Our Team

Our small but mighty team engage in the day-to-day work of NCCE. Our Executive Board provides oversight and strategic direction, while our Advisory Council offers guidance and insights from the field to improve events and programs.

Leslie Garvin

Executive Director

Leslie Garvin, Executive Director

Leslie serves as the liaison to the Executive Board, develops and leads member institution recruitment and retention strategies, facilitates faculty and staff professional development initiatives, builds strategic partnerships to develop and expand higher education civic engagement, and oversees day-to-day operations.  A skilled facilitator and trainer, she has trained hundreds of faculty, staff, students, and community partners across the state and country in multiple dialogue methods. Leslie is a Collaborative Discussion Coach and a trained moderator and member of Braver Angels. She also facilitates workshops on Theater of the Oppressed. She is a frequent speaker on topics related to higher education community and civic engagement, democracy, and civil discourse and dialogue. 

Leslie serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Issues Forum and as a member of the Board of Directors of You Can Vote. She also serves on the National Advisory Committee (NAC) of the Carnegie Community Engagement Elective Classification and on the Advisory Board of guides.vote. She co-chairs the State Summits Working Group of the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition.  In 2023, she joined the Commission on the Future of NC Elections and serves on the Civic Education, Early Voting, and Election Administration and Infrastructure committes. In February 2024, NC Governor Roy Cooper appointed Leslie to the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. 

Leslie was a 2022-23 Fellow for the UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement Fellow. Her project focused on Disrupting Mis & Disinformation in the University Setting. She created an online Media Literacy Toolkit and a deliberative dialogue issue guide “The Flood of Misinformation and Disinformation: How can local communities and higher education best address growing concerns?.”  Read and download.  She is engaged in an ongoing research project with two scholars at Elon University to determine if civically engaged students demonstrate more media verification skills than disengaged students.

Leslie has co-authored chapters in Critical Intersections In Contemporary Curriculum & Pedagogy (Info Age Publishing, 2018) and Practical Wisdom for Conducting Research on Service Learning: Pursuing Quality and Purpose (Stylus Publishing, 2019). She also served as an author and editor for the Primer on Benefits and Value of Civic and Community Engagement in Higher Education (2021) and the Faculty Flourishing  topical brief in the Contributions of Civic & Community Engagement Series (2023).

Leslie became Executive Director in 2015 after serving 10 years as the Associate Director. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in social and economic development and a specialization in management, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and African & African-American Studies, both from Washington University in St. Louis.  She is a former White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow and a proud AmeriCorps alum.

She can be reached at lgarvin@ncengage.org or (336) 278-7278

Christina Wittstein

VISTA Program Manager

Christina Wittstein, VISTA Program Manager

Christina joined the NC Campus Engagement team in July 2022 to serve as the AmeriCorps VISTA Program Manager. In this role, Christina provides ongoing leadership support to volunteers and partners across the state who engage with the North Carolina Afterschool Corps and the North Carolina Hunger Corps programs. She leads the recruitment efforts for new volunteers, works to grow the network of host sites and partner institutions where volunteers serve, and facilitates training and professional development opportunities for VISTA members throughout their service time with the program. She also serves as a liaison to the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. Additional key responsibilities include grant management, leading alumni engagement efforts, and general program oversite for all aspects of the North Carolina Campus Engagement (NCCE) AmeriCorps VISTA program.

Christina brings an array of service experiences to her role such as serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya, 2011-2013 and participating in immersive service-learning experiences on poverty and educational disparities with Elon’s Kernodle Center.

Prior to joining NCCE, Christina worked for Elon University’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and Center for Engaged Learning as a program coordinator where she was instrumental in coordinating events throughout the year.

Christina holds a Master of Business Administration and Master of Health Care Administration joint degree from Pfeiffer University in Charlotte, NC, where she completed a comparative international healthy study course in London, England, and investigated healthcare management practices for her practicum project. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of North Carolina Greensboro in Greensboro, NC and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, MI.

Christina can be reached at cwittstein@ncengage.org or (336) 278-7238.

Sam Delap

Program Coordinator

Christina Wittstein, VISTA Program Manager

Sam joined the NC Campus Engagement team in July 2023 as the Program Coordinator. In this role, Sam produces engaging programs and events that develop and promote practices of democracy for college students across North Carolina. Her portfolio includes the NC College Voter Summit, CSNAP Student Conference, Community Change Collegiate Challenge, Redesigning Democracy Competition, NC Collegiate Hunger Challenge, and the NC Student Dialogue Ambassadors program.  She is helping design and launch the pilot NC Civic Impact Fellowship in the 2023-24 academic year.

Sam graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Prior to joining NCCE, she worked at Girl Scouts of New Mexico where she coordinated key fundraising events and built on donor relations initiatives. Sam also served constituents throughout central and rural New Mexico as a member of the Legislative Council Service research team at the NM State Legislature. Before moving to North Carolina, Sam completed an international cultural immersion sabbatical in Central and South America, Europe, and northern Africa in 2022-2023.

Sam can be reached at sdelap@ncengage.org or (336) 278-7197.

Kelli Russell

Program Assistant

René Summers, Program Assistant

Kelli joined the NC Campus Engagement team in July 2023 as the Program Assistant. Kelli serves as the connector to member campuses, facilitator of information, and conference planner.

