FELPS Fellows 2014

Previous Fellows

2014 Fellows

  • Alejandro Alvarez
    Project Manager and Language Access Coordinator, New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs

    Alejandro Alvarez is a project manager and language access coordinator at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). MOIA works to promote the well-being of immigrant communities by recommending policies and programs to facilitate the successful integration of immigrants into the civic, economic, and cultural life of New York City.


    At MOIA, Alejandro oversees the outreach efforts and coordination of the NYCitizenship in Schools program that provides free naturalization application assistance, access to fee waiver eligibility review, micro-loans, and financial counseling to foreign born, non-citizen parents of New York City public school children who are eligible to apply for citizenship. He also works with language access coordinators from over 40 different city agencies to improve or assist with the implementation of language access policies and make sure meaningful language access is being provided. Working at MOIA has allowed Alejandro to gain insight into city government while working directly with parents and their relatives from communities throughout the five boroughs to provide information and assistance on immigration issues.


    Alejandro graduated from Stony Brook University in 2011 with a BS in Business Administration and BA in English. While in college, he worked part-time at the City Bar Justice Center’s Bankruptcy Project, working with volunteer lawyers who provided feel legal assistance to low-income New Yorkers with consumer debt seeking to file for bankruptcy. Throughout his time in college, Alejandro led the Alternative Spring Break Outreach organization, which works with students to volunteer during their spring break week to help in another part of the country affected by a natural disaster. As president of the organization, he helped create a two-credit internship within the program and increased the capacity of students from 50 to 100 that traveled to two separate locations. He graduated with the US President’s Service Award: Gold Category for his contribution to public service and achieving over 500 hours of service throughout the year. While in college, Alejandro also became a member of the Archery Club, participating in their competitions and continues to practice archery in his spare time.


    Alejandro enjoys taking his dog on long walks throughout Brooklyn and learning about (and eating at!) new restaurants with a focus in cuisines from other countries.

  • Aryana Anderson
    Education Associate, Apollo Theater Foundation

    Aryana Alexis Anderson is a native New Yorker and burgeoning arts-leader. Aryana joined the Apollo Theater Foundation staff in 2009 and serves as the education associate in the education program. The Apollo’s education program produces distinctive learning experiences and career development opportunities that highlight the influence and contributions of artists of color. The education program also advances emerging creative voices across cultural and artistic media. As the education associate, she serves in all aspects of the Apollo’s educational programming and initiatives. In this role, she applies a broad range of skills in media arts and technology, and has been instrumental in creating systems and resources to support the management and growth of the program.


    Aryana currently serves on the Emerging Leaders Council of Americans for the Arts, an elected advisory body that assists in developing programs and resources to promote the growth, development, and sustenance of emerging arts professionals nationwide. Aryana has also participated in Americans for the Arts’ Local Arts Classroom, a five-month virtual leadership development series that provides an opportunity for local arts leaders to master foundational concepts and build skills through exposure to current practices in the core areas of local arts development. Aryana has served on the Strategic Planning and Framing committee of Emerging Leaders New York Arts, a New York City-based networking and professional development group that explores new ideas, best practices, and challenges in the field of arts management. She is a former board member of the volunteer-run initiative.


    Aryana has organized short play festivals, reading series, and professional development events for artists in various disciplines. Her background also includes work as a projection and sound designer, video editor, and media educator. Aryana holds a BFA in Dramatic Writing from the Conservatory of Theater Arts and Film at SUNY Purchase College, where the faculty named her co-recipient of the 2009 Dramatic Writing Chair Award and a merit scholarship recipient.

  • Christopher (Chris) Anderson
    Volunteer Coordinator, The Good Dog Foundation

    Christopher (Chris) Anderson is the volunteer 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. The Good Dog Foundation trains, certifies, manages, and coordinates visits for over 1,000 volunteer teams and touches the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals in more than 350 different facilities.


    In his role as volunteer coordinator, Chris facilitates the screening, training, and certification processes for the entire volunteer base. He maintains close communication with volunteers, working to create a system of interacting with a geographically diverse and highly dedicated network of volunteers that is both efficient and personalized to the individual needs of each therapy team. Chris has also worked with his colleagues at The Good Dog Foundation to organize and provide regional events in the New York City metropolitan area intended to promote a greater sense of unity and comradery amongst the volunteer teams.


    Prior to joining The Good Dog Foundation, Chris was the membership coordinator at The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where he managed a network of over 500 professionals in the international television industry. In this position, Chris learned the skills of coordinating a widespread and diverse membership organization, skills he continues to develop and hone in his role at The Good Dog Foundation.


    Chris graduated cum laude from The College of William & Mary with a major in Literary & Cultural Studies with a focus on Film. His interest in public service was initially sparked as a seasonal park ranger for the National Park Service, and has only been strengthened by his experience working for nonprofit, volunteer-based organizations with a strong sense of mission, such as The Good Dog Foundation.


    In addition to his work, Chris enjoys volunteering at several parks in the New York City area, including The High Line in Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge Park on the banks of the East River, providing park information and guiding visitors on docent tours.

  • Catherine Armstrong
    Research Assistant, MDRC

    Catherine Armstrong is a research assistant in the K-12 education policy area of MDRC, a nonprofit think tank evaluating social and education programs to inform policy decisions. Her ongoing projects include the “national evaluation of response to intervention for elementary reading” and the “reading partners evaluation,” both of which explore mechanisms for improving reading outcomes among students in elementary school. As part of her work, Catherine is responsible for technical data work, managing relationships with schools and school districts participating in MDRC studies, and conducting site visits to contribute to the qualitative components of her projects.


    Prior to joining MDRC, Catherine served as a consultant in Ghana with World Partners in Education. Her work there focused on community building and school management as well as internal metrics and evaluation. Upon returning from Ghana, Catherine joined the organization’s Board of Directors, where she has taken on a role as the head of the Governance Committee, working to streamline the organization’s management and prepare for future expansion.


    Catherine received her BA in Economics from Dartmouth College in 2010 with minors in French and Psychology. She studied French history and literature in Paris for one term, and also interned in Johannesburg, South Africa with Operation HOPE, a nonprofit that teaches financial literacy to youth in underserved neighborhoods. Her senior thesis investigated the relationship between tobacco farming and educational decisions by school-aged children in Malawi. While at Dartmouth, Catherine was a co-captain of the swim team and was heavily involved with her sorority Alpha Xi Delta and the residential undergraduate advisor program.

  • Sarah Baker
    Program Associate, Open Society Foundations

    Sarah Baker is a program associate with the US Programs’ Justice Fund at the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a global network of foundations and operating programs that work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. Through its grant-making and programmatic work, the Justice Fund works to end mass incarceration, challenge extreme punishment, and promote justice system accountability in the US.


    Prior to OSF, Sarah was a program assistant at The Starr Foundation, where she managed a $10 million international grant-making portfolio, in addition to working with local New York City grantees in the education and healthcare fields.


