FELPS Fellows 2017

Jasmine Alfonseca

College and Career Program Manager, Student Sponsor Partners

Jasmine Alfonseca is the college and career program manager at Student Sponsor Partners (SSP). SSP provides annual scholarships to underprivileged high school students who show scholastic promise but fall below or near the economic poverty threshold and struggle with core academic competencies. She is honored to work at SSP, the nonprofit organization that aided her sister in receiving a quality high school education and has given many children from her native Bronx community the opportunity to reach their highest potential.


Jasmine joined SSP in 2014 as the program officer and was promoted to the college and career manager in October 2015. In her current role, she designs college prep modules for each high school class year and manages the implementation of the program components, which is carried out by relationship managers and mentors. She also strategically builds partnerships with nonprofit and for profit firms to provide resources to students such as SAT prep to address the lack of college access resources and options afforded to her students. Jasmine leads the development and administration of the Peter M. Flanigan College Scholarship, which annually awards three exceptional SSP rising seniors with a college scholarship of up to $10,000 per year for four years. She is also charged with tracking, analyzing, and reporting the college retention of SSP alumni.


Prior to joining SSP, Jasmine was an academic advisor at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC). As an academic advisor, she successfully steered higher education senior advisors and directors through the shift in the City University of New York primary advisement tool and major curriculum. Jasmine also served as the At Home in College (AHIC) coordinator at BMCC. The AHIC program’s mission is to ease the transition into college by pairing them with an academic advisor who will guide them throughout their time at the college. During her time with AHIC, Jasmine worked with students through a series of academic development workshops, one-on-one advisement sessions, and paid internship placements.


Jasmine has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Barnard College at Columbia University. During her time at Barnard College, she was a residential assistant, leader of the Hispanic Heritage Month, and charter member of a multicultural sorority’s first Ivy League chapter at Columbia University.

Caitlin Arias

Associate for Education Administration – Weill Music Institute, Carnegie Hall

Caitlin Arias is the associate for education administration at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI). WMI provides programming that harnesses the power of music to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, from pre-professional artist training programs to songwriting projects in justice settings and homeless shelters. Through these programs, as well as original, innovative research in music education, WMI reaches over half a million people in New York City, across the U.S., and around the globe.


As an associate for education administration, Caitlin creates and implements vital administrative systems that support the management and growth of WMI programming. She directly manages all of WMI’s contracting and payments, while assisting in creating professional development opportunities for staff and artists. As part of her work, Caitlin serves as a primary liaison with partner organizations and WMI’s roster of over 100 teaching artists. Caitlin has also produced concerts, workshops, and events at Carnegie Hall and across New York City.


Prior to joining WMI, Caitlin was an associate at The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, where she worked closely with staff to produce chamber music concerts and free concerts for New York City public schools. She also served as a community engagement fellow at The Metropolitan Opera Guild where, in addition to producing public lectures and opera-based learning initiatives, she successfully wrote a grant for $15k to renovate the Guild’s audiovisual technology in service of their community programming.


Caitlin earned her Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from Vassar College, where she majored in Sociology with a focus on prison studies and violence against women. During her time at Vassar, Caitlin served as an advocate at the Domestic Violence Services of Dutchess County, working primarily as a courtroom advocate for women experiencing abuse. In addition to this social justice work, Caitlin studied music and performed as a freelance accompanist and vocalist. Working professionally in both the arts and public service sectors in college helped Caitlin to discover where her passion lies: creating opportunities for music to become a platform on which individuals can express their agency, heal, and celebrate community.


Caitlin was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and currently resides in Astoria, Queens. She continues to freelance as a pianist and vocalist, and is a member of Ghostlight Chorus, a professional chamber ensemble based in New York City. 

Daniel Backman

Project Manager, NYC Department of Small Business Services

Daniel Backman currently serves as a project manager on the neighborhood planning team within the NYC Department of Small Business Services’ (SBS) Neighborhood Development Division. In that role, Daniel coordinates SBS’s role in large-scale and multi-stakeholder neighborhood planning efforts in Northern Manhattan in close partnership with local community-based organizations. As a champion for these neighborhoods in their respective planning processes, Daniel has spearheaded efforts to direct both SBS and broader NYC programs and resources to these neighborhoods’ small businesses and local organizations. This includes conducting and publishing comprehensive assessments of small business and community needs, as well as directing targeted grant funding to address those needs. Daniel also serves as a board member of three business improvement districts in Manhattan as a representative of the New York City Mayor. A passion for building economic opportunity, community capacity, and equitable development drives all of Daniel’s work at SBS.


Prior to his current role, Daniel was placed at SBS as part of the New York City Urban Fellows program. In that capacity, Daniel managed a citywide competitive grant program for neighborhood development and launched a new fellowship program to increase the capacity of community-based partner organizations in key neighborhoods.


Daniel graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College with a degree in Social Studies, an interdisciplinary social science program in which he focused on issues of inequality in American cities. His studies culminated in an honors thesis on the experiences of small business owners in gentrifying neighborhoods and their implications for urban racial disparities. During his college career, Daniel held internships in nonprofit, government, and campaign organizations, including doing affordable housing policy advocacy in Chicago and political communications for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and Obama for America. Daniel also served as president of the Harvard Political Review, an undergraduate political magazine, and organized fellow students around campaign finance reform advocacy.


Outside of work, Daniel is a co-coordinator of the New York City chapter of Resource Generation, a national organization of young people committed to leveraging their resources for social justice and an equitable distribution of wealth. 

Giovanni Barcenes

Program Officer – Office of Financial Empowerment, NYC Department of Consumer Affairs

Giovanni Barcenes currently serves as a program officer at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE). OFE works to support low-income New Yorkers and communities in building wealth and improving financial capabilities. In his role, Giovanni provides management, logistics, and strategic planning to develop and maintain OFE's flagship initiative, the Financial Empowerment Centers, which provide free one-on-one financial counseling to low-income New Yorkers.


In his previous position at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, he coordinated the NYCitizenship program which provides free legal and financial assistance for eligible permanent residents interested in becoming U.S. citizens. He worked closely with schools, nonprofits, and city agency partners to share and disseminate vital resources to immigrant communities. 


Giovanni graduated from New York University (NYU) where he studied Politics and Latino Studies. While on campus, he worked with the NYU Dream Team to plan events to raise awareness and create discussions among students about immigration reform and undocumented status. While in college he was selected as an America Needs You Fellow, a competitive two-year fellowship which empowers first generation, low-income students to succeed professionally.

Giovanni was born in Queens, New York to Salvadoran immigrants, and is committed to empowering communities at the local level. He enjoys working with youth through mentorship programs like iMentor and serving his community through his local church. 

Marisa Berry

Project Coordinator, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

Marisa Berry is a project coordinator for the planning and development division of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), the team responsible for shaping the agency's open space agenda by creating plans and strategies for new and existing parks.  Marisa joined NYC Parks in 2014 and works on a variety of projects and policy initiatives to advance the agency's goal to create and sustain thriving parks and public spaces.  In her role, she coordinates internally, with other city agencies, and with the community to develop consensus on and move planning projects forward.


At NYC Parks, Marisa helped develop and roll out Parks Without Borders, a design approach backed by $50 million in capital projects to create more open, welcoming, and beautiful public spaces where parks and neighborhoods meet.  She managed a citywide voting process to nominate projects for the program and advised on which projects the agency should advance.  Marisa also successfully applied to the New York State Department of State to designate 200 acres of the Bronx's Harlem River waterfront as a Brownfield Opportunity Area, formally prioritizing it for state funding, an important step in supporting the revitalization of the Harlem River.


Marisa has also worked with the NYC Department of City Planning, the Waterfront Alliance, and the Fresh Air Fund. 


Marisa attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), where she studied Environmental Science and Geography and graduated with highest honors and distinction.  She wrote her thesis on incorporating sea level rise into development suitability analysis, which was later published in the journal Computers, Environment, and Urban Systems.  While at UNC, Marisa spent a semester in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she was inspired by the city's strong tradition of urban planning to explore it as a career.

