FELPS Fellows 2013

Previous Fellows

2013 Fellows

  • Molly Bilick
    Health Educator and Outreach Coordinator, Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center

    Molly Bilick is a health educator and the outreach coordinator for the Rape Crisis Program at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. As a health educator she does individual counseling with young people around birth control and pregnancy options, HIV testing, sexual decision-making and risk reduction. As the outreach coordinator Molly teaches workshops to students in schools and community-based organizations around New York.


    Molly is certified in HIV testing and counseling and is trained in the Safe Dates Healthy Relationship Evidence-based Curriculum, Sexual and Reproductive Health for Adolescents and Facilitation Skills. She also is a sexual assault and violence intervention advocate with Mount Sinai Hospital, where she is on-call to be an advocate for sexual assault and intimate partner violence victims in the emergency departments of seven New York City hospitals.


    Previously Molly has worked at Children’s Aid Society teaching the freshman seminar at the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics High School. She also worked at Columbia University doing research on New York City Schools.


    Molly received her Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Sociology from Whittier College, where she was in the History National Honors Society, Phi Alpha Theta and Sociology National Honors Society, Alpha Kappa Delta. During this time she worked at Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles teaching sex education to seventh graders in schools around Los Angeles County. Molly also worked as an orientation week leader and a mentor for incoming freshman in their transition from high school to college as well as being a History tutor in the school tutoring center. Molly lived in Cape Town, South Africa for six month as a study abroad student. There she attended the University of the Western Cape and did research of HIV/AIDS and rape in South Africa.

  • Gael Black
    25th Anniversary Coordinator, The New York Women’s Foundation

    Gael Black is the 25th Anniversary coordinator at The New York Women’s Foundation, an organization that aims to advance economic security and justice, eliminate gender-based violence, and secure sexual rights and reproductive justice for women and girls by supporting women-led, community-based organizations serving New York City. The Foundation uses a strategic approach of investing in women to lift families and communities and work toward sustainable, broad-based change. Gael joined NYWF in January 2012, managing many of the Foundation’s special projects, including launching a new website, expanding social media efforts, and producing the 25th Anniversary report and album.


    Gael graduated in December 2011 from the University at Albany, where she received her BA in Political Science and History with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. During her three and a half years at UA she was very involved on campus. She served as the Student Association’s director of Legislative Affairs, where she trained and supervised lobbying teams to voice student body concerns on issues concerning higher education, and collaborated with student groups and local lawmakers to restore funding to the Albany Crime Victims and Sexual Violence Center. Additionally, Gael served as the event staff supervisor in the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, on the Board of Directors of the University Auxiliary Services, as a fundraising and development intern at the Northeast New York Chapter of the American Red Cross, and as a resident assistant.


    Gael discovered her passion for public service when she became a United Nations Foundation Global Classrooms Model United Nations delegate in 2006. Since then, she has worked closely with UNF as an intern and volunteer conducting research for background guides, training student staff and delegates, and serving as a key leader of ten large-scale, professional Model United Nations Conferences.

  • Afton Branche
    Strategic Partnerships Officer, Thomson Reuters Foundation

    Afton Branche is the strategic partnerships officer at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which works to empower citizens worldwide with trusted information and spread the practice of pro bono globally. At the Foundation, Afton primarily focused on launching Trust Women, the Foundation’s first conference on international women’s rights, in partnership with the International Herald Tribune. Afton also works to recruit new members to TrustLaw Connect, an online global platform that connects NGOs and social enterprises with pro bono legal assistance from top law firms worldwide.


    Afton was previously the program coordinator for the DMI Scholars program at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, where she oversaw curriculum and programming for the Institute’s public policy and leadership development program for college students from underrepresented communities nationwide. As program coordinator, she planned and led the 2011 Summer Institute, a two-week training focused on public policy research and analysis. When she joined DMI in 2009 as an immigration policy analyst, Afton executed research and strategic communications to advance progressive immigration policies at the local and federal level.


    In 2008, Afton graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she majored in Culture and Politics and earned a certificate in African Studies. Afton studied abroad in Lyon, France at the Université Jean Moulin. While at Georgetown, Afton volunteered with the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation and interned with Vital Voices Global Partnership. Since moving to New York after graduation, Afton has enjoyed exploring the city’s volunteer opportunities, most recently as a co-facilitator of an adult English language conversation group with the We Are New York program at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

  • Jameek Clovie
    Intake Specialist, Fifth Avenue Committee

    Jameek Clovie is an intake specialist with the Single Stop unit at the Fifth Avenue Committee, working to connect people in job training programs to resources in order to move forward with their lives; facilitating presentations; submitting applications for public benefits; and advocating on behalf of low-income New Yorkers. In the 2012 fiscal year, Jameek’s team secured over $3 million for participants in programs providing benefits and services and helped over 450 people do their taxes and receive returns for free.


    Jameek was born into a family with a long history of public service and community organizing. Seeing various relatives fight for the rights of people in East New York and Brownsville, Jameek was instilled with a passion for social justice.


    After volunteering and working at various local organizations in his neighborhood as a teenager, Jameek graduated from Brooklyn’s Science Skills Center High School in 2006. He then went on to attain his Bachelor in Arts from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where he was an active student, serving as president of the Student Government Association as well as a resident advisor, learning conflict resolution, event planning and group facilitation work.

  • Inslee Coddington
    Executive Assistant to the Principal, Achievement First Brownsville Elementary School

    Inslee Coddington is the principal’s executive assistant at Achievement First Brownsville Elementary School. Achievement First is a network of charter schools in low-income communities across Brooklyn, Connecticut and Rhode Island committed to closing the achievement gap by providing students with academic and character skills needed to graduate from four-year universities.


    In her role, Inslee works closely with the school’s principal and leadership team to execute key school-based systems and projects. She provides administrative and hands-on support to ensure a smooth school day for scholars, teachers and administrators. Additionally, Inslee manages a team of four teaching interns, providing logistical and team-based support.


    Before joining Achievement First, Inslee served as the general manager of Shining Hope for Communities (SHC), a nonprofit that combats gender inequality in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. Inslee initially worked for SHC from the United States, writing grants and developing financial tracking systems, and then moved to Nairobi to manage onsite operations. While in Kenya, she oversaw significant developments in programs and infrastructure, including the establishment of a health clinic, community center and a boarding facility for the most-at-risk students at the Kibera School for Girls, SHC’s founding program. Some of her favorite memories in Kenya are of her time spent babysitting the six girls who lived in the boarding facility.


    Inslee graduated from Wesleyan University in 2010 with a BA in Psychology. While at Wesleyan, she worked as an administrative assistant at the Community Health Center, Inc., a local nonprofit health center, and later recruited and placed student volunteers at CHC. Inslee was also active in the Psychology majors’ community, serving as secretary for Psi Chi, the Psychology honors society.

  • Gloris Estrella
    Program Officer, Institute of International Education

    Gloris Estrella is a program officer of operations for the Foreign Fulbright Program at the Institute of International Education. As part of the Global Operations team, Gloris manages division-wide projects and J-1 documents for international students. She is also responsible for tuition and billing for grantees attending universities in the US Midwest. Prior to being a program officer, Gloris was a senior specialist for the Foreign Fulbright Program, where she provided administrative support to program officers.


    Gloris’ previous work experience includes working as an executive assistant for the International Institute for Conflict Prevention Resolution. In addition to working with the president, Gloris was the point of contact for the CPR conference and annual meeting speakers, including financial administration and travel processing.


    As a recipient of the Posse Leadership Scholarship, Gloris attended DePauw University and received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Management in 2009. While at DePauw, she worked at the Women’s Center and Student Services Office. On campus, Gloris served as a presidential ambassador, a mentor for the First Year Mentorship program, the Alumni Relations chair of the Committee for Latino Concerns and as a member of the Association of African-American Students. Among her most notable leadership roles was helping bring the first Latina sorority to campus, for which she later become president.


    Gloris remains actively involved in the Posse Foundation, conducting alumni relations for the New York Posse alumni group. She is also a volunteer mentor at Tagai, a mentorship program for international high school students.

