University of Vermont

Dewey House for Community Engagement

Contact us!

Dewey House for Community Engagement
Harris-Millis Commons Room 100
67 Spear Street
Burlington, VT 05405-0379
Phone: (802) 656-2575

Who are we?

The Dewey House for Community Engagement RLC supports socially just change through service, learning, and leadership.


Kailee Brickner-McDonald
Harris-Millis Commons 100A
Telephone: (802) 656-2575

"I've learned the most about the world and what's important to me through hands-on, community-based experiences-- from service-learning courses and working with non-profit organizations, to contra dancing and gardening. These experiences shape my passion for supporting others' involvement. I've worked in various service-related roles and offices across the UVM campus as a graduate student, AmeriCorps VISTA member, as the Dewey House's Program Coordinator, and now as the Director. I'm excited to work with the Dewey House because it's a place for an amazing group of students to figure out what they bring to their communities and what they can learn from others."


Grace Matiru
Faculty Associate
Harris-Millis Commons 100B
Telephone: (802) 656-2575

"I love being part of the team at the Dewey House for Community Engagement. I hope my varied experiences both as a part-time faculty and graduate student here at UVM will be valuable in bringing out our best as we endeavor to learn together and hone our skills in being vital, active members of the UVM and greater Burlington communities." Dr. Grace Matiru brings extensive experience in service-learning and community development. In particular, Grace has studied, researched, taught, and worked with agriculture in Kenya, Albania, and South Africa, agribusiness management in the Philippines, and agricultural economics and international development of West Bengal at Penn State. She teaches regularly in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics at UVM and is also pursuing a further degree in Plant and Soil Science.


Marie-Elizabeth Hebert
Program Coordinator and Rancing Revolution Liaison, AmeriCorps VISTA
Harris-Millis Commons 100B
Telephone: (802) 656-2575

"Having graduated from UVM in Community Development and Applied Economics in 2013, I couldn’t be happier to return to this community and serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Civic engagement was a constant thread through my university career both locally and abroad, where I spent time volunteering in Vietnam, Ghana, and ultimately settling down in South Africa for six months where I worked at a local non-profit organization. My senior capstone project introduced me to Rancing Revolution with the Dewey House, and I immediately knew it was a place for me. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to spend a second year with such positive, like-minded individuals in the Dewey House, and share all that Burlington has to offer. " Marie also advises the student club, Rancing Revolution, whose mission is to transform cultures of bullying into cultures of kindness.


Michael Hill
Social Work Graduate Teaching Assistant
Harris-Millis Commons 100B
Telephone: (802) 656-2575

"'Teachers affect eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops.' I love this quote because it embodies all the positive possibilities that a student can gain. However, the other side to this quote is that a teacher is also a learner; this is definitely true with being part of the Dewey House for Community Engagement. I am a walking example of this perspective. This is my second year with the Dewey House and I am so excited to be back. As much as I am going to be teaching, I am looking forward to learning even more. Learning and understanding are the true building blocks to acceptance and consideration, two aspects that spill over and out from the Dewey House. Going into my final year of graduate school is going to be made even more memorable because I get to share it with people who want to make society better." Michael is finishing his Masters of Social Work program. He is also an AmeriCorps Alum who served two years with City Year New Hampshire.


Hannah Kearns
Student Program Director

“I am super excited to be the student program director this year. Service has always been an integral part of my life. I believe that through helping others; not only do you benefit society, but you also better yourself. The Dewey House was such an integral part of making my first year at UVM an incredible journey, and I can’t wait to help other Deweys have as good as an experience as I had. I am a Biology major with a Spanish minor. I am also the news editor for the Cynic, UVM’s award winning student newspaper. My dream is to one day go to medical school and be a pediatrician. In my free time I love listening to Spanish language music, watching Greys Anatomy and exploring Burlington.” Hannah lives on Harris First, too, and will be coordinating community partnerships and civic engagement programming!



John Sama Living/Learning and Residential Learning Communities, Director

John is the Director of the Living/Learning Center and Residential Learning Communities. He reports to the Associate Provost for Curricular Affairs and works closely with faculty and students in developing the Center's programs. John has a long history at L/L, starting in 1980 when he was a member of the Emergency Medicine Program during his first year at UVM. He became a student director of the E-Med Program during his sophomore and junior years. He also served as an RA in L/L during his senior year. John started his working career at L/L as Program Coordinator in 1984, and was appointed Director in 2004. Starting in 2005 John was also charged with developing the Residential Learning Communities at UVM. He presently is responsible for oversight of the Arts Initiative, Global Village, GreenHouse, and Health & Wellness. John also serves as the liaison with the Department of Residential Life and many other departments, schools and colleges, and serves on a variety of institutional committees and task forces.


Kester Barrow

Residence Director, Harris- Millis Residential Complex

Kester is entering his 3rd year as a Residence Director at UVM. He is a graduate of Lehigh University with a B.A. in International Relations ’10 and a M.Ed. in Globalization and Educational Change ’12. Kester works with the Assistant Resident Director to oversee all of the residential elements of the Harris Millis Residential Complex and partners with groups housed within Harris Millis including the Dewey House for Community Engagement.
“Giving back to my community (both immediate and extended) has always been an important part of my life. My experiences with local non-profits and other groups really added value to my undergraduate experience and I enjoy playing a part in creating similar experiences for UVM students.”


Josephine Gonzalez

Harris-Millis Assistant Residence Advisor

Josephine is entering her first year as a Assistant Residence Director. She is a graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh with a B.A. in Gender & Women's Studies ’13 and she is currently pursuing her Masters of Education in Higher Education and Student Affairs at UVM. During undergrad Josephine was involved in Student Government, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Res Life, and the Multicultural Alliance. Whether its through a programming event or lunch date she finds comfort and pride in working with other women to build self-esteem and confidence.



Sophia Hoffacker

Dewey House Residence Advisor

Sophia Hoffacker is entering her second year at UVM as an Environmental Studies major with a Political Science minor. She just completed's Fossil Free Fellowship, which placed her with the Tar Sands Free VT campaign at 350 Vermont this summer. During the school year, Sophia facilitates anti-bullying programming with Rancing Revolution and is an outreach intern in the UVM Office of Sustainability. Community service through a social justice lens is an important part of her life and affects the way she approaches her studies, organizing, and community engagement through the Dewey House. She is excited to get to know new Deweys as the RA for Harris 1-high and to be a part of the Dewey community for a second year! 

Ryan Vaillancourt

Dewey House Residence Advisor



Last modified October 24 2014 03:27 PM