Victor-Lawrence Boadum

Development Associate, Harlem Children’s Zone

Victor-Lawrence (Victor) Boadum is the development associate for Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ). HCZ is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in Central Harlem by working to ensure children succeed from birth through college graduation. HCZ’s pipeline of programs serves 25,000 children and adults each year providing a seamless network of supports.


At HCZ, Victor spearheads special projects for HCZ’s senior leadership; helps to organize fundraising events; secures internships for college and high school students; and coordinates logistics for major donor visits. Victor first joined HCZ in 2013 as the executive assistant for development. Victor then moved into the role of special assistant to the vice president for development in 2015.


Prior to becoming a staff member at HCZ, Victor was a legislative intern for U.S. Congressman Charles B. Rangel in Washington, DC, and was a law assistant for the senior vice president and general counsel of The George Washington University. These experiences provided Victor with an important perspective into the world of public policy, community building, and development, which inspired Victor to seek opportunities that would allow him to make a difference.  Victor first gained experience in fundraising at The George Washington University, working for its annual giving program and the law school’s alumni relations and development team.


Victor graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs in 2013 from The George Washington University.  He was born in New York City and grew up in Berlin and Houston. He is fluent in German. Victor resides in Harlem, where he is an engaged member of the community.  He is a Big Brother through Big Brothers, Big Sisters of New York, a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership alumni, a member of the Council of Urban Professionals, and a congregant at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Central Harlem. Victor is passionate about education policy, particularly in regard to wealth and racial disparities and helping create societal improvements. 

Marc Briz

Grants and Program Coordinator, Human Rights Watch

Marc Briz is the grants and program coordinator at Human Rights Watch, a leading nongovernmental human rights organization known for its impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy in over 90 countries.


Marc has worked in the development and outreach department since 2014 on donor communications and foundation relations. He helps cultivate a global community of supporters and administers over 200 current grants, ensuring all deliverables and donor expectations are fulfilled. As an elected union steward at Human Rights Watch, he defends the rights of U.S.-based support staff who are represented by CWA Local 1180.


Marc graduated magna cum laude and with honors from Brown University, where he studied History and Middle East Studies. He pursed Arabic instruction in Alexandria, Egypt at the Middlebury C.V. Starr Schools Abroad, conducted research in Morocco, and designed a course and guest lecture series on contemporary nonfiction writing on the Middle East. In his honors thesis, he examined Western advocacy and reporting in Egypt during the Queen Boat Trial, in which 52 men were arrested for same-sex sexual practices.


His interests in human rights and civic media led him to serve as a media relations intern at Amnesty International USA and as a research and production intern for MacArthur Fellow Stanley Nelson at Firelight Films on the PBS documentary “Freedom Summer” (2014). On campus, Marc co-edited and managed the Brown Journal of History and worked as a research assistant on modern Middle Eastern art and politics for cultural historian Dr. Shiva Balaghi. He currently volunteers as a peer counselor at Identity House, which provides LGBTQ individuals with group support and therapy referrals. 

Mifta Chowdhury

Analyst, NYC Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget

Mifta Chowdhury works in the NYC Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as an analyst on the health task force. At OMB, Mifta monitors budgets for programs funded through Thrive NYC, a comprehensive citywide campaign launched in 2015 to increase and improve mental health services for New Yorkers in areas including early childhood health, substance abuse treatment, correctional health, and services for the homeless. Together, these programs represent an investment of $850 million over four years. Through his work analyzing budgets for various Thrive programs, Mifta collaborates with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and a number of other city agencies.


Before joining OMB, Mifta served as a research assistant at MDRC, a social policy research organization in New York known for evaluations of public and nonprofit programs across the country. During his three years in the health and barriers to employment policy area at MDRC, many of Mifta’s projects were in the field of criminal justice, including studies of cognitive behavioral therapy based interventions implemented in the parole system or at re-entry services organizations. While at MDRC, Mifta most enjoyed working on an evaluation of a Los Angeles nonprofit organization providing mental health services to children in disadvantaged communities. The experience allowed him to study mental health legislation at the state and local levels as well as its impact on service delivery strategy and outcomes, and in the process confirmed his passion for tackling mental health issues through public service.


Mifta received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Certificate in Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). While at Penn, Mifta became committed to civic engagement through leadership in community service groups and an internship with LIFT-Philadelphia, a nonprofit community resource center. He also supported an evaluation of an art therapy program administered jointly by Philadephia’s Mural Arts Program and Department of Behavioral Health. As an undergraduate, Mifta spent one summer conducting mental health research in Mexico, designing and conducting a qualitative interview about barriers and facilitators to receiving schizophrenia treatment in the city of Puebla.

Cristina De La Rosa

Investigator, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem

Cristina De La Rosa is an investigator with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, a public defense practice that is recognized nationwide for its holistic and community-based services. The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem’s mission is to provide the highest quality of legal services to all of northern Manhattan. It is the organization's goal to keep clients’ best interests in mind and to defend their constitutional rights at all costs. As an investigator, Cristina assists attorneys by discovering information and evidence that will support defense theories. She is required to work in the field where she speaks with witnesses, searches for video footage, and takes pictures and measurements of crime scenes.


Prior to working with Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, Cristina held internships in investigation practice with the Bronx Defenders and as a social media manager for the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College. She also worked as a tutor for Barnard’s Science and Technology Entry Program, which provides after-school tutoring to students between the seventh and twelfth grades in subjects such as math, science, and history.


Cristina graduated in 2015 from Barnard College of Columbia University. She majored in Psychology with minors in Spanish and Latin American Cultures as well as Race and Ethnic Studies. While at Barnard, Cristina served various leadership positions including serving as the president of Grupo Quisqueyano, a mentor for the Columbia Mentoring Initiative, and as the showcase chair for Columbia University’s Latino Heritage Month Committee. On campus, she was a leader and an advocate for students of color, and that passion certainly carried over into her professional career.

Julia Deutsch

Analyst, Public Works Partners

Julia Deutsch is an analyst with Public Works Partners, a management consulting firm serving mission-driven organizations in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. Public Works Partners specializes in program design and implementation, organizational development, economic and financial analysis, and management of multi-stakeholder projects. In her role, Julia engages with clients on projects ranging from launching a national survey to inform financial education policy to helping a local nonprofit scale its job placement program. Julia’s responsibilities include both content generation and project management functions.

Prior to joining Public Works Partners, Julia worked for Locus Analytics, a New York-based startup exploring the applications of a proprietary analytical framework in the fields of both economic development and finance. Julia focused on the potential utility of Locus’s product in community development. She led a nine-person data analysis project to map Indonesia’s renewable energy sector to improve supply chain efficiency and create an information platform for renewable energy solutions in rural communities.

Julia is passionate about public policy and first began pursuing this interest through internships with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace at its Center in Beijing and with the U.S. State Department on the China Desk in Washington, DC.

Julia holds a Bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College, where she majored in in International Politics and Economics with a focus on East Asia and China. At Middlebury, Julia served as a coordinator of the Community Friends program, an organization that matches volunteer college mentors with local youth. She interviewed and placed mentors, and hiked, crafted, and watched movies with her own mentee. Julia also fostered her deep interest in China while at Middlebury through four years of Mandarin study and eight months spent in Yunnan Province during her junior year. Julia became fascinated with Burma, eventually focusing her senior project on an exploration of Burmese foreign policy and the nexus of natural resource development and political shifts. Julia is driven by a strong commitment to positively impacting and engaging with her community and a deep, nearly indiscriminate, curiosity about the world around her.

Becca Diefenbach

Lead Program Manager – Philanthropy and Engagement Team, Bloomberg LP

Becca Diefenbach serves as the lead program manager on the philanthropy and engagement team at Bloomberg LP. Becca manages Bloomberg’s global education program that seeks to engage over 19,000 employees in volunteer opportunities to support academic achievement and college and career readiness for students, mid-career employees, and veterans. She is responsible for cultivating strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations that support education, including grant management and volunteer opportunities. Becca executes and tracks skills-based volunteer mentoring including one-on-one, group, and virtual mentoring as well as workshops designed to support STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education and college and career readiness. The program was inspired by Mike Bloomberg’s dedication to education and Bloomberg Philanthropies’ college access and success initiative.


