2011 NLC Fellows

David Abella, Recent Graduate, UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).

David AbellaDavid Abella is a recent graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 2010. He is an alumnus of San Francisco State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2005. David has an extensive record of leadership and public service. While at SFSU, David was elected to the Associated Students, Inc. Board of Directors for three consecutive years—serving as Student Body President in 2004-05. While at UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), David was elected to serve as Student Body President of the Boalt Hall Student Government Association, and then as Class President for the Class of 2010. Additionally, David was the Editor in Chief of the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal for two years, and a member of the Pilipino American Law Society. David’s employment history includes working for Congressman George Miller (Democrat, CA 7th Congressional District) and as a Legal Interviewer for the Bar Association of San Francisco. In 2011, David will join the San Francisco law firm of Hanson Bridgett, LLP. David was born in San Francisco and is a loyal and passionate San Francisco Giants baseball fan.

Teresa Acuna, Legislative Director Office of Assemblymember Luis Alejo

Teresa AcunaTeresa Acuña serves as Legislative Director for Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), where she works to advance a progressive legislative agenda focused on legislation that seeks to diminish social and civil inequalities. A former California State Senate Fellow and Legislative Aide to former Senator Gilbert Cedillo, Teresa has worked in several policy areas, including health, human services, and environmental quality. While working for Senator Cedillo, she also assisted the California Latino Legislative Caucus on initiatives that included immigration reform, education, labor diversity, health care disparities, and redistricting. Prior to her work in the legislature, Ms. Acuña worked for the Casa Cornelia Law Center, a non-profit law firm dedicated to helping San Diego’s indigent community by providing pro bono legal immigration services. A graduate of San Diego State University, with degrees in Political Science and Chicana Studies, Teresa was born in Rialto, California to parents that emigrated from Mexico and attributes her success to the strong immigrant work ethic that her parents demonstrated throughout her life. In addition to her work, Ms. Acuna currently sits on the boards of the Sacramento County Young Democrats and the California Latino Capitol Association.

Eddie Ahn, Attorney, Brightline Defense Project

Eddie AhnEddie Ahn currently works as an attorney for the Brightline Defense Project, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and empowering communities. Brightline projects include advancing environmental justice, renewable energy, green jobs, and local hiring. Prior to law school, Eddie served as an AmeriCorps member, specializing in after-school programming for elementary school students. During his first two years of law school, he continued to teach art and public speaking classes at Oakland Asian Students Educational Services. He has also worked in government and politics, including a legislation clinic in Sacramento and successful state and local political campaigns. Eddie received his J.D. from University of California Hastings College of the Law and his B.A. from Brown University. He was born in Austin after his parents emigrated from South Korea to study at the University of Texas, and he grew up in Dallas while his family owned and operated liquor stores. Now, he enjoys living in San Francisco, which inspires him to create comics in his free time. His ongoing art projects can be viewed at ehacomics.com.

Abhay Aneja, Research Fellow, Stanford Law School

Abhay AnejaAbhay is currently a research fellow in law and economics at Stanford Law School, where he uses econometric techniques to analyze issues related to civil rights, discrimination, and crime control policy. Specific topics include the economic as well as social effects of mass incarceration and capital punishment. He is currently co-authoring an academic paper about the impact of liberalized gun-carrying policies on criminal behavior. Prior to his work in this field, he studied social policy and advocated for anti-corruption legislation as a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina. He has also studied the effectiveness of anti-poverty interventions throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America as a research associate at UC Berkeley's Center of Evaluation for Global Action, and has worked on economic justice issues at the Greenlining Institute. He completed his undergraduate degree in mathematical economics (with a minor in political science) at Wake Forest University. During his undergraduate studies, he completed internships at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California, and the Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem. He was raised in Greenville, North Carolina.

Ryan Arba, Legislative Consultant, California Department of Social Services

Ryan ArbaRyan Arba is a Legislative Consultant for the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). Ryan is assigned to the CDSS Community Care Licensing Division, which licenses a range of facilities, from nursing homes to child day care centers. Mr. Arba also coordinates the department's response to measures proposed by the state Legislature. Prior to his work at the CDSS, Ryan’s worked as a Special Projects Manager for the California Health and Human Services Agency, a Graduate Assistant for the Leadership Programs for the University of Southern California, and an Algebra Teacher for River City High School in West Sacramento, CA. A graduate of California State University, Monterey Bay, Ryan holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. He currently lives in Arden Arcade, CA, with his wife Catherine.

Amy Baird, Nonprofit Consultant

Amy BairdHaving lived in many parts of the United States over the course of her life, Amy is excited to now settle in beautiful Missoula, Montana. Her undergraduate coursework included studying abroad in a small fishing village in Costa Rica where her eyes were opened to serious ecological issues, including sea turtle poaching and illegal shark finning. After graduating cum laude from the University of the Pacific in California with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Economic Relations, she turned her focus to activism and the environment. She has spent the last four years dedicating herself to international conservation work with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (featured in the hit Animal Planet television series “Whale Wars”) doing media relations, outreach, and publicity. Trading her surfboard for skis, Amy now hopes to use her extensive nonprofit skills for conservation and wildlife projects in Montana, and is actively involved in a number of projects as a consultant. An avid reader, international traveler, and cribbage player, Amy believes that it is important to take the issues seriously, but never ourselves.

Jeremy Barousse, Community News Writer, Patch.com

Jeremy BarousseJeremy Barousse currently works as a news reporter in the South Bay Area with Patch.com, an online community newspaper that covers community news. In past years, he has worked as a research analyst with the state's biggest labor union, SEIU, where he helped win big contracts for working families in the South Bay. He has also worked as a campaign manager with the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, where I helped get good progressive Democratic candidates elected to office. Lastly, he has spent a couple of years writing for a community newspaper chain in the South County area of Santa Clara County as a sports editor, a city and county reporter, and a copy editor. He has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from San Jose State University with an emphasis in reporting and editing. Jeremy was born and raised in San Jose, CA and loves writing. He am an officer with the Silicon Young Democrats, a network of young professionals in Silicon Valley.

David Bennion, Staff Attorney, Nationalities Service Center.

David BennionI am a staff attorney at Nationalities Service Center, a nonprofit organization providing direct services to low-income immigrants and refugees in the Philadelphia area. I represent immigrants and their United States citizen family members in all stages of the immigration legal process, including family petitions, green card and citizenship applications, deportation defense, and federal appeals. I have defended DREAM Act-eligible undocumented youth against deportation, including engaging in public advocacy to enlist community support, media attention, and political intervention. I provided legal advice to undocumented activists who engaged in civil disobedience actions in Arizona and Washington, D.C., in 2010. I have represented asylum-seekers at every stage of the asylum process, including appeals to the federal circuit courts. I blog at Citizen Orange and other online outlets about the law and politics of immigration and the immigrant rights movement. I studied politics and international relations at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah, and later law at New York University. I am originally from Utah and am descended from Mormon pioneers and polygamists. I am a vegetarian pacifist atheist but was none of these things in my youth.

Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, Managing Partner, LMB Law Offices

Lynita M. Mitchell-BlackwellLynita M. Mitchell-Blackwell is managing partner of LMB Law Offices, a firm that specializes in real estate, contracts, and non-profits. Previous to launching her own firm, Lynita served as In house Counsel with Community Management Associates, Inc., the largest privately owned property management company in Georgia. Prior to her career in law, Lynita was a top legal and finance recruiter and an Assurance and Advisory professional with both Deloitte & Touche and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Lynita received her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Florida A&M University and Juris Doctor degree from Georgia State University College of Law. Lynita is admitted to practice law in Georgia and holds her CPA license in Florida. Lynita is a member of several professional and civic organizations that include the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, the American Business Women’s Association, the American Association of Attorney CPA’s, and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. She is co-founder and President of the Jewell Jackson McCabe Emerging Leaders Institute, a non-profit organization that develops female leaders; and 2010 graduate of both The White House Project, Inc. Georgia Go Run program and the United Way Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP). Lynita is from beautiful Miami, Florida.

Joanna Ho Bradshaw, Humanities Lead East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy, Aspire Public Schools

Joanna Ho BradshawJoanna is the Humanities Department Lead and an English teacher at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy, a high school supported by Aspire Public Schools, a non-profit organization that opens charter schools in underprivileged communities. She teaches ninth and eleventh grade English, teaches a dance elective and also runs the Yosemite Outdoor Education Program at the school. She is passionate about providing more just and equitable education to all students and feels lucky to work in a supportive school environment. Dissatisfied with an educational system that leaves many students behind, Joanna co-founded I Teach Foundation, an organization that seeks to unify educators, expose educational injustice and to change educational policy. She hopes to convince you to join the movement! Joanna holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and served a mission in Taipei, Taiwan for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints following her graduation. She loves to travel and has lived abroad in Ghana, Uganda and Guatemala. She has an eclectic array of interests that include snowboarding, African dance, photography, scrapbooking, climbing, and backpacking. She currently lives in Palo Alto with her husband.

Jae Brown, Emergency Response Coordinator, US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

Jae BrownJae S. Brown is an Emergency Response Coordinator at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As an Emergency Response Coordinator Mr. Brown is responsible for managing the incident response plans and activities of more than 300 labs and businesses across the United States. Prior to becoming an Emergency Management Specialist, Mr. Brown was an Emerging Leader Fellow with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While serving as an Emerging Leader Fellow, Mr. Brown worked on various public health issues to include initiating an integrated Electronic Health Records Program within multiple cities in the southeast United States. Mr. Brown’s civic activities include serving on the board of the Audio Verbal Center. He is a graduate of the United Way Volunteer Improvement Program in Atlanta and is serving on the board of the United Way of Atlanta’s African American Partnership. He was also selected for the 2010 class of L.E.A.D. Atlanta. Mr. Brown is currently a Doctoral Student at Central Michigan University studying Healthcare Administration. He graduated with a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Georgia and completed undergraduate studies at Georgia State University in Public Policy.

Jeffrey Brown, Regional Field Director, Organizing for America

Jeffrey BrownJeff Brown is currently a Regional Field Director for Organizing America in New Jersey. He also serves as the state's Data and New Media lead. Jeff began working in politics in 2009 as a Field Organizer for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee's Victory 2009 coordinated campaign. Shortly after that campaign ended, Jeff was hired by Congressman Joe Sestak to serve as his Field Director during the 2010 Pennsylvania Democratic Primary. Managing the field program across the state, Jeff and the rest of the Sestak team defeated Arlen Specter, the longest sitting Senator in Pennsylvania's history. Before entering the political spectrum, Jeff attended both Mercer County Community College and Rutgers University. He was graduated Summa Cum Laude from Rutgers in May 2009 with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in English and a minor in History. He also successfully completed the Rutgers School or Arts and Sciences Honors Program, and was the first student in that program to write an interdisciplinary honors thesis in Creative Writing. For the project, Jeff wrote a surrealist novella called, "The Weather Report." Jeff was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and now resides in Highland Park.

Thanhtam Bui, Policy Associate, Californians Against Waste

Thanhtam BuiTeresa is a policy associate for Californians Against Waste, a nonprofit, environmental group that advocates for recycling. Teresa advocates for strong waste reduction and recycling policies on multiple issues, including: electronic wastes, household hazardous waste and extended producer responsibility. A former student assistant for the State Water Resource Control Board, and a planning intern at the City of Davis Community Development Department, Thanhtam holds a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Planning Analysis from the University of California, Davis. As an undergraduate, she served on several student commissions, including the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission and the Student Services & Fees Administration Advisory Committee. Originally born in Vietnam, Thanhtam came to California when she was 6 and has grew up loving the diverse landscape, climate and most of all, people. Ms. Bui enjoys traveling, hiking, and swimming in her spare time. This year, she was especially excited for making it to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite. Her traveling aspirations include visiting Europe for the first time and hiking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu.

