Meet the 2017 Boston Fellows
(back to NLC 2017 Fellows)
Jennifer Angarita, Project Manager, Strategic Initiatives Boston Community Capital
As a first-generation immigrant, Jennifer is passionate about the intersection of innovation, social impact, and urban policy. With a background in applied research, partnership building, and community development, she is committed to addressing the socio-economic disparities that color the lives of many underserved and financially vulnerable communities. Currently, Jennifer works as a Project Manager at Boston Community Capital, a community development finance institution (CDFI) that helps build healthy communities. In this role, she works to advance strategic initiatives ranging from community solar projects to foreclosure assistance for struggling homeowners. Previously, Jennifer served as the National Worker Center Coordinator at the AFL-CIO, where she advocated for worker populations that federal and state labor laws systematically exclude. Jennifer has also worked on state- and federal-level campaigns for immigration reform and DREAM Act legislation. Her personal experiences and professional work in both the non-profit and public sector have strengthened her commitment to social change and her deeply-rooted interest in civic engagement and civic innovation. From researching labor policies of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong to advocating for financially vulnerable populations in the US, Jennifer aims to use data-driven, entrepreneurial approaches to address socio-economic inequality. Jennifer holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. At HKS, she served as a President of the Latinx Caucus and was a Sheila C. Johnson Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership.
Helena Berbano, Special Projects & Field Manager, Nonprofit VOTE
Helena Berbano is a second generation Filipina American, Florida native, and voting rights advocate, who is dedicated to the election of more women of color in all levels of government and progressive politics. Prior to moving to Boston, she had already decided on a different path - pursuing classical vocal performance. However, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 sparked her progressive streak. Further driving home her invigorated interest in politics, she pursued a degree in Political Science at Merrimack College. During her tenure at Merrimack, she was involved in campus leadership, and interned for the Caucus of Women Legislators, Governor Deval Patrick, and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. She went on to pursue a Master of Public Administration at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she was given the distinctions of McCormack Scholar, Keough Capstone Fellow, and Best Capstone for her research focused on women of color public office initiatives. Currently, Helena is the Special Projects and Field Manager at Nonprofit VOTE, where she works collaboratively with nonprofit partners across the U.S. on their voter registration and education activities. Apart from her work at Nonprofit VOTE, she is dedicated to volunteering on political campaigns, supporting initiatives dedicated to social justice, and entertaining running for political office in the future. Most recently she was part of the inaugural women of color cohort at the New American Leaders Project, where she was trained on the nuts and bolts for running as an authentic leader. She also recently founded and continues to co-direct Asian American Millennials Unite, a start up social justice initiative focused on engaging AAPI millennials. Additionally for the 2016 election cycle, she served as Communications Director for AAPI Millennials for Hillary, and served as a member of the Hillary for America Millennial Victory Council. She is a board member at YNPN Boston, and the AAPI women focused organization, ASPIRE. On her days off, she listens to musical theatre compilations and avidly sings power ballads at karaoke.
Nicole Castillo, Social Entrepreneur & Co-Founder, BeVisible Latinx Consultant
Nicole Castillo is a social entrepreneur and co-founder of BeVisible, a career platform for Latinx Millennials. She is content-producer with a passion for Latinx leadership and empowerment, and has interviewed Latina politicians throughout the U.S., sharing their stories and wisdom with the next generation of Latina leaders. Her articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, LatinasRepresent, Boston Latino Magazine, Project Enye, Latino Rebels, Medium, and Latina Lista, and she been interviewed by NPR and Vivala for her insights on politics and feminism. She was recently named by Mitú, as one of 5 Latinos using social media for social good. Nicole holds a graduate certificate in Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy from the McCormack School, and an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School. She has over 8 years experience working in the domestic and sexual violence movement, and is deeply committed to gender equity and cultivating the leadership of women of color in their homes, communities, and politics. She serves on the board of directors for Jane Doe Inc., the MA Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, Exhale, a Pro-Voice Movement, was a 2016 recipient of Edie Windsor Lesbians Who Tech Coding Scholarship.
