2013 NLC Fellows: New York City


Dan Beksha, Associate, Goldman Sachs

Dan Beksha currently works in the Securities Division of Goldman Sachs in Cross Asset Sales. He focuses on macroeconomic and geopolitical events and their implications across asset classes. Dan has been an active member of the Manhattan Young Democrats since 2009 and currently serves as the Vice President. In this role he has been an active player in both local and national politics at the ground level leading issue oriented campaigns and field initiatives. In the fall of 2012 he helped organize a GOTV trip to Ohio for a group of 200 New Yorkers. He graduated from The University of Chicago with a degree in Economics focusing on macroeconomics and public finance. Dan was born and raised in Massachusetts and moved to New York City after graduation from college.

Brienne Bellavita, Director of Operations, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER)

Brienne Bellavita serves as the Director of Operations of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), a political organization whose mission is to encourage a more productive dialogue within the Democratic Party on the need to fundamentally reform American public education. DFER operates on all levels of government to educate elected officials and support reform-minded candidates for public office. In her current position, Brienne is responsible for the proper execution of daily operations and decision making, as well as the continued growth and development of DFER. Brienne joined DFER in the fall of 2007 as the Program Director, working to build up the organization's programs promoting proven education reform policies and supporting local, statewide, and national champions of public education reform. In 2008, Brienne was promoted to Chief of Staff and spent 4 years facilitating the establishment and start-up of 13 state branches and a federal office. In that capacity, Brienne also organized three large-scale events at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, managed a national field campaign around the documentary "Waiting for 'Superman,'" and worked as a consultant for the feature film "Won't Back Down." Previous to her work at DFER, Brienne worked for the City of New York as an Investigator at the Civilian Complaint Review Board, where she investigated allegations of police misconduct. As a civil servant, she developed the applied skills necessary to deliver on public sector challenges and gained invaluable experience working with many segments of the population. During 2011 and 2012 Brienne served as the Education Chair of Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century (DL21C), an independent organization of young, progressive New Yorkers. She now remains an active Steering Committee member. Brienne graduated from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Political Science and Philosophy. Her philosophy study earned her distinction from the University.

Jacqueline Bevilaqua, Associate

Jacqueline Bevilaqua is a public interest attorney focused on litigation and providing direct legal services to marginalized clients. Previously, Jacqueline worked with the Heartland Alliance’s Global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Advocacy Program in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. In this capacity, she worked to support LGBT rights around the globe by building the capacity of grassroots LGBT organizations, supporting regional LGBT movements, and creating coalitions of LGBT activists and organizations. Jacqueline also worked with activists throughout the Caribbean to develop regional advocacy strategies. She assisted grassroots LGBT organizations to engage with regional and international bodies. In Trinidad and Tobago, Jacqueline worked with a local organization to document human rights abuses against LGBT people and also to mount legal challenges to discriminatory laws. As a student at Fordham Law, Jacqueline was a Crowley Scholar in International Human Rights, a student in the Walter Leitner International Human Rights clinic, and a board member of both Fordham OUTLaws and Amnesty International. She has previously interned for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and the American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project. Jacqueline received her B.A. in Government and Sociology from Georgetown University in 2006.

Thomas Brennan, Associate Editor, Marvel Entertainment

A writer, activist and comedian in the New York City area, Tom Brennan has worked as an editor for Marvel Entertainment for five years, serving as an assistant editor on the flagship Amazing Spider-Man title, as well as serving as lead editor on the New York Times best selling graphic novel, Daredevil: Season One. He previously worked as a production assistant at CBS News and currently performs improv and stand-up comedy in clubs and theaters around New York City. He graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, in 2005.

Carlos Cuevas, Executive Fellow, Urban Health Plan, Inc

Carlos Cuevas works as an Administrative Fellow at the Urban Health Plan (UHP), one of the largest Federally Qualified Community Health Center networks in the country. In his role, Carlos reports directly to the President & CEO on a variety of financial, policy and operational matters. Carlos completed his graduate coursework at Columbia University where he pursued a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) from the School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) and a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) from the Mailman School of Public Health. Carlos’ graduate coursework focused on health care management and policy, with emphasis on quality improvement and cost analysis. At Mailman, Carlos served as the President of the Future Health Care Leaders and worked as a student consultant on two projects with the Military Health System of the United States Department of Defense. Before his current position with the Urban Health Plan, Carlos worked with the NYC Health and Hospital Corporation’s Jacobi Medical Center where he developed and implemented strategies to increase patient satisfaction (HCAHPS) in the out-patient departments of the hospital. Prior to his graduate studies, Carlos worked as a financial and managerial consultant to health centers in New York City and worked as an analyst at a hedge fund in midtown Manhattan. A native New Yorker, Carlos was born in the Bronx and holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Economics and Political Science from Columbia University (Columbia College), where he was a lightweight rower the recipient of the Charles Rolker Prize at graduation. Carlos currently serves on the boards of the Public Health Association of New York City (PHANYC), the Latino Alumni Association of Columbia University (LAACU), and New York Needs You (a non-profit that offers mentoring to high achieving first generation college students).

