2013 NLC Fellows: Philadelphia


Zach Billet

Zach Billet is a native of Elkins Park, PA and a graduate of the University of Rochester. He was as a field organizer for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign in Montgomery County, PA. Previously, Zach helped to elect Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards to be Montgomery County commissioners for the first Democratic majority in history. With the 2012 election cycle concluded, he is working to begin a career in urban planning, specifically in the areas of affordable housing, sustainability, and public transportation. Zach plays Ultimate Frisbee and has captained college, high school, and club Ultimate teams. In his free time he is an avid cook and enjoys running, biking, and juggling.

Samantha Dunton-Gallagher, Lawyer, Weir & Partners, LLP

Samantha is originally from Miami, Florida. Following graduating from Brown University magna cum laude, Samantha received her law degree from Penn Law. Samantha spent two years as a law clerk to Homicide Judge Teresa Sarmina in Philadelphia and started her own law practice consisting of criminal appellate and post-conviction relief law. Samantha now practices criminal law and complex commercial litigation at Weir & Partners in Philadelphia.

Kylah Field, Manager, McMaster Carr Industrial Supply

Kylah Field received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and education from Swarthmore College in 2009. As an undergraduate at Swarthmore, Kylah's passion for educational equity and access were cemented while serving as a tutor and mentor in the neighboring cities of Chester and Philadelphia. As a means to combat the many inequities she saw as a volunteer on a daily basis, Kylah founded and served as director of the Young Women's Resource Center in conjunction with the YWCA of Chester. After graduating from college, Kylah joined Teach for America. As a 2009 corps member, Kylah taught 9th grade English at Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School, while pursuing her master’s of science in urban education at The University of Pennsylvania. After the corps, she taught 8th grade English at KIPP Philadelphia Charter School. In both of these roles, she led her students to 40% gains in reading as measured by state mandated standardized assessments. During her time in the classroom, Kylah held a variety of leadership roles at the Philadelphia schools she worked in. These roles included student government association advisor, girls basketball coach, coordinator of student recruitment, and co-grade level chair. An active member of Teach for America's alumni network, Kylah has worked in a variety of roles in partnership with Teach for America and Philadelphia public schools, training and developing new teachers. In her free time, Kylah enjoys helping her former students with the college application process, eating at restaurants throughout Philadelphia, watching basketball, reading, and spending time with family. Currently, Kylah is an operations manager at McMaster Carr Industrial Supply Company, where she oversees employee development, and department operations. She hopes the management expertise gained in this new role, will aid her in one day developing a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting educational excellence and equity for all students.

Jessica Hyejin Lee, Community Organizer, DreamActivist Pennsylvania

Jessica is an undocumented community organizer with DreamActivist Pennsylvania, advocating for undocumented-led policy changes using direct action and media tactics. She is also the co-founder of SuddenMovement.org, demanding fair admissions policies for undocumented students applying to private colleges. She majored in Physics and Political Science at Bryn Mawr College and has rowed in varsity crew team. She aspires to start a social enterprise, combining activism and technology. She is a proud 1.5 generation Korean-American immigrant with a passion in learning Swahili, hoping to make it out to East Africa one day when immigration policies do justice for her and many other undocumented Americans like her family.

Kushinga Makamba, Attorney & International Development Consultant, Self Employed

Kushinga Makamba is an attorney, an entrepreneur and a nonprofit/ international development consultant who currently lives in Philadelphia. Kushinga was born in Zimbabwe, she grew up in the UK where she attended boarding school and also received her Law Degree from King’s College, University of London. Kushinga moved to Philadelphia 10 years ago where she has worked as an attorney within law firms, in-house corporate legal departments and also within the nonprofit sector. She has experience in various practice areas including commercial real estate law, entertainment law and immigration law. Kushinga received her Master’s in Leadership from the Wharton School and School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, where she concentrated on the Leadership of NGOs. Kushinga has a passion for social change and has been steadily building a consulting practice that focuses on helping nonprofits within the US, UK and southern Africa, to improve operational efficiency in areas such as Board Governance Training and Strategic Planning. She also consults with corporations mainly in Africa where she helps to create strategic sustainable Corporate Social Responsibility plans and programs. In Philadelphia, Kushinga serves as Board Secretary on the Executive Committee of Nationalities Services Center (NSC), a 91 year old nonprofit that provides social, educational and legal services to immigrants and refugees in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Amelia Marritz, Paralegal, Community Legal Services

