2010 NLC Fellows: Louisiana

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Ian Gairen Aucoin, Lieutenant, US Navy: Officer in Charge of Naval Aviation Support Detachment New Orleans

Born and raised in South Louisiana, I received my undergraduate education from Louisiana State University in the areas of history, anthropology, and international studies. I am now in my fourth year of service as an Officer in the US Navy. I’ve spent most of that time in the Naval Construction Force, where I participated in humanitarian missions and disaster relief around the Pacific Rim and later deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to provide contingency engineering support to our marines and soldiers in the region. As my time in the military draws to a close, I am preparing to enter graduate school and embark upon a career in law and public policy focusing on the problems of the developing world.

Krystle Beauchamp, Deputy Director of Community Planning

Krystle is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans with a bachelor’s in Political Science with department honors, and the George Bush School of Government and Public Service with a master’s in Public Administration and a concentration in state and local government. While at the Bush School, she co-founded the school’s Committee on Diversity, and served on the President’s Taskforce on Diversity. She interned in the office of former Shreveport mayor Keith Hightower, the Washington, D.C. office of former Senator John B. Breaux, and has been involved in numerous campaigns. She is the former Statewide Executive Director of the Young Democrats of Louisiana (2003-2005). She currently serves as Deputy Director of Community Planning at the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state agency tasked with leading Louisiana’s recovery efforts from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Ike. She is a member of the American Society for Public Administration, lifetime member of Pi Sigma Alpha, Junior Fellow of the Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and recipient of the University of New Orleans’ Excellence in State and National Politics Award.

Cody Bourque, Student, Northwestern State University

Cody is a senior journalism major at Northwestern State University and works as General Manager of the campus radio station, KNWD. He represented the student body of approximately 9,700 students as President of the NSU Student Government Association in 2008-2009. During his tenure, he led efforts for NSU student assistance to hurricane evacuees and pets for Gustav and Ike. He served last summer as Public Relations Coordinator for Push America in Charlotte, North Carolina, Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity’s national service initiative focused on helping those with disabilities. Among his varied experiences as a student leader, Cody has also served as Chairman of NSU’s Student Technology Advisory Committee, which oversees over $1 million in student fees.

Raymond Brown, Director of Environmental Health and Safety for Xavier University

Mr. Raymond Anthony Brown was raised in Slidell, Louisiana and has been committed to improving the environment most of his life. His interest in the environment was sparked at an early age when learning that members of his extended family were developing cancer that could be possibly linked to pollution in their rural community of Northern Mississippi. Mr. Brown has diligently worked over the years to gain training and experience to have the tools to effectively address our environmental health concerns. Mr. Brown’s education background includes: Bachelor of Science Biology – Xavier University; Masters of Science Environmental Health – Tulane University; Master of Business Administration – University of New Orleans; Jurist Doctorate – Southern University Law Center. He currently serves as Director of Environmental Health and Safety for Xavier University.

Joey Collins, Student

Joey Collins is a senior in public relations at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He’s spent the last few years as a political activist, taking a leadership role in the Louisiana movement for LGBT rights in the Bayou State. He’s a campus leader, and founder of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Acadiana. He’s also involved in numerous campus organizations including setting the groundwork for student government campaigns. In Baton Rouge, Joey has lobbied state legislators to fairly represent everyone in their community: including gay and transgender constituents. Joey has worked with leaders of both Louisiana Democrats and Republicans, and prides himself in his ability to meet with these officials often, and keep in regular contact with the people who make Louisiana work. Joey was born in New Iberia, Louisiana, and now lives in Lafayette where he attends school and works for his family’s distribution company.

Meghan Harwell, Lawyer

Meghan Harwell is a newly licensed Louisiana lawyer. She earned her J.D. in 2009 from Loyola New Orleans College of Law where she graduated cum laude and was awarded the Spirit of Ignatius Award for Outstanding Law Student. Prior to law school, Meghan received a B.A. in International Studies with a minor in Italian from Louisiana State University. Meghan has experience in criminal defense and international human rights law, and she currently clerks for Judge Paul Bonin on Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, running, reading, and volunteering with New Orleans’ chapter of the Fourth World Movement.

Edward “Ted” James, Attorney

Edward "Ted" James, a native of Baton Rouge, LA is an attorney by trade, and a public servant at heart. After law school, Ted dedicated himself to the recovery of Louisiana and served as a Policy Advisor to Governor Kathleen Blanco. He later worked as a Staff Attorney with the Louisiana House of Representatives. Ted is currently serving as the Special Assistant to Secretary Cynthia Bridges of the LA Department of Revenue. He maintains a private law practice where he provides pro bono services to indigent clients. In addition, Ted has a record of community service through his work with several not-for-profit organizations.

Ashley Koch, Middle School Science Teacher, St. Helena Central Middle School

Ashley is a northerner by birth but a southerner in heart. Originally from Indianapolis, IN she attended Transylvania University in Lexington, KY where she studied Political Science, French, and English Literature. At Transy she was a member of many different organizations that led her down her current path. Stemming from her membership in College Democrats, Ashley volunteered with many different campaigns which led to an internship in the Kentucky House of Representatives working for Kathy Stein and the progressive caucus. To complement her work in politics, she volunteered for organizations working with issues surrounding poverty. More striking than anything seen in government or during volunteer work, was the education achievement gap which existed in her college classrooms. This gap led her to join Teach for America. Before taking her position in South Louisiana, Ashley took a moved south of France where she taught English in two French ZEP primary schools, the equivalent to Title I schools in America. Ashley is finishing her second year as a middle school science teacher in one of the lowest performing middle schools in Louisiana. This May when she finishes she desires to keep working towards addressing the inequalities she sees in South Louisiana.

