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Upon completing her Master’s Degree in International Educational Development, Mary Ellen set out to assist the refugee community in Rhode Island. For more than 10 years, Mary Ellen has focused on refugee advocacy and community engagement, and for eight years, she has worked in the refugee resettlement field, cultivating community partnerships to connect refugees to the broader community, facilitating cross-cultural competency workshops, and presenting at the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants National Conference. Mary Ellen has also facilitated workshops for wide-ranging audiences on topics such as community engagement, leadership development, public speaking, refugee resettlement, and volunteer management.

In 2016, Mary Ellen was fortunate to merge her professional experience with her international education background in her role as Adjunct Professor at four colleges and universities. Influenced by her long-term involvement with refugees, Mary Ellen teaches community development, global migration, and public speaking courses at the Community College of Rhode Island, Quinebaug Valley Community College, Rhode Island College, and Roger Williams University.

Mary Ellen’s foundational classroom goal is to broaden and redefine the lens through which students see the world. As such, she incorporates global competencies to prepare students for an increasingly interconnected world. Mary Ellen teaches public speaking through that same lens to ensure that students develop effective communication skills and feel increasingly empowered to share ideas and values to effect positive change.

In recognition of her efforts, Roger Williams University selected Mary Ellen as a Hassenfeld Faculty Fellow for Community Engagement, which allows her to expand the integration of community involvement in her teaching.

Outside the classroom, Mary Ellen is actively engaged both locally and globally. She is a Leadership Rhode Island (LRI) Strengths Coach, assisting with delivering strengths trainings as part of LRI’s Make RI Stronger initiative. She is a “Trained Narrative 4 Story Exchange Facilitator” with Narrative 4, a global organization that builds a community of empathetic global citizens who improve the world through the exchange of personal narratives. Mary Ellen serves on the Board of Directors of Academy for Career Exploration and Women’s Refugee Care and is as a volunteer staff member with Universal Promise, an NGO committed to education as a means to empowerment in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Mary Ellen is eager to bring her passion for global education to your school, business or organization and to work with you to design and facilitate workshops that meet your needs.

“Mary Ellen facilitated a workshop with my Salve Regina University class to provide students with techniques for effective public speaking. She has a natural ability of engaging with her audience by creating an interactive environment. Her knowledge, enthusiasm and warm personality made the experience for students informative, fun and enjoyable. If you are looking for a global educator who is professional, passionate and invested in the success of students, I highly recommend Mary Ellen!”

 – Gail Lowney Alofsin; Keynote Speaker, Author, Adjunct Professor, Career Coach, Sales & Marketing Executive

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