Becca joined Bloomberg LP in November 2014 after working at Polskin Arts and Communications Counselors in New York, a cultural public relations firm that provides strategic marketing and communications for major museums, performing arts organizations, and philanthropic foundations. She developed strategies to raise brand awareness for museums such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New York Historical Society as well as programs like the National YoungArts Foundation. Becca supports and advocates in New York for the National YoungArts Foundation, a Miami-based organization that identifies and nurtures young artists and assists them in their educational and professional development.  Becca was introduced to the inspiring work of Bloomberg while working with cultural organizations at Polskin Arts.


Becca graduated from Lehigh University in May 2013 with honors, earning a Bachelor of Arts in History and the History of Art with a minor in Museum Studies. While at Lehigh, Becca volunteered at the Lehigh University Art Gallery assisting the head curator to design exhibitions that supported the galleries’ mission as a teaching collection. She organized events and speaker series that engaged students of all interests and majors as well as local community organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club. Becca is actively in contact with curators and professors regarding art world events relevant to students and faculty and advises students exploring jobs in the arts.

Anabel Flores

Project Assistant – Immigration Intervention Project, Sanctuary for Families

Anabel Flores is a project assistant at Sanctuary for Families’ Immigration Intervention Project located in the Brooklyn Family Justice Center. Sanctuary for Families is the largest nonprofit organization that serves survivors of domestic violence in the state of New York and provides legal, clinical, shelter, and economic empowerment services to its clients.


In her role, Anabel assists clients and attorneys in preparing immigration applications and conducts intakes to assess clients’ eligibility for immigration relief. She assists battered immigrants obtain lawful status and citizenship in the United States by preparing asylum, Violence Against Women Act, U (Crime Victim) and T (Trafficking victim), Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, and naturalization applications. She advocates for her clients by writing grant applications to support their economic stability and works closely with other Family Justice Center agencies to address their needs. Anabel has worked on an innovative program for vulnerable unaccompanied immigrant teenage girls who recently arrived to the United States from Central America and are themselves survivors of intimate partner violence. The participants learned how to recognize unhealthy relationships and access free community resources in New York City.  


Prior to working at Sanctuary for Families, Anabel moved to the Rio Grande Valley and worked as a paralegal at the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project in Harlingen, Texas where she provided legal assistance to unaccompanied children in removal proceedings who were being detained in federal custody shelters. Anabel worked through the largest surge of unaccompanied children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in history. She conducted “Know Your Rights” presentations to children in immigration detention, supported attorneys in preparing immigration applications, and coordinated pro bono representation for children once released from detention.


Anabel’s interest in helping the indigent immigrant community stems from personal experience having been once undocumented herself. After having worked at the Office of the Appellate Defender, a nonprofit firm devoted to providing legal representation to indigent people in the criminal justice system, she was inspired by the zealous representation that the clients obtained there and wanted to do the same for others.


Anabel earned her Bachelor’s degree from City University of New York, Herbert H. Lehman College. 

Deisy Flores

Paralegal, Make the Road New York

Deisy Flores is paralegal at Make the Road New York (MRNY). MRNY’s mission is to build the power of immigrant and working class communities through organizing, policy innovation, education, and survival services. At MRNY, Deisy is a Board of Immigration Appeals representative and handles citizenship cases as well complex cases for individuals who have difficulty obtaining free legal services due to complicated legal histories. In addition to her naturalization work, Deisy works with unaccompanied youth in removal proceedings and helps staff the surge docket at immigration court.

Deisy graduated from Barnard College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Political Science and a minor in Race and Ethnicity studies. She wrote her thesis, “NYC Borderland,” on  the experience of the undocumented Mexican immigrants in New York City on the basis of race, surveillance, and the U.S.-Mexico border. While at Barnard, Deisy was a site director for Let’s Get Ready, a nonprofit organization that provides free SAT prep to low-income high school students. She led academic and career-building workshops for more than 70 students, organized college trips, and managed 20 volunteer teachers.

Samantha Frank

Internship and Community Service Coordinator, Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders

Samantha Frank is the internship and community service coordinator at the Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders, an NYC Outward Bound high school. She is currently responsible for the supervision, planning, implementation, coordination, and monitoring of community development programs for all students grades nine through twelve. Samantha maintains ongoing contact with community-based organizations that are involved with providing services to support the school’s educational programs. She also designs and executes curriculum for an internship seminar including training for hard and soft work skills, public speaking, phone and email etiquette, reflective essay and resume writing, and event planning. Samantha takes pride in the opportunity to create and execute lesson plans that are engaging and that prepare students for their postgraduate careers. 


Previously, Samantha worked as a research assistant at New York University’s (NYU) Research Alliance for New York City Schools, which strives toward equity and excellence through rigorous applied research in collaboration with policy makers, educators, and stakeholders. She was a part of a team that studied the Expanded Success Initiative, a citywide program that aims to increase college readiness and other key outcomes for black and Latino male students. 


Samantha holds a Bachelor of Arts from Bates College. During her time at Bates College she created an interdisciplinary major called Cultural Economics. Her studies focused on the intersection of unjust social structures, contemporary theories of justice, and disadvantaged groups which allowed her to study the systemic roots of the opportunity gap.

Nathan Garcia

Court Liasion, Center for Court Innovation

Nathan (Nate) Garcia is a court liaison for the Center for Court Innovation (CCI). CCI is a nonprofit organization that promotes new thinking about how to reduce crime and incarceration while strengthening public trust in justice. Nate is currently working at Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, one of CCI’s demonstration projects within the Kings County Criminal Court that seeks to forge new responses to misdemeanor and nonviolent felony defendants in Brooklyn. Nate’s role focuses on implementation of the Supervised Release Program, which is an effort funded by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to divert defendants at arraignment court into needs-based services and clinical assistance. The program is part of larger movement to stem the flow of incarceration within New York City’s five boroughs and lower the inmate population of Riker’s Island.


In his role, Nate’s responsibility is to identify appropriate clients for pretrial diversion and facilitate their release at arraignment and other court parts. The position requires Nate to determine program eligibility through screening criminal records, interviewing defendants, advocating before a judge and other court parties, and communicating with clients and their families to ensure program compliance.


Prior to working at CCI, Nate worked as a program fellow at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on the planning and launch of the Safety and Justice Challenge. The Challenge is an $75M initiative that partners with CCI, the Vera Institute of Justice, and other agencies to provide technical assistance to twenty local jurisdictions across the country in order to change the way that America thinks about and uses jail incarceration. As a program fellow, Nate made contributions to the initiative’s programmatic and communication strategies, particularly focusing on integrating community engagement as a component of the reform process.

A native of Denver, Colorado, Nate graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. As an undergraduate, Nate held leadership positions in student government, Greek life, and a student-run enterprise on-campus. 

Molly Haley

Senior Advisor for Special Projects, NYC Mayor’s Office of Appointments

Molly Haley works for the NYC Mayor’s Office of Appointments (MOA) as a senior advisor for special projects. MOA is dedicated to advancing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vision of a diverse and inclusive team of senior leaders in city government. Working across all city agencies and mayoral offices, MOA serves a critical role by providing talent recruitment and development support for the administration’s senior leadership.  Additionally, MOA advises the mayor on over 300 boards and commissions that fall under his purview. These boards execute important policy decisions in connection with city infrastructure, culture, and community priorities.


In her current role, Molly leads several long-term projects relating to the city’s boards and commissions. Additionally, she works on searches for candidates for high-level senior vacancies in the administration. She started at MOA as a portfolio associate, working to source and evaluate candidates for the city's housing and economic development boards. 


Previously, Molly worked as a development associate at Pro Bono Net, a nonprofit working to increase access to justice through technology.  Molly’s role was to help promote the organization through print and digital communications, as well as researching and writing grant proposals. She has also interned for the Massachusetts Governor’s Office and MassEcon, a nonprofit supporting economic development in Massachusetts. Molly has always enjoyed politics and has interned and volunteered for numerous political campaigns.  


