer
Mary Crave
Michelle Kwasny
Elizabeth O’Callahan
Geoffrey Swain
Cynthia Burnson
Elizabeth Harris
Stephanie Harrison
Amy Gilliland
Annette Miller
Nathan Larson
Dr. Siphokazi J. Ntetha