Prior to joining NCCE, Kelli worked for Elon University’s Office of Leadership and Professional Development as a program assistant, coordinating learning opportunities for all faculty and staff.

Kelli is an active member in the local community as well as the co-founder of the non-profit organization, Love Is Bald since 2010. Kelli has a servant heart and truly enjoys working as a team to assist others.

Kelli can be reached at krussell11@elon.edu or (336)278-7154

Madeline DeLorenzo

VISTA Leader

Madeline DeLorenzo

Madeline joined the NCCE team in October 2023 as the VISTA Leader.  In this role she supports VISTA members in fighting poverty and building capacity for the NCCE VISTA program.   

Before joining AmeriCorps VISTA Madeline graduated from SUNY Cortland in upstate New York in December 2021 with a B.A. in Communications with a concentration on Public Relations and Advertising. While in college, Madeline was an active member of campus greek life serving on her sorority’s Executive Board as Vice President of Membership Education as well as a panhellenic delegate acting as a liaison for interorganizational activities. She then went on to serve in Mississippi as a Team Leader for AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) at the Southern Region. While serving she traveled throughout the United States working on short term projects to aid the lack of volunteers for various nonprofit organizations. 

Her experience includes leadership development training, coordinating programming and volunteer stewardship.  Madeline is excited to develop her leadership skills through working with VISTA members and their programs.

Madeline can be reached at mdelorenzo@ncengage.org or (336) 278-7196.

Patti Clayton


Patti Clayton, Practitioner-Scholar-in-Residence

Patti H. Clayton was born and raised in North Carolina and continues to live in the state with her husband, Kevin, and their feline family. She enjoys being in the mountains, especially in southwest Virginia, and visiting National Parks, especially Zion and Denali. John Denver, Parker Palmer, and Star Trek are major influences in her life.

Patti is an independent consultant (PHC Ventures) with over 20 years of experience as a practitioner-scholar and educational developer in service-learning and community engagement (SLCE) and in experiential education. She serves as a Senior Scholar with the Center for Service and Learning at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis and with the Institute for Community and Economic Engagement at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has consulted with well over 100 colleges, universities, and higher education organizations in the US, Canada, and Ireland.

As our Practitioner-Scholar-in-Residence, Patti supports NCCE’s Virtual Learning Exchanges and Community of Practice, Inquiry, and Learning (COPIL), including our Primer on the Value and Benefits of Civic and Community Engagement in Higher Education, our essay on “Social justice in service-learning and community engagement: A conversation about meanings, practices, and possibilities,” and a variety of conference sessions.

Patti co-developed the DEAL Model for Critical Reflection, the SOFAR partnership model, the TRES protocol for assessing partnership quality, and the DPI Model for Institutional Transformation. She was co-editor with Bringle and Hatcher of the 2-volume set Research on Service Learning: Conceptual Frameworks and Assessment and co-authored the Democratic Engagement White Paper with Saltmarsh and Hartley and the Democratically Engaged Assessment White Paper with Imagining America’s APPS team

Patti’s current interests include operationalizing democratic engagement, designing SLCE for civic learning, conceptualizing place-engaged SLCE, integrating SLCE and relationships within the more-than-human world, and exploring the power of such “little words” as in, for, with, and of to shape identities and ways of being with one another in SLCE.

Patti can be reached at patti.clayton@curricularengagement.com.

2023-24 Engaged Faculty Scholars

Engaged Faculty Scholars serve for one year and each carry out a self-designed project that advances and deepens community engagement and/or the scholarship of engagement at their institution. The selected faculty also serve as a mentor to one faculty member or community engagement administrator in the network to support their efforts to advance service-learning and community engagement.

Alyx Beckwith, Ph.D.

Allison Walker

Dr. Beckwith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at NC Central University.

EFS project – Building Counselor Competence and Community Partnerships to Face a Mental Health Crisis

Through her Engaged Faculty Scholars project Dr. Beckwith will design and implement a service-learning course component for the Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling course, which is an asynchronous online class required of masters students in clinical mental health counseling. As part of the service-learning requirement, students may choose to volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Helpline, assist NCCU’s Eagle Counseling, Consultation, and Research Clinic with outreach efforts in Durham and across North Carolina, volunteer with the Licensed Clinical Counselors of NC related to counselor advocacy work, or become trained in Stress First Aid for community wellness support.

Rhonda Jones, Ph.D.

Allison Walker

Dr. Jones is a public historian and the Community Digital Archivist for the Walter Clinton Jackson Library at UNC Greensboro.

We Make Culture Hum: A Digital History of African American Musicians in the Piedmont, North Carolina

Specializing in archiving intergenerational trauma, lynching, and racial animus in the Jim Crow South, her Engaged Faculty Scholars project highlights the traditions and enduring legacy of African American musicians – as individuals and groups – in such music genres as gospel, rock & roll, folk, blues, bluegrass, jazz, classical, soul, rhythm and blues, adult contemporary, electronic dance music, rap, and hip hop.  The project will excavate archives to develop curricula about rich musical traditions in the past and present.  In addition, the project will utilize commemorative sites, photographs, maps, audio, and ephemera to experiment with the application of open-source research practices and digital media communications of interactive collages and digital visualizations.