Ana Billingsley

Program Manager, NYC Department of Correction

Ana Billingsley currently serves as a program manager in the NYC Department of Correction (DOC) Workforce Development unit. In this role, Ana plans and implements job readiness and vocational training programs for incarcerated men and women on Rikers Island, collaborating with a variety of community partners to provide jail-based instruction and community transitional services. Recently Ana oversaw a green technology job-training program for medium to high-risk sentenced adults, funded by a 2014 Federal Bureau of Justice Assistance Second Chance Act award. Ana joined the DOC as an NYC Urban Fellow in the strategic planning and programs division, where she engaged in program monitoring, data collection, and grant writing for young adult and mental health initiatives.       


Prior to working at DOC, Ana was a research assistant at the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) where she engaged in qualitative and quantitative research for the Harlem Community Justice Center and Newark Community Solutions projects. As a research assistant, Ana conducted interviews with parolees returning to Upper Manhattan as part of a national evaluation of adult reentry courts, and assisted in the rollout of a Newark Community Needs and Impact assessment.         


Originally from San Francisco, CA, Ana graduated summa cum laude from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in 2013, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Africana Puerto Rican/Latino Studies with a minor in Public Policy. While at Macaulay, Ana co-organized the Supporting Excellence annual conference series which focused on issues affecting students of color in higher education. In 2012, Ana participated in CUNY’s first Cuba study abroad program, where she studied arts, culture, and race in the city of Havana. Ana was a Revson Scholar, Public Policy and International Affairs Policy and Law Fellow, and NYC Urban Fellow.

Claire Cororaton

Specialist- National Foundation Partnerships, Teach For America

Claire Cororaton is a specialist on the National Foundation Partnerships team at Teach For America. Teach For America is a nonprofit organization that aims to strengthen the educational equity movement by providing inspired, diverse leadership through a teaching corps that commits to teaching in low-income schools for at least two years.            

In her current role, Claire supports a national and multi-regional portfolio of foundations. She crafts reports with regional and national program teams and manages the team operations for donor communications and data management. She also works closely with other national development teams to drive efficiency in cross-team operations.           

Claire’s interest ranges from education to law and international development. She graduated with High Distinction from the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2012, where she completed a double-major in History (Distinguished Majors Program) and Global Development Studies. While at UVA, she was selected to be part of the Jefferson Public Citizens program, through which she joined a multi-national and multi-disciplinary team of students, professors, and nonprofit partners to build a greenhouse in rural Mongolia. She co-authored and published a paper on this project, analyzing the challenges of service learning initiatives in higher education institutions in the United States. In college, she was also an active volunteer, serving as the Community Chair of the Organization of Young Filipino Americans and as the Program Director for the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program.                     


Prior to working at Teach For America, Claire served as an investigative intern at the Georgetown Law Center. In this role, she worked with adult and juvenile indigent clients on misdemeanor, felony, and wrongful conviction cases. Her interest in criminal justice stemmed from the Books Behind Bars program at UVA where she discussed Russian Literature with residents at a juvenile facility in central Charlottesville.                    


Originally from the Philippines, Claire now resides in Astoria. In her spare time, she volunteers with Reading Partners, tries new recipes, takes language classes, and explores the city.

Danielle Craig

Research Assistant, MDRC

Danielle Craig is a research assistant in the Health and Barriers to Employment Policy Area at MDRC, a nonpartisan social policy research institute evaluating social programs to inform public policy. Her focus areas include prisoner re-entry and recidivism reduction, and she is currently working on two federal projects. One provides subsidized employment to the formerly incarcerated and is in coordination with the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services. The second, in partnership with the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, assesses a cognitive behavioral therapy program for reentry intervention in the parole system. Danielle is responsible for managing relationships with the on-site partners, compiling and assessing data, and drafting subsequent reports.                


Danielle hopes to pursue a career in criminal justice reform, drug policy, and racial justice while focusing on the intersection of policy and law. Prior to joining MDRC, Danielle worked as a paralegal specialist at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. She served in the narcotics unit where she provided legal assistance for the prosecutors handling international and domestic drug trafficking, armed robbery, and violent crime cases. She gained valuable in-court experience, assisting in twelve federal trials, most notably, U.S. v. Kevin Lowe et al. This case investigated and prosecuted the largest oxycodone distribution ring in the northeast, which operated out of a corrupt Bronx medical clinic.            


Danielle received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Certificate in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory from Wesleyan University in 2013. Her primary academic foci were racial and economic institutions, and she received departmental honors for her senior thesis on the racial and public health implications of race-based medical patenting. Danielle worked for the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education, where she served as a volunteer educator at a women’s maximum security prison. Danielle was also the captain of the women’s squash team and involved in an on-campus reproductive rights advocacy group.          


Danielle lives in Manhattan and spends her free time playing squash, traveling, reading, and volunteering at a local animal shelter. While she has not yet eaten at every restaurant in the city, she is doing her best to accomplish this personal goal. 

Brittany Curtis

Partnership Manager, The Financial Clinic

Brittany Ann Curtis joined The Financial Clinic team as partnership manager in January 2015. The Financial Clinic is a nonprofit organization that builds the financial security of America’s working poor through one-on-one financial coaching, advocacy, and capacity building services through its online financial coaching platform, Change Machine.  In her role,  Brittany pursues new partnerships and helps current partners implement financial security strategies and Change Machine into their day-to-day work through training and technical assistance.                


Brittany creates curricula and training materials on financial security topics like resource planning, banking optimization, credit report advocacy, identity theft, student loans, and year-round tax planning. In her time at the clinic, Brittany has facilitated virtual and in-person trainings for hundreds of social and human services practitioners, advocates, and managers. She has provided technical assistance for over two-dozen organizations across 15 states and five countries. In addition to providing training and technical assistance, Brittany maintains a small financial coaching caseload.           


Brittany’s first experience with direct social services work was as a workforce development instructor at the Doe Fund, a New York City nonprofit that helps previously incarcerated and homeless men to achieve independence and self-sufficiency.  Brittany’s work included designing and facilitating training and orientation curricula for staff and clients on topics such as diversity awareness, sexual harassment, financial management, customer service, and computer literacy.           


She received her Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. While attending UNC Asheville, Brittany was the financial vice president of the Epsilon Psi Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta and volunteered with her chapter’s philanthropic partner, Girls on the Run, as a running buddy. Brittany also participated in a many activities hosted by the Beta Gamma Sigma, Rho Lambda, and Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Societies.  When taking a break from academics, Brittany designed and created costumes for student-produced theatrical productions, sang in the Jazz Choir, and volunteered at the local hospital. Today, she continues to enjoy sewing, singing, playing ukulele, hiking and backpacking.

Nolvia Delgado

Director of Partnerships, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation

Nolvia Delgado currently works for Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation as director of partnerships for the Community Schools Initiative on the Franklin K. Lane Educational Campus. She oversees needs-assessments for each school’s students, families, and teachers. She seeks to connect students and their families to resources, and focuses on forging relationships with organizations that best suit families' needs.  As an alumna of the very school she now works in, and a resident of the neighborhood, Nolvia is uniquely in tune with the needs of these families.          


Prior to working for the Community Schools Initiative, Nolvia worked on the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative aimed at developing a cradle to college to career pipeline.  As the program development associate for the Kaplan Educational Foundation, she worked closely with high achieving underrepresented students helping them attain their dreams of transitioning from community college to elite undergraduate programs around the country.        


Nolvia’s unconventional educational trajectory drove her to focus her studies on education reform and policies. During her senior year at Smith College, Nolvia decided to write her seminar paper on disparities in education post Brown v. Board of Education. While at Smith, Nolvia facilitated focus groups aimed at restructuring the advisement curriculum for the college to be sensitive to the needs of nontraditional students. In 2010, she was selected to participate in the Urban Education Fellowship, aimed at exposing Smith students to the education field and ultimately encouraging them to be leaders in the field. Nolvia felt compelled to improve her high school and community by selecting to be placed at Franklin K. Lane during her tenure in the program.  Growing up, Nolvia demonstrated a passion for helping others; a common trait amongst the women in her family who have inspired her the most. As a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, Nolvia began to work for a New York State Assemblyman.  An experience that furthered her yearning to help others, she would go on to describe it as “life changing.” Through her work with the assemblyman, Nolvia developed a deeper passion for educational equity.          


