Who We Are

Our Vision
West Baltimore neighborhoods are safe, vibrant, and inclusive communities that promote the happiness, health, and wealth of all.

Our Mission
To leverage UMB’s economic resources and human capital to engage with the community through direct service and systemic change to improve quality of life in West Baltimore and beyond. 

Ashley Valis, MSW

Executive Director, Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives
410-706-5179 | avalis@umaryland.edu

Ashley ‌Valis served in a variety of positions in the office of Gov. Martin O’Malley from 2007 to 2014 including assistant chief of staff. In that role, she oversaw the departments of environment, natural resources, planning, and agriculture, helping to manage major policy initiatives within the agencies and ensuring the governor’s priorities within each agency were achieved.

Prior to this role, Valis was deputy director of the Governor's Intergovernmental Affairs Office, serving as Gov. O’Malley’s direct liaison with local elected officials from the state’s 157 incorporated cities and towns, 23 counties, and the advocacy organizations that work with these jurisdictions in Maryland. In addition, Valis served as director of strategic partnerships for Gov. O’Malley, coordinating community and volunteer activities statewide and advising the governor on policies to enhance and improve community and philanthropic partnerships.

Valis is a graduate of the University of Delaware, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Community Services. Additionally, Valis holds an MSW degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work.

Valis was named to the “VIP List, Successful by 40” by The Daily Record in 2014, as well as one of Baltimore’s top “40 under 40” by Baltimore Magazine in 2013. In 2011, Valis received the Living Classrooms Foundation’s “Rising Star Award,” given to a select group of professionals under age 40 who are recognized for their outstanding philanthropic achievements in their professional and personal lives. She was a member of Gov. O’Malley’s transition team in 2006 as well as a senior staff member of his re-election campaign in 2010.

Valis is the vice chair of the advisory board for Emerge Maryland and a former executive board member of the Ridgely’s Delight Community Association in Baltimore.   

Camille Givens-Patterson

Community Partnership Specialist
410-706-2281 | camille.gpatterson@umaryland.edu

‌Camille Givens-Patterson came to the Office of Community Engagement with a history of human resources and workforce development experience. A native of Leavenworth, Kan., she graduated from Morgan State University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and is pursuing a master’s degree at Towson University.

She has a keen interest in youth development and has operated the campus YouthWorks summer employment program since 2011. Givens-Patterson works to deepen the campus’ K-12 partnerships in West Baltimore communities.

Madison Haas, MSW

Economic Inclusion Specialist

410-706-4513 | madisonhaas@umaryland.edu

Danielle Harris, LCSW-C

Associate Director, Community Engagement Center
410-706-1974 I danielle.harris@umaryland.edu



Sarah Porter, LMSW

Program Specialist, Community Engagement Center
410-706-2311 I sarahturner@umaryland.edu



Lisa Rawlings, MBA

Director, Workforce Development and Job Readiness
410-706-1931 | lrawlings@umaryland.edu

Lisa ‌Rawlings is a Baltimore native who has worked in higher education for more than a dozen years.

Rawlings’ work in community engagement started with her experience in launching a number of community college-university collaborations. She directed the University of Maryland BioPark’s BioWorkforce Initiatives (BWI), a series of collaborations between the University of Maryland and Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) to address the shortage of life science professionals. BWI was funded with a generous $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and supported students at BCCC’s Life Science Institute located at the BioPark pay for college, get jobs, and transfer to bachelor’s degree programs. 

Most recently, she served as associate director of the Center for Community-Based Engagement and Learning. In this role, she supported University of Maryland faculty, staff, and students who were engaged in our local community.

In 2006, Rawlings launched the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program, an innovative partnership between the University of Maryland, College Park and Prince George’s Community College. This award-winning program, which has since expanded to include Montgomery College, provides scholarships and mentoring for entrepreneurially minded community college students of any major transferring to the University of Maryland. She continues to serve on the Hillman Entrepreneurs Advisory Committee.

Prior to this position, Ms. Rawlings worked at the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs, where she did financial/policy analysis and research. At the Robert H. Smith School, where she pursued a PhD degree, Rawlings taught introductory and advanced finance courses. She was nominated for the 2001 Parents' Association Teaching Award. Before her return to academia, Rawlings was a financial manager for Procter & Gamble for eight years.

Rawlings received a BSE in Systems Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan, where she was a Consortium for the Graduate Study of Management fellow. In 2013, Rawlings was a Marano Fellow in the Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative Sector Skills Academy.

Tyrone Roper, MSW

Director, Community Engagement Center
410-706-8261 | troper@umaryland.edu

Tyrone “Ty” Roper, MSW is a seasoned professional, leader, speaker, and director of UMBs Community Engagement Center (CEC). Ty joined University of Maryland, Baltimore in 2019. Prior to joining UMB, he worked in local municipal government as chief of staff for the Office of Criminal Justice and also within a quasi-governmental behavioral health agency as director of special populations. He holds a wealth of knowledge and experience in Maryland’s criminal justice and public behavioral health systems. Ty has a deep interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion and is a member of the Diversity Advisory Council as well as a member the Anti-Racism Action Committee.   

Ty, originally from Denver, Colorado and has called Baltimore home for more than 22 years now. He has two phenomenal children a daughter who is a doctor of veterinary medicine, and a son who is a sailor in the US Navy. As the CEC director, Ty is focused on building off of the framework he has created in partnership with his team, neighbors, and others to make the CEC successful.

Brian Sturdivant, MSW

Director, Strategic Initiatives and Community Partnerships
410-706-1678 | bsturdivant@umaryland.edu

‌‌‌Born and raised in Baltimore, Brian Sturdivant graduated from Towson University in 1990 and holds an MSW degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work with a concentration in management and community organization and specialization in community development.

Sturdivant has more than 15 years in university/community partnership experience and is responsible for coordinating civic engagement of UMB’s campus community through volunteer and service-learning initiatives to meet the needs of local communities. 

Adrienne Witherspoon

Office Manager
410-706-8260 | awitherspoon@umaryland.edu

Adrienne Witherspoon coordinates all of the administrative functions of the Office of Community Engagement including payments, scheduling, and space management. She also supervises student administrative staff in the Community Engagement Center.