Social and Behavioral Sciences

Michelle Vazquez Jacobus M.S., J.D.

Associate Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences



Contact Information

Phone: 753-6534


Michelle Vazquez Jacobus, J.D., M.S.W. is an Associate Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern Maine (USM)’s Lewiston Auburn College as well as USM LAC’s Community Engagement Scholar overseeing the work of the Druker Office of Community Engagement. Working from backgrounds in both social work and law, Michelle focuses her work on community-engaged learning and community capacity building, particularly through promoting diversity and multiculturalism. Michelle has co-authored several articles exploring USM’s engagement with the community, including pieces focusing on local immigrant populations; policy implications of food access; collaborative multi-disciplinary community engagement projects; and the importance of community engagement on pedagogy and social justice.  Recently her work has focused on promoting diversity and access to education, particularly for marginalized communities. 

Michelle earned her J.D. at Stanford Law School, her MSW at New York University and her BA at Duke University. Michelle was 2014 Libra Diversity Scholar at the University of Maine; a 2011 National Finalist for the Lynton Award for the Scholarship of Engagement; and the 2006 winner of the Maine Campus Compact Harward Award for Faculty Leadership in Community Engagement.  She has also been recognized by the Maine House of Representatives for her contribution to the community. 


Publications in Engaged Scholarship:

Vazquez Jacobus, M., Ahmed, H., and Jalali, R. (2013). “My daughter does not know how to make the chappati”: Understanding food access among African immigrants in Lewiston, ME. Metropolitan Universities Journal, 23(3), 79-94.
Vazquez Jacobus, M.; Baskett, R and Bechstein, C. (2011). Building Castles Together: A sustainable collaboration as a perpetual work in progress, Gateways International Journal of Community Research and Engagement: Special Edition on Sustaining Community-University Partnerships, 4, 65-82.
Vazquez Jacobus, M. and Jalali, R. (2011). Challenges to food access among Lewiston’s African immigrants. Maine Policy Review:  Special Food Issue, 20(1), 150-158.
Vazquez Jacobus, M., Tiemann, M. and Reed, E. (2011). The Downtown Education Collaborative: A new model for collaborative community engagement. Metropolitan Universities Journal, 21(3), 98-117.
Harris, D.E., Vazquez Jacobus, M., Ewing, H.A., Pieck, S. K., Kane, E., Blum, J.W. (2011). Local food, the built environment and single-parent households in Local Food Geographies: Concepts, Spatial Context and the Local Practices Food Systems in Old Industrial Regions: Spatial Context and Local Practices, Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing Inc.
Nigro, G., McCabe-Park, E. & Vazquez Jacobus, M. (2011). The effects of service-learning on retention: A study of 17 Northern New England institutions of higher education, unpublished manuscript; findings published on Maine Campus Compact website.
Vazquez Jacobus, M. and Baskett, R. (2010).  Building community capacity through school based service-learning.  Metropolitan Universities Journal, 22(3) 93-110. 
Harris, D., Aboueissa, A., Vazquez Jacobus, M., Dharod, J., and Walter, K. (2010). Mapping food stores and people at-risk for insecurity in Lewiston, Maine. Journal of Extension, 48 (6). 
Vazquez Jacobus, M. and Harris, D. (2007). Mapping hunger in Maine: A complex collaboration, Academic Exchange Quarterly, 11(4)202.
Schmitz, C., Vazquez Jacobus, M., Stakeman, C, Valenzuela, G.  and Sprankel J. (2003). Immigrant and refugee communities: Resiliency, trauma, policy and practice.   Social Thought, 22 (2/3), 135-158.