  • Fernando Falcon
    Team Assistant, United Nations

    Fernando Falcon works at the United Nations for the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (OSRSG-CAAC), which promotes and protects the rights of children affected by armed conflict all over the world. In his role as team assistant and as part of the communication unit of his office, Fernando provides overall support to his team and assists in the implementation of the office’s communications strategy.


    Fernando helps to maintain his office’s social media platforms as well as the official website. Fernando also assists in the research on background information for official reports, meetings and field missions. In addition, he is part of the team that launched the Zero Under 18 campaign aimed at achieving universal ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC). In September 2012, three new Members States ratified the Treaty, bringing the total number of ratifications to 150.


    Prior to his work at the Office of the Special Representative, Fernando worked in the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management, assisting with the various meetings taking place at the United Nations, including those of the General Assembly and Security Council. In this capacity, he was responsible for assisting members of delegations and UN officials with queries and ensuring that the meetings convened as planned.


    Fernando graduated with honors from John Jay College of Criminal College with a BA in International Criminal Justice and Political Science. In his senior thesis, he focused on terrorism financing and the international measures established to counter that threat. His interest in international and transnational crimes was what sparked his desire to pursue a career path in international humanitarian law. He speaks fluent Spanish and French.

  • Rachel Finkelstein
    Planner, Center for Court Innovation

    Rachel Finkelstein is the planner at the Red Hook Community Justice Center, a demonstration project of the Center for Court Innovation. As a multijurisdictional community court that hears criminal, family and housing matters, the Justice Center seeks to go beyond merely processing cases by considering the issues facing both individuals and the community in holistic, dynamic and innovative ways.


    As the Justice Center’s planner, Rachel has the unique opportunity to be involved in all aspects of its operations — from new program development and strategic planning, to data management and research, as well as community outreach and communications strategy. She also assists in the administration of the New York Juvenile Justice Corps, an AmeriCorps service program that seeks to improve educational and social outcomes for youth involved or at risk of becoming involved in the justice system.


    This the third position Rachel has held at CCI, a not-for-profit think tank that helps the justice system aid victims, reduce crime, strengthen neighborhoods and improve public trust in justice. Previously, she served as the program associate for CCI’s technical assistance team, which provides expert assistance to jurisdictions around the world on problem-solving courts and community justice initiatives. She started at CCI as a college research intern.


    A proud native of Brooklyn, New York, Rachel has been both personally and professionally immersed in debates surrounding tough urban policy issues from a young age. Her interest in public service was sparked by high school internships at PAX: Real Solutions to Gun Violence (now the Center to Prevent Youth Violence) and in the policy department of the New York Academy of Medicine, where she worked on a project studying racial disparities in healthcare. She has since continued to explore a range of policy issues, including researching the impact of public health policy on intravenous drug users at the National Development and Research Institute, and serving as a research assistant to a task force of professors and nonprofit leaders through Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office to reform the "Blue Book," the set of standards by which overcrowding is calculated in New York City public schools. She also spent a year teaching English in Spain through a fellowship with the Spanish Ministry of Education.


    Rachel graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Sociology and Spanish Literature in 2008.

  • Lia Grigg
    Development and Communications Associate, STRIVE

    Lia Grigg is the development and communications associate at STRIVE, a nonprofit that provides job readiness services and skills training to the chronically unemployed. Through a unique model that has been replicated in over 20 cities nationwide, STRIVE helps disconnected individuals develop the skills and attitudes they need to find employment and become valuable contributors to their employers, their families and their communities.


    At STRIVE, Lia is involved in all aspects of fund development, in addition to coordinating STRIVE’s marketing and communications activities. Her work includes producing fundraising and publicity materials, coordinating direct mailings, and organizing special events, such as graduations, volunteer days and fundraisers. Lia also assists in writing and soliciting grant proposals, including the successful awarding of $4.9 million to STRIVE by the US Department of Labor. Lia is also responsible for STRIVE’s social media channels and recent website overhaul. This past summer, Lia had the opportunity to work closely with the Sundance Channel’s Public Relations Department in coordinating publicity for “Get to Work,” a Sundance Channel original series documenting the STRIVE program.


    Lia graduated from Dartmouth College in 2011 with a BA in History. While at Dartmouth, Lia was an active member of Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority and held several leadership positions within the organization, including serving on its board her senior year. Lia was also a member of the Dartmouth Ski Patrol and served on Dartmouth’s Student and Presidential Committee on Sexual Assault, where she worked with the administration to improve administrative response to sexual assault on campus and with Greek houses to coordinate prevention and awareness programming.

  • Allie Hallock
    Associate Program Manager, Taproot Foundation New York

    Allie Hallock is the associate program manager for Taproot Foundation New York, a nonprofit that makes business talent available to qualified organizations that work to improve society and the New York City community-at-large. Taproot’s mission is to lead, mobilize and engage professionals in pro bono service that drives social change.


    Allie joined Taproot in 2010 as an AmeriCorps VISTA fellow and has since moved into her current position. In her role, Allie ensures delivery of and provides oversight to pro bono projects that build the internal strategy, human resources and marketing capacity of nonprofits. Her work focuses on grantmaking and project management, nonprofit outreach and consultation, and volunteer retention and support. Allie works closely with dozens of nonprofit executives and business professionals, partnering with Taproot’s Program staff to award 75 to 100 grants per year and providing daily oversight to a portfolio of 20 active grants.


    Prior to joining Taproot, Allie held three internships at nonprofits focusing on different aspects of the labor economy – including the local, national and global perspectives on employment rights issues. After specializing in this area and working in direct services, Allie sought an opportunity that would introduce her to philanthropy and allow her to engage with and impact a variety of nonprofits working to do social good.


    Allie graduated from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY with a BA in Economics and Studio Art in 2008. At Hamilton, Allie worked in the Alumni Office and was involved in facilitation of campus-wide volunteer activities. During her senior year, Allie participated in a semester-long academic and professional program with a Labor Economics concentration. During this time, she held an internship at the National Labor Committee, an organization that works to promote and defend human, women's and workers' rights in the global economy, and studied Labor Economics. At the culmination of the program, Allie conducted an independent research project on the abuse of corporate power in the global economy. Upon her return, Allie completed a senior project in Industrial Organization, writing about the reputation and evolving image of major soft drink companies as influenced by a shift in societal priorities on health and social good.

  • Beatrice (Bea) Hinton
    Program Assistant, Public Interest Projects

    Beatrice (Bea) Hinton is a program assistant at Public Interest Projects, an intermediary that operates grantmaking, technical assistance and strategic-planning programs for institutional donors interested in social justice and human rights issues. In her time at Public Interest Projects, Bea has provided programmatic support for a number of collaborative funds and special projects, including the State Capacity and Innovation Fund, State Infrastructure Fund, and Four Freedoms Fund. Prior to this post Bea interned for US Senator Frank R. Lautenberg in her home state of New Jersey.


    As a first-generation student at the University of Michigan, Bea championed various women’s rights and education reform initiatives. She co-chaired Women and Gender in Public Policy, becoming the first undergraduate to hold an executive position in the graduate student group. She also participated in Alternative Spring Break and the Speakers Bureau at the University’s Center for Educational Outreach. The Bureau is comprised of faculty and staff who offer presentations, lectures or technical assistance to schools and community agencies focused on academic excellence and college attendance. In her last two years at Michigan Bea held a part-time position as an academic success partner, providing academic, professional and personal mentorship to approximately 13 underclassmen. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.


    In 2008 Bea completed an internship with Reto Juvenil Internacional in Costa Rica, an NGO that performs community-based volunteer projects across Central and South America. She has participated in Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), which recruits and trains outstanding college students of color for summer internships. Through SEO’s Nonprofit/Philanthropy division, Bea served as a research analysis intern at Teach For America’s national headquarters. In 2009 she joined the Obama Administration’s inaugural class of interns as part of The White House Internship Program. In this capacity, Bea focused on women’s outreach through the Office of Public Engagement and the White House Council on Women and Girls.


    As a proponent for the rights of women and families, Bea serves as co-action chair of the National Organization for Women’s Activist Alliance and as a college mentor with the East Harlem Tutorial Program. She is a law school hopeful and budding entrepreneur interested in leveraging tactical philanthropy and public/private partnerships to provide innovative solutions to pressing social problems.

