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New Leaders Council

Connecticut 2015 Fellows

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Arunan Arulampalam, Associate, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.

	Arunan	Arulampalam	Arunan Arulampalam is an Associate at the law firm of Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. where he practices in the areas of general corporate law as well as corporate and governmental finance. In that capacity he represents private equity, venture capital and institutional investors in debt and equity financing of mergers and acquisitions, as well as governmental entities in state and local loan, grant and bond deals.

Arunan graduated cum laude from Quinnipiac University School of Law in 2014, where he was President of the Student Bar Association and Lead Articles and Notes editor for the Quinnipiac Health Law Journal, and interned for the Honorable Vanessa L. Bryant of the US District Court. Prior to law school Arunan served on a number of political campaigns at the state and local levels, and was a staffer at the Connecticut State Legislature. He holds a B.A. from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.


 


Aditya Basheer, MBA Student, Yale School of Management

	Aditya	Basheer	Aditya Basheer is currently a first-year student at the Yale School of Management. Prior to Yale, Aditya was a government civilian for the Department of Defense's Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) in Afghanistan. TFBSO's primary mission was to stabilize the Afghan economy and provide jobs for its citizens by promoting responsible development of Afghanistan's mineral and hydrocarbon resources. Aditya served as a project manager for TFBSO and worked with the Afghan Ministry of Mines & Petroleum to develop the country's nascent natural gas industry and restart local business. In this role, he oversaw the revitalization of Afghan Gas, the national gas company, and its efforts to commercialize its existing resources and establish a sustainable business model to transport gas regionally.

Aditya grew up in Sharon, Massachusetts and later earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and History from Bowdoin College.


 


Gregory Bennici, Associate Attorney, Zeldes, Needle & Cooper, P.C.

	Gregory	Bennici	Greg is an associate in the civil litigation department of Zeldes, Needle & Cooper, where he represents individual and corporate clients in the areas of commercial litigation, personal injury, and labor and employment disputes. Greg received his B.A. in Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross where he rowed Varsity Crew, and is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. While in law school, Greg served as an Editor for the Connecticut Journal of International Law, while successfully representing a political refugee in securing asylum before the Department of Homeland Security. In his final semester of law school, Greg was awarded Connecticut's David H. Neiditz Professional Writing Award for excellence in appellate advocacy, a skill he continues to hone as his practice grows.

A Connecticut native, Greg was raised in Marlborough and now resides in Stamford. In his free time, he pursues his passions for reading, hiking, biking, the piano, and studying bracketology.


 


Emily Boushee, Press Aide, House Democrats- CT General Assembly

	Emily	Boushee	Emily Boushee grew up in Andover, Connecticut and attended RHAM High School. She earned a BA in Political Science, Philosophy from UConn in May 2014, graduating Magna Cum Laude and earning The Anne L. Hiskes Award for Academic Achievement in Philosophy. Throughout her college career she held a number of internship positions in Hartford that encouraged her to become more engaged in the political process. She worked as a Production Intern at WNPR for the Colin McEnroe Show and Where We Live, wrote news stories as a Capitol Press Intern for CTNewsJunkie, and interned in the House Democrats Press Department at the state legislature.

Following graduation from Uconn in May of 2014, she accepted a Press Aide position for the House Democrats at the Connecticut General Assembly where she handles media relations and strategy for 11 state representatives. This past election cycle she managed her first political campaign in the 134th Assembly District (Fairfield, Trumbull) working to get Tara Cook-Littman elected to the State House of Representatives.


 


Alexandra Burke, Canvasser, Working Families Organization

	Alexandra	Burke	Al Burke has spent the last year working as a canvasser for Working Families Organization (WFO). Her day to day work includes fundraising and organizing community members with good ole fashion door knocking. Through WFO she has had the opportunity to testify in Hartford for a Debt Free Higher Education initiative. Moreover she has canvassed on several state primary races. Most recently Al helped re-elect Governor Malloy by acting as a Senior Field Manager for Working Families for Connecitcut, where her responsibilities included recruiting, training and managing canvassers in Bridgeport and Hartford.

Al studied documentary film-making at Burlington College in Vermont. 

 

 


 


Angelina Cardona, MBA Student, Yale School of Management

	Angelina	Cardona	Angelina Cardona is a first-year student at the Yale School of Management where she is pursing a Masters in Business Administration. While in business school, Angelina combined her commitment to gender equality with her education by joining the leadership team of Women in Management during her first semester. Outside of Yale, Angelina is a founding member of the NexGen Advisory Board for InnVision Shelter Network, the largest provider of homeless services in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before enrolling at Yale, Cardona worked as a Technical Recruiter for Google and helped found the Office of Alcohol Policy & Education at Stanford University as the Assistant Director and Community Engagement Manager.

