Who We Are at CCEL

Julie Gafney, Ph.D - Assistant Vice President for Strategic Mission Initiatives/Executive Director for The Center for Community Engaged Learning

She holds a B.A. in English and Spanish from Tufts University, an M.A. in comparative literature from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from the CUNY Graduate Center. She comes to Fordham after spending nearly a decade teaching and working on student and faculty initiatives within the CUNY system, as well as experience working on public policy for Governor Andrew Cuomo. She also serves as an external evaluator on a number of NSF (National Science Foundation) and NIH (National Institutes of Health) grants supporting student support initiatives among underrepresented undergraduate student populations.

Julie Gafney

Surey Miranda-Alarcon - Director of Campus and Community Engagement

Surey came to Fordham University, from the NYC Mayor's Office, where she has served as Bronx Borough Director for the past two years. She has experience in outreach, community organizing, and program development. She has previously worked at The Puerto Rico House of Representatives,  The Center for Puerto Rican Studies, the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, the NYC Commission on Human Rights, and Qualitas of Life. Surey holds a BA in Social Science and Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico, and an MA in Economics from the New School for Social Research. She teaches economics courses at SUNY's Fashion Institute of Technology. She is passionate about community development, experiential learning, and advocacy and policy in the areas of equality of opportunity. She co-founded and chairs Diaspora for Puerto Rico, Inc, a New York-based organization that assisted Hurricane Maria evacuees to navigate resources and services. 

Surey Miranda-Alarcon

John Gownley - Associate Director of Campus Engagement

John served as Assistant Director of Campus Ministry for Church Operations and Special Events at Fordham University Campus Ministry until November 2023, when he transitioned to the Center for Community Engaged Learning.  Over the years, John has provided his guidance and passion for social justice by chaperoning Fordham's delegation to World Youth Day/MAGIS in Brazil (2013), Poland (2016) and Portugal (2023), and has also chaperoned for the Ignatian Family Teach-in and GO! Projects here in New York City,  Nicaragua and St. Thomas. As a resident of Manhattan's Upper East Side, you can catch him on the (4) train or engaging with alumni who live in the neighborhood. He has also worked in Residential Life at Georgetown Preparatory School. John received his BA from The University of Scranton University and an MSW from Fordham.

Keisha Shay, Ph.D - Associate Director of Academic Development and Administration

Keisha Shay is the newest member of the CCEL team and has already engaged with countless faculty and students at both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. Dr. Shay comes to the Center from NYU, where her administrative role involved academic development, communications, and operations. Shay holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Caldwell University in New Jersey, and has also worked at Montclair State, where she did her undergraduate work and earned a master’s degree in counseling: student affairs in higher education. In 2017, she was awarded Outstanding Professional Achievement in Higher Education from Montclair State University and received the Sister Mary Amelia, O.P. award for Outstanding Dissertation from Caldwell University in 2020. Shay is passionate about student success, building strong partnerships, and student and faculty engagement. She loves to spend time with her family, cook, and travel. 

Adam Bermudez - Assistant Director for Communications and Project Management

Adam is a Bronx native and graduate of Regis High School and Wesleyan University.  Before working at Fordham, he served as Legislative and Communications Director to members of the City Council from Manhattan and the Bronx.  Adam has also worked for two local Bronx news outlets.

Photograph of Adam Bermudez

Kujegi Camara - Assistant Director for Community Engagement and Operations

Kujegi is passionate about creating meaningful connections across different platforms, entities, and people. In her current role as Assistant Director of Community Engagement and Operations at Fordham's Center for Community Engaged Learning, she looks forward to facilitating empowering connections between Fordham students and the surrounding neighborhoods. Kujegi brings with her to Fordham a background in non-profit program management, community organizing and advocacy for faith-based and immigrant communities, and partnership cultivation. In her personal time, she gives back to her Gambian community by mentoring young West-African Muslim women and helping to empower them on their journey to college as part of her work with the Smiling Coast Women Empowerment Network. Kujegi holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Princeton University and graduated cum laude in 2016. In 2019, she received the Leadership Award from the Senegambia Awards Gala for her trailblazing work in supporting young women from the Senegambia Diaspora. That same year, she also received a Commendation from the Office of the Comptroller for her outstanding community work building bridges and empowering immigrant young women. Kujegi gets the most excitement from when she is supporting others and working to improve the processes and systems they are in, when she is sharing her poetry with others, and when she is baking banana bread for her family and friends.


Photograph of Kugeji Camara

Maria Rodriguez-Gomez - Assistant Director of Programs and Operations

Maria received her bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and completed a minor in Sociology.  Maria is a Bronx native. While working toward her degree, she worked 10 years for a notable immigration firm in New York City, where she gained vast experience in customer service, but most importantly, the drive and passion to advocate for those most overlooked and marginalized.

Maria Rodriguez-Gomez

Ben Medeiros- Immersion Coordinator

Benjamin Medeiros received his Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Fordham in May 2022 and joined the Center the following Fall. As an undergrad student, his personal and academic interests - seen not only in his Psych major but triple minors in Peace & Justice Studies, Philosophy, and Linguistics - aligned directly with the work of the Center and he often attended community-engaged events and programs. Additionally, he enrolled in many community-engaged learning courses throughout his undergraduate career and participated in a Global Outreach project his Senior year. Now working as the Center's Immersion Coordinator, he helps to facilitate the Global Outreach program, among other assignments for the Center. Ben will be returning to the Fordham classroom to receive his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the Graduate School of Education.