  • Elizabeth Kennedy
    Program Manager, iMentor

    Elizabeth Kennedy works as a program manager at iMentor, an educational nonprofit that supports underserved high school students through a one-on-one mentoring relationship lasting three or four years to help students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college.


    As a program coordinator and then senior program coordinator, Elizabeth first gained experience in the school-based mentoring program, where she directly supported over 200 mentor-mentee pairs ensuring that every student received a mentor and each pair was supported in building a meaningful relationship. In her current position at program manager, she directly manages six program coordinators and oversees four school partnerships, directly working with principals and staff to ensure high-quality program implementation. Working with iMentor has allowed Elizabeth the opportunity to address educational inequity through the power of mentoring.


    Prior to iMentor, she gained experience with small nonprofits in Uruguay, Chile and Spain around personal, academic and career development with recent immigrant youth.


    Hailing from Maine, Elizabeth graduated from Trinity College with a BA with high honors in American Studies and a double minor in Hispanic Studies and Human Rights Studies. In that time, she engaged her Hartford community on and off campus through her many leadership roles such as fundraising chair of the Trinity Chapter of Habitat for Humanity as well as co-organizer of the Trinity International Hip-Hop Festival, which aims to use all five elements of hip-hop as a tool for community building. As a Trinity College Human Rights fellow, she developed human rights curricula for Amnesty International within their Human Rights Education Program in New York City.

  • Lily Kunin
    Development Coordinator, Uncommon Schools

    Lily Kunin is the development coordinator at Uncommon Schools, a nonprofit that starts and manages outstanding urban public charter schools that close the achievement gap and prepare students from low-income communities to enter, succeed in and graduate from college.


    As development coordinator, Lily assists in all aspects related to fundraising for schools across Uncommon’s five geographies. Her responsibilities include coordinating donor engagement, managing the database of donor information, producing events to celebrate organizational milestones, and working on all development team special projects. Lily is excited to be part of an organization that is rapidly growing, and she enjoys touring new schools, as Uncommon scholars never fail to leave her feeling refreshed and inspired.


    Prior to joining Uncommon Schools, Lily was a resident in Social Enterprise with New Sector Alliance in Boston. Through her residency, she served at Citizen Schools working on capacity-building projects in recruitment and human resources. She also spent a period of her residency creating marketing materials and external messaging for a civic engagement organization. Previously, Lily spent a summer as an intern for the Calvert Social Investment Foundation working with the marketing department.


    In 2010, Lily received a BA in Economics and a certificate in Environmental Studies from Connecticut College. While there, Lily was a scholar in the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment and completed a senior integrated project on renewable energy as a catalyst to end poverty in developing countries. She also served on the Dining Services Committee and promoted sustainable options to be offered in the dining halls.

  • Annie Lee
    External Affairs Associate, Prep for Prep

    Annie Lee is the external affairs associate at Prep for Prep, an educational, leadership development program that prepares and places New York City’s most able students of color into independent schools and provides them with ongoing support and life-changing opportunities. The External Affairs Department is responsible for raising Prep’s annual $10 million budget and monitoring communications strategies. Annie assists with the planning of donor cultivation events, the annual gala and the end-of-year appeal. She conveys Prep’s work to outside constituents by writing news articles for the website, building web pages, managing photo and video content for social media outlets, and coordinating the production of print media. Annie also volunteers for mock interviews with Prep’s college students. Fluent in Cantonese and conversant in Mandarin, Annie occasionally translates for non-English-speaking Chinese families in the Prep program.


    A native New Yorker, Annie is passionate about service to the community that nurtured her growth. She graduated cum laude and with departmental honors from Barnard College with a BA in Sociology. An excerpt from her class assignment, “Clean Slates and Crime Rates,” was published in the January/February 2009 issue of The Criminologist, the newsletter of the American Society of Criminology.


    Through her undergraduate internships, Annie realized the impact she can have on underserved communities by securing funds for programming and communicating their success stories to potential donors, alums of the program and prospective families.


    In 2008, she was named a Metropolitan Life Foundation/Richard R. Shinn Public Service fellow at Barnard. As a Shinn fellow, Annie interned with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, where she helped raise funds to advocate for and protect the civil rights of the Asian-American community. The following year, she was named an Eleanor T. Elliot Education and Public Service fellow and interned with Legal Information for Families Today, a nonprofit that educates and empowers parents to self-advocate in family court. In addition to her academic endeavors, Annie served as president of the commuter students’ organization at Barnard and worked at a private pediatric practice servicing residents of Chinatown and Tribeca.

  • Chauncey Nartey
    Program Manager, New York City Department of Education

    Chauncey Nartey is a program manager at the NYC Department of Education, the largest public school district in the United States, serving 1.1 million students across nearly 1,700+ schools. Chauncey currently leads the district-wide initiative to create a pipeline of teachers uniquely prepared to thrive in middle school settings – a key strategy of the Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality’s broader work to ensure that there is an effective teacher in every classroom in New York City.


    Prior to his work at the Department of Education, Chauncey served as a campus director for Citizen Schools, an innovative extended learning program for low-income middle school students throughout the country. At Citizen Schools, Chauncey led a team of nine educators to improve the academic outcomes of 122 sixth and seventh graders while working with engineers from Google, architects from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and executives from AllianceBernstein to bring science, technology, engineering and math concepts to life through real-world, hands-on apprenticeships. Under his leadership, Global Tech Prep was named a College for Every Student “School of Distinction” in 2011. In addition to his work in the field, Chauncey also served as a featured blogger for the “Teach Outside of the Box” blog.


    Chauncey began his career as a Teach for America corps member in Philadelphia, teaching US and Global History at the middle and high school levels. During this time, Chauncey received his MA in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania, where his thesis focused on the impact of teacher unionization on student outcomes.


    Chauncey received a full academic scholarship to attend Duke University, where he graduated with a BA in Political Science and Public Policy. In addition, Chauncey studied International Business and Philosophy through the Duke in Geneva study abroad program. While at Duke, Chauncey’s passion for education and public service led him to participate in a number of activities including the Duke Student Government, Campus Council and the FOCUS program in human rights, through which he taught English to migrant workers in Granville County, North Carolina. Chauncey also served as co-director of the Africana Mentoring Program and president of the Kappa Omicron of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In 2007, Chauncey was awarded the prestigious William J. Griffith University Service Award, presented to a select number of graduating seniors whose contributions have significantly impacted University life.

  • Mary Newcomb
    Manager of Grant Support, Teach For America

    Mary Newcomb serves as the manager of grant support at Teach For America and works primarily with national foundation partners. Teach For America addresses educational disparities that exist between low-income students and their higher-income peers by infusing schools and districts with high-caliber teachers and education leaders.


    In her role, Mary manages a portfolio of national education foundation relationships that support Teach For America’s broad spectrum of programming and regions. Mary also contributes to internal effectiveness by driving learning initiatives associated with foundation and corporate fundraising with an emphasis on grants, donor management and writing. This entails crafting trainings, identifying and sharing best practices, and coaching new and developing staff across Teach For America’s 46 regional teams.


    Prior to working at Teach For America, Mary worked at The Children’s Aid Society, which helps children in poverty to succeed and thrive by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. At Children’s Aid, Mary worked on the corporate and foundation development team on a wide range of projects relating to grant management, donor recognition and volunteer services.


    Mary graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University in 2008 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Spanish. While at Vanderbilt, Mary was actively involved in public service, serving on the leadership boards of the university chapter of Manna Project International and the Reformed University Fellowship. As service chair of Kappa Alpha Theta, Mary initiated monthly group volunteer opportunities for members and quadrupled the chapter’s annual fundraising for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates).

  • Brian O’Neil
    Civic Engagement Manager, Citizen Schools New York

    Brian O’Neil is the civic engagement manager for Citizen Schools New York, a leading nonprofit education reform program serving traditionally under-resourced communities in New York City and across the country. Citizen Schools partners with public middle schools to reimagine the traditional school day by mobilizing a second shift of afternoon educators, who provide academic support, leadership development and “apprenticeships” – hands-on projects taught by volunteers from business and civic organizations.