Justin Crosby, Catering Coordinator, Haley House
Justin Crosby is a Boston born native. He has lived in Boston just about all his life. He attended and graduated from New Mission High School. He served a year in Americorps, with the Boston Centers for Youth and Families. There he served as a “Peace Fellow” working with children ages 7-12 teaching violence prevention through forms of peaceful conflict resolution, and teambuilding. Violence prevention and work in urban communities has been his major focus. He is also aligned with the Mayor’s Streetworker Program. With them they respond to issues within the city regarding violence. He continued to work with the BCYF Rec. Department supporting programs and initiatives throughout the city of Boston. Justin also worked with children with special needs in the Camp Joy Summer Camp as a counselor. Currently Justin is working with the Haley House Bakery and Cafe located in Dudley. There he is a Catering Coordinator preparing and delivering “Food with Purpose”. He has aspirations of starting his own nonprofit to combat homelessness in Boston using a model that reintegrates homeless individuals into working society by providing them with homes thus eliminating their “homelessness”. Justin’s passion is still violence prevention in the city of Boston and he hopes to be able to form a foundation that will be able to connect with at risk youth and provide programs and activities to foster their goals and keep them on the right track
Melissa Ganley, Executive Director, One Brick
Melissa is currently the Executive Director of One Brick, a national volunteer nonprofit with volunteer lead chapters in 7 cities. In this role she is able to bring together her passion for volunteerism and her nonprofit management experience. In previous roles she has focused on nonprofit operations, volunteer recruitment and training, and human resources. Additionally she has spent time as a Girl Scout troop leader and an Event Chair for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. In 2011 she joined the founding team as a volunteer to launch the Boston Chapter of One Brick, later becoming the Chapter Director. It was through this role that she really discovered that it wasn’t just volunteerism that she’s passionate about, it is connecting others to their community through volunteerism. One Brick’s mission has always been to provide low commitment volunteer opportunities that offer opportunities for socializing and getting to know one another; the ultimate goal being to help create and promote strong communities. Outside of her passion for volunteerism, Melissa is a craft beer nerd, food enthusiast, reader, and lover of the arts.
Jay Greene, Assistant Project Manager, Suffolk Construction Company
Jay is interested in solving complex issues through the collaboration of humans, technology and design. She's translated a passion for architecture and a drive to build communities into a career in large-scale construction management. In her role as an Assistant Project Manager at Suffolk Construction, Jay has had the opportunity to see Boston's growth from a project's inception at the city hall, through the construction process, to the integration of a new building into the community. Through this experience, Jay has dug into the ability of technology to streamline the building process, reduce the footprint of new buildings, and encourage critical thinking and transparency in the development process. Through NLC, Jay hopes to carry progressive thinking into the heart of where decisions are made in the building industry and tackle the multi-dimensional issues of affordable housing and responsible growth in Boston. Before coming to Suffolk, Jay studied Government & Legal Studies and Visual Arts at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. In addition to being a mediocre hockey player, Jay embarrassed herself on stage spreading messages about healthy relationships and sexual assault prevention. Today, Jay continues to keep the dream alive in Sunday night hockey and enjoys planning networking events for the LGBTQ community. From the art studio, to the ice rink, to the job site, Jay has strived to build communities by helping people identify their points of pride and encouraging innovation in thinking and process. She’s a sincere believer in the ability of humor to disarm and unite diverse groups of people, and strives to maintain a light and pragmatic perspective on the issues that mean most.