Molly graduated from Wesleyan University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Certificate in Civic Engagement. While at Wesleyan, she spent time volunteering as a math tutor and was captain of the sailing team. 

Ryan Head

Program Officer, Action Against Hunger

Ryan Head is the program officer at Action Against Hunger, an international nongovernmental organization that saves the lives of severely malnourished children while helping vulnerable communities become self-sufficient. With more than 6,500 staff members in over 45 countries, Action Against Hunger’s programs in nutrition, food security and livelihoods, and water, sanitation, and hygiene reach more than 14 million people each year.


In his current role, Ryan manages proposal and report review and editing for over 25 grants, a process that involves over a dozen staff located around the world. He helped develop and implement a new grant management process that has reduced the average time and number of steps it takes for grants to be finalized and submitted, which has been instrumental in delivering rapid lifesaving assistance. His team has recently focused on scaling up the organization’s activities in North East Nigeria, a region facing a particularly devastating nutrition crisis as a result of Boko Haram. Since June, the organization has scaled up its efforts and secured funding for emergency programming in nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food security.


Prior to his current role, Ryan worked as the community outreach officer at Action Against Hunger. In this position he developed, launched, and managed the student and community outreach program, which introduced American students of all ages to the issue of world hunger and sought to harness their creativity and passion to fundraise for the cause. He presented at schools across the country, expanding the organization’s domestic presence and inspiring the next generation of students against hunger.


Ryan graduated from Oberlin College in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Religion. His interest in macroeconomics and development theories led him to study abroad in Uganda where he conducted a research project on the country’s public transportation system. In addition to his college education, Ryan graduated from the Institute for Compassionate Leadership in 2014 after a six-month leadership program that taught mindfulness meditation, community organizing, and leadership skills.

Justin Henry

Press Officer, New York County District Attorney’s Office

Justin Henry currently serves as press officer for the office of New York County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. In this role, he supports the development and execution of the communications strategy for one of the nation’s most prominent local prosecutors and advises the district attorney on matters of public affairs and media relations. Since joining the office in April 2016, Justin has served as a point of contact for journalists and media outlets and has led efforts to promote the office’s community events and programming across various platforms, including social media.


Prior to his current role, Justin worked for the New York City Economic Development Corporation as a project manager on their government and community relations team. There, he supported government and community outreach efforts for economic development projects across New York City. Justin maintained relationships with elected officials and community groups in Central Brooklyn and Southeast Queens, and he led a citywide outreach campaign following the announcement of sweeping initiatives to support minority, women-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises. He has also interned at Constantinople & Vallone Consulting, LLC.


In 2013, Justin completed an intensive three-month research fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, where he authored a research thesis on black male visibility and the resurgence of black dandyism in the 21st century. Upon completing the fellowship, he presented the paper to historian Sylviane Diouf and Khalil Gibran Muhammad, then-director of the Schomburg Center. Justin is also a 2014-2015 New York City Urban Fellow.


Justin is a 2014 graduate of Fordham University where he earned a dual degree in American Studies and Political Science. 

Mark Herreros

Training Coordinator, Food Bank For New York City

Mark Herreros is a training coordinator at Food Bank For New York City (Food Bank), the city's major hunger relief organization. In addition to serving approximately 63 million meals each year through its network of over 1,000 charities and schools, Food Bank addresses the core issue of food insecurity through income support services, free tax assistance, and nutrition education programs. As part of Food Bank's Benefits Access Unit, Mark engages the organization's community-based partners about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a critical benefit for food-insecure households. His efforts are focused on training and supporting sites in their efforts to connect low-income households with SNAP. To that end, Mark's workshops address myths and misconceptions that often prevent eligible households, particularly seniors and immigrants, from applying for SNAP benefits.


At Food Bank, Mark also takes the lead on research and policy analysis for the NYC SNAP Task Force, a forum of service providers, legal advocates, and government representatives that meet to discuss trends and barriers to SNAP access citywide. Participants include directors and staff from the New York City Human Resources Administration, which oversees SNAP administration at the city level. The Task Force, chaired by Food Bank For NYC, was awarded with the 2015 Food Research and Action Center Award for Innovative Anti-Hunger Work.


Prior to joining Food Bank, Mark graduated Fordham University's College of Rose Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish as well as Communication and Media Studies. His education and volunteer work at Fordham helped spark his public service career. Right outside the Fordham gates, Mark served as a student leader at LIFT-New York, where he mobilized and trained volunteers to assist low-income clients with benefits and services. Volunteering in a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood gave Mark a deeper respect for the immigrant experience, enriching his studies and inspiring him to study abroad in Spain. Mark also honed his writing skills at Fordham, making significant contributions to his college newspaper. After graduating he worked as a freelance writer for NY1 News, contributing to the station's coverage of Hurricane Sandy and the 2012 presidential election.

Alexa Herzog

Monitoring Program Associate, New York City Board of Correction

Alexa Herzog is the monitoring program associate at the New York City Board of Correction (BOC), an independent city agency that establishes and ensures compliance with minimum standards in New York City jails. The BOC advances improvement and change toward smaller, safer, fairer, and more humane correctional facilities. In her role on the monitoring team on Rikers Island, Alexa develops tools and manages projects to enhance the monitoring team’s functions of compliance, investigations, and quality assurance.  Alexa joined the BOC as an NYC Urban Fellow where she monitored, analyzed, and reported on the exceptions to the board’s 2015 solitary confinement reforms, staffed the ad hoc violence committee, and supported the general counsel and BOC committee in rulemaking related to the Prison Rape Elimination Act.


Prior to working at the BOC, Alexa lived in Chicago where she was funded by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law to serve as the health reform initiative analyst at EverThrive Illinois. There she planned and facilitated trainings across Illinois for stakeholders on Affordable Care Act implementation and state Medicaid expansion and reform. Previously, Alexa was a Northwestern University Public Interest Program Fellow and AmeriCorps VISTA member at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAF) where she supported six certified navigators in their work enrolling 900 LAF clients and community members in affordable health care.


Alexa graduated with her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University where she studied Social Policy and International Relations. While there, she pursued her interest in criminal justice through a research grant in which she studied best practices in mental health programs used in prisons in preparation for re-entry. Alexa studied in Dakar, Senegal for a semester where she researched western mental health care practices.

Jessica Hood

Senior Development Associate, Center for Employment Opportunities

Jessica Hood is the senior development associate at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). CEO is a national nonprofit organization that provides immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services to men and women with recent criminal convictions. In her current role, she focuses on building systems and processes to increase CEO’s fund development capacity as the organization expands within its existing 11 sites and into new locations while managing proposal development for foundation and government grants for local sites and national initiatives.


Jessica began working at CEO as a planning and development associate, supporting grant writing, prospect research, and campaign management in CEO’s New York City, Upstate New York, and Philadelphia offices. In this role, she project managed CEO’s successful proposal to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City’s Connections to Care, a Social Innovation Fund program. Before CEO, Jessica served in the AmeriCorps VISTA program as the development coordinator at Reading Partners in Baltimore, Maryland. At Reading Partners, Jessica supported grant writing and reporting for foundation and corporate grants, developed marketing and outreach materials, managed donor relations, and worked on a variety of event-driven fundraising campaigns. Prior to Reading Partners, Jessica completed an internship with Women’s Action for New Directions and the Women Legislators’ Lobby, a national nonpartisan network of women state legislators who work together to influence federal policy and budget.


Jessica graduated cum laude from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service in International Politics. While at Georgetown, Jessica was an AmeriCorps volunteer with Jumpstart, an organization serving preschool-age children in low-income neighborhoods. She also spent a summer studying Dari, Farsi, and Tajik at Arizona State University's Critical Languages Institute, which included a month-long language practicum in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

Jenneh Kaikai

Real Estate Development Project Manager, New York City Housing Authority

Jenneh Kaikai is a real estate development project manager at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).  As part of NextGeneration NYCHA, the real estate development department is responsible for the success of two key programs. The NextGen Neighborhoods program which enables NYCHA to generate revenue to reinvest back into NYCHA development sites and across NYCHA by leveraging a 50-50 split of market-rate and affordable housing units; and the second program, “10,000 units of affordable housing in 10 years,” which entails development of underused NYCHA-owned land to support the creation of 100% affordable housing units with a commitment towards Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York Plan.