Amelia Marritz is a paralegal at Community Legal Services, a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income Philadelphians. At Community Legal Services (CLS), Amelia works in the Public Housing Unit advising and representing tenants in public housing, Section 8, and other subsidized housing. Amelia previously worked at CLS’ sister agency, Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA), assisting low-income migrant farmworkers throughout Pennsylvania as a paralegal in PLA’s Pennsylvania Farmworker Project. Before starting college, Amelia spent a gap year as an exchange student in Spain. She then received a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. In addition, she received certificate from Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies, through which she completed an individual research project in rural Ecuador. Amelia also minored in Portuguese and spent six months living and studying in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Amelia grew up in Gettysburg, PA and has resided in Philadelphia since 2008. She has a volunteer position as the Co-Chair of the National Lawyers Guild Philadelphia Chapter’s U-Visa Project. The project assists immigrant crime victims in petitioning for legal status through the U-Visa program. In the rest of her spare time, she enjoys playing a bass drum in a Brazilian samba percussion group.

Allyse Orsini, Development Assistant, Gift of Life Family House

Allyse Orsini graduated from the University of Delaware in 2010 with a major in Communication and a minor in Legal Studies. Allyse found her passion for the non-profit industry during an internship with the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. While working in Development at RMDH, Allyse realized she was able to connect her business-professional demeanor and commitment to excellence with her care and compassion for others and decided to follow a career path with Development and Fundraising. After an internship with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s New Jersey Metro chapter, Allyse headed into her senior year determined to make new connections that would further her career in the non-profit industry. After graduation, Allyse proudly accepted the position of Development Assistant at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey. During her employment at MAWFNJ, Allyse worked with a small Development team to cover the entire state of New Jersey running events, building connections with potential donors, researching grants, working with volunteers and much more. After a year of employment at Make-A-Wish, Allyse made the move to Philadelphia to accept a Development Assistant position at Gift of Life Family House. The Family House, a Ronald McDonald House style housing facility for transplant patients and their families traveling to Philadelphia for transplant related care, was about to open when Allyse began working in July 2011. With the opening of the Family House, Allyse was privy to being part of the creation and implementation of many programs, including the Annual Fund, Major Gift Program, along with many of the reporting, recording and recognition policies that are in place today. As time went on, Allyse began managing the Home Cook Heroes Program at the Family House, coordinating and working with the many volunteers who come in to cook meals at the Family House each night. Working within Development and with the HCH program leads to communication about the important mission of the Family House in the community, and allows for opportunities to solicit and build relationships with individuals, corporations and organizations dedicated to helping the cause. While working on a Development team consisting mainly of two people, including herself, Allyse is constantly challenged and excited by her position at the Family House. Allyse enjoys taking a hands-on approach and continuously working to better the Family House while it is still in the beginning stages and cannot wait to see the success that the upcoming years bring.

Andrew Palmero, Lead Teacher, Mastery Charter Schools

Andrew is a native southerner, who moved to the region to participate in the Teach For America program. Through the program, Andrew committed two years to teaching some of the country's most underprivileged students. After completing the program, he decided to take a job at Mastery Charter Schools teaching 3rd grade. Andrew is a firm believer that all students, regardless of where they come from or the color of their skin, should get a real chance at life. In his opinion, this real chance at life starts with a sound education, one that sets students up to be competitive. Andrew always saw himself in the legal profession, but heard a calling to do something about the vast disparity between students from affluent communities and students of color. He hopes to become a leader in the education reform movement and, one day, run for public office. Andrew lives by the motto, "To whom much is given, much is required." This motto drives every professional decision he makes, with the hope that students from all walks of life get the same education those from affluent communities receive. Andrew holds a Bachelors in Political Science from Louisiana State University, and a Masters in Education from Wilmington University. He hopes to return to school to pursue a PhD in Education Policy soon.

