The Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion

Vaishali Mamgain Ph.D.

photo of Dr. Mamgain next to a tree

Office Location

300G Payson Smith Hall, Portland Campus



Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. in Economics, University of North Carolina, 1997


Vaishali Mamgain (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Economics and the Director of the Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion at the University of Southern Maine.

She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her past research focused on the contributions of (im)migrants and refugees in the Maine economy.  Her current research is in contemplative pedagogy; she is passionate about deconstructing epistemology by using embodiedness and immersive practices in the natural world as ways to undo internalized oppression and the “colonization” of contemplative practices. 

As the Director of the Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion, Vaishali facilitates workshops to help people develop greater awareness and the tools necessary to unseat oppression in all its forms. Based on years of contemplative retreats, she encourages participants to draw on everyday experiences to have greater self-compassion, empathy, and openness to change. Such training can help people engage and overturn systemic problems such as racism with a sense of joy and purpose.

A working contemplative, Vaishali has meditated, wandered and ‘retreat’ed for many years. In 2017, she completed a 3 year meditation retreat at Samten Ling Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado and now lives in beautiful, coastal Maine where she enjoys swimming in the sea, admiring seaweed, running, hiking and cooking. 


Hear Vaishali speak about Contemplative Education with Blaise Goodman, Student-Veteran, Economics Major, and MPPM student

Recent Publications

Feeling the Wounds of January 6: Embodiment as an Anti-Racism Practice,” Jan 2021, Portland Press Herald

Can Wisdom Traditions be Colonized,” Oct 2020, Lion’s Roar magazine

“The Final Alert on Ethics in AI Based Technology,” book chapter in T.V Kumar and K. Sud, ed. AI and Robotics in Disaster Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020   

Ripples from the East Coast Stream: Migrant Hispanic Workers Contributions to the Maine Blueberry Industry,” Maine Policy Review, 2013, vol.22, no.2. 2013

"Asians in the Maine Economy: Opportunities for Growth," researcher, Maine Center for Economic Policy, 2011

Ethical Consciousness in the Classroom: How Buddhist Practices can Help Develop Empathy and Compassion,” Journal of Transformative Education, vol. 8(1), 2010


May 2021:  Antiracism in Nursing, a workshop for USM School of Nursing faculty (with Dr. Rebecca Nisetich)

May 2021:  Writing Retreat: Undoing Racism Using a Relational Frame, a workshop for USM writing instructors (with Dr. Rebecca Nisetich)

April 2021:  Balancing Hope and Fear: Resourcing Concerned Citizens for Sustainable Environmental Justice Work, Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (with Dr. Brooke Lavelle)

April 2021:  Reclaiming Resilience and Community: a Workshop for BIPOCCourage of Care Coalition (co-facilitator)

March 2021:  The Cognitive Reset: Become a Better Thinker to be a Better Leader, Hussey Leadership Institute (with Professor Richard Bilodeau)

March 2021:  What is Ours to Do to Bring ChangeUnity of Greater Portland, Windham, ME

August 2020:  Convocation speaker, USM School of Nursing

July-September 2020: Workshop for Southern Maine Agency on Aging, Portland, ME

July 2020:  Cognitive Reset I & II: practices that engender empathy and enhance creativity and learninga workshop for USM faculty (with Professor Richard Bilodeau)

July 2020:  Speaker, “Anti-Racism and Meditation Practice,” Ellsworth, ME

June 2020:  Workshop for Emerging Leaders Council, (NRHI), nationwide

June-July 2020:  Workshops for Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), Portland, ME

June-July 2020:  Summer Antiracism Institute for USM faculty and staff (with Dr. Rebecca Nisetich)

January-May 2020:  Monthly Training for USM President's Cabinet (with Dr. Rebecca Nisetich)