Alejandra Diaz, Fellow/Special Assistant, New York State Government

Alejandra Diaz is part of the inaugural class of New York Empire State Fellows and serves in the New York State Governor's Executive Chamber. She works with the New York Deputy Secretary for Health on a range of healthcare policy issues and performance measurement initiatives. Prior to state government, Alejandra worked as a Lead Experience Architect at NTT DATA, INC. where she led a team in the development of qualitative research approaches and used the resulting audience insights to inform and design services, system interfaces, business processes, and communication strategies for clients in the pharmaceutical industry. In addition to her professional work Alejandra has served as a community advisory board member on the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and HIV Prevention Trials Network Community Advisory Board for New York City. Alejandra earned a Bachelor of Arts in the History of Science, History of Medicine from Yale University, and a business certificate from the Columbia University School of Continuing Education.

Samuel Filler, Director of Industry, Empire State Development

Samuel Filler's background demonstrates his ability to forge collaborations with elected, private, and public leaders to address urban problems. In September 2012, he was appointed by Governor Cuomo to serve as an Empire State Fellow at Empire State Development. He recently completed his Masters degree in Urban Planning at New York University's (NYU) Wagner School of Public Service, where he cultivated technical skills in pro-forma and financial analysis, data collection/management, and spatial mapping analysis using ArcGIS. Additionally, Samuel received the Bohnett Public Service Fellowship to study at NYU and to gain practical experience working in municipal government. In 2011, he served as a summer graduate intern working on Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's Saint Elizabeths East Redevelopment Initiative, and he recently finished a summer internship with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development in the New Construction Division. Prior to his master's program, Samuel served as an Americorps member with City Year, and was selected as a Fellow in Public Affairs with Coro Southern California. Following Coro, he served as Director of Programs for the Transportation and Land Use Collaborative (TLUC), an urban planning consulting firm in Southern California that specialized in stakeholder engagement in Latino communities. Samuel earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Vassar College, and a Master of Urban Planning from the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.

Kate Lummus, Associate Creative Director, Y&R New York

Kate Lummus is an Associate Creative Director at the advertising agency Young & Rubicam. For the past 6 years, she has been focused on producing content in every media format—from iPad applications, to Facebook campaigns, to national TV commercials—in almost every product category. She currently uses her advertising powers for good, doing pro-bono work for a number of non-profits, including the Darfur refugee outreach organization STAND Canada, and the Joyful Heart Foundation which works to end sexual assault and domestic violence. Working with the AdCouncil, Kate recently helped rebrand and relaunch Big Brothers Big Sisters nationwide. Before her career in advertising, she was a 2005 Bill Archer Fellow to the DC offices of Senator Barbara Boxer and then Senator Hillary Clinton, where she wrote briefs on hearings, constituent correspondence, helped handle press events, and became very adept at the whole backwards-walking-tour-guide thing. Kate made it out of college as a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Advertising, and minors in American Sign Language, Government, History, and almost all of her hair.

Karla Meyers, Political Operative, Working Families Party

Karla grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. After college she worked as an educator in Paris, France and in Saint Paul as an AmeriCorps volunteer. The program, Public Allies brought her to New York, where she helped run an after-school program in downtown Brooklyn. After Public Allies Karla switched gears and became heavily involved in electoral and issue-based organizing and fundraising through her work with the Working Families Party. At WFP she quickly set fundraising records and has made her mark as a lead fundraiser, recruiter, and trainer. Most recently, she was the Finance Director for a major state legislative race, helping raise record amounts of money to unseat a conservative Republican incumbent in a swing district. She looks forward to bringing her energy and commitment to progressive values to the NLC and meeting individuals with similar passions and goals.