In her role as project manager, Jenneh is responsible for working with private developers and numerous city agencies to coordinate affordable housing projects across New York City.  She also engages with NYCHA residents and other community stakeholders about proposed development plans and works on other interagency initiatives focused on rezonings and neighborhood redevelopment and planning.


Previously, Jenneh served as a fellow in the New York City Urban Fellows Program- a nine-month career development program that introduces recent college graduates to local government and public service.  During her fellowship she worked as a project manager at NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in the supportive housing division. She credits her experience at HPD as what set her interest in housing development.  Producing housing for some of New York City’s most vulnerable: individuals and families coping with mental illness, trauma/abuse, addiction and chronic illness including HIV/AIDS, was a natural progression into housing from her community-focused work at a federally qualified health center in Massachusetts.


Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, Jenneh graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Community Health and Sustainability.  Although many of her undergraduate experiences were concentrated on public health, she has used her “Health in All Policies” approach to help solidify her interest in and sensitivity to the need for holistic and inclusive neighborhood planning.  She hopes to focus on housing as a foundational element of sustainable community development.

Alexandra Lis-Perlis

Program Manager, Code/Interactive

Alexandra (Alex) Lis-Perlis works as a program manager with Code/Interactive (C/I), an organization focused on eliminating the representation gap in technology careers across lines of ethnicity, income, and gender/expression. In her current role, Alex supports the C/I mission through increasing access to high-caliber computer science education, entrepreneurship opportunities, and industry exposure for New York City public school students. 


Previously, Alex worked as a community specialist at Girls Who Code (GWC), a national organization committed to closing the gender gap in the technology field. Alex informed and implemented recruitment strategy to grow GWC's program sites, managed communications and onboarding of volunteers, and assisted in improving program operations. Before she was a community specialist, Alex managed 70 Girls Who Code Clubs across five states as a site manager acting as a liason between host sites and the organization. 


After completing her undergraduate education, Alex served for two years as a Citizen Schools AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow at Isaac Newton Middle School in East Harlem where she tacked classroom teaching for the first time and grew in the areas of program delivery and project management. She remains most excited about opportunities where she can work behind the scenes to bring great opportunities to students that broaden their horizons and inspire them to grow. 


Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Tufts University where she was a Tisch College Scholar of Public Service and Active Citizenship, served on the student Senate as an LGBTQ Community Representative, and was a leader on the women's rugby team.

Elizabeth Maguire

Development and Communications Manager, Coro New York Leadership Center

Elizabeth Maguire is the development and communications manager at Coro New York Leadership Center, New York’s premier leadership training organization that delivers the skills, knowledge, and network to lead change throughout the city. At Coro, Elizabeth collaborates with senior staff and program directors to create and implement an integrated communications strategy that reinforces key messages of need, impact, and appreciation consistently across Coro’s social media accounts, website, and monthly newsletters. She also works in a fundraising capacity to process donations, maintain a funder database, help plan the annual gala and other alumni events throughout the year, and assist the executive director in writing and editing grant proposals.


Prior to joining Coro, Elizabeth attended New York University (NYU), where she graduated magna cum laude in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and minors in Spanish and Economics. Elizabeth studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was co-editor-in-chief of NYU’s undergraduate history journal The Historian. During her senior year, she was inducted to Phi Alpha Theta and received the Helen M. Jones Prize and the John W. Wilkes Memorial Prize for service and academic achievement in the field of history. Her senior thesis, “Inner Struggles, Outer Terrains: The Militarization of the U.S. Mexican Border, 1910-1930,” earned top honors and the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa/Albert S. Borgman Memorial Prize, the highest distinction an undergraduate thesis can receive at NYU.


Elizabeth has interned and volunteered with several immigrant advocacy organizations including Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, and Make the Road New York.

Raisa Ma

Program Manager - Community TeamWorks, Goldman Sachs

Raisa Ma is a champion for economic empowerment in under-resourced communities. She currently works as a program manager in the Goldman Sachs (GS) Office of Corporate Engagement. Corporate Engagement is comprised of the GS Foundation, Goldman Sachs Gives, 10,000 Women, 10,000 Small Businesses, and Community TeamWorks (CTW). As Program Manager at CTW, Raisa oversees a portfolio of over two hundred volunteer projects in which the people of GS work in partnership with nonprofit organizations, contributing their expertise and ideas to drive tangible progress, and make meaningful difference in local communities. She also provides programmatic support to ensure the success of GS’s global philanthropic initiatives 10,000 Women and 10,000 Small Businesses.


Previously, Raisa worked in the South Bronx as a job development specialist with The Door – Bronx Youth Center. At The Door, Raisa prepared young people for employment through the provision of comprehensive career services that develop potential for economic self-sufficiency. Raisa met job placement targets required by government and private funders through her ability to build strong rapport with participants seeking employment and employers with hiring needs.


Raisa’s passion for community and economic development stems from her previous experience as a Shriver Program Fellow with LIFT Los Angeles. LIFT is a national nonprofit organization lifting families out of poverty by providing access to critical resources including affordable housing, jobs, financial education, healthcare, and legal assistance. During her time with LIFT, Raisa’s responsibilities focused around building the organization’s programmatic capacity, including recruiting and managing 30 volunteers that performed client services, facilitating trainings pertaining to career development such as personal branding, resume-building, and diversity as well as supporting the advisory board and executive management with strategic planning.


Raisa is a strong advocate for encouraging young people to dedicate themselves to service, and was featured with Chelsea Clinton and Jimmy Kimmel during the national launch of the “Serve a Year” initiative in March 2015, which is a campaign to inspire young adults to commit to a year of service. Raisa graduated from the University of California, Irvine as a double major in Sociology and Anthropology with a focus on racism and social policy. During her last year she studied abroad in Rome, conducting research on the mistreatment and discrimination of overseas Filipino domestic workers living in Italy.

Annie McGee

Legislative Coordinator, New York City Housing Authority

Annie McGee is a legislative coordinator in the intergovernmental relations department at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA).  NYCHA is the country’s largest public housing authority, housing over 400,000 residents. NYCHA also oversees New York City’s Section 8 program, which provides vouchers to over 250,000 New Yorkers. NYCHA’s office of intergovernmental relations serves as the NYCHA's liaison to city, state, and federal elected officials and their offices.


Annie coordinates with all levels of elected officials on a daily basis, updating them of NYCHA’s policies and initiatives. Annie has helped applicants and residents, many of whom are under tremendous social pressures, get transfers to safer housing and expedite repairs. Annie also manages multimillion-dollar capital projects that are sponsored by city officials, and she is responsible for organizing tours for elected officials in an effort to promote HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program in New York City. The program, if successful, will bring more than one billion dollars in capital upgrades to public housing residents in North and Central Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan, and the South Bronx. 


Prior to NYCHA, Annie worked for New York City Public Advocate Letitia James as a correspondence coordinator and assistant to the chief of staff. Annie graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2014.

Gloria Medina

Senior Operations Analyst, NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs

Gloria Jane Medina is a native New Yorker currently working in city government at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA).  There, she is the senior operations analyst for ActionNYC, MOIA’s community-based free legal services program that assists immigrants in all five boroughs with upgrading their immigration status and connecting them to vital social services.  In this role she functions as the grants manager for the program’s nonprofit partners, staff project manager, fiscal manager, and data monitor. 


Previously, Gloria served as a program associate in U.S. programs at the Open Society Foundations, where she worked to support grantmaking portfolios focused on the collateral consequences of mass incarceration, death penalty abolition, public defense, and the reform of discriminatory policing practices. This work was supported by the project management skills she honed during her tenure as an account manager at a private sector translations company, and the knowledge of nonprofit administration she gained during her year teaching elementary school English and Art in Yunnan Province with Teach for China.


