Michelle Ahearne

Doctoral Research Assistant

  • MA, University of San Diego, Nonprofit Leadership and Management
  • BA, Cornell University, Human Service Studies

Michelle Ahearne is a Doctoral Research Assistant at the Caster Family Center for Nonprofit and Philanthropic Research and a Leadership Studies Doctoral student, specializing in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership. She has spent more than 15 years serving the nonprofit sector in diverse capacities, including AmeriCorps VISTA member, donor, volunteer, program director, consultant and ten years as the executive director of a national nonprofit drug-prevention and character development organization. Michelle is particularly interested in program design and evaluation, gender and leadership in the nonprofit sector, building resiliency in nonprofit organizations, and helping individuals and organizations reach their highest potential.

As a volunteer, she has served as a board member for Shakti Rising, a social change organization transforming the lives of women, girls and the larger community, as well as served on the Advisory Board for the Institute of Nonprofit Education and Research at the University of San Diego. She is currently a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego and has been matched with her Little for five years.

Michelle earned her MA in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego and her BS in Human Service Studies with a certificate in Social Work from Cornell University. She has also earned her Certificate in Fundraising Management (CFRM) from the Fundraising School at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.