CIRCLE's work is conducted by a dynamic, diverse team of researchers, program coordinators, fellows, and support staff. Team members contribute extensive quantitative and qualitative research expertise; ample experience working with partners in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors; and a wide range of interests in myriad aspects of youth participation. Individually and collectively, the staff is deeply committed to CIRCLE's mission of advancing stronger and more equitable youth civic education and engagement.
The CIRCLE team is led by Director Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, who oversees all CIRCLE research and day-to-day operations. Dr. Kawashima-Ginsberg, formerly Lead Researcher and Deputy Director of CIRCLE, has served as director since 2015, when she succeeded former director Peter Levine.
Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Ph.D., is the Director of CIRCLE. She oversees CIRCLE’s wide-ranging portfolio of research and impact projects with its diverse partners and for audience groups. Kei has a background in Community Psychology and Social-Emotional Learning, which she applies to various projects at CIRCLE. Kei has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (Child and Family subspecialty) from Loyola University Chicago but identifies as a community psychologist. Before coming to CIRCLE, Kei worked with young people and families at a public high school, and at an emergency room and community health center as a therapist in training. Working with people who faced numerous structural challenges made her want to work with systems that created those challenges in the first place, which attracted her to CIRCLE.
Kei serves as a national board member of Generation Citizen and Democracy Works, and lends her expertise as an advisory group member for Nonprofit VOTE, Project Information Literacy, Citizen Z project at Education Week, and the American Bar Association's Division of Public Education. She has been the lead author on landmark papers and reports, such as The Republic is (Still) at Risk – and Civics is Part of the Solution (with Peter Levine); The Future of Civic Education (in NASBE Magazine); Taking the Lead: How Educators Can Help Close the Gender Leadership Gap (with the National Education Association and the American Association of University Women); and All Together Now: Collaboration and Innovation for Youth Engagement. She has also published extensively in various peer-reviewed journals and written several book chapters. Learn more
Abby joined CIRCLE in 2005, after working with students across the country, to focus on maintaining a conversation between research and practice. Now, as Deputy Director of CIRCLE, Abby continues that work and also provides leadership for CIRCLE’s election strategies, website content, and external communications. She has worked on several major research projects and evaluations while at CIRCLE, as well as on several partnerships to support growing voters for a more equitable electorate.
Abby is well-versed in the wide range of youth civic and political engagement efforts and practice, and brings a broad view of the institutions and interventions that can make up ecosystems for civic development among all youth. She is most interested in how to effect change in community, institutional, and political systems to reduce inequality. Abby has been cited by news outlets such as The New York Times, CSPAN, NPR, and PolitiFact. Learn more
Kelly Beadle joined CIRCLE in February 2019 and manages CIRCLE’s voter registration research project. Her role is to lead qualitative and quantitative analysis on voter registration and participation, in addition to program evaluation for the project. Before joining CIRCLE, Kelly worked on program development, running field experiments and fundraising in numerous national and state-based organizations. She began her career and worked for over a decade in Minnesota, which she considers her home. In her free time, you can find her reading academic papers on experiments to change political behavior or planning a trip to a new country.
Peter de Guzman
Peter de Guzman is the Research Program Coordinator for CIRCLE and the Institute of Democracy & Higher Education at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University. At CIRCLE, Peter conducts research on voter registration, the electoral context of youth voting, and resources for teachers concerning equitable voting. At IDHE, Peter supports the National Study on Learning, Voting, and Engagement and helps campuses participate and access their data. Peter also provides administrative support to both research teams at Tisch College.
Noorya Hayat joined CIRCLE as a researcher in January 2016. She works on projects that help promote civic learning and engagement in the K-12 education system and beyond, and she is interested in the intersection of education, both in formal and informal settings, and civic learning and awareness in youth, particularly from marginalized and diverse ethnic backgrounds. Noorya has experience working in the U.S. and abroad in teaching and educational research. Before joining CIRCLE, Noorya worked as an international researcher and coordinator in public health and nutrition awareness in the developing world. She has experience teaching and mentoring students from diverse backgrounds and grade levels, and worked as an early childhood educator in Boston.
She holds an Ed.M. in international education policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a focus towards global education and citizenship for the 21st century, monitoring and evaluation for improving education systems, and applied data analysis. She also has a background in economics and anthropology. Noorya is passionately interested in narrowing gaps in civic education, awareness, and life-opportunities for underresourced communities by providing evidence-backed research for decision-making and policies.
Rey Junco is a Senior Researcher at CIRCLE, where he applies his extensive experience in quantitative social science research to study various aspects of youth civic and political engagement. Rey has a rich background in several interconnected fields like education, cognitive science, and the use of technology. Before joining CIRCLE, he was a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where he worked on the Youth & Media and the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence projects. He has done pioneering work on young people’s social media use, especially as it relates to their psychosocial development and their potential political engagement. His experience with big data, machine learning, predictive algorithms, and other research tools and methodologies allows him to make forecasts about voting and other youth behaviors.
