Our Fellows

Our seasoned Fellows are professionals who apply their expertise in the public sector, seeking to contribute their leadership skills to public service for the betterment of their communities and our nation.

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2019 Fellows

  • Maria Arettines

    Maria Arettines works to promote gender equity and access to higher education for those impacted by forced migration and displacement. Her work with various non-governmental and non-profit community organizations, as well as public and private higher education institutions, has spanned both New York City and the globe. She recently finished a work assignment as Program Manager of the Cross Cultural Solutions Refugee Program, based primarily in Greece, and previously worked in service of displaced students, particularly from Syria, as they sought access to higher education.

    Maria graduated summa cum laude from the Thomas Hunter Honors Program at Hunter College (CUNY) with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies. She was awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Excellent Work in the Field of Gender Studies at CUNY, and served as both Student Liaison for the Women and Gender Studies Department and Student Representative for the Hunter College Senate. Also while at Hunter, Maria was awarded the Astraea Foundation for Social Justice Award, Young People For Fellowship, and the Thomas Hunter Honors Program JMS Scholarship.

    In 2010, Maria moved to Cyprus on a Fulbright fellowship. While there, she worked with the Cyprus Oral History Project, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, and KISA (Action for Equality, Support, and Antiracism in Cyprus). Her time in Cyprus solidified her commitment to social justice and education advocacy initiatives.

    Since, Maria has built a career at the intersection of higher education and the nonprofit world. More recently, as Program Analyst with the Institute for International Education’s Platform for Education in Emergencies Response, Maria worked to expand access to higher education opportunities for students displaced by conflict.

    Maria Arettines

    Hometown: Queens, New York

    Mentor Placement/Location: Test, AL

    Maria Arettines works to promote gender equity and access to higher education for those impacted by forced migration and displacement. Her work with various non-governmental and non-profit community organizations, as well as public and private higher education institutions, has spanned both New York City and the globe. She recently finished a work assignment as Program Manager of the Cross Cultural Solutions Refugee Program, based primarily in Greece, and previously worked in service of displaced students, particularly from Syria, as they sought access to higher education.

    Maria graduated summa cum laude from the Thomas Hunter Honors Program at Hunter College (CUNY) with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies. She was awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Excellent Work in the Field of Gender Studies at CUNY, and served as both Student Liaison for the Women and Gender Studies Department and Student Representative for the Hunter College Senate. Also while at Hunter, Maria was awarded the Astraea Foundation for Social Justice Award, Young People For Fellowship, and the Thomas Hunter Honors Program JMS Scholarship.

    In 2010, Maria moved to Cyprus on a Fulbright fellowship. While there, she worked with the Cyprus Oral History Project, the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, and KISA (Action for Equality, Support, and Antiracism in Cyprus). Her time in Cyprus solidified her commitment to social justice and education advocacy initiatives.

    Since, Maria has built a career at the intersection of higher education and the nonprofit world. More recently, as Program Analyst with the Institute for International Education’s Platform for Education in Emergencies Response, Maria worked to expand access to higher education opportunities for students displaced by conflict.

    Why I chose NUF:
    My recent work in refugee camps has allowed me to learn more deeply about the critical challenges facing NGO administration and management, and I am eager to continue learning best practices. More specifically, I chose NUF for the formal learning opportunities at Baruch, the on-the-ground learning opportunities at our mentorship site, and for the network & community NUF affords us all in the pursuit of our professional goals.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Program Manager, Cross Cultural Solutions (Refugee Program)

    Future Career Goal:
    I would like to make meaningful, lasting contributions to communities I am a part of or connected to. I would like to continuously expand my expertise in NGO management and administration, including and beyond higher education.

  • Karimata Bah

    Karimata has a wealth of experience working on public health research and translating inter-disciplinary scientific knowledge into policy-focus practices and interventions. She has experience working at different institutions including academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations serving in various capacities.

    Her experience working as a Research Assistant for the Incarceration and Public Health Action Network (IPHAN) and the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation (SHIFT) projects within Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has enabled her to develop community research abilities and to hone excellent communications, management, and programming skills. In her role, she coordinated with a diverse team of investigators, research participants, the broader Columbia community, external vendors and foundations to optimize operational success and achieve project goals.

    She also served as the Evaluation Research Assistant in the Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health (MCFH) at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. There, she applied her analytical and data management skills to push the agenda of local and national programs that served the needs of the community. Karimata believes that easy access to quality healthcare is fundamental to the wellbeing of any community and she is committed to the reformation and management of better healthcare systems utilizing interdisciplinary resources and innovative methodologies.

    Katimata graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health

    Karimata Bah

    Hometown: Brooklyn, NY/Philadelphia, PA/Freetown, Sierra Leone

    Karimata has a wealth of experience working on public health research and translating inter-disciplinary scientific knowledge into policy-focus practices and interventions. She has experience working at different institutions including academia, governmental and non-governmental organizations serving in various capacities.

    Her experience working as a Research Assistant for the Incarceration and Public Health Action Network (IPHAN) and the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation (SHIFT) projects within Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has enabled her to develop community research abilities and to hone excellent communications, management, and programming skills. In her role, she coordinated with a diverse team of investigators, research participants, the broader Columbia community, external vendors and foundations to optimize operational success and achieve project goals.

    She also served as the Evaluation Research Assistant in the Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health (MCFH) at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. There, she applied her analytical and data management skills to push the agenda of local and national programs that served the needs of the community. Karimata believes that easy access to quality healthcare is fundamental to the wellbeing of any community and she is committed to the reformation and management of better healthcare systems utilizing interdisciplinary resources and innovative methodologies.

    Katimata graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health

    Why I chose NUF:
    I was attracted to the opportunity to join the 2018 National Urban Fellows' Academic and Leadership Development program at CUNY's Baruch College. I am confident that the MPA program and mentorship will enhance my leadership competencies and broaden my scope of experience in the public sector.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Research Assistant, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

    Future Career Goal:
    I look forward to serving in a leadership role as part of a diverse community of public administration practitioners with a commitment to achieving social progress and sound governance especially in the healthcare delivery system.

  • Edward C. Cerna

    Born and raised in New York City to Mexican and Salvadorian parents, Edward has dedicated his entire career to public service. He has successfully leveraged experiences and skillsets into multiple job opportunities including serving as community liaison for two New York State Assembly Members. He most recently worked as a tenant support specialist for the Public Engagement Unit of the City of New York where he provided case management to clients facing housing and social related issues including landlord harassment, lack of repairs, and need for public assistance.

    Edward is also involved in his local community of Sunset Park Brooklyn. He serves on community board seven as chair of the immigration committee where he has pushed against draconian immigration policies by hosting “Know Your Rights” meetings and passing a first of its kind resolution affirming that in Sunset Park, all immigrants, regardless of immigration status, are welcomed and that racism, xenophobia, and homophobia are not tolerated.

    He recognizes that building and empowering others is the true hallmark of leadership. To this end, he serves as treasurer of the New York Chapter of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Alumni Association. An organization whose mission is to develop the next generation of Latino leaders by connecting them to programs and educational services such scholarships, internships, and fellowships.

    Edward received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy of law from  the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, and was the first in his family to graduate from college.

    Edward C. Cerna

    Hometown: Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY

    Born and raised in New York City to Mexican and Salvadorian parents, Edward has dedicated his entire career to public service. He has successfully leveraged experiences and skillsets into multiple job opportunities including serving as community liaison for two New York State Assembly Members. He most recently worked as a tenant support specialist for the Public Engagement Unit of the City of New York where he provided case management to clients facing housing and social related issues including landlord harassment, lack of repairs, and need for public assistance.

    Edward is also involved in his local community of Sunset Park Brooklyn. He serves on community board seven as chair of the immigration committee where he has pushed against draconian immigration policies by hosting “Know Your Rights” meetings and passing a first of its kind resolution affirming that in Sunset Park, all immigrants, regardless of immigration status, are welcomed and that racism, xenophobia, and homophobia are not tolerated.

    He recognizes that building and empowering others is the true hallmark of leadership. To this end, he serves as treasurer of the New York Chapter of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Alumni Association. An organization whose mission is to develop the next generation of Latino leaders by connecting them to programs and educational services such scholarships, internships, and fellowships.

    Edward received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy of law from  the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, and was the first in his family to graduate from college.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I chose NUF because of the reputation. When I first heard that you could obtain a degree in 14 months, I knew that an accelerated and strenuous pace awaited. However, after careful consideration, I decided to jump into the deep end of the pool. I have loved every second of it.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Tenant Support Specialist, Tenant Support Unit, Public Engagement Unit of the City of New York

    Future Career Goal:
    Continue to serve the public good.

  • Francis Colon

    From Francis’ beginning in Puerto Cortes, Honduras she decided that public service was a life mission. Francis came to the United States at the young age of two and was an outspoken child where she cared for the well-being of others, especially those in need.  Most recently, Francis served as the Geriatric Support Service Coordinator at Senior Whole Health, a non-profit senior citizen housing complex where she continues to advocate for low income individuals. Through Francis’ efforts and counseling, over 100 tenants have been linked to programs that would not be possible if it were not for her hard work and perseverance. Francis has always known that a career focusing on providing assistance to low income families and individuals was a priority. As a political anthropologist at heart Francis made the decision to study Africana and Latino Studies. While a junior at Hunter College as she was offered employment as a Medicaid Service Coordinator at a community agency addressing equal employment opportunities to individuals with learning and emotional disabilities.

    Francis feels strongly in wanting to impact the lives of people not just at the “ground” level, but also to be able to implement rules and policies that matter. Her devoted public service is shown through her volunteer work at Mama Love, an agency which provides low-income pre-maternal women with baby supplies, breastfeeding peer support and emotional support and semi-annual health screening exams for expectant mothers.

    Francis received her Bachelor’s Degree in Africana and Latino Studies from City Univerity of New York’s Hunter College.

    Francis Colon

    Hometown: New York, NY

    From Francis’ beginning in Puerto Cortes, Honduras she decided that public service was a life mission. Francis came to the United States at the young age of two and was an outspoken child where she cared for the well-being of others, especially those in need.  Most recently, Francis served as the Geriatric Support Service Coordinator at Senior Whole Health, a non-profit senior citizen housing complex where she continues to advocate for low income individuals. Through Francis’ efforts and counseling, over 100 tenants have been linked to programs that would not be possible if it were not for her hard work and perseverance. Francis has always known that a career focusing on providing assistance to low income families and individuals was a priority. As a political anthropologist at heart Francis made the decision to study Africana and Latino Studies. While a junior at Hunter College as she was offered employment as a Medicaid Service Coordinator at a community agency addressing equal employment opportunities to individuals with learning and emotional disabilities.

    Francis feels strongly in wanting to impact the lives of people not just at the “ground” level, but also to be able to implement rules and policies that matter. Her devoted public service is shown through her volunteer work at Mama Love, an agency which provides low-income pre-maternal women with baby supplies, breastfeeding peer support and emotional support and semi-annual health screening exams for expectant mothers.

    Francis received her Bachelor’s Degree in Africana and Latino Studies from City Univerity of New York’s Hunter College.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I wanted to help alleviate human suffrage.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Geriatric Supports Community Coordinator

    Future Career Goal:
    Become an Executive Director or Have my own company.

  • Danielle Cornwall

    For over a decade, Danielle E. Cornwall has provided economic empowerment through program management, strategic planning, and relationship development through her work at the Jackie E. Robinson Foundation and the National Urban League. Her non-profit career has been a platform to various internal and external stakeholders building bridges of understanding between today’s decision makers and tomorrow leaders around issues of social justice and economic empowerment.

    In her supervisory roles, she has expanded the development of national programs, spearheaded cross functional internal and external teams, provided grant oversight, and led strategic initiatives. She has also partnered with over 30 colleges and universities, numerous corporate sponsors and trained volunteers. In 2011, her organizational leadership abilities were recognized and she was selected for the National Urban League Emerging Leaders program.

    She currently serves on the Local Development Corporation of East New York’s Board of Directors. In the ever-changing workplace Danielle recognizes the importance of all team members and how their contributions can enhance or derail mission driven organizations. She aims to strategically move organizations forward as they seek to remain competitive and thrive in the market.

    Danielle holds a Master of Social Work from Howard University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Hampton University.

    Danielle Cornwall

    Hometown: Boston,MA

    For over a decade, Danielle E. Cornwall has provided economic empowerment through program management, strategic planning, and relationship development through her work at the Jackie E. Robinson Foundation and the National Urban League. Her non-profit career has been a platform to various internal and external stakeholders building bridges of understanding between today’s decision makers and tomorrow leaders around issues of social justice and economic empowerment.

    In her supervisory roles, she has expanded the development of national programs, spearheaded cross functional internal and external teams, provided grant oversight, and led strategic initiatives. She has also partnered with over 30 colleges and universities, numerous corporate sponsors and trained volunteers. In 2011, her organizational leadership abilities were recognized and she was selected for the National Urban League Emerging Leaders program.

    She currently serves on the Local Development Corporation of East New York’s Board of Directors. In the ever-changing workplace Danielle recognizes the importance of all team members and how their contributions can enhance or derail mission driven organizations. She aims to strategically move organizations forward as they seek to remain competitive and thrive in the market.

    Danielle holds a Master of Social Work from Howard University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Hampton University.

    Why I chose NUF:
    Career Advancement

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Nonprofit program management

    Future Career Goal:
    As a National Urban Fellow, Ms. Cornwall’s goal is to utilize the education and opportunities gained to transition to a leadership role where she can utilize her training and project management skills to develop high functioning organizations. In the ever-changing workplace Danielle recognizes the importance of all team members and how their contributions can enhance or derail mission driven organizations. She aims to strategically move organizations forward as they seek to remain competitive and thrive in the market.

  • Juan Galeano

    Juan is a proven relationship builder with over nine years of experience in engaging stakeholders to address community problems. Juan most recently worked as a Campaign Manager for the Renew + Rebuild Capital Campaign at the Archdiocese of New York. In this role, he worked with pastors to customize campaigns, recruit volunteers, and manage parish level solicitations in order to meet the most pressing capital needs of the local parish. Prior to this Juan was a community organizer in Polk County, FL. Some highlights include victories in Reducing Youth Arrests, and Increasing Access to Primary Health Care. Through working with the stakeholders of the juvenile justice system in Polk County, children were given a second chance through a diversion programs instead of a criminal record for committing a first time minor offense. This effort led to a 41% reduction of child arrests in schools and 25% reduction of child arrests overall.

    Through working with stakeholders of the health care system, a primary health care clinic was opened in Winter Haven, FL that serves over 7,000 people a year. Juan is a proud alumnus of Temple University. During his time at Temple, he directed a 1-day service program that energized 1,000+ volunteers to serve the community around campus. He led efforts to register over 800 students to vote. As Student Body President, he improved representation, increased support for student leadership programs, and successfully advocated to keep tuition down.