    In his role, Brian is responsible for cultivating partnerships with like-minded nonprofits, institutions of higher education and corporations. He engages professionals within these groups to share their unique passion and expertise with middle schoolers by stepping up to become volunteer Citizen Teachers. By developing compelling marketing materials, leading information sessions, attending pitch meetings, and researching prospective new partners, Brian inspires people to take action by showing them how they themselves are uniquely positioned to have a lasting impact on deserving New York City youth. Brian manages a cohort of six full-time educators in the execution of volunteer coordination at school partners. In his tenure with CSNY, Brian has played a key role in increasing overall volunteer pipelines by more than 50 percent, increasing partnerships by six-fold and paving the way for Citizen Schools New York to serve over 1,000 students this academic year.


    Brian started with Citizen Schools in 2009 as an Americorps VISTA member in Newark, where he completed a year of service as their volunteer and development coordinator, spearheading all individual volunteer recruitment efforts and supporting grant writing. Prior to this, Brian worked as a field captain for the Democratic Party for New Jersey’s 2009 gubernatorial election, where he trained and supported more than 30 staff members on volunteer recruitment, and managed daily voter registration and voter identification canvasses.

    Brian graduated from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. While at Stockton, Brian interned at the Covenant House in Atlantic City’s crisis center as a tutor and mentor for youth aging out of foster care, cofounded a Stockton Students for Obama Club and served as the political activist chair for Stockton’s chapter of the NAACP.


    Brian is an active iMentor, volunteer with Opportunity Network and New York Cares, and volunteer Citizen Teacher with Citizen Schools.

  • Kathleen O’Reilly
    Visit Coordinator, The Good Dog Foundation

    Kathleen O’Reilly is the visit coordinator at The Good Dog Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to providing animal-assisted therapy services to a wide range of facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other social service organizations throughout the New York and Tri-state region. By certifying therapy dog teams, coordinating visits, and promoting both research and awareness The Good Dog Foundation trains and manages over 1,000 volunteers and touches the lives of individuals at more than 300 different facilities.


    Kathleen is thrilled to be working at an organization that allows her to have a direct impact on the wellbeing of individuals in her surrounding community. As visit coordinator, Kathleen helps manage relationships with partner facilities as well as customize and implement therapy dog programs to fit each facility’s particular needs. She is responsible for volunteer placement and visit coordination at all Good Dog sites.


    Prior to working with The Good Dog Foundation, Kathleen was an intern at Right to Play, an international nonprofit that aims to improve child development through the use of sport and play. There she was involved in database management as well as grant research and writing.


    Kathleen earned a BA in Political Science and Economics from the George Washington University. While in DC she interned for Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D- 12) and was an active member of the entirely student-run organization International Alternative Spring Break. Kathleen coordinated fundraising efforts by forging relationships with community businesses. Together with fellow student members, she planned and executed a construction project at an elementary school in Oaxaca, Mexico.

  • Julie Ougheltree
    Program Associate, Junior Achievement of New York

    Julie Ougheltree is a program associate with Junior Achievement of New York, a nonprofit whose mission is to “inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.”


    In her role, Julie is responsible for implementing Junior Achievement’s volunteer-delivered curriculum in grades K-12 across all five boroughs. All of Junior Achievement’s programs are focused on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness skills and aim to empower students to reach their greatest potential and own their economic success.


    As a program associate, Julie has also played an integral role in creating and launching a youth development program – Junior Achievement Academy – that began its pilot year this past spring. Junior Achievement Academy is a leadership development and enrichment program that teaches college and career readiness skills to 15 select high school students from Brooklyn and Queens. This inaugural group – selected out of an applicant pool of over 40 students – is comprised mostly of recent immigrants and English language learners. All of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch and the majority will be the first in their family to go to college. Through her involvement with the Junior Achievement Academy Julie has committed herself to a career in youth development.


    Julie graduated from Elon University with a degree in Communications in May 2007. While at Elon, Julie worked as a campus tour guide and a freshman orientation leader. She was also actively involved in the service learning community, participating in a six-week study abroad program with Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala. Julie also spent a semester abroad in London, England interning with a Public Relations firm. In spring 2007, Julie was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association’s honor society.


    After graduation, Julie embarked on a ten-month term of service with AmeriCorps*NCCC, based out of Sacramento, CA. As a corps member, Julie taught in a second and third grade classroom in Sacramento, led volunteer groups in the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast, provided disaster relief services with FEMA in Tennessee, and installed hurricane shutters in low-income communities in South Florida. Julie considers this her most definitive life experience and what has shaped her and led her to where she is today.

  • Derek Pediford
    Senior Advocate Counselor and Career Specialist, NYC Mission Society

    Derek Pediford serves as the senior advocate counselor and college career specialist for the New York City Mission Society’s Learn to Work Program (LTW) at Brownsville Academy High School.

    LTW is a school-based program within the NYC Mission Society’s portfolio that provides direct academic and support services to the scholars of Brownsville Academy High School. LTW efforts at Brownsville revolve around providing the students with professional development and job readiness coaching, workshops and information sessions regarding college access, and working with the school administration to ensure scholars complete their portfolio to ensure graduation from Brownsville Academy.


    In his post, Derek works to provide the scholars of Brownsville Academy with all of the information necessary to make an informed decision regarding college. Some of Derek’s daily tasks include meeting with different groups of graduating seniors to ensure the completion of college applications and tracking that information. Some of his other responsibilities includes making certain that the graduating scholars have completed their financial aid applications and scholarships, while also tracking those deliverables. Derek is also responsible for creating workshops involving college access and retention issues and organizing college visits for the scholars to prepare them for the transition from high school into college.


    For his undergraduate studies, Derek attended Franklin & Marshall College, where he received his BA with a major in American Studies. While at Franklin & Marshall, Derek was a member of the football team; an active member of the Sigma Pi Fraternity; and student leader and advocate for IMPACT, a student-run minority male advocacy group. It was during his membership in both Sigma Pi and IMPACT that Derek’s passion for public service became his mission and his focus became catapulting members of underserved communities into institutions of higher education. Derek continues this work today, partnering with other young African-American male professionals to build support structures for African-American male students in their schools and communities through an extension of IMPACT in NYC and the NYC Mission Society.

  • Anthony Perez
    Program Associate, Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City

    Anthony Perez serves as a program associate at the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the City’s umbrella 501(c)3 nonprofit. The Mayor’s Fund is dedicated to creating dynamic and innovative partnerships that engage the private sector to enhance the efficiency and delivery of municipal services and support the work of Mayoral and City agencies. As Program Associate, Anthony focuses on the facilitation of these public-private partnerships through the cultivation of partner relationships, helping to develop pilot initiatives, and drafting grant reports and research projects.


    Anthony was introduced to the Mayor’s Fund through the City’s Urban Fellows Program, a career development program that introduces recent college graduates to public service. As an Urban Fellow, Anthony supported the programmatic work of the office, which included drafting correspondence with corporate and philanthropic partners, designing and developing outreach materials, and managing the organization’s website and social media accounts.


    A graduate of Union College, Anthony bleeds Union’s garnet red. Anthony held various leadership positions while earning his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Sociology, including serving as the senior student trustee on the college’s Board of Trustees, president of the Sigma Phi Society, and president of the freshman and sophomore classes. In addition to the awards he received for his commitment to community development and service while at Union, Anthony was also named a 40 under 40 Rising Latino Star in 2012.


    Born and raised in the Bronx, Anthony hopes to continue down a path of public service and commitment to uplifting high-risk communities in the Bronx.  

  • Tara Pokras
    Program Assistant, Project Sunshine

    Tara Pokras is a program assistant at Project Sunshine. Project Sunshine empowers a dynamic and dedicated corps of over 10,000 volunteers to bring programming – recreational (arts), educational (tutoring and mentoring) and social service (HIV and nutritional counseling) – to over 60,000 children facing medical challenges and their families in 150 major cities across the United States and in five international satellite sites.