Laura Burns, Legal Assistant, Esperanza

Laura BurnsPassionate about ending inequality around the globe through innovative and sustainable solutions, Laura is driven by the poverty and injustice she has witnessed throughout the world. A Legal Assistant at Esperanza, a Hispanic nonprofit in North Philadelphia, Laura currently works to improve the lives of immigrants and their families by providing them with the immigration legal services they need and educating them about their rights. Laura has extensive international experience in the fields of economic development, humanitarian relief work, journalism, and public policy. She has worked on projects for USAID in Guatemala, the Inter-American Development Bank in Mexico, and volunteered in post-earthquake Haiti with All Hands Volunteers. A graduate of Emory University, Laura recently completed a year-long Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship in Mexico City where she studied International Relations and Migration Policy. Bilingual in Spanish and English and proficient in French, Laura has visited, lived in, and worked in over twenty countries in the past four years. An avid runner, Laura ran Cross Country competitively in college and is currently training for her fourth marathon. A recent transplant to Philadelphia, Laura grew up in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Jeffrey Cardenas, Field Representative, Office of Assemblymember Jerry Hill

Jeffrey CardenasJeffrey Cardenas was born to Mexican and Peruvian immigrants in San Jose, CA (most of it spent in the South Side). He was raised in a healthy sized household with three brothers and three sisters. His family is major part of who he is: the decisions he has made and where he wants to go. It was their inspiration that led him through UC Davis and beyond. They are the reason why he’s known, as long as he can remember, that he wanted to give back to his community through politics and government. His political activism started in high school, blossomed in college, and led him to a state-wide position with the California Democratic Party during the 2008 cycle. He gained valuable perspective while living and working in Washington, DC and the East Coast in 2009. He came home after 5 years away to work for the Yes on J: Santa Clara 49ers Stadium campaign. Shortly afterward, he managed the "Yes on T: Menlo Gateway" campaign. Currently, Jeffrey is a Field Representative for Assemblymember Jerry Hill. As a dedicated progressive, he is most passionate about social justice through budget and fiscal reform. As an openly LGBT Latino, he cares deeply about marriage equality.

Dayanna Carlos, Associate, Dewey Square Group

Dayanna CarlosDayanna is an associate at Dewey Square Group’s Sacramento practice, a nationally renowned public affairs firm, where she serves as Fresno’s Outreach Coordinator for the Broadband Awareness & Adoption campaign for the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF). Prior to working at Dewey Square, Ms. Carlos worked with 32 South Inc, an International Business and Marketing Consulting firm, where she coordinated the company’s international public relations, media communications, marketing development of Latin American projects, with Canadian, European and American companies. Committed on promoting civic engagement and public awareness, Dayanna worked as an intern at the Santa Cruz County Immigration Project which provides immigration legal services including naturalization, wavers, appeals, community education, and advocacy. Ms. Carlos, a native of Corcoran, California, holds a B.A. in Latin American Latino Studies and minored in Politics with an emphasis in Immigration from the University of California, Santa Cruz. An admirer of diverse cultures, traditions and languages, Dayanna has spent time traveling and exploring Mexico and South America. She is also an alumna member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority.

Katie Carlson, Coordinator, Missoula Family Law Self-Help Center

Katie CarlsonKatie Carlson is the coordinator of the Missoula Community Self-Help Law Center, which is funded by a grant from the Montana Supreme Court. She is a graduate of Hamline University Law School where she also received her J.D. and a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Katie grew up in Helena, Montana. After graduating from Carroll College with a bachelors degree in history she moved to Madison, WI and then on to law school in St. Paul, MN. Her goal is to help individuals find ways to resolve conflict in a more peaceful manner. Her studies have also taken her to Hungary for international mediation and Israel for mediation through religious tradition. She returned to Montana in September 2009. In her position as the Coordinator for the Missoula Family Law Self-Help Center she helps pro se individuals in a variety of family law matters. She is also a board member for the Missoula Community Dispute Resolution Center and a volunteer for their family mediation program. Katie has kayaked the coast of Alaska and Norway, rafted the San Juan and Rogue Rivers, and enjoys hiking with her dog Charlie on the trails around Missoula.

Keisha Carter, Legislative Advisor Intergovernmental Affairs Div., Office of the County Manager; Fulton County Government

Keisha CarterKeisha Carter is an experienced political professional whose leadership ability and passion for results were recognized at a young age. Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Ms. Carter has been chosen for the some of the highest honors as a Kentucky Governors Scholar and YMCA Black Achiever of the year. While pursing Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and History at the University of Kentucky, she held numerous leadership positions including serving three years in the Student Government Association where she was elected the Senate President and noted as the only Senator to pass every bill she sponsored. Ms. Carter developed her “out of the box” strategies while working in key leadership positions for Congressman Ben Chandler (D-KY); Kentucky Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo; Former Georgia Lt. Governor Mark Taylor; the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Clinton; Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell and members of the Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina and Maryland State legislatures. Her knowledge and understanding of political strategy, fundraising and public affairs are well recognized and respected throughout the country. Currently Ms. Carter operates RaZors Consulting and Carter Political Group. She also serves as a legislative advisor in the Intergovernmental Affairs Division-Office of the County Manager, Fulton County Government.

Kathy Chan, Associate Director, Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition

Kathy ChanKathy Chan currently serves as the Associate Director of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition, a nonprofit that uses policy, advocacy and community empowerment to improve the lives of women, children and their families. Her position entails providing leadership on advocacy efforts, as well as policy analysis for the organization and its four projects. From 2002-2006, Kathy worked at IMCHC on Covering Kids and Families where she built statewide and local coalitions and created and implemented strategies to help families more easily access public health insurance programs. Her efforts helped Illinois gain recognition as a national leader in enrollment. To date, over 2.8 million parents and children in Illinois have public insurance coverage. Kathy worked briefly in state government with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, where she assisted with strategic enrollment efforts and the implementation of All Kids, Illinois’ health insurance program provided for children regardless of family income, immigration status or health condition. Kathy graduated with a BA in English from Northwestern University and began her career as an organizer with Green Corps, a field school for environmental organizing. Kathy grew up in South Bend, IN and is an amateur runner and a self-described foodie.

Asher Chancey, Associate Attorney, Rawle & Henderson

Asher ChanceyAsher Brooks Chancey is an associate attorney at Rawle & Henderson in Philadelphia, where he focuses his practice on the defense of commercial motor vehicles and admiralty and maritime law. He previously worked at Palmer Biezup & Henderson, a Philadelphia maritime law firm. Asher performs pro bono work through Philadelphia VIP, and was a member of Young Lawyers for Obama. Asher graduated from the University of New Orleans with a B.A. in 2003, and graduated cum laude in 2006 from Tulane University School of Law. While at Tulane, Asher received the Harry F. Stiles Scholarship in Maritime Law, was selected as a Senior Fellow for the Legal Research and Writing Program, and served as the Editor in Chief of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Asher spent his third year as a visiting student at the University of Maryland School of Law, during which time he completed externships in both the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and the Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. He resides in West Philadelphia with his wife Kelly and their two children, Lily and Alex.

Leslie Colwell, Associate, Public Leadership Initiative Teach For America

Leslie ColwellLeslie Colwell works on Teach For America’s Public Leadership Initiative, a national team that works to promote civic engagement and inspire alumni to see leadership in the field of politics, policy, and advocacy as accessible and impactful. Prior to joining staff, Leslie was a Teach For America corps member teaching 6th grade math and science at Bethune Middle School in south Los Angeles. In June 2010, Leslie was elected to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (an advisory body to the L.A. City Council) as an Arts, Cultural, and Education Interests Director. On the Council, she serves as the Education Committee Chair. Originally from Denver, Colorado, she attended American University in Washington, D.C., where she rowed on the varsity crew team, lived abroad in Madrid twice, and graduated summa cum laude with majors in Political Science and Public Communication. She also volunteered for political campaigns and interned for several non-profit organizations, including the Women & Politics Institute and Critical Exposure. As a teacher, she earned a multiple subject teaching credential at UCLA. She continues to work with youth as a mentor with Step Up Women’s Network’s Young Luminaries Program.

Heather Cotto, Social Service Consultant, Office of Child Abuse Prevention, California Department of Social Services

Heather CottoHeather Cotto currently works as a Social Service Consultant in the Office of Child Abuse Prevention with the California Department of Social Services. Prior to her current position, Heather worked as a Social Worker, where she investigated allegations of child abuse and neglect and later worked to ensure foster youth had permanency outside of the foster care system. In addition, Ms. Cotto worked in a residential treatment program for foster and probation youth and later as a case manager for a subsidized child care program. A graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz, Heather participated in the UCDC Internship program, where she chose to forgo work on Capitol Hill and federal agencies in order to volunteer at a D.C. area public elementary school. Ms. Cotto holds a B.A. in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work from the California State University, Sacramento and received several honors, including the Chicano/Latino Scholar’s Award, the College Service Award and served as a Faculty Mentor Program Fellow. Following graduation, Heather participated in Public Allies, Silicon Valley, an Ameri-Corp Program whose mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation. Heather currently resides in West Sacramento.

Ryan Crane, Bilingual Regional Organizer, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland

Ryan CraneRyan Crane currently works as a Bilingual Regional Organizer at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, where he coordinates volunteers, serves as a liaison between constituents and state legislators, and acts as a public face for the organization at many events. Before joining Planned Parenthood, Ryan held a similar position at One Iowa, the largest non-profit in Iowa working to protect marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Working with the team at One Iowa, he was part of a very successful grassroots campaign that held legislators accountable on several votes on the issue. Ryan is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, where he double-majored in Communication Studies and Spanish. He also taught Spanish as a graduate assistant while earning his Master's in Spanish. He was on the Dean's List for a total of seven semesters. Ryan enjoys staying healthy and fit in his spare time. When he's not being active, he likes to read and keep up on current events. He goes back to visit family in Council Bluffs, his hometown, as often as his busy schedule permits.

Rachel Dakarian, Development Researcher, Iowa State University Foundation

Rachel DakarianRachel Dakarian is a Development Researcher at the Iowa State University Foundation, a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to securing and stewarding private gifts and grants that benefit Iowa State University. Most recently, Rachel was the Social Media Director for Margaret Anderson Kelliher's gubernatorial campaign during the 2010 Minnesota DFL primary; after the election, she was honored to speak about the earned media strategy and grassroots philosophy behind the new media branding of Margaret's candidacy on a “Social Media & Public Engagement Panel” hosted by the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. She supported pro-choice candidates for the Iowa House and Senate while helping to build a statewide grassroots network for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland as a Regional Organizer. She began her political career with a goal of helping to elect women candidates, staffing Becky Greenwald for Congress during the 2008 Democratic primary and interning for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Iowa Caucus cycle. Originally from Marengo, IL, Rachel is the eldest of four and graduated in May of 2008 with a Bachelor's degree in Politics from Drake University, where she participated in student organizations - Young Democrats, Drake University Voice for Choice (D.U.V.O.C.), Rainbow Union - and sat on the editorial board for Periphery, the undergraduate art and literary magazine.

Andrea Diaz, Assistant County Attorney, Polk County Attorney's Office.

Andrea Diaz Andrea Diaz is an Assistant Polk County Attorney assigned to the Drug and Gang Bureau. Ms. Diaz prosecutes a wide range of drug offenses ranging from misdemeanor to felony offenses. She previously worked as a domestic violence prosecutor in the same office before transferring to her current assignment. Before becoming a prosecutor, Ms. Diaz worked as an immigration and family law attorney with the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence where she provided free legal services to immigrant victims of violent crimes. She also participated in providing free legal services to those impacted by the Agriprocessors immigration raid that occurred in Postville, Iowa during the month of May, 2008. Ms. Diaz received her law degree in 2007 from Drake University Law School. She was admitted to the Iowa Bar in September of 2007. Ms Diaz studied international relations and spanish at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. She graduated from Simpson in December 2003. Following graduation, Ms. Diaz served as an assistant coordinator in Simpson's study-abroad program in Managua, Nicaragua. Ms. Diaz is a life-long resident of Des Moines and a proud graduate of Des Moines Lincoln High School.

Kyle Dupree, Analyst, LaSalle Investment Management

Kyle DupreeKyle is an analyst at LaSalle Investment Management where he works on real estate investments for pension funds and other institutional investors. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Global Studies with an emphasis in politics and socioeconomics from UC Santa Barbara and an International Master of Business Administration from the University of San Diego with a focus on entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility. While pursuing his MBA, Kyle served as student President of his business school, was a board member of the graduate student council and received the University of San Diego MBA Student Leadership Award from his peers. During his graduate studies he also traveled to Uganda and assisted a rural non-profit organization in planning a children’s hospital and was responsible for developing businesses that would subsidize the hospital’s operations. In 2010 he worked with CleanTECH San Diego to successfully defeat proposed legislation designed to stall the implementation of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). As a native San Diegan, Kyle hopes to become more involved in working with public and private stakeholders on economic development in the San Diego region.

