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. Immediately prior to this position, she was an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at JMU and a lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia where she developed pedagogy melding scholarship with community-engaged experiential learning. Through her courses on campaigns and elections, state and local politics, and political and civic engagement, Carah facilitated a wide array of student-led initiatives and research projects aimed at building civic and political capacity in pursuit of democratic resilience and social responsibility.

Among recent publications, she is co-author with Dr. Larry Sabato of American Government: Roots and Reform (Pearson), chapters on Political Parties, Campaigns, Elections and Voting, and The Media.

Carah is originally from San Diego, California and earned her doctorate from the University of Virginia. 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. She also previously worked at the Miller Center for Public Affairs and for non-governmental organizations on nuclear and security issues from 1999-2012.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Twitter: @CarahOng

Shelby Taraba
Shelby Taraba

Shelby Taraba will serve as the Engagement Fellow for the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement this year. Shelby received her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from James Madison University and intends to apply to Graduate schools this upcoming year to pursue a Master's degree in either Data Science or Public Policy Administration. During her undergraduate career, Shelby was an employee of the John C. Wells Planetarium, served as Astronomy Club President, and worked closely with her professors in projects related to civic engagement and political science research.

Pronouns: she/they

Danielle Savastano
Ysabella Chua

Ysabella is a graduate student pursuing her Masters degree in JMU's Masters of Science in Accounting program. She also received her undergraduate degree from James Madison as an Accounting major. Originally from Leesburg, Virginia, Ysabella hopes to pursue a career in public accounting in Washignton, D.C. after graduation. As an undergraduate, she was a First yeaR Orientation Guide, worked for the university's Advancement, Gifts and Records team, and participated in organizations such as Delta Sigma Pi.

Crystal Mathews
Crystal Mathews

Crystal Mathews is Administrative Assistant of the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement. Prior to arriving at JMU, she was the Executive Administrative Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer of XO Communications, and Nextlink in Herndon, VA.

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