FELPS FELLOWS 2021
Analyst - Community Outcomes Fund, Maycomb Capital
Faith Burns is an analyst with the Community Outcomes Fund at Maycomb Capital. The Community Outcomes Fund is a mission-driven impact investment fund that provides outcomes financing. By leveraging private capital, the fund works in partnership with human service providers, government, and other community stakeholders to expand evidence-based services in marginalized communities. In her role at the fund, Faith supports all aspects of outcomes financing project development including business development, project design, and due diligence. Through her work, she has the privilege of supporting communities as they improve outcomes for individuals and families, with a particular focus on early childhood and workforce development interventions.
Prior to joining Maycomb Capital, Faith worked as a policy research intern at The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis (TCI) in Richmond, VA. While at TCI, Faith supported quantitative analyses and qualitative research on state spending and policies impacting low- and moderate-income Virginians. In addition to this experience, Faith has also supported research and grant proposal development as an economic development intern at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office.
Faith graduated from Emory University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in African American Studies, which has fostered her commitment towards improving economic mobility for Black and brown communities. During her time on campus, Faith conducted extensive research on public policies and programs that impact communities of color, which continues to motivate her commitment to the public service field.
Faith grew up in Westchester County, NY and currently resides in Brooklyn. In her free time, she enjoys cooking at home, thrift shopping in her neighborhood, and strength training at the gym.
Paralegal Casehandler - The Mental Health Project, Urban Justice Center
Justin Campos is a paralegal casehandler at the Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project (MHP), an interdisciplinary nonprofit legal services and advocacy organization that serves low-income New Yorkers with serious mental health concerns. He works on the healthcare advocacy team of the MHP that offers direct services, advocacy and education to clients on Medicaid.
Justin’s advocacy centers around Medicaid Health and Recovery Plans (HARPs), a special Medicaid plan available only to people with serious behavioral health needs, including mental health concerns and substance use disorders. In a partnership with the Independent Consumer Advocacy Network, Justin monitors a Medicaid helpline to provide consumers across New York State who are enrolled in HARPs with education, navigational assistance, and advocacy. He also conducts community outreach and gives educational presentations throughout New York City for Medicaid members, caregivers, providers, and other advocates, and works to identify trends and issues affecting Medicaid recipients in New York State.
Prior to working at MHP, Justin worked as a project associate for truthinadvertising.org, a nonprofit advertising watchdog organization that works to empower consumers to protect themselves and one another against false advertising and deceptive marketing. He was also an electoral intern for Democracy for America, a people-powered, progressive political action committee.
Originally from Branford, CT, Justin graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT in 2019 with a BA from the College of Social Studies and a minor in International Relations. He earned departmental honors for successfully completing his thesis that examined processes of transitional justice and societal reconciliation following a period of internal conflict in Peru.
Justin currently resides on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He enjoys taking socially-distanced walks, listening to Vampire Weekend, and making memes in his spare time.
Communications Manager, When We Fight, We Win!
Thalia Y. Carroll-Cachimuel serves as the communications manager for When We Fight, We Win! In this role, her key responsibilities include managing all social media channels, website, email communications, fundraising appeals, and script writing. Thalia is also a contracted Indigenous history curriculum contributor for Teaching Tolerance. She combines her passion for marketing and social justice by actively fighting for Indigenous and Latinx human rights.
Thalia is trained in the Kingian Nonviolence Curriculum, a philosophy and methodology that provides the knowledge, skills, and motivation necessary for people to pursue peaceful strategies for solving personal and community problems. It is how individuals and communities learn to address the issue of conflict without resorting to violence. She has trained middle school students, teachers, and police officers in this curriculum in order to combat the school-to-prison pipeline.
Thalia previously worked at Philanthropy New York as the membership and learning services coordinator. There, she worked with 280+ New York City-based foundations while supporting member and program initiatives.
Thalia graduated with a BA in Human Services from Northeastern University in 2018, where she was awarded the La Comunidad Latina En Acción full-tuition scholarship and was a Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar. During her time at Northeastern, Thalia interned at the United Nations in the Human Rights Department and for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Thalia was also co-chair of the Latinx Caucus for the College Democrats of Massachusetts.
Thalia is a proud Ecuadorian originally from Cambridge, MA who now lives in New York City. Her family lives in an Indigenous village in Otavalo, Ecuador.