    Sarah graduated from Columbia University in 2010, where she majored in Postcolonial French Literature and minored in German and Human Rights. During her semester abroad in Dakar, Senegal, she worked with a non-governmental organization that provides refuge and legal counsel for women in situations of domestic violence, overseeing its daily operations and liaising with US funders to bolster its international communication and fundraising efforts. Sarah spent two summers during college as an intern at The Atlantic Philanthropies, supporting strategic analysis for grant-making to reform state and federal juvenile justice policy in the US.

  • Jerry Bruno
    Policy Advisor, New York City Department of Small Business Services

    Jerry Bruno is a policy advisor at New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). SBS is a vibrant, client-centered agency whose mission is to serve New York’s small businesses, jobseekers, and commercial districts. SBS makes it easier for companies in New York City to start, operate, and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, supporting commercial districts, promoting financial and economic opportunity among minority- and women-owned businesses, preparing New Yorkers for jobs, and linking employers with a skilled and qualified workforce.


    As a policy advisor, Jerry provides administrative and strategic support to various economic opportunity programs that encourage small businesses to compete in the city’s procurement market, one of the largest purchasing jurisdictions in the country. In addition, Jerry coordinates communications with the Mayor’s Office, industry groups, and community-based organizations to implement NYC’s new law to support minority and women-owned businesses.


    Jerry came to SBS through the Urban Fellows Program, a career development program that introduces recent college graduates to local government and public service in New York City. As an Urban Fellow, Jerry played a central role in managing project updates for programs throughout the division and coordinating inter-agency work with the Mayor’s office and multiple city agencies. In addition, he facilitated the renewal submission of a major contract with the federal government on behalf of his division’s leadership team.


    Originally from Miramar, Florida, Jerry graduated from the University of Florida with a major in Public Relations and a minor in Public Leadership. He completed internships with the Florida Senate and the executive team of Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations and communications firm. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Gates Millennium Scholarship, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and was featured in PRWeek’s Career Guide as “The Next Generation of Leaders.”


    Since arriving in New York City last year, Jerry has become a life coach and mentor at the Ali Forney Center, the largest homeless LGBTQ youth housing shelter in the country and a polling site coordinator for the New York City Board of Elections. Jerry also serves as a docent tour guide at Grand Central Terminal through the Municipal Art Society, an organization that fights for intelligent urban design, planning, and preservation through education, dialogue, and advocacy. Jerry pretends to be a food critic and is an avid lover of Batman movies.

  • Sadie Casamenti
    Immigration Legal Services Coordinator, Office of the New York City Criminal Justice Coordinator

    Sadie Casamenti is the immigration legal services coordinator at the Office of the New York City Criminal Justice Coordinator (CJC). At CJC, she oversees the innovative Immigration Counsel for the Indigent program, which provides in-house immigration attorneys at each of the indigent criminal defense providers throughout New York City. Sadie sends out case referrals, monitors case intake and performance, coordinates immigration trainings, and prepares reports on the program’s progress. Sadie is excited to be involved in the city’s role in increasing access to counsel for immigrants.


    Prior to joining CJC, Sadie worked as a pro bono legal services coordinator at the City Bar Justice Center, the nonprofit affiliate of the New York City Bar Association. She coordinated their Immigrant Outreach and Varick Removal Defense projects, where she interviewed immigrant detainees who were in removal proceedings and placed them with pro bono attorneys. During her time at the City Bar Justice Center, Sadie also served as a coordinator of the Elderlaw and Cancer Advocacy projects, where her work included facilitating clinics at senior centers, translating project materials into Spanish, and expanding their Latino/a outreach by conducting medical know-your-rights presentations in Spanish to Latina breast cancer support groups throughout New York City. Her previous work experience also includes internships at the Vera Institute of Justice, Friends of UNFPA (a nonprofit of the United Nations Population Fund), and the International Rescue Committee.


    In 2011, Sadie graduated with honors from Amherst College with a BA in Political Science. At graduation, she was a recipient of the Obed Finch Slingerland Memorial Prize, awarded to distinguished graduates who have shown, by their own determination and accomplishment, the greatest appreciation of and desire for a college education. While at Amherst, Sadie worked towards building a more inclusive community on campus by serving as an executive board member of the Multicultural Resource Center and as co-chair of La Causa, Amherst’s Latino/a organization. She pursued her passion for immigrant rights by spending a semester in Buenos Aires through the School for International Training. While abroad, she completed an independent field research project on the implementation of Argentina’s current immigration policy and its impact on migrant workers in the region.


    A New Jersey native, Sadie is also a proud graduate of New Jersey SEEDS, an organization that prepares motivated, high-achieving, low-income students to attend private schools and colleges across the country. In her spare time, Sadie serves as a Leaders in Training mentor to refugee youth through the International Rescue Committee. Sadie enjoys baking, reading, and exploring the city through photography.

  • Victoria Cohen
    Coordinator of Strategic Communications and Community Relations, Hunts Point Alliance for Children

    Victoria Cohen is the coordinator of strategic communications and community relations for the Hunts Point Alliance for Children (HPAC), a nonprofit organization that supports the educational progress of children living in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx. She is responsible for planning and implementing community-wide events, participating in and facilitating collaborations between community organizations, and launching new neighborhood initiatives to engage the community. She also promotes HPAC’s existing educational programming, which spans from early childhood education through high school graduation.


    Victoria graduated from Brandeis University in 2009 with a BA in Psychology and Hispanic Studies. At Brandeis, she coordinated the annual production of The Vagina Monologues and the V-Week Celebration. She served as the undergraduate department representative for the Hispanic Studies department.


    Following graduation, Victoria served as a Corps Member with City Year New York in Hunts Point, where she fell in love with her students at PS 48, the local elementary school. Recognizing the importance of the Spanish language to her work in Hunts Point, she spent half a year in Chile, her mother’s homeland, teaching English through the Chilean Department of Education and the United Nations Development Fund.


    After working at an Achievement First charter school in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Victoria returned to Hunts Point to support her PS 48 students through their academic journeys and to continue her work in the community with the Hunts Point Alliance for Children. She draws from these relationships to help her make the greatest impact in Hunts Point.


    Victoria loves coffee, Zumba, and telling stories about her bizarre childhood in the Catskills. Her favorite book is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. She enjoys visiting Chile, where she is often mistaken for her mother, and puppy watching on the Upper East Side.

  • Karina de Sousa
    Associate, National Urban League

    Karina de Sousa is an associate in the Office of the President at the National Urban League (NUL), the nation’s premiere civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in historically underserved urban communities. Karina manages special projects, departmental finances, and contracts while assisting in the planning of private presidential events. Karina is responsible for the president’s social media and web presence and prepares presentations, materials, and newsletters for the national Board of Trustees.


    Karina joined NUL as an intern in the education and youth development department. She wrote grant reports and led her intern cohort in outlining methods to engage millenials using social media that was implemented by the executive leadership. She helped plan and run the Annual Youth Leadership Summit in which over 300 youth engaged in a variety of workshops that prepare participants for college, work, and life. Previously, Karina interned with Rotary International and abroad in Brazil at the Secretariat of the State for Social Defense and in Mozambique at the Foundation for Community Development.