Tiffany Rae Reid, CEO/Founder, S.I.M.P.L.L.E

Tiffany Rae Reid is serving the world by engaging multiracial and multicultural communities in a discussion about concepts of race (as a social versus biological construct) and the connection between acknowledging diversity and living an authentic life. Tiffany Rae is an author, talk radio show host, and community educator seeking to combine her biracial experiences with a desire to better understand human beings from a sociological perspective. In this way, Tiffany Rae hopes to continue impacting the lives of children, families, educators and policy makers while engaging people in a conversation that moves past celebrating heroes and holidays. As the Host of Mixed Race Radio, Tiffany Rae carries on a weekly conversation about what it means to be multiracial and multicultural in America today. She interviews parents raising biracial children, educators impacting a multicultural classroom, authors, community leaders, policy makers and business owners who are invested in the journey of diversity or simply have an opinion they want to share. Tiffany Rae is also the creator of S.I.M.P.L.L.L.E., a community success group dedicated to Supporting Interracial & Multicultural People Living, Loving, Learning Everywhere. S.I.M.P.L.L.L.E. mirrors the principles of Life Coaching with Tiffany Rae, which was started in 2007 as a brand of life coaching that seeks to erase colorblindness from every family raising multiracial children. Tiffany Rae believes that interactive mentoring of entire family units is needed in order to provide parents and family member with the education and cross cultural training needed to properly support and encourage a unique and diverse life experience. “Through mentoring we can create a sense of self- identity, self-respect, cultural awareness and responsibility that is needed in order to establish real dialogue.” Specialized individual and group sessions create an opportunity to engage each family member while providing the language and framework needed in order to discuss the differences. “Only when we can begin to acknowledge our differences can we ever begin to celebrate the similarities.” Tiffany Rae has been honored for her passion and drive and has found a way to celebrate her multicultural background by embracing the characteristics that once isolated her from her family and peers. Tiffany brings these life lessons alive and presents much, much more in workshops and group sessions to small businesses, community groups, parents raising biracial children and educators impacting a multicultural classroom.

Salas Saraiya, Client Relations, Shindig

Salas Saraiya works as a consultant and community organizer in the technology space in Philadelphia. Professionally, Salas leads client and public relations for Shindig. Shindig is a mobile platform for event scheduling based out of the Independents Hall coworking space in Old City. In this capacity, Salas leverages both his technical knowledge and professional network to build relationships with and provide mobile solutions for communities and event series such as Live Arts and Fringe, Campus Philly, and First Person Arts. Salas is also President of the Network of Indian Professionals, Philadelphia Chapter. The non-profit's goals include Civic Awareness, Cultural Awareness, Professional Development, and Community Service. In addition to holding dinners and happy hours, the organization also partners with service non-profits Service and Education for Women Against Abuse (SEWAA) and Asha for Education to help raise money for their causes. Salas was a board member in the non-profit Young Involved Philadelphia and helped launch the annual two-week State of Young Philly series. The State of Young Philly series draws over 1,000 young professionals from a variety of sectors around the themes of imagining and building tomorrow's Philadelphia. As the "tech guy" on the board, Salas performed tasks that ranged from building partnerships with organizations and companies in the tech community to taking the lead on the organization's open data efforts and maintaining the organization's website and social media presence. Salas always has a few side projects in the works. One of these is currently the #whyilovephilly campaign, where people are encouraged on Twitter to post what they love about our city. This has given rise to an events campaign, where hundreds of young professionals gather at local bars to celebrate Philadelphia. The campaign is a collaborative effort of Independents Hall, where Salas has been a member since 2007, Young Involved Philadelphia, and the blog Philly Love Notes. Another side project is sheltr.org, a mobile-friendly website to help social service agencies and concerned citizens guide the needy towards appropriate resources. The site was developed during a local hackathon. Salas has developed partnerships with the Coalition Against Hunger, the City of Philadelphia's Keyspot campaign, and Code for America around this tool. In his free time, Salas enjoys playing tennis, going to music concerts and drinking beer. Salas graduated from Stanford University in 2002 with a BA in International Relations.

Dan Siegel

Dan is a Pennsylvania native. Born in Philadelphia, Dan’s family moved to London, England following his birth. After living abroad for 5 years, Dan’s family moved back to downtown Philadelphia, and then out the suburb of Jenkintown. His passion for politics developed early and he was an active member of the Model United Nations club at Abington Friends School. Dan then made his way to upstate New York where he attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 2010 with a degree in International Relations. After graduating Dan wound up at home to help care for a father recently taken by serious illness. Once things had quieted at home and his father was on the road to recovery, Dan took a position as a Field Organizer for Connecticut Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont in the primary. Despite a loss, Dan discovered a love of organizing and made his way to Delaware to work for now Senator Chris Coons, and Congressman John Carney. After a big win in the First State, Dan took some time and worked in the private sector. In the winter of 2011, Dan was brought on as the Montgomery County Regional Field Director for Organizing for America – Pennsylvania. Dan was fortunate enough to work with an exceptional group of people, and had an amazing staff working to bring home the county and the state for the President increasing turnout from 2008 by a significant margin. Dan’s passion from organizing stems from a belief that real change can be affected every day by passionate people willing to give anything they have to a cause they believe in. Dan’s biggest passion is healthcare, which stems from his experience with his father and the President’s organization, but is also passionate about marriage equality, union rights and foreign policy.