Rey has a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pennsylvania State University, and he was a licensed, practicing counselor for a number of years. He also has a D.Ed. degree from Penn State.
Sarah Keese joined CIRCLE in 2020 as the Project Manager, restructuring processes and enabling CIRCLE to deepen its vital efforts and strengthen our civic engagement work. Joining the team from Albania, Sarah has a background in database management with the Department of Defense and worked on a USAID project in Albania focused on deterring radicalization and violent extremism through women’s empowerment, youth engagement, and civic strengthening. Despite this seemingly disparate background, Sarah is passionate about the mission of CIRCLE to collaborate with and recognize youth as assets in their communities. Through her work in international development, she has seen firsthand the impact that youth can have within their communities as agents of resiliency and change and appreciates the value of research and data to inform these crucial programs.
Kristian Lundberg is an Associate Researcher at CIRCLE. He conducts research and performs data-driven analysis on youth political behavior and voter participation, young people’s impact on policy and electoral outcomes, and youth engagement in civic life more broadly. Kristian is particularly interested in the impact of youth civic participation on efforts to reduce structural inequities. Research projects Kristian has worked on at CIRCLE include county-by-county analyses of voting patterns in the 2020 primaries, analyses of CIRCLE’s pre-election polls of young people aged 18-29, and longitudinal and cross-sectional studies of voter registration activities. Learn more
Alison Cohen, PhD, MPH, is an affiliated researcher with CIRCLE. Alison's research includes studying educational, health, and civic inequities among young people, and evaluating strategies to reduce inequities using quantitative and qualitative techniques and in partnership with practitioners. Trained in both epidemiology and education, she has a PhD in epidemiology and a Masters of Public Health in epidemiology and biostatistics from UC Berkeley.
Tisch College Staff
In addition to our full-time staff, we receive valuable support from colleagues at CIRCLE's home institution, Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life, especially from their experienced communications staff:
As part of her role at Tisch College, Jen provides key strategic communications support to CIRCLE, including advising on messaging and handling media inquiries. She began her career in Washington, D.C., at the US Commerce Department, followed by service at the US Treasury and the US Department of Energy. Most recently, she was a senior advisor to Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-5), working in the district on outreach to local media, universities, businesses, and school districts. In her civic life, Jen is currently serving as a member of the Melrose School Committee. Jen received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University and a master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Alberto oversees a wide range of communications tasks for CIRCLE's home institution: the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life. He provides key editorial support to the CIRCLE, drafting and reviewing text to share key research and managing the CIRCLE website. Alberto has been a freelance writer and editor, and previously worked at national newspapers in his native Puerto Rico and at multinational publishing houses. He is a graduate of Yale University.
In the fall of 2020, we're pleased to have the assistance and support of students—primarily from our home institution, Tufts University—who are serving as research assistants and supporting various projects:
Ruby Belle Booth
Ruby is a senior at Tufts University double majoring in History and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. While at CIRCLE, Ruby is helping to evaluate civic learning projects responding to COVID and the 2020 election through the Civic Spring Project. She is also assisting with a range of communications projects to help disseminate CIRCLE’s research and maximize its impact. During the summer of 2020 she was a CIRCLE Diverse Democracy Fellow.
Bennet Fleming Wood
Bennett Fleming-Wood is a senior at Tufts University studying Political Science and Child Development. Outside of her work as a research assistant with CIRCLE, Bennett is the co-chair of DREAM, a mentoring group on campus and is a leader with FOCUS.
Alex is working on a study of youth participation in political movements and is supporting the development of a national roadmap for teaching civics and U.S. History in K-12 schools. She holds a degree in Political Economy from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing her M.P.P. at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Before graduate school, Alex taught high school social studies in Clayton County, Georgia, and worked with adjudicated youth in Washington, D.C. During the summer of 2020 she was a CIRCLE Diverse Democracy Fellow.
Kathleen Lanzilla is a senior at Tufts University studying political science and education. As a research assistant at CIRCLE, Kathleen helps track youth voting in the 2020 election, work on the website, and perform various research tasks. Outside of CIRCLE, they serve as the LGBTQ+ Community Senator on Tufts Community Senate and while remote right now, they hope to return as a Residential Assistant in the spring.
Lauren Soherr is a sophomore at Tufts University majoring in international relations. Lauren is working with CIRCLE as a Tisch Scholar. At CIRCLE Lauren supports research on youth political participation as a means to increase access to civic and political opportunity and voice for a wide diversity of young people. Lauren is also involved with research on youth access to and involvement in elections during the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist CIRCLE’s impact team, she also conducts background research on a range of data about elections and what influences youth participation, including state election processes, electoral competitiveness, and youth survey data. Outside of her work with CIRCLE, Lauren is a tour guide, residential assistant and serves on the board for the Experimental College.