Nolvia was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States when she was five years old. Her strong ties to her family in the Dominican Republic have led her to intern and volunteer on the island. Nolvia is an avid food photographer and in her spare time enjoys traveling around the world.

Asialee (Asia) Drews

Corporate and Foundation Relations Coordinator, City Harvest

Asialee (Asia) Drews is the corporate and foundation relations coordinator at City Harvest, a NYC-based anti-hunger organization. At City Harvest, Asia assists a team of five to bring in several million dollars in revenue from corporate, foundation, organization, and government sources. As coordinator, Asia assists with streamlining and implementing efficient day-to-day administrative processes while also managing grant making and cultivation for her own portfolio of 40+ institutional prospects and donors. Through her work, Asia supports City Harvest’s mission to end hunger in communities throughout NYC. Asia began at City Harvest as an assistant and was promoted to the coordinator position in August 2015.          


Before joining City Harvest in 2014, Asia worked with Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School (CRBHS), a nonprofit, Catholic high school in East Flatbush serving students from low-income backgrounds. With her development team of three, Asia managed CRBHS’s first capital campaign, executed the school’s first annual gala, and restructured its donor database into a user-friendly format. She initially began working at CRBHS as a full-time volunteer with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. For one year, Asia served as a college counselor and assisted in achieving a 100% college acceptance rate to public and private four-year universities and colleges. As a Jesuit volunteer, Asia committed her year to four pillars: service, justice, community, and faith while living in a volunteer house in Bedford-Stuyvesant with five other volunteers.        


Asia graduated cum laude from Creighton University in 2012 with a major in Theology and a minor in Health Administration and Policy. In addition to serving as president of the Health and Administration and Policy Student Association and alumni coordinator of a service-learning program, Cortina Community, Asia was a volunteer coordinator for the Center for Service and Justice in which she led a spring break service trip to an alpaca farm in Indiana. Currently, Asia is president of the New York City Creighton Alumni Advisory Board in which she plans events such as game viewings and networking happy hours.        


Asia was born in Seoul, South Korea; grew up in Omaha, Nebraska; and currently lives in Brooklyn. She loves to run half marathons, do yoga, and drink an abnormal amount of coffee.

Allison (Ally) Filler

Program Assistant, Project Sunshine

Allison (Ally) Filler is a program assistant at Project Sunshine. Project Sunshine empowers a dynamic and dedicated corps of over 15,000 volunteers to bring programming – recreational (arts), educational (tutoring and mentoring) and social service (HIV and nutritional counseling) – to 100,000 children facing medical challenges and their families in 175 major cities across the United States and in four international satellite locations.     


Ally coordinates volunteer opportunities for Project Sunshine’s 80+ corporate partners across the United States and develops programming for them to bring into approximately 300 medical facilities nationwide. In 2014, she collaborated with Project Sunshine’s corporate program team to engage over 8,500 volunteers, reaching over 50,000 children and families. She leads Project Sunshine’s corporate chapters, a unique program that allows groups of corporate employees to volunteer regularly in local medical facilities, developing strong ties and long-term relationships with families and hospital staff. Furthermore, Ally oversees Project Sunshine’s Star for a Day program which focuses on the needs of a child or teen going through a particularly difficult medical challenge by sending volunteers and activities centered around their passions to boost their self-esteem.       


Ally is also passionate about promoting civic engagement in her community. She currently serves as a board member of Manhattan Young Democrats, working to educate and activate young progressives and empower them to create the change they want to see in their community. As a member-at-large, she speaks with the membership and plans speakers and events based on areas of interest, including affordable housing and rent regulation, public transportation, LGBT rights, and voting rights. Ally is particularly passionate about voting rights: she was an intern at Rock the Vote and launched a chapter of Democrats Abroad on her college campus to help American students stay engaged and register to vote from abroad.       


Ally graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 2013, majoring in Linguistics. In college, she volunteered often—as a writing tutor for the undergraduate essay center, and at a local meals-on-wheels organization, Santropol Roulant. In her spare time, Ally enjoys cooking, travelling, and keeping up her French!

Allison (Alli) Finn

Program Coordinator, Global Nomads Group

Since 2012, Allison (Alli) Finn has worked as a program coordinator with Global Nomads Group (GNG) to facilitate dialogue and conflict prevention programs connecting youth in the Muslim and Arab worlds with peers in the U.S. She uses intercultural dialogue, mediation, and global citizenship education to address conflicts spanning physical and cultural borders, and create more collaborative local and global communities. In her role, Alli collaborates with NGOs, governments, and secondary schools throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North America. She guides virtual exchanges between paired classrooms in different countries, using videoconferencing and online platforms to help students address issues such as police brutality in the U.S. and street harassment of women in Afghanistan.          


At GNG, Alli leads development of multilingual curriculum, facilitator and educator training, and digital tools (archive.gng.org, connect.gng.org) for 100+ schools in 11 countries. She also produces public broadcasts featuring youth impacted by critical global issues, such as the Syrian war. She has traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan to work with partner NGOs and spent September and October 2015 in GNG’s Amman office to learn from her Jordanian colleagues. Alli previously served as GNG’s development and program associate, securing over $500,000 from government grants, international organizations, and foundations. Her work has been featured by the Chris Stevens Initiative, International Society for Technology in Education, and NYC Department of Education.           


Alli also serves as a community mediator with the New York Peace Institute, which provides free mediation and dispute resolution services. She trained with NYPI in 2014 and now regularly mediates cases between New Yorkers from different countries and cultures. She has completed advanced trainings on youth casework and restorative justice. Before joining GNG, Alli innovated with eSpark Learning, an education technology start-up.


Alli is a proud alumna of Northwestern University (NU), where she studied International Relations, Arabic, and Theatre. She spent a semester at the University of Jordan on a language immersion scholarship, and participated in a debate program in Tunisia at the first anniversary of the 2011 revolution. Alli completed NU’s two-year Creative Writing for the Media certificate, where she explored how storytelling can motivate communities to engage in social action. She was one of seven students selected nationally for the 2011 Council of American Ambassadors’ Annenberg Fellowship, a U.S. State Department junior diplomacy program.       


Outside of work, Allison is a writer, hiker, aspiring climber of rocks and tall things, chronic-illness survivor, and vegetable enthusiast.

Ying (Susan) Gao

Associate, Women's World Banking

Ying (Susan) Gao is an Associate at Women’s World Banking where she provides support for different aspects of product development. Having won a generous fellowship from her alma-mater Bryn Mawr College, Susan started as an intern and became the business development associate a year later. Having worked in the financial inclusion sector for two years, Susan has gained knowledge and expertise of how financial products can serve the needs of low-income women around the world. Besides carrying out research studies in New York, she has also worked in the field in India, Malawi, and Tanzania to develop tools and research that help inform financial institutions the needs of their customers, especially women.  Susan has written and published pieces on agency banking and youth banking.   


Susan received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Bryn Mawr College and studied abroad at the London School of Economics. Having grown up in China and been educated in America, her dream has always been to be a bridge that connects both cultures. In the past, she traveled to Indonesia to learn about Chinese diaspora and South Africa to understand China-Africa relations. Today, she continues to work towards that goal by learning and interacting with people from different cultures and parts of the world. Susan is a native English and Chinese (Mandarin) speaker.

Rachel Hamalainen

Program Associate, Open Society Foundations

Rachel Hamalainen is a program associate with U.S. Programs’ Democracy Fund at the Open Society Foundations (OSF).  The Democracy Fund supports efforts to increase government transparency and accountability, and promote an active and engaged public with equal access to information, courts, and the ballot.  Specifically, Rachel manages grantmaking in the fields of voting rights, money in politics, and federal judicial nominations and the judicial pipeline.  She previously worked in OSF’s legal department on internal compliance and operations matters.         


She holds a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies from Amherst College.  Raised in the Detroit area, Rachel’s honors thesis in black studies examined the fifty-year history of socioeconomic decline in the metropolitan Detroit area following the flight of Detroit’s automobile industry and its accompanying effects on population, housing values, and local school districts. 