    Juan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Temple University.

    Juan Galeano

    Hometown: Flushing, NY

    Juan is a proven relationship builder with over nine years of experience in engaging stakeholders to address community problems. Juan most recently worked as a Campaign Manager for the Renew + Rebuild Capital Campaign at the Archdiocese of New York. In this role, he worked with pastors to customize campaigns, recruit volunteers, and manage parish level solicitations in order to meet the most pressing capital needs of the local parish. Prior to this Juan was a community organizer in Polk County, FL. Some highlights include victories in Reducing Youth Arrests, and Increasing Access to Primary Health Care. Through working with the stakeholders of the juvenile justice system in Polk County, children were given a second chance through a diversion programs instead of a criminal record for committing a first time minor offense. This effort led to a 41% reduction of child arrests in schools and 25% reduction of child arrests overall.

    Through working with stakeholders of the health care system, a primary health care clinic was opened in Winter Haven, FL that serves over 7,000 people a year. Juan is a proud alumnus of Temple University. During his time at Temple, he directed a 1-day service program that energized 1,000+ volunteers to serve the community around campus. He led efforts to register over 800 students to vote. As Student Body President, he improved representation, increased support for student leadership programs, and successfully advocated to keep tuition down.

    Juan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Temple University.

    Why I chose NUF:
    To be better equipped at representing and advocating for my community.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Capital Campaign Manager and Executive Director of community organizing organization in Polk County, FL.

    Future Career Goal:
    Form Economic Development Organization focused on equipping low income families to build wealth and escape poverty__

  • Chara Gladden

    With over 13 years of professional experience working with children in various settings, Chara has impacted the lives of students and their families in New York and on the isle of Belize. Upon traveling to Belize on vacation in 2015, Chara noticed a high mortality rate among women due to domestic violence; which was a cause dear to her. In light of this, her calling became clear and she became a school teacher and after school director in Placencia Village. Chara worked to help students gain access to quality education through raising money in the community to help fund literacy programs in her school and for her NGO after-school program for local children. This literacy program transformed non-readers into proficient readers within a few months. In her spare time, she volunteered in Siene Bight Village whose residents are currently feeling the weight of economic oppression. She was able to assist 15 students get full scholarships to high school and funded school supplies that they could not afford from sponsors abroad.

    She most recently worked with domestic and international sponsors to create Belize’s first STEM school. Chara continues to answer an intrinsic calling to provide much needed service for populations that are systematically underserved. Her goal is to provide youth domestically and internationally with the toolkit to be able to navigate their social landscape in a manner that will empower them to make informed choices in challenging social and emotional situations.

    She graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from CUNY City College with a concentration in Developmental Psychology.

    Chara Gladden

    Hometown: Bronx, NY

    With over 13 years of professional experience working with children in various settings, Chara has impacted the lives of students and their families in New York and on the isle of Belize. Upon traveling to Belize on vacation in 2015, Chara noticed a high mortality rate among women due to domestic violence; which was a cause dear to her. In light of this, her calling became clear and she became a school teacher and after school director in Placencia Village. Chara worked to help students gain access to quality education through raising money in the community to help fund literacy programs in her school and for her NGO after-school program for local children. This literacy program transformed non-readers into proficient readers within a few months. In her spare time, she volunteered in Siene Bight Village whose residents are currently feeling the weight of economic oppression. She was able to assist 15 students get full scholarships to high school and funded school supplies that they could not afford from sponsors abroad.

    She most recently worked with domestic and international sponsors to create Belize’s first STEM school. Chara continues to answer an intrinsic calling to provide much needed service for populations that are systematically underserved. Her goal is to provide youth domestically and internationally with the toolkit to be able to navigate their social landscape in a manner that will empower them to make informed choices in challenging social and emotional situations.

    She graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from CUNY City College with a concentration in Developmental Psychology.

    Why I chose NUF:
    The Inclusive Leadership Model offers a victor, like myself, that has the passion, the drive but not the means, to articulate my philosophy and learn skill set.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Teacher and Site Director of Wingspan Arts P.S 40

    Future Career Goal:
    To create policies and programs to help with preventative tools for intimate misconduct.

  • Davon Harris

    Growing up, many of the men in Davon’s family were incarcerated, including his father. This forced Davon to strive for greatness without cutting any corners. Throughout his life’s work, he has built a deep passion for public service and community and a compulsive interest in mentoring and workforce development. Most recently, he was employed with the New York State Assembly as a Community Liaison and District Representative for the 85th district in the Bronx. Prior to this, Davon was a Life and Career Coach for the New York City Mission Society’s Harlem Justice Scholars program. Davon has been able to foster positive and constructive relationships with NYC program participants and their families, facilitate community development, and maintain scholarship, internship, and employment opportunities.

    Davon is an active member of his church, the First Bible Church of the Lord’s Mission in the Bronx. Since his post undergraduate career, he has been a Waiver Service Provider for Cardinal McCloskey Community Service’s Bridges to Health program, mentoring foster children who are developmentally delayed and/or medically fragile. His life path has allowed him to gain vital experience towards perseverance, leadership, and accountability. These qualities have added fervor to his passion of helping to impact community, both locally and globally.

    Davon graduated from Binghamton University with Bachelor’s Degrees in Latin American Caribbean Area Studies and Africana Studies and Human Development.

    Davon Harris

    Hometown: Bronx, New York

    Growing up, many of the men in Davon’s family were incarcerated, including his father. This forced Davon to strive for greatness without cutting any corners. Throughout his life’s work, he has built a deep passion for public service and community and a compulsive interest in mentoring and workforce development. Most recently, he was employed with the New York State Assembly as a Community Liaison and District Representative for the 85th district in the Bronx. Prior to this, Davon was a Life and Career Coach for the New York City Mission Society’s Harlem Justice Scholars program. Davon has been able to foster positive and constructive relationships with NYC program participants and their families, facilitate community development, and maintain scholarship, internship, and employment opportunities.

    Davon is an active member of his church, the First Bible Church of the Lord’s Mission in the Bronx. Since his post undergraduate career, he has been a Waiver Service Provider for Cardinal McCloskey Community Service’s Bridges to Health program, mentoring foster children who are developmentally delayed and/or medically fragile. His life path has allowed him to gain vital experience towards perseverance, leadership, and accountability. These qualities have added fervor to his passion of helping to impact community, both locally and globally.

    Davon graduated from Binghamton University with Bachelor’s Degrees in Latin American Caribbean Area Studies and Africana Studies and Human Development.

    Why I chose NUF:
    For the opportunity to improve my professional profile, expand my network, and make an impact in a new space.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Community Liaison- NYS Assembly

    Future Career Goal:
    My future goal is to both obtain gainful employment on an executive level, as well as establish my own enterprise.

  • Christopher Kelly

    Christopher Kelly has over 12 years of professional work experience. He has worked for city, county, state, and federal government. Chris has worked in the areas of community engagement, media and marketing, public relations, and political affairs. Most recently, he served as the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of the Office of University


    Communications where he works with a team to support media and public relations efforts for Howard University. Previously, he was appointed by the Mayor of Baltimore to serve as the city’ Hispanic Liaison where he provided direct constituent services to residents, led numerous community engagement initiatives, and received the Maryland Governor’s Local Government Volunteer award for his dedication to the community. At the U.S. Census Bureau, Chris assisted with national recruitment operations to successfully attract and recruit 3.2 million temporary census employees and was awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for his superior federal service. During his tenure at the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, Chris assisted with daily operations and special projects in the child, adult, and family services division. He coordinated community outreach efforts, served as a project manager on awareness campaigns, and managed agency grants and contracts. Chris was recognized as a Prince George’s County 40 Under 40 public service award honoree for his service. He is a proud Latino native of Prince George’s County.

    Chris received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Towson University.

    Christopher Kelly

    Hometown: Prince George’s County, Maryland

    Christopher Kelly has over 12 years of professional work experience. He has worked for city, county, state, and federal government. Chris has worked in the areas of community engagement, media and marketing, public relations, and political affairs. Most recently, he served as the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of the Office of University


    Communications where he works with a team to support media and public relations efforts for Howard University. Previously, he was appointed by the Mayor of Baltimore to serve as the city’ Hispanic Liaison where he provided direct constituent services to residents, led numerous community engagement initiatives, and received the Maryland Governor’s Local Government Volunteer award for his dedication to the community. At the U.S. Census Bureau, Chris assisted with national recruitment operations to successfully attract and recruit 3.2 million temporary census employees and was awarded the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for his superior federal service. During his tenure at the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, Chris assisted with daily operations and special projects in the child, adult, and family services division. He coordinated community outreach efforts, served as a project manager on awareness campaigns, and managed agency grants and contracts. Chris was recognized as a Prince George’s County 40 Under 40 public service award honoree for his service. He is a proud Latino native of Prince George’s County.

    Chris received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Towson University.

    Why I chose NUF:
    Every year, for the past four years, I have applied and been accepted into national fellowships that have provided me with leadership and professional development training. What attracted me to NUF was the opportunity to participate in a fellowship program where I could earn my MPA, gain work experience through my mentorship assignment, and open doors to career opportunities into higher level management positions.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Public/Media Relations at Howard University

    Future Career Goal:
    I am interested in improving my hometown by giving back to my community through elected office as a Prince George’s County, County Council Representative.

    I not only have a strong pride of my hometown but also of my cultural roots. I am interested in working for an organization, state side or abroad, that focuses on advocating for Latinos in the areas of civic/political engagement, civil rights and immigration, or education.

    I am also interested and open to working abroad. I am looking in to opportunities with the United Nations to protect human rights/deliver humanitarian aid and with the U.S. Department of State as a Consular Officer in the Foreign Service.

  • Cheri Koecher

    Cheri has seven years of database management experience. She has been exposed to database management, direct mail, mass e-mail campaigns, grant writing, strategic planning, and website maintenance. She is certified at the highest level by Blackbaud, BCRE-Pro, through a professional development opportunity. She has worked with diverse groups of co-workers and constituents in Minnesota and New York. After college Cheri volunteered full-time through AmeriCorps VISTA at Central MN Habitat for Humanity where she learned the skills that led to her career path. She was exposed to a small staff and had the opportunity to learn something from each staff member. After completing the AmeriCorps year she transitioned to True Friends, an organization which provides camp, travel, respite and programs for children and adults with disabilities. She learned to manage expectations for a variety of team members as well as executive staff and board members.

    Cheri later moved to New York City and started her career at GLSEN, an organization which works to ensure that all members of every school community are valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. GLSEN taught Cheri the value of looking at work through an intersectional lens and understanding privileges.

    Cheri received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from St. Cloud State University.

    Cheri Koecher

    Hometown: New York City by way of Hinckley, MN

    Cheri has seven years of database management experience. She has been exposed to database management, direct mail, mass e-mail campaigns, grant writing, strategic planning, and website maintenance. She is certified at the highest level by Blackbaud, BCRE-Pro, through a professional development opportunity. She has worked with diverse groups of co-workers and constituents in Minnesota and New York. After college Cheri volunteered full-time through AmeriCorps VISTA at Central MN Habitat for Humanity where she learned the skills that led to her career path. She was exposed to a small staff and had the opportunity to learn something from each staff member. After completing the AmeriCorps year she transitioned to True Friends, an organization which provides camp, travel, respite and programs for children and adults with disabilities. She learned to manage expectations for a variety of team members as well as executive staff and board members.

    Cheri later moved to New York City and started her career at GLSEN, an organization which works to ensure that all members of every school community are valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. GLSEN taught Cheri the value of looking at work through an intersectional lens and understanding privileges.

    Cheri received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from St. Cloud State University.

    Why I chose NUF:
    Cheri chose NUF because the opportunity came along at the perfect time. The opportunity to increase her skills and knowledge alongside incredible individuals was too great to not pursue.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Donor Database Associate at GLSEN

    Future Career Goal:
    Program management

  • Laura Kradas

    With over 11 years of Marketing, Public Relations and Business Development experience, Laura strives to implement complex marketing campaigns for distinguished products by creating streamlined key messaging to the public. Laura  has volunteered her time with Camp Aranu’tiq and served as a board advisor to the Transgender Youth Equality Foundation committing to help those most vulnerable to violence, discrimination, and oppression. Working with these kids has been what drives Laura to create a more accepting space.

    Laura has most recently been employed at Macy’s Merchandising Group, where she worked as a Communications Administrator, and recently took a leave of absense to raise her newborn daughter. She has recently taken multiple leadership positions within her community in Queens, NY including building health and wellness activities, supported infant and toddler music classes, and co-developing a CPR training course for new parents. In addition, she has worked with the National Bone Marrow registry to help sign up new donors, after having the honor to serve as a back-up donor in 2014. In March of 2018, Laura has concluded the initial training courses to become a certified Birth Doula.

    Laura has a strong personal and professional commitment to making decisions that result in comfort and joy for those who surround her. Laura strives to work for families equipping them with the knowledge to empower each individual and/or the collective whole.

    Laura graduated from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts with a B.S. in Marketing and Public Relations.

    Laura Kradas

    Hometown: Astoria, NY

    With over 11 years of Marketing, Public Relations and Business Development experience, Laura strives to implement complex marketing campaigns for distinguished products by creating streamlined key messaging to the public. Laura  has volunteered her time with Camp Aranu’tiq and served as a board advisor to the Transgender Youth Equality Foundation committing to help those most vulnerable to violence, discrimination, and oppression. Working with these kids has been what drives Laura to create a more accepting space.

    Laura has most recently been employed at Macy’s Merchandising Group, where she worked as a Communications Administrator, and recently took a leave of absense to raise her newborn daughter. She has recently taken multiple leadership positions within her community in Queens, NY including building health and wellness activities, supported infant and toddler music classes, and co-developing a CPR training course for new parents. In addition, she has worked with the National Bone Marrow registry to help sign up new donors, after having the honor to serve as a back-up donor in 2014. In March of 2018, Laura has concluded the initial training courses to become a certified Birth Doula.

    Laura has a strong personal and professional commitment to making decisions that result in comfort and joy for those who surround her. Laura strives to work for families equipping them with the knowledge to empower each individual and/or the collective whole.

    Laura graduated from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts with a B.S. in Marketing and Public Relations.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I wanted to pivot in my career to service.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Stay-at-home-mom and Community Volunteer

    Future Career Goal:
    Stay-tuned

  • Rachel Lopes

    Rachel has a passion for health, wellness both personally and professionally. Most recently, Rachel has worked at Georgetown University Hospital as the Practice Administrator of the Family Medicine Department. She directed projects for patient centered outcomes and engagement, quality measures and the patient experience. Outside of her professional career, she aspires to be a competitive equestrian. She has been riding horses since the age of six and enjoys being around horses in her free time. The commitment required to be a competitive equestrian, and live a holistic lifestyle, has developed Rachel’s work ethic and her desire to deliver health equity to the public. In her senior year, Rachel received internships with two prestigious organizations: NYU’s Langone Medical Center and
    CureMD.