Won Palisoul, Fellow, The Mission Continues

Won Palisoul was born in China and raised in New York City. At the age of 17, she graduated from Fort Hamilton High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. During her eight years on Active Duty and Reserves, she served as a Gas Turbine Technician (Electrical) aboard Spruance-class and Aegis-class Guided Missile Destroyers. Won was forward deployed in the Pacific region for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Professionally, Won interned at Nielsen, worked at Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) as a research consultant, New York Stock Exchange Euronext as a veteran associate, and is a founder of a small business. In addition, she is the founder/board member of Women Veterans and Families Network. A New York based non-profit devoted to empowering, supporting and promoting women veterans and military families. She enjoys volunteering with the USO, Wounded Warrior Project, and Team Rubicon. Given her passion in helping others, she continues to serve the student-veterans population as a Local Chapter Coordinator of Student Veterans of America, as a Fellow of The Mission Continues, and works with various Veteran Service Organizations within the NYC region. Won has obtained a Project Management certificate from New York University. Shortly after completing a Post-Baccalaureate Business Certificate at Columbia University, she was accepted into the M.S. in Fundraising Management Program. She holds a M.A. in Information Technology Management from Webster University, and a B.S. in Electronic Systems Technologies with emphasis in Management from SIU. She currently resides in Manhattan with her husband, also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and two children.

Devin Potts, Forensic Policy Associate, Innocence Project

Devin Potts works for the Innocence Project as a Forensic Policy Associate. In this position, he reviews developments and research associated with improving the validity and reliability of forensic science. Using this knowledge, he helps the legal staff at the Innocence Project understand forensic issues in their cases, educates various stakeholders in the criminal justice system on forensic issues, and supports the lobbying efforts for federal forensic reform. In his prior experiences, Devin has focused on promoting scientific knowledge and understanding through educational outreach. As a Corps Member in Teach For America, he taught high school chemistry in Philadelphia, helped students develop projects for the George Washington Carver Science Fair, and coached high school volleyball. As an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, Devin was a member of the American Chemical Society Student Affiliates (ACS-SA) group on campus, eventually becoming editor of its monthly newsletter. Through the ACS-SA, he was an active member in the community and was a volunteer teacher in various after school and weekend outreach programs. Additionally, Devin worked abroad as a Travel Writer in Berlin, Germany and held an internship researching the cultural significance of various site in Cyprus at the Cultural Heritage Center in Nicosia. Devin holds a MSc in Chemistry from The University of Chicago and, as part of the Teach For America program, enrolled at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania while earning his teaching certification.

Pedro Rodriguez, Sort Manager, FedEx Ground

Pedro is the Sort Manager at FedEx Ground in the Bronx, where he leads a team of fifty individuals servicing a population of two million. Through his management, he has built a team atmosphere between FedEx Ground and its small business partners. Hailing from the Bronx himself, he takes pride in recruiting locally and helping individuals develop professionally. He graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a B.S. in Business Management, where he was recognized for his leadership as President of Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc. As an undergraduate, Pedro inaugurated the campus wide Community Service Week, volunteering his time with migrant workers and their families. He also led voter registration and blood drives. Pedro happily lives with his wife and young son in Yonkers, and enjoys playing softball and football. He is looking forward to developing new skills through the NLC and using those skills to help improve his local community.

Terrance Rogers, Business Analyst, Deutsche Bank

Terrance Rogers works within the Asset and Wealth Management division of Deutsche Bank. As a Business Analyst, Terrance works within the Office of the COO (Americas) where he is responsible for leading process improvement and regulatory initiatives with senior portfolio managers, traders, research analysts and business COOs. Before this role, Terrance interned at Deutsche Bank under the COO of DWS Investment Distributors where he completed budgeting forecasts and strategy related projects. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank, Terrance worked for the Economic Empowerment Initiative, an Atlanta based nonprofit focused on helping students (grades K-12 and college level) learn how to better manage their financial resources, build entrepreneurial success and create wealth. While working as an intern, Terrance taught financial literacy and entrepreneurship to over 2,200 young adults and was selected by the CEO to address over 250 donors and supporters at the 2007 EEI CEO Roundtable Discussion and Ceremony. Terrance serves as the founding Co-Chair of the Junior Leadership Board for the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO). Based in New York City, the SEO Scholars Program is a rigorous, year-round, out of school academic program that prepares motivated low-income public high school students to get to and through America’s competitive colleges and universities. Previously, Terrance was a mentor with the SEO Scholars Program and currently serves as a mentor-coach with New York Needs You, where he works with first generation college students. Terrance’s primary philanthropic undertaking includes using his birthday each year to raise scholarship money for first generation college students, and encourage others to donate their birthday to the charity or cause of their choice (www.MyBirthdayFundraiser.com). Born and raised in Lawrenceville, Ga., Terrance received his B.B.A. from Georgia State University in Finance with a Certificate in International Business and the University’s highest honor from the President at graduation. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Alexandra Romano, Account Associate, Hedge Fund Sales, Gerson Lehrman Group

