The Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning, and Research
Meet our Staff
Judy Pryor-Ramirez, as executive director of the Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning, and Research, will play an integral role in leading the College's civic engagement efforts. Since 2010, Judy has served as director of civic engagement and social justice at the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School in New York City, where she has been responsible for developing strategic and justice-centered programs. Judy brings extensive experience developing community partnerships with nonprofit organizations, public schools, public housing communities, and city officials. During her tenure as director, she secured institutional and major gifts for civic engagement initiatives totaling $2.3M. Judy has been a part-time faculty member at Eugene Lang College since Fall 2012. She directs the Ethnicity and Race minor at The New School and received the 2015 Outstanding Advisor Award for her dedication and service to students. Outside of The New School, Judy is a scholarly and community advisor for Brooklyn Historical Society’s project, Crossing Borders, and Bridging Generations. She co-authored a digital curriculum, using oral history collections and public programming materials to examine the history and experiences of mixed-heritage people, cultural hybridity, race, ethnicity, and identity.
Prior to working at Eugene Lang, Judy served as acting downtown program director and Richmond Families Initiative program manager for the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Richmond. Judy's earlier positions also include ENLACE (Engaging Latino Communities for Education) assistant director and GEAR Up program manager at The Bronx Institute, CUNY Lehman College, and executive assistant for the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University Graduate School of Education.
Judy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, a Master of Arts in Sociology and Education, and is working toward a doctorate in Sociology. Judy is transitioning to Emerson throughout the spring semester and will begin her role as executive director in July.
Director of Academic Engagement and Community Action; Part-Time Faculty, Dept. of Communitcation Studies
Hinton, a New Hampshire native and longtime Jamaica Plain resident, earned philosophy degrees from Drexel University and The University of Tennessee. She liaises among community partners, faculty, students, and staff to help identify and meet community needs by integrating academic engagement into Emerson's graduate and undergraduate curricula. Her work connects, promotes, and funds engaged teaching, research, and creative projects of faculty members.
Early in her career, Hinton taught epistemology, ethics, and gender studies, including classes for first-generation students, and a social and political philosophy course for Bahraini students in the Kingdom of Bahrain. At Emerson, she teaches engaged courses about communities, power, and social transformation out of the Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies and the Department of Communication Studies.
While her parents are her role models and favorite people, modern dreamers influential in her thinking are those whose ideas promote education that supports the liberation of all, including (but not limited to): Leslie Feinberg, bell hooks, Gloria Anzaldúa, Angela Davis, Adrienne Rich, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Paolo Freire.
Hinton is a tireless advocate and catalyst for innovative projects around social, environmental, and transportation justice in the City of Boston, and consults internationally on community collaborations in and between the Americas. She is an avid gardener, an active member of the local music community, and a proud bicycle and animal welfare activist.
Ashley Tarbet DeStefano ’09 was a double major in Political Communications and New Media at Emerson College and now works with the Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning, and Research and the Office of Academic Engagement and Community Action. Tarbet DeStefano aims to provide opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to engage with and learn from their communities and realize how they can each use their talents and passions to contribute to and even lead the way in social change. In her role as Administrative Associate, Tarbet DeStefano runs the Alternative Spring Break program and contributes to initiatives such as Emerson's Civic Engagers Network and the Charles Beard Arts & Communications Exploration summer program, and coordinates many of the events and activities hosted by the Elma Lewis Center. As an Emerson student, Tarbet was a volunteer and activist with many organizations and programs, including Jumpstart, Alternative Spring Break, ACT Leaders, and Emerson Peace and Social Justice. From a young age, Tarbet’s parents inspired her to take part in service and community building activities and instilled in her the value of making personal sacrifice to benefit the greater good. She hopes to live to see the day when a child’s parents’ income does not determine the quality (or lack thereof) of education that a child receives, and to see a world that provides an equal educational opportunity for all.