Andrew Sommers, Senior Consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton

Andrew Sommers, a Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, supports the firm’s Strategy and Organization, Organization Efficiencies & Effectiveness practice. At Booz Allen, he has led several small teams to help Air Force clients carry out their missions through business process improvement, change management and knowledge management efforts. Also at Booz Allen, Sommers serves a key member to several internal teams where he supports marketing, proposal and intellectual capital development efforts. Prior to Booz Allen, Mr. Sommers was a Provider Reimbursement Analyst with Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia and has also worked with the Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Leadership Fellowship Program. In addition to his consulting work, Sommers has also supported a number of non-profit organizations in both the Philadelphia and Washington D.C areas. Currently the Director of Consulting Corps with the DC Social Innovation Project (DCSIP), Sommers has developed a pro-bono consulting program that serves socially innovative non-profits in the District of Columbia. To date, they have deployed 7 projects with an estimated $50,000 in pro-bono consulting services from 25 volunteer consultants. He has also provided pro-bono support to DC Appleseed’s Working Poor Families project and served as an English Teacher with South Philadelphia’s Literacy Partnership. Mr. Sommers graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Liberal Arts degree focused on Public Policy, Urban Development and Global Studies. He’s also a graduate of Pennsylvania State University (University Park) where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Business Administration in 2008.

Ben Stango, Campaign Program Manager, United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey

Ben Stango serves as Campaign Program Manager for the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey's Resource Development Department, supporting the organization's $60 million annual fundraising campaign. He is heavily engaged in Philly’s young professional community, working with Young Involved Philadelphia, The Spruce Foundation, and other civic-minded organizations. Ben also serves on the advisory board of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the steering committee of American Jewish Committee (ACCESS), the advisory committee of the Free Library of Philadelphia's Raven Society, and the Yale Club of Philadelphia Council. Ben is currently a fellow with the New Leaders Council's Philadelphia Chapter and is an alumnus of the Center for Progressive Leadership's Political Leaders Fellowship program in Pennsylvania. Ben graduated cum laude from Yale University in 2011 where he doubled-majored in Political Science & Humanities. In his free time, Ben enjoys reading, cooking, eating, singing in the shower, and early morning workouts. He plans to pursue a career in public service.

Sara Levin Stevenson, Graduate Fellow, The Longwood Graduate Program

Sara Levin Stevenson is a Graduate Fellow in the Longwood Graduate Program, earning a Master of Science in Public Horticulture. The Program is based at both Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA and the University of Delaware. Her main interests in the field are education, community engagement, and how public gardens can play a greater role in the city. Sara is also interested in public policy and how urban planning can influence the environment. Sara recently joined the Board of Directors at the Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation in West Philadelphia, where she will act as a liaison between the board and the Walnut Hill Urban Farm. Sara’s work in her graduate program includes fundraising, development, and serving as a non-voting member on the Tyler Arboretum Board of Directors. Sara grew up in the Philadelphia area. She went to college in Colorado and majored in Classical Studies. She taught high school Latin outside Baltimore and in Seattle, and earned a Master of Art in Classics from the University of Washington while teaching. Sara then became more interested in urban horticulture and community gardening. She learned the ropes by spending time gardening and landscaping and found her way back to Philadelphia to intern in the Education Department at Morris Arboretum; she is glad to be back. Sara currently lives in West Philadelphia with her husband, Zac.

Tessa Stubler, Strategy & Transformation Consultant, IBM Global Business Services

Tessa Stubler currently works for IBM Global Business Services as a Strategy & Transformation Consultant, specializing in financial services. She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University Schreyer Honors College in 2011 with degrees in Finance and Economics. Prior to joining IBM, Tessa worked for Goldman Sachs as an Investment Banking Analyst, focused on corporate debt products. While at Penn State, Tessa served as the Lead Analyst for the Consumer Staples sector of the Nittany Lion Fund, LLC. After her junior year, Tessa interned with Goldman Sachs in their Equity Capital Markets group, where she focused primarily on the real estate and telecommunications sectors. She was also heavily involved with the Penn State Fitness program and was a group fitness instructor for four years.