Carlos Castell Croke
Associate for New York City Programs, New York League of Conservation Voters
Carlos Castell Croke is the associate for New York City programs at the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV). NYLCV is a statewide non-partisan environmental organization that fights for clean air, clean water, renewable energy, and open space through political action. NYLCV is the only environmental organization in New York State that evaluates the performance of elected officials, endorses candidates who care about the environment, and campaigns for pro-environment candidates and legislation.
In his role, Carlos advocates for the environment by engaging the public and New York City Council on a number of issues including clear air, clean water, public health, open spaces, sustainability, conservation, and emission reductions. Recently he has led efforts to electrify New York City’s school bus fleet, establish a citywide composting and organic waste collection program, expand funding for parks and open spaces, and implement a shared electric scooter pilot program.
He previously held a position as special assistant to the president at NYLCV, where he scheduled meetings for the president and organized the board of directors. Prior to NYLCV, Carlos was a government relations and community affairs fellow at the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Carlos graduated from Lehigh University in 2018 with a BS in Earth and Environmental Sciences. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. He enjoys bike rides through Prospect Park and exploring the city’s diverse food scene.
Analyst, Public Works Partners
Jennifer Chung is an analyst at Public Works Partners, a mission-driven planning and consulting firm serving clients 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, Jennifer coordinates multi-stakeholder engagements and conducts policy research and data analysis to advance her clients’ policy agendas. Her projects allow her to work at the intersections between equitable economic development, building urban resilience, and climate adaptation. During her time at Public Works Partners, Jennifer has worked on a range of projects aimed at studying complex industries and improving city service provision. These have included conducting research to develop a study of New York City’s film and television industry, supporting the virtual public scoping meeting process for the proposed Empire Station Complex project, and helping with public engagement activities for the Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan.
Prior to her role at Public Works Partners, Jennifer served as a Fulbright Scholar in Brazil. For her Fulbright scholarship, Jennifer co-taught English and led self-designed courses covering climate hazards, environmental racism, politics, and human geography at a state university in Brazil. During her time in Brazil, Jennifer also mentored high-potential Brazilian youths to help them apply to graduate programs in the U.S., and assisted Brazilian colleagues with editing scientific journal article submissions.
Fluent in multiple languages, Jennifer also worked to help increase pre-kindergarten enrollment in underserved neighborhoods across the five boroughs at the New York City Department of Education. In addition, Jennifer has worked at the Urban Land Institute and the New York City Mayor’s Office where she focused on affordable housing policy.
Jennifer graduated from Macalester College in 2018, where she studied Economics and Geography with a regional focus on Latin America. She focused her undergraduate career on studying urban economic development and the intersection of public space and social inequalities. During her time at Macalester, she served as a peer career mentor and teaching assistant in the Portuguese department. A native New Yorker, Jennifer enjoys trying new restaurants in the five boroughs, traveling, and baking.
Administrative Manager, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Shaneile Fearon currently serves as the administrative manager in the department of membership affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) where she is a fierce advocate for women’s rights and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for marginalized communities. PPFA is a national organization committed to educating the public on reproductive and sexual health issues, advocating for policy improvement in those areas, and providing support to Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country. Along with her team, she supports the committees of the federation entrusted with authority over federation-wide matters pertaining to standards of affiliation, fundraising, federation governance, national board and committee membership, and brand and trademark usage.
Prior to joining PPFA, Shaneile was a member of the corporate social responsibility division of a public relations firm where she assisted nonprofit clients in developing fundraising strategies and lasting donor engagement.
Shaneile’s interest in philanthropy began early on through partnerships with Rotary International and assuming volunteer leadership roles within their youth-focused arm, Interact Club. She prides herself on her contributions in service of a number of Rotary’s projects, including the global eradication of polio, access to basic education and literacy, and disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts around the world — the most rewarding of which being her fundraising efforts in support of the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund following the magnitude 7 earthquake which ravaged the nation in 2010.
Shaneile was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, and now resides in New York. She graduated with honours from the University of the West Indies, Mona with a BS degree in Psychology with a concentration in Criminology. She is an avid listener of financial podcasts and loves to indulge in sitcoms and crime dramas. She hopes to inspire young activists to find their footing and amplify their voices for worthy causes.