    Tara manages Project Sunshine’s youth service program, Kids for Kids, where she works with schools, youth groups and youth sports teams enabling them to volunteer with Project Sunshine by making craft bags and caregiver items that are donated to medical facilities around the country. Tara also oversees Project Sunshine university volunteer chapters. She develops university relationships; facilitates chapter leader trainings; and assists Chapter Leaders with volunteer recognition, fundraisers, tracking volunteers, program reports and planning for transitions to new leadership. Furthermore, Tara supports Project Sunshine’s teen programming initiative and helps to organize large-scale in-hospital events for medically challenged children, teens and their families.


    Prior to working at Project Sunshine, Tara participated in an innovative teaching program, Teach and Learn with Georgia, where she taught English as a foreign language for 10 months in the country of Georgia. During her time abroad she created lesson plans, led activities, and assisted special needs students on an individual basis for 25 classes per week. She integrated new teaching methods and advanced technologies, and established new assessment procedures and classroom management strategies.


    Tara graduated cum laude with honors from Hofstra University in 2010, majoring in Sociology and Political Science. Tara has been dedicated to the field of public service her entire life. However, it was not until she studied abroad in London and through her internship with Operation Smile United Kingdom that she found a deep passion in volunteer management. In this role, she recruited and placed medical volunteers with international medical missions around the world. Upon her return to the States she went on to create and manage the first volunteer program at Hempstead Boys and Girls Club in Hempstead, NY. In addition, she held internships with Congressman Gary Ackerman, the Century Foundation and Evergreen Associates.

  • Amanda Roberts
    Business Analyst, Accenture

    Amanda Roberts is a business analyst with Accenture, a global management consulting company that helps businesses and public sector organizations better achieve their goals and missions. Amanda works primarily for public sector clients and has spent the past year working with a nonprofit grantmaking foundation that focuses on human rights and democratic governance issues. Serving as a consultant, Amanda has helped the foundation standardize its grantmaking process and adopt supporting technology that will make grantmaking easier and more efficient. She recently spent five weeks in Budapest and London supporting foundation staff as they adjusted to organizational changes and learned how to use new technology to assist their work.


    Amanda graduated magna cum laude from New York University in 2011 with a BA in International Relations and a minor in Spanish. She was a National Merit Scholar, and at the end of her senior year, she won the International Relations Honors Program award for Best Thesis for her research on the relationship between income inequality and human rights violations.


    As an undergraduate, Amanda completed her first public service internship with the Humanitarian Campaigns division of the United Nations Association, where she worked to raise awareness about key human rights issues such as landmine clearance and HIV/AIDS. Amanda also interned with the New York City Mayor’s Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol, helping to coordinate logistics for the 64th United Nations General Assembly and organize City communications with over 300 foreign missions and consulates located in NYC.


    At NYU, Amanda was part of a student group that traveled to New Orleans in 2008 to assist Tulane University’s SAFER program in rebuilding homes for Hurricane Katrina refugees. Amanda also spent a year living in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she studied Spanish and Latin American history and traveled all over South America. During her time there, she volunteered with a local nonprofit that provided safe homes for at-risk teenage girls.

  • Kirsten Ruch
    Program Assistant, Open Society Foundations

    Kirsten Ruch currently serves as a Program Assistant in the Public Health Program of the Open Society Foundations. The Open Society Foundations (OSF) work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. Within this framework, the Public Health Program works to advance the health and human rights of marginalized people by building the capacity of civil society leaders and organizations and by advocating for greater accountability and transparency in health policy and practice. At OSF, Kirsten works closely with the Law and Health Initiative and Health Media Initiative, coordinating grantmaking and organizing multiple international convenings, including participation in the International AIDS Conference and a global convening for lawyers dedicated to working with marginalized groups. In her role, Kirsten also assists with the preparation and tracking of annual budgets, manages global distribution of key publications, and organizes annual team retreats and professional development sessions.


    Prior to joining OSF, Kirsten lived and worked in Thailand for two years through fellowships with Princeton in Asia. She spent her first year teaching English to kindergarteners, fifth graders and sixth graders at a rural elementary school and facilitating seminars in English classroom expressions for native Thai English teachers. In her second year, Kirsten joined The Life Skills Development Foundation (TLSDF), which promotes children’s rights, child-friendly schools, and early childhood development for orphaned and vulnerable children in northern Thailand. At TLSDF, Kirsten assisted with all aspects of fundraising; trained indigenous teachers in how to use instructional games to create child-friendly, rights-based, active learning lessons; and provided technical assistance on educational project planning.


    Kirsten graduated from Princeton University in 2007 with a BA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a certificate in Women and Gender Studies. During her time there, Kirsten was a member of the Princeton Quadrangle Club, where she served as Community Service Chair. She was also a Residential College Advisor and volunteered as an SAT tutor for local youth. Kirsten spent a semester abroad in Kenya, conducting field research, behavioral observations and ecological consultations and presenting the results to research center professors, civil society and corporate CEOs.

  • Leanne Sajor
    Coordinator, Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation

    Leanne Sajor works as the coordinator of development and programs at the Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation in East Harlem, with the mission to “build leadership through innovation.” With a three-tiered model of core classroom instruction, project-based learning and hands-on, experiential learning outside the classroom, Leanne’s work is central in creating a holistic approach to high school education. Currently, Leanne supervises all after school programs, designs leadership and career development programs for all grade levels, manages partnerships with organizations and volunteers, and supports all aspects of development initiatives.


    Prior to working with Innovation High School, Leanne was a faculty member with Sadie Nash Women’s Leadership Project, where she taught at the Summer Institute and in high schools all over New York City. In this capacity, Leanne developed and facilitated social justice programs with a focus on print art to empower high school students to address issues in their communities.


    Leanne graduated cum laude from City University of New York, Hunter College with a double major in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies. With her deep passion for women’s rights, economic development and immigration, Leanne received honors for her thesis, “Mothering the Home and the Nation: Subsistence Labor among Transnational Filipina Domestic Workers.” During her time at Hunter College, Leanne help found and lead a CUNY-wide student union that built a coalition of student-led organizations and faculty members to keep CUNY accessible for all. In her senior year, Leanne was granted a fellowship to the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy with a focus on education reform.


    Leanne is a founding board member of the Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation and serves as the Chair of the Governance committee. She is also a member of the Board of Sadie Nash Women’s Leadership Project and serves as the chair of the Programs committee.

  • Ariel Siegel
    Program Manager, Somaly Mam Foundation

    Ariel Siegel is the program manager at the Somaly Mam Foundation, a nonprofit that works to eradicate human trafficking and modern slavery and to empower survivors of the crime. She has been with the Foundation since 2010, serving as an intern prior to joining the staff full-time.


    In her role as program manager, Ariel focuses on the eradication of slavery by raising awareness of human trafficking and working with volunteers to promote activism and advocacy. She manages the Foundation’s social media presence with regular updates and promotions, connecting an online community that is passionate about the cause and expanding reach by 15 percent. She serves as a point of contact to the public, provided informational interviews and resources for members of the media, academic community, and general public seeking information on human trafficking and human rights. Ariel also travels for speaking engagements to raise awareness of human trafficking, advocacy and awareness opportunities, and the Somaly Mam Foundation.


    Ariel graduated from New York University in 2011 with a BA from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. There, she cultivated her passion for human rights and social change, creating a self-designed concentration in Public Health and Human Rights. While at NYU, she served as deputy managing editor for Washington Square News, the daily student newspaper with a circulation of 60,000.

  • Avi Smolen
    Communications Manager, Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice

    Avi Smolen serves as communications manager for Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, a domestic social justice organization in New York. In this role he is responsible for shaping communication strategy to raise the profile of the organization. He manages social media activity as a component of web-based outreach, and coordinates e-correspondence for a list of 25,000 constituents. He is also Bend the Arc’s communications liaison to a consortium of Jewish social justice organizations, called the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable.


    Originally from New Milford, New Jersey, Avi attended Rutgers University, graduating in 2009 with a BA in Political Science and minor concentrations in Jewish Studies and Psychology. Faith has always been a part of Avi’s life; he was raised in a progressive Jewish home, taught Sunday School and worked as a camp counselor at Camp Ramah.


    Having served as president of Hillel at Rutgers, Avi has also initiated award-winning interfaith and social justice programs within the University. In addition, he has participated in the Abraham's Vision Fellowship, a comparative conflict and coexistence program for Jewish and Palestinian students, as well as the Germany Close Up program, helping North American Jews to experience modern Germany.


