Who We Are at CCEL
Roxanne De La Torre received her bachelor’s degree from Fordham University, with focuses on communication and media studies and theology. While an undergraduate, she was an avid participant in Mission and Ministry, and credits those experiences with helping to strengthen her social conscience. She earned a master’s degree from Fordham’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, where she concentrated on youth and young adult ministry and engaged in advanced research on the intersection between young adult spirituality and social justice. In 2011, as a volunteer with the Cabrini Mission Corps, she served as a missioner for the Wolfington Center for Service and Justice at Cabrini College, supervising students engaged in service and social action in the greater Philadelphia area. She also served as the chief staff adviser for the Cabrini Chapter of the Catholic Relief Services Campus Ambassadors in leading students in social justice and advocacy efforts. After her time with the Cabrini Mission Corps ended, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and was missioned to serve as a teacher at St. Peter Claver High School in Dodoma, Tanzania. For over two years, she taught religion and values courses to all six grade levels at the high school and led the Guidance Department and coached the school basketball teams. She credits her time in Tanzania as the most transformative and fulfilling experiences of her life thus far. Immediately preceding her appointment as Director of the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice at Fordham, De La Torre served as the campus minister for social justice at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. She is excited to serve as the director of campus and community leadership at the Center for Community Engaged Learning and oversee the bridge-building processes between the center and members of the greater local and global communities that the center partners with.
Julie Gafney - Director of Administration and Academic Development
Julie Gafney 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.
Lisa Ingravera - Assistant Director of Administration and Academic Development
Lisa M. Ingravera joined Fordham University in April 2019 as the assistant director for campus and community leadership, and brings nearly 20 years of higher education administration experience to the position. While working full-time at Boston University, Lisa earned both her Bachelor of Liberal Arts, in 2005, and her Master of Education, in 2008. Born of Puerto Rican/Afro-Cuban heritage in the Bronx and a product of Catholic school education, Ingravera brings a diverse background of cultural experiences to the Center for Community Engaged Learning.
In her previous role as coordinator of student life, Lisa took on leadership roles in bringing relevant programming in the areas of domestic violence awareness, voter registration, black history and women’s history months, workshops for wellness, and a series of “Let’s Talk Gender Roles” events. She has supervised the internships of human services students working on their theses through experiential learning activities by fully immersing students in the work of being a human services practitioner in the field. During her college experience, she held leadership and advisory roles for a national sorority. It was during this experience that she first experienced community engagement leading various projects in the surrounding communities ranging from financial literacy, refurbishing multiservice centers, computer skills workshops, and health care initiatives. Her passion for teaching and learning is what inspires her to keep her roots in higher education, where she hopes to continue her academic and leadership development.
Vanessa Rotondo - Assistant Director of Immersions and Student Leadership
Vanessa Rotondo received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Fordham College at Rose Hill and completed a double minor in Italian and business administration, the latter at the Gabelli School of Business. As an undergraduate, she served on many student leadership councils and teams through the Office of Campus Ministry. She was the recipient of the 2017 Reverend Joseph P. Fitzpatrick student leadership award, awarded to one senior who exhibits a deep passion for and commitment to social justice and awareness within the Fordham community as well as within the greater New York community. She also worked in political consulting and campaign management as an undergraduate. After graduation, Rotondo matriculated into Fordham’s Graduate School of Education and received her master’s degree in Catholic Educational Leadership in May of 2019, during which she was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the honor society of Jesuit universities, which recognizes students who excel in scholarship, loyalty, and service, and promotes Ignatian values for life. While in graduate school, she was a graduate intern to the Office of Campus Ministry, for Ignatian programming at Fordham. She began working for the Center for Community Engaged Learning as the assistant director for operations and leadership in April of 2019. In September of 2019, she began pursuing a doctorate in religious education in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham, with the aspiration of becoming a triple Ram.
Candace Johnson - Assistant Director of Operations and Evaluations
Candace Johnson received her bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, with a focus on public relations and marketing. While an undergraduate, she was an avid participant in the Greer Dawson Wilson Student Leadership Program; which is a service-learning and leadership program that plays a vital role in the holistic development of Hampton University students by providing community service experiences and interpersonal and leadership skills training opportunities. She has found that those experiences at Hampton have aided in her development of becoming a highly motivated self-starter. She has also earned a master’s degree from Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service. During her tenure at Fordham, she was also inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi for high academic achievement. Her experiences in both institutions, as well as the time she has spent working within the nonprofit sector and the New York City Department of Education for the majority of her professional career, has taught her innovative strategies that she practices daily to solve problems.