Alyssa Nickell, PhD

Senior Research Associate
National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences

Alyssa Nickell brings to MSASS over two decades of experience in community-based program and organizational development in the Chicagoland and San Francisco Bay Area. Working closely with non- profit leaders, city and county officials and community-based organizations, using a racial-equity lens and centering participant voices, she has designed and launched community-based participatory research projects and mission-driven initiatives to serve women living with cancer, long-term survivors of HIV, LGBT seniors and residents affected by the growing housing crisis. Dr. Nickell’s approach to organizational development focuses on reparative distribution of power, transparent and collaborative decision-making, and increased equity within professional development.

Prior to her community-based work, Dr. Nickell served as an instructor and graduate thesis advisor within the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at St. Mary’s College (Moraga, CA) She also provided training and consultation for academic and religious groups on how to build learning environments that were intentionally anti-racist, align their curriculum to diverse learning styles, and promote empathy with the goal of increasing intercultural awareness and respect among participants. Dr. Nickell holds a PhD from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, (Methodology: Cognitive Science, Art History & Embodied Spiritualities) and a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (Political Science). Her creative outlet is as a collaborative poet with Bharatnatyam dance troupes, increasing access to the art and spirituality of traditional Indian dance for western audiences through spoken-word poetry.