Dr. Davis joined the Cisneros Center in 2014 as the Research and Evaluation Specialist and currently serves as Director of Programs. Previously, Donna served as an Instructor at the University of Arkansas while completing research on climate-induced migration from the Marshall Islands for her doctorate in Environmental Dynamics. Donna brings passion and experience in research and evaluation, migration and immigration studies, teaching, social entrepreneurship, and building programs from the ground up. She also holds an MA from the University of Arkansas in Rural Sociology, where she focused her work on accessibility to health care in US and international rural communities. Donna was raised in Northwest Arkansas, where she spends her free time on refugee resettlement work and building educational and service opportunities for youth.
Judith’s passion of empowering New American families through the power of education comes from personal experience. As a daughter of immigrant parents and as a single mother herself, Judith relied on the support of the Northwest Arkansas community to help her navigate the educational system. It was through this support that Judith was able to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of Arkansas. Judith served as a mathematics teacher at Springdale High School and Haas Hall Academy in Bentonville. From her experience as a teacher, Judith was able to witness the need to help New American families become knowledgeable and confident advocates for their child’s education. She currently serves as the Education Program Manager at the Cisneros Center for New Americans.
Emily Hackerson hails from Warren, Vermont, but traded mountains years ago for the chance to live and work in cities across the globe, including Rabat, Morocco, Mexico City, and New York, NY. Emily is currently the Workforce Development Program Manager and a former American Dream Fellow with the Cisneros Center for New Americans. Prior to her work with the Cisneros Center, Emily focused on issues of community-based planning and strategic development, working as a financial capabilities counselor with a housing non-profit in Buffalo, NY and as an urban development researcher and facilitator with a Mexico City-based public policy think tank. Most recently Emily served as a consultant with Welcoming America, a non-profit focused on building and connecting more welcoming communities for immigrants across the U.S. Emily holds a BA in International Affairs from The New School University and received her master’s degree in Urban Planning from Cornell University, focused on participatory planning methods and migration.