Jared Evans, Land Acquisitions Law Clerk, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Jared currently works as a land acquisitions law clerk for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and is dedicated primarily to the Land Acquisitions and Conservation Program. Jared has clerked for U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in both Baton Rouge and Washington, DC. He is also a former assistant to the Chairman of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee, Louisiana State Representative Rick Gallot. He is a cum laude graduate of Grambling State University where he served as Senior Class President for the Class of 2009 and completed his degree in three years. A native of Natchitoches, Louisiana, Jared is currently a second-year law student at Southern University Law Center, where he serves as an editor of the Journal of Race, Gender, and Poverty, co-chair of the recruitment committee, and as a class representative in the Student Bar Association.

Austin Evers, Law clerk, U.S. District Court

Austin EversAustin currently serves as a law clerk to a federal District Court judge in Boston. This is Austin's second judicial clerkship. He spent his first on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Between his two clerkships, Austin worked on the United States Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, where he focused on crimes against women, both at home and internationally. Before entering the law, Austin worked in politics in New York. Austin studied International Relations at Johns Hopkins University. He first came to the area in 2006 to attend Boston College Law School, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2009. While in law school, Austin served on the executive board of the Law Review, co-chaired the Diversity Committee, and wrote for the unofficial student paper. Austin is active in the American Constitution Society. He serves as Membership and Outreach Chair of the local Steering Committee and is a national Next Generation Leader. Aside from the law, Austin's interests lie in food and small businesses, passions he takes from his family's wine and olive oil business in Sonoma County, California.

James Faeh, White House Associate, Executive Office of the President

James FaehJames Faeh is currently a White House Associate in the Executive Office of the President working in Presidential Personnel. In this role, he works with the vetting attorneys to thoroughly investigate the background of prospective political appointees, authoring detailed reports on potentially problematic items, and drafting Presidential Memos recommending candidates for appointment. Previously, he worked at The Bonner Group—a private consulting and fundraising firm—during the 2010 campaign cycle. James experienced his first taste of national politics serving on the Obama Campaign first as a volunteer in South Carolina and then as a permanent staffer in Tallahassee, Florida as the Compliance Assistant to the CFO of the Florida Democratic Party. There, he helped to coordinate campaign operations and ensure FEC compliance. Earlier in his career, James served as the Special Assistant to the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Florida Bar from 2007-2008, interned in the Florida House of Representatives in 2006, and was a staff writer for the student newspaper during his undergrad. James received a B.A. in Political Science with minors in Music and Economics from Florida State University in 2008, where he was actively involved in Student Government as Chairman of the Budget Committee.

Acasia Wilson Feinberg, Director of Alumni Affairs, Teach For America

Acasia Wilson FeinbergAcasia Wilson Feinberg is a passionate advocate for children and families living in low-income communities and for educational equity. Acasia received her bachelor of arts from the University of Oregon where she studied vocal performance and humanities. Upon graduation in 2002, she was accepted into the Teach For America corps and served as a 5th grade classroom teacher in Laveen, Arizona. Continuing her path in education reform, she went on to receive her Masters in education from Arizona State University and lead Teach For America’s fundraising efforts in Phoenix as the director of development. During her tenor, she successfully supported the region in winning a $5 million appropriation from the state, which allowed the TFA Phoenix Corps to double in size. More recently, she was a member of the founding team of Mayor Antonio Villaragosa's IA program in Los Angeles aimed at increasing the presentation of low-income and minority youth in the skilled trades, and engineering and green jobs. Acasia continues her efforts in education reform as the Bay Area director of alumni affairs. In this role, she works alongside the more than 1,400 Teach For America alumni living in the San Francisco area and leads the political leadership and social entrepreneurship initiatives. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Acasia is thrilled to now call San Francisco home. In her free time, Acasia enjoys scuba diving, singing, and snowboarding.

Eric Fredericks, Senior Transportation Planner, California Department of Transportation

Eric FredericksEric Fredericks is a senior transportation planner at the California Department of Transportation and has served as the president of WALKSacramento since 2009. He is also the founder of Walkable Neighborhoods, an organization that provides technical assistance on walkability to communities across the United States. Mr. Fredericks previously worked as a planner for state, regional, and local levels of government, as well as the private sector. He has also served as a television panelist, workshop facilitator, and a presenter on livability issues at conferences in several cities across the United States. Mr. Fredericks's expertise on walkable neighborhoods has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Treehugger, and the Sacramento Bee. His photography has been used in publications by CNBC, Costco, and the Sacramento Bee. Mr. Fredericks has a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois. He also attended the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Mr. Fredericks grew up in a rural area outside of Sterling, a small community in northwestern Illinois. He currently lives with his wife and two dogs in the Capital Village neighborhood of Rancho Cordova, California.

Marc Garcia, Associate, First Five Years Fund

Marc GarciaMarc Garcia is Associate at the First Five Years Fund (FFYF), an organization committed to improving the lives of at-risk children by leveraging cost-effective investments in early learning. Prior to joining FFYF, Marc worked at the Metropolitan Planning Council as Assistant to the President. In college, he interned for United States Senator Barbara Boxer and California State Assembly-member John Laird. He volunteers for the Human Rights Campaign, where he serves on Chicago's Steering Committee and chairs their corporate committee that's tasked with managing the organization's fundraising activities. This year, he'll be chairing HRC's Annual Gala - the group's largest fundraising event of the year. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he also studied abroad at the Freie Universitat in Berlin, Germany. Currently, he is a candidate for a Masters of Arts in Public Policy and Administration at Northwestern University. Marc was born and raised in San Diego, California, a city he loves because of its weather and beaches. He is fluent in Spanish and conversant in German. In his spare time, he enjoys running marathons, traveling, volunteering, watching C-SPAN and trying new restaurants.

Jen Goings, Pharmacist, Mercy.

Jennifer Goings I recently started working at Mercy as a staff pharmacist, where I spend some of my time working as part of a collaborative team of physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers to improve patient outcomes. I also spend time providing standard pharmacy services to our patients. I previously spent five years working as both an intern and full-time pharmacist with Hy-Vee Corporation in the community pharmacy setting. I also worked as an incoming freshmen orientation student adviser for the University of Iowa in 2005. I received both my undergraduate and professional pharmacy education from the University of Iowa, graduating with my Doctor of Pharmacy in 2008. I am also currently pursuing my Masters in Business Administration through the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business. In the future, I hope to work as an advocate for healthcare related issues with state level government or organizations. I am a native of Waterloo, and have not lived outside of the state. In my free time, I enjoy getting together with my family and friends, cheering on the Hawkeyes, and playing with my puppy.

Jennifer Gomez, Legal Fellow, Institute for Policy Integrity

Jennifer M. GómezJennifer M. Gómez is currently a legal fellow at the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law, where she promotes the incorporation of sound economic analysis into governmental decision making. She is also a member of the Public Health Association of New York City's Policy and Legislative Committee, and a contributing author for the Wagner Food Policy Alliance blog. Prior to joining Policy Integrity, she worked as a litigation associate in the New York office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she represented both domestic and international clients in various stages of arbitration and litigation. At Simpson, she also served as pro-bono counsel in several areas, including housing discrimination and child custody matters. She holds a B.A. cum laude from Mount Holyoke College (2005) and a J.D. (2008) from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. While in law school, she served as Editor-in-Chief of the California Law Review, and as a legal representative for both the International Human Rights Clinic and the California Asylum Representation Clinic. Jennifer is a native New Yorker. She enjoys studying languages and traveling.

Joshua Harris, Louisiana State Director, Organizing for America

Joshua HarrisCurrently, Joshua is the Louisiana State Director with Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee. His work with Organizing for America includes managing field staff, developing and training volunteer leaders, building relationships with organizations and political leaders, and educating the community on issues. He began with Organizing for America as an intern in early 2009. In 2010, Joshua worked on campaigns to pass health reform, student loan reform, Wall Street reform, Cedric Richmond for Congress, and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," to name a few. Joshua previously worked for the Department of Justice as an administrative clerk assisting Assistant United States Attorneys. Joshua graduated from the University of New Orleans in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. Originally from Houston, Texas, Joshua moved to New Orleans in 2006 where he married his college sweetheart and recently saw the birth of their first son. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys reading and practicing Krav Maga, an Israeli hand-to-hand combat system. He hopes to earn his black belt in the next couple of years.

Nakia Harris, Director of Health Plan Operations, Amerigroup Community Care

Nakia HarrisNakia Harris is Director of Health Plan Operations for Amerigroup Community Care. Nakia is a Process Improvement expert who is certified in Lean Six Sigma Health care, holds a Six Sigma black belt certification and is a certified Project Manager (PMP). Nakia has over 11 years experience in the health care industry with emphasis in project management, process improvement and consulting. Nakia holds a Bachelors of Science in Mathematics from Clark Atlanta University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master’s of Science in Healthcare Administration from the University of Maryland. Outside of her career, Nakia enjoys serving in the community through involvement in various non-profit boards such as National Council of Negro Women - Greater Atlanta Millennium Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc - Marietta Roswell Alumnae Chapter, serving on the Political Action and Awareness Committee and National Black MBA Association - Atlanta Chapter were she is a dedicated Lifetime Member. She is also actively involved with her church where she has served as a Missionary for Haiti participating in the relief efforts after the impacts of the January 2010 earthquake.

Amy Hermalik, Law Student, University of Chicago Law School

Amy HermalikAmy Hermalik is a student at the University of Chicago Law School. Next year she will be an associate in the corporate department of Kirkland and Ellis. In law school, Amy has taken on leadership positions in several organizations and been active in the community, volunteering at local schools and on a mayoral campaign. Prior to law school, driven by a desire to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to pursue the American dream and dedicated to learning first-hand what problems face the public schools, she served as a Teach for America corps member. She taught middle school for three years in South Los Angeles and received her M.Ed. from the U.C.L.A. As a teacher she led her students to significant academic gains and transformed the history department, which she chaired. She also served as the chair of the School Site Council and founded various clubs and organizations to serve the student population. She received her B.A., cum laude, in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Arizona, with honors. Her parents reside in Arizona, but she grew up across the United States, while her father served in the Army. She is looking forward to making Chicago her home.

Tyla Housman, Political Consultant

TylaI am currently looking for a position on a political campaign or in a government office. Most recently I completed my position as the Political Director on the Greenstein for Senate campaign in New Jersey’s 14th Legislative District. Prior to that I was the Executive Director of the Mercer County Democratic Committee. In 2009 I served as an aide to Governor Corzine in the office of intergovernmental affairs, and as the field director in the 14th Legislative District on his reelection campaign. In 2008 I began my professional career as a field coordinator with the Democratic State Committee, and ran a field office on the Linda Stender for Congress campaign in the 7th Congressional District. In 2007 I received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History from Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I was born in Oakland, New Jersey. As a teenager I moved around the country, living in both Florida and California. I returned to my home state of New Jersey for my senior year of high school. Moving afforded me the opportunity to meet many different types of people and greatly shaped who I am today.

Ariel Jacobs, Research and Project Associate, The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program

Ariel JacobsAriel is the research and project associate at The Aspen Institute’s Education & Society Program. At Aspen, Ariel manages a program that connects senior congressional education staff to the impact of policy and practice in the field. Prior to joining the Aspen team, Ariel was the program manager for civic engagement at the District of Columbia Education Compact (DCEC), where she focused on coordinating and aligning the work of the District's civic stakeholders and the public education agencies along an educational continuum for youth ages 0-24. Ariel began her career in urban public education as a Teach for America corps member in the South Bronx teaching 7th and 8th grade English and Social Studies. She then served as a founding staff member and Regents U.S. History teacher at PACE High School. Originally from Wellesley, MA, Ariel received her B.A. in History from Macalester College. She holds a M.S. in Teaching Secondary Social Studies from Pace University and an A.M. in Education Policy and Community Organizing, Planning and Development from the University of Chicago where she was a McCormick-Tribune Urban and Community Leadership Fellow. Ariel is Vice President of Programming on the Leadership Team of the Young Education Professionals-DC (YEP-DC).

Jerry Jones, Project Coordinator, The Central Louisiana Business Incubator

Jerry currently serves as the Project Coordinator for the Central Louisiana Business Incubator. In this role, he assists clients with building stronger, more resilient local businesses to create more jobs and build a better regional economy. The 27-year old resides in Alexandria, LA, and is a recent graduate of Southern University and A&M College at Baton Rouge. While at Southern, Jerry received the Pelican Award from the 2008 Student Government Association for unwavering dedication to the university. He worked tirelessly as an advocate for not only Southern but higher education in general across the State of Louisiana. Jerry believes in using innovation to address past issues and prepare for the future. As a progressive Democrat, he looks forward to a career in politics, he remembers the words of Albert Einstein: "The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.