During college, Rachel interned in the intake department at Common Ground Community, an organization that provides supportive housing to low income and homeless New Yorkers.  She also has a background in reproductive rights through internships with the reproductive rights project at the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Detroit chapter of Planned Parenthood.  She is a 2009 alumna of Hampshire College’s Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps.       


A lifelong animal lover, Rachel volunteers at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in her spare time.

Thomas (Tom) Haskin

Assistant Program Manager, CSH

Thomas (Tom) Haskin is an assistant program manager for consulting and training at CSH, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing solutions that use housing as a platform for services to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people, maximize public resources, and build healthy communities. Through a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development technical assistance contract, the consulting and training team provides individualized training and technical assistance to communities and providers to develop policies and programs to end homelessness through systems change and capacity building, and to ensure the creation of quality supportive housing. Tom supports the development and delivery of direct technical assistance to these communities, and works closely with project leadership on the Zero: 2016 initiative, a national movement to end chronic and veteran homelessness in 75 communities across the county by the end of 2016.           


Prior to joining CSH, Tom was a program manager at the Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) in the South Bronx, implementing and managing various community and economic development initiatives. His primary focus was on growing WHEDco’s Bronx Music Heritage Center, a cultural project dedicated to preserving and promoting Bronx music and artists, as well as spurring neighborhood revival in the Crotona East and Melrose communities of the South Bronx. He also was involved in the needs assessment, planning, and design processes as part of the development of Bronx Commons, a 277-unit affordable housing project.       


Tom graduated cum laude from Fordham University in 2013, with a dual degree in History and Latin American and Latino studies. His senior thesis, which examined the political implications of Latin American testimonio literature, won the José Martí Essay Award for the 2012-13 academic year. He studied abroad in El Salvador, and worked for a youth and community development NGO in San Salvador. At Fordham, Tom held various intern and volunteer positions at Bronx community organizations, including Fordham Bedford Children’s Services, the Crotona Achievement Center, and the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, engaging with social justice issues ranging from educational access to tenant organizing.         


In addition to his work, Tom enjoys exploring the many neighborhoods of the Bronx, and sampling cuisines from the wide array of cultures represented in the borough -- though it often can be tricky for a vegetarian. During warmer months, Tom can be found playing left-centerfield for softball teams in rec leagues across the city.

Laura Hecht

Assistant Director of Enrichment Programs, Adams Street Foundation

Laura Hecht is the assistant director of enrichment programs at the Adams Street Foundation (ASF). ASF is the in-house nonprofit partner of the Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice (SLJ), an unscreened public high school in Brooklyn. ASF serves its students, the majority of whom live near or below the poverty line and will be the first in their families to go to college, by integrating enrichment and college preparation into the school’s curriculum. Laura oversees the enrichment department, which offers students a wide variety of enrichment opportunities in the areas of arts, music, journalism, technology, and leadership development. Laura specializes in partnership management and works with over 20 local and national organizations to connect her students with off-site enrichment programs. She spent her first two years at SLJ/ASF as a college advisor, guiding students and their families through the college application and financial aid process.              


Laura is an active member of the government relations committee of the New York State Association of College Admissions Counseling. Last year, she helped organize an “Advocacy Day” in Albany, during which college admissions professionals from across the state gathered to lobby politicians to support policies that help students succeed. She also was selected for the Urban Education Leaders Internship Program, through which she spent a summer working at the Washington, DC Public School headquarters researching the impact of school gardens on student nutrition.           


Laura holds a Bachelor’s degree from Haverford College in Pennsylvania, where she majored in Political Science and minored in Education. As the co-head of Haverford's Office Community Service, she planned, implemented, and participated in a wide variety of community service projects including registering newly naturalized citizens to vote, packaging books for prisoners in local jails. She also served on the board of directors of Children Can Shape the Future, a nonprofit organization that allocates grants to innovative classroom and after-school projects in the Philadelphia area. Laura wrote a senior thesis in which she explored differences in public attitudes toward welfare programs.        


In her free time, Laura can be found running along the East River, watching documentaries, and spending time outdoors (Prospect Park holds a special place in her heart).

Marie-Fatima (Fatima) Hyacinthe

Special Assistant to the Commissioner, NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs

Marie-Fatima (Fatima) Hyacinthe is the special assistant to the Commissioner in the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) in New York City.  MOIA’s role is to serve as a bridge between city government and NYC’s immigrant communities. During the first year and a half of this administration, MOIA has implemented many initiatives, including the creation of IDNYC, the largest municipal ID card in the nation. As one of the first employees to join the team in this administration, Fatima has helped MOIA to accomplish these initiatives by managing internal affairs, supporting senior staff, and managing outreach events. Since working at MOIA, Fatima has been able to put her experiences growing up in a Haitian household in Brooklyn into a larger political context, and has seen the real- life application of her academic interests in government.                    


Fatima graduated from Harvard University, where she studied government and global health and worked with many affinity groups on campus. She ran the mentoring program from the Association of Black Harvard Women and facilitated study groups with the former Prime Minister of Haiti through the Institute of Politics. Passionate about global health, Fatima spent a semester studying in Brazil, Vietnam, and South Africa, comparing different public health systems and focusing on activism around HIV.                 


The semester abroad cemented in Fatima a love of travel, but she spent all of her college summers in NYC at different nonprofit organizations. Through Harvard’s Center for Public Interest Careers, Fatima was part of a cohort of 25 students who held public interest internships and took part in professional development seminars. She worked at Global Kids, where she introduced students from public schools to international relations. Fatima spent the following two summers at TurboVote, a  tech nonprofit that encourages voter engagement by facilitating access to absentee ballots, particularly for college students. Fatima worked at this organization while it was still in its startup phase and spent the first summer creating and testing the outreach process. She returned to help manage a team of college interns and to continue to expand the outreach process. This penchant for working on projects in their earliest phases made her excited to join the MOIA at the beginning of a new administration, and has continued to excite her as she takes on new projects within the office.       


Fatima has always been a voracious reader and has recently taken an interest in cooking. She is the proud mentor of a high school senior with the nonprofit organization iMentor.  She also enjoys live music and exploring museums around the city.

Rachel Jones

Program Manager, City Year New York

Rachel Jones is currently a program manager at City Year New York. In this role, she leads a team of ten City Year corps members who offer academic support to middle school students in the Bronx. In addition to coaching the team of corps members, she fosters a strong partnership with the school's leadership team. As program manager, Rachel works together with school administrators to monitor students' progress, ensure high quality program delivery, and identify students' academic and/or socio-emotional needs. In each role Rachel has held, she has cultivated strong partnerships, supported community empowerment, and developed volunteer driven programming. Her passion for social justice has grounded her in community work that focuses on combating educational inequity.          


Prior to working with City Year New York, Rachel was partnerships coordinator at Teach for America New York. Here, she worked on a team that assisted more than 500 corps members while they gained their teaching certification. Specifically, Rachel was charged with enrolling eligible corps members into AmeriCorps and their respective graduate programs. She also crafted protocols and systems that enabled the organization to better support corps members facing financial difficulty. During her time with Teach for America, Rachel also enjoyed working with colleagues to facilitate diversity programming and affinity group spaces.          


Two years before joining Teach For America, Rachel worked as a site/program coordinator for LIFT- New York's flagship office in the Bronx. LIFT is a nonprofit that takes a holistic approach to anti-poverty; the organization's mission is to help lift people out of poverty for good. While at LIFT, Rachel recruited and managed  nearly forty volunteers, conducted professional development trainings, and oversaw case management for community members seeking eviction prevention, employment, and public benefits services. Additionally, Rachel assisted with major fundraising initiatives and the strategic planning for the program's redesign.       


Rachel graduated from Fordham University with a BA in American Studies. While at Fordham, Rachel was a visible leader both on and off campus. While she worked in the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, she coordinated their three day pre-orientation program, Urban Plunge, for over 100 incoming freshmen. Throughout the academic year, she helped staff members plan volunteer events and service learning programming. During her senior year, Rachel co-created the End the Silence campaign and led anti-racist organizing in response to incidents of racial bias and homophobia that took place on campus. Upon graduating, she completed her thesis which focused on the racial identity formation of high school students who participated in their high schools' Black Women's Society. She also spent a month in London after graduation researching the rapid gentrification taking place in London's Brixton neighborhood. When Rachel is not at the office, she loves to travel and write. 