    Rachel has worked for MedStar Hospital Team in many capacities including working with the Gastroenterology department as an administrative assistant responsible for coordinating patient care and executing workflows for the department’s revenue cycle. In addition, she  has worked as a Managed Care Associate, where she observed the nuances of a corporate health system, implementing protocols across a large system whose territory scaled from rural, suburban to urban. After working with diverse populations comprised of Medicaid and commercial insurance payers, Rachel became interested in population health management and its economic impact on hospitals and outpatient clinics.

    Rachel received her Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services St. John’s University in Queens, NY.

    Rachel Lopes

    Hometown: Mitchellville, Maryland

    Rachel has a passion for health, wellness both personally and professionally. Most recently, Rachel has worked at Georgetown University Hospital as the Practice Administrator of the Family Medicine Department. She directed projects for patient centered outcomes and engagement, quality measures and the patient experience. Outside of her professional career, she aspires to be a competitive equestrian. She has been riding horses since the age of six and enjoys being around horses in her free time. The commitment required to be a competitive equestrian, and live a holistic lifestyle, has developed Rachel’s work ethic and her desire to deliver health equity to the public. In her senior year, Rachel received internships with two prestigious organizations: NYU’s Langone Medical Center and
    CureMD.

    Rachel has worked for MedStar Hospital Team in many capacities including working with the Gastroenterology department as an administrative assistant responsible for coordinating patient care and executing workflows for the department’s revenue cycle. In addition, she  has worked as a Managed Care Associate, where she observed the nuances of a corporate health system, implementing protocols across a large system whose territory scaled from rural, suburban to urban. After working with diverse populations comprised of Medicaid and commercial insurance payers, Rachel became interested in population health management and its economic impact on hospitals and outpatient clinics.

    Rachel received her Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services St. John’s University in Queens, NY.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I accepted this challenge towards greatness because of the network and the success of the organization.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Hospital Administrator at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

    Future Career Goal:
    Hospital Executive | Healthcare Consultant

  • Christina Lopez

    Christina is a self-starter whose work ethic is only outmatched by her drive to better herself and help those around her. She brings a wealth of experience in the government sector advocating for vulnerable populations, protecting workers’ rights, and combating fraud.

    Most recently, Christina was employed as a Senior Investigator with the Fair Labor Division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO). In her role, she handled challenging civil and criminal investigations where she collaborated with multiple state, federal, and other local law enforcement agencies. Through her investigations, she brought in millions of dollars in restitution to victims of wage theft and managed the distributions of such funds.

    Due to her language skills, most of her work involved vulnerable workers from Spanish speaking and poor economic backgrounds. Additionally, she served as the Union Steward representing all of the investigators in her division. Christina’s work has been featured in multiple press releases by the AGO. In 2017, Christina was honored by the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey as the recipient of the Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly Award for Excellence. By personally witnessing the importance of social programs in her own life, Christina has found an immense personal fulfillment in helping others. In her spare time, she is an avid volunteer at Chica Project, Inc., an organization helping underprivileged youth through early empowerment, where she served as an Empowerment Institute Fellow.

    Christina earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and Auditing from the University of California, Riverside (UCR).

    Christina Lopez

    Hometown: Boston, MA by way of Azusa, CA

    Christina is a self-starter whose work ethic is only outmatched by her drive to better herself and help those around her. She brings a wealth of experience in the government sector advocating for vulnerable populations, protecting workers’ rights, and combating fraud.

    Most recently, Christina was employed as a Senior Investigator with the Fair Labor Division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (AGO). In her role, she handled challenging civil and criminal investigations where she collaborated with multiple state, federal, and other local law enforcement agencies. Through her investigations, she brought in millions of dollars in restitution to victims of wage theft and managed the distributions of such funds.

    Due to her language skills, most of her work involved vulnerable workers from Spanish speaking and poor economic backgrounds. Additionally, she served as the Union Steward representing all of the investigators in her division. Christina’s work has been featured in multiple press releases by the AGO. In 2017, Christina was honored by the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey as the recipient of the Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly Award for Excellence. By personally witnessing the importance of social programs in her own life, Christina has found an immense personal fulfillment in helping others. In her spare time, she is an avid volunteer at Chica Project, Inc., an organization helping underprivileged youth through early empowerment, where she served as an Empowerment Institute Fellow.

    Christina earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and Auditing from the University of California, Riverside (UCR).

    Why I chose NUF:
    I was ready to challenge myself and further my career.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Senior Investigator at the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

    Future Career Goal:
    Have an executive position in an organization devoted to increasing_financial literacy, promoting economic growth and reducing poverty levels

  • Francis C. Madi Cerrada

    Francis Madi is a writer, actress, community organizer, and public speaker heavily influenced and informed by her migrant experience as a Lebanese-Venezuelan in the United States. She most recently served as the Manager of Advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition, in which she managed their campaign to pass the DREAM Act and protect the TPS program in Congress, while working to empower their statewide membership. Francis has taken on different roles at the NYIC, including one as Outreach Coordinator on Long Island, and as a policy expert for state-level campaigns supporting immigrant-friendly legislation. Her roles at the NYIC have allowed her to grow professionally in the political and advocacy community of New York State and Long Island.

    Prior to joining the NYIC, Francis was an organizer for the Arab American Association of NY in Brooklyn, working under the leadership of civil rights organizer Linda Sarsour. She also organized on Long Island for La Fuente Inc, a former workers rights not-for-profit branch of 32BJ-SEIU. Her personal experience as a DACA recipient has pushed Francis to focus on her art over the past year as a personal and political statement to the changing world around her.

    She seeks to uplift the voices of migrant and queer artists like her impacting the social justice movement in the US. She has been published by the New York Times, Medium.com, Vanidades Venezuela, The New Republic, Long Island Wins, among many other publications.

    Francis received her Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology from Queens College

    Francis C. Madi Cerrada

    Hometown: New York City. Born in Caracas, Venezuela

    Francis Madi is a writer, actress, community organizer, and public speaker heavily influenced and informed by her migrant experience as a Lebanese-Venezuelan in the United States. She most recently served as the Manager of Advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition, in which she managed their campaign to pass the DREAM Act and protect the TPS program in Congress, while working to empower their statewide membership. Francis has taken on different roles at the NYIC, including one as Outreach Coordinator on Long Island, and as a policy expert for state-level campaigns supporting immigrant-friendly legislation. Her roles at the NYIC have allowed her to grow professionally in the political and advocacy community of New York State and Long Island.

    Prior to joining the NYIC, Francis was an organizer for the Arab American Association of NY in Brooklyn, working under the leadership of civil rights organizer Linda Sarsour. She also organized on Long Island for La Fuente Inc, a former workers rights not-for-profit branch of 32BJ-SEIU. Her personal experience as a DACA recipient has pushed Francis to focus on her art over the past year as a personal and political statement to the changing world around her.

    She seeks to uplift the voices of migrant and queer artists like her impacting the social justice movement in the US. She has been published by the New York Times, Medium.com, Vanidades Venezuela, The New Republic, Long Island Wins, among many other publications.

    Francis received her Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology from Queens College

    Why I chose NUF:
    For the experience and the opportunity to network it provides.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Community Organizer and Artist

    Future Career Goal:
    I would like to continue working within the social justice world but from the perspective of arts on a medium to accomplish our goals for a more just and accessible society.

  • Sibusisiwe J. Malaba

    Sibu is a seasoned public servant committed to mobilizing disenfranchised communities through public policy. She holds over ten years of professional experience in public affairs, community relations, volunteer management, and fundraising. She served as Executive Director for the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus (MBLLC). In this role, she was responsible for defining, highlighting, and analyzing issues and concerns affecting people of color in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In this capacity, she strengthened the MBLLC’s footprint in Massachusetts by advancing legislation, fostering partnerships, and improving public communications.

    Under her stewardship, the MBLLC successfully secured policy victories in legislation related to the state budget, racial justice, criminal justice reform, cannabis regulation, and equal pay. As Executive Director, Sibu spearheaded several MBLLC partnerships including a multi-caucus collaborative committee and a student engagement pilot initiative for students of color in partnership with the Massachusetts State Senate and Boston Public Schools.

    Prior to joining the MBLLC, Sibu served as Legislative Aide to Senator Chang-Diaz where she focused on constituent services, legislation and budget work, and acted as neighborhood liaison for Boston’s highest-need neighborhoods. Sibu first entered politics as a campaign organizer for candidates including Alan Khazei, Governor Deval Patrick, and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. Prior to public policy, Sibu worked in nonprofit fundraising where she helped secure new citywide partnerships with Montgomery County Public Schools (MD) and Springfield Public Schools (MA).

    Sibu holds a B.A. degree in History and English Communications from Emmanuel College and a M.A. in Public Policy from Tufts University

    Sibusisiwe J. Malaba

    Hometown: Boston, MA

    Sibu is a seasoned public servant committed to mobilizing disenfranchised communities through public policy. She holds over ten years of professional experience in public affairs, community relations, volunteer management, and fundraising. She served as Executive Director for the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus (MBLLC). In this role, she was responsible for defining, highlighting, and analyzing issues and concerns affecting people of color in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In this capacity, she strengthened the MBLLC’s footprint in Massachusetts by advancing legislation, fostering partnerships, and improving public communications.

    Under her stewardship, the MBLLC successfully secured policy victories in legislation related to the state budget, racial justice, criminal justice reform, cannabis regulation, and equal pay. As Executive Director, Sibu spearheaded several MBLLC partnerships including a multi-caucus collaborative committee and a student engagement pilot initiative for students of color in partnership with the Massachusetts State Senate and Boston Public Schools.

    Prior to joining the MBLLC, Sibu served as Legislative Aide to Senator Chang-Diaz where she focused on constituent services, legislation and budget work, and acted as neighborhood liaison for Boston’s highest-need neighborhoods. Sibu first entered politics as a campaign organizer for candidates including Alan Khazei, Governor Deval Patrick, and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz. Prior to public policy, Sibu worked in nonprofit fundraising where she helped secure new citywide partnerships with Montgomery County Public Schools (MD) and Springfield Public Schools (MA).

    Sibu holds a B.A. degree in History and English Communications from Emmanuel College and a M.A. in Public Policy from Tufts University

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Executive Director, The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus

    Future Career Goal:
    A leadership role in public service or grantmaking.

  • Maggie Mayer

    With a demonstrated commitment to social justice and equity Maggie believes deeply in making a positive social impact. Her interests lie in a broad range of issues from food justice, to immigrant rights, and women’s empowerment. For the past 7 years Maggie put her energy towards the field of affordable housing, most recently serving as the Portfolio Manager for .BRIDGE Housing, a non-profit housing developer and property management company. She ensured the internal processes for tenant selection were fair and efficient. She helped scale the department and operational systems as the organization grew to manage 80 affordable housing communities and spread from California to the Pacific Northwest.

    Originally from the East Coast, Maggie moved to San Francisco after attending Bard College,. In California she accepted the personal challenge to create a stable community in an often-transient environment and the professional challenge to work as part of the solution to a complicated problem in a place where politics around the current housing crisis, gentrification, and homelessness are at a pique.

    Maggie has participated in city and state wide collaborative projects including public/private partnerships, efforts to create a centralized housing application process in San Francisco, and coordinated entry systems for services and supportive housing units.

    Maggie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Studies and Human Rights from Bard College

    Maggie Mayer

    Hometown: San Francisco, CA

    With a demonstrated commitment to social justice and equity Maggie believes deeply in making a positive social impact. Her interests lie in a broad range of issues from food justice, to immigrant rights, and women’s empowerment. For the past 7 years Maggie put her energy towards the field of affordable housing, most recently serving as the Portfolio Manager for .BRIDGE Housing, a non-profit housing developer and property management company. She ensured the internal processes for tenant selection were fair and efficient. She helped scale the department and operational systems as the organization grew to manage 80 affordable housing communities and spread from California to the Pacific Northwest.

    Originally from the East Coast, Maggie moved to San Francisco after attending Bard College,. In California she accepted the personal challenge to create a stable community in an often-transient environment and the professional challenge to work as part of the solution to a complicated problem in a place where politics around the current housing crisis, gentrification, and homelessness are at a pique.

    Maggie has participated in city and state wide collaborative projects including public/private partnerships, efforts to create a centralized housing application process in San Francisco, and coordinated entry systems for services and supportive housing units.

    Maggie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Studies and Human Rights from Bard College

    Why I chose NUF:
    I chose NUF because I was excited to do an applied learning program with a group of diverse and motivated individuals.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Compliance Manager at BRIDGE Housing

    Future Career Goal:
    To have a leadership role in an organization with high social impact.

  • Eve Moros Ortega

    Eve is a passionate and dedicated nonprofit professional with two decades of experience in both the arts sector and public television, driven by her commitment to culture in the service of public education. She previously worked for ART21, a nonprofit rooted in the conviction that art can inspire a more creative and tolerant world, joining as its first employee and helping grow the budget from $300,000 to nearly $2 million. She came to Art21 as a film producer, but rose to oversee all aspects of the nonprofit, as Interim Executive Director. She also Executive Produced its award-winning PBS series profiling 125+ of today’s most iconic artists, and revealing how art can provide models to address pressing issues of our time. She also developed Art21’s Access campaign, to create thousands of community-based events at museums and cultural institutions.

    Previously, she coordinated and produced political and cultural film projects and directed “Made in Thailand,” a documentary about women factory owners organizing labor unions as well as and creating a grassroots outreach campaign to distribute the film to hundreds of schools and nonprofits. Eve has served as a panelist for the Brooklyn Arts Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and as a speaker for BRIC, the Rubin Museum, Cornell University and many other cultural institutions.

    Eve received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Political Science from Barnard College and her Master’s in Cinema Studies from New York University.

    Eve Moros Ortega

    Hometown: Brooklyn, NY by way of Boston, MA

    Eve is a passionate and dedicated nonprofit professional with two decades of experience in both the arts sector and public television, driven by her commitment to culture in the service of public education. She previously worked for ART21, a nonprofit rooted in the conviction that art can inspire a more creative and tolerant world, joining as its first employee and helping grow the budget from $300,000 to nearly $2 million. She came to Art21 as a film producer, but rose to oversee all aspects of the nonprofit, as Interim Executive Director. She also Executive Produced its award-winning PBS series profiling 125+ of today’s most iconic artists, and revealing how art can provide models to address pressing issues of our time. She also developed Art21’s Access campaign, to create thousands of community-based events at museums and cultural institutions.

    Previously, she coordinated and produced political and cultural film projects and directed “Made in Thailand,” a documentary about women factory owners organizing labor unions as well as and creating a grassroots outreach campaign to distribute the film to hundreds of schools and nonprofits. Eve has served as a panelist for the Brooklyn Arts Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and as a speaker for BRIC, the Rubin Museum, Cornell University and many other cultural institutions.