Sarah Groh, America Forward Manager, New Profit
As America Forward Manager, Sarah works closely with members of the America Forward coalition and external partners to manage both state and federal aligned advocacy efforts. Sarah also leads America Forward’s 2016 Presidential initiative and provides strategic support to New Profit’s emerging education focus funds. After working on a U.S. Senate campaign following college, Sarah’s passion to address fractured opportunities in education brought her to Horizons for Homeless Children in Roxbury, MA. As Policy & Advocacy Manager she worked on Massachusetts policy issues including early childhood education, workforce development and housing. Sarah developed and managed the organization’s statewide grassroots advocacy strategy and worked with the organization’s team of teachers and social workers to support children and families in the program as they navigated crucial wrap-around services and subsidies. Grateful for the opportunity and mobility education created in her own life, Sarah is committed to creating systems change that strengthens access to education and opportunity for generations to come. Sarah has a Master’s in Education Policy & Management from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education where her research focused on trends in management and governance in urban school districts and diverse metrics of student success. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services & Global Studies from Lesley College where she was President of the Student Government. Sarah has also held internship positions with the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange and Opportunity Nation and led graduate research projects with the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education and the Boston City Council. Sarah is a founding member of City Year Boston’s Ambassadors Circle and was recently nominated as a City Awake Boston Delegate. Sarah lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband Brian and her dog Milly.
Sarah Iddrissu, Policy Associate, Educators 4 Excellence
Sarah grew up in both Ethiopia and the Washington D.C. area. She began advocating for educational equity at age 11. After becoming the first in her family to graduate from college with a degree in Industrial & Labor Relations from Cornell University, she made the tough decision to forego a career in the private sector to become a teacher through Teacher for America, where she taught Special Education in the Bronx while earning a master’s in Adolescent Special Education at Hunter College. She later taught 6th grade at KIPP Lynn, where her students demonstrated tremendous academic growth. Despite students and teachers working hard within the building, it was clear that more could be done at the policy level to support students in poverty. Additionally, the realization that there is too little political will to act upon best practices to improving urban education, exacerbated by a lack of recognition to how systemic racism shapes inequity, pushed Sarah to study educational policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a founding Policy Associate at the Boston chapter of Educators 4 Excellence, where she works to ensure that teachers’ voices are a part of policies that impact their classroom and careers.
Phuong Luong, Director of Financial Services, Compass Working Capital
Phuong is passionate about economic justice, asset-building, and closing the racial and gender wealth gap. She is the Director of Financial Services at Compass Working Capital, a Boston-based nonprofit financial services organization that specializes in asset-building for families with low-income. Phuong first joined Compass as a financial coach, providing comprehensive financial counseling and coaching to families receiving public rental assistance in Cambridge, MA. In her current role, she oversees the recruitment, hiring, and ongoing professional development of the Compass financial coaching team. She also leads efforts in expanding and strengthening Compass's services and resources for clients. Prior to joining Compass, Phuong served as a teacher of middle-school math and special education with Cambridge Public Schools. As a teacher, Phuong served as an Out-of-School-Time Coordinator and connected students and families to affordable after-school and summer programs. She was also a Policy Fellow with Teach Plus, a national organization dedicated to strengthening teacher voice in education policy. She transitioned from a career in K-12 public education to direct her lifelong passion for personal finance toward dismantling systemic economic inequality. Phuong received her B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she was a graduate of the Teacher Education Program and a recipient of the Woodrow-Wilson Rockefeller Brothers Fellowship for Aspiring Teachers of Color. She also possesses a M.Ed in Special Education as a Teacher of Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities from Boston University. In addition, Phuong completed the Financial Planning Program at Boston University where she was the recipient of the Robert J. Glovsky Scholarship for Financial Planning. She passed the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Examination in November 2014. Phuong volunteers with the Cambridge Women's Center, providing pro bono financial planning. She is from Brooklyn, NY.