    Currently, Karina mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, an organization that provides underserved children with adult mentors who help expand their horizons and enrich their futures. Karina volunteers with The New York Women’s Foundation, making funding proposals to the board and supporting the foundation’s commitment to building economic stability for low income women and girls in NYC by educating supporters about women’s issues and engaging them in active philanthropy.


    Born in Mozambique but raised in the Unites States, Karina returned to her native country and began to understand the social and economic disparity as she observed the inequality between the very wealthy and destitute poor firsthand. Through service projects, Karina became passionate about making a positive change in her community and decided she wanted to dedicate her career to positively impact the lives of women and children.


    Karina graduated magna cum lade with a BA in International Studies from Illinois Wesleyan University where she received the Senior Class Cultural Leadership Award and studied abroad in Brazil. In college, Karina was actively engaged in student life, serving as president of Sisters Actively Visualizing Vitality through Intellect, a multi-cultural women’s organization through which she also tutored youth, and National Society for Leadership and Success.


    Karina believes women and children have the best promise of making lasting changes within their communities. She is committed to helping them access resources and reach their potential.

  • Kathleen (Kate) Effland
    Development Manager, Taproot Foundation

    Kathleen (Kate) Effland is the development manager for the Taproot Foundation’s New York City office. Taproot Foundation’s mission is to lead, mobilize, and engage professionals in pro bono service that drives social change. Taproot has designed multiple programs which facilitate the successful connection of corporate talent and pro bono service to the nonprofit community.


    At Taproot, Kate works directly with nonprofits, volunteers, and corporate and foundation partners to facilitate the delivery of hundreds of thousands of dollars in pro bono consulting value to nonprofits in Washington, DC and New York City. Kate joined Taproot in 2010 as an AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow for the Washington, DC office. At the completion of a successful year of AmeriCorps VISTA service, Kate was brought on full-time with Taproot’s DC team as the program and development associate, moving into the role of associate program and development manager in 2012.


    While working in Taproot’s DC office, Kate played a dual-role in the delivery of pro bono supports to nonprofits through direct grant-making and volunteer management initiatives, as well as fundraising and resource development for the office. Kate had the opportunity to participate in panel discussions to highlight the importance of pro bono volunteering with the Young Consultants of DC, HRA-NCA, and the World Bank Family Network. In March 2013, Kate made a significant personal and professional decision to move into a fundraising position for Taproot’s New York office as she is originally from the Washington, DC area.


    Prior to joining Taproot, Kate held internships with the United Nations Development Program and Women’s Foreign Policy Group. These internships provided Kate with an important perspective into the world of international relations, development, and women’s empowerment and inspired Kate to seek opportunities which would enable her to make a difference on a local level.


    Kate first gained experience in fundraising in multiple direct fundraising and administrative roles with the University of Maryland’s Fund for Excellence to support resource development for academics and student programming at the University of Maryland – College Park. Kate graduated with a BA in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland – College Park.


    Kate’s inspiration comes from a philosophy of public service shaped largely by her family. Her greatest passions are mental health access, eradicating the stigma that surrounds mental health, women’s empowerment, and the arts as an outlet for self and societal improvement. She is an avid reader, loves to cook and travel, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

  • Allison Farer
    Grants Assistant, Harlem RBI

    Allison Farer serves as the grants assistant at Harlem RBI, a youth development organization that provides over 1,500 East Harlem and South Bronx youth, ages 5-22, with opportunities to play, learn, and grow. In addition to providing a wide range of baseball and softball, wellness, enrichment, and academic programs, Harlem RBI also operates DREAM Charter School, which currently serves 350 students in grades K-6.


    Allison supports the grants team in generating funding for Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School by writing and editing proposals and reports, researching prospective funding opportunities, and synthesizing information about organizational programs and strategy. Since joining Harlem RBI, Allison has helped to secure $5 million in foundation and government funds each year, including first-time grants from the New York Life Foundation, the Comis Foundation, and the Wilf Family Foundation.


    Allison developed an interest in educational advocacy during her internship at the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, a nonprofit advocacy organization that represents New York’s private colleges and universities. She continued to pursue this passion as the office manager and research associate at Praxis Insights, an educational and governmental consulting firm that serves higher education institutions and non-profit education organizations.


    Allison holds a BA in American Studies from Barnard College, where she served as a copy staffer on the Columbia Daily Spectator, head writing fellow for the Barnard College Writing Program and Barnard’s Higher Education Opportunity Program, an initiative that provides low-income students with access to higher education. In 2008, she was awarded the Francene Rodgers Fellowship in Women’s Social/Public Policy for her work with NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health. She has also been published in The Hairpin.In her free time, Allison enjoys biking, experimenting with new recipes, and playing word games.

  • Danielle Goetter
    Implementation Coordinator, Fund for Public Health in New York

    Danielle Goetter is an implementation coordinator with the Fund for Public Health in New York. She works with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to assist local health care providers as they transition to electronic health record (EHR) systems. Danielle works with small doctors’ offices in Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island that see high volumes of Medicaid patients. She assists these healthcare providers as they enroll for a federal incentive program, which encourages them to purchase EHR software and use the technology to improve their patients’ health.


    Danielle’s first experience in healthcare project management was as an operations associate at the Futures Group, a global health consulting firm that primarily executes US Agency for International Development initiatives. Danielle’s portfolio included HIV prevention and gender-based violence mitigation activities in Sub-Saharan Africa, both fully sponsored by the US government. She served as the administrative liaison between headquarters and the field offices, and had to opportunity to travel to Tanzania and South Africa for project activities.


    Danielle developed her passion for public health while studying at Georgetown University, where she earned a BS in International Health. Danielle held health-oriented internships throughout college, while also working as a resident assistant, Sunday school teacher, and tutor. Danielle also spent a semester interning in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where she conducted reproductive health research and practiced her Swahili. As a US Department of State Critical Language Scholar, Danielle also spent one summer in Dhaka, Bangladesh and one summer in Kolkata, India. In addition to learning the local language, Bengali, Danielle was able to experience the challenges of public health and international development.

  • Queen Golder
    Foundation Relations Associate, Girl Scouts of the USA

    Queen Golder is the foundation relations associate at the Girl Scouts of the USA. Rooted in a 101-year history of providing exceptional programming, Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Queen joined the Girl Scouts in March of 2013, working closely with the senior director of foundation relations and government affairs to develop and submit proposals to provide funding for Girl Scouts national programs and strategic initiatives to advance the mission of the organization.


    Prior to joining the Girl Scouts, Queen secured grant funds and individual and corporate donations for HELP/PSI, an organization dedicated to providing medical care and social services to New Yorkers affected by HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and homelessness. She worked closely with the vice president of development and chief executive officer to implement HELP/PSI’s Annual Cabaret Night dinner and manage donor relations to increase awareness and funding for critical medical and social service programs for low-income communities across the boroughs of New York City.