Ansaf Kareem, Business Analyst, McKinsey & Company

Ansaf KareemAnsaf Kareem works at McKinsey & Co. and graduated from Stanford University in 2010. Ansaf is the co-founder of IDEAS, an international non-profit organization focused on creating awareness for environmental issues in the developing world. Ansaf’s past work experiences include working for one of the largest renewable energy law firms in the US, a clean-tech start-up in Silicon Valley, a non-profit working on civic participation, social media director for a state assembly race, and a research position at the Hoover Institution examining the role of emerging information technologies in mobilizing political efforts and citizen voice. Ansaf was also selected to serve as a Fellow at the Interfaith Youth Core and served in various leadership positions at Stanford, including the Board of Directors of the Stanford Alumni Association and as President of the Class of 2010. He wrote his senior honors thesis under sponsorship from CDDRL based on field research conducted in Pakistan during the summer of 2009. In 2010, Ansaf was recognized by Secretary Hillary Clinton as one of seventy Muslim-American leaders under the age of 30. Ansaf has been accepted for deferred admission to Harvard Business School, and will begin his graduate studies in Fall of 2012.

Daniil Karp, Nonprofit Relations Intern, Causes on Facebook

Daniil KarpDaniil Karp is a civic entrepreneur focused on the intersection of local governance and the promise of public/private partnerships to empower communities to create solutions and measurable impact. He is currently starting a new position as Causes on Facebook’s Nonprofit Relations Intern where he will work on developing a more user-friendly experience for Causes’ nonprofit partners and users. Daniil has recently completed an 18-month James G March Fellowship working as a lead staffer and liaison for a collaborative youth civic engagement project with the Endowment for California Leadership and 3 statewide youth leadership development organizations in California. As a James G. March Fellow he oversaw operations for 2 youth civic engagement conferences, culminating in a weeklong civic advocacy training for a group of 80 high school students at Stanford University. Daniil has internship experience with the Mayor’s Office of NYC, US Congress, and the New Yorker magazine. Daniil graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Oberlin College in 2009 with a double major in Politics and Russian. He hails from Brooklyn, New York by way of Chishinau, Moldova.

Gavin Keirans, Management Consulting Analyst, Accenture

Gavin KeiransGavin is currently a Management Consulting Analyst for Accenture. Outside of client responsibilities, Gavin is involved in recruiting efforts and as the communications lead on the Analyst Action Team. Prior to joining Accenture, Gavin served two terms as Student Body President of Penn State University. While at Penn State, he successfully led the implementation of full time legal services, late night bus transportation, tenant-landlord mediation program, online book exchange and a standing budget. Gavin stays connected to his alma mater, having sat on the Executive Board of the Alumni Association. His advocacy work allowed Gavin to contribute to many publications, including being profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer and NE Times of Philadelphia. During his collegiate career, Gavin also hosted his own radio show and was a frequent panelist on a local political show. Gavin first developed his passion for service and involvement at Jesuit high school St. Joe’s Prep in Philadelphia. In his spare time, Gavin takes part in a men’s soccer league still hoping for the day he figures out how to bend it like Beckham. He looks to be civically engaged in the Philadelphia community for years to come and make an impact locally.

Nicholas Kelly, Deputy Press Secretary, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

Nick KellyNick Kelly is currently Deputy Press Secretary for U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. Before joining Schumer’s office, he served as a Press and Legislative Aide for City Council Member Margaret Chin and as a fundraiser for both State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh. Nick graduated from Columbia University in 2009 with B.A. in Political Science, where he wrote his thesis on the ethics of democracy promotion. While at Columbia and studying abroad at Oxford, he attempted to translate his studies in political philosophy into political journalism for the Columbia Political Review and the Oxford Student. Nick also contributed to the latest edition of the Encyclopedia of New York City, and he served on the board of the Columbia College Democrats. He has volunteered for Congressman Barney Frank, conducted research for Americorps, and worked for the UK-based charity Oxford Development Abroad. During college, he hosted a weekly jazz radio show and played in jazz and funk groups. A native of Brookline, Massachusetts, Nick currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where he enjoys running when he isn't working.

Eva Kemp-Melder, Literacy Coach, Jackson Elementary, East Feliciana Parish School District.

Eva Kemp-Elder Eva is a native of Hammond, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana State University, attaining a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in Political Science. Throughout her time at LSU, Eva served on the executive board of Pi Beta Phi, the Greek Board of Directors and as a Teach for America Campus Campaign Manager. She also interned in Washington, D.C. for Senator Mary Landrieu. After graduating from LSU, she became a Teach For America Corps Member in Baton Rouge where she taught fourth grade at North Highlands Elementary and Scotlandville Elementary. Currently, she works as the Literacy Coach at Jackson Elementary in East Feliciana Parish and is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at LSU. Recently, Eva was a candidate for the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. She is a member of St. John’s United Methodist Church. Eva is also fortunate enough to give some of her time back to Baton Rouge through organizations such as the Mid City Dance Project, Race for the Cure, Yelp!BR, and Teach For America. She and her husband Josh Melder live in Perkins Rowe.

Anne Kim, Outreach Coordinator, GRID Alternatives

Anne KimAnne Y. Kim is an Outreach Coordinator at GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar installer managing California’s SASH program. Her work engages low-income families in making their homes more energy efficient while assisting them in learning about and receiving solar panels to offset the high cost of energy, greening the community one homeowner at a time – in English, Korean, and Spanish. She also is a Policy Intern at Community Health Councils, a non-profit community-based health promotion, advocacy and policy organization. There, her work focuses on California’s implementation of federal health reform.Prior to working at GRID, Anne traveled extensively working on hurricane relief in Biloxi, Mississippi, researching environmental regulations in Spain, Korea, and Argentina, and interpreting for production companies in the US and Australia. She served as an environmental commissioner for the City of Berkeley, crafting municipal environmental legislation such as a Biofuels Ordinance. Anne earned her BA in International Environmental Relations and Public Policy at UC Berkeley. She will earn her MS in Health Policy in the fall at Harvard School of Public Health. In her free time, she contributes to a leadership blog, mentors under-resourced adolescents, and reads to children at the local library in her native Los Angeles.

Emily Kirsch, Lead Organizer, Green-Collar Jobs Campaign - Ella Baker Center

Emily KirschEmily Kirsch works at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights as the Lead Organizer for the Green-Collar Jobs Campaign. Emily has over five years of experience successfully building political and economic power in Oakland. Emily is a leader in local climate planning and green job creation with expertise in building long-term relationships across communities, sectors and interests. Emily convenes the Oakland Climate Action Coalition, the Oakland Apollo Alliance, is on the Steering Committee for the Emerald Cities Collaborative and is on the Board of the Workforce Development Collaborative.Emily played a lead role in launching the Oakland Green Jobs Corps which serves as a model for green job training across the state of California, serves on the advisory committee for the Green Tech Academy at Oakland Technical High School, co-authored Making Green Work: Best Practices in Green-Collar Job Training and has been featured in The Nation, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Oakland Tribune. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and holding a BA from San Francisco State University in Urban Health & Sustainability, Emily is passionate about creating solutions that save both lives and our planet.

Erin Klahn, Steering Committee, Volunteer Women's Policy Leadership Institute

Erin KlahnErin Klahn moved to Missoula in 2002 to attend the University of Montana where she focused her studies on gender and racial equality. In 2008, she earned her Master’s Degree in Anthropology where her research examined urban Native Americans in relation to the current healthcare system and how they receive care. While researching Native health policy through the documentation of personal experience within a local organization, she clearly recognized the intersection and importance of her three interests—research, advocacy and non-profit work. After graduate school, she served a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA where she had an opportunity to broaden her experience with research and advocacy by conducting a community needs assessment. She has been working in non-profits ever since and has worked on issues including teen pregnancy prevention, sex-education, and LGBT non-discrimination. Most recently, she contributed to the successful statewide campaign to cap interest rates on pay day loans. When she is not working, she enjoys international travel—a hobby which has taken her to Austria, Holland, Italy, Germany, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But when money is tight, she is happy in the great Montana outdoors hiking and camping with her fiancé.

Mediha Kosovrasti, Social Worker, LMSW New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Mediha KosovrastiMediha Kosovrasti is a Liscenced Social Worker (LMSW) employed at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygine. In this position, she provides intervention and brief therapy to patients who visit the Central Harlem Health Clinic. Mediha provides crisis and short-term counseling regarding suicide assessment, relational concerns, domestic violence, eating disorders, substance abuse, and trauma including sexual assault and physical and sexual abuse. Mediha's main interest is helping young people achieve their potential, and her goal is to impact youth through mentorship, counseling, and education. She has worked in the NYC public school system as a Social Worker, and also in the non-profit setting at the American Conference on Diversity as a Program Manager, where she worked with student leaders, teachers and administrators to create and implement student-run Action Plans aimed at combating prejudice in schools. Mediha holds an MSW from Columbia University and a Bachelor's in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies from The College of New Jersey. Mediha is also a founding member of APEN, a non-profit organization that aims to promote and support the social, economic, and professional development of the Albanian community in New York City.

Connie Lee, Graduate Student, Urban Planning, New York University

Connie LeeConnie Lee is pursuing a master’s degree at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service in Urban Planning. She was selected as a 2010-2011 Community Planning Fellow for the Fund for the City of New York and in partnership with the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. Her fellowship includes working with Manhattan Community Board #2 on zoning/land use recommendations and resolutions.She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Global Studies and Asian American Studies in 2005. Prior to moving to New York, she worked on several local, statewide, and national campaigns based in Los Angeles—including work on Tamar Galatzan for LA Unified School District, CA’s Measure R, Betsy Butler for CA Assembly District 53, Kamala Harris for CA Attorney General, Hillary Clinton for President in CA, TX, and DC headquarters. Her responsibilities varied from managing and organizing advance, field, finance, and political operations. While traveling different cities and states on the campaign trail, she recognized the need for better urban planning implementation. To combine her passion for politics, community empowerment, and urban planning, Connie came to New York to learn urban planning in one of the greatest metropolitan cities.

Erika Lindsey, Urban Planner, Manhattan Borough President's Office

Erika LindseyErika Lindsey currently works as an Urban Planner for the Manhattan Borough President’s Office focusing on land use issues affecting Northern Manhattan. She is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, Masters in City and Regional Planning program. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Erika worked as part of a team of students to develop a proposal for a new high-speed rail service system between Washington D.C. and Boston. She and her team members presented the proposal to several key transportation stakeholders, including United States Vice President Joe Biden. While in graduate school, she taught ArcGIS mapping software to New York nonprofit leaders and conducted mapping analysis for an environmental justice nonprofit based in New Delhi, India. Prior to graduate school, Erika worked as a consultant on a Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Neighborhood Networks Initiative. As a consultant, she led community center staff through a series of capacity-building exercises and managed fifteen community center consortia. Erika is also an alumnus of the Greenlining Institute’s Leadership Academy and the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship.

Annie Lionberger, Director of Programs, Greater Chicago Food Depository

Annie Lionberger joined the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) as Director of Programs in June 2009. In her capacity at the Food Depository, Annie oversees the development, implementation, evaluation and expansion of initiatives designed to address public health, education and community development as they relate to food insecurity. Additionally, she works to build partnerships with government officials and non-profit organizations to develop and advocate for best practices in hunger relief.Prior to her work at the Food Depository, Annie worked as a consultant with the Chicago Public Schools and several Chicago area nonprofits, primarily assisting with government and community relations. Annie served as the Children and Family Benefits Manager at the Chicago Public Schools from 2005-2008, where she developed and directed efforts to ensure that students and families have access to income support programs including Medicaid, SNAP (formerly food stamps) and TANF (cash assistance). She is fluent in Spanish and, in 2000, co-founded a nonprofit organization designed to provide alternative, sustainable solutions to public health issues affecting women in Oaxaca, Mexico. Annie holds a bachelor's degree from Middlebury College in Vermont and a master's degree from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Yamil Little, Director of Communication, Bridge DA Gap

Yamil LittleRaised in Sacramento, CA by his mother along with his two sisters, Yamil Little left the West Coast to pursue a life on the East Coast in an environment encompassing education, youth empowerment, entertainment, politics and social change. Tirelessly dedicated to opportunities that lead to the betterment of youth, he serves as Director of Communications for Bridge DA Gap, a youth development program, working with award-winning entertainment industry leaders, politicians, and corporations. Operating under the mindset of ‘glass half-full’ he creates paths where there are no footprints. Little is not on the A-List, he IS the A-List. He is Ambitious, Astute, and Assertive and assures that his pathway to success will be paved with the next generation of youth in mind.He enrolled at The Art Institute of Atlanta (A.I.A) and prior to graduating Cum Laude from A.I.A., he studied Audio Production (mixing mastering, sound design, recording techniques). Thirsty for knowledge in the entertainment industry, he filled a void in the college marketplace by creating The Recording Academy’s (NARAS) first GRAMMY U Student Chapter within the State of Georgia. Through GRAMMY U, Little was able to connect students with top entertainment industry insiders for career opportunities and insight on topics such as “How To Make a Hit”, “H.E.R. Hip Hop Panel: Mainstream vs. Underground”, and lastly the “State of the Industry” in partnership with The A3C music festival. In his senior year he was elected as President of the Student Government Association’s Leadership Council and generating voter registration initiatives in 2008, led to him initiating a march from Morris Brown University to the Georgia State Capital. Partnering with the first African-American female mayor, Shirley Clarke Franklin, 58th Mayor of Atlanta, he successfully coordinated The 2007 Earth Day Production in addition to other campus-based large-scale events, carnivals, showcases and entertainment-based educational panels and workshops.