Dara Kagan

Executive Assistant to the President, NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health

Dara Kagan is the executive assistant to the President of NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NARAL-NY and the NIRH). NARAL-NY and the NIRH work in New York State and across the country, partnering with advocates, providers, and nonprofits to increase access to reproductive health care, including contraception and abortion. In her role, Dara optimizes the President’s productivity and efficiency by ensuring that staff and management execute on a prioritized agenda and coordinating meetings with key stakeholders and allies.         


Prior to joining NARAL-NY and the NIRH in 2014, Dara served as the scheduler for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. In this position, she oversaw the alignment of legislative initiatives and communications strategy, and she served as a liaison between the speaker’s office and community groups. Dara also volunteered on Ms. Quinn’s mayoral campaign by staffing events, canvassing and phone banking, and coordinating outreach to campus democratic groups across NYC. Dara’s previous campaign experience includes serving as the finance director for “Judge Barbara Jaffe for Surrogate’s Court.”        


Dara also worked with the National Coalition for LGBT Health in 2010, where she engaged in strategic planning and organization by bringing a diverse team of LGBT advocates together to discuss critical federal health policy at a three day annual conference in Washington, DC. During her time at the Media Education Foundation, Dara served as a research assistant for educational documentaries on women’s rights and sexual violence. Dara is an avid public radio fan, and in 2013 served as a volunteer producer for a daily drive-time program on WBAI 99.5 FM focusing on labor, politics, culture, and current events in NYC.      


Dara currently serves as a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats. She graduated cum laude from Smith College with a BA in Government and a minor in the Study of Women and Gender. In her spare time, Dara enjoys traveling (most recently to Turkey), inventing recipes for large crowds of friends, and exploring art galleries and museums around New York.

Beau Lancaster

Trainer, Global Kids

Beau Lancaster works as a trainer at Global Kids where he writes and teaches global civics awareness curriculum workshops to NYC high school students. Beau is interested in K-12 education policy, specifically the effects public policy has on NYC teenagers aged 15-19 and teenagers with disabilities.


Previously, Beau worked for two years as a student advocate at the Harlem Children’s Zone Learn to Earn, a high school after-school college preparatory/workforce readiness program. As a student advocate, Beau learned first hand about the effects inter generational poverty and institutional racism have on educational attainment for inner city youth. At Learn to Earn, Beau worked with over 70 high school students attending public, charter, and private schools throughout NYC.  He advocated passionately for the career and college readiness of each of his students by collaborating with the students’ stakeholders, community institutions, and using the resources of the NYC Department of Education and Harlem Children’s Zone. Each member of Beau’s former junior class students (class of 2015) graduated high school and were accepted into college.       


Born and raised in the South Bronx, Beau has been involved with community activism since the age of 9 through his family's nonprofit organization, Dred Scott Bird Sanctuary. Dred Scott Bird Sanctuary's mission is teaching urban youth methods of environmental activism and sustainability.


Beau graduated cum laude with a BA in Political Science from the City College of New York. Beau was an Undergraduate Fellow at the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service. As a Fellow, Beau worked on a yearlong capstone project focusing on developing a feasible student and community driven public policy that could reduce obesity in West Harlem.  During the summer of 2012, Beau interned at the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, DC. There his portfolio focused exclusively on advising college campuses and the federal government on implementing the new Pathways Program.  Beau has spoken on panels to raise disabilities awareness at the City University of New York.        


In his free time, Beau enjoys running, watching movies,  debating, writing short stories, and obsessing over Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Max Markham

Special Assistant- First Deputy Mayor's Office, NYC Mayor's Office

Max Markham currently serves as a special assistant in the Office of the First Deputy Mayor within the NYC Mayor’s Office. The First Deputy Mayor is the second-highest ranking official at City Hall and manages the day-to-day operation of the NYC government and the provision of core services across the five boroughs. Max works on a range of issues on a daily basis, and manages a number of research and policy initiatives at City Hall. He is responsible for a comprehensive daily roundup of press stories circulated throughout the office, and his policy portfolio includes the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings as well as the Tax Commission. His work requires a broad understanding of the administration’s priorities for the 8.5 million residents of NYC.     


Max previously served as a legislative aide for Brad Hoylman, New York’s only openly-LGBT State Senator, working on education, health, and labor policy in the Chelsea district office. Max also worked for a communications consultant on various NYC and NY political campaigns, including a mayoral campaign as well as a campaign for Manhattan Borough President in 2013. He also has previous experience working at CNN, Columbia University, and Stanford Law School.         


Born and raised in Manhattan, Max attended the United Nations International School and graduated from Stanford University with a BA in International Relations and Modern Languages focusing on public policy and human rights. He is a dual citizen of New Zealand and has traveled to over 40 countries and 6 continents. His political idols are Ann Richards and Thurgood Marshall, and he reads an unhealthy amount of political non-fiction. Max enjoys Twitter, pinot noir, playing tennis, R&B music, the New York Knicks and watching Veep. He is also an instructor at Row House NYC and encourages anyone who wants a challenging and rewarding workout to sign up for one of his classes. 

Kenyada McLean

Senior Program Manager, NYC Department of Small Business Services

Kenyada McLean serves as a senior program manager at NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). SBS serves small businesses, jobseekers, and neighborhood commercial corridors to ensure they have the resources to succeed. Working within SBS’s Neighborhood Development Division, Kenyada manages capacity building programs focused on strengthening neighborhood economic development nonprofits and is currently developing a pilot leadership development program.        


Kenyada started with SBS through the NYC Urban Fellows Program, a career development fellowship that introduces recent college graduates to public service. During her time as a fellow, Kenyada assisted with the management of multiple programs and services including the citywide Hurricane Sandy Storefront Improvement Program. Recently, Kenyada played a vital role in coordinating SBS’s efforts in neighborhoods highlighted in Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan.


Previously, Kenyada worked in the California State Senate as a legislative aide for Senator Ricardo Lara. She staffed several pieces of legislation, wrote speeches, and staffed the senator on the Natural Resources and Water Committee.         


Originally from California, Kenyada graduated from UCLA with a BA in Afro-American Studies and Political Science and a minor in Urban and Regional Development in 2012. While at UCLA, Kenyada held various leadership positions, including chair of the Afrikan Student Union leading twenty four organizations and two nonprofits servicing the UCLA and greater Los Angeles community. Named a UCLA Black Alumni Scholar and Community Development Justice Scholar, she also helped coordinate multiple state wide conferences bringing students together to discuss and organize around student life issues.        


Beyond her passion for urban development and community empowerment, Kenyada enjoys traveling the globe to countries such as Brazil, Jamaica, and Korea. She enjoys expanding her perspective through experiencing new cultures and cities. During her spare time spent in New York, Kenyada enjoys trying new foods and shopping in fun and funky thrift stores.

Grace Paras

Program Analyst, Vera Institute of Justice

Grace Paras is a program analyst at the Vera Institute of Justice’s (Vera) Center on Immigration and Justice. Vera is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit center that combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. At Vera, Grace works on projects that advance detained immigrants’ access to legal information and counsel. Grace primarily assists with managing the Legal Orientation Program, a federally funded program that provides detained immigrants in various detention centers nationwide with information about forms of relief from removal and how to represent themselves in immigration court. Grace also works on the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, funded by the New York City Council, which established a universal representation model for detained immigrants in NYC and NYC residents detained in New Jersey.       


Prior to joining Vera in May 2014, Grace was a global academic fellow at New York University, Abu Dhabi. There, she provided academic support for students and assisted with the outreach efforts of the community relations department. Grace has held numerous internships at public service organizations, such as the American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program and the Focus Forward Project. Grace also interned with the Justice Studies Center of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, an Inter-American organization focusing on justice system reform in Latin America.       


Grace graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a BA in Politics and Spanish and Latin American Literature and Culture. Additionally, Grace received a Certificate in Spanish to English Translation from NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She studied abroad in Madrid for a semester during her junior year. During her senior year, Grace was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and received the Dean’s Award in Politics. Grace wrote her honors thesis on labor unions and local politics in Mexico.      