Nyah Macklin, Legislative Intern, Massachusetts House of Representatives
Nyah Macklin has dedicated her life and career to creating and sustaining systems of education, government, and society that constantly critically engages and re-evaluates the ways they perpetuate inclusion or exclusion of historically marginalized groups in our nation. Nyah specializes in designing, analyzing, and implementing policies within institutions that increase and sustain racial and socioeconomic diversity and that seek to include the voices of all marginalized communities so that said policies are not silently and unknowingly perpetuating injustices against those groups. Prior to obtaining her degree at Brandeis, Nyah studied in New Haven, CT’s public school system where she was then awarded a scholarship to study at Hopkins School. However, it was only after obtaining her university degree that she realized just how racially and socioeconomically divided New Haven was and continues to be. She began to recognize the academic achievement gap that exists in New Haven schools and many school systems across the nation that works against students who identify as racial minorities and students who have low household incomes. As a student who identified as both, her degree and her lens shaped her drive to reexamine policies that affect urban education, housing markets, income inequalities, and the oppression of different marginalized groups in general. Nyah is thankful for the opportunities and guidance those with the power and ability to uplift have provided her. She is committed to ensuring that opportunities like the ones she has received are accessible to those who are coming after her. Nyah has a B.A. in African Diaspora Studies from Brandeis University. She is a Breakthrough Collaborative alumnae, a Breakthrough Collaborative teaching fellow alumnae, the 2015-2016 President of Brandeis University's Student Government, the first Black woman to serve as president, and a one of four women of color to negotiate for the rights of 90 students of color that resulted in a thirteen-page diversity and inclusion plan for Brandeis University. She currently works with a state representative in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Molly Maloney, Assistant Director of Legislation, Communication and Political Action AFSCME Council 93
Molly Maloney serves as the Assistant Director of Legislation, Communication and Political Action for AFSCME Council 93, a 45,000 member public employee union in Northern New England. In her role with Council 93, she drafts and analyzes legislation and budgets at the state and municipal level across Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. In addition, she leads political campaign efforts for the union in Northern New England focusing on good jobs, access to affordable housing and healthcare, quality public education, and preventing the privatization of public services. Molly previously served as a Fundraiser and Political Action Representative for AFSCME International from 2011-2014. In this role, she managed all membership fundraising efforts in 13 states while also leading campaigns to fight ‘Right to Work’ and anti-union legislation in Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and California. Molly is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno with a BA in Criminal Justice. She recently served as a member of the City of Boston’s Residency Policy Commission whose mission was to examine current residency policies in place in the City of Boston and recommend policy changes. Originally from Grass Valley, CA, Molly has quickly fallen in love with the charm of Boston life and warmed up to the chilly Boston winters with the help of a Burdick’s hot chocolate!
Meghan McCombs, Teacher in Charge of School Entry, Bilingual School Psychologist, Cambridge Public Schools
Meghan McCombs began her studies of psychology and education at Clark University, where she earned a B.A., with a concentration in school psychology. She then completed her specialist level training at the University of Massachusetts - Boston in school psychology. Meghan earned the Vincent Cristiani Award for Applied Scholarship in School Psychology in 2010 for her research on successful field experience for school psychologists in training. Now working as a bilingual school psychologist, Meghan specializes in working with culturally and linguistically diverse students and families, behavioral intervention, and community collaboration. She provides comprehensive psychoeducational assessments which balance the complexities of culture, linguistic exposure, and cognitive abilities to create a clear understanding of a student’s strengths. Meghan has spoken as a guest lecturer at the University of Massachusetts - Boston and Harvard Graduate School of Education on crisis response in schools. Meghan currently works as the Teacher-in-Charge of School Entry for Cambridge Public Schools, where she collaborates with community members and agencies to increase access to local resources. Meghan additionally provides outreach to local communities to increase equity in access to special education services. Meghan acts as a special education team chair person, and delivers informational sessions on special education process and procedure. Meghan worked with the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association (MSPA) to develop the assessment rubric for school psychologists recommended by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Further, Ms. McCombs worked with MSPA to redraft the technical assistance guide “Is Special Education the Right Service?”, currently under review by the state’s department of special education. This document is used to guide eligibility decisions for special education, review rights and responsibilities of districts and families, as well as clarify the scope and services for various disabilities within the school setting for public schools in Massachusetts. Meghan has twice presented at the National Association of School Psychologist’s Annual Conference. Through her work with Cambridge Public Schools Meghan participates in the Cambridge 0-8 Council, the Cambridge Police Department’s Safety Net Program, and the Cambridge Public School’s Educator Cultural Proficiency team. In her free time, Meghan likes to visit museums, watch independent films, and learn new things.