    Eve received her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History and Political Science from Barnard College and her Master’s in Cinema Studies from New York University.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I chose NUF to expand my skills beyond the realm of arts and culture, and to develop my abilities managing small nonprofit organizations so as to “scale up” to larger organizations. I also am passionate about NUF’s mission of advancing social equity and justice.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Producer, Consultant, Curator

    Future Career Goal:
    I want to work at a mid- to large-sized institution, and use my management skills and expertise in arts to advocate for arts and culture. All of my professional experience is geared towards using arts and culture to intersect with other domains of social service, such as education, health care, housing, and urban planning. My ultimate goal is to obtain a leadership role at a large institution, to be a thought leader at the intersection of art and public service, and to consult other organizations to help them advance the cause of art in the service of equity and social justice.

  • Rosy Mota

    Rosy is a native Houstonian with extensive community involvement. She most recently worked with the Houston Health Department as a community liaison and lled the enrollment coalition’s efforts for the greater Houston area through strategic messaging and planning. Rosy has previously served on three boards to develop strategic plans and community events that provide services to the LGBTQ and Latinx communities of Houston. By deliberating on policy issues on these boards, it has strengthen her community engagement and made Rosy more in tune with community needs. She was an instrumental voice for the women’s programming advisory council for the largest LGBTQ community center in Texas, The Montrose Center.

    Rosy was an avid volunteer during her college career, but she decided to elevate her work by starting her non-profit career in 2013. Rosy was instrumental in promoting the Affordable Care Act in Texas. Working as a program manager for a national non-profit organization based out of Washington D.C., Rosy worked to educate millions of Texans on the health care law and conducted many outreach activities to promote open enrollment in the gulf coast and central Texas regions.  Rosy is the first member from her immigrant family to attend and graduate college.

    She graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics.

    Rosy Mota

    Hometown: Houston, TX

    Rosy is a native Houstonian with extensive community involvement. She most recently worked with the Houston Health Department as a community liaison and lled the enrollment coalition’s efforts for the greater Houston area through strategic messaging and planning. Rosy has previously served on three boards to develop strategic plans and community events that provide services to the LGBTQ and Latinx communities of Houston. By deliberating on policy issues on these boards, it has strengthen her community engagement and made Rosy more in tune with community needs. She was an instrumental voice for the women’s programming advisory council for the largest LGBTQ community center in Texas, The Montrose Center.

    Rosy was an avid volunteer during her college career, but she decided to elevate her work by starting her non-profit career in 2013. Rosy was instrumental in promoting the Affordable Care Act in Texas. Working as a program manager for a national non-profit organization based out of Washington D.C., Rosy worked to educate millions of Texans on the health care law and conducted many outreach activities to promote open enrollment in the gulf coast and central Texas regions.  Rosy is the first member from her immigrant family to attend and graduate college.

    She graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics.

    Why I chose NUF:
    Rosy joined the National Urban Fellows Program in the summer of 2018 to elevate her career. Knowing of the professional development opportunity, Rosy saw the possibilities of having an impactful career.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Community Liaison

    Future Career Goal:
    Developing a career in environmental sustainability and conservation that will assist in diminishing the effects of climate change and in turn help communities grow and prosper.

  • Richard Mullings

    Richard dedicates his life to service to his fellow man with the goal of pushing positive change that seeks to uplift his community. He most recently worked as a Quality Improvement Specialist at SCO Family of Services an organization with several facilities that house the homeless and abused children., He assisted staff and committees in planning activities and reviewing incidents with the goal of improving the quality of services. His time at SCO allowed him to work with agencies geared at helping needy residents while ensuring that all statutes were followed.

    As the son of immigrant Jamaican parents, Richard witnessed the struggles they faced as they assimilated into American society, which has influenced his own career aspirations. One of the biggest problems his mother would face was that of childcare while she went out to work. Richard originally enrolled in City College in 2000, but was focused on work and took a leave of of school for 10 years until going back and obtaining a BA in Public Administration in 2015.

    In 2016, Richard began working with the Queens Economic Development Corporation as a Neighborhood Development Program Coordinator fostering collaboration between local businesses, community organizations and elected officials. Richard became a Board Member of Queens Community Advisory Board 3 in April 2018.

    Richard received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from City College of New York.

    Richard Mullings

    Hometown: Queens, New York

    Richard dedicates his life to service to his fellow man with the goal of pushing positive change that seeks to uplift his community. He most recently worked as a Quality Improvement Specialist at SCO Family of Services an organization with several facilities that house the homeless and abused children., He assisted staff and committees in planning activities and reviewing incidents with the goal of improving the quality of services. His time at SCO allowed him to work with agencies geared at helping needy residents while ensuring that all statutes were followed.

    As the son of immigrant Jamaican parents, Richard witnessed the struggles they faced as they assimilated into American society, which has influenced his own career aspirations. One of the biggest problems his mother would face was that of childcare while she went out to work. Richard originally enrolled in City College in 2000, but was focused on work and took a leave of of school for 10 years until going back and obtaining a BA in Public Administration in 2015.

    In 2016, Richard began working with the Queens Economic Development Corporation as a Neighborhood Development Program Coordinator fostering collaboration between local businesses, community organizations and elected officials. Richard became a Board Member of Queens Community Advisory Board 3 in April 2018.

    Richard received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from City College of New York.

    Why I chose NUF:
    To develop leadership skills in public service.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Neighborhood Development Program Coordinator at Queens Economic Development Corp.

    Future Career Goal:
    My future goal is to spearhead a non-profit or governmental firm.

  • Andrew Oliver

    Andrew Oliver is a devoted father, husband, brother, son and community servant. His leadership roles began in college, as he served as President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Pi Rho Chapter and Assistant District Director for the Pennsylvania Association of Alpha Chapters. Andrew spearheaded voter registration campaigns, food and clothing drives, and various campus programs for students. Most recently, Andrew has worked as Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager of the Bank of Millbrook after rising in his financial career from a part time teller at Wells Fargo. In his role, Andrew maintained, managed, and oversaw an expansive commercial and consumer credit card portfolio. He also generated financial and forecasting models to determine debt repayment and profitability.

    Shortly into his career, Andrew was diagnosed with heart and kidney failure. At that moment, Andrew vowed never to lose hope or give up regardless of life’s circumstances. Throughout Andrew’s career advancement, he has always remained dedicated to serving his community. Andrew has created and implemented numerous workshops in the Poughkeepsie area such as resume building, mock interviews, and organizing college tours. He also volunteers as a youth basketball coach. He devotes his time volunteering at the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce working as a mentor for the Leadership Connections Program, which allows inner city High School students to learn and establish relationships with local business professionals. Andrew also serves as Treasurer for Mental Health America of Dutchess County.

    Andrew graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Temple University.

    Andrew Oliver

    Hometown: Poughkeepsie, NY

    Andrew Oliver is a devoted father, husband, brother, son and community servant. His leadership roles began in college, as he served as President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Pi Rho Chapter and Assistant District Director for the Pennsylvania Association of Alpha Chapters. Andrew spearheaded voter registration campaigns, food and clothing drives, and various campus programs for students. Most recently, Andrew has worked as Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager of the Bank of Millbrook after rising in his financial career from a part time teller at Wells Fargo. In his role, Andrew maintained, managed, and oversaw an expansive commercial and consumer credit card portfolio. He also generated financial and forecasting models to determine debt repayment and profitability.

    Shortly into his career, Andrew was diagnosed with heart and kidney failure. At that moment, Andrew vowed never to lose hope or give up regardless of life’s circumstances. Throughout Andrew’s career advancement, he has always remained dedicated to serving his community. Andrew has created and implemented numerous workshops in the Poughkeepsie area such as resume building, mock interviews, and organizing college tours. He also volunteers as a youth basketball coach. He devotes his time volunteering at the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce working as a mentor for the Leadership Connections Program, which allows inner city High School students to learn and establish relationships with local business professionals. Andrew also serves as Treasurer for Mental Health America of Dutchess County.

    Andrew graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Temple University.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I chose NUF to expand my career path and create a new trajectory. I am a father and a husband, I never want to look back over my life and say I could have done this or should have done that. My time is now and I am ready!

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    AVP, Branch Manager at Bank of Millbrook

    Future Career Goal:
    CFO at a non profit or for profit company.

  • Tiffany Rattler

    Following her passion for improving social conditions and helping disenfranchised communities, Tiffany uses her research, programming, and nonprofit experiences to facilitate change and build capacity at the grassroots level. A native of Houston, Tiffany is a strong advocate for health-related issues, particularly health disparities and those impacting vulnerable children. Tiffany previously served as the Lead Project Coordinator for the Center for Child Health Policy and Advocacy at Texas Children’s Hospital where she was instrumental in building the Center’s infrastructure and capacity during its formative years. Within the first three years of operation, this policy-center produced over 30 health policy-related publications, mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, and convened a multi-disciplinary social determinants of health conference.

    Formerly a research coordinator, Tiffany has experience in both clinical and health-services research. Tiffany finds the highlight of her research career to be the establishment of the Sickle Cell Education and Research Day (SCERD), an annual social support and educational event that brings together patients, families, health care providers and community stakeholder, in order to educate and develop disease management strategies and advocacy skills.

    Today, Tiffany serves on the board and is the secretary for the recently established Houston Sickle Cell Collaborative, an organization established to assist the Houston Health Department with strategies to improve care for the sickle cell disease community.

    Tiffany received her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science from Texas A&M University,  as well as a graduate certification in Nonprofit Leadership from Rice University.

    Tiffany Rattler

    Hometown: Houston, TX

    Following her passion for improving social conditions and helping disenfranchised communities, Tiffany uses her research, programming, and nonprofit experiences to facilitate change and build capacity at the grassroots level. A native of Houston, Tiffany is a strong advocate for health-related issues, particularly health disparities and those impacting vulnerable children. Tiffany previously served as the Lead Project Coordinator for the Center for Child Health Policy and Advocacy at Texas Children’s Hospital where she was instrumental in building the Center’s infrastructure and capacity during its formative years. Within the first three years of operation, this policy-center produced over 30 health policy-related publications, mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, and convened a multi-disciplinary social determinants of health conference.

    Formerly a research coordinator, Tiffany has experience in both clinical and health-services research. Tiffany finds the highlight of her research career to be the establishment of the Sickle Cell Education and Research Day (SCERD), an annual social support and educational event that brings together patients, families, health care providers and community stakeholder, in order to educate and develop disease management strategies and advocacy skills.

    Today, Tiffany serves on the board and is the secretary for the recently established Houston Sickle Cell Collaborative, an organization established to assist the Houston Health Department with strategies to improve care for the sickle cell disease community.

    Tiffany received her Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Science from Texas A&M University,  as well as a graduate certification in Nonprofit Leadership from Rice University.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I chose NUF because it presented an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and accelerate my professional and academic development. I hope to use the opportunity to expand my skills and gain practical experience in the public sector to be a more effective leader and agent of change.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Health Service and Health Policy Researcher

    Future Career Goal:
    To lead a health and human service agency.

  • Nykidra “Nyki” Robinson

    Nyki is a values-driven leader, entrepreneur, visionary, and a motivator with a heart for people and a passion to change the world. Nyki’s life and work experience combined with her interest in politics was birthing ground for the delivery of her biggest project yet, Black Girls Vote, Inc. of which she is the founder and CEO. This non-partisan, grassroots organization is focused on encouraging and mobilizing African American women to use their collective voting power to advocate for issues that impact African American women and families. Nyki previously served as the Director of Events for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

    Nyki has also held positions in both local and state governments. She has served as a Neighborhood Liaison in Baltimore City’s Mayor’s Office, a Director of Outreach in Maryland’s Lt. Governor’s Office and the Special Assistant to the Director for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. While in these positions she was able to actualize the impact of policy decisions, interface with residents regarding neighborhood initiatives, plans, and requests and organize numerous events.

    Upon graduation from college, Nyki was accepted into an international education program in Beijing, China where she found herself immersed in the Chinese language and culture. This experience not only gave her the opportunity to interact with students from around the world, but to also build lifelong relationships.

    Nyki received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Frostburg University. A first-generation Dominican American from the South Bronx, Ms. Sierra was instilled with the values of education from a young age. Education is both a means to escape poverty and a method to pursue freedom and opportunity. Since then Ms. Sierra has been motivated to make an impact on her community by passing on the importance of educational equity. She is a believer that a child’s zip code should not limit their access to a quality education. In her professional trajectory she has experienced many hardships and barriers caused by bureaucratic racism and institutionalized systems that keep certain populations marginalized. As a result of these experiences, she looks to combat these major issues in the education system through creation of her own educational programs to provide extra resources to students and families.

    Nykidra “Nyki” Robinson

    Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

    Nyki is a values-driven leader, entrepreneur, visionary, and a motivator with a heart for people and a passion to change the world. Nyki’s life and work experience combined with her interest in politics was birthing ground for the delivery of her biggest project yet, Black Girls Vote, Inc. of which she is the founder and CEO. This non-partisan, grassroots organization is focused on encouraging and mobilizing African American women to use their collective voting power to advocate for issues that impact African American women and families. Nyki previously served as the Director of Events for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

    Nyki has also held positions in both local and state governments. She has served as a Neighborhood Liaison in Baltimore City’s Mayor’s Office, a Director of Outreach in Maryland’s Lt. Governor’s Office and the Special Assistant to the Director for the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. While in these positions she was able to actualize the impact of policy decisions, interface with residents regarding neighborhood initiatives, plans, and requests and organize numerous events.

    Upon graduation from college, Nyki was accepted into an international education program in Beijing, China where she found herself immersed in the Chinese language and culture. This experience not only gave her the opportunity to interact with students from around the world, but to also build lifelong relationships.

    Nyki received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Frostburg University. A first-generation Dominican American from the South Bronx, Ms. Sierra was instilled with the values of education from a young age. Education is both a means to escape poverty and a method to pursue freedom and opportunity. Since then Ms. Sierra has been motivated to make an impact on her community by passing on the importance of educational equity. She is a believer that a child’s zip code should not limit their access to a quality education. In her professional trajectory she has experienced many hardships and barriers caused by bureaucratic racism and institutionalized systems that keep certain populations marginalized. As a result of these experiences, she looks to combat these major issues in the education system through creation of her own educational programs to provide extra resources to students and families.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I’ve always wanted to live in NYC and post my undergraduate studies, I had the desire to formally further my education and secure a Master’s Degree. NUF was the perfect fit for me, from the mission, the history, the network and the endless opportunities, there was no better time and opportunity.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    CEO and Founder, Black Girls Vote

    Future Career Goal:
    Own and manage a consulting firm that provides resources and expertise to government agencies. I would also like to expand Black Girls Vote, Inc. to an international organization.