In addition to her work at Vera, Grace serves as a co-chair on the Ms. Foundation for Women’s Young Professionals Advisory Committee. The Ms. Foundation aims to build women’s collective power to realize a nation of justice for all. Grace also volunteers regularly with Sanctuary for Families, an advocacy and service provider organization for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence. In her spare time, Grace enjoys traveling and is an avid reader.

Michael (Mike) Perry

Youth Programs and Initiatives Associate, Coro New York Leadership Center

Michael (Mike) Perry is the youth programs and initiatives associate at Coro New York Leadership Center.   Coro is the city's premier leadership training organization and a community of 2,300 alumni across business, government, schools and nonprofits that is shaping the city's future.  Coro youth programs focus on preparing NYC high school students with the skills to identify and tackle issues vital to the success of their schools and communities, while empowering them to influence change in areas of policy and practice that directly relate to these issues. By the time they graduate from Coro, youth alumni are uniquely equipped to participate in meaningful civic engagement in their schools and communities.          


Mike came to Coro in fall 2014 initially as a member of the NYC Civic Corps, a branch of AmeriCorps run by NYC Service, part of the NYC Mayor’s Office.  In his current role, he has worked to support youth programs in aspects of program design, curriculum development, facilitation, recruitment, and logistics.  Mike has helped design the curriculum, develop, and facilitate two new programs at Coro serving over a hundred of NYC’s youth: the Youth Leadership Academy in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the NYC Youth Council in partnership with New York City Council.  Additionally, Mike has worked closely with NYC Service to meet with over 25 city agencies to design and develop youth leadership councils to serve as a critical advisory resource to their city agency’s decisions around policy and practice as part of NYC Service’s 2014-2015 strategic plan to engage 30,000 young people in policy, leadership, and service by 2017.  Mike is currently developing the curriculum to train these youth councils serving with city agencies and is also working with his colleagues to develop a plan to expand youth councils that foster collaboration on campuses of co-located high schools in NYC.      


Mike graduated from Cornell University in spring 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in History.  While at Cornell, he served as president of Cornell Cinema and vice president of public relations for the Cornell Class Council.  Mike loves living in NYC and likes to spend his free time exploring the wonderful museums, parks, and restaurants the city features.

Angela Petriello

Volunteer Coordinator, Care for the Homeless

Angela Petriello is the volunteer coordinator at Care for the Homeless, a nonprofit organization that operates 30 medical clinics offering medical, mental health, and social services within partner homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and drop-in centers in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. The organization also operates Susan’s Place, a 200-bed, transitional residence in the Bronx for homeless women with physical and/or mental disabilities as well as a mobile health clinic offering rapid HIV testing.             


In her current role, Angela recruits, trains, and supervises individuals and groups in multiple long- and short-term volunteer positions within the organization. Since joining the Care for the Homeless team in January 2014, she has recruited over 400 volunteers who have provided almost 4,000 hours of service to the organization. In addition to supervising event volunteers, Angela recruits and manages those volunteers who provide educational and self-improvement programs for the women at Susan’s Place.          


Prior to joining Care for the Homeless, Angela served as an AmeriCorps member at The New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH). At NYCCAH, Angela supervised the operations of three project sites in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens for a citywide Farm Fresh Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  During her service, Angela conducted bilingual outreach to prospective clients who would benefit from the CSA programs in their neighborhoods, managed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program payments, and coordinated all communications between the organization and program participants.       


Angela graduated from New York University in 2012 with a BA in Anthropology and double minors in Spanish and Cinema Studies. While at NYU she interned at Shine Global, a nonprofit media company that produces films dedicated to exposing and ending the abuse and exploitation of children. As an intern, she had the opportunity to support the production of Inocente, a documentary detailing the life of a homeless, undocumented teenager in California. It was this experience that first encouraged her to learn more about homelessness and pursue a career in public service.           


Angela’s passion for traveling was ignited after studying abroad in Madrid, Spain and she spends much of her free time traveling. She also enjoys horseback riding and baking.

Natalee Rivera

Associate, National Urban League

Natalee Rivera is an associate at the National Urban League, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community-based civil rights organizations devoted to the empowerment of disadvantaged urban areas. As a member of the Affiliate Services team, Natalee helps to ensure the compliance, sustainability, and service delivery of the 95 Urban League affiliates located across the nation. Natalee also researches demographic, fundraising, and other trends to strengthen and enhance the National Urban League’s and Affiliate Services team’s strategic vision and direction.              


Previously, Natalee worked as a research staff assistant at the Columbia Population Research Center where she worked on a project supported by the Robin Hood Foundation to develop a new tool, the Poverty Tracker, to more accurately measure poverty in a more comprehensive and holistic way. In this role Natalee interviewed hundreds of New Yorkers to get a true picture of the obstacles and various factors that contribute to life in poverty in NYC.             


Natalee graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a minor in Race and Ethnicity Studies in 2013. While at Columbia, she served as philanthropy chair of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc., a national sorority dedicated to the empowerment of all women, and fostered relationships among local businesses and other student groups to host collaborative and effective fundraising on-campus events. Natalee also studied in Argentina for a semester where she tutored young students at a community center in the underserved neighborhood of Mitre, a small town on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.             


A native New Yorker, Natalee enjoys attending Broadway shows, spending time with her family, friends, and dogs, and traveling.

Matthew Spring

Associate, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund

Matthew Spring serves as an associate at the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. In his role, he provides technical assistance and oversees grants to municipal governments across the country interested in implementing innovative programs and services that improve the financial stability of low and moderate income households.            


Previously, Matthew worked at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE). While at OFE, he managed the citywide network of Financial Empowerment Centers, which provide free one-on-one financial counseling to New Yorkers with low incomes. He worked closely with many nonprofit and city agency partners to integrate and expand financial counseling into workforce development and other social services.          


Before moving to NYC, Matthew was a City Hall Fellow in San Francisco. During his year at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, he had the opportunity to implement a performance management system using dynamic data visualizations that helped agency leaders make more informed decisions about how to improve the public transportation system.       


Matthew holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). While at UCLA, much of his time was consumed organizing around issues of college affordability, the access and retention of students of color, and equally as important, developing young student activists to further advance issues of economic, racial, and social justice.          


Born and raised in Dublin, CA the Golden State will always be home, but Matthew has been happily eating his way around the Big Apple since 2013.

Erika Tannor

Scheduler, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James

Erika Tannor is the scheduler to NYC Public Advocate, Letitia James, who holds the second-highest ranked elected office in NYC. The public advocate serves as the direct link between NYC residents and their government, providing critical oversight of city agencies and assisting those in need. Since 2014, the Office of the Public Advocate has handled over 14,000 constituent complaints and is a leading voice in the push to increase the minimum wage, improve safety for nail salon workers, and reform the foster care system, to name just a few important issues.                 


As an aide to the public advocate, Erika builds appointments and maintains the schedule of this busy elected official who travels throughout the five boroughs servicing her constituency. Erika cultivates important relationships within government, with labor andadvocacy groups, and with the public to facilitate the public advocate’s wide reach to diverse NYC communities. Writing briefs, memos, and talking points, Erika helps prepare the public advocate to accomplish her efforts in the many meetings and community events she attends.           


Prior to her current role, Erika served as a regional field director at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), Erika promoted DCA’s initiatives, such as the execution of the Paid Sick Leave Law and the Business Relief Package to help support a vibrant NYC market place. Prior to serving in government, Erika worked on several political campaigns. As Queens field director for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s successful reelection campaign, she recruited and managed a volunteer base of over 80 and led daily canvasses and phone banks throughout the borough. While organizing a massive get-out-the-vote effort, Erika came to appreciate the significance of choice through the ballot box that makes our democracy so important to protect and advance.      


In 2014, Erika graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke College with a BA in politics and a self-designed minor in Critical Social Thought. During her senior year Erika wrote a high honors thesis, entitled “On The Internet: The Next Chapter in a Genealogy of Subjecthood,” which evaluates the effects of modern technology upon society. 


In her spare time, Erika is an active member of the Queens Young Democrats and the Powhatan Political Club. Erika is a political talk show enthusiast, aspiring traveler, and a volunteer for candidates seeking to help New York and the United States at large.