Alexandra Romano currently works in relationship management and sales at a research firm, Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG), primarily supporting their hedge fund client base. Preceding GLG, Alex supported capacity building across the nonprofit sector at Taproot Foundation. She brings her experience from Taproot with nonprofits, foundations, and corporate community engagement programs to her work at GLG as a member of the team committed to building and growing GLG’s Social Impact Program. She spent a year as a Fulbright Fellow teaching English in a German high school after graduating from Pomona College, where she received a B.A. in Political Science. Having lived in NYC for four years, Alex is heavily involved in Planned Parenthood of NYC’s Activist Council as Co-Chair of their Fundraising Committee. In this role she organizes benefits that collectively raise over $35,000 annually to support Planned Parenthood’s advocacy, education, and healthcare services for all New Yorkers.

Kate Press, New York Regional Director and Deputy National Field Director, J Street

Kate Press is the New York Regional Director and Deputy National Field Director for J Street, the Washington, DC-based advocacy organization which is fighting to change the U.S. political dynamics around Israel by mobilizing broad support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because it’s in Israel’s and America’s interest. At J Street, Kate is responsible for developing strategy for the New York region, mobilizing activists behind J Street’s advocacy efforts, representing the organization through public presentations, and training activists across the country. She previously worked in Freetown, Sierra Leone building public administrative capacities in the provinces outside of Freetown. In this role, she trained local college graduates and found them placements in provincial government offices. Kate has a Masters in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Kate loves to travel and has spent a year living in Israel and traveling the West Bank extensively as part of the Dorot Fellowship in Israel which works to assemble and empower a network of young Jewish lay leaders to enliven the American Jewish landscape. She has also led a trip of college students to Southern India for AJWS. Born in Toronto, Canada, Kate now lives in Brooklyn with her partner Daniel.

Pradine Saint-Fort, Senior Program Associate, Vera Institute of Justice

Pradine Saint-Fort is a Senior Program Associate at Vera’s Center on Immigration and Justice and currently works on two U.S. Department of Justice-funded national policing projects: the National Immigrant Victims’ Access to Justice Partnership, which trains law enforcement on how to use the U visa as a crime-fighting tool, and the United Communities Project which builds law enforcement’s capacity to engage Muslim, Arab, and South Asian (MASA) communities in preventing crime. In October 2012, Pradine coauthored a national report entitled Engaging Police in Immigrant Communities: Promising Practices from the Field. The report is a guide for law enforcement and local community organizations that are looking to develop programs or practices to improve police-immigrant relations. Pradine grew up in Brooklyn, NY and enjoys discovering new attractions in her city. In her free time she enjoys seeing plays, musicals, and reading. Pradine received her J.D. from Cornell Law School and her B.A. in English Literature with Creative Writing from Dartmouth College.

Shruti Sehgal, Senior Associate & Editor, The Agenda Project

Shruti Sehgal is a Senior Associate at The Agenda Project, a political think tank based in New York. At The Agenda Project, Shruti is Editor of Practical Progress and a Staff Writer for the Daily Agenda, an online hub for progressive news, right-wing skewering, and incisive, irreverent commentary on current events. Shruti is also the former manager of the Patriotic Millionaires campaign, a group of 200+ wealth Americans advocating for high taxes on themselves. Before joining The Agenda Project in 2011, Shruti worked at Vanity Fair and was a reporter for the United Nations Development Fund for Women in Singapore. In 2012, Shruti co-founded The Gabbler, a start-up humor website on progressive politics, news, and culture. Shruti was raised in India, Thailand, and Malaysia and is deeply passionate about political culture and public policy. Shruti holds a B.A. in English and Philosophy from Barnard College, Columbia University.