Angelina is originally from Sparks, Nevada, and draws much of her inspiration and commitment to social issues from her upbringing in Nevada. Cardona earned her B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University in 2011. During her senior year, she was elected the Student Body President. Cardona is committed to working on issues of gender equality. She has previously served as a Board Member for the Center for Relationship Abuse.


 


Dave Christie, JD Candidate, Yale Law School

Dave Christie is a student at Yale Law School originally from Durham, New Hampshire.

	Dave	Christie

Before law school, Dave worked as a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in Washington, DC.

In 2012, Dave served as the Research Director & Deputy Communications Director for Maggie Hassan's successful gubernatorial campaign in New Hampshire. He graduated from Princeton in 2010 with a degree in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. 

 

 

 


 


Claire Coleman, Associate, Wiggin and Dana LLP

	Claire	Coleman	Claire Coleman is currently an attorney in the New Haven office of Wiggin and Dana LLP, where she represents clients in civil and criminal proceedings, conducts internal investigations, and counsels clients on regulatory compliance issues. Before joining Wiggin and Dana, Claire served as Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives, Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where she conducted Congressional investigations and worked on a wide range of national policy issues, including voting rights, labor and environmental regulations, and criminal justice reform. Claire also served as a Deputy Voter Protection Coordinator for the 2008 Obama Campaign for Change in Indiana.

Claire earned her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law, cum laude and Order of the Coif, and her B.A in Government with distinction from Cornell University. Between college and law school, she served as a Team Leader with the Americorps National Civilian Community Corps.


 


Kevin Coughlin, Director of Accounts, DNA Campaigns

	Kevin	Coughlin	Kevin Coughlin works as the Director of Accounts at DNA Campaigns, a political and public relations consulting firm in Connecticut. Previously he worked as Campaign Manager for Gary Holder-Winfield's 2014 special election for Connecticut's 10th State Senate district. Prior to that, he worked as Campaign Manager for Harry Rilling's 2013 mayoral election in Norwalk, CT. During the 2010 election season, he served as Deputy Field Director for Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney's reelection campaign in New York's 14th district.

Beyond electoral work, Kevin has worked on legislative education campaigns in Connecticut and seven other states. Before his education advocacy work, Kevin taught 7th grade Social Studies in the Bronx, NY through Teach For America. He is a graduate of Boston College and has a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University. Born and raised in Connecticut, he now lives in New Haven where he serves as Chair of the Downtown Wooster Square Community Management Team.


 


Nicholas Defiesta, Fiscal Policy Fellow, Connecticut Voices for Children

	Nicholas	Defiesta	Nicholas Defiesta is a Fiscal Policy Fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children, a New Haven-based policy and advocacy nonprofit organization. In this role, he researches and analyzes policies that affect the wellbeing of Connecticut's children and their families, with a particular focus on state fiscal policy and family economic security. Nicholas also advocates at the state capitol on behalf of children, testifying before the legislature, organizing public forums, and working with a diverse coalition of partner organizations and policymakers to advance the policies necessary for the success of our youngest generation. Outside of his work with Connecticut Voices, Nicholas serves on the steering committee of the regional Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) organization, coordinating volunteers to assist low- and middle-income residents with income tax preparation. Nicholas is also the founder of the New Haven chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, an organization that promotes career and professional development among young nonprofit professionals.

Prior to joining Connecticut Voices, Nicholas attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in Economics in 2014. As a student, Nicholas was the political reporter and metropolitan editor for the Yale Daily News, and reported for the New Haven Independent, a nonprofit newspaper. He also conducted data analysis for data-oriented nonprofit DataHaven, coordinated monthly canvasses of homeowners facing foreclosure with the R.O.O.F. Project, advocated for smart urban design as the president of the undergraduate urban studies club, and served as treasurer of KASAMA: The Filipino Club at Yale. Following the death of his younger brother, Nicholas advocated for improvements in university mental health policies, an effort for which he received the William H. McKim prize upon graduation. Nicholas, a resident of New Haven, was born and raised in Seattle. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and traveling.


 


Clifford Emmanuel, MBA Candidate, Yale School of Management

	Clifford	Emmanuel

Cliff Emmanuel is a second year MBA student at the Yale School of Management. Prior to Yale SOM, Cliff was a Consultant in the Bridgespan Group's New York office. There he worked on strategy projects for U.S.-based foundations and educational organizations. He also helped manage the measurement and evaluation for Goldman Sach's 10,000 Women initiative. Prior to joining Bridgespan, Cliff was an analyst at McKinsey and Company in New York.

Cliff graduated from Harvard in 2006 with a B.A. in Social Studies and was a 2006-7 Harvard-Yenching Fellow at Peking University.

 


 


Shannon Houston, Assistant Director, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford

	Shannon	Houston	Shannon Houston is the Assistant Director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Hartford, a nonprofit that trains volunteers to teach nearly 1,000 adults each year how to read, write, and speak English. In this role, she manages the organization's development, communications, and special events, recruits volunteers, and contributes to program evaluation and strategic planning.

