Meet Our Staff

Our projects are lead by a multidiscipliary team of passionate professionals representing a variety of roles in the UM community. 



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  • Robin Faith Bachin

    Robin Faith Bachin (she/her)

    F o u n d i n g   D i r e c t o r    a n d   A s s o c i a t e   P r o f e s s o r Robin Bachin

    Robin F. Bachin is the Charlton W. Tebeau Associate Professor of History, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, and Founding Director of the Office of Civic and Community Engagement (CCE) at the University of Miami (UM). She received her B.A. from Brandeis University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, with Highest Honors in History and the History of Ideas. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan. Her areas of research and teaching include American urban, environmental, and cultural history. Bachin has published numerous articles and book chapters, and delivered scholarly and public presentations, on topics including universities and civic engagement, community development and urban planningand the intersections of urban and environmental history. Her first book, Building the South Side: Urban Space and Civic Culture in Chicago, 1890-1919 (University of Chicago Press in 2004) won the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Illinois History and Heritage. Other books include Big Bosses:” A Working Girl’s Memoir of Jazz Age America (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and a co-edited volume, Engaging Place, Engaging Practices: Urban History and Campus-Community Collaboration, forthcoming from Temple University Press. Her current book project is “Sun, Sand and Surf”: The Transformation of the South Florida Environment and the Struggle to Save It.

    Bachin also is a nationally renowned leader in promoting civic engagement in higher education and has won numerous awards for this work. These include the 2020 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award from Campus Compact for exemplary leadership in advancing student civic learning and enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good; the 2019 Impact Award for Excellence in Community Development from the South Florida Community Development Coalition; the 2016 Spirit of Service-Learning Award from the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of America; the 2015 Phi Beta Kappa Key of Excellence Award for exemplary cross-campus commitment to advancing the civic purposes of higher education; and the 2013 Community Engagement Educator Award from Florida Campus Compact. She led the effort for UM to receive the 2016 Award for Most Engaged Institution of Higher Education from Florida Campus Compact and the 2015 Carnegie Classification in Community Engagement. She has received fellowships from the Graham Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Teagle Foundation, and the Driehaus Foundation to support her scholarship. Bachin also has secured over $2.5 million in funding to support CCE’s university-community projects promoting affordable housing, urban resilience, and equity in community development in South Florida.


  • Marisa M Hightower

    Marisa M Hightower (she/her) 

    A  s s o c i a t e   D i r e c t o r Marisa Hightower

    Marisa Hightower is the Associate Director in the Office of Civic and Community Engagement (CCE)at the University of Miami, providing strategic and administrative leadership, which includes partnering with faculty, students, staff and community partners to promote collaboration that addresses the goals and missions of CCE. In addition to over 20 years in program management, Marisa Hightower holds a B.A. in English and a Masters in Communication Studies, which included original research on territorial behavior in public green spaces. Prior to joining the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, she was the Senior Program Manager at the SEEDS (A SEED for Success) program, which was previously funded by an NSF-ADVANCE Award. For seven years, Marisa worked closely with Kathryn Tosney, Ph.D., SEEDS Director and Professor of Biology, to foster an interactive and highly effective community that helped to create a climate of diversity and inclusion for faculty across all disciplines.

    In addition, Marisa serves on the Executive Board of the Women’s Commission at the University of Miami. Since 1971, the Women’s Commission works to create possible sustainable change for the status of women on the University campus. She volunteers as an Assistant Cubmaster and Cub Scout Den Leader during her free time.

  • Noah Garcia

    Noah Garcia (he/him)  

    D a t a   A n a l y s t Noah Headshot

    Noah Garcia is an educator, registered architect, multidisciplinary designer, and researcher focused on issues relating to the environment and technologyworking across scales, from the body to the city. He is an Adjunct Professor at New World School of the Arts College in affiliation with Miami Dade College where he teaches Web Development. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City, and a multidisciplinary Master’s degree from the University of Michigan concentrating on Human-Computer Interaction and Urban Informatics. When he is not caught up with ambitious endeavors, he finds fulfillment in observing his breathing, creating artwork, and hiking. After volunteering to restore a portion of the Appalachian Trail during his freshman year of college, he has gradually hiked sections of the trail and threatens to complete the journey one day.


  • Chelsea Lafrance

    Chelsea Lafrance (she/they) 

    R e s e a r c h   C o n s u l t a n t Chelsea Lafrance

    Chelsea Lafranceis from Miami Springs, Florida. Chelsea joined the Office of Civic and Community Engagement in 2019 as an AmeriCorps VISTA Inclusive Communities Coordinator. Since completing her VISTA year of service, Chelsea has worked with CCE as a research consultant on a number of affordable housing and data analysis initiatives. Chelsea graduated from Brandeis University, double majoring in Biology and Anthropology. She also minored in HSSP: Health, Science, Society, and Policy. During her time at Brandeis, Chelsea was elected as a QPoCC: Queer People of Color Coalition coordinator for three consecutive semesters on the Brandeis Triskelion executive board. She became a member of Legal Services of Greater Miami’s Young Professionals Council in 2021.