Aaron Scheinberg, Director of Strategy & Research, The Mission Continues

Aaron Scheinberg is the Director of Strategy & Research at the national veteran’s non-profit, The Mission Continues. In his role as Director of Strategy & Research, Scheinberg is responsible for developing and managing organizational evaluation processes, and designing and tracking systems for capturing, integrating and distributing measurement data across the organization. He recently was recognized for his work as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Military in the Class of 2012. Aaron graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, earning a degree in Arabic and Systems Engineering while receiving a commission as a U.S. Army Officer. During his military career, Aaron was an M1A2 SEP tank commander and platoon leader with the 4th Infantry Division, a Civil Affairs officer, and an Army Science and Technology Analyst at Ft. Monroe, VA. He deployed to the “Triangle of Death”, Iraq in 2005, leading infantry and tank platoons and earning the Bronze Star Medal during combat operations. Following his military service, Aaron completed a dual-degree graduate program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Columbia Business School, earning both an MPA in International Development (MPA/ID) and an M.B.A. During his time at the Kennedy School, Aaron led the Armed Forces Committee and the student government as president. Aaron continued his international development work through independent consulting projects in Nicaragua, Morocco, Tanzania, and Qatar. Aaron was selected as an Education Pioneer Fellow for New York City in 2011 and joined Wireless Generation, an innovative education technology company, helping to build public school districts’ data capacity through the development of a “Dashboard” software program in conjunction with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Prior to The Mission Continues, Aaron was a Senior Consultant for Deloitte Consulting LLP and built industry knowledge through projects with Fortune 500 companies in the aerospace & defense and retail sectors.

George Simpson, Communications Manager, Empire State Pride Agenda

George True Simpson serves as Communications Manager at the Empire State Pride Agenda, the largest civil rights advocacy organization devoted to equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers and their families. He is passionate about using traditional and new media to tell the story of the Pride Agenda and the people behind it. During the lead-up to the successful passage of legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry in New York State, George worked closely with local and national partners to create and operate the New Yorkers United for Marriage coalition. Currently, he spends every day promoting further priorities for the movement, from the long-overdue passage of a transgender non-discrimination bill through the state Senate to advocating for fair funding for LGBT health and human services needs, particularly for the community’s most vulnerable, such as seniors and homeless youth. George grew up in Orchard Park, NY, where his parents still live. Before his tenure at the Pride Agenda, he worked as Online Communications Associate for Equality California and played a key role in the new media, email and web strategy of the NO on Proposition 8 campaign. Graduating cum laude and with honors from Occidental College in Los Angeles, he majored in Diplomacy and World Affairs, minored in film and served as president of Oxy OUT, spearheading efforts to secure gender neutral campus housing. During his studies he interned in the Department of Public Information of the United Nations Secretariat in New York City. George has also studied or done research in Argentina, China, Japan and Morocco. George lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Ryan Stanton, Executive Assistant, Congressman Steve Israel

Ryan W. Stanton serves as Executive Assistant to Congressman Steve J. Israel, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Here Ryan coordinates the Congressman’s travel arrangements and strategic outreach events; including: press conferences, round table forums, debates, town halls and private meetings with constituents and business leaders alike. Ryan is adept at crisis communications and excels at managing an ever-changing schedule, protecting and managing the time of a highly sought after individual. Prior to joining the Congressman’s staff, Ryan served as Field Organizer for Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone’s successful County Executive Campaign, as Press Support Officer for the UK Mission to the United Nations and as Deputy Regional Director for Senator Charles Schumer’s Central New York Office. Ryan has strong professional relationships in the public and private sectors, and adroitly manage the time, resources and demands placed on individuals in positions of power and responsibility. Immediately preceding his time with Senator Schumer’s office, Ryan graduated Binghamton University in 2010 majoring in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, with a Minor in Economics. While enrolled at Binghamton he was a four year starter, team recruiting chair, and two time captain of the Division I University Rugby Squad.

Maxwell Zorick, Special Assistant, The Office of Sean Eldridge & Chris Hughes

Maxwell Zorick is a Special Assistant in the Office of Sean Eldridge and Chris Hughes. He coordinates their political and nonprofit giving, conducts research to evaluate charitable endeavors and political candidates, and helps oversee fundraising events for prominent federal candidates and nonprofit organizations. In this role, he also provides organizational support to Protect Our Democracy, an advocacy group working to pass comprehensive campaign finance reform in New York State. During his undergraduate studies, he worked in Washington D.C. as a Government Relations Intern at the Center for American Progress and as a full-time Summer Intern in the Office of then Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. In the latter position, he was selected as a fellow with the John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress. Maxwell graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in public policy, and received high honors for his thesis on high-speed rail in the United States.