    After graduation Avi worked as a Faiths Act fellow in Washington DC at the Malaria Policy Center, where he focused on engaging college students in multi-faith global health activism. He moved to New York and served as a Goldman fellow at the American Jewish Committee's Belfer Center for Pluralism. Avi then worked as Development and Communications associate in the New York office of Keren Or, a Center in Jerusalem for blind and multi-disabled children and young adults.


    Since joining Bend the Arc, Avi has worked with his team to oversee a complete rebranding process, including developing a new organizational website, crafting a new social media strategy and collaborating with regional departments to streamline online communications. Avi also volunteers his time with New York City youth through the interactive iMentor program, and is an organizer with Oxfam Action Corps New York City.

  • Rafi Stern
    Program Officer, Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation

    Rafi Stern is a program officer at the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation (Guttman Foundation), where he has worked since July 2011. The Guttman Foundation is a private foundation with a long history of grantmaking in education and human services.


    During his time there, Rafi been an integral staff member as the Foundation reorganizes its mission to focus on college success for low-income New York City students, and prepares to spend down half of its assets. In April 2012, Rafi was promoted from program assistant to program associate.


    Since he began at the Guttman Foundation, Rafi has also been a member of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP), a project of the Tides Center that promotes intergenerational leadership development in the foundation community. Since January 2012 Rafi has served on the Steering Committee.


    Prior to entering the Foundation world, Rafi worked as a member of the NYC Civic Corps, an initiative of the Mayor’s Office of NYC Service. During his service year, he ran a volunteer tutoring program at Phipps Community Development Corporation in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx and was nominated for the Outstanding Civic Corps Member of the Year award.


    During college, Rafi worked as in intern at the William J. Clinton Foundation, and spent two summers working as a tour guide on the double-decker buses in New York. Rafi has also volunteered for organizations such as MillionTreesNYC, Cool Roofs NYC and the World Cares Center, as well as campaigning for various local and national political candidates.

  • Allison Sterrett
    Youth Service Program Manager, New York Cares

    Allison Sterrett is a youth service program manager for New York Cares, the city's largest volunteer organization. New York Cares mobilizes volunteers to help run programs and meet community needs at 1,200 nonprofits, city agencies and public schools across New York City.


    In her role, Allison plans and leads volunteer projects for high school students, encouraging young people to contribute their time and talents to their communities. The Youth Service Program brings service clubs to 41 public high schools and Department of Juvenile Justice sites across the city, providing leadership training and monthly service learning opportunities for thousands of teenagers.


    Working as a Youth Service program manager has allowed Allison to combine her interests in youth development and volunteer management, while encouraging her to think creatively about meeting community needs. Her students have enjoyed varied volunteer experiences such as leading anti-bullying programs for elementary school students, interviewing senior citizens about their family traditions, and painting murals in transitional living facilities. Allison is consistently inspired by the students she works with and is proud to encourage civic engagement and what she hopes will be a lifelong commitment to volunteerism among her students. In addition, she loves seeing New York City through the lens of people seeking ways to help one another.


    Prior to working for New York Cares, Allison served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Washington Reading Corps, managing a volunteer tutoring program at a public middle school in Seattle. Shortly into the academic year, the district announced the school was slated for closure in June. After a year spent navigating the challenges of working in a closing school, and seeing the way this news affected the students and school culture, Allison felt a renewed commitment to youth development work and education issues.


    Allison graduated cum laude from Scripps College in southern California with a BA in Philosophy. While in college, she began her career in volunteer service as an AmeriCorps member with Jumpstart, a program dedicated to supporting language and pre-literacy skills for low-income preschool children. She also worked with students at a local middle school to help them write and star in their own theater production, exploring the role of social outsiders throughout history. The students performed their show at the college theater. After graduation, Allison volunteered with school children in Kumasi, Ghana.

  • Anne Tatreau
    Grants Manager, Harlem RBI

    Anne Tatreau is the grants manager at Harlem RBI, a nonprofit youth development and education organization that uses the power of teams to help more than 1,200 East Harlem youth in kindergarten through college each year play, learn and grow. Harlem RBI also operates DREAM Charter School, a high-performing public charter school that currently serves 300 students in grades K-5 and will grow to serve 450 students in grades K-8 by 2015.


    In her role, Anne is responsible for raising $4 million in public and private funding from more than 65 institutions each year. Since joining Harlem RBI’s Development Department as grants associate in 2009, Anne has increased institutional funding by 25 percent and secured the organization’s first-ever AmeriCorps grant, national foundation grant, and its largest single private grant. Anne has a wide range of grants management experience on both programmatic and capital projects, including strategizing and writing grant proposals and reports; conducting prospect research; building relationships with funders; and managing the financial requirements of grants contracts through budget creation, modification and request for reimbursement; allocation tracking; and contract and workplan development.


    Prior to Harlem RBI, Anne served as administrative assistant in the Public Relations and Community Affairs Department at the National Football League, where she managed two websites; coordinated the redevelopment of the NFL Charities intranet system and grant-making processes; assisted with the administration of NFL community relations programming; and wrote articles, including feature stories, for NFL media publications and websites.


    Anne earned her BA in Political Science from Barnard College, with a dual focus on Human Rights and South Asian/Middle Eastern Studies. While at Barnard, Anne served as the volunteer manager of Columbia University’s Division I Men’s Basketball program, an experience that led to her deep commitment to sports-based youth development and the transformative power of teams. She also served as a delegate in Barnard’s Student Government Association.


    Anne is a member of the Young Leadership Committee of PowerPlay NYC, a nonprofit dedicated to educating and empowering girls through sports, teaching life skills, and building self-confidence and self-esteem for life.

  • Malina Tea Tran
    Community Liaison and Planning Associate, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

    Malina Tea Tran is the community liaison and planning associate for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a local economic development corporation. At the Partnership, she manages relations and collaborates with workforce providers, local government, organizations and other stakeholders to facilitate a viable downtown for those who live, work, attend school and spend their free time in the area. Using her understanding of demographics and market conditions, she oversees communications and correspondence as well as maintains databases of office and retail leasing availabilities, development projects and workforce placement. Malina helps execute strategic planning and projects for the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, retail attraction, transportation and wireless infrastructure and other placemaking initiatives.


    Malina participated in the New York City Urban Fellows Program at the NYC Department of Transportation’s planning and sustainability division. There, she developed a keen understanding of public-private partnerships and the role of community engagement by leading bikeshare workshops, polling the public on art installations and coordinating mural projects. She oversaw a study to measure the effect of temporary public art, coordinated several lighting and streetscape master plans, and assisted in project managing the citywide wayfinding program. Previously, Malina has also evaluated fair housing impediments for the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies as a research assistant, and studied clean tech in metropolitan areas for the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC as an intern.


    A native Angeleno, Malina graduated from UCLA with a BA in English and minors in Urban Planning and Public Policy in 2011. She interned for the East LA Community Corporation and Labor/Community Strategy Center's Bus Riders Union project. She has also served as the Undergraduate Student Association's director of parking and transportation. Invested in addressing underrepresentation in higher education, Malina was active in mentorship programs and advisory boards to reach and retain students. She was editor-in-chief for a campus publication, and representative to the Academic Senate's Council on Planning and Budget and Committee on Diversity and Equal Opportunity. For her contributions to the UCLA and greater Los Angeles community, Malina was a recipient of the Chancellor's Service Award and the inaugural recipient of the Sam Law Excellence Award for Student Leadership. She was also granted the John Bragin Award for Outstanding Urban Planning Research from the UCLA School of Public Affairs, and participated in the UC Berkeley Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship.

  • Mykal Urbina
    Program Associate, DonorsChoose.org

    Mykal Urbina is a program associate on the partnerships and business development team at DonorsChoose.org, an online nonprofit dedicated to connecting citizen donors with public school classrooms in need.


    In her role, Mykal is primarily responsible for the creation of development tools including pitch decks, one-pagers, and sponsorship materials for current and prospective partners. She administers managed giving programs for corporate and foundation funders and provides competitive research and analysis on the cause marketing landscape. Additionally, she assists with internal operations by organizing conferences, crafting award submissions for key DonorsChoose.org partnerships, and coordinating cross-team communications.