    After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Bard College, Queen discovered her passion for public service as an AmeriCorps VISTA Member at the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), the nation’s only pan-Asian children’s advocacy organization. After her year of service, she served as the development coordinator at CACF, securing vital support from corporate, foundation, and government sources as well as individuals and volunteers as part of CACF’s network of young professionals.


    During her college years, Queen worked to improve the quality of life for the constituents of Jackson Heights, Queens as an intern for New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm’s office. She also served as a financial literacy Intern at the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, helping to promote financial literacy among young people in the South Bronx community.


    At Bard College, Queen held leadership roles as president of the Asian Student Organization, president/founder of the Hindu Student Organization, and as an elected member of the Student Activities Planning Committee to help provide a diverse array of social and educational activities for the Bard community. Queen received the Andrew Golkin Memorial Scholarship and the Idahlia Gonzalez Stokas Memorial Prize for her academic achievements.


    Queen enjoys traveling and loves to learn more about international issues affecting our world today. In her spare time, she likes to run, cook, and volunteer as a mentor for high school students in New York City.

  • Sara Gonzalez
    Community Educator, Day One

    Sara Gonzalez currently leads Day One’s preventive education programming as the community educator. She provides workshops to youth on intimate partner violence (IPV), healthy relationships, and other topics surrounding and involving IPV. She also provides trainings for youth-serving professionals on being better equipped at understanding and combating teen dating violence.


    Prior to working with Day One, as part of the second teaching class at the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute (EFLI), Ms. Gonzalez enhanced and expanded the curricula for a greater impact on the lives of the young women who participated in the program, playing a pivotal role in the formation of EFLI’s existing curricula.


    Sara is an active member of the Healthy Teens Relationships Coalition, which hosts an annual teen dating violence conference for New York City youth, and Ms. Gonzalez was recently chosen to co-chair the conference.


    Sara received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College where she concentrated in Creative/Non-fiction Writing and African American Literature. During her collegiate education, she studied abroad in Cuba where she focused on US female students’ mental and emotional side effects of experiencing drastically different male dominated public spaces.


    Sara was born and raised in Brooklyn and is happy to be able to effectively create change in her New York community. She has always enjoyed diving into books, and is currently enhancing her crocheting skills.

  • Reva Gorelick
    Associate Director of Finance, Uncommon Schools

    Reva Gorelick is the associate director of finance at Uncommon Schools, a nonprofit charter school management organization which prepares students in low-income neighborhoods to enter, succeed in, and graduate from college. In her capacity on the finance team, Reva plays an integral role in securing and managing public funding, overseeing the financial health of Uncommon’s schools, and improving the efficiency of services offered to its network of 38 public charter schools. Reva joined Uncommon Schools in 2011 as a public grants associate, focusing on competitive and entitlement funding from state and federal sources. Throughout her two years with the organization, Reva has used her strong attention to detail to develop and refine internal systems for managing expectations about the organization’s—and its schools’—financial well-being.


    Reva graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education. Always committed to education, Reva volunteered with various youth populations throughout her undergraduate career. She fulfilled a year of service as a Jumpstart/Americorps member in a Pittsburgh public school classroom, and completed a 600-hour internship in a local Reggio Emilia classroom, planning and facilitating lessons at a level of increasing responsibility throughout the year, and playing a significant role in classroom and school dynamics.


    Reva played an active role in campus life during her undergraduate career, most notably serving as co-founder and president of Plant to Plate, a student-run urban farming project in Pittsburgh which was recognized by the university in 2010 as an outstanding new student organization. Combining a commitment to education and sustainable, healthy living, Reva conceptualized and conducted independent research, supported by a Brackenridge Fellowship from the university’s Honors College, entitled “Urban Farming: a Model for Education,” in which she wrote a curriculum model for a summer day camp based in an urban farm in a low-income neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

  • Taylor Jo Isenberg
    Vice President of Networks, Roosevelt Institute

    Taylor Jo Isenberg is vice president of networks at the Roosevelt Institute, an ideas and leadership organization founded in the belief that America should offer opportunity to all. At the Institute, Taylor Jo oversees the largest student policy network in the country, with 10,000 members in 37 states committed to designing and implementing policy solutions to the nation's most pressing issues. In her role, she is responsible for strengthening and expanding the organization’s unique approach to grassroots innovation, policy engagement, and local civic infrastructure. She previously acted as the deputy director of the Roosevelt Institute’s Campus Network, where she was responsible for strategic development, programming, and operations.


    Prior to joining the Roosevelt Institute, Taylor Jo served as a Scoville Fellow at the Partnership for a Secure America, an organization dedicated to advancing bipartisanship on today’s critical national security and foreign policy challenges. In her role, she analyzed and researched the policy and political landscape on key issues.


    Taylor Jo graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010, where she majored in Peace, War, and Defense and International Studies. While at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Taylor Jo studied in Egypt and worked in Israel and Kenya, focusing on participatory models of economic development in conflict zones. It was after these experiences and a placement at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training that she identified her passion for exploring the evolving nature of governance and democratic institutions. Active on campus, Taylor Jo also served in a number of leadership positions and as a teaching assistant for a foreign policy course. She’s a recipient of the Burch Fellowship, Chancellor’s Class of 1938 Joseph F. Patterson Jr. International Leadership Award, and the Roosevelt Institute’s Tiana Notice Leadership Award.


    In her free time, Taylor Jo enjoys exploring forms of storytelling, reveling in the outdoors, and indulging in frozen yogurt.

  • Gary Johnson
    Center Operations Manager, New York City Department of Small Business Services

    Gary Johnson is the center operations manager at the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). SBS helps businesses in New York City to form and grow by providing direct assistance to business owners and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. At SBS, Gary manages operations and performance for two Workforce1 Career Centers. Workforce1 is a service offered by SBS that prepares and connects jobseekers to training and job opportunities in New York City. Gary also manages a New York City Council-supported On the Job Training initiative, which works with businesses willing to hire long-term unemployed candidates, veterans, and jobseekers impacted by Hurricane Sandy.


    Born in East Harlem, Gary’s passion for public service was ignited while he was a participant and employee of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Once referred to as “the most ambitious social-service experiment of our time” by The New York Times, the Harlem Children's Zone project is a unique, holistic approach to rebuilding a community so that its children can stay on track through college. At the Harlem Children's Zone, Gary worked as a tutor, mentor, and assisted in the development of summer reading curriculums for grades K-4. Feeling inspired by the impactful change the Harlem Children’s Zone brought to his community, Gary decided to pursue and define his passion for public service at Hampton University, earning a BA in Political Science.


    Following graduation in 2009, Gary was accepted into the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, where he was able to hone and focus his passions for public service. Coro is a full-time, experiential leadership-training program that prepares diverse and committed individuals for effective and ethical leadership in the public affairs arena. Taking the many lessons from Coro, in 2010 Gary continued his journey in public service at NYC Service, a division of the New York City Mayor’s Office with a mission to address the areas of New York City where the needs are greatest by using the power of volunteerism. As a portfolio manager, Gary managed five mayoral initiatives. In this role, Gary was able to impact communities across New York City through a community development grant called “Love Your Block” in which he administered $150,000 in micro-grants to 100 community-based organizations.