Research Assistant, MDRC
Gloriela Iguina-Colón is a research assistant at MDRC. In this role, she has supported several projects within community development, public housing, and government assistance such as Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, workforce development, and career and technical education in community colleges. She is energized by the conviction that evaluation and public policy can and should address systemic inequities. Motivated by this principle, she is MDRC’S diversity council co-chair and works to increase communication across the organization and develop initiatives to foster a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization where all employees feel valued. With more than five years of facilitation experience, she has developed and co-created more than a dozen dialogues and collaborative spaces for students, community members, and researchers to develop organizational strategy and sustainable, structural change.
Prior to working at MDRC, Iguina-Colón has engaged in a range of public policy and research experiences at the federal, state, and local levels as a congressional intern, an immigration legal clerk, and a social policy researcher. She is passionate about applying her skills and interest for connecting people, thinking critically and holistically about problems, and developing equity- and human-centered solutions.
She loves dancing, swimming in the open sea, travelling, and learning about different cultural traditions. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor.
Mayor’s Action Plan Engagement Manager, Center for Court Innovation
Marcus currently works at the Center for Court Innovation as a Mayor’s Action Plan Engagement Manager for the Wagner Houses. Wagner is located in East Harlem and is one of 326 New York City Housing Authority developments. As an engagement manager, his role is to lead a diverse resident team as they promote resident priorities and amplify their voices to elected officials, CBOs, and city agencies.
Marcus is an experienced community strategist and advocate who discovers unique ways to improve public life and resident ownership. He has several years of experience building partnerships between public and private sectors and leading teams to be innovative in solving complex challenges. Marcus empowers community voices and helps explain and overcome structural barriers in decision-making meetings. He believes that increased engagement will create more opportunities for resident ownership.
Additionally, Marcus is committed to creating initiatives that improve inclusion and equity in tech and entrepreneurship. He is a dedicated to supporting underrepresented entrepreneurs and communities and is an accomplished ecosystem builder. His approach is creative, inclusive, and holistic and combines the expertise he has gained as a community organizer and marketing strategist.
Marcus is a Harlem native who graduated in 2017 from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Criminal Justice and a minor in Mathematics.
Leadership Coordinator, IDEO.org
Aleena Kazmi is a leadership coordinator at IDEO.org, a nonprofit design studio that creates products and services alongside organizations that are committed to creating a more just and inclusive world. In her role, Aleena works with IDEO.org’s CEO and managing directors in the New York studio to create balance, structure, and clarity in the chaos of everyday life. Her core responsibilities include organizing and coordinating calendars, travel, events, and experiences. Acting as somewhat of an air traffic control system for IDEO.org, Aleena helps keep the leadership team connected, organized, informed, and focused with the tools, systems, and behaviors that streamline processes and workloads.
Prior to joining IDEO.org, Aleena interned at Global Health Corps, a leadership development incubator dedicated to fostering the next generation of health leaders. As the special events and projects and growth and change intern, she focused on internal event planning, leadership support, and business development.
Aleena holds a BS in Global Public Health and Biology from New York University. While there, she spent time researching maternal embryonic gene development in Drosophila melanogaster and tobacco cessation trends in the tri-state area before finding her footing in social impact.
Project Coordinator - Planning and Estates Law Project, City Bar Justice Center
Nancy Larcher is the project coordinator for the Planning and Estates Law Project (PELP) at the City Bar Justice Center, a legal services nonprofit that serves over 25,000 low-income New Yorkers per year. As the project coordinator for PELP, Nancy assists with anti-poverty work by empowering low-income clients to claim family assets and preserve generational wealth in Surrogate’s Court. She conducts intake interviews with clients regarding estate administration or probating a will for loved ones who have passed away. She presents and places cases with a panel of expert pro bono attorneys. She also works on the medical-legal partnership with Mount Sinai by working with terminally ill patients with life-planning matters. Most recently, Nancy has been part of COVID-19 relief efforts by assisting frontline healthcare workers with life-planning documents and working with new volunteers to assist low-income New Yorkers who lost a loved one from the pandemic.
Prior to this role, Nancy served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Immigration Advocates Network and worked on connecting volunteers with nonprofit organizations, resources, and opportunities to serve immigrants.
Nancy graduated from Macaulay Honors College at the City College of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science in 2018. She was a Partners for Change Fellow at City College. As a part of this fellowship, Nancy interned at Human Rights First, worked with other fellows to carry out a participatory action research project on mental health resources at City College, and completed a capstone paper on immigration and the impact of mass incarceration. Her senior thesis was on the geography of LGBTQ collective memory in New York City from 1945 to 1968.
