We are an interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff, students, and community members.

Center for Community Work & Learning

D’Ann Urbaniak Lesch

Director | Center for Community Work & Learning
Strategic Director | Office of Scholarly Engagement

D’Ann Urbaniak Lesch has been with St. Catherine University’s Center since August 2007. D’Ann’s commitment to community-engaged learning is a result of her experience with the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, working with immigrant families on St. Paul’s West Side for almost a decade through the Jane Addams School for Democracy. D’Ann has a Master of Education in Youth Development Leadership, with a focus on community engagement.

Jinath Tasnim

Service-Learning Program Coordinator

Jinath Tasnim is the service-learning program coordinator with St. Catherine University’s Center for Community Work and Learning (CWL), weaving together Twin Cities’ community partner needs with St. Kate’s community-engaged course objectives for mutual and public benefit. Jinath has a degree in geography from Macalester College.

Mikayla Patrick

WTDN Program Coordinator

Mikayla Patrick is the program coordinator of Welcoming the Dear Neighbor?, as well as a Saint Kates Alumni. She comes into this role having previously worked with a number of housing justice organizations and has a deep passion for this work. She serves as a central point for all communication and is able to connect community members to the plethora of resources we have to offer. 

Faculty, Staff, and Student Collaborators

Dr. Elizabeth Brondos Fry – Mathematical Sciences

Dr. Elizabeth Brondos Fry is a faculty member in the Mathematical Sciences department and teaches statistics and data science courses. She teaches an introductory data visualization class (DSCI 1000: Telling Stories with Data) that partners with Welcoming the Dear Neighbor? to visually explore and tell stories about the lasting impacts of racial covenants in the Twin Cities area. Past students have explored spatial relationships between locations of racial covenants and current day outcomes such as air quality, Covid cases, wealth inequality, policing, and educational outcomes.

Student Collaborators

Kristine West, PhD – Economics

Kristine West is an associate professor of Economics and the Endowed Chair in the Sciences at St. Catherine University. She is an applied economist who specializes in program evaluation, labor economics and public policy. She joined the WTDN project in 2020 to help the team think about the economic impacts — past and present — of racial covenants and other types of housing discrimination. Together with a team of student collaborators she is investigating how covenants shape our communities and contribute to racial wealth disparities. Dr. West also researches the economics of education and is interested in understanding the links between housing and schools.

Student Collaborators

  • Victoria Delgado-Palma, ’23
  • Amalea Jubara, ’22
  • Calyn Schardt, ’24 –Economics, Public Policy, & WID
  • Asheley Giossi, ’22
  • Ava LaPlante, ’23 – Economics & Public Policy
  • Linnea Ziebol, ’22 – Data Science

Rachel Neiwert, PhD – History

Rachel Neiwert is an associate professor of history and the Sr. Mona Riley Endowed Chair in the Humanities at St. Catherine University. Her research interests include children and education in the British Empire and the history of housing inequality in Ramsey County through her work with the “Welcoming the Dear Neighbor?” Project. Though the historical projects seem quite distant, they share common roots in understanding the underpinnings of racism in the twentieth century and its impact in the lives of ordinary citizens.

Student Collaborators

  • Ava Griswold – ’21 – History & French
  • Alex Keller, ’20 – International Relations
  • Vee Signorelli, ’20 – English & Theology

Todd Deutsch – Department of Art & Art History

Todd Deutsch earned his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. His photographs have been exhibited nationally and internationally. His work has appeared in Real Simple(US), New Scientist (UK), Nido (Germany), VisionMagazine (China) and others, and is included in private and public collections including the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Portland Art Museum. Students in his community-engaged digital imaging courses work with Welcoming the Dear Neighbor? to examine the relationship between art and social change.

Student Collaborators

External Collaborators

Seth Mabbott

Graphic Designer

Patricia O’Leary, ’21

Web Design

Heritage Studies and Public Policy

University of MN, Twin cities

Elizabeth DeGrenier, ’20

Web Design

Heritage Studies and Public Policy

University of MN, Twin cities

Mai Yer Vang, ’21

UX/UI Designer