Michael O'Shea, Associate, Isaacson, Miller
A native of Chicago, Michael now calls Boston home. As an Associate with the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, he helps recruit transformative leadership for mission-based organizations. Prior to joining the firm, he served as the EducationUSA Officer in Canada with the U.S. Embassy Ottawa and Fulbright Canada. He worked to strengthen the U.S.-Canadian relationship by helping Canadian students identify and apply for study opportunities in the U.S. He has lent his time and energy to a range of environmental, education-related, and political causes. For several years, he researched and advocated for access to public parks in low-income urban neighborhoods. As a college counselor in both Philadelphia and Canada, he sought to ensure all students received quality college advising. Michael has tried to support the healthy development of young men while serving as a “Big Brother” mentor in Montreal and Boston. He has also volunteered on a number of election campaigns, including those of Chicago mayoral candidates ""Chuy"" Garcia and Miguel del Valle, Illinois congressional candidate Will Guzzardi, and presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Michael holds a Master’s in Higher Education from the University of Pennsylvania and B.A. in Public Policy Analysis from Pomona College. He studied at McGill University on a Fulbright Scholarship. In his spare time, Michael likes to run, play basketball, play the accordion, and organize #popscope public astronomy events.
Joshua Osegueda, Strategy & Analytics Manager, Massachusetts School Building Authority
Joshua Osegueda, also known as Josue, was born and raised in San Francisco, California. Passion only begins to describe his desire to achieve educational, social, racial, and economic justice for children, families, and communities at the national level. Currently, Joshua serves the People of the Commonwealth as Strategy & Analytics Manager for the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). In this role, Joshua is utilizing various methods of data collection, analysis, and innovative evaluation services to help inform best practices for strategic planning to support the design and construction of educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable, and cost-effective school facilities across Massachusetts. Prior to joining the MSBA, Joshua worked for Jumpstart for Young Children, a national early education non-profit organization. As a site manager, Joshua recruited, trained, and supervised college students who served preschool students from low-income communities with high-quality educational programming. Later, Joshua was promoted as Alumni & Partnerships Manager as part of the National Development Team at Jumpstart’s headquarters. Some of his major accomplishments at Jumpstart included the creation of a 3 year alumni strategic plan; implementation and evaluation of an exclusive fellowship program with a global leader in education; cultivation of city, regional, and national partnerships; development of a national alumni survey; improvement of internal data systems; and coordination and management of alumni engagement across the country. Joshua has also worked with various nonprofit organizations as a substance abuse and mental health counselor for youth on juvenile probation; provided advocacy and evaluation services for a legal services clinic focusing on education, housing stability, public benefits, family law, and immigration for low-income children and families; and worked as an instructional associate for high school students with special needs from “at-risk” backgrounds. As a first generation Latino college graduate, Joshua is an example of how extracurricular, academic, social, financial, and mentor programs can benefit historically marginalized communities. A proud UCLA graduate, Joshua earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Applied Development Psychology. Joshua later graduated from the University of Michigan and received his Master of Social Work degree with a focus in Evaluation and Social Policy.
Ivan Rahman, MPP Candidate Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government
Ivan Rahman was born and raised in the Bronx to Bangladeshi immigrants. Ever since high school, he has dedicated his life to expanding opportunities for poor urban neighborhoods and to providing them with the tools so they can uplift themselves. It is this commitment that brought him to Boston. Ivan is a first-year MPP Candidate and a Gleitsman Leadership Fellow at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government. As a student, he is sharpening his policy, negotiation, and persuasion skills so he can become a stronger advocate for communities like his own. Before coming to Harvard, Ivan served as a strategy consultant for the NYC Department of Education, the largest municipal education system in the U.S. Prior to that, he worked as the Director of Data for three urban charter schools in Brooklyn, NY. He is an alumnus of Education Pioneers, Teach For America, the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, and Public Allies. Finally, he holds a B.A. from New York University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education. In his free time, he enjoys listening to rap and Disney music, attempting to dance to bachata and reggae, and playing the guitar and djembe.
