I am Assistant Professor and former Director of Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University. My research focuses on the role that nonprofit organizations play in both challenging and reproducing social inequalities. I am particularly interested in the ways that staff of nonprofit organizations interpret hierarchies of race, class and gender through their service and advocacy work. In a recent article, my colleagues & I draw from critical race theory to examine nonprofit partnerships with the U.S. Census, highlighting how staff of community-based organizations grappled with the need for greater representation and deep mistrust in government as they assisted their constituents to participate in the 2020 count. My current projects rely on theories of racial capitalism and racial governance to highlight the ways that nonprofit and philanthropic organizations reproduce white institutionalized space.
In my teaching, I draw from critical theory to encourage students to revisit key assumptions about how nonprofits and NGOs work. I teach courses on the history & fundamental theories of the sector, board governance, planning & evaluation, community-engaged research, applied research methods, and the graduate capstone projects. I also write about the need for critically-engaged curricula and pedagogy in nonprofit management education. I am continuously astonished by the insights, creativity, and commitment of students as they work for a more just world.
My work is informed by my graduate training in anthropology and history, where I focused on the role that third sector organizations played for Vietnamese emigrants seeking citizenship in France and the U.S. I received my PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan and my BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Virginia.
In everything I do, I draw from my time as a nonprofit practitioner with organizations advocating for immigrant justice, serving refugee women and families, supporting girls and youth, and building community-centered schools. More recently, I have designed and delivered leadership development education for practitioners, including a month-long immersion for a fellowship program for leaders of color placed in community organizations and a year-long cohort experience for mid-career managers of environmental organizations.
I currently serve on the leadership committees of the Critical Perspectives section and Undergraduate Diversity Scholars program with the Association of Research on the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector (ARNOVA).