  • Glomery Sierra

    Glomery’s educational background and professional life reflect her interest and commitment to public service.Glomery most recently served as the Program Associate at Summer Search NYC where she provided direct services to a caseload of 35 NYC public high school students attending under-resourced schools. Sierra provided intensive year-round mentoring which focuses on fostering social and emotional development, academic and college readiness, and leadership development in her students. While at Summer Search, Sierra was vocal about sharing her ideas for improving the current Summer Search program model, particularly around early college access for 11th graders. Through her innovative action, 22 juniors from the most under resourced Bronx high schools were able to go on their first college trip in the spring of 2018.

    Prior to working at Summer Search NYC, she worked as a Community Coordinator for the New York City Department of Education, a Case Manager at BronxWorks HomeBase (providing families eviction prevention services), and also has worked as a Case Aide for the Children’s Aid Society. Throughout her career she has demonstrated that providing a holistic approach creates the strongest results in improving her community. Glomery Sierra is a product of excellent public schools that were out of her community zone. She is a living example that when a child is given a fair shot at a quality education the opportunities are endless.

    She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Latin American Caribbean studies from Binghamton University in 2011.

    Glomery Sierra

    Hometown: Bronx, New York

    Glomery’s educational background and professional life reflect her interest and commitment to public service.Glomery most recently served as the Program Associate at Summer Search NYC where she provided direct services to a caseload of 35 NYC public high school students attending under-resourced schools. Sierra provided intensive year-round mentoring which focuses on fostering social and emotional development, academic and college readiness, and leadership development in her students. While at Summer Search, Sierra was vocal about sharing her ideas for improving the current Summer Search program model, particularly around early college access for 11th graders. Through her innovative action, 22 juniors from the most under resourced Bronx high schools were able to go on their first college trip in the spring of 2018.

    Prior to working at Summer Search NYC, she worked as a Community Coordinator for the New York City Department of Education, a Case Manager at BronxWorks HomeBase (providing families eviction prevention services), and also has worked as a Case Aide for the Children’s Aid Society. Throughout her career she has demonstrated that providing a holistic approach creates the strongest results in improving her community. Glomery Sierra is a product of excellent public schools that were out of her community zone. She is a living example that when a child is given a fair shot at a quality education the opportunities are endless.

    She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Latin American Caribbean studies from Binghamton University in 2011.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I decided to join the NUF family because I am a believer of the NUF mission, and also to enhance my professional career. Obtaining a Master’s in Public Administration will open many opportunities in leadership.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Program Associate at Summer Search a Youth Development non-profit.

    Future Career Goal:
    Work on Educational Policy/reform for the South Bronx.

  • Fielding Vaughn

    Fielding  is a forward- thinking strategist from Philadelphia with over five years of managerial experience in the Sport & Event industry. Fielding’s growth in this industry has developed his proficiency in serving the needs of collegiate & professional athletics, venue management and various community engagements. Fielding served as a Facility Operations Supervisor & American Disabilities Act Coordinator at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. He managed union relationships, building maintenance projects as well as assisting in updating the sustainability and the ADA policies for the site.

    Even though embedded in the Event Industry, Fielding has a bigger passion for community engagement, sustainability and providing opportunities to those in need of first or second chances. Fielding’s experience in the Public Sector includes interning for Sustainable Pittsburgh, Delaware Valley Green Building Association, Slippery Rock Parks and Recreation and numerous volunteer experiences. In addition to his Bachelor’s Degree, Fielding has continued to take courses in Green and Sustainable development as well as attending a multitude of conferences to learn additional ways to make a change in the community. Fielding is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated and strives to live by his Fraternity’s Motto of Culture for Service and Service for Humanity. He has high hopes to inspire change in places that are considered to be lacking in resources into a place full of pride, opportunity and abundance.

    Fielding earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Sport Management from Slippery Rock University.

    Fielding Vaughn

    Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

    Fielding  is a forward- thinking strategist from Philadelphia with over five years of managerial experience in the Sport & Event industry. Fielding’s growth in this industry has developed his proficiency in serving the needs of collegiate & professional athletics, venue management and various community engagements. Fielding served as a Facility Operations Supervisor & American Disabilities Act Coordinator at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. He managed union relationships, building maintenance projects as well as assisting in updating the sustainability and the ADA policies for the site.

    Even though embedded in the Event Industry, Fielding has a bigger passion for community engagement, sustainability and providing opportunities to those in need of first or second chances. Fielding’s experience in the Public Sector includes interning for Sustainable Pittsburgh, Delaware Valley Green Building Association, Slippery Rock Parks and Recreation and numerous volunteer experiences. In addition to his Bachelor’s Degree, Fielding has continued to take courses in Green and Sustainable development as well as attending a multitude of conferences to learn additional ways to make a change in the community. Fielding is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated and strives to live by his Fraternity’s Motto of Culture for Service and Service for Humanity. He has high hopes to inspire change in places that are considered to be lacking in resources into a place full of pride, opportunity and abundance.

    Fielding earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Sport Management from Slippery Rock University.

    Why I chose NUF:
    I wanted to be put in a position where I could learn, grow, and develop more as an effective leader.

    Occupation Prior to NUF:
    Building Manager

    Future Career Goal:
    City Manager

2018 Fellows

  • Courtenay Barton

    Courtenay has more than a decade of nonprofit development experience and a lifelong passion for public service. Courtenay’s first full time nonprofit position was at Thirteen/WNET as Corporate and Educational Development Associate. She was quickly promoted to Assistant Director of Educational Development.  From there, Courtenay went on to become the first Development Manager at New Heights Academy Charter School. During her time there, Courtenay, as the sole development officer, raised funds necessary to renovate the school building, support staff positions, purchase textbooks and classroom materials, and to send the every single student to visit at least one college in the Northeast each year.

    Courtenay went on to become the Associate Director of Stewardship at the Brooklyn College Foundation. In this role, Courtenay advised college faculty and staff in their fundraising efforts and oversaw the management of nearly 1,000 restricted funds. She also served on the CUNY Scholarship Task Force to develop recommendations for best practices in soliciting, cultivating, and stewarding philanthropically-supported scholarship funds. She has volunteered with CUNY Citizenship Now to assist immigrants in documenting their status and participated in writing workshops with literary organizations such Cave Canem Poets and Imani House.

    Courtenay graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor’s in English, African American Studies and Creative Writing. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College. During her undergraduate studies, Courtenay also served as a writer with the Black Theater Ensemble and co-president of the Caribbean Students Association.

    Courtenay Barton

    Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

    Mentor Placement/Location: THE CLEVELAND FOUNDATION, Cleveland, OH

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Courtenay has more than a decade of nonprofit development experience and a lifelong passion for public service. Courtenay’s first full time nonprofit position was at Thirteen/WNET as Corporate and Educational Development Associate. She was quickly promoted to Assistant Director of Educational Development.  From there, Courtenay went on to become the first Development Manager at New Heights Academy Charter School. During her time there, Courtenay, as the sole development officer, raised funds necessary to renovate the school building, support staff positions, purchase textbooks and classroom materials, and to send the every single student to visit at least one college in the Northeast each year.

    Courtenay went on to become the Associate Director of Stewardship at the Brooklyn College Foundation. In this role, Courtenay advised college faculty and staff in their fundraising efforts and oversaw the management of nearly 1,000 restricted funds. She also served on the CUNY Scholarship Task Force to develop recommendations for best practices in soliciting, cultivating, and stewarding philanthropically-supported scholarship funds. She has volunteered with CUNY Citizenship Now to assist immigrants in documenting their status and participated in writing workshops with literary organizations such Cave Canem Poets and Imani House.

    Courtenay graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor’s in English, African American Studies and Creative Writing. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College. During her undergraduate studies, Courtenay also served as a writer with the Black Theater Ensemble and co-president of the Caribbean Students Association.

  • Carmela Beck

    Carmela Beck has worked in organic food and farming for 13 years. She worked as the Senior Organic Program Manager at Driscoll’s, Inc, building long-term partnerships with nurseries, growers, and handlers to ensure compliance with global organic standards throughout the Americas. Carmela managed the certification program including inspections, inputs, production practices, plant material, traceability, labeling, and exports all with the goal of maintaining the organic integrity of Driscoll’s berries across the entire supply chain. In addition, she also managed external organic trade, certifier and governmental industry relations.

    Prior to joining Driscoll’s, Carmela worked as an Americorps member at Barrio Logan Elementary School, as an Application Review Specialist at Quality Assurance International, a leading organic certification agency, and at the UCSC American Indian and Educational Partnership Centers.

    Carmela holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and received a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She also received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.  She is a committed volunteer who has served on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), participated on Organic Trade Association (OTA) Task Forces, and is a member of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE).

    Carmela Beck

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Mentor Placement/Location: CITY OF CLEVELAND, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES - WATER DIVISION, Cleveland, OH

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Carmela Beck has worked in organic food and farming for 13 years. She worked as the Senior Organic Program Manager at Driscoll’s, Inc, building long-term partnerships with nurseries, growers, and handlers to ensure compliance with global organic standards throughout the Americas. Carmela managed the certification program including inspections, inputs, production practices, plant material, traceability, labeling, and exports all with the goal of maintaining the organic integrity of Driscoll’s berries across the entire supply chain. In addition, she also managed external organic trade, certifier and governmental industry relations.

    Prior to joining Driscoll’s, Carmela worked as an Americorps member at Barrio Logan Elementary School, as an Application Review Specialist at Quality Assurance International, a leading organic certification agency, and at the UCSC American Indian and Educational Partnership Centers.

    Carmela holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and received a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She also received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.  She is a committed volunteer who has served on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), participated on Organic Trade Association (OTA) Task Forces, and is a member of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE).

  • Benita L. Benavides

    Born in the Philippines and currently based in San Francisco Bay Area, Benita’s values are grounded in immigrant and labor empowerment, economic security, and inclusive community development. Raised in a country whose primary export is labor, and living in a city with a widening income gap, Benita works as a civil servant committed to equitable quality of life opportunities achieved through public policies in education, and jobs access.

    First to staff San Francisco Unified School District’s Local Hiring Policy, Benita was responsible in outlining policy guidelines and procedures. She identified, initiated, and established organizational partnerships; drafted external communication, and engaged stakeholders to ensure participation increase of San Francisco residents in construction. She first encountered local hiring policies in her previous role as a community advocate at Chinese for Affirmative Action where she facilitated the employment of low-income, immigrant and limited-English proficiency workers during the height of the great recession. In Central Valley, CA and in Chicago, IL, Benita mobilized workers and faith-based organizations as a labor and community organizer.

    Benita received a Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies from San Francisco State University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College. Outside her profession, she is engaged in organizing working-class Filipino immigrants, LGBTQ, and AP&I leaders in the labor movement. She also writes and performs for Community Theater.

    Benita L. Benavides

    Hometown: San Leandro, CA

    Mentor Placement/Location: ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION, Princeton, NJ

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Born in the Philippines and currently based in San Francisco Bay Area, Benita’s values are grounded in immigrant and labor empowerment, economic security, and inclusive community development. Raised in a country whose primary export is labor, and living in a city with a widening income gap, Benita works as a civil servant committed to equitable quality of life opportunities achieved through public policies in education, and jobs access.

    First to staff San Francisco Unified School District’s Local Hiring Policy, Benita was responsible in outlining policy guidelines and procedures. She identified, initiated, and established organizational partnerships; drafted external communication, and engaged stakeholders to ensure participation increase of San Francisco residents in construction. She first encountered local hiring policies in her previous role as a community advocate at Chinese for Affirmative Action where she facilitated the employment of low-income, immigrant and limited-English proficiency workers during the height of the great recession. In Central Valley, CA and in Chicago, IL, Benita mobilized workers and faith-based organizations as a labor and community organizer.

    Benita received a Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies from San Francisco State University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College. Outside her profession, she is engaged in organizing working-class Filipino immigrants, LGBTQ, and AP&I leaders in the labor movement. She also writes and performs for Community Theater.

  • Kimberly Gabbie Brown

    Kimberly Brown is an ambitious young professional who is eager to work on the pressing social justice issue of our time and criminal justice reform. Kimberly has worked as a legal assistant and office manager at the Law Office of Stephen D. Brown.  Previously, Kimberly interned for the Honorable Verna Leath, at the Superior Court of Essex County Vicinage, Criminal Division. As the only undergraduate intern, Kimberly’s responsibilities focused on research for community outreach programs.

    Kimberly has worked in a number of manners to increase diversity at her alma mater, Pennsylvania State University. She served as a member of the Student Minority Advisory Recruitment Team (SMART) and in addition helped with the creation and implementation of recruitment strategies that were dedicated to increasing ethnic diversity within the university.

    Kimberly also served as secretary and avid member to the Multicultural Undergraduate Law Association (MULA) Kimberly’s work with “MULA” focused on preparing future minority candidates to pursue and achieve a law degree. Kim assisted in founding of “MULA” Annual Pre-Law Symposium. The event hosted a number of speakers to educate students about the admissions process, financing a legal education, taking a gap year and exploring legal careers. Following the various presentations, we hosted a networking event for students to meet and discuss their day with law professors, law students and local attorneys.

    Kimberly is a 2015 graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

    Kimberly Gabbie Brown

    Hometown: West Orange, NJ

    Mentor Placement/Location: CHICA PROJECT, Boston, MA

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha; UPS Foundation Fellow

    Kimberly Brown is an ambitious young professional who is eager to work on the pressing social justice issue of our time and criminal justice reform. Kimberly has worked as a legal assistant and office manager at the Law Office of Stephen D. Brown.  Previously, Kimberly interned for the Honorable Verna Leath, at the Superior Court of Essex County Vicinage, Criminal Division. As the only undergraduate intern, Kimberly’s responsibilities focused on research for community outreach programs.

    Kimberly has worked in a number of manners to increase diversity at her alma mater, Pennsylvania State University. She served as a member of the Student Minority Advisory Recruitment Team (SMART) and in addition helped with the creation and implementation of recruitment strategies that were dedicated to increasing ethnic diversity within the university.

    Kimberly also served as secretary and avid member to the Multicultural Undergraduate Law Association (MULA) Kimberly’s work with “MULA” focused on preparing future minority candidates to pursue and achieve a law degree. Kim assisted in founding of “MULA” Annual Pre-Law Symposium. The event hosted a number of speakers to educate students about the admissions process, financing a legal education, taking a gap year and exploring legal careers. Following the various presentations, we hosted a networking event for students to meet and discuss their day with law professors, law students and local attorneys.

    Kimberly is a 2015 graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

  • Christopher J. Campbell

    Chris Campbell has always been inspired to use his skills in finance and accounting to support organizations that work towards making a positive social change. Chris previously served as the Accounting & Finance Manager at College Track, an Oakland-based national education-reform nonprofit that empowers students from underserved communities across the country to graduate from college.  He was responsible for managing the accounting system, maintaining internal controls, supporting the forecasting and budgeting cycles, and reporting on the financial performance of College Track both internally and externally. Chris joined College Track through the ProInspire Fellowship Program, which is a highly selective yearlong training program for professionals transitioning from private enterprise to nonprofit careers.