    “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence” - Martin Luther King Jr., a philosophy that characterizes Gary’s passion for public service. Gary is excited to explore new challenges and learn alongside a diverse group of leaders and change agents.

  • Primo Lasana
    Site Leader, iMentor

    Primo Lasana is a site leader for iMentor at the Academy for Software Engineering. iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions. iMentor partners with more than 15 public schools in New York City and engages over 3,000 mentor/mentee pairs.


    As a site leader, Primo directly supports the relationships of 120 pairs of mentors and 10th grade mentees. Primo also works closely with teachers and administrators to provide support for the program schoolwide, ensuring quality programming for more than 200 mentor pairs. Mentoring relationships are built through weekly e-mails that are exchanged in a class that Primo facilitates, as well as at monthly in-person events. Primo works daily with mentors and students to deliver high impact, close relationships that provide positive academic and personal outcomes. Primo also works with corporations to bring internship opportunities to his students. During his time with iMentor, Primo has become a certified college counselor through the Goddard Riverside Community Center Options Institute.


    Primo’s experience in youth development and the power of mentoring began with two years of national service with City Year Chicago. City Year is a national nonprofit that addresses the national dropout crisis through employing 17-24 year old full-time volunteers in high-need public schools. Teams of City Year corps members support students at a school by targeting attendance, behavior and course performance in a select group of off-track students. Primo partnered with an 8th grade reading and writing classroom on the South Side of Chicago during his first year with City Year. During this year, he had the opportunity to build strong relationships with students and organize large-scale physical service days to transform schools and communities in Chicago. During his second year of service, Primo became a team leader at a middle school on the West Side of Chicago where he supervised and supported a team of seven diverse young idealists as they brought the joy of City Year to middle school students. During his two years with City Year, Primo accumulated over 1,700 hours of community service.


    After interning at the office of a Manhattan City Council member, Primo attended CUNY Hunter College, where he graduated with his BA in English Language and Literature. During his college years, Primo also interned at Dramatists Play Service.


    During his free time, Primo enjoys playing on a soccer team with several of his iMentor co-workers.

  • Maria Lee
    Project Coordinator and Special Assistant to the Commissioner, New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs

    Maria Cruz Lee is the project coordinator and special assistant to the Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). MOIA’s mandate promotes the well-being of immigrant New Yorkers by recommending policies and programs to help facilitate their integration into the civic, economic, and cultural life of the city.


    Maria manages MOIA’s digital strategy, coordinating the online presence on nyc.gov and social media. Her work was recently recognized at the 2013 Engage NYC Awards hosted by NYC Digital. MOIA’s Tumblr page received the award for “Best Use of Digital Media Serving a Targeted Population” in New York City.


    Maria initially joined MOIA as the office’s first social media intern. Her task was to start a social media presence and redesign the agency website. In addition to project coordinator, she is the special assistant to Commissioner Fatima Shama. Maria manages the Commissioner’s calendar and is the liaison to the offices of government officials, agencies, and community partners. She also supports branding and marketing for initiatives, reports, and special events. She works with colleagues and agency partners to execute event materials, presentations, and reports.


    Prior to her role at MOIA, Maria worked for private companies in online advertising, affiliate marketing, financial staffing, and cable networks.


    Maria holds a Bachelor’s degree in Media and a minor in English from CUNY Hunter College. She was a feature writer for the media department publication The Word, reviewing restaurants and culture, highlighting the diversity of the city’s small businesses. In addition, Maria holds two certificates from the International Culinary Center (formerly the French Culinary Institute) in the programs of Cake Techniques & Design as well as Restaurant Management. After passing her NYC food handler’s license exam, she started Katamisán Cakes. “Katamisán” means “sweetness” in Tagalog, her native language from the Philippines. The small business focuses on specialty cakes with tropical flavor made with French technique. Through this endeavor, Maria is able to experience and assess the public protocols that are in place for running an immigrant small business.


    Maria is also a co-host on the Filipina-American television talk show Makilala (“Get to know”). The show is aired on Queens Public Television and online. Makilala focuses on the topics and issues that affect the Filipino community in the Tri-State area. Maria takes the intersection between immigrant communities and government seriously. As an immigrant from the Philippines, she understands the importance of this work as it relates to the diversity of New York City. Through all her projects, she aims to continually connect, support, and celebrate immigrants.

  • Katie Long
    National Program and Alumni Coordinator, Eye to Eye

    Katie Long is a national program and alumni coordinator at Eye to Eye, a national mentoring program for students with learning disabilities and ADHD. As a national program coordinator Katie works with college and high school students from around the country to manage an Eye to Eye chapter at their schools and in their communities. As an alumni coordinator she is responsible for developing and implementing programming for mentors who have graduated and still want to be involved with Eye to Eye and are looking for a community of support as they enter the workplace. Katie has also directed summer camps for the organization and organized, facilitated, and presented at the annual Eye to Eye Young Leaders Organizing Institute in Providence, RI.


    Katie graduated from the University of Denver in 2011 with a BA in Geography and a minor in History. While in college she joined Eye to Eye and began mentoring local students with learning disabilities and/or ADHD. As a mentor Katie developed a passion for working with young people and volunteering within her community. Katie studied abroad at Università di Bologna in Bologna, Italy where she studied human and urban geography.


    Katie was a New Leaders Council-NYC 2012 Fellow and is currently serving on the NLC-NYC board.

  • Bianca Martinez
    College Advisor, New York College Advising Corps

    Bianca Martinez is a college advisor for the New York chapter of the National College Advising Corps (NYCAC) at New York University (NYU). NYCAC aims to increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students entering and completing higher education by providing a full-time, peer-to-peer college advisor for two years in a local high school to attempt to close the college access gap. Bianca aids in the development of a college culture by implementing and creating fair and just processes in relation to scholarships and other college-related matters to give all students a fair and fighting chance. She dedicates most of her work hours to intense college counseling that helps students develop a best fit/best match list of colleges to apply to and submit an application that shows the best of themselves.


    Outside of her passionate engagement at school, Bianca also takes an active role in her chapter by sharing new ideas and participating on committees to meet goals. This year, Bianca and her corps members were selected to facilitate a panel discussion at their national summit. She shares her knowledge and skill not only with her school but with family, friends, and neighbors and has volunteered her expertise with NYU’s College Access Summer Leadership Institute.


    Previously Bianca worked at Iris House, facilitating peer-led, social-skills training intervention aimed at reducing sexual risk behavior sessions for young girls who identified as LGBTQ. She was also a rapid HIV and Hep C test counselor. She performed outreach with condom distribution at various parades and events directed towards families of color.