Lacey Maffettone, Media Partnerships Manager, Sunlight Foundation

Lacey MaffettoneLacey Maffetone is currently the Media Partnerships Manager for the Sunlight Foundation. She leads Sunlight’s outreach to online media outlets, political and community focused websites, and other potential partners for Sunlight’s array of open government news tools, datasets and mobile and web-based applications. Prior to joining Sunlight, Lacey was Office Space Manager at the New Organizing Institute, a Staffing Manager at Robert Half International (Fortune 500, NYSE: RHI), Marketing Coordinator at Surgical Monitoring Associates, and served as the Assistant to the Communications Director/Press Secretary for the State of Florida's Attorney General. Lacey graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Social Science with an emphasis in Political Science and Sociology, and a minor in Communications and Event Management. As an undergraduate Lacey was an executive board member of College Democrats, Institute for Liberal Studies, Delta Zeta Sorority, FSU Relay for Life, and Co-Founder of a SGA political party. Lacey also currently shares her love for fashion as a contributing DC Style/Shopping Blogger for GalTime.com. Originally from Boca Raton, FL and Lake Jackson, TX, Lacey Maffettone currently resides in Washington, DC.

Kenny McCanless, Financial Associate, Golden Horizon Financial, LLC.

Kenneth McCanlessKenneth McCanless is an associate at Golden Horizon Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor providing community-oriented, principled long-term financial planning for the greater Sacramento region. Mr. McCanless has always prided himself most in learning from, encouraging, and supporting the growth of passionate talent, and as Co-Director of the Sacramento NLC Chapter, he hopes to provide this year’s NLC fellow class with the same kind of enthusiastic collaboration that he experienced as an Institute Fellow in early 2011. Prior, he served as a web marketing consultant for CIS Data Systems, a company providing website construction and development and ancillary services for real estate agents and brokers. He also has extensive experience in print journalism, having written for Business 2.0 magazine, the Times-Standard daily in Eureka, CA, the Ferndale Enterprise in Ferndale, CA, and the California Aggie in Davis, CA, where he wrote for the city, campus and sports desks and penned a column for two years. Mr. McCanless graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.A. degree in English with honors, having been named an Outstanding Senior and Phi Kappa Phi honoree. He was a U.C. Regents Scholar and participated in the Integrated Studies honors program. Mr. McCanless also worked for three years as a campus Resident Advisor and academic Summer Advisor, and served as an advisor for the Upward Bound program for first-generation college students and the COSMOS program for outstanding high school students. He is a native of Ferndale, California.

Heather Minton, Legislative & Public Affairs Associate, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence

Heather MintonHeather Minton is the Legislative and Public Affairs Associate for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV), where she moves the organization’s legislative and policy agenda forward and communicates the their efforts to a variety of stakeholders. Immediately prior to joining CPEDV, Heather worked in the Capitol Office of former Assemblymember, and current California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. Prior to her work with Mr. Jones, Heather worked in the direct services arena at WEAVE (Women Escaping A Violent Environment), as the Outreach Director for the Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center and as a fundraiser for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. A graduate of the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration, Heather’s community activities include serving as the Vice-President of the Sacramento Stonewall Democrats and serving as a City Commissioner on the Sacramento Human Rights/Fair Housing Commission. Ms. Minton has previously served in various capacities within the California National Organization for Women (CA NOW), including as a member of their political action committee. In her free moments, Heather enjoys spending time with her niece Kaitlyn (10 months) and nephew Sam (2 years) and concocting ideas for making the world a better place.

Nicole Moriniere, Legislative clerk, Iowa Legislature

Nicole MoriniereIn the upcoming legislative session beginning in January 2011, Nicole will be working as a legislative clerk in the Iowa Legislature. Later in the year, she plans to begin law school with the entering class of fall 2011. She is looking forward to studying international and comparative law. Most recently, Nicole was a Deputy Field Organizer for the Iowa Democratic Party in the 2010 midterm elections, based in the Des Moines field office. Prior to that, she served a one-year term as an AmeriCorps*VISTA with the Des Moines Area Religious Council, which serves 11 food pantries in the Greater Des Moines area in addition to providing other essential human services. During this time, she also volunteered for Organizing for America, President Obama's grassroots organization. In 2008, Nicole received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French Literature from McGill University, located in Montreal, Canada. She attended high school in a small town in France near the Swiss border. Nicole has also lived in Atlanta, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and was born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Cody Naylor, Legislative Assistant TBD (in transition)

Cody NaylorCody Naylor is a Legislative Assistant in the CA State Assembly. He began his career in the Legislature in 2008 with Assemblymember Lori Saldaña, where he worked on public policy and communications. Prior to his work in government, Cody worked in the hospitality industry and as an animal caretaker for a science museum in the East Bay Area. He has also worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor for many years. Cody has served as Secretary of the ACLU of Sacramento County and presently sits on the Board of Directors for the AIDS Housing Alliance of Sacramento and on the Board the Asian Pacific Islander Capitol Association as the organization’s Communications Director. In addition, Mr. Naylor has sought ongoing education through the Sacramento County District Attorney's Citizens Academy and the Assembly Democrats University. Cody, who is proud of his mixed Korean-Caucasian heritage, was born in Laramie, WY, and raised in Grass Valley, CA with his older brother. Mr. Naylor graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 2008 with a B.A. in Linguistics. His interests include government and politics, poetry, aquatic sports, video games, fire arts, playing music, and dancing.

Garrett Neiman, CEO, SEE College Prep

Garrett NeimanGarrett Neiman (Co-Founder and CEO) incubated SEE College Prep at Stanford University, where he majored in Economics. SEE has already helped more than 1,000 low-income students improve their SAT scores an average of more than 200 points, and Garrett recently raised $1.1 million to expand the program to 2,000 California students, open a second office in Los Angeles, and offer college counseling services to all participating students. During his time at Stanford, Garrett interned at the U.S. Department of Education, conducted research with America’s most prominent education economist, served as an advisor to Google’s Education Applications Team, and co-directed Stanford Dance Marathon, the largest student-led philanthropic event in the Bay Area. He also served as a voting member of Stanford's Board of Trustees and Public Service Student Advisory Board and Co-Chair of the Senior Gift Committee, where he led an effort that doubled the previous class gift record. 'SEE' has received coverage in the New York Times and BusinessWeek, and Garrett has served as an invited speaker at events hosted by The College Board, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Stanford University, among others. Originally from southern California, Garrett likes to run, travel, and try new restaurants.

Erin Pangilinan, News Correspondent, Philippine News

Erin PangilinanErin Pangilinan is a prolific writer, working at Philippine News for over five years and recently at Change.org as an Immigrant Rights blogger. She has published in Yellow as Turmeric, Fragrant as Cloves: A Contemporary Anthology of Asian American Women's Poetry, {m}aganda magazine, Hardboiled, an Asian Pacific American news magazine, and has had her work performed by her and others at various stages in San Francisco Bay Area. Erin earned her BA at UC Berkeley as an Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies double major with honors.Her political, personal, and professional ambitions come from her roots as someone born and raised in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area and as someone who is the daughter of immigrants. Currently, Erin serves in two leadership roles of the largest national progressive Political Action Committees in the Asian American and Filipino American community. As a board member of Asian Pacific Americans for Progress (APAP) and Associate Communications Director of KAYA – Filipino Americans for Progress, she supports progressive elected officials, electoral candidates, and issue-based campaigns. These national networks focus on electoral mobilization, leadership development, educational programming, and policy advocacy. She believes that coalition building and investment in communities will increase overall empowerment and civic engagement in this nation's political process.

Harish Patel, Outreach Consultant, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College

Harish I. PatelHarish I. Patel is an outreach consultant at the Arcus Center for Social Justice leadership at kalamazoo College, Michigan. Harish manages Chicago A.D. (After Daley), group designed to generate discussion about the changing political climate in Chicago, and manages All Hands On Deck’s Chicago field organizing operation around the 2011 mayoral and city council elections. Harish also worked as a Coalition Organizer at the Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC) on Chicago’s South Side. Harish is a founding member of Project FOCUS, a locally based youth-led initiative of artists, writers, activists and students committed to educate, inspire and empower youth through art and creative projects. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy. He also serves on the board of advisers of In These Times Magazine, and has taught a class on Youth Engagement in a Globalized World at UIC. Harish has done community organizing and international advocacy work. He has traveled and lived in India, Argentina, New Zealand, Uganda and the United States. He recently returned from India after consulting on local projects where he was born before migrating to the US.

Nicole Patel, Assistant Director, Center for Global Engagement, Northwestern University

Nicole PatelNicole Patel is the Assistant Director for the Center for Global Engagement at Northwestern University where she develops international experiential education programs for undergraduates. Prior, she spent three years in India working on international development projects. She served as a Program Officer at the American India Foundation in New Delhi, where she managed Rickshaw Sangh, a microcredit initiative enabling cycle rickshaw pullers to avail asset finance while forging a group identity through collectivization and credit plus programs. Nicole also worked with the United Nations Development Programme and a grassroots women’s empowerment NGO in the Kachchh District of Western India, co-managing and increasing women’s participation in a community-owned rural tourism project. Nicole obtained her bachelors from Northwestern where she studied Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She spent a year studying abroad at the University of Chile and conducted field research on participatory development in South Africa. She taught English in Peru and to various refugee communities in Chicago. Nicole is a recipient of the William J. Clinton Fellowship for Service in India and is from the Chicagoland area. She uses most of her free time to travel and to practice her Gujarati, Hindi, Spanish, and French.

Kate Pomper, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Illinois Attorney General

Kate PomperKate Pomper is an Assistant Attorney General for the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, where she works on affirmative complex litigation with a public policy impact for the State of Illinois. Prior to joining the Illinois Attorney General's Office, she was a Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellow at Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, a public interest law and policy center dedicated to addressing compelling issues of social justice and quality of life in the Chicago region. At BPI, Kate participated in the representation of the City of Chicago Inspector General in a lawsuit to enforce a subpoena in an investigation into possible government misconduct and represented BPI on working groups for the redevelopment of four public housing developments into mixed-income communities. Originally from Pennsylvania, Kate moved to Illinois after receiving a joint degree in law and public policy from the University of Michigan and spending three inspiring summers in Chicago in public interest internships. Kate has a longstanding commitment to the public interest, working at the National Women's Law Center and the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. following her undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia. Kate is also a co-founder of the Chicago Young Public Interest Lawyers Network.

Joseph Puma, Paralegal, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Joseph PumaJoseph Puma recently joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) as a paralegal. Prior to LDF, Joseph served as an intergovernmental liaison and policy analyst for the NYC Office of Management & Budget, and as a community liaison for the New York City Council. Joseph is an active member of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), a neighborhood housing and preservation organization, and he serves on its Board of Directors. His working-class upbringing in the Lower East Side, and his passion for the past, present, and future of the community where four generations of his family have called home fuel Joseph’s involvement with GOLES. A lifelong public housing resident, Joseph has been involved in the Housing Justice Movement, a national coalition public and subsidized housing residents, of which GOLES is a founding member. Through the Housing Justice Movement, Joseph has co-facilitated meetings between resident-leaders and the Obama White House, participated in public and private meetings with HUD and members of Congress, and delivered Congressional testimony. Joseph holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, secured a Certificate in Legal Studies from Hunter College, and he plans to pursue law school.