Shannon Rieger, Research Assistant, Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University
Shannon Rieger is a Research Assistant at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, where she works on issues related to homeownership, affordable housing, and community development. Her current projects at the Joint Center focus on generating cross-sector dialogue about what it would take to create and implement local, regional, and federal policies capable of fostering inclusive, high-opportunity communities. Before joining the Joint Center, Shannon was a policy analyst with a Berkeley, California-based consulting group, where she worked with local governments and school districts to establish policies to promote equitable economic development and increase affordable housing opportunities. Several of Shannon’s past projects have looked to employee-ownership as a strategy for advancing sustainable community and economic development. She collaborated with several San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits to develop a “Bay Area Blueprint” outlining regional pathways toward democratic employee-ownership, and then published a paper with The Century Foundation outlining a national policy framework to expand the employee-ownership sector. Shannon has also spent time with several organizations that work on urban policy and planning in international contexts, including UNESCO and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Her interest in international urban policy has recently led her on research trips to Guatemala and Chile in partnership with the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo and the Universidad Católica del Maule. Shannon received a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley. She loves cooking, backpacking, and any excuse to explore a new place by bike.
David Swanson, General Counsel, Office of Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly, Massachusetts Senate
Since graduating law school, David Swanson has worked at the Massachusetts Legislature, first as Legal Counsel for the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, and currently, as General Counsel for Senator Kenneth J. Donnelly (D-Arlington). As General Counsel, David is responsible for drafting legislation filed by the Senator and managing the Senator’s legislative and budget priorities in coordination with the Chief of Staff. David also serves as the Senator’s primary legal contact for legislators, state agencies, industry lobbyists and advocacy groups. During his almost 4-year tenure with the Legislature, David has helped to advance and enact key legislation on economic development, education, affordable housing and workforce training. Bar certified in Massachusetts, David received his law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in 2012 and his bachelor’s degree in government and legal studies from Bowdoin College in 2009. While in law school, David served as a legal intern for former Governor Deval L. Patrick’s Office of Policy and Cabinet Affairs, the Honorable Norman H. Stahl of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, the Honorable Judith G. Dein of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and Governo Law Firm LLC. David lives in Arlington, MA with his wife Stephanie and their rescue dog, Harley.
Jason Sydoriak, Case Worker, Congressman Seth Moulton
Jason Sydoriak is a District Staffer for Congressman Seth Moulton in Massachusetts’s North Shore. He primarily conducts casework on veteran issues and coordinates resources with federal agencies such as the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Defense. Jason also assists in economic development outreach and research in order to facilitate growth in North Shore communities. Before joining the Congressional team he graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelors in both Political Science and Economics. During his academic career he was the President of the student government where he wrote and passed several influential pieces of legislation that increased diverse representation within student government, established accountability and transparency practices within the local police department, and created a student fee review board to provided funds to alternative transportation capital projects. Before attending Colorado State University Jason served in the US Marine Corp Infantry deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. After serving honorably, he advocated for veterans in Washington, DC helping to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act with the non-profit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He has a deep passion for helping communities realize their potential so that they can thrive in an inclusive economic way. When on Colorado Jason participated in the community by taking part in the Citizen Review Board fostering community relations with the police department, the Coloradoan Editorial Board, and by volunteering in a nonprofit veteran based disaster response organization Team Rubicon. For Jason there is no greater service than that of public service.