    Bianca received her Bachelor’s degree in Social and Cultural Analysis with concentrations in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Latino Studies with a minor in Creative Writing from New York University. She was a member of the La Herencia Latina committee for three years, planned events and facilitated workshops for other clubs on campus, and was a student in Lyrics on Lockdown.


    Bianca has volunteered as a mentor, co-director, and administrator for a mentorship program for girls in East New York, Brooklyn and its mother organization. Bianca has also volunteered and represented There Is No Limit Foundation during various events in the Tri-State area. In her free time, Bianca is a dancer, poet, musician, and actress.

  • Lucia Mattox
    Community Outreach Coordinator, Achievement First

    Lucia Mattox is the community outreach coordinator on the external relations team for Achievement First, a network of 25 high-performing K-12 public charter schools in low-income communities across Brooklyn, Connecticut, and Rhode Island committed to closing the achievement gap. In her role, Lucia supports the New York-based outreach efforts for student recruitment, governance and authorizer relations, advocacy, and parent engagement. She has executed several initiatives to engage families interested in applying to Achievement First schools as well as community leaders dedicated to improving educational outcomes for young people living in traditionally underserved neighborhoods. Conversant in Spanish, she also translates written communications and speaks directly with both prospective and current Spanish-speaking families. This work has deepened her interest in fostering community development through public education.


    Prior to joining Achievement First, Lucia was the assistant to the chief operating officer for The Posse Foundation, a national organization that identifies urban public high school students with academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by the traditional college admission process. She worked closely with the organization’s chief operating officer to provide administrative support as well as planning assistance for events such as the annual Posse Alumni conference.


    Originally from San Francisco, Lucia received her Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies with a specialization in Sociology from Barnard College in 2010. While at Barnard, she was a member of Columbia University’s women’s foil fencing team and was a facilitator for the social justice-oriented student group ROOTEd: Respecting Ourselves and Others Through Education. As a member of this student group, she had the opportunity to co-lead weekly discussions for her peers on contemporary issues of race, class, and gender. In 2009, Lucia was awarded a Barnard College Internship Grant and interned with the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting leadership and activism among young women.

  • James (Jamie) Nadeau
    Manager of College Access Partnerships, The Opportunity Network

    James (Jamie) Nadeau is currently the manager of college access partnerships at The Opportunity Network (OppNet), an organization that equips high-achieving, underserved New York City public school students with career development, college guidance, and college support. His primary role is to develop, maintain, and leverage relationships with admissions offices and academic enrichment programs with the goal of expanding and improving educational outcomes for OppNet students.


    While at OppNet, Jamie has managed relationships with numerous high schools, secured dozens of new enrichment partners, and negotiated over $90,000 in scholarships for summer programs. In addition, he successfully organized and implemented OppNet’s first Enrichment Program Fair and College Application Boot Camp, designed to give students a head start on the college application process.


    Since moving to New York two years ago, Jamie has made a considerable mark as a college advisor and educator. With a thorough knowledge of the many nuances inherent to supporting underrepresented populations throughout the pursuit of higher education, Jamie has worked to ensure that deserving students are connected with the skills, expertise, and experiences that translate into college and career success.


    A Government and Legal Studies major at Bowdoin College, Jamie completed an independent study centered on the federal government’s investment in public service programs. As a student, he took on leadership positions in the admissions office, the office of residential life, and the McKeen Center for the Common Good, Bowdoin’s center for public engagement. Jamie graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from in 2010 and was the recipient of Bowdoin’s Spirit of Service Award.


    After graduation, Jamie worked as a Princeton in Africa Fellow for a small scholarship foundation in Lusaka, Zambia called Kucetekela. He coordinated the organization’s mentoring program, counseled and tutored dozens of students, and completed a research project focused on Zambian education policy. Inspired and invigorated by his fellowship, Jamie sought to apply the many skills he developed and strengthened abroad to domestic education work.


    An active member of numerous professional networks including the National College Access Network, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling , and the College Access Consortium of New York, Jamie has sought to engage in the growing national conversation about college and career readiness. He lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn and spends his free time competing in a local ultimate frisbee league, playing the drums, and exploring New York’s vibrant music scene.

  • Roland Persaud
    Planning and Development Associate, Center for Employment Opportunities

    Roland Persaud serves as the planning and development associate at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services to men and women with recent criminal convictions. CEO’s work sits at the intersection of several issue areas, including workforce development, criminal justice, racial equality, and community safety.


    In his role, Roland is responsible for analyzing and executing strategies for growing CEO’s governmental and foundation support, including writing proposals and reports and providing research and analytic support for program growth. He works closely with senior level managers and executive directors to strategize and plan on a national scale, while at the same time gaining personal exposure to program participants as the lead facilitator of volunteer activities.


    In addition to securing grant support for CEO’s flagship New York City program, he has secured funding to support the launch of two new offices in Oklahoma City, OK and San Bernardino, CA in the summer of 2013. He also spearheaded CEO’s Health Initiative, which involved designing a scientific survey of program participants with the goal of eventually connecting the reentry population to appropriate health care services.


    As a young man of color, Roland is eager to serve people from his own community who are striving to turn their lives around. He has always maintained an interest in public service. Since 2001, Roland has been an active member of the New York Metro Region Leadership Academy, Contingent II—a leadership development program under the umbrella organization Prep for Prep. His involvement in the program led to his service as an international ambassador to Australia in 2006 through the Experiment in International Living. Through his affiliation with Prep for Prep, he also developed advocacy skills by participating in the Sojourn to the Past civil rights education program. In 2008, as an inductee in the Goldman Sachs Scholars Alumni Program, Roland worked with financial industry leaders to create his personal roadmap to college and career success.


    A native of White Plains, NY, Roland graduated from Princeton University in 2012 with a BA in Sociology and a certificate in African American Studies. During his time at Princeton, Roland was a member of Cannon Club, served as student manager for the Frist Campus Center, and served as treasurer of the Princeton Caribbean Connection. He also enjoyed volunteering his time as a light design and soundboard operator for various dance companies while on campus. Today, Roland remains an active member of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

  • Lauren Pizer
    >High School Placement and Alumni Coordinator, Explore Charter School

    Lauren Pizer is the high school placement and alumni coordinator at Explore Charter School in Flatbush, Brooklyn, which serves over 500 students in grades K-8. Her focus is ensuring that all eighth graders attend college-preparatory high schools that will support their path to college. To accomplish this, she works closely with families as they enter the complex citywide placement process, which if effectively navigated has the power to break the relationship between where a student lives and the quality of education they receive. Lauren is also working to create a network-wide approach to high school placement and alumni relations to be implemented by Explore Charter School’s sister schools.


    Lauren’s post-college career began at the central headquarters for the network of charter schools of which her school is a part, assisting the CEO and managing directors that were building the organization from a stand-alone school to a network of six schools. This position gave her insight into the management and creation of charter schools and motivated her to find a position within the organization that works directly with underserved students and their families. Lauren is also a founding member of the network’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, aimed at naming and defining the organization’s vision for diversity and creating initiatives that bring families, staff, and students together in meaningful ways.