Nancy is the child of Brazilian immigrants and is fluent in Portuguese. She is a life-long New Yorker from Jackson Heights, Queens and still resides there. Nancy loves reading graphic novels, visiting the New York Botanical Gardens, and drinking homemade cold brew coffee.
Compliance Analyst, Center for Employment Opportunities
Shivana Maraj is a compliance analyst at Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). CEO is a national nonprofit organization that provides immediate, effective, and comprehensive employment services to individuals who have recently returned home from incarceration in 30 cities across ten states. In her current role, she focuses on monitoring regulatory developments related to the work of CEO, collaborating with internal teams to determine risk areas, developing compliance trainings, and drafting compliance protocols.
Prior to joining CEO, Shivana worked for the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services in Trinidad and Tobago. During her three years in Trinidad, she was a business operations assistant for the Targeted Conditional Cash Transfer Program, then transitioned to the Ministry’s Nonprofit Affairs Unit as an investigation and assessment officer. In her latter role, Shivana was responsible for monitoring grant disbursements and preparing quarterly and annual trend analysis expenditure reports for 30 nonprofit organizations in receipt of ministry funding. She also participated in working groups to help identify key metrics for the monitoring and evaluation of grantees’ expenditures and served on the Ministry of National Security’s subcommittee focused on providing social services to victims of human trafficking.
Shivana received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers University. During her time as an undergraduate, she was a program volunteer for the Institute for Domestic and International Affairs, a nonprofit organization that runs civic engagement programs for students of all ages.
Account Manager - Queens Business Solutions Center, Next Street
Quadri Olanlege is an account manager with Next Street, working in partnership with New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) at the Queens Business Solutions Center. In this role, he serves primarily as an advisor, collaborating with community partners to educate clients on what it means to become an entrepreneur and the various resources available throughout New York City, as well as providing feedback to SBS on its programs and processes. The Queens Business Solutions Center offers many free services to underserved communities including courses on topics from finance to marketing, one-on-one legal assistance, NYC Minority and/or Women-Owned Business Enterprise Certification, navigating government regulations, finding low interest financing, certified public accountant consultations, and credit counseling.
Outside of his role with the Queens Center, Quadri is an active member of Next Street’s Inclusive Impact Committee, where he works on accountability measurements as the organization commits to be an anti-racist organization. He helps create strategic plans for the organization to achieve its overall goal to create a more inclusive US economy by improving both its internal and external processes such as removing unconscious bias from recruitment practices, creating more opportunities to work across teams, and coordinating firm-wide anti-racism trainings.
Coming from a family of business owners that immigrated to Brooklyn from Nigeria, Quadri has a unique perspective on the struggles small businesses face, particularly those owned by people of color in New York City. This fuels his passion to help uncover those resources and tools to drive success for entrepreneurs in underserved communities.
Overnight Resident Advisor, Covenant House New York
Thomasina Pearce is an overnight resident advisor at Covenant House New York (CHNY), a nonprofit organization that provides safe, short-term and longer-term housing to support the needs of young people who are homeless. In her capacity, Thomasina holds the responsibility of administering intake assessments and completing safety plans as needed to ensure that residents feel supported at CHNY. Additionally, she works collaboratively with day staff to facilitate completion of documentation and to orchestrate efforts toward outreach, crisis management, housing programs, and job searches for young residents. Thomasina also provides translation services to Spanish-speaking residents in the program.
Prior to joining the CHNY team, Thomasina interned at the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services in the Youth and Family Services department. In this position, Thomasina was tasked with identifying safety concerns in the homes of youth in the system and implementing secure plans to protect the welfare of youth on her permanency planning caseload. She worked closely with the justice system to present recommended plans of action and to advocate for the needs of youth in the system.
Thomasina graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Social Work in 2019. While at UNCC, Thomasina traveled to Kenya to mentor residents aged 5 to 18 at a children’s group home. She also conducted a research study to identify the relationship between the caseload of case workers and the quality of services clients received. Thomasina took home first place at her university’s research conference for community engagement within her research study. She also spent a full summer interning with a tutoring camp in Hyde Park, Chicago, where she helped develop and implement multiple academic curriculums for participants ages 5 to 16 years old. Thomasina encouraged the youth to get involved in the community through food justice programming by volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
Thomasina prides herself on contributing to youth development in any capacity. As a new resident of New York City, she enjoys trying new restaurants, roller skating at various parks, and taking a plethora of photos.
