Sarah Beth Dempsey, Ed.D. (she/her)
Director of Engaged Learning and Research

Contact Sarah about faculty development, community partner relationships, and community engagement courses for the core curriculum.

Sarah Dempsey is a practitioner-scholar with nearly 20 years of experience in higher education.  Since 2013, she has worked in CILSA to train and support faculty and nonprofit partners who collaborate to be co-educators for community engagement courses.  Additionally, she is an assistant adjunct professor and teaches social justice courses in Ethnic Studies, January Term, and Core Curriculum.  Sarah is a Carnegie Community Engagement Classification consulting corps member and a University of California Berkeley Executive Leadership Academy Fellow.  Her research focuses on community engagement courses and participant engagement.

Her dedication to higher education administration started when she was a student leader at Sacramento State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree.  She earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Saint Mary's College, Master of Science degree in Student Counseling and Personnel Services at Kansas State University, and continued her counseling training in sexual assault counseling and alcohol and drug counseling in Santa Barbara.  Prior to working at SMC, she worked in the University of California (UC) system for 10 years in academic affairs roles committed to diversity and academic success.  Currently, Sarah serves on numerous educational nonprofit boards in her community.

Adeline Diaz, M.A. (she/her)
Assistant Director for Community Engaged Leadership

Contact Adeline about the MICAH Summer Fellowship, BAY Collaborative, and the Community Based Internship Program.
Adeline Diaz was initially introduced to the transformational impact of community engagement work as an undergraduate student at Saint Mary's College, where she received her B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Theology and Religious Studies. Prior to joining CILSA, she explored various avenues of equity and justice work through non-profit organizations, social impact investing, cultural centers, and international education. Through the completion of her M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of San Francisco and her identity as a first-generation college graduate, she is committed to liberatory practices that challenge and disrupt the exclusionary history of higher education. 

Samantha Giordano, M.A. (she/her)
Director of Community Partnerships and Programs

Contact Samantha about the MICAH Summer Fellowship, co-curricular programming, and alumni engagement.

Samantha Giordano developed a serious interest for community engagement and social justice during her high school years at a small Catholic school in southern California.  With its strong sense of community and Lasallian foundation, Samantha found St. Mary's College to be the perfect institution for her studies, where she completed her B.A in Kinesiology and M.A. in Leadership.  Samantha has over ten years of professional experience collaborating with others to foster more dignity, equity, and justice in local/global communities. She supports the coordination of curricular and co-curricular programs through CILSA that provide students with opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of justice, leadership, and spirituality.

William Besson (he/him)
Engaged Learning and Jumpstart Administrative and Compliance Coordinator

Contact Will about engaged learning travel logistics, reimbursement questions, and GaelsEngage.


Bianca Meza, M.Ed. (she/her)
Assistant Director for Jumpstart

Contact Bianca about Jumpstart in Oakland and early childhood education co-curricular community service projects.

Bianca Meza’s journey through the field of education began during her undergraduate studies at Washington State University where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development with an ECE focus. She continued on to serve as an AmeriCorps College Coach & College Access Coordinator for two years before earning her M.Ed in Student Development at Seattle University. These experiences shaped her commitment to community, education and justice. As the Jumpstart Site Manager, she is committed to establishing intentional partnerships with Oakland Child Development partners/teachers and developing opportunities for students to explore the ways in which they create welcoming classroom spaces that embrace children as individuals, celebrate culture, and promote early literacy.