Hattie Quarnstrom, Deputy Director of Performance Financing, New York City Administration for Children's Services

Hattie QuarnstromHattie Quarnstrom is currently Deputy Director of Performance Financing in the Department of Policy and Planning at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), where she manages performance based initiatives and conducts evaluation of programs affecting foster care in New York City. Through this work, she works closely with many community organizations that provide services for children and families. Prior to ACS, Hattie taught first grade at P.S. 48 elementary school in the Hunt’s Point section of the Bronx through Teach for America. Additionally, she interned with the Clinton Foundation in New York, and in the Office of United States Senator Carl Levin in Washington, DC. Hattie graduated with a BA in Political Science from Barnard College, holds a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University, and a Masters in Teaching from Fordham University. In her spare time, she mentors high school students with the Syracuse University Mentor Mentee Alliance and tutors elementary students. Hattie grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii and attended high school in Japan. She lives in New York City.

Angelica Ramos, Children's Rights Advocate and Law Clerk, The Fox Firm

Angelica RamosAngelica Ramos is a recent graduate of Whittier Law School (WLS), where she earned a Juris Doctorate with concentrations in Children’s Rights and Criminal Law. She is an alumna of the American University, Washington, D.C., where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Law & Society with a minor in Communications. Angelica’s passion is advocating for abused and neglected children. During law school, she served as a law clerk for the Orange County Juvenile Court’s Presiding Judge, (ret.) Carolyn Kirkwood, the Sexual Assault Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Family Violence Clinic at WLS and the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles. She also served as the Associate Editor of the Whittier Law Journal of Child and Family Advocacy, an honors organization, and as the Director of “On Common Ground”, a program that promotes dialogue about how minority groups experience oppression. She volunteers on the National Women’s Political Caucus as the board’s secretary, is a member of the Editorial Board of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Children's Rights Litigation Committee and is certified as a sexual assault counselor in both California and Washington, D.C. Angelica has an extensive record of leadership. While at AU, Angelica became President of Barkada: The Philippine Society, where she built a network for the organization through the Filipino Intercollegiate Network Dialogue, Inc. as a National Director on the National Board. During law school, she was elected as the Student Bar Association representative to the ABA and as Class Representative of 2010. During her final year, Angelica became a nominee to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Presidential Management Fellows program. Most recently she served as Campaign Coordinator for Melissa Fox, candidate for the 70th California Assembly District. Angelica continues to work with Melissa Fox, and is preparing to take the California Bar exam. She is from Fremont, California, and loves spending time with her rescue dog, Josie.

Anthony Rodari, Recruiter, Nationwide Insurance

Anthony RodariAnthony Rodari has a BS in human development and family studies from Iowa State University, and began his career in human service management. Rodari transitioned into the corporate sector and has taken on roles in the Financial Industry. Currently he is finishing up his MPA at Drake University and is tentative to complete his program May of 2011. Rodari Works in the Human Resources capacity.Rodari had recently completed his 2 year term on the board of Young Professionals Connection, where he specializes in the topic of diversity. He also plays a role in the Greater Des Moines Partnership Diversity Council. Rodari was also member of Des Moines Youth Advisory Board, where he takes part in monthly discussions about schools. Rodari had also completed his term on the board of Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa. Rodari has recently joined the board for the Central Iowa Red Cross. Rodari’s efforts have been recognized in his Community as he had been selected as a recipient of the Des Moines Business Records’ Forty under 40 class of 2010, and in addition has been notified that he is top 5 finalists in the running for Juice Magazine’s YP of the year for 2010.

Alise Roderer, Political Operative

Alise RodererAlise Roderer is a professional campaign operative who has worked on political campaigns in seven states over the past six years. Starting in field, Alise has served in many capacities on campaigns from communications to fundraising to managing. She most recently served as Deputy Campaign Manager of Linda Greenstein’s successful bid for State Senate in New Jersey where she managed both the field and communication programs. Senator Greenstein’s victory marked the first Democrat to hold the seat in over 25 years and made New Jersey one of only six Democratic Legislative chambers in the country to pick up a seat in the 2010 cycle. Previously, Alise managed Assemblywomen Joan Voss and Connie Wagner’s successful reelection bid in the 38th District of New Jersey. She got her start in Democratic politics by working as a field organizer in Virginia for DNC Chairman Tim Kaine’s successful 2005 Gubernatorial bid and then in Missouri for Senator Claire McCaskill in 2006. Alise graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and Political Science from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She is a native of Dayton, Ohio.

Kath Rogers, Programs Coordinator, Animal Protection & Rescue League

Kath RogersKath Rogers lives with her husband, dog and two cats in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. She currently works as Programs Coordinator for the Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL), a non-profit organization she co-founded in 2004. Kath has worked to pass local and state laws, coordinated educational events, managed volunteers and staff and established a successful thrift store located at 5497 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard in San Diego to raise funds for APRL. In 2008, Kath received the Humane Society of the United States' leadership award for her role as Volunteer Coordinator for Proposition 2, a ballot initiative to ban certain inhumane practices on factory farms. Kath attended San Diego City College followed by UCSD where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. She enjoys volunteering as a History tutor for high school students, and recently spent the summer teaching English and History at a low income middle school in Los Angeles. Kath enjoys hiking, kayaking in her inflatable tandem kayak and spending time with friends and family in San Diego.

Ronald Rodgers, Corporate Education Liaison, University of Phoenix

Ronald RodgersAs a strong Christian, Ronald believes that the foundation of Christianity is serving people; therefore, service is not what he does, but it's who he is. Ronald is a Corporate Education Liaison at the University of Phoenix in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he works with various organizations in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas by aiding with strategic planning and human capital development. Ronald is a huge proponent of personal empowerment through the power of higher education, both traditional and non-traditional. He received a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Management and a MBA from the University of Phoenix. He also received a Masters of Public Administration from Louisiana State University with a double concentration in Human Resources Management and Economic Analysis. As a graduate student at LSU, he served as the President of the Public Administration Institute Student Association. He was also honored in recognition of his outstanding leadership while serving as President of that organization. Ronald is a native of Rancho Cucamonga, California, and currently serves on the Baton Rouge Area Chamber Education Issue Council, volunteers at Istrouma High School helping students with college preparation and strategic planning, and ministers at Jetson Correctional Center for the Youth.

Francesca Rodriquez, Public Policy, Student University of Chicago

Francesca RodriquezFrancesca is a 2nd-year master’s student at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. She concentrates in domestic and urban policy with a focus on open government and communications. Last summer, she was a Media Policy intern at the Washington D.C. think tank, the New America Foundation. Francesca graduated summa cum laude from the College of Santa Fe with a BA in Fine Arts and holds an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago. For three years she worked at Creative Commons, a start-up non-profit that provides an alternative to copyright law. She has worked in various museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago. Francesca volunteered for the Obama campaign in swing states Wisconsin and Michigan. During election week, she got out the vote in Indianapolis. Francesca was a community organizer for No Games Chicago, a diverse group of citizens who opposed the 2016 Olympic bid. She has appeared on NBC Nightly News, the Fox News Business channel, MSNBC, Al Jazerra US, Chicago Tonight and other local and international media outlets. Francesca plays the cello, likes running and yoga, and loves food. Francesca is originally from Texas.

Robbie Samuels, Co-Founder & Co-Organizer Socializing for Justice (SoJust.org)

Robbie SamuelsRobbie Samuels has extensive community organizing, event logistics and fundraising experience. He is currently the Special Events Manager at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), an adjunct professor at Lesley College teaching “Activism and Change in Communities,” and works with the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS-Boston). In 2006, he co-founded Socializing for Justice (SoJust), a grassroots, volunteer-run member-supported group, to build a cross-issue progressive community, network and movement in Boston based on the philosophy of abundance. Since then, as SoJust's co-organizer, Robbie has been the visionary behind their success - growing the group to almost 1600 members, hosting over 85 events and creating a hub of progressive events and resources at www.sojust.org. In 2010, he won ServiceNation's Boston Service Hero Contest. In 2009, he was the recipient of the inaugural Lavender Rhino Award presented by the LGBT History Project, and the Gender Hero award presented by The Theater Offensive. He received his MSW and a BA in Sociology and Political Science from SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island, where he was raised. Robbie identifies as a white, queer, feminist, trans man and lives with his partner, Alison Brill, cat Lucy and goldfish Brilliance, in Jamaica Plain, MA. He likes burritos.

Shannon Sanders, Researcher, Link Strategies

Shannon SandersShannon Sanders is a researcher with Link Strategies, LLC., a research, communications and government relations firm based in Des Moines, IA. A Des Moines native, Shannon attended Dowling Catholic High School and went on to double-major in Journalism and Political Science at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. During her time at Iowa State, Shannon was actively involved with and held leadership roles in her sorority, Delta Delta Delta, and was involved in many campus groups including the student newspaper, the Iowa State Daily, Iowa State Democrats, Hall Council, and the St. Thomas Aquinas Church Outreach Committee. She also co-founded the Iowa State chapter of The ONE Campaign on campus. During her time at Iowa State, Shannon interned in Washington, D.C. as a Communications Intern for Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and volunteered with the 2008 Obama campaign in Iowa. After graduating from Iowa State in May of 2009 Shannon spent the summer as an AmeriCorps Member serving with the ISU Live Green! initiative as a Marketing and Communications Associate. Shannon joined Link Strategies in August of 2009 and in her free time enjoys running, reading, cooking, her Tri-Delta Alumnae group and volunteering with Central Iowa Shelter Services.

Elliott Scales, Analyst, Accenture

Elliott ScalesElliot currently works as a consulting analyst for Accenture. Based out of the company’s Sacramento office, Mr. Scales’ primary role is as a Java developer, working on a large project for the State of California. Elliot graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2009 where he earned B.A.’s in both Applied Mathematics and Political Science. Since walking into his first Cal Berkeley Democrats meeting in the fall of 2006, Mr. Scales has been very active in Democratic grassroots organizing. From knocking on doors in the rain, snow and sleet to organizing and leading large groups, to raising money to fund grassroots campaigns, Elliot has garnered extensive experience in most aspects of field campaign work. During the 2008 presidential primary, Mr. Scales was Chapter Coordinator for Students for Barack Obama at UC Berkeley, and organized a group of students to travel to swing states for GOTV for the 2008 presidential election. In the spring of 2009, he was the lead organizer to bring the grassroots leadership training, Campus Camp Wellstone, to UC Berkeley. Elliot’s college summers were spent navigating the Middle and South forks of the American River, as a whitewater rafting guide for All-Outdoors. Mr. Scales is a native of Cameron Park, California.

Anna Schlotz, Lead Organizer, South Bay Labor Council

Anna SchlotzAnna Schlotz is the Lead Organizer at the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, which works to build power for working families in Silicon Valley through politics, organizing, policy initiatives and leadership development. She works on a team to build public support for good-paying jobs with a future, keeping government accountable, affordable housing and accessible, high-quality healthcare programs. Prior to joining the Labor Council, she was a field director for Joan Buchanan's successful campaign in California Assembly District 15. Schlotz also directed grassroots canvassing offices to raise money for such issues as renewable energy subsidies, capping global warming pollution, safe and affordable healthcare, anti-employment discrimination legislation, and equal rights for same-sex couples. Schlotz earned a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley. Born and raised in Fresno, CA as an undergraduate she channeled her passion for conflict resolution, social justice and Middle Eastern studies into her academic work and activism with the campus antiwar coalition and other social justice oganizations. Schlotz currently resides in San Jose, though she will always be a proud Fresnan at heart.

Shane Seaver, Board Member Exchange Club Family Center

Shane SeaverSeaver most recently served as the Campaign Manager for Bill Holmes challenger's campaign to capture the State Representative seat in PA-167. Seaver worked with the PA House Democratic Campaign Committee to create targeted field, GOTV and vote by mail plans; as well as an operating campaign budget. Seaver put in place a robust field operation, reaching nearly 20,000 voters; he created and successfully implemented a full and regimented finance solicitation program using union outreach and current donor research. In 2009, Seaver was a Field Organizer for Doug Pike's challenger's campaign in the DCCC-targeted 6th District of Pennsylvania. Pike lost a close race, 51% to 49%, to his Democratic Party-endorsed primary opponent. In 2010, Seaver spent time in Michigan's 7th Congressional District for incumbent Mark Schauer, developing and successfully implementing a targeted, grassroots field plan in Jackson County, the district's largest and most diverse. Seaver serves as a board member for the Chester County Exchange Club Family Center, as well as the Communications Chair for the Chester County Young Democrats. Seaver was born in Tampa, Florida in 1985 and received his B.A. in Political Science from West Chester University, Pa. Seaver has resided in Chester County, Pennsylvania since the age of 8.