    Born and raised in the Bronx, Lauren graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Public Policy from the Ford School. Her foundation in public service and passion for education was shaped by internships at The Clinton Foundation, the office of US Senator Charles E. Schumer, and various community based nonprofits in Detroit, where she worked in public schools, after school programs, and creative writing workshops for students. In her free time Lauren enjoys spending time with family, running, photography and of course, watching Michigan football.

  • Adam Schulman
    Operations and Data Manager, Explore Schools

    Adam Schulman is currently the operations and data manager for Explore Schools, which is the charter management organization overseeing a group of K-8 charter schools that address the educational needs of students in disadvantaged communities in Brooklyn. He has been working with Explore Schools for over a year, and manages and supports members of the school-based operations teams, builds and implements new processes network-wide, and collaborates with senior leadership to ensure the organization’s operational initiatives are successful levers for student achievement.


    Prior to working at Explore Schools, Adam worked in corporate strategy and business development at Dow Jones Corporation and in strategy and mergers and acquisitions consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers. While in these roles, Adam performed comprehensive portfolio reviews, developed growth strategies, and performed commercial and contract due diligence for private equity, Fortune 500, and middle-market clients. The for-profit business experience gained through these positions helped to provide Adam with the foundational skills necessary for an impactful transition into the public service space.


    Beyond the professional sphere, Adam serves as a Friends of St. Jude committee member, planning fundraising events, including the annual Winter Gala, in support of the Children’s Research Hospital’s mission. In an effort to learn about and further youth development initiatives, he also serves as a young trustee for Move This World, an organization committed to using creative movement as a vehicle to transform bullying behaviors. Moreover, Adam channels his passion for sports via participation in a variety of this city’s social sports leagues. Regular games provide a great competitive outlet, but the true highlight of his week is the opportunity to coach Explore’s middle school basketball club.


    Adam graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Applied Economics and Management from the Charles H. Dyson School. Over the course of his undergraduate education, Adam was the president of his social fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and the founder of the Zeta Alpha Chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon, a national business fraternity.

  • Linda Shum
    Development and Communications Coordinator, Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

    Linda Shum is the development and communications coordinator for Brooklyn Prospect Charter School (BPCS), an International Baccalaureate K-12 public school that serves a diverse population in Brooklyn. At BPCS, she manages internal and external communications to further the school's mission of celebrating student diversity and providing a globally-minded education. Collaborating with school administrators and faculty across two campuses, Linda conveys the school's work by editing and overseeing communications to families, creating marketing materials tailored for potential constituents, as well as managing the school website and writing various newsletters. Linda also helps BPCS's donor stewardship efforts by planning and executing social media and fundraising campaigns, supporting donor cultivation events, overseeing the annual gala, the annual appeal, capital fundraising, and other initiatives.


    Outside of BPCS, Linda was a founding program facilitator for the Shared Stories program, a youth division of the Chinese Progressive Association of New York. There, she developed a keen understanding of community advocacy in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood and the importance of engaging immigrant youth in issues confronting the neighborhood. With a small team of volunteers, Linda created and implemented a project-based curriculum that was tailored for immigrant students attending local high schools. She led weekly workshops to produce oral history collections, publish op-eds, and create public service videos, all while also attending rallies and town halls with the larger NYC immigrant community.


    Since the program's inception in 2010, Linda has helped to raise over $10,000 through institutional grants and fundraising events for Shared Stories. Using this experience, Linda connected her knowledge of the various organizations that serve the Asian American community in her role as community relations co-chair of the Museum of the Chinese in America's Young Professionals group.


    A native of New York, Linda graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in East Asian Studies in 2009. While at Wesleyan, Linda studied abroad in Japan for two academic semesters to study the Japanese language and East Asian immigration and political history. She returned to Wesleyan in her senior year to serve as chair of the Chinese Students Association and as board member of the school's largest Asian/Asian American student culture event. These leadership and international experiences have led to her deep commitment to the Asian/Asian American and immigrant community.

  • Bonny Tsang
    Public Affairs Officer, New York City Campaign Finance Board

    Bonny Tsang currently serves as the public affairs officer at the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB), a nonpartisan, independent city agency that monitors how campaigns raise and spend money. The CFB administers a public matching funds program to enhance the role of New York City residents in city campaigns. The program is nationally recognized as a model for campaign finance reform. In her role, Bonny coordinates the official New York City debates for citywide races, working with 17 sponsor organizations, including three major television stations. As the primary social media manager for the agency, she held a Facebook contest to develop the next “I Voted!” sticker for New York City, as seen in The New York Times. Recently, NYC Digital recognized the agency’s social media accounts as “Breakout Social Media” of the year. During an average day, she works with members of the press to answer media inquiries.


    When she’s not at the CFB, Bonny spends time with the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. As one of the founding sisters and now one of the co-chairs of the local New York City chapter, Bonny manages a ten person board that organizes fundraisers, rallies, and workshops to raise awareness of the work of the organization.


    Bonny graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 with a BA in Political Science and minors in Asian American Studies and Environmental Studies. While at Penn, she revitalized the Asian American Studies Advisory Board. Her work culminated in a nationwide summit on campus, where students from around the country discussed strategic ways to establish an Asian American Studies discipline at their respective schools. She was also a facilitator for the Asian Pacific American Leadership Initiative, which encourages students to discover their leadership style through a multicultural lens.


    Bonny was born and raised in Chinatown, New York City by her immigrant parents and attended New York City public schools, including the Bronx High School of Science. In her free time, she likes to bike around the city and cook new recipes in her small kitchen.

  • Tessa Vithayathil
    Institutional Giving Coordinator, City Harvest

    Tessa Vithayathil is the institutional giving coordinator at City Harvest, an anti-hunger organization in New York City. At City Harvest, Tessa is part of a four person development team which brings in several million dollars in revenue from a range of corporate, foundation, and government sources. In her role as coordinator, Tessa helps manage the day-to-day operations of the institutional giving department including tracking grant information, conducting prospect research, and writing proposals. Her work supports City Harvest’s mission to end hunger in New York City.


    Prior to joining City Harvest in 2011, Tessa interned with Solutions for Progress (SfP), a Philadelphia based B Corporation that helps low-income individuals move out of poverty through the application of innovative technology. As the policy and research intern, Tessa researched national and local policies and provided quality assurance testing and Spanish translation assistance for SfP’s signature software program, The Benefit Bank.


    Tessa graduated magna cum laude from Temple University in 2011 with degrees in Geography and Urban Studies and Political Science and a minor in Public Health. During her time there, Tessa co-founded Temple University’s first International Affairs Society and participated in a service trip to New Orleans where she volunteered at Our School at Blair Grocery, an urban farm and alternative high school in the Lower Ninth Ward. Following her volunteer work in New Orleans, Tessa studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain at Universidad de Pablo de Olavide. Tessa’s experiences in New Orleans and Spain sparked her interest in food issues and inspired her senior thesis, which examined the influence of globalization on local food cultures.