Ryan Mick, Teach For America Corps Member/Special Education Teacher

Ryan Mick is a Teach For America Corps Member and special education reading teacher with the Jefferson Parish Public School System. Prior to teaching, Ryan worked in education policy, holding positions with The Education Trust, The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools, as well as the Institute for Local Government Administration and Rural Development. His political experience includes working for the Dean for New Hampshire presidential campaign as well as many local and state campaigns in Ohio and Louisiana over the past nice years. Ryan holds a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University Law School as well as a Master’s in Educational Research from Ohio University. He lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Lauren Therese Michel, Assistant Director of Recruiting for the Louisiana Scholars’ College

Lauren Michel is a native New Orleanian and a current resident of Natchitoches, Louisiana. She is the Assistant Director of Recruiting for the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University. She graduated from the Scholars’ College in May of 2009 with a degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Humanities and Social Thought with minors in both political science and history. Lauren is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in English at Northwestern State. During college, she was an intern in the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Louisiana representative to the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship’s Inaugural Student Congress.

Pavel Mrazek, Graduate Student

I am originally from the Czech Republic, and I came to the United States to work on my Master’s degree in mass communication, with specialization in advertising and political communication. I have experience in internet marketing and in non-profit sector. I finished my Bachelor’s degree in the Czech Republic, and also studied for a year at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I plan to finish my Master’s at Louisiana State University in the spring, and I am eager to take a next step in my life.

Afi Patterson, Associate with Adams & Reese LLP

Afi C. Patterson is an associate with the Labor & Employment Practice Team in the Special Business Services Practice Group at Adams and Reese. Ms. Patterson has represented employers, charter schools, non-profit corporations, and businesses in the film and entertainment industry. She is a member of the American Bar Association and serves as an Associate Judge on the Young Lawyers Division Awards and Subgrants Team. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from Southern University Law Center in 2008 and served as Student Bar Association President (2007-2008), Class President (2006-2007) and Class Representative (2005-2006). Ms. Patterson also served on the Moot Court Board and on Southern University’s System Board of Supervisors. She received the Baton Rouge Bar Association Scholarship and the CALI Award for highest grade in Louisiana Civil Procedure I. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Patterson served as Human Resources Director for F & M Management. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from Louisiana State University.

Denise Quezaire, Marketing Specialist

Denise Quezaire, a native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana; is currently an employee at The Shaw Group, Inc. as the Public Relations Coordinator for the Environmental and Infrastructure Group. Denise is a graduate of Northwestern State University where she finished with a degree in Journalism Broadcasting and was also an athletic scholarship recipient in Track and Field. Prior to working at the Shaw Group, Denise served as the Press Secretary for the Office of the Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. Outside of her professional means, Denise was company member for Cangelosi Dance Project, a non-profit contemporary dance company in Baton Rouge. She also serves as a dance instructor for Let’s Dance Studio in her hometown of Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Denise is a member of Forum 35, Urban League of Greater New Orleans Young Professionals, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Tegan Rymer, Field Organizer for Repower America

Tegan Rymer is a Louisiana native currently working as a field organizer in Shreveport, LA, for Repower America. She is a graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College in Natchitoches, LA, with bachelor degrees in Political Science and Liberal Arts. As an undergraduate, she completed a senior thesis on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to Hurricane Katrina. During this time period, she chaired the school’s College Democrats organization and volunteered for Democratic candidates during the 2008 elections. She was also elected a class representative to the Louisiana Scholars’ College Forum Council for four years. During the past two summers, she completed internships at Democracy for America in the political/field department and for Senator Mary Landrieu in her Shreveport office.

Christopher J. Tyson, Attorney

Christopher J. Tyson is a native of Baton Rouge and an attorney with Jones Walker, LLP. He advises clients on real estate acquisition, land use, entitlements and oil and gas matters. Christopher holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree, with honors, from Howard University; a Masters of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center. Christopher is a board member of Baton Rouge Big Buddy, FuturePAC and the political action committee of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce. He served the Baton Rouge Parish Metropolitan Council to the Board of Commissioners of the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) and was President of the Board in 2009. He is a member of the Xi Nu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and the 2009 Leadership Louisiana class. Christopher was formerly employed in the Washington, DC office of Senator Mary Landrieu and worked for two years as a prison educator in Boston, MA. His has been published in the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, the Howard University Law Review and as a chapter in the edited volume Authentic Leadership Theory and Practice: Origins, Effects and Development.

Sevetri M. Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Tyrus Thomas, Inc.

Sevetri Monique Wilson is a native of Louisiana and a resident of Baton Rouge. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a dual degree in history and mass communication/journalism and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in history before entering law school. She is a member of Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations(LANO), National Association of Black Journalist(NABJ), Baton Rouge Black Chamber of Commerce, The National Grant Writers Association, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Some of her past achievements include being a Bill and Melinda Gates Scholar and ambassador, UNCF Scholar, Ronald E. McNair Scholar and serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) member. Formerly she was employed by Baton Rouge Hearing and Speech Foundation and worked in the community development sector for LouisianaCASA. Currently she is the Chief Executive Officer of Tyrus Thomas, Inc., a not for profit organization founded by Chicago Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas geared towards serving the Greater Baton Rouge and Chicago areas through: Youth Outreach, Community Development, and Support.