Paralegal, Innocence Project
Lauren Schlansky is a paralegal at the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project represents clients seeking post-conviction DNA testing to prove their innocence. Lauren works in the legal department, where she investigates and assists with litigation in a number of post-conviction cases across the country.
Prior to joining the Innocence Project, Lauren was an investigator at Brooklyn Defender Services. As an investigator, Lauren helped defend hundreds of individuals charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes.
During college, Lauren conducted policy research on the effects of electronic monitoring and assisted with investigations at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. She also interned with several organizations including the Legal Aid Society of New York City, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Lauren graduated from Stanford University with degrees in Philosophy and Political Science. While in school, Lauren held research positions in Stanford’s Psychology, History, and Political Science Departments and was a member of the student government. Her interests include the history of philosophy and political theory. She is originally from Southern California and enjoys playing tennis in her free time.
Investigator, The Bronx Defenders
Michelle Soto is an investigator at The Bronx Defenders, a public defense nonprofit radically transforming how low-income people in the Bronx are represented in the criminal justice system. The Bronx Defenders' innovative and holistic model of defense aims to mitigate the harm that the criminal justice system inflicts on the lives of those affected by it. As an investigator, Michelle works with a team of attorneys and advocates to form a comprehensive investigative strategy, interview and take detailed statements from witnesses, obtain and review video surveillance, and assist attorneys with case development.
Prior to joining the Bronx Defenders, Michelle spent a year in Miami working as an intensive reading teacher with Teach for America. Her experience in the classroom allowed her to witness firsthand how our educational system fails those who need it most, perpetuating the cycle of poverty and inequality. Prior to teaching in Miami, Michelle spent a year working abroad in Singapore as a dean's fellow at Yale-NUS College. As a dean's fellow, her responsibilities included mentoring and advising students, planning and implementing residential college programing, reviewing and evaluating prospective student applications, and interviewing and evaluating prospective students and interns.
Michelle graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. During her time at Yale, she served as president of New Haven REACH, an organization focused on mentoring and providing support to high school students through the college application process.
Born and raised in New York, Michelle enjoys salsa dancing, traveling, singing, and exploring New York City's parks.
Teacher, Achievement First Schools
Kendra Stone-Rigg is a fourth-grade teacher at Achievement First Crown Heights Elementary School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, which serves 460 students from grades kindergarden through fourth. While at Achievement First, Kendra served as Teach for America Corps member and completed a teacher certification program through a partnered school.
As a fourth-grade teacher, Kendra uses data driven instruction to revise and create curriculum to improve student outcomes. She is focused on providing quality education for students remotely by providing strong lessons and partnering with students’ families. Kendra is committed to ensuring that all students have an equitable educational experience by finding innovative resources to help students at home. She has piloted numerous initiatives including lesson planning documents, Fun Friday activities, and homework curriculum that have been adopted across her school.
In addition, Kendra serves as a resident advisor and was selected to mentor and coach a teacher-in-residence for the academic school year. In this role, she provides mentoring and coaching on core teaching skills including classroom culture, lesson planning and execution, family communication, and time management skills. Kendra then submits formal grading for the participant to a graduate school program.
Prior to Achievement First, Kendra attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where she majored in Sociology and minored in English, Inequality Studies, and Law and Society. While at Cornell, Kendra served as a resident advisor for freshman students for three years and helped students transition to college from high school. In addition, Kendra was the co-president of Early College Awareness, a club that visited schools in the area and coordinated campus trips.
Kendra was born and raised in Brooklyn, where she currently resides. On weekends, you can find her trying new cooking recipes, reading books, and exploring new places around the city.
College Partnership Manager, Matriculate
Chrisleine Temple works as a manager on the partnership team of Matriculate, a nonprofit organization that partners with colleges and universities to recruit, select, and train current undergraduates to be virtual, near-peer advisors to highly-talented, lower-income students as they make their college decisions.
In her role, Chrisleine manages college and university cultivation and recruitment. Her responsibilities include liaising between college partners and Matriculate staff in the creation, development, and execution of partner launches; establishing and executing against earned revenue goals for college partnerships; and coaching, supporting, and managing undergraduate volunteers to ensure quality advising.