Alexander Sewell, Community Relations Coordinator Task Force, Prevention and Community Services

Alexander SewellA native of Chicago, Illinois, Alexander Sewell is a young leader and progressive activist. Born March 11, 1988, Alexander has been engaged in the political process and held progressive values and beliefs since his youth, which he gives credit to his grandmother. Alexander is currently employed with Task Force Prevention and Community Services, a public health non-profit in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. Alexander Sewell is a Political Science major at Roosevelt University, where he once held the top leadership position of Student Government Association President. Alexander's involvement in his community does not stop there. Alexander is currently a member of the Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, an HIV/AIDS advocacy group closely partnered with the Chicago Department of Public Health and several public health community based organizations. In addition, Alexander has volunteered with several political campaigns; supporting Democratic candidates who share his progressive values. Alexander has been involved in voter registration campaigns and specific issue campaigns such as securing LBGT equality rights locally and nationally through his work with The Civil Rights Agenda, non-profit founded by former U.S. Senate candidate Jacob Meister. Alexander will continue his fight for progressive policy through continued advocacy and leadership with his signature "can-do" attitude.

Ian Simmons, President, Foundation for Civic Leadership

Ian Thorne SimmonsIan Thorne Simmons is initiates projects that seek to enhance democracy and is a real estate investor. He serves as president of Foundation for Civic Leadership, and is co-founder of the upcoming projects Democracy House and Student Engagement Report Card. Ian was the silent partner in co-founding and seed-funding ActBlue, which makes it easier for citizens to create change. Since 2004, ActBlue has channeled over 1 million individual donations totaling over $174 million to candidates across the United States. Results of other advocacy initiatives Ian has conceived and catalyzed have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The International Herald Tribune, as well as on CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN. Ian graduated with honors from Harvard College in 2000. His senior thesis focused on the relationship between higher education and democracy. Originally from Massachusetts and Illinois, Ian has made site visits to exemplary businesses and non-profit initiatives in India, Pakistan, Russia, Mexico, Japan, China, the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, the United States, Canada, and Brazil. Ian has volunteered for US political campaigns since the age of 8, and enjoys hiking, skiing and triathlons.

Andrew Slack, Executive Director, The Harry Potter Alliance

Andrew SlackAndrew Slack is creator, cofounder, and Executive Director for the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA), a nonprofit that uses parallels from the Harry Potter books to mobilize over 100,000 Harry Potter fans to act as heroes in our world. After sending 5 cargo planes for Haiti, donating 55,000 books across the world, winning $250,000 through the Chase Bank Community Giving Challenge on Facebook, being praised by both Paul Farmer and JK Rowling, and featured by the NYT, CNN, NPR, etc, Andrew is now creating the "Imagine Better Coalition" which will harness the energy of all popular culture toward social change. Andrew has written for the LA Times, In These Times, the Huffington Post, and produced/co-starred/co-written three videos that have been seen over 10 million times on YouTube. Andrew spent years as a full time sketch comedian traveling across the US to hundreds of venues. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University in 2002, Andrew has been a youth worker in the US and Northern Ireland, studied at an acting conservatory in London, and done in person interviews with Civil Rights workers across the East Coast as he is dedicated to an arts and social media based movement for social change.

Anne Smart, Associate Director, Energy and Environment Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Anne SmartAnne is an associate director at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group where she advocates on behalf of over 330 Silicon Valley companies for regional, state, and national policies and programs that promote renewable energy, energy efficiency, and climate change action. She also organizes events for business leaders including the Silicon Valley Energy Summit, the Data Center Efficiency Summit, and the Environmental Sustainability Symposium. Prior to joining the Leadership Group, Anne was a fellow in the Delaware State Senate where she helped pass the state’s first Energy Efficiency Resource Standard. She has also held positions at the American Geological Institute, the Arizona Water Resources Research Center, and in the district office of former U.S. Representative Wayne Gilchrest. Anne graduated in 2009 from the University of Delaware with a Master of Energy and Environmental Policy. She also holds a B.A. in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Philosophy in Environmental Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. As a student, she studied abroad and did research in Kenya, Paris, and India. Anne grew up in Bel Air, Maryland. In her spare time, she enjoys playing piano and hiking with her two dogs.

Maricarmen Smith-Martinez, Homeowner Selection Manager, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity

Maricarmen Smith-MartinezMaricarmen Smith-Martinez works for Atlanta Habitat for Humanity. As the Homeowner Selection Manager, she oversees the family selection process, working with community groups and volunteer committees to provide resources and guidance for candidates in need of affordable housing. She is a certified Housing Counselor, completing training with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, she served in Costa Rica as a Rural Community Development volunteer from 2006 to 2008. She earned a bachelor of arts in Spanish and religion from Emory University. Maricarmen is a recent graduate of the United Way V.I.P. (Volunteer Involvement Program) and the Community Leadership Program of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials Institute of Leadership. She serves on the Homeowners Advisory Board at Twelve Centennial Park and is an active member of NPU-M. She also participates on the board for the Atlanta Young Alumni and serves on a volunteer committee for the Atlanta Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Maricarmen comes to Atlanta from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Nick Smith,

Nick Smith During his varied career in public service, Nick E. Smith, J.D., has served as an adviser to city council members, a Mayor and state legislators on issues ranging from affordable housing, criminal justice, to labor and employment law. Currently, Smith is the Policy Associate at the College and Community Fellowship (CCF) and organizer of CCF's Education from the Inside Out Coalition, a national collaborative aimed at removing educational barriers for current and incarcerated students. He is also a political contributor to Huffington Post Live. Previously, he served as Director of Legislation and Communications for New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan) and as an appointed commissioner for the City of Berkeley, California. As Legislative Director, Smith co-authored and helped pass New York State laws banning the marketing and sale of electronic cigarettes to minors, increasing penalties for the fraudulent labeling of food products and increasing public protections against the release of exotic animals. He successfully lobbied the NYS Dept. of Tax and Finance to end plans to tax Yoga classes at the 4.5% NYC sales tax rate. As commissioner, Smith was the first African American student elected to lead the Commission on Labor for the City of Berkeley, California, where he co-authored three ordinances, including a ban on sweatshop procurement, which became law in 2009. Smith also served as Berkeley, CA Mayor Tom Bates' appointee to the Housing Advisory Commission, where he fought for increased affordable housing. Most significantly, he and his fellow commissioners submitted budget recommendations that allocated $3.4 million dollars in federal Community Development Block Grants. In 2002, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy recognized Smith for launching a social networking portal, NetFriendsOnline.com, at the age of 14. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley (2007), and a law degree from St. John's University School of Law (2010).

Alana Stamas, Student, Drake University Law School

Alana StamasAlana Stamas is a third year law student at Drake University. During her time at Drake, Alana has interned with the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), the Iowa Attorney General's office, and been a member of the Law Review staff. This fall, Alana was a student intern in the Advanced Appellate Advocacy Clinic at Drake in coordination with the State Appellate Defenders Office. Alana has also clerked for Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. and Roxanne Conlin & Associates. Before law school, Alana spent one year working in Development and Alumni Relations at Des Moines University and four years working as a field organizer for U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). PIRG is a non-profit, public interest advocacy group. During her tenure, Alana spent two years in Los Angeles, CA and two years in Des Moines, IA working on legislative campaigns related to climate change, renewable energy, clean water, and other environmental issues. Alana graduated from Northwestern University in 2003 with a degree in Social Policy. While at Northwestern, Alana was a member of the Women's Soccer team. Alana was born and raised in Washington D.C.

Lauren Stuart, Research Associate, LSU Center for Energy Studies

Lauren StuartLauren Stuart is a Research & Policy Associate at the LSU Center for Energy Studies as well as the Coordinator for the Greater Baton Rouge Clean Cities Coalition. She works with policy issues related to the environment and labor specifically including greenhouse gas emissions, alternative fuels, green jobs, air quality, and transportation system optimization. Ms. Stuart discovered her interest in public administration through an internship with the Capitol Region Planning Commission while studying economics at Louisiana State University. She has since presented research through the International Energy Economics Association.As a student, Lauren founded the Environmental Conservation Organization at LSU and served as President for three years. In this role, she organized the annual campus Earth Week festivities, the Gold Bike Program, implementation of Easy Streets, and the creation of the Campus Sustainability Committee.Since graduation, Lauren has become involved with the Baton Rouge Progressive Network, Louisiana Progress, and the Youth Alliance of Louisiana Leaders. In her spare time, she coordinates a neighborhood organic garden, rides her road bike or cruiser, and peruses art galleries with friends. During holidays, she visits family in her home state of Colorado.

Jennifer Suh, Managing Director, HeadCount

Jennifer SuhJennifer Suh is the Managing Director at HeadCount, an organization that registers voters at concerts and connects young music fans with relevant political information. She has extensive experience working in the non-profit sector with a focus on youth development and civic participation. For two years she served as the Operations Manager and Assistant to the Executive Director at the League of Young Voters and League of Young Voters Education Fund. Prior to that, she interned with Young People For (a program of People for the American Way) and served as the State Director of Michigan for Music for America during the 2004 presidential election. Jennifer also has broad experience working in socially conscious media including print, web and radio. She also interned with investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at The Village Voice, and worked for Air America Media. Jennifer is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in English and African American Studies. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn, New York and is an organizer for the Downtown Brooklyn chapter of Drinking Liberally.

Adel Syed, Government Relations Coordinator, Council on American Islamic Relations - Los Angeles (CAIR-LA)

Adel Syed is the Government Relations Coordinator for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA). CAIR is a leading American Muslim civil-rights organization. In his role Adel is responsible for strengthening working relationships between the LA area Muslim community and government officials and organizations. Prior to this, Adel was the Civil Rights Coordinator for the Sacramento office CAIR where he evaluated civil-rights discrimination complaints and served as an advocate for complainants in need. He also worked with California state officials to address concerns of Muslims as well as underrepresented ethnic and minority communities. Additionally, Adel served on the Sacramento County Hate Crimes Task Force and facilitated the start of Project Feed Sacramento, an initiative to motivate students and young professionals to help curb homelessness in the city. Adel is a graduate of the University of California Davis with a degree in political science with an emphasis in public service. He completed a senior thesis on the impact of law enforcement measures on the American Muslim community post 9/11 and was accepted to present to students and faculty at the UC Davis undergraduate research conference. He resides in Fullerton California.

Brittany Syz, Associate, Solomon Minton Cardinal LLP

Brittany SyzBrittany Applestein Syz is an associate at Solomon Minton Cardinal LLP specializing in real estate and corporate transactional matters. She has been able to use her legal experience to work on several pro bono cases regarding affordable housing, housing rights, and real estate issues for women’s groups and food banks. After working for a senior citizens group in Hunters Point, San Francisco, she was asked to sit on the nonprofit’s board to assist in the development of senior housing in a resource poor area. Since moving to San Diego at the end of 2009, Brittany has joined the Lawyers Club and worked with the Community Outreach Committee to construct a garden for a local women’s shelter, as well as revise their lease. In addition, she has organized volunteers to read at Porter Elementary School in Lincoln Park and to work at the San Diego Food Bank. Brittany graduated cum laude from Harvard University, obtained her master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and received her law degree cum laude from University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Simon Tafoya, Legislative Assistant, U.S. Senate

Simon TafoyaSimon currently works in the Office of Senator Mark Udall of Colorado as a Legislative Assistant. Simon began his work in the U.S. Senate approximately three years ago in the office of Senator Harry Reid of Nevada. While working in the U.S. Senate, Simon has served as the Vice-President of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association for two consecutive years and is now serving as the Acting President. The membership organization offers social and professional development support to Latinos in the federal legislative branch. Simon's previous work experience was in the non-profit sector. He worked in his home state of Colorado with El Pomar Foundation, where he expanded the Foundation’s demand-driven approach to philanthropy, among other responsibilities. Simon holds a B.A. in International Political Economy and Hispanic Studies from the Colorado College. He also attended the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University where he earned a Masters of Public Affairs and Urban and Regional Planning. Simon was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado and is the youngest of seven children.