    Mykal graduated summa cum laude from Ithaca College in 2011 with her BS in Integrated Marketing Communications. During her undergraduate career, Mykal developed a love of public service and cause marketing through internships and a range of volunteer activities. During her semester abroad in London, she interned with the distributions team at AKA UK, a theater and entertainment marketing agency. The following summer, she joined the Corporate Alliances and New Sales division at the national headquarters of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America. Mykal spent a semester in Los Angeles as an account management intern at the advertising agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, followed by three months in Boston as a Cause Branding intern at Cone Communications.


    Mykal was honored to join the Ithaca College community as a Park Scholar, and spent her time on campus actively engaged in service, academic and media-related projects. Mykal co-founded a collegiate chapter of the United Way, allocated grants to local organizations in need, and crafted a grant proposal to bring arts education funding to a maximum-security youth detention center. She helped organize Relays for Life for the American Cancer Society, a dance marathon for a children’s camp, and a silent auction for the local History Center. She also spearheaded the marketing and event planning efforts for the Ithaca Community School of Music and Arts and served as account director for the Ithaca College AdLab team. The team won Best Plans Book in the nation for their campaign and was the overall runner-up out of over 150 universities at the 2011 National Student Advertising Competition.

Career Guides

  • Kwaku Driskell
    Program Officer
    Robin Hood Foundation
    Kwaku Driskell is a program officer on the Early Childhood and Youth team at Robin Hood, a nonprofit charity dedicated to fighting poverty in New York City. He oversees over $6 million dollars in funding to a wide array of agencies that serve at-risk youth by providing health and mental health care, counseling, job training and college placement services.

    Prior to joining Robin Hood Kwaku was a program manager at Young Audiences New York, an arts-in-education organization that provides high quality arts experiences for New York City public schools students. Kwaku worked closely with classroom teachers, teaching artists and school administration to integrate arts learning experiences into the school curriculum.

    He previously worked at both the Brooklyn and Chicago Children’s Museums creating exhibit-based learning experiences for children, their families and local schools. Kwaku received his BS from Northwestern University.

  • Shelby Kohn
    Senior Project Manager
    New York City Department of Finance
    Shelby Kohn is a senior project manager in the Commissioner's Office at the New York City Department of Finance. In this role she oversees projects with one or more of the following goals: improving customer service, streamlining operations, reducing operating costs and increasing revenue.

    Prior to her role at the NYC Department of Finance, Shelby was a policy advisor at the Mayor's Office of Operations, where she played a role in inter-agency and citywide projects including the development of plan to reduce the City's office real estate portfolio by 10 percent and implementing credit card payments at more than a dozen walk-in service centers.

    Previously, Shelby worked at the NYC Department of Small Business Services. Here she re-launched a program to assist industrial businesses and increase employment in the industrial sector. She also worked for NYC Outward Bound, leading students in team-building activities, and taught environmental education in Washington.

    Shelby received a Master in Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BA from Haverford College.

  • Jeannie Kwon
    Senior Director for Communications and Strategic Initiatives
    MTA Capital Construction
    Jeannie Kwon leads the Communications and Strategic Initiatives group at MTA Capital Construction, where she oversees corporate communications, press, marketing, documentation and education initiatives for the nation’s largest transportation construction program—the Second Avenue Subway, East Side Access, No. 7 Extension, and the Fulton Center, an expansion portfolio worth $18B. She also serves as part of the President’s senior staff. Jeannie also oversaw and implemented the community relations program and strategy for the Second Avenue Subway project, a 4.45B construction project impacting Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

    Jeannie was formerly a deputy line general manager for MTA, New York City Transit, where she was charged with overseeing the performance of the #4 Subway Line and Grand Central Shuttle, 886 employees, an operating budget of $76M and assets which included over 430 rail cars, a rail yard and maintenance shop, and 27 subway stations. She has front line operations experience as a superintendent and is a qualified train operator and incident responder. Prior to working in the field she coordinated numerous policy and planning issues at the MTA. She has also worked as a speech writer.

    Jeannie received her Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner and her BA from Oberlin College. At NYU she established the Wagner Transportation Association, served on a Transportation Research Board committee, and was the recipient of the Women’s Transportation Seminar of Greater New York’s Graduate Scholarship and CUNY’s Transportation Research Center Award. She currently serves on the board of the NY Chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation.

  • Rosa A. Ortiz
    Director of Finance and Administration
    REACH Prep
    Rosa A. Ortiz is the first director of Finance and Administration at REACH Prep, leading the development of strategic initiatives to streamline business operations and to create a framework for more effective fundraising and communication methods.

    Prior to assuming this role, Rosa worked as director of Programs, serving over 165 REACH Prep Scholars each year through academic guidance and advocacy, furthering the mission to provide access for underserved students to succeed at independent schools in New York and Connecticut. She managed the creation of the organization’s first database to track student progress and evaluate program success.

    As a graduate student, Rosa worked as program manager for the NYC English Language Learner (ELL) Consortium, providing technical and Federal Title III compliance support to over 100 charter schools serving ELLs. She also served as research assistant at NYU Wagner’s Women of Color Policy Network.

    Rosa is currently a volunteer English teacher to adult immigrants at Neighbors Link, Stamford. Rosa holds a Master in Public Administration from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and a BA in Sociology from Boston College.

  • Leticia Smith-Evans
    Civil Rights Attorney
    NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
    Leticia Smith-Evans is a civil rights attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), where she advocates for racial justice. She primarily focuses on ensuring equal access to educational opportunities at the pre-K through higher education levels via impact litigation, policy advocacy and technical assistance. Much of her work centers around school desegregation, voluntary integration and discipline reform. In addition, she has researched efforts to close the achievement gap via professional development in the area of cultural competency.

    Prior to joining LDF, Leticia was a litigation associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Dickinson R. Debevoise, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and was a policy advisor and agency liaison for Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle.

    Leticia received her BA from Williams College and her JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she was the recipient of the Wisconsin State Bar/Law School Academic Award for highest achievement in constitutional law and the Brown v. Board of Education Award for outstanding commitment to equal educational opportunity and social justice. She also received an MS in Educational Administration and PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Leticia has served as an adjunct professor of Education Law and is a former New York City public school teacher. She serves on a number of nonprofit boards and committees.

Alumni Guides

  • Jeremy Davis
    Program Coordinator for Corporate Social Responsibility
    Jeremy Davis is the program coordinator for Corporate Social Responsibility at NBCUniversal, where he helps facilitate the development of new cause programs and supports signature programs such as The More You Know, Green is Universal and overall employee engagement.

    Prior to joining NBCUniversal, Jeremy was a Corporate Service manager at New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer organization. In his time there he planned and executed corporate volunteer projects for more than 24,000 individuals, cultivated and managed relationships with over 250 companies, and led the corporate new volunteer orientation program.

    He previously worked as an assistant director at a national advocacy and membership development organization, where he oversaw 75 staff members who raised more than $1 million in contributions for a number of campaigns.

    Jeremy was a FELPS fellow in 2011 and serves as a board member of The Big Event Association. He also volunteers with New York Cares and Riverside Park Fund.

    Jeremy holds a BA in Public and Urban Affairs and a BS in Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

  • Lydia Downing
    Senior Project Manager
    New York City Economic Development Corporation
    Lydia Downing is a senior project manager in the Government and Community Relations division of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. In this role, she is responsible for managing several initiatives to support immigrant entrepreneurs, leading the community outreach for a new series of pilot programs to connect low-income New Yorkers to opportunities in growth sectors, and serving as a liaison between NYCEDC and City, State and federal elected officials, government offices and agencies, and community representatives and stakeholders to support NYCEDC's local development projects across the City.