    Prior to College Track, he worked in corporate finance & accounting for a multi-national cybersecurity company based in Silicon Valley.  Prior to that, he worked as a Senior Associate at the professional services firm Ernst & Young. While at Ernst & Young, he had the opportunity to work on engagements focused on advising socially focused entities expand their mission and accelerate progress.  Chris also served on the Board Finance Committee for the Oakland based organization Brothers on the Rise – a dual direct service project focused on providing preventive empowerment pipeline activities for boys and young men of color.

    Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration: Finance from Saint Mary’s College of California and he also holds a Master’s degree in Accounting and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. He holds a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College and credentials as both a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) and a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP).

    Christopher J. Campbell

    Hometown: Walnut Creek, CA

    Mentor Placement/Location: ENLIGHTENED, INC., Washington, DC

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Chris Campbell has always been inspired to use his skills in finance and accounting to support organizations that work towards making a positive social change. Chris previously served as the Accounting & Finance Manager at College Track, an Oakland-based national education-reform nonprofit that empowers students from underserved communities across the country to graduate from college.  He was responsible for managing the accounting system, maintaining internal controls, supporting the forecasting and budgeting cycles, and reporting on the financial performance of College Track both internally and externally. Chris joined College Track through the ProInspire Fellowship Program, which is a highly selective yearlong training program for professionals transitioning from private enterprise to nonprofit careers.

    Prior to College Track, he worked in corporate finance & accounting for a multi-national cybersecurity company based in Silicon Valley.  Prior to that, he worked as a Senior Associate at the professional services firm Ernst & Young. While at Ernst & Young, he had the opportunity to work on engagements focused on advising socially focused entities expand their mission and accelerate progress.  Chris also served on the Board Finance Committee for the Oakland based organization Brothers on the Rise – a dual direct service project focused on providing preventive empowerment pipeline activities for boys and young men of color.

    Chris earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration: Finance from Saint Mary’s College of California and he also holds a Master’s degree in Accounting and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. He holds a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College and credentials as both a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) and a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP).

  • Natania C. Carter

    Natania is an optimistic hard working professional committed to excellence in integrity and devoted to impacting the lives of those in her community. Born to parents from the island of Jamaica she has learned first-hand how hard work and diligence coupled with a strong commitment to education can transform the trajectory of life.

    As a process engineer at a Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Company she was able to develop a strong learning agility, critical thinking, project management, and leadership skills. This critical role challenged her to excel under tight deadlines with 24/7 production demands while providing sound solutions to processing issues. She was awarded with a Global Health Safety & Environmental Award for a project she lead and was inducted into the Site’s Leadership Program by Site Directors.  She passionately recruited top engineering talent and conducted interviews and tours for potential candidates. Natania also mentored and trained new employees and interns while at the company.

    Natania’s passion for public service is displayed through her community involvement and focus on education and youth development. She served as a youth mentor in an urban elementary school where she taught social and emotional concepts. As a leader in a non-profit organization she helped to revamp the organization by coordinating and planning monthly general body meetings, building partnerships with community leaders, engaging the membership and redesigning the group’s website and communication medium.

    Natania graduated from Florida State University with her Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering, and received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Natania C. Carter

    Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

    Mentor Placement/Location: ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION (Atlanta Civic Site), Atlanta, GA

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Natania is an optimistic hard working professional committed to excellence in integrity and devoted to impacting the lives of those in her community. Born to parents from the island of Jamaica she has learned first-hand how hard work and diligence coupled with a strong commitment to education can transform the trajectory of life.

    As a process engineer at a Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical Company she was able to develop a strong learning agility, critical thinking, project management, and leadership skills. This critical role challenged her to excel under tight deadlines with 24/7 production demands while providing sound solutions to processing issues. She was awarded with a Global Health Safety & Environmental Award for a project she lead and was inducted into the Site’s Leadership Program by Site Directors.  She passionately recruited top engineering talent and conducted interviews and tours for potential candidates. Natania also mentored and trained new employees and interns while at the company.

    Natania’s passion for public service is displayed through her community involvement and focus on education and youth development. She served as a youth mentor in an urban elementary school where she taught social and emotional concepts. As a leader in a non-profit organization she helped to revamp the organization by coordinating and planning monthly general body meetings, building partnerships with community leaders, engaging the membership and redesigning the group’s website and communication medium.

    Natania graduated from Florida State University with her Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering, and received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Christina Cheeks

    Christina has spent her career honing her leadership and management skills in the private sector.  She previously worked as an international sales and marketing leader at the United Parcel Service (UPS), with over 10 years of progressive experience managing supply chains of global customers and in business development. During her time at UPS, she was involved in giving back to the community through several channels. Through her work on UPS’ Women’s Leadership Development Business Resource Group (WBRG) Core Committee, she was able to develop district wide volunteer and community involvement activities. She served as a liaison between UPS and The Caroline Center, a non-profit workforce development organization educating women who experience unemployment or want to leave low-wage jobs for meaningful career  in Baltimore, MD.

    Christina is a proud graduate of Howard University and hails from a family full of Howard graduates that are not only committed to their craft but also to the community around them. Taking note of their selfless contributions, during her time at Howard, she volunteered with various non-profit groups in the Washington, DC area mentoring high school students and assisting at, Bread for the City, a neighborhood food pantry. After graduation, she was elected as an Executive Board Member of the Howard University Alumni Club of Northern Virginia.  Christina was able to support the University’s mission while interacting with current and future Howard students.

    Christina received her Bachelor Degree in Business Marketing from Howard University and her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Christina Cheeks

    Hometown: Manassas, VA

    Mentor Placement/Location: THE HEALTH & HOSPITALS CORPORATION OF MARION COUNTY, Indianapolis , IN

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha; Lilly Endowment Fellow

    Christina has spent her career honing her leadership and management skills in the private sector.  She previously worked as an international sales and marketing leader at the United Parcel Service (UPS), with over 10 years of progressive experience managing supply chains of global customers and in business development. During her time at UPS, she was involved in giving back to the community through several channels. Through her work on UPS’ Women’s Leadership Development Business Resource Group (WBRG) Core Committee, she was able to develop district wide volunteer and community involvement activities. She served as a liaison between UPS and The Caroline Center, a non-profit workforce development organization educating women who experience unemployment or want to leave low-wage jobs for meaningful career  in Baltimore, MD.

    Christina is a proud graduate of Howard University and hails from a family full of Howard graduates that are not only committed to their craft but also to the community around them. Taking note of their selfless contributions, during her time at Howard, she volunteered with various non-profit groups in the Washington, DC area mentoring high school students and assisting at, Bread for the City, a neighborhood food pantry. After graduation, she was elected as an Executive Board Member of the Howard University Alumni Club of Northern Virginia.  Christina was able to support the University’s mission while interacting with current and future Howard students.

    Christina received her Bachelor Degree in Business Marketing from Howard University and her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Seema Choudhary

    Seema Choudhary was born and raised in New York City where she was exposed to community building and social activism from a very young age. She has a strong background in nonprofits with a focus on community and youth development, both locally and internationally.

    Locally, she has worked for a program at Queens Library that provided health literacy courses to adult ESOL learners. Seema also designed and facilitated leadership curriculum for an after-school program at a local New York City public high school. In addition, she was involved in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, conducting informational workshops at various community groups and events to increase visibility of the program.  

    Seema’s international experience includes a short ESL teaching stint in Turkey and living and working in Spain for two years under the Ministry of Education. Through her position in Spain, she taught at three public schools in two rural villages as part of the nation’s efforts to address their youth’s low English fluency rate.

    Seema completed her mentorship at the School District of Philadelphia where she had the opportunity to design and implement a pilot series of grantwriting and fundraising trainings to school communities. She also wrote the district’s first-ever policy on crowdfunding and fundraising. Her capstone thesis project addressed the funding inequities that exist among Philadelphia’s district-run public schools.

    Seema is passionate about connecting both individuals and communities with the resources that they need to thrive.  Seema received her Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Queens College. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Seema Choudhary

    Hometown: New York, NY

    Mentor Placement/Location: SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA, Philadelphia, PA

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Seema Choudhary was born and raised in New York City where she was exposed to community building and social activism from a very young age. She has a strong background in nonprofits with a focus on community and youth development, both locally and internationally.

    Locally, she has worked for a program at Queens Library that provided health literacy courses to adult ESOL learners. Seema also designed and facilitated leadership curriculum for an after-school program at a local New York City public high school. In addition, she was involved in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, conducting informational workshops at various community groups and events to increase visibility of the program.  

    Seema’s international experience includes a short ESL teaching stint in Turkey and living and working in Spain for two years under the Ministry of Education. Through her position in Spain, she taught at three public schools in two rural villages as part of the nation’s efforts to address their youth’s low English fluency rate.

    Seema completed her mentorship at the School District of Philadelphia where she had the opportunity to design and implement a pilot series of grantwriting and fundraising trainings to school communities. She also wrote the district’s first-ever policy on crowdfunding and fundraising. Her capstone thesis project addressed the funding inequities that exist among Philadelphia’s district-run public schools.

    Seema is passionate about connecting both individuals and communities with the resources that they need to thrive.  Seema received her Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Queens College. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Joreon Coleman

    Joreon is passionate about the equity agenda and participating in strategies to improve conditions in American cities to address the systemic barriers to success and well-being; the root of economic and social inequity being education, health, workforce, income and opportunity. She is committed to being a contributor towards correcting systemic barriers to improve access to opportunity for all.

    Joreon Coleman previously worked as a Customer Service Representative II at Planned Parenthood. In this capacity, she was been able to tap into her passion for public health by being an astute navigator in healthcare, HIPPA privacy laws, and women’s health.  In addition, she previously served as a Fellow at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries, a faith based social justice organization dedicated to advocating for equity. In this role, she advocated for Ohio Medicaid and promoted education and awareness about childhood lead poisoning. Collectively, these experiences, as well as her own experiences of wealth inequality in Cleveland, cultivate her passion for a career in public policy.

    Joreon graduated from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, and was the first member of her family to attend college. She also holds a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Joreon Coleman

    Hometown: Cleveland, OH

    Mentor Placement/Location: ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION, Princeton, NJ

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Joreon is passionate about the equity agenda and participating in strategies to improve conditions in American cities to address the systemic barriers to success and well-being; the root of economic and social inequity being education, health, workforce, income and opportunity. She is committed to being a contributor towards correcting systemic barriers to improve access to opportunity for all.

    Joreon Coleman previously worked as a Customer Service Representative II at Planned Parenthood. In this capacity, she was been able to tap into her passion for public health by being an astute navigator in healthcare, HIPPA privacy laws, and women’s health.  In addition, she previously served as a Fellow at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries, a faith based social justice organization dedicated to advocating for equity. In this role, she advocated for Ohio Medicaid and promoted education and awareness about childhood lead poisoning. Collectively, these experiences, as well as her own experiences of wealth inequality in Cleveland, cultivate her passion for a career in public policy.

    Joreon graduated from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, and was the first member of her family to attend college. She also holds a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Samantha Diaz

    Samantha Diaz is a proud native of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, graduating from the city’s public school district. She served in New Jersey’s 19th Legislative District Office in multiple capacities for several years, beginning as an unpaid intern then legislative aide to both Senator Joseph F. Vitale and Assemblyman Craig J. Coughlin.  As legislative aide, Samantha took pride in being able to provide services to constituents in both English and Spanish, such as connecting them to state programs or addressing quality of life issues.

    In her role as Legislative Director to the Senator, she was instrumental in the passage of legislation addressing the state’s opioid and heroin addiction epidemic.  Samantha also tackled a wide-range of complex issues pertaining to MEWAs, the Drug Court system and the state’s Medicaid program.

    Having been actively involved in local and county politics, Samantha has developed into a successful campaign operative.  Most recently, she managed the re-election campaign of Wilda Diaz, the only Latina mayor in the State of New Jersey. In addition to her professional career, Samantha is actively involved in her community, serving as Executive Director of Perth Amboy 2021 Strategic Planning Task Force. For several years, she has volunteered as a recreational basketball and softball coach and serves as a fundraiser for El Comite Patriotico Cultural Puertoriqueno, which hosts the annual Puerto Rican Festival.

    Samantha received her Bachelor’s Degree in History from Kean University. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Samantha Diaz

    Hometown: Perth Amboy, NJ

    Mentor Placement/Location: PILLSBURY UNITED COMMUNITIES, St. Paul, MN

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha; UPS Foundation Fellow

    Samantha Diaz is a proud native of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, graduating from the city’s public school district. She served in New Jersey’s 19th Legislative District Office in multiple capacities for several years, beginning as an unpaid intern then legislative aide to both Senator Joseph F. Vitale and Assemblyman Craig J. Coughlin.  As legislative aide, Samantha took pride in being able to provide services to constituents in both English and Spanish, such as connecting them to state programs or addressing quality of life issues.

    In her role as Legislative Director to the Senator, she was instrumental in the passage of legislation addressing the state’s opioid and heroin addiction epidemic.  Samantha also tackled a wide-range of complex issues pertaining to MEWAs, the Drug Court system and the state’s Medicaid program.

    Having been actively involved in local and county politics, Samantha has developed into a successful campaign operative.  Most recently, she managed the re-election campaign of Wilda Diaz, the only Latina mayor in the State of New Jersey. In addition to her professional career, Samantha is actively involved in her community, serving as Executive Director of Perth Amboy 2021 Strategic Planning Task Force. For several years, she has volunteered as a recreational basketball and softball coach and serves as a fundraiser for El Comite Patriotico Cultural Puertoriqueno, which hosts the annual Puerto Rican Festival.

    Samantha received her Bachelor’s Degree in History from Kean University. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Kaylia Ferguson

    As a child, Kaylia immigrated to Queens, New York from Jamaica to live with her mother, who taught her the importance of morals, hard work, discipline, strength, independence, respect, and honesty, all of which still frame her opinions and perspectives in all aspects of life today. As a child, Kaylia remembered her mother working multiple jobs while going back to school to provide a better life for the both of them. Seeing her mother’s persistence and determination reinforced her lessons that discipline and hard work are crucial to success.

    Kaylia previously worked at S&P Global Market Intelligence as a Legal Coordinator, where she constructed reference guides on frequently performed department functions to facilitate training new hires, and consultants on duties and expectations. She has volunteered with the All Stars Project, a nonprofit that uses a performance based approach to help inner-city youth and their families create success in their lives, because of their focus on performance arts, a passion for her. She served as a House Manager and was responsible for maintaining communication with staff, guests, and volunteers, ensuring the successful execution of various events in the building.

