Abe Goldberg
Abraham Goldberg

Abraham Goldberg is Executive Director of the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement and an Associate Professor of Political Science. Prior to arriving at JMU, he was Director of the Office of Service-Learning and Community Engagement and a political science faculty member at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Abe authored the South Carolina Civic Health Index (2014) in collaboration with the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University and the congressionally chartered National Conference on Citizenship (NCOC) in Washington D.C. Described as the first state-wide assessment of civic behaviors, the report analyzes political participation, community involvement, and neighborhood engagement rates among various demographic groups within the state. Abe has also written about the need for colleges and universities to prepare students for a lifetime of active participation in civic life.

Along with his civic engagement work, Abe co-authored articles focusing on how the built environment of urban places and the accessibility of community amenities contributes to the social connectivity, health, and happiness of residents. This work has appeared in academic journals including Social Science and Medicine, Urban Design and Planning, Urban Affairs Review, and Journal of Urbanism and has been profiled in various popular media outlets. He regularly supervises undergraduate research projects and teaches courses in civic engagement, urban planning and policy, and American politics. Abe is originally from Charleston, West Virginia and earned his doctorate from West Virginia University.

Carah Whaley
Carah Ong Whaley

Carah Ong Whaley is Associate Director of the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement at James Madison University. She previously was a lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia and in the Department of Political Science at JMU. At the heart of her research interests is a desire to understand and illuminate how the interactions of political actors and institutions structure public access and participation in policy- and decision-making processes.

Carah has developed innovative pedagogy melding scholarship and experiential learning to teach courses on civic engagement, campaigns and elections, and state and local politics. Her dissertation explored the politics of cleaning up the environmental contamination that resulted from the testing, development and production of nuclear weapons, with a focus on the role of community-based groups in developing expertise and engaging the public in policy- and decision-making processes.

Recent research and publications include American Government: Roots and Reform (co-authored chapters with Dr. Larry Sabato on Political Parties, Campaigns, Elections and Voting, and The Media). With Dr. Walter Heinecke, she is co-editing a new book series on “Global Civic Engagement” (Forthcoming, Information Age Press).

Carah has previously worked at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, which included assisting with Leaders for Democracy fellowship programs, working with delegations from the Middle East and Africa region, and Mongolia. She also worked in the Governing America in a Global Era (GAGE) program at the Miller Center for Public Affairs. From 1999-2012, she worked as a research and program director for non-governmental organizations on nuclear and security issues and traveled around the world to engage with communities on these issues.

Carah holds a PhD in American Government, and an MA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. Carah is originally from San Diego, California and received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Global Peace and Security from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Twitter: @CarahOng

Sarah Gully

Sarah Gully is the graduate assistant for the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement. She is a first-year graduate student pursuing her Masters in Sports in Recreation Leadership at the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management. Sarah attended Bridgewater College ('15) where she recieved a Bachelors of Arts degree in History and Political Science. She has spent the past four years teaching 8th grade American Government and Economics at Benjamin Franklin Middle School where she also coached the girls' soccer team and served as the academic advisor for the Student Council Association.

Bryana Moore

Bryana “Bry” Moore is our Engagement Fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year. She is a 2019 graduate of the College of Arts and Letters as a Public Policy and Administration major. Bry attended JMU through a full-scholarship with the Centennial Scholars Program and was one of our Arc of Citizenship Fellows this past spring.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

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