  • Joelle Dorsett

    Joelle Dorsett (she/her)

    U-LINK Research Fellow 

    jxd967@miami.eduJoelle Dorsett Headshot

    Joelle Dorsett is a second-year Counseling Psychology Ph.D.student at the University of Miami within the School of Education and Human Development. Joelle’s primary research interests center on the intersections of racial injustice, climate change, and mental health in Black and Afro-Caribbean communities. Currently, Joelle serves as the Graduate Research Fellow for the ULINK Climate Gentrification project investigating how climate issues are contributing to the displacement of residents in historically under-resourced neighborhoods. Additionally, Joelle is a Graduate Research Assistant in the Challenging Racism and Empowering Communities through Ethnocultural Research (CRECER) Lab. In this role, Joelle servesas the co-coordinator of the Kulula Project, an empirically supported, community-based interventionin partnership with Coconut Groves Cares that aims to enhance ethnic identity, socialization skills, and adaptive coping among Black youth living in the West Grove.

  • Brandon Dye

    Brandon Dye (he/him)

    G r a d u a t e   A s s i s t a n t -  H i g h   S c h o o l   P a r t n e r s h i p   P r o g r a m Amber Brower

    Brandon Dye is a graduate of The University of Tampa where he graduated with his BM in Music Education. While he attended UT, he was the concertmaster of the UT Symphony and String Orchestra, the assistant conductor of the University Chorus, a member of Chamber Singers, Wind Ensemble, Tampa Tones, and was an active soloist and chamber musician. His most recent awards include the Sally and Jack Jenkins Service Award in 2019 and the Outstanding Musicianship, Performance, and Academic Achievement Award in 2020. He served as the Magnet Orchestra and Choir Director at South Miami Senior High School, Magnet School of the Arts in the 2021-2022 school year, the Young Mozarts Orchestral Conductor, and a violin coach for the Greater Miami Youth Symphony Summer Camp, is a violinist in the Alhambra Orchestra and sings in the Master Chorale of South Florida. In 2021 and 2022, Brandon was invited to participate in the International Porto Heli Music Festival in Greece. Brandon is currently pursuing his Master’s in Musicology where his research focuses on the popularization, dissemination, and transcription of African American spirituals. Brandon also serves as the Strings Orchestra Conductor with the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. 


  • Monique Mahabir

    Monique Mahabir (she/her)

    G r a d u a t e    A s s i s t a n t Monique Mahabir

    Monique is a Ph.D. student in the Community Well-Being program at the University of Miami. Graduating from Lynn University with a B.S. and M.S. in Psychology, she has experience working in quantitative, qualitative, participatory action, and program evaluation research. Monique’s research interests center around advocating for K-12 public school students. She aims to investigate and dismantle the oppressive structures preventing students from gaining resources, opportunities, and mental health support. These aims intersect with her role as a Graduate Assistant working on the Public Housing and Community Development project with the CCE, consulting Miami-Dade County on affordable housing and community development projects. In addition to her role with the CCE, Monique is a member of the Engagement, Power, and Social Action (EPSA) research team, an associate of Collaborators Consulting Group, an editor of Collaborations: A Journal of Community-based Research and Practice, and assists in mapping local networks of organizations addressing climate and heat-related issues in Miami with the Training in Heat-Related Equity and Disparities (THREAD) Research Collaborative. 

  • Marah Selim

    Marah Selim (she/her)

    G r a d u a t e    A s s i s t a n t Marah Selim

    Marah Selim is a second-year PhD student in Counseling Psychology. Marah’s academic journey has been driven by a commitment to enhancing human well-being and fostering positive change. With a deep-rooted interest in understanding cultural nuances, she focuses her research on defining and promoting human flourishing across diverse contexts.  

    Her passion for mental health promotion and prevention has been a constant driver in her academic and extracurricular pursuits. In her efforts to address mental health at its root, her past experiences included working at the Ithaca Free Clinic where she supported efforts for healthcare affordability. She also actively propelled mental health awareness as part of the Mental Health Campus Leaders initiative at Cornell University which involved outreach to students and the local community. Marah looks forward to addressing pressing environmental and social challenges through her work on the Climate Gentrification project, and finding community-driven solutions that amplify voices and inspire lasting change.   

  • Cameron Shaw

    Cameron Shaw (she/her) 

    G r a d u a t e   A s s i s t a n t Cameron Shaw Headshot

    Cameron Shaw is a Ph.D. student at the University of Miami pursuing a degree in Teaching and Learning with a specialization in Language & Literacy Learning in Multilingual Settings. Before reaching this milestone, she received her Master of Professional Science degree from the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science, working towards her goal of being a marine conservationist with a focus on education, outreach, community engagement, and DEIA in the STEM field. Continuing her work with the university and expanding her focus to nearby Latin American countries, Cameron hopes to enhance marine science education and inspire young students within under-resourced communities to believe in their potential and help them understand that their dreams are achievable and supported. As a Doctoral Graduate Research Assistant, Cameron is joining CCE’s ULINK Climate Gentrification project, analyzing how climate change and displacement affect community stability and neighborhood dynamics throughout Miami. If you can’t find Cameron around campus, you can find her scuba diving for shark teeth, cheering on the Chicago Cubs, snuggling with her 200lb Saint Bernard, or making a mean charcuterie board.