Nicole Thomas

Program Manager, New York Cares

Nicole Thomas is a program manager at New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer management organization. By developing programs that respond to pressing community needs, New York Cares mobilizes 62,000 volunteers to help improve the lives of over 400,000 struggling New Yorkers. Nicole leads volunteers, trains nonprofit partners, manages large-scale annual events, and works closely with corporate sponsors to produce volunteer projects in all service areas.            


Since joining New York Cares in 2013, Nicole has planned over 180 customized service projects for more than 8,000 volunteers and countless clients. Some of her favorites include brightening a senior citizen’s day with a party, encouraging a healthy lifestyle for children by making nutritious snacks, inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs, and beautifying public schools. Nicole has used her strong project planning skills to refine Winter Wishes, a holiday gift-giving program for 40,000 New Yorkers in need. She manages a team of staff and interns to execute the program. Her leadership has led to the expansion of clients served by 20% and an improved volunteer experience. Nicole is also an active member of interdepartmental committees that focus on communication, technology, and outreach.            


Prior to working at New York Cares, Nicole worked as a legal analyst at a law firm in Manhattan. She acted as the lead analyst on a consumer fraud class action lawsuit, but was inspired to move back into the nonprofit sector following Hurricane Sandy.                


Originally from San Diego, Nicole has always been interested in the dynamics of urban spaces. She graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) with a BA in Urban Studies in 2012. At Penn, she was a committed volunteer and board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and held leadership positions in the Civic House – Penn’s hub for student-led community service. Off campus, she interned at a Community Development Corporation to ensure that vulnerable residents were given foreclosure resources, at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office to research ways to reduce recidivism, and at Historic Germantown to increase historical tourism. She also participated in a service-learning internship in Ghana to help entrepreneurs receive microfinance loans.


Outside of the office, Nicole teaches dance to children at a domestic violence shelter, interviews prospective Penn students, and consults nonprofits as a member of the Net Impact Service Corps. In her free time she loves to explore the city, pretend to be a food critic, and plan her next adventure.

Kaylyn Toale

Managing Program Operations Coordinator, iMentor

Kaylyn Toale is a managing program operations coordinator at iMentor. 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 sixteen public high schools in NYC and engages approximately 3,500 mentor-mentee pairs. In her current role, Kaylyn supports program implementation at six partner schools and manages two operations coordinators who each support their own portfolio of schools. Kaylyn is excited to be working in the field of college access and supporting program delivery by communicating with mentors, ensuring compliance with safety processes, and planning monthly in-person meetings for pairs at mentees’ schools.        


Prior to working in the college success field, Kaylyn worked for several years with families experiencing homelessness. She spent a year as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Tucson, AZ, working as a client advocate in a women’s shelter and supporting clients’ job search efforts. Upon returning to NYC, Kaylyn worked for two years as a case manager for a family shelter in the Bronx.


Kaylyn received her BA in American Studies from Fordham University in 2011. She received the Orestes Brownson Award for excellence in her department and spent a semester abroad at the Clinton Institute for American Studies at University College Dublin. Her thesis was titled “From American Bandstand to Total Request Live: Teen Culture and Identity on Music Television.”        


Kaylyn enjoys reading, attempting to recreate dishes she saw on cooking shows without reading any recipes, and exploring Prospect Park with her dog, Doug. 

Yeimmy Torrez

Fourth Grade Teacher, Explore Charter School

Yeimmy Torrez is a fourth grade classroom teacher at Explore Charter School located in Flatbush, Brooklyn, which serves over 500 students from grades K-8.  As a fourth-year elementary school teacher, Yeimmy is implementing data-driven instruction and collaborating with her team teachers to adjust curriculum and improve student outcomes. This year, Yeimmy is also focusing on building a solid math foundation for her fourth grade students by developing and implementing the instructional materials for a more rigorous curriculum based on the Illustrative Math program.              


Yeimmy previously taught second grade for two years at Sisulu-Walker Charter School in Central Harlem, New York where she served as a 2012 Teach For America corps member. There, she learned firsthand the importance of creating a culture of high expectations regardless of student background. Yeimmy purposely integrated self-motivation in her instruction to help the students develop positive work habits; teaching moves that, for Yeimmy, highlighted the importance of her work in shaping young lives and combating inequities in the education system.            


Taking the initiative to continue to learn about the issues in the public education system, Yeimmy joined The Leadership for Education Equity Fellowship program. In 2013, the program placed her with the NYC Department of Education in the Office of Student Enrollment. There, she researched and proposed a community outreach plan to inform parents of the Middle Schools admissions process.            


Yeimmy earned her MA in Teaching at Relay Graduate School of Education in 2014. Though she grew up in Brooklyn, Yeimmy survived the wintry semesters of upstate New York graduating from Ithaca College in 2012 with a BS in Communications Management and Design and a minor in Legal Studies. While at Ithaca College, Yeimmy studied abroad, immersing herself in Italian culture. Upon returning, she served as president for PODER: Latino Student Association, which she co-founded in 2010. She received several academic and service awards for her commitment to her campus and her sorority, including the Ithaca College Dubois/Mandela Award for Scholarship.


In her free time, you can find Yeimmy booking travel adventures, searching for new foods to try around the city, or kickboxing at her local Brooklyn gym.

Michael Williams

Senior Analyst, NYC Mayor's Office

Michael Williams is an urbanist and social justice advocate with a passion for community development. He currently serves in the NYC Mayor’s Office as senior analyst for OneNYC : The Plan for a Strong and Just City.  OneNYC is a comprehensive, multi-billion dollar plan funding 200 initiatives, and involves upwards of 70 City agencies and offices to address New York’s profound social, economic, and environmental challenges. In his role, Michael supports OneNYC’s Director of Implementation and the Mayor’s Senior Policy Advisor for Recovery, Resiliency, and Infrastructure by managing the operations and strategy for initiative tracking, reporting, and the analysis and troubleshooting of delays. Additionally, Michael assists with the development of a program to improve citywide capital project delivery.              


Prior to this role, Michael served as an NYC Service Fellow – a selective project management fellowship in the Mayor’s Office. As a Service Fellow, he managed and consulted on capacity building and volunteer sourcing for five high-impact, citywide initiatives leveraging over 16,000 volunteers for city agencies, corporate groups and nonprofit partners. He also helped manage a 105-member AmeriCorps program, NYC Civic Corps, housed in the Mayor’s Office.          


Before his tenure as a Service Fellow, Michael received his introduction to NYC through the NYC Urban Fellows Program, a fellowship sponsored by NYC to introduce America’s young leaders to urban policy and public service through working in NYC government. He completed his service as an Urban Fellow at the NYC Department of Transportation, where he helped manage a fledgling initiative known as Under the Elevated – a project that surveyed and offered design and community development recommendations for the space beneath New York’s millions of square feet of elevated infrastructure.          


Originally from Detroit, MI, Michael graduated from the University of Michigan in the honors program with a degree in Afroamerican and African Studies and a minor in Urban Studies. A Spirit of Detroit Award recipient, he completed his undergraduate studies in the semester in Detroit program, where he analyzed current redevelopment efforts in Detroit, and completed an honors thesis capturing community input on revitalization and neighborhood change. He stays actively engaged with Detroit’s comeback from afar by serving on an advisory board for a community development corporation. He has a long-term vision of returning to bring insight to his hometown’s revitalization from NYC and cities in other countries in which he’s engaged in public service projects – including South Africa, Vietnam, and Poland.

Wesley Williams

Data Manager, ROADS Charter High School

Wesley Williams works at ROADS Charter High School in East New York as the Data Manager so that he can gain a better understanding of school politics and use his analytical skills to make a lasting impact on a school that that deserves more attention than it gets.      


Born and raised in NYC, Wesley Williams graduated from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Economics.  After graduating from Penn, Wesley worked in the media industry doing business development and analytics. After a short-lived career in media he found his passion for education while working with mentorship programs throughout New York.  Wesley then went on to pursue a career in education by participating in Education Pioneers’ Analyst Fellowship.  After completing his fellowship Wesley worked as the Manager of Analysis and Reporting at Acelero Learning, an organization that serves over 5,000 children by focusing on improving educational opportunities for young children by delivering head-start programs in underserved communities throughout the country.   Wesley worked with both Head Start leaders and state agencies across the country to help solve many of the budgeting and program management issues that the programs faced.  His experience at Acelero allowed Wesley to gain a broad understanding of the many difficulties that interstate public service companies deal with. Wesley left Acelero to make an impact on in his home city of New York and have a more direct connection to the individual students his decision making at Acelero was impacting.    