Stephen Suffian, Student, Villanova University

Stephen Suffian is currently working towards a Master’s degree in Sustainable Engineering at Villanova University. He received an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Civic and Community Engagement at Pennsylvania State University. Stephen has experience working with various communities in Nicaragua, Honduras, Kenya, and Tanzania on a wide array of topics covering global health, renewable technology design and installation, gravity-fed water systems, data management through machine learning, and agricultural value chain analysis. During his time at Penn State, he worked under the HESE program and in 2011 was named a HESE fellow. During his fellowship, he spent 5 months in Kenya implementing a telemedicine system called Mashavu. Community health workers provide blood pressure and BMI readings to community members for a small fee. This generates a livelihood for the community health workers, creates a framework for electronic medical records at the village level, and provides preventative health care services in a region where non-communicable diseases are becoming more prevalent. Stephen's Master thesis is the creation of a framework for analyzing the resilience of a food value chain. While working on the telemedicine system in Kenya, he also conducted interviews of different stakeholders across the tomato value chain in order to find opportunities for new technologies that would strengthen the chain’s resilience. For example, he worked with a Penn State team who recently licensed out a low-cost greenhouse design to a local startup company in Nairobi. He is currently applying for a PhD at Villanova to continue with similar work.

Kellan White, Constituent Services Representative, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown

Kellan White was born in Philadelphia and raised in the Wynnfield neighborhood. Kellan attended Germantown Friends School and graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, 2008. In college he was heavily involved in student government, serving as the chair of the largest organization on campus, Carolina Fever. As chair he added a service component to the organization creating a partnership with Big Brothers/ Big Sisters to bring children to sporting events with Fever. Kellan's desire for a career in athletics brought Kellan to the University of Minnesota where he was a sports marketing assistant. Although he loved working in athletics, Kellan always wanted to do more for the community. Kellan returned home in 2010 to serve as the Director of Youth Development for the Christian Street YMCA. Kellan brought a programmatic approach expanding the youth programming to include children as young as twp and as old as fifteen, broadening the scope of children impacted. Kellan worked closely members of the community fostering a mentor/mentee relationship with many of the teenagers while building relationships with groups such as Rising Sons, Philly Rising and several elected officials. His direct work with youth unlocked his passion for service; a passion which drove him to take his efforts city wide and volunteer with Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown as a legislative intern. Kellan joined Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown staff full time in the summer of 2012. Kellan is currently a Constituent Services Representative and also works on most of her project pertaining to youth. In his role he connects those in need with the resources the city offers to help them get back on their feet. Kellan is the program coordinator for the Bringing City Government to Senior Citizens and the Warmth in Winter Drive. He also represents the Councilwoman on several boards including the Girl Scouts, the MAC, Gun Crisis and the Committee on Education. He is the Vice Chairman of the EM Stanton School Advisory Board, a member of the AHA Young at Heart Board and Young Involved Philadelphia and became an e-mentor for the “What it Takes Program”. Kellan was raised by a family that was committed to service and he looks to continue his family’s legacy and ensure that the future for our youth is better than our present.

Shannon Williams, Manager of Advocacy & Policy, The Urban League of Philadelpha

Shannon is currently the Advocacy and Policy Manager for The Urban League of Philadelphia, a long standing non-profit organization that works to advocate for an under-served community that want to advance to a higher level, economically and socially. She attended the University of Massachusetts, where she recieved her B.A. in Political Science and Legal Studies. Upon graduating from UMASS, she went on to work at the National Constitution Center. There she worked to develop programs that were designed to teach children about the government and how to become civically engaged at any age. She left her position with the National Constitution Center to attend law school in Virginia, where she received her J.D. Always having a desire to work in politics, Shannon has interned for several Pennsylvania politicians and has just recently worked on her first campaign during the 2012 election cycle. Shannon grew up in Swarthmore, PA, where she attended Strath Haven High School.

Jeffery Young, Jr., Law Clerk, Law Office of James McGarrity

Jeffery Young, Jr., most commonly referred to as Jay, was born and raised in the Logan and North Philadelphia sections of the city. He attended Girard College, a prestigious elementary and secondary education boarding school for academically capable students from low income, single parent families and received his B.A in Political Science from Temple University. Jay recently obtain a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers School of Law-Newark in Newark, New Jersey and has also made significant process toward obtaining a Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration. While at Rutgers, Jay was selected by the Eagleton Institute of Politics as a Governor's Executive Fellow. Jay has interned for elected and appointed public officials in Philadelphia, Trenton, and Washington, D.C. and was appointed by Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke to serve as the first representative of the 5th Council District on the Philadelphia Youth Commission in 2008. Jay also helped organize the "Put It Down" Philly Anti-Gun Violence Campaign from 2007-2008, where he coordinated activities between the various community groups and city government. For his efforts, he received the 2008 Men Making a Difference community service award from the American Cities Foundation. During the summer months, Jay serves as a volunteer coach with the Brewerytown Tigers, a little league baseball team in North Philadelphia. He currently is a member of the Mayor's Commission on African American Males and works as a Law Clerk in the Law Office of James McGarrity.