    Originally from Boston, MA, Lydia graduated cum laude from Colorado College in 2008, where she majored in Political Science and International Affairs and minored in Latin American Studies. Her passionate interest in social justice led her around the world to study the societal and political impacts of violence and inequality. As an undergraduate, she had the opportunity to study the peace and reconciliation process in Bosnia, where she worked with a local organization that facilitated open dialogue between Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Muslim youth. Lydia was also chosen to participate in the Humanity in Action Fellowship, in which she studied contemporary minority rights issues in Berlin and Warsaw with an international group of students, and authored a research paper on the prevalence of homophobic statements in the Polish media. During her junior year, Lydia spent a semester in Chile, living with a local family and taking in classes in Spanish alongside Chilean students at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso.

    After graduation, Lydia accepted a one-year fellowship at the NYC Commission on Human Rights through the New York City Urban Fellows Program. There, she revised the Commission's Peer Mediation curriculum, which teaches non-violent conflict resolution techniques to NYC public school students, and gave presentations about NYC's human rights laws to community groups throughout the five boroughs.

    After her Urban Fellowship, Lydia served as the special assistant to the deputy commissioner for External Affairs, and then as the assistant director of Special Projects at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. She was responsible for a variety of tasks, including researching and strategizing legislative enhancements to NYC’s consumer protection laws, responding to inquiries from elected officials, preparing data and testimony for City Council hearings, drafting press releases and participating in advertising and outreach campaigns, and translating agency documents into Spanish.

    Lydia was a 2011 fellow and 2012 alumni guide.

  • Mark Liu
    Clinical Practice Supervisor
    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
    Mark Liu is a clinical practice supervisor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a world-renowned organization dedicated to the progressive control and cure of cancer. Memorial Sloan-Kettering works toward this goal through programs of patient care, scientific research and community education. In the department of Ambulatory Care, Mark supervises the day-to-day operations of the Breast Medicine and Surgery outpatient services. Mark is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and its local affiliate, Health Leaders of New York.

    Mark graduated from Binghamton University in 2007 with a BS in Psychobiology and Sociology. His thesis explored ways of “Improving Cultural Competency of American Hospitals for Limited English Proficiency Populations.” While at Binghamton, he served as the associate director of a student-led economic think tank, volunteered regularly as an emergency medical technician and was president in community student government. One of his major accomplishments was organizing an award-winning program to promote awareness and empower students to increase access to healthcare through his role in student government.

    Mark was a 2008 FELPS fellow, who served on the FELPS Alumni Board for three years, including one year as president and another as vice president of the board. This is Mark’s fourth year as an alumni guide.

  • Ly Nguyen
    Program Associate, Public Interest Projects
    Ly Nguyen is the program associate for Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER), a project of Public Interest Projects. Grounded in the belief that community engagement is a critical lever in successful school reform, CPER is a partnership of donors who support grassroots organizing and advocacy efforts to achieve equitable opportunities and outcomes for low-income students, particularly in communities of color. Ly’s responsibilities include crafting proposals for funding and monitoring grantee activities. Working at the intersection of donors and nonprofit partners across the country gives her an expansive view of education reform efforts.

    Prior to her position at Public Interest Projects, Ly interned in the Children, Youth and Families grantmaking area of the William Penn Foundation, where she greatly valued the opportunity to meet with community leaders and advocates working on issues of education policy. She also spent a summer interning for the Philadelphia Free Library where she coordinated summer learning activities for South Philadelphia youth. These experiences deepened her understanding of the challenges faced by urban schools and solidified her passion for increasing educational opportunity for all students.

    Ly graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Asian-American Studies. She also spent a semester abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Throughout her time at Penn, Ly was deeply involved in both the Penn and local Philadelphia community. Through the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project and the Center for Community Partnerships, Ly tutored local elementary school students and volunteered in the community through Alpha Phi Omega, a national co-ed fraternity dedicated to community service. As a leader within the Asian Pacific American community at Penn, Ly served as president of the Vietnamese Students Association where she organized events to share and showcase Vietnamese culture and history.

    Ly was a 2010 fellow and served for a year on the FELPS Alumni Board. This is her third year as an alumni guide.

  • Diana Petty
    Development and Publications Manager
    Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City
    Diana Petty is the development and publications manager at the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, charged with implementing a broad communications strategy and supporting partner relationship management. The Mayor's Fund is the City’s umbrella 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to facilitating public-private collaborations to enhance the City’s ability to serve its residents. Diana advances this mission through designing marketing materials, producing donor reports and correspondence, and managing the Fund’s media channels.

    Prior to joining the Mayor’s Fund, Diana served as an Agency Relations manager for the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT). In this role, Diana was the single point of contact for customer agencies receiving IT services from DoITT and was responsible for advocating on behalf of her client agencies and liaising with DoITT divisions to ensure effective project management and customer service.

    Diana began her time with DoITT in 2009 as a New York Urban Fellow, acting as special assistant to DoITT’s first deputy commissioner. In this capacity, Diana helped research, draft and publish the City of New York’s first-ever social media policy; produce the City’s annual Technology Forum for more than 2,000 City IT professionals; and conduct a top-to-bottom assessment of DoITT’s functional areas and make recommendations for how to maximize operational efficiencies. Diana built on the skills and institutional knowledge she developed as an Urban Fellow by joining DoITT’s Policy, Planning and Communications unit as a full-time staff member working to improve communications to employees internally and promote DoITT’s successes and service offerings externally to key stakeholders.

    Diana graduated magna cum laude from Macalester College in 2008, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Media Studies. She got her start in public service and civic issues shortly after graduating while working as a project assistant at Grassroots Solutions consulting firm in Minneapolis conducting advocacy and issue campaign strategy for nonprofit and community organizations.


Fellowship Staff

  • Moschell Coffey
    Fellowship Manager and Director of Strategic Growth, Communications and Operations, The Good Dog Foundation
    Moschell “Mo” Coffey has been working with the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service since July 2008. She first served as the project assistant for the 2009 Fellowship and has served as the program manager since 2010. As program manager she runs the day-to-day operations of the fellowship, including assisting in the recruitment and selection of fellows, communicating with fellows and community members, developing session and program curricula, and working with the alumni network.

    Mo also works as the director of Strategic Growth. Communications and Operations for The Good Dog Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to all aspects of animal-assisted therapy through its primary activities of therapy dog training, certification, visit coordination, and research and awareness. There she manages the long-term planning, development, communications and operations of the organization.

    Previously, Mo served the program coordinator at the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law at NYU School of Law. There she managed the operations, budget and activities of the center, which explores a broad range of legal issues affecting the nation's nonprofit sector. Before joining the NCPL, Mo served as the summer project assistant in the Office of the Dean at NYU Wagner. There she conducted research regarding student debt and public service education funding. She also helped NYU Wagner strengthen its commitment to diversity initiatives.

    A graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, Mo earned an honors BA summa cum laude in International Relations with a minor in Spanish. She holds a Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy with an International Policy and Management specialization from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Additionally, she serves as the chair of the New York Regional Council of Rollins College and as a member of the New York City Alumni Chapter of Chi Omega Fraternity.

  • Colleen SchwartzCoffey
    Fellowship Director and Director of Communications, Research Center for Leadership in Action
    As director of the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service, Colleen SchwartzCoffey oversees all outreach, recruitment and selection; program and curriculum development; alumni engagement; and evaluation.

    Colleen also serves as the director of Communications for NYU Wagner’s Research Center for Leadership in Action, which builds knowledge and capacity for leadership to transform society. Colleen develops and executes all strategic communications for the Center. In addition, Colleen co-directs the NYU Wagner Leadership Academy and RCLA’s Reflective Leadership program for students in the MPA-MBA program.

    Previously, Colleen was the director of Communications for the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. There she was responsible for regular high-level media placements in national, local and trade press; writing, editing and production of publications and collateral materials; brand management and online strategies; and managing an exceptional Communications team.

    Colleen has also participated in the prestigious two-year nonprofit management fellowship at El Pomar Foundation, a private grantmaking foundation in Colorado. During this time, she served on the Awards for Excellence program, which recognizes outstanding nonprofits across the state of Colorado, and the American Council of Young Political Leaders program, facilitating exchanges between appointed and elected officials from around the world. She also contributed articles to the Colorado Springs Gazette; copy edited a local cultural magazine; directed the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, and volunteered for the 2002 Olympic Games.

    Colleen holds a Master of Arts in International Print Journalism from American University and a BA in English from the University of San Diego.