Sapana Thomas, Product Manager, Mobile AOL
Sapana Thomas has been passionate about improving the local and international community for the last fifteen years. Currently, she is a product manager on the mobile advertising technology team at AOL. As part of Boston’s MAKERS group at AOL, which works to empower women and foster leadership skills, she serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for projects serving the local community. When she first joined the technology startup community in Boston, she became involved with Technology Underwriting Greater Good to spread social entrepreneurship in the Boston community. Prior to her technology career, she spent four years as a cancer genomics researcher at The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. After graduating from Princeton University in 2005 with a degree in Molecular Biology, she taught Biology at a small boarding school in her home state of Connecticut. Her interests in public health and human rights inspired her to become involved with social justice organizing a few years ago in Boston; she became an organizer for the Boston chapter of the Oxfam Action Corps, which was Oxfam’s grassroots volunteer effort with trained advocates in sixteen different cities working to stand up to poverty, hunger, and injustice around the world. From concerts, farmers markets, music festivals, film screenings, and lobbying members of Congress, she led Boston volunteers to educate the community on global social justice issues and to inspire them to take action to support Oxfam’s campaigns. Due to a reorganization effort of Oxfam internationally, support was dropped for the Oxfam Action Corps. Determined to keep the momentum and involvement of their volunteers and allies, she joined several former city organizers of the Oxfam Action Corps to create their own organization, Action Corps. This is a national volunteer-led initiative with a mission to engage people in active civic duty through education and action around difficult issues regarding resources and basic human rights. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair on the Action Corps National Council, working on communications, marketing, and guiding the group’s direction. The years spent on outreach, advocacy, and campaigning for long-term solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice have solidified her determination to pursue a career with a global impact on improving the lives of others.
Alyson Weiss, Alumni Relations Officer, Volunteer Management Tufts University
Alyson Weiss is the Alumni Relations Officer, Volunteer Management at Tufts University, and the Co-Director of Communications and Marketing and a Board Member of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Boston (YNPN Boston). At Tufts, she develops programs and processes to recruit, train, retain, recognize, and promote alumni volunteers across a portfolio of opportunities. At YNPN Boston, she co-manages a team of eight volunteers to empower and connect tomorrow's nonprofit leaders through high-quality professional development content across the website, social media, listserv, and blog. In addition, she leads the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee of YNPN Boston, which created the first-ever organizational EDI Vision, and helped all teams set 2017 EDI goals. Previously, she worked in workforce development developing and facilitating workshops, conducting one on one coaching with job seekers, developing the strategy and content for all social media channels, creating a marketing strategy, and managing two new programs. She writes and facilitates workshops on personal branding, social media in the job search, and networking, and her work has been featured on Idealist Careers, The Huffington Post, and Feministing.com. Her activism has primarily focused on gender equality and reproductive healthcare, and includes chairing the Health Access Educators committee at NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, which developed partnerships and delivered trainings with service nonprofits to educate them on the dangers of Crisis Pregnancy Centers. She also helped to write the sexual misconduct policy and adjudication process and the gender-neutral housing policy at Tufts University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minored in Communications and Media Studies.
Jamaal Williams, National Recruitment Director City Year, Inc.
Jamaal Williams is committed to building youth to affect social change. A native of Queens, NY, Jamaal strives to serve others and to help them unlock their full potential. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in psychology and has used his talents in service-learning programming, group facilitation, and talent development throughout his career. Jamaal served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year New York for two years, crafting and running a leadership development program for middle school youth centered on social justice and empowering youth to become agents of change in their communities. After his service years, he redesigned and ran the Summer Institute program at Ithaca College, their pre-freshman summer program, honing his skills in building team and leading peers. After serving as the Recruitment Manager for City Year Boston for three years, Jamaal moved to Detroit to manage Adam Hollier's Detroit City Council campaign in 2013. As a Campaign Manager, Jamaal saw first-hand the importance of grassroots work, mobilizing residents and volunteers to remain civically engaged. Currently, Jamaal serves as the National Recruitment Director for City Year, informing City Year's strategy to recruit talented and diverse AmeriCorps members to serve as tutors, mentors, and role models in 28 cities across the country and working to develop City Year's recruitment and admissions workforce. His passion for youth development is only matched by his love of reading, drawing, cooking, and basketball.