Chrisleine is a graduate of Williams College and received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy. A native Sierra Leonean, Chrisleine focused her undergraduate career on comparative politics, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. She was awarded the Ursula Prescott Essay Prize in Political Science for best essay by a senior in international relations and comparative politics. Her work focused on the importance of truth-telling and collaborative collective-memory in post-conflict nations.
In her free time, Chrisleine enjoys traveling the outdoors and podcasting with friends.
Lin (Georgia) Wei
Principal Gifts Coordinator, Environmental Defense Fund
Lin (Georgia) Wei is a principal gifts coordinator at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). EDF’s mission is to preserve the natural systems on which all life depends through practical and lasting solutions. In her position, she works with a small portfolio of major donors to prepare proposals and reports across a wide array of projects; compose talking points for donor meetings with key program staff; and draft personalized correspondence on behalf of senior staff.
Prior to EDF, Georgia served as the development coordinator at Girls Write Now, an arts education nonprofit which pairs professional women writers as mentors for high school girls and gender non-conforming youth, a majority of which identify as BIPOC and high-need. In that role, her responsibilities ranged from grant writing to managing fundraising appeals. Georgia enjoys donor facing roles where she can speak about her organization’s mission and how people can best engage with it.
Georgia graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Literature and a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. After graduation, she spent a year teaching English at an underserved middle school in the suburbs of Paris. She is passionate about the ability of storytelling to uplift marginalized voices.
Georgia is a native New Yorker and proud Queens resident. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants, reading contemporary literature, and going to the theater. She has recently discovered the joy of biking and experiencing the city with new eyes.
Principal, AAA Media Consultancy
Aryana Anderson is the principal for AAA Media Consultancy and works with independent artists, nonprofit organizations, and large media corporations to develop brand-aligned and mission-centered digital and video content.
Previously, Aryana served as digital content producer at Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, producers of the PBS series Family Pictures USA. She also worked as the senior associate for educational media and technology at Carnegie Hall, developing creative digital content and learning experiences for musicians and amateurs alike.
Aryana has organized play festivals, reading series, and professional development events for artists in various disciplines. Her background includes work as a projection and sound designer, video editor, and media arts educator.
Aryana has served as a member of Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Advisory Council and junior board member of the Queens Council on the Arts where she has assisted in developing programs and resources to promote the growth, development, and sustenance of emerging arts professionals both locally and nationwide. She was a member of the inaugural Diversity in Arts Leadership Labs cohort at the Arts and Business Council of New York.
Aryana received her training in screenwriting and production at the Conservatory of Theater Arts and Film at SUNY Purchase. She holds a certificate in nonprofit management from Fordham University. Highlights from her professional development experiences include completion of the Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. Aryana was a member of the 2014 class of the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service and has served as a guide since 2018.
Associate Director of Special Events & Programs – School of General Studies,
Jawad Cipriani is currently the associate director of special events and programs 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 all special events for the school, including orientation, graduation, awards ceremonies, and Dean’s lecture series. In 2017, he received the “Commitment to the LGBTQ Community” Staff Award at Columbia University’s Lavender Graduation.
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. Jawad 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 (FELPS) cohort and tributes the fellowship with helping him to develop the confidence to attend graduate school. Jawad previously served as a FELPS guide in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2020.
Jawad grew up in New York City. He likes to dance, attend live shows, travel, eat spicy food, cheer on Syracuse basketball, and spend time with friends.
Director of Strategy and Inclusive Operations - NYCx, New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer
Gary Johnson works in the New York City Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer as the director of strategy and inclusive operations of NYCx, an industry engagement program for breakthrough and emerging technology. In 2017, Gary led the launch of NYCx; the city’s first-ever program for breakthrough and emerging technology. To-date, NYCx has engaged over 400+ startups who have collectively raised $80 million in capital post-NYCx Innovation competition.
Gary is an experienced project director, strategist, and operations leader with a passion for leveraging technology to improve public life. He has more than 10 years of experience creating new partnerships between the public and private sectors and leading teams to be innovative in solving complex challenges. Gary is committed to measurably improving inclusion and equity in tech and entrepreneurship. He is a champion of underrepresented entrepreneurs and is an accomplished ecosystem builder.