    Tessa was born in Kerala, India and currently resides in Astoria, Queens. She is fluent in Spanish and Malayalam, a language spoken in southern India. In her free time, Tessa enjoys taking photos, trying new foods, and avidly supporting her favorite team, Manchester United.

Career Guides

  • Kwaku Driskell
    Senior Program Officer
    Robin Hood Foundation
    Kwaku Driskell is a senior 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.

  • Courtney Harvey
    Director of Operations
    Women Moving Millions
    Courtney Harvey is the director of operations for Women Moving Millions (WMM), a nonprofit focused on activating gifts of at least one million dollars from women to organizations serving women and girls. Women Moving Millions is comprised of almost 200 members from nine countries who have donated more than $260 million since 2007. Courtney oversees the organization’s finances, day to day operations, events, and development strategies.

    Prior to joining WMM, Courtney was the associate director of strategic partnerships at the Thomson Reuters Foundation. There, Courtney provided operational oversight for the London-based foundation's New York hub. She worked on development efforts, women's rights polling, and the launch of an international conference, Trust Women, on women's rights in partnership with the International Herald Tribune.

    Courtney also worked for seven years at a nonprofit focused on youth and young adults in Lancaster, PA, where she co-directed programs on global justice and faith.

    Courtney has her BA in Cultural Anthropology and Government and Political Science from Millersville University. She also holds an MSc in Gender, Development, and Globalization from the London School of Economics.

  • 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. Mark previously served as an alumni guide for four years.

  • 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.

  • Patrick Terborg
    Associate Director of Fiscal Operations
    NYU Wagner
    Patrick Terborg is the associate director of fiscal operations at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (NYU Wagner). Patrick is responsible for managing NYU Wagner’s faculty support team; performing financial analysis and profitability studies; and assisting the chief financial officer in the development of NYU Wagner's annual principals meeting presentation. In addition, Patrick is responsible for the oversight and management of facilities operations for NYU Wagner's leased space at the Puck Building.

    Prior to joining NYU Wagner, Patrick was the chief financial officer and co-developer of Blackstone 360, an urban real estate development firm based in New Jersey. There he oversaw the firm's financial operations and governmental approval process; structured real estate development transactions for acquisition; and developed high-rise multi-family housing in urban markets.

    Patrick has over 12 years of management experience in the areas of financial analysis, project management, new business implementation, and operations through his employment in various firms based in the financial industry.

    Patrick is a member of NYU's Administrative Management Council and the co-chair of the university-wide Martin Luther King, Jr. week events. In addition, he serves on the Kitchen Cabinets of the Mayors of the township of Irvington and the city of East Orange, New Jersey. He is also an avid tennis player and treasurer of the Donald Van Blake Tennis Foundation based in Plainfield, New Jersey.

Alumni Guides

  • Jeremy Davis
    Assistant Vice President
    Jeremy Davis is an assistant vice president at Barclays, where he looks after employee engagement in the Americas as part of the community investment group, which manages Barclays’ relationships with not-for-profits and social causes.

    Prior to joining Barclays, Jeremy was a program coordinator for the corporate social responsibility and social ventures group NBCUniversal where he helped facilitate the development of new cause programs in social entrepreneurship and supported signature programs such as The More You Know, Green is Universal, and overall employee engagement.

    Previously, 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. Jeremy started his career 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 is on the fundraising committee of New York Cares. When he’s not discovering new food and wine pairings in the kitchen, he’s out enjoying the city with his Bernese Mountain Dog puppy, Tucker.

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

  • Ly Nguyen
    Program Officer
    Public Interest Projects
    Ly Nguyen is the program officer for Communities for Public Education Reform (CPER), a project of Public Interest Projects. CPER is a funding initiative that supports grassroots, community-driven efforts working to guarantee educational excellence, equity, and opportunity for every child in low-income communities and communities of color. Ly’s responsibilities include crafting proposals for funding, monitoring grantee activities, and coordinating technical assistance for grantees. Working at the intersection of donors and nonprofit organizations across the country gives her a unique understanding of the challenges to and opportunities for successful partnership between the two.

    Prior to her position at Public Interest Projects, Ly interned at the William Penn Foundation in Philadelphia, where her interest in philanthropy developed. She also worked for the Philadelphia Free Library in South Philadelphia where she coordinated enrichment activities for the neighborhood youth. These experiences exposed her to the challenges faced by urban schools and communities, and solidified her passion for expanding 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.

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

  • Anthony Perez
    Special Projects Manager
    Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City
    Anthony Perez serves as the special projects manager at the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the City’s umbrella nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. 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 special projects manager, Anthony focuses on the facilitation of these public-private partnerships through the cultivation of partner relationships, overseeing the development of pilot initiatives, and conducting 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 to 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.

    Anthony was a FELPS Fellow in 2013. Born and raised in the Bronx, he is one to never let his borough be counted down and out. He hopes to continue down a path of public service and commitment to uplifting high-risk communities in the Bronx. When Anthony isn’t trying to convince you that the Bronx is the best borough, he is most likely trying a new ale from local breweries or has succumbed to his kryptonite – his mother’s home-cooked Dominican food.

  • Diana Petty
    Senior Programs and Communications Manager
    Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City
    Diana Petty is the senior programs and communications 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 was a 2012 FELPS Fellow. She 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.

  • Sydney Thomas
    Public Outreach Associate
    The Fund for Public Schools
    Sydney Thomas is the public outreach associate at The Fund for Public Schools (The Fund). The Fund for Public Schools is the nonprofit partner to the New York City Department of Education (DOE). The Fund connects private funding to initiatives that the Chancellor of the DOE has identified as priorities for the NYC school system. Once private funding is committed, The Fund demonstrates the impact and success of pilot programs to secure public funding so that programs can be scaled system-wide.

    Sydney previously worked at the Office of Financial Empowerment in the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. Sydney was first introduced to the Department of Consumer Affairs through the Urban Fellows Program where she was originally a part of the legislative policy team and later joined the programs team.

    Sydney was a 2012 FELPS Fellow. She is currently a fellow in the Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s MBA Preparation Program. A proud Blue Devil, Sydney graduated from Duke University in 2010 with a major in Public Policy Studies and a minor in African and African-American Studies.

    In her free time, you can find Sydney at a local coffee shop working on business school applications, searching for a Mexican restaurant to rival those she grew up with in California, or reading a new book on her beloved Kindle.


Fellowship Staff

  • Moschell Coffey
    Fellowship Director and Director of Strategic Growth, Communications, and Operations, The Good Dog Foundation
    Moschell (Mo) Coffey is the director of the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service. Previously, she served as the Fellowship’s project assistant from 2008 to 2010 and then as program manager from 2010 to 2013. Mo oversees all outreach, recruitment, and selection; program and curriculum development; alumni engagement; and evaluation.

    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 as the program coordinator at the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law (NCPL) 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 a board member of the Rollins College Alumni Association and is a member of the New York City Alumni Chapter of Chi Omega Fraternity.