Gloria’s role in philanthropy marked her return to a career oriented toward domestic social justice, an interest she first explored through a college internship at the National Council of La Raza in Washington, DC, and which was informed by her experiences as a young Nuyorican growing up in the Bronx.  Gloria’s desire to work in social justice more broadly stems from her deep concern about systemic injustices that disproportionately affect black, Latino, and low-income communities such as the one in which she was raised.


Gloria received her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Wellesley College in 2011, where she also pursued a minor in Psychology. She currently serves on the Junior Board at El Museo Del Barrio.

Raquel Paulino

Program Associate, The Financial Clinic

Raquel Paulino is a program associate at The Financial Clinic. 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. 


Previously, Raquel worked for Sanctuary for Families as the family law project assistant at the Brooklyn Family Justice Center (BKFJC) located in the King County’s District Attorney’s Office. Sanctuary for Families is one of the largest legal service providers for survivors of domestic violence in New York City and is one of the main legal service providers located at the BKFJC, a one-stop shop of legal and social service providers for survivors. The BKFJC places family law and immigration lawyers, police officers, counselors, domestic violence prosecutors, and other providers under the same roof. At the BKFJC, Raquel drafted family offense petitions, custody/visitation petitions, uncontested divorces, and other family court related documents for survivors of domestic violence residing in Brooklyn. She advocated for clients with city and state agencies on issues such as public housing and public benefits.

Raquel was born in Venezuela and immigrated with her mother to the United States when she was five years old. Her experiences growing up led Raquel to dedicate time to learning about the services her family never knew existed. She interned at the NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence where she completed outreach in Brooklyn for a needs-assessment study to learn about whether residents knew of the services in their neighborhood and at the New York County District Attorney’s Office/Family and Child Abuse Bureau where she learned about how criminal law affects survivors and their abusers.


Raquel is an alumna of Smith College where she double majored in Government and Italian Studies. She is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in Italian after spending her junior year in college studying in Florence, Italy.

Catherine Roseman

Project and Administrative Coordinator, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Catherine Roseman currently serves as the project and administrative coordinator for the Consortium of Abortion Providers (CAPS) at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In this role, she works to further CAPS’ mission of protecting and improving access to high-quality abortion care. Catherine maintains the day-to-day operations of her team and develops resources and trainings for Planned Parenthood centers across the United States. She is deeply passionate about reducing the stigma surrounding abortion and helping health centers navigate legislation that unfairly targets abortion providers to restrict women’s access to care.


Prior to joining Planned Parenthood, Catherine worked as field organizer on a contentious state legislature race in her home state of Washington. Her work secured one of her candidates a critical victory necessary to clinch the Democratic majority in the Washington State House and prevent complete Republican control of the legislature.


Catherine first got hooked on community organizing while earning her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Tufts University. This interest led Catherine to an internship at U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s office, where she handled immigration casework. She appreciated the opportunity to learn the functions of a U.S. Senate office while helping constituents navigate communication with federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. 


Catherine applies her organizing skills to creative pursuits as well. She is the co-creator of a feminist zine called “The Fly Trap,” which she now co-manages and self-publishes. She developed The Fly Trap to include a wide range of genres, mediums, and perspectives on feminism from young women in various disciplines. It was successfully launched in April 2016, garnering support and sponsorships from female-run businesses across the country. Catherine is also experienced in film and darkroom photography and holds a minor in Studio Art. Her photography often explores themes of masculinity and she frequently features her work in The Fly Trap.

Shayna Scott

Program Analyst, Vera Institute of Justice

Shayna Scott 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 that people rely on for justice and safety. At Vera, Shayna works on projects that advance detained immigrants’ access to counsel. Shayna primarily assists with managing the National Qualified Representative Program, a federally funded program that provides counsel to immigrants who are found to have serious mental health or developmental disabilities.


Prior to joining Vera in April 2015, Shayna was a legal assistant for Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP specializing in the preparation of non-immigrant visas. In addition to her work in the private sector, Shayna held numerous internships at nonprofit organizations, such as the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition and the African Community Economic Development of New England.


Shayna graduated magna cum laude from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a minor in Philosophy. She studied abroad in Switzerland and interned at the International Centre for Migration, Health, and Development in Geneva. There, she researched the intersection of public health and immigration policy. During her senior year, Shayna was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and wrote a senior thesis on the accessibility of healthcare to undocumented immigrants. 


In addition to her work at Vera, Shayna volunteers at the Migrant Center, which provides free legal services to individuals and families throughout New York City. Shayna also plays violin in the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra and several small ensembles.

Alexander Simon-Fox

Grants Administrator, Stavros Niarchos Foundation

Alexander (Alex) Simon-Fox is a grants administrator at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, an international philanthropic organization with offices in New York, Monaco, and Athens. The foundation focuses in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare, with particular attention to vulnerable populations and the protracted economic and refugee crises occurring in Greece. Alex manages administrative processes related to the evaluation and implementation of grants through the New York office, including screening requests submitted via the foundation’s online application, administering payments, and tracking deliverables.


Alex joined the foundation after working as the head writing and research associate at a legal recruiting agency, where he drafted all written materials submitted on behalf of the agency’s clients. Prior to this, Alex assisted in research and fundraising efforts at the United States division of Human Rights Watch, a human rights advocacy organization; the Urban Justice Center’s Safety Net Project, an affordable housing organization; and MADRE, a women’s rights organization. These diverse settings exposed Alex to many different approaches to blending research, policy advocacy, and direct services. He is interested in initiatives and policies that empower historically marginalized populations through a continuum of complimentary services.


Alex graduated from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, City University of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Human Rights. At Hunter, Alex interned with the college’s office of legal affairs and its Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. Alex was a member of Hunter’s Model United Nations Team and its Roosevelt Institute chapter, co-authoring the memo “Addressing the Needs of Runaway and Homeless LGBT Youth” for the institute’s policy journal. Additionally, Alex was 2014 Humanity in Action Fellow and a delegate for the Northwestern University Conference on Human Rights in 2013 and 2014.

Kaori Sueyoshi

Business Intelligence Analyst, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Kaori Crystal Sueyoshi serves as the telehealth implementation manager at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In this role, Kaori manages resources and activities to implement site-to- site telemedicine technology at health centers across the country with the aim to expand access to Planned Parenthood’s health care services. Previously, she worked as a business intelligence analyst for data strategy and analytics. She first joined Planned Parenthood as an undergraduate intern with the Planned Parenthood Generation Action youth organizing team.


Parallel to her current role, Kaori serves on the board of directors of SisterSong: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. SisterSong is a national grassroots organization with a mission to strengthen and amplify the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights.


Born and raised in North Carolina, Kaori obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Political Science and minor in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). While at UNC, Kaori co-founded and lead the Students United for Reproductive Justice. In the summer of 2013, Kaori was actively arrested as an act of civil disobedience with the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina. In the face of political turmoil in her home state, Kaori organized the first North Caroline Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute, a gathering of campus leaders to train and energize student activism. Her efforts in student organizing were recognized through speaking engagements at several national conferences, including Netroots Nation and Civil Liberties for Public Policy. Kaori was also appointed to the Justice in Action Committee for the Town of Chapel Hill government.


Kaori is fascinated by the intersection of policy, politics, data, and technology in relation to progressive movements. Her varied roles within the public sector include digital marketing manager for the winning Campaign to Elect Park Cannon (youngest queer Black state house representative in history of Georgia), as well as intern with the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in North Carolina, through which she gained perspective on local and state level philanthropy.


Kaori is a native English and Japanese speaker. She is a Japanese-American cis woman, concerned with the hyphens of her identity.

Francis Urroz

Field Language Access Coordinator, NYC Department of Education

Francis Urroz is the field language access coordinator at the New York City Department of Education’s Manhattan Field Support Center (MFSC), which provides Manhattan schools with high-quality, differentiated support in instruction, operations, and student services such as safety, health, and wellness, as well as support for English Language Learners and students with special needs.