Gary currently leads New York City’s Inclusive Entrepreneurship initiative, which engages underrepresented founders in tech and connects them with key city resources and strategic partnerships to support their growth throughout the startup lifecycle. His approach is creative, intersectional, and holistic, combining the expertise he’s gained as a community organizer with policy and technology program development.
Gary is a New York native, raised in East Harlem by a family of dedicated public servants. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Hampton University, and is a proud alumni of CORO Leadership NY, New Leaders Council, and the Council of Urban Professionals. Gary also serves as a Junior Board member for the Food Bank for New York City, a campaign to end hunger in NYC, and My Sisters Place, an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence against women and children. Gary was a member of the 2014 class of the Fellowship for Exploring Leaders in Public Service and served as a guide in 2018 and 2019.
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, an eight hospital integrated health system in all five boroughs of NYC. He works closely with senior leadership to develop long-term strategy while working collaboratively on critical projects ranging from clinical quality, alternative payment models, new technologies and process improvement. He first joined Mount Sinai as a project manager in strategic planning and business development as part of a team to build a new entity advancing population health and value-based care within the system.
Prior to joining the Mount Sinai Health System, Mark worked 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 BS 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 of the community student government. He also organized an award-winning program to promote awareness and empower students to increase access to healthcare. He went on to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where he received his Master of Healthcare Administration.
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 with the fellowship and this is his ninth year as a career guide.
Tanya (TSJ) St. Julien
Chief of Staff, Leadership for Educational Equality
Tanya (TSJ) St. Julien is a community leader and advocate for educational equity with over 15 years of successful impact in local government and nonprofit management. She is the chief of staff at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), a national leadership development organization that develops civic leaders to improve education laws and policies for all children. TSJ also serves as an appointed member of her local Community Education Council.
Prior to LEE, TSJ led the communications and enrollment policy teams at the New York City Department of Education. She also worked extensively with community-based organizations in the Bay Area, Newark, Boston and throughout New York City to develop skill-based education and civic leadership programs for students and families.
TSJ is the proud daughter of Haitian immigrants and a native New Yorker, currently living in Bedford-Stuyvesant. She is 2018 Pahara-Aspen NextGen Fellow with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University. TSJ loves good food, good jokes and good times with friends and family.
Senior Consultant, Common Impact
Tessa Vithayathil is a senior consultant at Common Impact, a nonprofit consulting firm that works to strengthen communities by connecting businesses and nonprofits through meaningful skills-based volunteering engagements. As part of this work, Tessa designs and implements long-term projects that match private sector skills to public sector needs.
Tessa fostered her passion for social impact through her work across multiple areas: fundraising for City Harvest, program management and entrepreneurship at the New York City Department of Small Business Services, and teaching on the JET Programme in Japan. At the core of Tessa's portfolio of work is a desire to help individuals and organizations grow their capacity for success.
Tessa's experiences at home and abroad have instilled in her the importance of community and a strong appreciation for cultural bridges, such as food and photography. Outside of work, she enjoys flexing her creative muscles through photography and exploring the communities and culinary cultures of New York City and beyond.
Tessa was a member of the 2014 class of the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service and has served as a guide since 2019.
Moschell (Mo) Coffey
Director, Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service
Moschell (Mo) Coffey is passionate about developing the capacities of the public service sector. Furthering her commitment to leadership and professional development, Mo has supported the Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS) since 2008. As the director of the program, she 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 uses a culturally competent, anti-racist, and strengths-based approach to help mission-driven 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.
Mo’s consulting clients have included private foundations; the Institute for Child Success funded by the Obama White House Social Innovation Fund; Blue Meridian Partners; the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center funded by the New York State Health Foundation; the Center for Employment Opportunities; Mission: Cure; the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies at UC Hastings College of the Law; and the Office of the President at New York University (NYU).
She currently serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service where she teaches the year-long capstone class on Social Impact, Innovation, and Investment. She also oversees the professional development of the undergraduate participants in NYU’s Presidential Internship Program.
Previously, Mo worked as the managing director for The Good Dog Foundation, the national leader in therapy dog training, certification, visit coordination, research, and awareness. She was also the coordinator at the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law at NYU School of Law.
Mo earned her Master of Public Administration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from NYU Wagner. She is a Trustee of Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, where she earned an Honors Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude in International Relations with a minor in Spanish.