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. 

Don't know who's in charge of what project? Check out the Office of Community Engagement Organization Chart for more details!

Ashley Valis, MSW

Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement
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, most recently serving as assistant chief of staff. In this 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 served as 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 University of Delaware, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in family and community services. Additionally, Valis holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

In 2014, Valis was named to the "VIP list, Successful by 40” by the Daily Record, 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 young 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.   

Brian Sturdivant, MSW

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

‌‌‌Born and raised in Baltimore, Brian Sturdivant serves as director of strategic initiatives and community partnerships. He graduated from Towson University in 1990 and holds a Master of Social Work 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. 

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 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 UM 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 (CBEL). 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.

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.

Bill Joyner, LMSW

Senior Economic Inclusion Specialist
410-706-4513 | wjoyner@umaryland.edu

As UMB's economic inclusion specialist, Bill Joyner works with internal and external stakeholders to advance the University's community engagement strategy.  He focuses on community economic development issues such as local purchasing, youth employment, and housing affordability.  He also works with Adrienne Witherspoon to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Office of Community Engagement.  

Joyner is a current student at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and a 2014 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Social Work. He earned his MSW focusing on management and community organization with a specialization in community action and social policy. He is an alumnus of the Baltimore City Mayoral Fellowship program where he developed strategies for creating a more robust and inclusive resource network for Baltimore’s small business community.  He lives with his partner, Adam, and their dog, Dino, in the Union Square neighborhood.

Kelly Quinn, PhD

Senior Resource Specialist
410-706-8261 | kquinn@umaryland.edu

Kelly Quinn oversees the day-to-day operations of UMB’s Community Engagement Center in Poppleton. She is pleased to collaborate with the men, women, and children of Southwest Baltimore to have fun as well as to address pernicious inequality and to improve the quality of life for all residents.

Quinn has spent her professional career working on civic and scholarly engagement at cultural institutions and universities. Before joining UMB, she was the Terra Foundation Project Manager for Online Scholarly and Educational Initiatives at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. She also was a college teacher: as assistant professor of American studies at Miami University and Sojourner Truth Visiting Faculty Lecturer at Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning and Department of Afroamerican Studies and African studies at University of Michigan. At Michigan, she won two teaching awards and the Dean’s Prize for Excellence in Service.

Quinn earned her PhD in American studies at University of Maryland, College Park, certificates in historic preservation and women’s studies, and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity College. Her scholarly research explores African-American life and thought with an emphasis on art and architectural history. When not at the center, she is a member of Fluid Movement, a performance art group that juxtaposes complex subject matter with delightful and unexpected mediums in public, urban spaces. In June 2017, No Boundaries Coalition recognized her volunteer service with a CommUNITY Service Award for her community organizing with Baltimore Youth Organizing Project.

Rajaniece Thompson

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America)

Thompson serves as the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America) for the Community Engagement Center. She is from Detroit and moved to Baltimore to work in the CEC at UMB. She recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in science, majoring in Exercise Science: Kinesiology with a minor in American Sign Language. During her undergraduate years, she did two years of work and more than 120 hours of training related to supporting those who have been impacted by sexual aggression, intimate partner violence, domestic violence and/or stalking. She engaged in many extracurricular activities, including being vice president of NAACP on her campus and working as a peer advisor for the Office of Multicultural Academic Student Services. Rajaniece understands the importance of serving her community and intends on using her strengths to help serve UMB and its surrounding communities.