UROC Staff

Leola Crawford
Principal Office/Administrative Specialist
612-624-4470 | leola@umn.edu
Leola Crawford is responsible for all logisitical aspects of UROC's special events including Critical Conversations, Community Day, and events and receptions throughout the year.  She also oversees UROC's room scheduling and rental operations, is co-coordinater of UROC's Neighborhood U series, and provides scheduling and budgetary support to UROC's Director of Research. Leola joined the UROC staff in 2009. She served on the UROC's Effects of the Foreclosure/Mortgage Crisis on Individual, Family, and Community Health and Wellness Action Research Team.

Johneva Davis
Principal Office/Administrative Specialist
612-626-8762 | davi3797@umn.edu
Johneva Davis provides UROC's visitors and callers with information about UROC and other University of Minnesota resources. As part of UROC's Operations Team, Johneva helps with facility maintenance, provides calendar assistance for UROC leadership, supervises student interns, and helps with room rental requests. A graduate of the Aveda Institute Minneapolis, Johneva comes to UROC with a background in customer relations and community volunteerism. 
 

James De Sota
Director of Administration and Projects
612-624-4514 | jadesota@umn.edu
James De Sota pairs up University researchers and community needs. He oversees a variety of projects, including the Northside Achievement Zone 2013 Neighborhood Survey and the Northside Job Creation Team. James also served as lead coordinator for UROC's $3.6 million, federally funded Broadband Access Project. Prior to joining the University, James served as the neighborhood director for the Southeast Como Improvement Association, an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Minnesota Literacy Council, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Gambia, and researcher and consultant for several for-profit industries in the geographic information sector.
 

Hawona Sullivan Janzen
Gallery Curator and Special Projects Coordinator
612-626-1526 | janze005@umn.edu
Gallery curator Hawona Sullivan Janzen brings arts and cultural programs to UROC's gallery. She has coordinated exhibits and events involving more than 100 artists and arts organizations on topics ranging from the Cambodian refugee experience to African-American storytelling and a children's photography exhibit of life in North Minneapolis following the 2011 tornado. She is a volunteer with the Minnesota African American Museum, Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented, and the African American Leadership Forum.
 

Lauren Martin
Director of Research
612-624-0435 | mart2114@umn.eduLauren Martin is an expert on community research methods and she works to develop thriving research partnerships at UROC. Lauren is also affiliated faculty at the University’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She received her doctoral degree in anthropology and historical studies from the New School for Social Research in New York and has been conducting research with community partners since 2006. She is the author of many community and scholarly publications and the principle investigator on research projects including most recently, Safe Harbor for All, Mapping The Demand: Sex Buyers in Minnesota, and the Super Bowl and sex trafficking. Additionally, she has lead research on other community-relevant topics including, The Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) community survey and a validation study of the NAZ Family Academy, Nice Ride Neighborhood, and more. She is the 2016 recipient of the University of Minnesota President's Community-Engaged Scholar Award.
 

Christina Melander
Research Fellow
612-624-4618 | melan108@umn.edu
Trained in community-based and participatory research approaches, Christina Melander focuses her research at UROC on sex trafficking, gender equality, and structural work inequalities.  She comes from a diverse background in social work practice, including working with sexual assault/domestic violence survivors, homeless populations, low-income communities, and immigrant in the Chicago and Twin Cities areas. Christina has a master's degree in social work from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Chicago.

 

Anna Orr
Executive Office and Administrative Specialist
612-624-5881 | arorr@umn.edu
As UROC's executive office and administrative specialist, Anna Orr is responsible for a range of operational and administrative duties, including co-coordinating UROC's Neighbohood U series, overseeing building operations, and supporting the UROC's leadership team. Anna has a bachelor's degree in speench communication/radio and television studies from Southwest Minnesota State University and was born and raised in North Minneapolis.
 

Alexandra Shuford
Principal Office/Administrative Specialist
612-626-8762 | shufo007@umn.edu
Alexandra Shuford provides UROC's visitors and callers with information about UROC, the community, and other University of Minnesota resources. As part of UROC's Operations Team, Alexandra helps with facility maintenance, provides calendar assistance for UROC leadership, supervises student interns, assists with UROC events, and helps with room rental set up. Born and raised in North Minneapolis, and an avid world traveler, Alexandra comes to UROC with a background in customer relations and community volunteerism. 
 

Makeda Zulu-Gillespie
Director of Community Outreach
612-626-9829 | zulug001@umn.edu
Makeda Zulu-Gillespie works with the North Minneapolis community to establish relationships with the University. She coordinates the University-Northside Partnership's Community Affairs Committee, responds to community inquiries, represents UROC at community forums, and develops activities to strengthen long-term partnerships between the University and community members. A native of North Minneapolis and a former community organizer, Makeda has worked with area youth, families, and community for more than 25 years. She is a graduate of the University's President's Emerging Leaders program, a recipient of the University's Outstanding Community Service Award and a master's degree student in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.