In her role, Francis is responsible for supporting schools in developing a comprehensive language access plan for communicating and engaging limited-English proficient families including creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all families. Among her responsibilities, Francis determines whether schools in the district are exceeding or meeting expectations in delivering quality translation and interpretation services consistent with Chancellor’s Regulation A-663 or whether schools will need regular monitoring and support to increase their proficiency. Francis also works closely with superintendents’ offices in addressing unresolved parent concerns regarding translation and interpretation at the school level and implementing escalation protocol for schools that have not made adequate progress in delivering quality services after receiving support.


Prior to working at the MFSC, Francis worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) as an AmeriCorps member. At MOIA, Francis coordinated Know Your Rights Forums (KYRF) throughout the five boroughs of NYC, educating immigrant communities about the vital services that assist immigrant families in overcoming language, economic, and education barriers. By leading KYRF, Francis familiarized herself with the particular challenges faced by different communities, and used this knowledge to expand KYRF outreach and services to vulnerable immigrant communities by working with IDNYC neighborhood organizers, community-based organizations, and city agencies. In addition to hosting citywide forums, Francis worked on multiple pro-immigration projects, including Cities for Action, a coalition that organizes mayors across the country around issues of immigration.


Francis received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and English from the University of Florida (UF), where she worked with CHISPAS, the only student organization that specifically serves immigrants in the Gainesville area. During her involvement with CHISPAS, Francis advocated with fellow UF students for in-state tuition for undocumented students and for the Fair Food Campaign led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers.

Olivia Van Gundy

Corporate Relations and Foundations Coordinator, Food Bank For New York City

Olivia Van Gundy is the corporate relations and foundations coordinator for Food Bank For New York City (Food  Bank), the city’s largest anti-hunger organization. Through her fundraising and external relations efforts, Olivia supports Food Bank’s ability to serve the one in five New Yorkers who rely on their services. An anthropologist at heart with a passion for public health, Olivia enjoys building relationships with business partners so Food Bank can creatively address complex issues of poverty and health.


Olivia began her public service career journey at Food Bank, and she began there as an assistant on the volunteer engagement team in which she managed 300+ volunteers across the five boroughs as part of Food Bank’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. She coordinated trainings to have them IRS certified, and placed them across 20 sites so that low-income New Yorkers were able to get their taxes done for free. Almost 100,000 New Yorkers were directly helped by the VITA program in 2016, putting more money into the pockets of those who need it most. Olivia is particularly proud of working for an organization like Food Bank that provides emergency hunger relief services, as well as wrap around anti-poverty programming such as nutrition education and financial counseling.


Olivia received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 2014 with a minor in Global Health. While at Northwestern, she had an impactful and meaningful study abroad experience in Cuba where she focused on public health.

Jesse Weiss

Associate, Bennett Midland LLC

Jesse Weiss is an associate with Bennett Midland LLC, a strategic partner for the civic sector. Bennett Midland works with government agencies, nonprofits, and foundations to design solutions that make a difference for the people they serve. Jesse has contributed to the design and implementation of a number of national philanthropic initiatives, most recently, Invest Health, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program. Through his work on Invest Health, he works with leaders from cities across the U.S. to develop new strategies to increase and leverage private and public investment and accelerate improvements in neighborhoods facing the biggest barriers to better health. He also supports Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams grant program, which helps city leaders develop innovative solutions to their city’s most pressing issues. Jesse has supported strategic planning for nonprofits, including the Center for an Urban Future.


Prior to joining Bennett Midland, Jesse worked for Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable housing nonprofit, and served as a field organizer for a New York State Senate campaign.


Jesse holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan. He currently serves on the Local Candidates Committee for Citizens Union, a nonpartisan good government group, and is a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City.

Career Guides

Maria Campo

Director of Programs and Outreach, Girls Write Now

Maria Campo is currently the director of programs and outreach at Girls Write Now (GWN), a writing and mentoring nonprofit for young women. Maria has over ten years of experience in K through 12 and higher education, primarily focused in organizations that strive to improve educational equity and quality.


Prior to GWN, Maria served as senior director of charter evaluation and policy in the New York City Department of Education (DOE), providing oversight and accountability to DOE-authorized charter schools. At the NYC Charter School Center, she managed and evaluated programs for the charter advocacy and technical support organization. Maria supported programs at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an entrepreneurship education nonprofit. She has also worked as an admissions counselor, an English Language Learners textbook publishing specialist, and assistant editor. 


Maria holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Baruch College, and a Bachelors of Arts in English from Boston College.

Jeremy Coffey

Attorney, Perlman & Perlman LLP

Jeremy Coffey is an attorney at Perlman & Perlman LLP, a law firm specializing in the representation of organizations working to improve the social good, including nonprofits, foundations, and socially conscious for profit companies. Jeremy advises individuals, educational institutions, religious institutions, and various other nonprofits on governance, compliance with state and federal law, management best practices, and innovative fundraising platforms. Jeremy has assisted organizations in all stages of their life cycles, including advising individuals who are contemplating forming new nonprofits, helping charities wind down once they have achieved their missions, and aiding nascent organizations expand and manage their growth. 


Prior to joining Perlman, Jeremy worked at Schiff Hardin LLP, a large national law firm where he was a member of the corporate and employee benefits practice groups and worked with Fortune 500 companies on complex transactions. Jeremy also assisted a startup financial technology company navigate federal and state regulations while helping it secure a New York Virtual Currency license, one of the few licenses issued to date. He also enjoyed working with the firm’s pro bono practice.


Before becoming an attorney, Jeremy was an English as a Second Language and Spanish teacher at MS260 – The Clinton School for Writers and Artists, a public middle school in downtown Manhattan.


Jeremy has a JD from New York University School of Law, where he also helped start the school’s therapy dog program, which brings dogs to relieve the stress of students, professors, and staff. He also holds a Master of Arts in Education and Politics from Teachers College at Columbia University, where he first found his passion for the intersection of law and education. Jeremy earned his Honors Bachelor of Arts from Rollins College, where he was a member of the soccer team, an avid supporter of the intramural sports program, and member of IMPACT, a student-led group seeking to raise on-campus awareness of social justice issues. Jeremy lives in Manhattan with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.


Jeremy was a 2009 fellow in the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS), who served on the FELPS Alumni Board for two years, including one year as president. Jeremy previously served as an alumni guide for three years.

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 of Public Administration from the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Queens College.

Mark Liu

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Mount Sinai Health System

Mark Liu is the director of strategic initiatives for the oncology service line at the Mount Sinai Health System. He is leading the implementation of the Oncology Care Model, a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation alternative payment and delivery model focused on improving quality and lowering healthcare costs. He initially joined the Mount Sinai Health System as a project manager in strategic planning and business development working as part of a team to facilitate the build of a new entity that is advancing population health and value-based care within the system. 


Prior to joining the Mount Sinai Health System, Mark was a clinical practice supervisor in ambulatory care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a world-renowned organization dedicated to the progressive control and cure of cancer. He managed day-to-day operations during his eight year tenure working across nine services.


Mark graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Neuroscience and Sociology. His senior thesis explored ways of “Improving Cultural Competency of American Hospitals for Limited English Proficiency Populations.” While at Binghamton, he served as the associate director of a student-led economic think tank, volunteered regularly as an emergency medical technician, and was president in community student government. He also organized an award-winning program to promote awareness and empower students to increase access to healthcare.


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 has continued to be engaged as an alumni guide for three years and this is his fourth year as a career guide.

Rebecca Stauffer

Director of Program Operations, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Rebecca 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 New York City 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 New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry and senior project manager within the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center. Rebecca earned her Master of Public Administration degree from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Kenyon College.

Amanda Weiner

Organizational Development Specialist, Visiting Nurse Service of New York

Amanda Gitlin Weiner currently serves as an organizational development specialist at Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the nation’s largest nonprofit home health care organization. Concurrently, Amanda also partners with a variety of New York City nonprofit organizations through her role a senior consultant at Leading For Good, an executive coaching, teambuilding, and leadership development firm. 


Amanda is a leadership coach and consultant who empowers others to achieve organizational and personal goals in a way that is authentic, engaging, and effective. Amanda partners with leaders at all levels to help each find his/her potential, believing that one need not have a formal leadership title to act and be perceived as one.  Amanda also works with groups and teams to help them function effectively in order to achieve an organization’s goals in a way that feels sincere to them as individuals.


