Rice University

Rice University Center for Civic Leadership


Caroline Quenemoen, Ph.D

Associate Dean of Undergraduates and Director of Inquiry Based Learning



Caroline Quenemoen is Associate Dean of Undergraduates and Director of Inquiry Based Learning at Rice University. In this role she oversees the Center for Civic Leadership and the university’s new initiative in experiential inquiry and research. Previously, she served at Rice University as Director of Fellowships and Undergraduate Research and as Assistant Professor of Art History. She is co-editor with Roger Ulrich of The Blackwell Companion to Roman Architecture. She earned a Ph.D in Classical Archaeology from Yale University and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Classical Archaeology from Dartmouth College.



Robert Stein, Ph.D, Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science

Faculty Director



Professor Stein is an expert on urban politics and public policy. He is co-author of Perpetuating the Pork Barrel: Policy Subsystems and American Democracy (1995, Cambridge University Press), and author of Urban Alternatives: Public and Private Markets in the Provision of Local Services (1990, Pittsburgh Press). Dr. Stein’s current research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and examines the impact of the federal aid system on the electoral trajectories of office holders at both the subnational and congressional levels. Other research examines collective action among metropolitan area governments and voting behavior.  


Elizabeth Vann, Ph.D

Director of Programs and Partnerships



Elizabeth Vann is the Director of Programs and Partnerships for the Center for Civic Leadership.  She works with Rice faculty, staff, and students and community partners in Houston and beyond to develop academically-grounded experiential learning opportunities and mutually-beneficial university-community partnerships.  She also directs the annual Houston Centered Policy Challenge and teaches a course on political advocacy.  She earned her PhD in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Virginia and has conducted research in the US and Vietnam. 

Danika Burgess, Ph.D

Director of Curriculum and Fellowships



Danika Burgess Brown is the Director of Curriculum and Fellowships for the Center for Civic Leadership. Previously she has served as the Director for Engaged Scholarship and Learning and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas Pan American (now UTRGV). Danika earned her MA in English Literature from Arizona State University and Ph.D in English (Rhetoric and Composition) from the University of Arizona. Her scholarship is in the area of critical pedagogy, rhetoric and popular culture, and university-community partnerships. 



Associate Directors

Alan Steinberg, Ph.D

Associate Director



Alan Steinberg is an Associate Director of Houston Programs and Partnerships. He leads the Houston Action Research Teams (HART) and coordinates assessment for programs center-wide. Previously, he served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science and as a member of the Center for the Study of Disasters and Emergency Management at Sam Houston State University. Alan's research interests include the influences of social media on political engagement, applied political science education, and space policy. Alan holds a Ph.D and a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Houston, a M.S. in Defense Strategic Studies from Missouri State University, a Graduate Certificate in International Affairs from Bush School of Public Service and a B.S. in Psychology from Texas A&M University. 


Morgan Kinney

Associate Director



Morgan Kinney is the Associate Director of Domestic Programs and Partnerships and oversees learn level programming. She is passionate about working with students to engage in critical service-learning, advocacy, and community-based learning experiences. Prior to coming to Rice, Morgan was the Graduate Advisor for the Alternative Breaks program at the University of Maine, where she also earned her M.Ed. in Student Development in Higher Education as well as her B.A. in Social Psychology.




Jessica Khalaf, Ph.D

Associate Director 


Jessica Khalaf is the Associate Director of Programs for the Center for Civic Leadership.  She oversees the Leadership Rice Mentorship Experience (LRME) and the Hilda and Hershel Rich Family Endowment for Student Community Service and assists with the spring portfolio of fellowships.  A proud Rice alumna, she served previously as the Assistant Director for Policy and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin, where she also earned her M.Ed and Ph.D in higher education administration.



Assistant Directors

Shawn Reagan

Assistant Director



Shawn Reagan is an Assistant Director of Programs and Partnerships, and serves as the Learn Level advisor for the Center for Civic Leadership. Before joining the Center for Civic Leadership, Shawn worked with the Posse Foundation to build diverse teams of students to attend top college throughout the country and become leaders on campus. He is drawn to work with young people and passionate about building capacity in individuals and communities. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, Africa, after completing his B.A. at Texas State University. 




Fatima Raza

Assistant Director



Fatima Raza is the Assistant Director of Programs and Partnerships. She works primarily with the Loewenstern Fellowship, Leadership Rice Mentorship Experience, ASB, and the Hilda and Hershel Rich Family Endowment for Student Community Service. Prior to the CCL, Fatima earned an MPA in Economic and Political Development at Columbia University. While in New York Fatima worked as a policy intern at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, a research assistant at the Columbia Global Policy Initiative and a graduate consultant for Mercy Corps. She is passionate about civic engagement, migration, and development. She completed a year of AmeriCorps service here in Houston and a Fulbright ETA in Turkey after earning her B.A. in International Affairs from Emory University. 




Jorge Pineda

Communications Specialist 



Jorge Pineda is the Communications Specialist for the Center for Civic Leadership. Prior to coming to Rice, Jorge worked with Advise TX to increase the number of low-income, underrepresented, and first-generation students pursuing higher education. Jorge is passionate about helping Houston's underserved communities.  



Shaina Holm

Volunteer Specialist


Shaina Holm is the Volunteer Specialist for the Center for Civic Leadership. Much of her role in the CCL focuses on promoting ethical community engagement and supporting students in their efforts to grow as active citizens. Prior to joining the CCL, Shaina worked at Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees (PAIR) empowering refugee youth resettled in Houston. As a Peace Corps Master's International student, Shaina served in Ukraine while completing her M.A. in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation from SIT Graduate Institute.  

Student Assistants


McKinzie Chambers 


McKinzie is a senior at Sid Richardson College majoring in political science, minoring in business, and pursuing her certificate in civic leadership. She participated in Urban Immersion, and she worked as the program director for Atlas Scholars as part of the Leadership Rice Mentorship Experience. She currently works as a CCL student assistant. 


Miranda Lee 


Miranda Lee is one of the Center for Civic Leadership's student assistants. She is currently a senior pursuing a B.A. in history and proudly hails from McMurtry College. Originally from San Diego, California, Miranda grew up with an interest in civic engagement, community activism, and politics. Because of this, she loves having the opportunity to help the CCL staff make all of their amazing programs, projects, and ideas happen! Miranda is also a member of the 2018 LRME Summer Cohort and is working to earn her Certificate in Civic Leadership.