Justin Tanner, Senior Communications Specialist, City of Atlanta - Office of the Mayor

Justin G. TannerJustin G. Tanner is a Senior Communications Specialist with the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office. In this capacity, he handles Executive correspondence, accompanies the Mayor to public engagements, serves as a communications liaison with local media and works directly on specific policy issues. Previously, Mr. Tanner served as the Director of New Media for the Mayor’s 2009 citywide campaign / 2010 Inaugural Planning Committee, where he was responsible for formulating and implementing a comprehensive social media and online marketing strategy. He also served as Co-Chair of the Young Atlantans for Kasim Reed and a Campaign Ambassador. Most recently, Tanner was selected to participate in the Truman Project Partners Program and the United Way VIP Program. He is the Political Chair-Elect for the Young Democrats of Atlanta and is an active member of the Fulton Democratic Party of Georgia, representing House District 49, Post Seat 4. Tanner holds a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School where he was President of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society, and a B.B.A. in Marketing from Howard University, where he graduated magna cum laude. At Howard, he participated in the Executive Leadership Honors Program and became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Chapter.

Lynzey Tharp, Attorney, Iowa Finance Authority

Lynzey TharpLynzey Tharp is an attorney and currently works for the Iowa Finance Authority's State Revolving Fund. In that position, she assists cities with meeting the federal cross-cutting requirements of her division's low-interest loan program for clean and drinking water infrastructure. Lynzey previously worked in the office of Governor Tom Vilsack and the Iowa Senate. In law school, Lynzey clerked in the Polk County Attorney's office and volunteered for a variety of causes. As an intern for the Obama Campaign for Change in Iowa, Lynzey worked with the Voter Protection legal team to recruit attorneys and prepare election law materials, with the goal of resolving issues for voters on Election Day. Lynzey’s professional interests include advocating for fair and impartial courts through merit selection, student loan reform, and supporting organizations seeking to secure universal health care and equality for women and girls. Lynzey holds a B.A. from Drake University and earned a joint J.D./MPA in Government and Non-profit Management from Drake Law School. After a long legal career, Lynzey hopes to open a cupcake shop with her lady lawyers luncheon group. She was raised in Carlisle, Iowa and currently resides in Urbandale, Iowa with her Jack Russell Terrier, Pippa.

Isaiah Thomas, Associate Dean and Athletic Director, Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School

Isaiah ThomasI currently serve as the Associate Dean of Students and Athletic Director at Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School. I am also the Executive Director for Mature Cradle Inc. I am a former Legislative Assistant for State Representative Tony Payton Jr. I also previously served as the Youth Coordinator for Carson Valley Children’s Aid and as Project Director for the Frankford Freedom School, which is a free, intergenerational, reading enrichment, and social-action based summer program that services youth in Philadelphia and across the country. I have been involved in the Freedom School program in various roles for the last eleven consecutive summers, serving as a Junior Servant Leader, Servant Leader Intern, Site Coordinator and Ella Baker Trainer/Consultant for the Children's Defense Fund and Communities in Schools. I am currently a graduate student at Lincoln University. I completed my undergraduate education at Pennsylvania State University where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychological and Social Behavior with a minor in English in 2008. I am the head boys basketball coach in the same neighborhood I played high school basketball. I am also considering running for office in 2011.

Trang Tieu, Director of Community Development, New Orleans City Council

Trang T.K. TieuTrang T.K. Tieu, a native of New Orleans, is a professional engineer who is presently the Director of Community Development for the New Orleans City Council President & Councilmember At-Large Arnie D. Fielkow. She represents the Councilmember at meetings and events throughout the city on a daily basis. She is responsible for advising and responding to the community and constituency groups in New Orleans and often facilitating regional matters. Outside of her full-time job, she is preparing to rejoin the United States Navy Reserve as a Seabee Officer. Previously as an engineer, she has worked on the design and construction of several high profile projects in the major sporting industry. Trang holds degrees in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University, Business from Blinn College and is currently a student in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program at the University of New Orleans. Her professional affiliations include the American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, Project Management Institute, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Planning Association, and a charter member of the National Language Service Corps.

Lisa Tomkies, Education Program Director, Boys and Girls Club of Shreveport

Lisa Trenell TomkiesLisa Trenell Tomkies currently serves as the Education Program Director for the Boys and Girls Club in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Shreveport native is a 1989 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in broadcast communication. Lisa has been employed as a reporter; a columnist; a journalism and English high school teacher; an on-air personality and producer at several radio stations; the promotions coordinator for a television station; a Public Relations director for an area college; and, most recently, she has worked in membership and education in the non-profit area. Lisa believes it is important to give back, and she volunteers with the Northwest Louisiana Susan G. Komen affiliate; the Shreveport American Cancer Society affiliate; and the Hal Sutton Children's Hospital Women's Council. She is an active member the Sigma Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority where is currently on the executive board. She is also an active member of the Peaceful Rest Missionary Baptist Church where she is a member of the media and technology ministry. Recently, Lisa has become more politically involved and worked on the local mayor's campaign for two terms; Shreveport for Obama; and other regional and statewide campaigns.

Amy Tran, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Cornerstone Academy Preparatory School

Amy TranAmy is currently the founding Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Cornerstone Academy, an elementary charter school located in east San Jose. This work has allowed her to see the incredible dedication, perseverance, and sometimes creativity needed to build a school from the ground up. Prior to this, she taught English to university students in China for a year and traveled around Asia. She began her career in education as a Teach For America corps member in Houston, where, for three years, she taught middle school Social Studies to primarily English Language Learners. During this time, Amy also worked as a Content Specialist and Faculty Advisor for Teach For America, leading professional development sessions and coaching first and second-year teachers. She holds a Bachelors degree in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California and a Masters degree in Education Administration from the University of Houston. Besides education, her interests include reading, travel, music, and cooking. She also remains involved with USC as a mentor for the Asian Pacific American Student Services department. Raised in San Jose, Amy is proud to serve the community in which she grew up and loves being back in the Bay Area.

Sarah Truitt, Special Education Teacher, Philadelphia School District (Philadelphia Learning Academy South)

My name is Sarah Truitt, and I am currently one of two Special Education teachers at a Philadelphia School District alternative school. Our students have been permanently or temporarily expelled from their neighborhood schools, and I teach them English, Math, and Creative Writing. I came to this position through my affiliation as a Teach for America corps member, and this is my second year both as a corps member and as a teacher. After I finish my commitment with Teach for America, I hope to continue working in education, specifically with students in alternative schools. I graduated from New York University in 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science and a minor in Middle Eastern studies. During my time at NYU I was both the Vice President of my sorority and the President of the Greek Community, and I also worked to create a study-abroad opportunity for NYU students in Lebanon. I grew up in Washington, DC, and attended the National Cathedral School where, among other activities, I rowed with a crew team on the Potomac River and rang the bells at the National Cathedral.

Tinicia Turner, Enrollment Advisor, University of Phoenix

Tinicia TurnerTinicia Turner is currently an enrollment advisor at the University of Phoenix, where she also serves as the University’s liaison for Pi Sigma Epsilon business fraternity. Prior to joining the University of Phoenix, she spent several years working for non-profit organizations. Formerly she was employed as a consultant for New Beginnings Community Development Corp, worked at the Louisiana Road Home and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana. Tinicia graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a bachelors of science degree in criminal justice and a minor in political science. She recently received a master’s degree in public administration from Southern University’s Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. She is the current vice-chair for the East Baton Rouge Young Democrats and a member of the Young Democrats of Louisiana. She is also the past president of the Southern University Masters of Public Administration Association (SUMPAA), former AmeriCorps member, a member of the Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge and the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA). Tinicia is a native of Louisiana and a resident of Baton Rouge. She is a small business owner and anticipates entering law school in the Fall of 2011.

Daniel Viehland, Action Director, Montana Equality Now

Daniel ViehlandMy name is Daniel Viehland and I have a passion for social justice. I am the Action Director of Montana Equality Now. My passion for social justice has driven me to work on various causes in various ways, from writing columns for my city’s daily newspaper in high school, to an internship with the Obama campaign, to an internship organizing students for NARAL Pro-Choice Montana. Now I have returned to an issue I have always been passionate about, LGBTQ equality. I will graduate from University of Montana in December 2011 with degrees in Journalism and Political Science. I grew up in Tucson, Arizona. My politically active family, my actively progressive church and my own experiences growing up with Tourette Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and ADHD have made me keenly aware of disparities in our society and drive me to step up to narrow the gaps. In addition, I have traveled to 18 countries, ranging from Denmark to Malaysia, which has given me an appreciation for different cultures and a greater understanding of challenges to human rights around the globe.

David Waggoner, Managing Attorney, Homeless Action Center

David P. WaggonerDavid P. Waggoner is a Managing Attorney at the Homeless Action Center, where he has helped people who are homeless and disabled obtain income, housing and healthcare since 2006. David has also represented clients pro bono before the San Francisco Ethics Commission and the Oakland Citizens Police Review Board. Prior to working at Homeless Action Center, David was a Staff Attorney at Positive Resource Center. As a law student, David was an appointed member of the California State Bar’s Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination. As an undergraduate, David was appointed to the Strategic Planning Committee of the Louisville, KY, Police Department. More recently, David served as a President of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, and as a Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild. He recently joined the Steering Committee of Singers of the Street, a new choir formed to honor the dignity of people who are homeless. Originally from Kentucky, David completed a B.A. at the University of Louisville, and subsequently earned a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law. In his free time, he enjoys a variety of pursuits, including food, art, music, philosophy, motorcycling, sailing, and world travel.

Luke Walawander, Project Coordinator, National Urban Indian Family Coalition

Luke WalawanderLuke is the Project Coordinator for the National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC), which serves as a collective voice for organizations serving Indian families and children in urban communities. In addition to his duties with the NUIFC, Luke will serve in the 2011 Montana Legislature as a Legislative Assistant to Sen. Shannon Augare of Browning, Montana. Prior to his current positions, Luke worked two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA at War Shield Development; a Native American non-profit located in Great Falls, Montana. There, he co-coordinated two Montana Urban Indian Policy Roundtables, (which, subsequently led War Shield Development to being invited to participate in a White House Policy Briefing on National Urban Indian Policy) and initiated a joint project with Montana State University – Great Falls to plan and develop a Native Student and Community Event Center. Born and raised in Arlee and Missoula, Montana, Luke graduated from King College in Bristol, Tennessee with an honors degree in International Business, and was a second baseman for his college baseball team. An avid traveler, Luke experienced living and working abroad in England and the Czech Republic; as a mobile marketing intern at a London firm, and taught English as a foreign language in Prague.

Molly White, Project Developer, ClearSky Climate Solutions.

Molly White Molly White was born and raised in Missoula, Montana by an artist and a carpenter. She is currently a Project Developer with ClearSky Climate Solutions, LLC. ClearSky is a private-sector climate consulting firm specializing in developing forest-based carbon offset projects. Molly will also join the Wild Rockies Field Institute as an instructor for their 2011 Cycle the Rockies course. Previously she has worked as a contract paralegal for the Department of Justice, a project assistant for an environmental non-profit, and a field technician for an ecology lab. Her college education began in Alaska, finished in Missoula, and included a study abroad in England and a two-month circumnavigation of the United States. In 2005, she completed her Masters in Forest Ecology and Management at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, with a climate change research focus. Molly enjoys volunteering at food cooperatives, farmer’s markets, and spending hours in her garden. She is a world traveler, which lends to her appreciation of a global community and the importance of cultural awareness. This exploratory spirit compliments her passion for kayaking, skiing, and camping. The overarching unity between Molly’s background, education, and interests are a testament to her commitment to positive change.

Katherine Womack, Development Coordinator, Teach For America

Katherine WomackKatherine currently serves as Development Coordinator for Teach For America-Greater New Orleans. In this capacity, Katherine has developed internal operations systems which manage day-to-day fundraising activities. These systems have supported increasing fiscal goals from $8.3 million to $9.3 million, helping the region to grow from 200 to almost 500 teachers. With nearly 1,000 teachers and alumni working across 6 districts and in over 70 independently run district and charter schools, corps members and alumni currently impact 1 in every 3 students in the region. A native of Houston, Texas, Katherine began her career in education as a Greater New Orleans corps member, teaching fourth grade at George Cox Elementary in Jefferson Parish. In each of her two years in the classroom, her students each demonstrated 1.5-2 years growth in English Language Arts. At the conclusion of her 2nd year of teaching, her students were working towards making their school eco-friendly by collecting all teachers’ reusable and recyclable products. Katherine holds a B.A. from Hendrix College with a concentration in psychology. While at Hendrix, she played on the collegiate softball team earning the Carl Babcock Award for Leadership in Athletics as well as first team all-conference.