To develop her coaching style, Amanda has practiced under the guidance of iCoachNewYork’s esteemed coaches.  Amanda is also passionate about effective communication and helping others achieve their optimum communication performance. She is a member of Toastmasters International and has served in a variety of leadership roles, including vice president of education and president.  Amanda is an active member of the community and had the honor of serving as a hospice volunteer for several years.


Amanda holds a Master of Arts in Social-Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science in Management from Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business. She resides in New York City with her husband and sons.

Alumni Guides

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 promotes economic justice, safety, and health for women, families, and communities in NYC. She plays a leading role in developing and executing NYWF’s content strategy in the areas of media, publications, and public education.  Key projects include managing all aspects of public education events; compiling policy, statistical, and grantee partner information for media materials and articles; and overseeing the editorial and production process for all NYWF publications, including research reports, a weekly newsletter, and a tri-annual e-zine. 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 Bachelor of Arts 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 (UNF) Global Classrooms Model United Nations delegate as a high school student 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. Continuing her impact on student development, Gael has served as a mentor at iMentor since 2013. Gael was a 2013 Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service fellow and has been an alumni guide for the program since 2014.

Sadie Casamenti

Immigration Policy Associate, NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice

Sadie Casamenti is the immigration policy associate at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ). When she first started at MOCJ in 2013, Sadie oversaw the innovative Immigration Counsel for the Indigent program, which provides in-house immigration attorneys at each of the indigent criminal defense providers throughout New York City. Since then, Sadie has deepened MOCJ’s immigration legal services portfolio to include a new Padilla Support Center through the Immigrant Defense Project. As the office’s immigration specialist, Sadie also coordinates meetings with city agencies, law enforcement, and community-based organizations to help troubleshoot issues relating to immigration policy.


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


In 2011, Sadie graduated with honors from Amherst College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. At graduation, she was a recipient of the Obed Finch Slingerland Memorial Prize, awarded to distinguished graduates who have shown, by their own determination and accomplishment, the greatest appreciation of and desire for a college education.


A New Jersey native, Sadie is also a proud graduate of New Jersey SEEDS, an organization that prepares motivated, high-achieving, low-income students to attend private schools and colleges across the country. Sadie also serves as a founding steering committee member of the Young Professionals Leadership Council, a group that provides outreach, fundraising, and strategic support on behalf of the New York Immigration Coalition. Sadie was a 2014 Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service fellow.

Jawad Cipriani

Senior Assistant Director of Student Life – School of General Studies, Columbia University

Jawad Cipriani is currently the senior assistant director of student life in the School of General Studies (GS), the undergraduate college at Columbia University created specifically for returning and nontraditional students seeking a traditional, Ivy League undergraduate degree. In his role, he oversees leadership development, advises students groups, and executes special events.


Prior to joining the student life team at GS, Jawad served as a graduate assistant in the office of first year and transfer programs at Syracuse University for two years. In this role he coordinated the transfer mentor program, collaborated with colleagues to coordinate Syracuse’s orientation programs, and advised “The Story Project,” a student group for first-generation college students. During this time, he also interned in the LGBTQ resource center of Syracuse University and office of student involvement and leadership at State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.


He was able to work in these roles due to the experiences he had while working at Prep for Prep, an educational nonprofit with the objective of identifying and developing leadership in underrepresented groups. For three years he had the opportunity to work with college students who were graduates of the program. Working with Prep for Prep allowed Jawad to explore his commitment to tackling issues of inequity in the public school system and the social barriers that exist for students, which is at the core of the organization’s goals. He credits his undergraduate experience for nurturing his passion for public service and social justice.


Jawad received a Bachelor of Arts in Critical Social Studies with a concentration in Marginalized Populations from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in 2008. He earned his Master of Science in Higher Education from Syracuse University in 2013. He was a member of the 2011 Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service class and tributes the fellowship with helping him to develop the confidence to attend graduate school.

Karina de Sousa

Manager of Special Projects, National Urban League

Karina de Sousa is the manager of special projects at the National Urban League (NUL), the nation’s premier civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in historically under-served urban communities. In this past year, Karina represented NUL as an Emerging Millennial Leader in a meeting with Secretary Hillary Clinton. She was instrumental in planning a service trip to Flint, Michigan amidst the city’s ongoing water crisis with NUL managers and Urban League Young Professional volunteers from around the country. Most recently, Karina helped organize the Our Vote Matters bus tour through northeast Ohio to encourage residents to get out the vote.


Karina previously served as an associate at NUL and joined the organization as an intern in the education and youth development division. Karina has also interned in the U.S. with the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, in Brazil at the Secretariat of the State for Social Defense, and in Mozambique at the Foundation for Community Development.


Karina is committed to positively impacting the lives of vulnerable women and girls through her professional and volunteer endeavors. Karina served as a team leader on the inaugural participatory review committee of the NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color which is focused on investing in nonprofit organizations and efforts that promote the well-being and leadership of young women of color as change agents and work to advance cultural and systemic changes through the lenses of race, gender, and economic justice. Additionally, Karina has served as a team leader on The New York Women’s Foundation Grants Advisory Committee, identifying innovative and effective organizations working to achieve economic security for women and girls in NYC. She is also the co-chair of the welcoming committee of The New York Women’s Foundation Committee for the Future. Karina has mentored a local youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC since 2013.


Karina graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Illinois Wesleyan University where she received the 2011 Student Leadership Distinguished Service Award for Cultural Leadership. Karina was a fellow in the 2014 class of the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service. 

Primo Lasana

Senior Recruiter of Corporate Engagement, iMentor

Primo Lasana is the senior recruiter of corporate engagement for iMentor NYC. 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 15 public schools in NYC and engages over 4,000 mentor-mentee pairs.


In his role, Primo recruits college-educated mentors to volunteer with New York City high school students and ensure that those students can attend college. Specifically, Primo partners with the large banks and corporations that fund iMentor to provide these mentors. This year, iMentor needed 2,000 new volunteers to begin the school year. Previous to his current role, Primo spent four years working in a New York City high school with the founding class at The Academy for Software Engineering. He worked with 120 students and their 120 mentors over four years. This June, his students graduated with a 100% college acceptance rate.             


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 eighth 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 Hunter College, City University of New York where he graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree 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! Primo was a fellow in the 2014 cohort of the Fellowship for Emering Leaders in Public Service.

Roland Persaud

Program Associate – Government Innovation, Bloomberg Philanthropies

Roland Persaud works on government innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Bloomberg Philanthropies works to create catalytic change across five areas of focus: arts and culture, education, the environment, government innovation, and public health. Its mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. Its approach is rooted in Mike Bloomberg's unique experience and success across the fields of business, government, and philanthropy.


The Government Innovation team promotes public sector innovation capacity and spreads proven and promising solutions among cities worldwide. Through diverse initiatives, Roland’s team tests and refines urban innovations, equipping mayors and local leaders with practical tools and approaches to tackle tough issues and enable civic innovation.


In his role, Roland is responsible for helping to manage some of the organization’s current investments including: Innovation Teams (in-house innovation consultancies in mayor’s offices who use Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Delivery approach to tackle top priorities); post-prize support to cities who participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge (a growing international innovation competition for cities); and Financial Empowerment Centers (cities implementing the proven financial counseling model pioneered in New York City).


A native of White Plains, New York, Roland graduated from Princeton University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Certificate in African American Studies. During his time at Princeton, Roland was a member of Cannon Club, student manager for the Frist Campus Center, and treasurer of the Princeton Caribbean Connection. He also enjoyed volunteering his time as a light design and soundboard operator for various dance companies while on campus. Today, Roland remains an active member of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni. Roland was a fellow in the 2014 cohort of the Fellowship for Emering Leaders in Public Service.

Fellowship Staff

Moschell Coffey

Director, Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service

Moschell (Mo) Coffey is the director of the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS).  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 New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (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. 


Mo holds a Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy with an International Policy and Management specialization from NYU Wagner.  A graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, Mo earned an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude in International Relations with a minor in Spanish.