In his spare time Wesley also manages College Way, a program that strives to fight recidivism by bringing the college experience to inmates at Rikers Island.  Wesley is responsible for bringing college professors to Rikers to teach mock college lessons with the hopes of inspiring inmates to pursue college after they’re released.  In the future, Wesley would like to pursue a career that allows him to positively influence education policy. 


Wesley is a self-proclaimed music-head and enjoys working out, playing chess, and mentoring. 

Bryan Woll

Analyst, NYC Mayor's Office of Management and Budget

Bryan Woll serves as an analyst in the NYC Mayor's Office of Management and Budget (OMB). At OMB, Bryan is part of the Intergovernmental Relations Unit, which is responsible for analyzing and monitoring federal, state, and city legislation and budgets for impacts on the NYC budget, as well as communicating with elected officials and other governmental entities.    


Bryan joined OMB in October 2015 after three years working at the Brownsville Partnership (BP) in Brownsville, Brooklyn – an initiative of the national nonprofit Community Solutions. The BP is a community-based organization that supports residents and stakeholders in building a stronger Brownsville. Bryan most recently served on the BP’s management team as the manager of advocacy and policy, focusing on improved policy development and service delivery for the neighborhood. He was previously program coordinator for the Brownsville Neighborhood Empowerment Network, a program that he co-founded. In this role, Bryan led a team of Brownsville residents who were trained as advocates and provided peer support to their neighbors who were experiencing crises. He began his career as an advocate in the BP’s Homelessness Intervention Program, working one-on-one with public housing residents who were at risk of becoming homeless to stabilize their housing and remain in their homes.            


Bryan came to the BP through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, a Catholic service program, which he participated in from 2012-2013. During college, Bryan worked as an aide to a member of Pittsburgh's City Council and interned for U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-14), U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.          


Bryan earned a BA in Economics, with minors in Government and Justice and Peace Studies, from Georgetown University in May 2012. While at Georgetown, he was an undergraduate fellow at the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, and was elected president of the Georgetown University College Democrats. Bryan got his start in public service in his hometown of Pittsburgh while in high school, when he was appointed to the Mayor’s Youth Commission. In 2013, Bryan was awarded the Gregory “Jocko” Jackson Hope Award for service to the Brownsville community.      


Bryan is a proud Brooklyn resident, enjoys a good pick-up basketball game or a run in Prospect Park, and deeply loves his hometown of Pittsburgh — which he shows through his near-blind allegiance to Pittsburgh’s sports teams.

Career Guides

Shelby Kohn


Shelby Kohn is a manager at Bennett Midland, a management consulting firm that works with public agencies, nonprofits, and other civic organizations to solve operational problems, assist with the development and implementation of new programs, develop information systems, and advance management strategy. She is a skilled strategist and operations manager with a decade of experience leading the implementation of new business processes in the public sector.


Prior to joining the Bennett Midland team, Shelby was a director at the NYC Department of Finance, where she oversaw a 35-person team and redesigned and directed property tax benefit programs that serve more than 600,000 New Yorkers. Previously, Shelby was a policy advisor and project manager for the NYC Mayor’s Office of Operations, where she worked on initiatives that improved the efficiency and effectiveness of public services. Specifically, she focused real estate optimization, public building safety, and customer service. She also led a business and job retention program at the NYC Department of Small Business Services.


Shelby holds a Master of Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BA from Haverford College.

Daree Lewis

Program Officer

Robin Hood Foundation

Daree Lewis is a program officer of education at the Robin Hood Foundation. Robin Hood is New York's largest poverty-fighting organization, and since 1988 has focused on finding, funding and creating programs and schools that generate meaningful results for families in New York's poorest neighborhoods. In her role as program officer, Daree seeks, supports, and recommends grants to education organizations that help move low-income students out of poverty.         


An alumna of NYC’s public schools, Daree is passionate about quality public education. She joined the Robin Hood programs staff with ample experience in the nonprofit sector that includes partnering with the financial services and philanthropy sectors with the goal of increasing equity and access for all. Her previous roles include charter school oversight and accountability at the NYC Department of Education, program management and development at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, and leading the education team at Junior Achievement New York.          


Daree earned a Master in Public Administration from the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College. She also earned a BA in Sociology at Queens College.

Mark Liu

Project Manager- Strategic Planning and Business Development

Mount Sinai Health System

Mark Liu is a project manager in strategic planning and business development at the Mount Sinai Health System. In this role, he works as part of a team to facilitate the build of Mount Sinai Health Partners, a new entity that is advancing population health within the system. More specifically, he works with the clinical leadership arm on ways to improve the system’s ability to identify, outreach, and engage patients who may be at high risk for poor health outcomes.       


Prior to joining the Mount Sinai Health System, Mark was a clinical practice supervisor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a world-renowned organization dedicated to the progressive control and cure of cancer. Mark supervised the day-to-day operations of ambulatory care clinics across several service lines.      


Mark graduated from Binghamton University in 2007 with a BS in Integrated Neuroscience and Sociology. His thesis explored ways of “Improving Cultural Competency of American Hospitals for Limited English Proficiency Populations.”       


Mark was a 2008 fellow in the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS), 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 three years and this is his third year as a career guide.

Rosa Ortiz

Director of Finance and Administration


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 her current role, Rosa worked as director of programs, serving more than 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. 


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


Rosa was a StartingBloc '08 Fellow, Education Pioneers '10 Fellow and participant in the 2014 Zoom Foundation's Leadership Development Roundtable for young leaders in Connecticut. Rosa holds a Master in Public Administration from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a BA in Sociology from Boston College.

Rebecca Stauffer

Director of Program Operations

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

cca Stauffer is the director of program operations for the Primary Care Information Project (PCIP), which is a bureau within the Department of Prevention and Primary Care at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. PCIP facilitates healthcare practices and providers across New York City to deliver quality healthcare through the use of health information technology. This work is accomplished through the federally designated regional extension center for NYC, NYC REACH. NYC REACH works with thousands of providers at small practices, large integrated community health centers, and hospitals to integrate health information technology and electronic health records.


Rebecca is the principal investigator for the federal and state funded contracts that support NYC REACH’s work and directs the operations and grant management for both contracts. She also oversees the communications and external relations activities for NYC REACH, which develops and maintains the relationship with NYC REACH’s practices and providers.


Prior to joining PCIP in 2012, Rebecca was a department administrator at the NYU College of Dentistry and senior project manager within the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Rebecca earned her BA in History from Kenyon College and a Master in Public Administration from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Victor Tello

Staff Attorney

Legal Services NYC

Victor Tello is a staff attorney in the Disaster Response Unit at the Brooklyn office of Legal Services NYC. He is in charge of providing direct legal assistance to low-income Hurricane Sandy victims. His work focuses in the areas of insurance law, disaster related public benefits, and other housing-related legal matters. Legal Services NYC is the largest civil legal services provider in the country. It fights poverty and seeks justice for low-income residents of NYC. For more than 40 years, Legal Services NYC has provided civil legal services that help its clients meet their essential needs and has challenged systemic injustices that keep them poor.       


Prior to joining Legal Services NYC, Victor worked at the City Bar Justice Center and was responsible for coordinating essential legal services for Hurricane Sandy victims. He provided direct representation to Sandy victims, coordinated placement of clients with pro bono attorneys, and created and implemented programs to help the legal services community in regards to broader disaster relief.      


Before working on disaster related legal matters, Victor worked for the NYC Law Department in the Torts Division and the Special Federal Litigation Division gaining litigation experience in state and federal court.         


Victor received a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. He also is a graduate of the University of Florida where he double majored in Political Science and History.

Alumni Guides

Alejandro (Alex) Alvarez

Director of the Constituent Services Unit

NYC Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs

Alejandro (Alex) Alvarez is the director of the Constituent Services Unit 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 NYC. Currently, the most popular initiative from MOIA is the IDNYC program that started in the beginning of 2015 and has enrolled over 540,000 people in under a year. The IDNYC card serves as an identification card with many benefits such as free access to 33 cultural institutions (i.e. museums, zoos, botanical gardens), and is available to all NYC residents, regardless of immigration status.