    Kaylia received her Bachelor of Science in Communications and Political Science from the State University of New York, Brockport and her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Kaylia Ferguson

    Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

    Mentor Placement/Location: HOUSTON HEALTH DEPARTMENT, Houston, TX

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    As a child, Kaylia immigrated to Queens, New York from Jamaica to live with her mother, who taught her the importance of morals, hard work, discipline, strength, independence, respect, and honesty, all of which still frame her opinions and perspectives in all aspects of life today. As a child, Kaylia remembered her mother working multiple jobs while going back to school to provide a better life for the both of them. Seeing her mother’s persistence and determination reinforced her lessons that discipline and hard work are crucial to success.

    Kaylia previously worked at S&P Global Market Intelligence as a Legal Coordinator, where she constructed reference guides on frequently performed department functions to facilitate training new hires, and consultants on duties and expectations. She has volunteered with the All Stars Project, a nonprofit that uses a performance based approach to help inner-city youth and their families create success in their lives, because of their focus on performance arts, a passion for her. She served as a House Manager and was responsible for maintaining communication with staff, guests, and volunteers, ensuring the successful execution of various events in the building.

    Kaylia received her Bachelor of Science in Communications and Political Science from the State University of New York, Brockport and her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Linda Fernandez

    Linda is a creative professional with over 10 years of experience convening the intersection of arts education, advocacy, community engagement, and creative economy. Her career in education began in 2006 when she worked as a 5th grade teacher at Alliance for Progress charter school in North Philadelphia. This experience provided insight into the current state of urban public education which struggles with lack of funding and the necessity of building and leveraging partnerships to gain resources for students.

    In her most recent position as the Philadelphia Program Associate for the Knight Foundation, she brought the organization’s national strategy into focus for the city of Philadelphia. Working alongside the Philadelphia Program Director, she helped manage a grant portfolio of $2.7 million dollars to invest in civic assets and ideas that support diverse and emerging leaders from all sectors, enhance pathways to economic opportunities, and foster civic engagement.

    Previously, she worked as a teaching artist in partnership with community organizations, recreation centers and social service agencies across the city. Realizing the power and potential in collaboration she co-founded Amber Art & Design LLC, a collective of 6 artists that work with individuals, organizations, and local leaders dedicated to making positive and sustainable changes. In 2016 she co-founded a project called “Hecho en Philly” (Made in Philly) which focuses on supporting hyper local economies through the development and cross sector promotion of artists and makers.

    Linda received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Temple University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.  

    Linda Fernandez

    Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

    Mentor Placement/Location: UPPER MANHATTAN EMPOWERMENT ZONE, New York, NY

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Linda is a creative professional with over 10 years of experience convening the intersection of arts education, advocacy, community engagement, and creative economy. Her career in education began in 2006 when she worked as a 5th grade teacher at Alliance for Progress charter school in North Philadelphia. This experience provided insight into the current state of urban public education which struggles with lack of funding and the necessity of building and leveraging partnerships to gain resources for students.

    In her most recent position as the Philadelphia Program Associate for the Knight Foundation, she brought the organization’s national strategy into focus for the city of Philadelphia. Working alongside the Philadelphia Program Director, she helped manage a grant portfolio of $2.7 million dollars to invest in civic assets and ideas that support diverse and emerging leaders from all sectors, enhance pathways to economic opportunities, and foster civic engagement.

    Previously, she worked as a teaching artist in partnership with community organizations, recreation centers and social service agencies across the city. Realizing the power and potential in collaboration she co-founded Amber Art & Design LLC, a collective of 6 artists that work with individuals, organizations, and local leaders dedicated to making positive and sustainable changes. In 2016 she co-founded a project called “Hecho en Philly” (Made in Philly) which focuses on supporting hyper local economies through the development and cross sector promotion of artists and makers.

    Linda received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Temple University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.  

  • Miguel A. Garcia, III

    Born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents, Miguel was exposed to public service at a young age.  While most children attended camps during the summer, Miguel watched his father engage and mentor hundreds of high school students from the NYC public schools.  It was this personal experience that Miguel knew someday he would give back to the community in a similar fashion.

    Upon college graduation, he started his professional career with a local community bank in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Within four years of working as a Customer Service Representative, Miguel has been exposed to various assignments within the bank.  He has had the opportunity to participate with the Executive Management Team on the development of new and enhanced banking products and services. His outstanding performance on special projects and exposure to management has led to his current position as Service Operations Manager.

    While at Quinnipiac University, he volunteered countless hours with the Special Olympics of Connecticut.  He worked closely with the Director of Sports Development to establish and implement strategies that would increase undergraduate volunteering at the University.  In his senior year, Miguel led the STAR program and worked with his peers in providing technology support to faculty and students at all campus facilities.

    Miguel graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree from Quinnipiac with a double major in History and Political Science. He received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Miguel A. Garcia, III

    Hometown: Bridgeport, CT

    Mentor Placement/Location: ILLINOIS STATE CHARTER SCHOOL COMMISSION, Chicago, IL

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican parents, Miguel was exposed to public service at a young age.  While most children attended camps during the summer, Miguel watched his father engage and mentor hundreds of high school students from the NYC public schools.  It was this personal experience that Miguel knew someday he would give back to the community in a similar fashion.

    Upon college graduation, he started his professional career with a local community bank in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Within four years of working as a Customer Service Representative, Miguel has been exposed to various assignments within the bank.  He has had the opportunity to participate with the Executive Management Team on the development of new and enhanced banking products and services. His outstanding performance on special projects and exposure to management has led to his current position as Service Operations Manager.

    While at Quinnipiac University, he volunteered countless hours with the Special Olympics of Connecticut.  He worked closely with the Director of Sports Development to establish and implement strategies that would increase undergraduate volunteering at the University.  In his senior year, Miguel led the STAR program and worked with his peers in providing technology support to faculty and students at all campus facilities.

    Miguel graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree from Quinnipiac with a double major in History and Political Science. He received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Laura Lemus

    Laura Lemus is a proud Mexican immigrant raised on Long Island, New York and first-generation college graduate. Her passion for immigration motivated her to become involved in immigration advocacy as early as high school.

    Laura was the Special Projects Coordinator at Long Island Wins, a non-profit communications organization that advocates for immigrants on Long Island and beyond.  There, she advocated for welcoming initiatives, the NY DREAM Act, language access, NY driver’s license campaign, and immigration reform. She also hosted a monthly radio show in Spanish and a bi-weekly radio show in English regarding immigrant issues. Her commitment to social justice issues began in college with various internships including a position at the United Nations as a Youth Representative for Soroptimist International, an NGO that empowers women and girls globally.

    In 2017, Laura was honored by the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission for her professional service in responding to violations of human rights and seeking to change institutional structures that have restricted participation of all people. In 2016, she was the youngest honoree selected among 50 alumni honorees by her alma mater, SUNY Old Westbury, and in 2014, she received an award for her passion and energy in building power for young people across Long Island from Jobs with Justice, a worker-rights non-profit organization.

    Laura graduated from SUNY Old Westbury with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Philosophy and a minor in global studies. She received her Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Laura Lemus

    Hometown: Sag Harbor, NY

    Mentor Placement/Location: THE ANDRUS FAMILY FUND, New York, NY

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Laura Lemus is a proud Mexican immigrant raised on Long Island, New York and first-generation college graduate. Her passion for immigration motivated her to become involved in immigration advocacy as early as high school.

    Laura was the Special Projects Coordinator at Long Island Wins, a non-profit communications organization that advocates for immigrants on Long Island and beyond.  There, she advocated for welcoming initiatives, the NY DREAM Act, language access, NY driver’s license campaign, and immigration reform. She also hosted a monthly radio show in Spanish and a bi-weekly radio show in English regarding immigrant issues. Her commitment to social justice issues began in college with various internships including a position at the United Nations as a Youth Representative for Soroptimist International, an NGO that empowers women and girls globally.

    In 2017, Laura was honored by the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission for her professional service in responding to violations of human rights and seeking to change institutional structures that have restricted participation of all people. In 2016, she was the youngest honoree selected among 50 alumni honorees by her alma mater, SUNY Old Westbury, and in 2014, she received an award for her passion and energy in building power for young people across Long Island from Jobs with Justice, a worker-rights non-profit organization.

    Laura graduated from SUNY Old Westbury with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Philosophy and a minor in global studies. She received her Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Rachel Leon

    Rachel Leon has served as Executive Director of the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) since 2009.  EGA is a membership association of environmental foundations that supports efforts to protect people, place and planet.  Prior to joining EGA, Rachel was a Senior Program Officer for Fair and Participatory Elections at the JEHT Foundation, based in New York City.  Prior to her work with JEHT, Rachel served as Executive Director of Common Cause/NY, an organization dedicated to strengthening civic participation and seeking accountability in government.

    Rachel served on transition teams for both former NYS Governor Eliot Spitzer and former NYS Attorney General and current NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo. With a background in combating inequality and working for economic justice, and equity, Rachel also has significant experience assisting foundations with program development and strategic planning.

    Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts with Cum Laude distinction in Public Communication and Women’s Studies from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Rachel Leon

    Hometown: Croton on the Hudson, NY

    Mentor Placement/Location: Environmental Grantmakers Association, New York, NY

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Rachel Leon has served as Executive Director of the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA) since 2009.  EGA is a membership association of environmental foundations that supports efforts to protect people, place and planet.  Prior to joining EGA, Rachel was a Senior Program Officer for Fair and Participatory Elections at the JEHT Foundation, based in New York City.  Prior to her work with JEHT, Rachel served as Executive Director of Common Cause/NY, an organization dedicated to strengthening civic participation and seeking accountability in government.

    Rachel served on transition teams for both former NYS Governor Eliot Spitzer and former NYS Attorney General and current NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo. With a background in combating inequality and working for economic justice, and equity, Rachel also has significant experience assisting foundations with program development and strategic planning.

    Rachel earned her Bachelor of Arts with Cum Laude distinction in Public Communication and Women’s Studies from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Myron Marshall, Jr.

    A Philadelphia native, Myron Marshall promotes brotherly love and sisterly affection in the public sector. Myron previously served as a Legislative Aide for the Delaware House Democratic Caucus. In this role, Myron assisted members of the Delaware General Assembly, provided services to constituents, researched legislation, and served as proxy for assigned legislators. Myron also acted as the general liaison and provided technical assistance to state agencies, federal and local governmental officials, and the general public.

    Prior to serving the Delaware General Assembly, Myron served at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware as the statewide coordinator for two programs, Beating the Odds Studying STEM (BOSS), a program dedicated to getting minority youth interested in STEM while promoting entrepreneurship and Pegasus ArtWorks. In the roles mentioned, Myron was able to acquire a total $33,000 in program funding and provide services to over 500 children statewide.

    In 2015, Myron served as a Public Ally AmeriCorps Apprentice. As a Public Ally, Myron was placed with a local non-profit agency for 10 months and tasked with expanding the capacity of services provided by that assigned organization. In addition to gaining practical employment experience, Myron also received leadership and professional development training. At the end of ten month’s term of service, Myron completed a total of 1700 hours of community service.

    Myron graduated West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Public Policy, and received his Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Myron Marshall, Jr.

    Hometown: Christiana, DE

    Mentor Placement/Location: THE CLEVELAND FOUNDATION, Cleveland, OH

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    A Philadelphia native, Myron Marshall promotes brotherly love and sisterly affection in the public sector. Myron previously served as a Legislative Aide for the Delaware House Democratic Caucus. In this role, Myron assisted members of the Delaware General Assembly, provided services to constituents, researched legislation, and served as proxy for assigned legislators. Myron also acted as the general liaison and provided technical assistance to state agencies, federal and local governmental officials, and the general public.

    Prior to serving the Delaware General Assembly, Myron served at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware as the statewide coordinator for two programs, Beating the Odds Studying STEM (BOSS), a program dedicated to getting minority youth interested in STEM while promoting entrepreneurship and Pegasus ArtWorks. In the roles mentioned, Myron was able to acquire a total $33,000 in program funding and provide services to over 500 children statewide.

    In 2015, Myron served as a Public Ally AmeriCorps Apprentice. As a Public Ally, Myron was placed with a local non-profit agency for 10 months and tasked with expanding the capacity of services provided by that assigned organization. In addition to gaining practical employment experience, Myron also received leadership and professional development training. At the end of ten month’s term of service, Myron completed a total of 1700 hours of community service.

    Myron graduated West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Applied Public Policy, and received his Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Cecelia Ogechi Oparah

    Ogechi has intentionally pursued professional experience in the non-profit sector, exploring issues in criminal justice reform and education disparities. Her experiences have inspired her to work in the public sector as an advocate and thought leader.

    Ogechi previously worked at the world-renowned Woodruff Arts Center, overseeing a $1.5 million grant to advance the arts in a metro-Atlanta school district. At the age of twenty-two, she ran for public office, seeking to serve on the School Board in Fayette County, Georgia. While she did not win the partisan race, Ogechi decided to use this early experience to help others in her shoes by serving as the President of Fayette Democratic Women, an organization that aims to empower women to be change agents and decision-makers in their communities. During her tenure, Fayette Democratic Women raised unprecedented funds to support local candidates. In 2015, it was named Outstanding Chapter of the Year.

    As part of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Millennial Advisory Panel, she joined a cohort of young professionals tasked with shaping the region’s plan for the next 20 years. She also has served on the board of directors of the Fayette Visioning Initiative, which measures, promotes, and communicates to the public progress around a collective vision for community development.

    Ogechi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Princeton University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Cecelia Ogechi Oparah

    Hometown: Fayetteville, GA

    Mentor Placement/Location: UNITED WAY OF CLEVELAND, Cleveland, OH

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Ogechi has intentionally pursued professional experience in the non-profit sector, exploring issues in criminal justice reform and education disparities. Her experiences have inspired her to work in the public sector as an advocate and thought leader.

    Ogechi previously worked at the world-renowned Woodruff Arts Center, overseeing a $1.5 million grant to advance the arts in a metro-Atlanta school district. At the age of twenty-two, she ran for public office, seeking to serve on the School Board in Fayette County, Georgia. While she did not win the partisan race, Ogechi decided to use this early experience to help others in her shoes by serving as the President of Fayette Democratic Women, an organization that aims to empower women to be change agents and decision-makers in their communities. During her tenure, Fayette Democratic Women raised unprecedented funds to support local candidates. In 2015, it was named Outstanding Chapter of the Year.

    As part of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Millennial Advisory Panel, she joined a cohort of young professionals tasked with shaping the region’s plan for the next 20 years. She also has served on the board of directors of the Fayette Visioning Initiative, which measures, promotes, and communicates to the public progress around a collective vision for community development.

    Ogechi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Princeton University and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Peter Orozco

    Peter has spent most of his professional career working with The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), helping college students achieve academic, professional, and personal success through goal planning and mentorship.  Peter was the president of the NSLS chapter at New Jersey City University before joining the National Office, where he managed a $200,000 scholarship program and served on the Operations team. Peter’s nine years with the Society has ensured local community leaders receive the recognition and support they need to further their impact. He previously served as the Operations Director for The BETES, a nonprofit using the arts to help diabetics and others with chronic diseases nurture a healthier emotional relationship with their condition.  

    Peter is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and has lived with Type 1 diabetes since he was eleven years old.  Peter is an accomplished musician, studying and performing as a drummer for longer than his diagnosis. Traveling internationally for his performances, Peter has worked with nonprofits such as Beakerhead, connecting the Arts and Sciences to influence the next generation, and has performed local school tours to teach students what is possible despite living with a chronic disease.  He has practiced the Brazilian martial art Capoeira for nine years, and loves to study the link between movement, creativity, and well-being.

    Peter graduated from New Jersey City University with his Bachelor’s of Arts in History and Music. He received his Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Peter Orozco

    Hometown: North Bergen, NJ

    Mentor Placement/Location: UNITED WAY OF CLEVELAND, Cleveland, OH

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Peter has spent most of his professional career working with The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), helping college students achieve academic, professional, and personal success through goal planning and mentorship.  Peter was the president of the NSLS chapter at New Jersey City University before joining the National Office, where he managed a $200,000 scholarship program and served on the Operations team. Peter’s nine years with the Society has ensured local community leaders receive the recognition and support they need to further their impact. He previously served as the Operations Director for The BETES, a nonprofit using the arts to help diabetics and others with chronic diseases nurture a healthier emotional relationship with their condition.  

    Peter is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and has lived with Type 1 diabetes since he was eleven years old.  Peter is an accomplished musician, studying and performing as a drummer for longer than his diagnosis. Traveling internationally for his performances, Peter has worked with nonprofits such as Beakerhead, connecting the Arts and Sciences to influence the next generation, and has performed local school tours to teach students what is possible despite living with a chronic disease.  He has practiced the Brazilian martial art Capoeira for nine years, and loves to study the link between movement, creativity, and well-being.

    Peter graduated from New Jersey City University with his Bachelor’s of Arts in History and Music. He received his Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Alissa M. Padilla

    Alisa M. Padilla is committed to being a change agent with a passion for positive youth development, social justice, and equality. She has worked in a wide range of knowledge-intensive industries, from telecommunications, financial, health care, to fashion. Her unconventional career path unintentionally led her to discover and purse her calling to public service in the form of arts and education. Alisa began working as a public school substitute teacher in Seminole County, FL where she has spent the last four years mentoring, inspiring, and teaching students at Lake Mary High School.

    Alisa’s love of the arts has been an important theme throughout her life. Alisa currently sponsors Lake Mary High School’s Multicultural Show, which was created by her mother, and uses it to teach students the importance of cultural awareness, diversity, and acknowledge that students are part of a greater good. In 2016, Alisa used the show as a platform to teach her students about love and acceptance with the show’s theme “Love is Love” being inspired by and dedicated to the 49 victims of the Pulse terror attack.

    Alisa received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in Puerto Rican Studies from Lehman College and a received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.  She was recognized with Magna Cum Laude distinction, Departmental Honors in Business Administration and the Joan Moody Award for Excellence in Business.

    Alissa M. Padilla

    Hometown: Winter Springs, FL

    Mentor Placement/Location: HOUSTON HEALTH DEPARTMENT, Houston, TX

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Alisa M. Padilla is committed to being a change agent with a passion for positive youth development, social justice, and equality. She has worked in a wide range of knowledge-intensive industries, from telecommunications, financial, health care, to fashion. Her unconventional career path unintentionally led her to discover and purse her calling to public service in the form of arts and education. Alisa began working as a public school substitute teacher in Seminole County, FL where she has spent the last four years mentoring, inspiring, and teaching students at Lake Mary High School.

    Alisa’s love of the arts has been an important theme throughout her life. Alisa currently sponsors Lake Mary High School’s Multicultural Show, which was created by her mother, and uses it to teach students the importance of cultural awareness, diversity, and acknowledge that students are part of a greater good. In 2016, Alisa used the show as a platform to teach her students about love and acceptance with the show’s theme “Love is Love” being inspired by and dedicated to the 49 victims of the Pulse terror attack.

    Alisa received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in Puerto Rican Studies from Lehman College and a received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.  She was recognized with Magna Cum Laude distinction, Departmental Honors in Business Administration and the Joan Moody Award for Excellence in Business.

  • Robin Selwitz

    Robin is a dedicated, spirited problem solver with a lifelong aspiration to advocate for underserved populations. She previously worked for Dimagi, which is a mobile healthcare technology company in Boston, Massachusetts. She worked with users around the world by training and teaching them on technology used to diagnose/prevent disease, provide access to health care resources, and offer patient management. She also spent time in India working with local community health workers to train them how to use technology to track patients and cases.

    Prior to Dimagi, Robin worked as an Information & Referral Specialist for Mass211. She worked with clients by providing resources and advocacy to those looking to find food, shelter, and emergency assistance. In addition, she researched new programs to refer to users as well as innovative ways to provide help to her clients, and was trained in emergency management through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

    Robin also served as an AmeriCorps member through the Job Ready Program. She worked with local nonprofit organizations in the community to help create training programs and find resources for jobs while empowering clients to explore educational opportunities. She also advocated for families to receive help with basic human needs, such as food and heating assistance by working with local utility companies and charities.

    Robin is a proud alumna of Framingham State University where she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.

    Robin Selwitz

    Hometown: Braintree, MA

    Mentor Placement/Location: COURT SERVICE AND OFFENDER SUPERVISION AGENCY, Washington, DC

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Robin is a dedicated, spirited problem solver with a lifelong aspiration to advocate for underserved populations. She previously worked for Dimagi, which is a mobile healthcare technology company in Boston, Massachusetts. She worked with users around the world by training and teaching them on technology used to diagnose/prevent disease, provide access to health care resources, and offer patient management. She also spent time in India working with local community health workers to train them how to use technology to track patients and cases.

    Prior to Dimagi, Robin worked as an Information & Referral Specialist for Mass211. She worked with clients by providing resources and advocacy to those looking to find food, shelter, and emergency assistance. In addition, she researched new programs to refer to users as well as innovative ways to provide help to her clients, and was trained in emergency management through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

    Robin also served as an AmeriCorps member through the Job Ready Program. She worked with local nonprofit organizations in the community to help create training programs and find resources for jobs while empowering clients to explore educational opportunities. She also advocated for families to receive help with basic human needs, such as food and heating assistance by working with local utility companies and charities.

    Robin is a proud alumna of Framingham State University where she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.

  • Ibrahima S. Souare

    Small business development is a professional passion for Ibrahima, who has experience with public sector and non-profit organizations with a focus on community economic development, and inclusion of diverse suppliers in government contracts.

    Mr. Souare previously worked for Empire State Development, New York State’s chief economic development agency. As a Business Development Associate with the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development, Ibrahima was responsible for monitoring over 96+ state agencies and public authorities utilization of women and minority-owned businesses on state contracts, developing and delivering capacity building educational contents, and conducting statewide outreach efforts on the program. The Division works with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office to promote economic opportunities and advocate for the elimination of barriers to women and minority-owned businesses.   

    During his tenure at South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, a community-based organization, Ibrahima was part of a business resource center funded by U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, which focused on building the capacity of minority-owned businesses. Tasked with the responsibility of guiding minority-owned businesses expand their footprint both domestically and global marketplace, Mr. Souare was successful in aiding a number of businesses secure contracts, gain access to financing, and strategically implement new methods of business operations.

    Ibrahima received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the City University of New York’s Lehman College and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College. He was the first in his immediate family to graduate from college.

    Ibrahima S. Souare

    Hometown: West Africa, Guinea (Conakry)

    Mentor Placement/Location: ENLIGHTENED, INC., Washington, DC

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Small business development is a professional passion for Ibrahima, who has experience with public sector and non-profit organizations with a focus on community economic development, and inclusion of diverse suppliers in government contracts.

    Mr. Souare previously worked for Empire State Development, New York State’s chief economic development agency. As a Business Development Associate with the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development, Ibrahima was responsible for monitoring over 96+ state agencies and public authorities utilization of women and minority-owned businesses on state contracts, developing and delivering capacity building educational contents, and conducting statewide outreach efforts on the program. The Division works with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office to promote economic opportunities and advocate for the elimination of barriers to women and minority-owned businesses.   

    During his tenure at South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, a community-based organization, Ibrahima was part of a business resource center funded by U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, which focused on building the capacity of minority-owned businesses. Tasked with the responsibility of guiding minority-owned businesses expand their footprint both domestically and global marketplace, Mr. Souare was successful in aiding a number of businesses secure contracts, gain access to financing, and strategically implement new methods of business operations.

    Ibrahima received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the City University of New York’s Lehman College and a Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College. He was the first in his immediate family to graduate from college.

  • Martha E. Varela

    Martha is an educator, community advocate and a social entrepreneur who has a passion for social justice and healthy youth development.  Originally from Zacatecas Mexico, Martha has focused more than fifteen years of her non-profit work experience in the inner city communities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Martha has worked as a youth counselor with Catholic Charities at the Hope Street Shelter for Youth where she facilitates career enrichment and life skill development programs.  Martha also owns and operates a small business, Martha’s Closet, where she provides low income families with good quality clothing at affordable prices. She has also worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs, St. Paul & Minneapolis Public Schools, Head Start and was a member of the United States Army, where she received an honorable discharge for her ten years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard.

    Martha has developed and managed important leadership development programs, sexual and reproductive health programs, academic and career enrichment programs and life-skill development programs. Martha is also a youth basketball coach and has coached for the Minnesota State High School League, Parks & Recreation, Boys & Girls Club and her local Booster Athletic Club.  

    Martha is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she independently designed, an interdepartmental Bachelor’s of Science degree, in Social Work, Youth Studies, and Multicultural Studies.

    Martha E. Varela

    Hometown: St. Paul , MN

    Mentor Placement/Location: THE CALIFORNIA ENDOWMENT, Los Angeles, CA

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha

    Martha is an educator, community advocate and a social entrepreneur who has a passion for social justice and healthy youth development.  Originally from Zacatecas Mexico, Martha has focused more than fifteen years of her non-profit work experience in the inner city communities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    Martha has worked as a youth counselor with Catholic Charities at the Hope Street Shelter for Youth where she facilitates career enrichment and life skill development programs.  Martha also owns and operates a small business, Martha’s Closet, where she provides low income families with good quality clothing at affordable prices. She has also worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs, St. Paul & Minneapolis Public Schools, Head Start and was a member of the United States Army, where she received an honorable discharge for her ten years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard.

    Martha has developed and managed important leadership development programs, sexual and reproductive health programs, academic and career enrichment programs and life-skill development programs. Martha is also a youth basketball coach and has coached for the Minnesota State High School League, Parks & Recreation, Boys & Girls Club and her local Booster Athletic Club.  

    Martha is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she independently designed, an interdepartmental Bachelor’s of Science degree, in Social Work, Youth Studies, and Multicultural Studies.

  • Mayra Vazquez

    Mayra is an advocate for cross-border business, education and workforce development policies in the nation’s eighth largest city, San Diego, CA. She holds extensive domestic and international community outreach and public policy experience in both the public and private sector.

    Mayra previously served as the Project Manager of International Business Affairs at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, supporting policy initiatives and related events in the promotion of cross-border and international trade and commerce. She also served as the Education and Workforce Development policy lead at the Chamber. She served as a Council Representative in the office of San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey where she led various bi-national and district wide business outreach efforts.

    After college, Mayra returned to her community and became involved as a volunteer and intern at several local organizations, including the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, World Trade Center San Diego and Office of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. Having grown up in an underserved community herself, Mayra has provided a voice to those in communities similar to hers and is committed to advocate for those in need.

    Mayra has grown her leadership skills through programs such as the San Diego Public Leadership Institute and the California Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute. Mayra received her Bachelor’s in International Studies from California State University.. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Mayra Vazquez

    Hometown: National City, CA

    Mentor Placement/Location: GIRLS, INC. Washington, DC

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha; Lilly Endowment Fellow

    Mayra is an advocate for cross-border business, education and workforce development policies in the nation’s eighth largest city, San Diego, CA. She holds extensive domestic and international community outreach and public policy experience in both the public and private sector.

    Mayra previously served as the Project Manager of International Business Affairs at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, supporting policy initiatives and related events in the promotion of cross-border and international trade and commerce. She also served as the Education and Workforce Development policy lead at the Chamber. She served as a Council Representative in the office of San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey where she led various bi-national and district wide business outreach efforts.

    After college, Mayra returned to her community and became involved as a volunteer and intern at several local organizations, including the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, World Trade Center San Diego and Office of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. Having grown up in an underserved community herself, Mayra has provided a voice to those in communities similar to hers and is committed to advocate for those in need.

    Mayra has grown her leadership skills through programs such as the San Diego Public Leadership Institute and the California Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute. Mayra received her Bachelor’s in International Studies from California State University.. She received her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

  • Gurveen Vohra

    Born and raised in a military household in India, serving our community and being out on rescue missions was a major part of growing up for Gurveen.  These experiences impacted her going forward as she realized that working in the public sector brought her a greater satisfaction knowing that she was affecting those in need.

    Gurveen’s career has spanned from the private to public sectors, and she most recently served at the Healthcare Talent Acquisition & Retention Lead for Mount Sinai Health System. In this role, she helped a system of 36,000 employees navigate the hiring and credentialing processes to ensure compliance with the standards and regulations of accrediting agencies. She also previously served as the Senior Program Manager of Workforce and Economic Development Programs and Grants for Grant Associates, etc. where she received special recognition from Mayor Bloomberg for successfully launching and managing the Workforce1 expansion center initiative.

    One of the community programs that Gurveen has helped administer has been Meals on Wheels.  She has also been a mentor of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York,

    Gurveen received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Economics as well as her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

    Gurveen Vohra

    Hometown: New York, NY

    Mentor Placement/Location: EMPLOYINDY, Indianapolis, IN

    Honors: Pi Alpha Alpha; Lilly Endowment Fellow

    Born and raised in a military household in India, serving our community and being out on rescue missions was a major part of growing up for Gurveen.  These experiences impacted her going forward as she realized that working in the public sector brought her a greater satisfaction knowing that she was affecting those in need.

    Gurveen’s career has spanned from the private to public sectors, and she most recently served at the Healthcare Talent Acquisition & Retention Lead for Mount Sinai Health System. In this role, she helped a system of 36,000 employees navigate the hiring and credentialing processes to ensure compliance with the standards and regulations of accrediting agencies. She also previously served as the Senior Program Manager of Workforce and Economic Development Programs and Grants for Grant Associates, etc. where she received special recognition from Mayor Bloomberg for successfully launching and managing the Workforce1 expansion center initiative.

    One of the community programs that Gurveen has helped administer has been Meals on Wheels.  She has also been a mentor of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York,

    Gurveen received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and Economics as well as her Master’s of Public Administration from Baruch College.

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