At MOIA, Alex oversees the Constituent Services Unit that is tasked with responding to community inquiries on immigration applications, providing legal assistance referrals, and helping the public navigate NYC government for additional services. He also leads the Know Your Rights Forums initiative where forums are tailored to the interest of community groups and city agencies are brought to meet with groups to have a dialogue and share resources. Alex also works closely with the outreach unit to maintain and build key community relationships with community leaders and organizations. He works on many other portfolios, including volunteer management to revamp and expand the current pool of MOIA volunteers, language access to assist other city agencies on ensuring quality interpretation and translation services are being provided to all New Yorkers, and the coordination of interagency initiatives.


He 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, Alex 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.


Alex enjoys taking his dog on long walks throughout Brooklyn, going on long runs in Prospect Park and learning about (and eating at!) new restaurants with a focus in cuisines from other countries. Alex is an alumnus of the FELPS 2014 class.

Gael Black

Public Communications Manager

The New York Women's Foundation

Gael Black is the public communications manager at The New York Women’s Foundation (NYWF), a community-based foundation that advances economic security for women and girls in NYC, where she is responsible for identifying public education and engagement opportunities on issues pertaining to women’s economic security, safety, and health. Key projects have included producing and hosting Community Leadership in Focus, a Women’s History Month radio series on WBAI, and managing the full production and launch of Voices from the Field, a series of four reports that explore the needs and best strategies for supporting women across the full span of their lifetimes. Gael joined NYWF in January 2012 as the 25th anniversary coordinator managing special communications and development projects.          


Gael graduated in December 2011 from the University at Albany (UA), where she received her BA in Political Science and History with a minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. During her time at UA, 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 regarding higher education, and collaborated with student groups and local lawmakers to successfully 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, 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. For six years, she 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. Gael was in the 2013 FELPS class and this is her second year as an alumni guide.

Primo Lasana

Managing Program Coordinator


Primo Lasana is a managing program coordinator 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 NYC and engages over 4,000 mentor-mentee pairs.      


As a managing program coordinator, Primo directly supports the relationships of 110 pairs of mentors and 12th grade mentees while directly managing two other program coordinators. Primo also works closely with teachers and administrators to provide support for the program schoolwide, ensuring quality programming for more than 350 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. This year Primo is enjoying working with students as they apply to college.          


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 by 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 that 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.  In 2014, Primo travelled to Brazil to enjoy the World Cup and pursue his passion for international football. He even met up with his FELPS career guide on the beach in Rio de Janeiro during a U.S. soccer game! This summer Primo will travel to France for the 2016 Euro Tournament to continue his travels for international football. Primo was a member of the 2014 FELPS cohort.

Deshaun Mars

Director of Partnerships

Teach for America

Deshaun Mars is a director of partnerships at Teach For America. In this role, Deshaun works with a portfolio of school principals and network leaders in NYC to help facilitate the hiring process for the New York region's incoming corps members. In addition, he also manages the recruitment efforts to help diversify Teach For America's local teaching corps.       


Deshaun started his career as a college access counselor for the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, a comprehensive social service and community development organization serving residents in Brooklyn. There, he mentored and helped students apply to college. He then worked as a college transition counselor with Good Shepherd Services, assisting the agency's high school and GED graduates transition to – and ultimately graduate from – community college at the City University of New York.      


Having started his career working in youth and community development, his long-term professional goals include strengthening, on a macro-level, the role that community members and community-based institutions play in improving the educational opportunities of those in our highest-need communities.       


A graduate of Brown University, where he earned both his BA in Education Studies and MA in Urban Education Policy, Deshaun is a proud New Yorker, born and raised Brooklyn. He was a 2012 FELPS Fellow.

Bianca Martinez

Virtual College Adviser

College Advising Corps

Bianca Martinez is a Virtual College Adviser (or eAdviser) with the College Advising Corps (CAC) CollegePoint Initiative where she is responsible for counseling/recruiting students, being a liaison to universities, development of the program through committees, data tracking and providing and sharing resources. Recently, Bianca also presented at CAC's annual summit.


CAC is a national nonprofit that works to increase the number of first-generation college going, low-income, and/or underrepresented students who apply, enter, and complete college by placing recent college graduates from one of 24 partner universities as full-time college advisers in some of America’s underserved high schools. This initiative, with the help of Bloomberg Philanthropies, has added the virtual advising program, which is now reaching students across all 50 states who are hand selected based on ACT and SAT scores. Bianca joined CAC in 2012 as an in-school model college adviser with the NYU Chapter, working at a high school in Brooklyn, NY for 2 years. She dedicates most of her work hours to intense college counseling that help students develop a best fit/best match list of colleges to apply to and submit an application that shows the best of themselves.       


Prior to Bianca joining CAC in 2012, she interned with There Is No Limit Foundation (TINFL) where she began to find her footing in public service and nonprofit management. Having been a member of the TINLF family since 2008, Bianca continues to keep in contact and help whenever she can. For her, TINFL is her north star in her ever evolving time in public service.  Previously, Bianca worked mentoring, co-directing, and administering a mentorship program/organization for girls in East New York, Brooklyn from 2011 to 2013 and also worked as an HIV/AIDS/Hep C test counselor and SIHL facilitator with Iris House, Inc.        


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 in 2011. She was a proud graduate of the HEOP program and was a long standing member of La Herencia Latina. While a student, Bianca also took on several active roles on campus including participating in Lyrics on Lockdown.             


Bianca grew up in New York and spends a lot of time volunteering for various causes, organizations, and communities including a yearly commitment to NYU's College Access Summer Leadership Institute. In her free time, Bianca loves being silly with her family and friends, is an avid reader of comic books and current events, dances, writes poetry, plays viola, travels,  and, consults. As a foodie, she loves diving into moments that build her cultural capital and tries to follow summer when she can. Bianca was a 2014 FELPS fellow and credits the program for bringing her lifelong friends and a lifetime of professional confidence.

Anne Tatreau

Director of Development

Classroom, Inc.

Anne Tatreau is the director of development at Classroom, Inc., an education technology nonprofit that helps middle school students in high-poverty communities develop literacy and leadership skills through digital learning games, curriculum, and support for educators. In this role, Anne is responsible for raising $4 million in funding annually to support the organization's operating budget and growth capital needs.      


Anne previously spent five years as the grants manager at Harlem RBI and DREAM Charter School, where she grew the organization's institutional giving portfolio by 93 percent, from $2.8 million to $5.4 million, and secured its first-ever AmeriCorps and national foundation grants.               


Prior to Harlem RBI, Anne worked in public relations and community affairs at the National Football League and served as manager of Columbia University's Division I Men's Basketball Program.     


Anne earned her BA in Political Science from Barnard College and was a 2013 FELPS Fellow.

Fellowship Staff

Moschell Coffey


Fellowship Director

Moschell (Mo) Coffey is the director of the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service.  She has worked with FELPS since 2008. Mo oversees all outreach, recruitment, and selection; program and curriculum development; alumni engagement; and evaluation.


As the founder and principal of Challenges and Solutions LLC, Mo works with organizations and individuals benefiting the public good to use her passion for developing the leadership capabilities of both to strengthen mission-driven organizations. Through effective relationship and talent management, organizational review, and strategic planning, she helps public service organizations identify challenges and formulate solutions to achieve organizational efficiency, strengthen board and staff relationships, enable strategic growth, and define program outcomes. She also enjoys helping emerging and established leaders in public service explore their professional passions, chart career paths, and search for meaningful opportunities.


From 2011 to 2015, Mo worked as the managing director for The Good Dog Foundation, the national leader in therapy dog training, certification, visit coordination, research, and awareness.  There she used her background in relationship and nonprofit management to help the organization through its growing pains after it rapidly expanded its services to meet growing demand. As managing director, she stewarded the organization toward financial self-sufficiency, and helped turn Good Dog into a high-functioning nonprofit with an engaged Board of Directors and discerning donors. Under her leadership, the organization began its strategic planning process and grew from one paid staff member to a staff of nine, all while refining its best-in-class therapy dog certification and visit programming services. Mo was responsible for the management, program operations, and development activities of the organization, including planning and executing its major events and working with the media to secure different opportunities to promote the organization’s work.


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 a 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.