Originally from New Hampshire, Shannon has lived in New Haven, CT since 2007. Prior to her current position, she coordinated a statewide Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) project with the Connecticut Association for Human Services, and also helped to connect local community partners to the organizationÕs advocacy efforts to create a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Her previous work experiences included two terms in AmeriCorps (Cityworks AmeriCorps in Worcester, MA and Public Allies Connecticut in New Haven) and a variety of positions that included direct service with youth and adults, project coordination at the local and state levels, community organizing, and nonprofit development, marketing and communications work.

Shannon holds a master's degree in social work from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor's degree in writing from Ithaca College, and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers. Passionate about social and economic justice issues from an early age, she would like to continue to get more involved in policy advocacy work in the coming years to address these issues at the structural level. In her free time, Shannon loves reading, kayaking and fishing on Long Island Sound, playing music, exploring the New Haven food scene, binge-watching Netflix, and spending time with her husband, family, and friends. She is looking forward to meeting and learning from like-minded progressive people through the NLC program.


 


Edie Joseph, Policy Fellow, Connecticut Voices for Children


Edie Joseph is currently a Policy Fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children, where she designs, disseminates, and analyzes public policy. Her research and policy analysis focuses primarily on child welfare, juvenile justice and early care and education. Edie assists in state legislative initiatives and represents Connecticut Voices on several advocacy coalitions in these issue areas. She is a board member of the Ulysses S. Grant Foundation, an academic summer program for talented and motivated middle school students from New Haven (for which she served as a teacher in the summer of 2009).

Prior to joining Connecticut Voices, Edie worked in New York City at The Bronfman Fellowships, a learning and leadership program. She also volunteered with an alternative-to-incarceration program for teenage boys and engaged in activism against exclusionary school discipline policies. Edie graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 2012 with a B.A. in American Studies, and was awarded the Clement Prize for best senior thesis related to U.S. Constitutional Principles. At Yale, Edie served as Co-President of Yale Hillel, served as a Head Freshman Counselor through the Yale College Dean's Office, coordinated debate programs in New Haven public high schools, and was a member of the Yale Debate Association.


 


Nicholas Kapoor, Financial Manager, I-Engineering, Inc.

	Nicholas	Kapoor	Nick is a former Assistant Minority Leader of the Monroe Town Council and former Chairman of the Monroe Democratic Party. He is also a Justice of the Peace for Monroe and a member of the Monroe Board of Ethics. He currently works as a Financial Manager at a small family-run software business in Shelton. Nick is also an adjunct professor of Math and Political Science at Sacred Heart University. He strives to get young people involved in the political process and foster a new generation of leadership at all levels of government especially at the municipal level.

Nick also has research and activist interests in LGBT politics and LGBT equality in America and abroad. He received a Bachelor's degree and MBA in Finance both from Sacred Heart and continues his education toward an MS in Mathematics from Fairfield University.


 


Peter Lam , MD/MPH Candidate, University of Connecticut School of Medicine

	Peter	Lam	Peter Lam is currently a dual degree MD/MPH student at the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine. His previous experience working in the Yale New Haven Hospital Emergency Department system as an ED Tech helped with his natural proclivity towards becoming a physician. He has an interest in dance medicine and is currently conducting a descriptive epidemiologic study of musculoskeletal injuries among professional breakdancers in the United States.

Prior to attending medical school Peter graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with degrees in Psychology and Public Health. On his free time, Peter is also a breakdancing instructor and enjoys traveling and exploring various subcultural arts.

 


 


Brian Levy, Community Organizer

	Brian	Levy	My name is Brian Levy, I am 23 years old, a recent graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Political Science and Economics. I began my involvement in politics in high school with Model Congress, and continued in college through intercollegiate debate and working on political campaigns, working in the Connecticut legislature, and being the founding member of the Eastern Connecticut State University College Democrats.

After graduating from Eastern Connecticut State University, I became Field and Communications Director for a State Representative candidate in Connecticut's 101st Assembly District. I currently reside in Branford, CT.

 


 


Noah Merksamer, Community Organizer


I grew up in Chicago, and I moved to Connecticut my freshman year of high school. I attended boarding school at Salisbury School in Lakeville, CT. I graduated from Colgate University in 2013, where I majored in political science and served as vice president of the Colgate University chapter of the College Democrats.

Away from Colgate, I have worked for the Democratic National Committee, Center for American Progress, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Congresswomen Rosa (D-CT) DeLauro in Washington, D.C. My most recent experience was working as a Field Organizer for the Dan Malloy for Governor Campaign in Fairfield, CT.


 


Ebony Murphy-Root, Middle School Humanities Teacher, Calhoun School

	Ebony	Murphy-Root	Ebony Murphy is a middle school humanities teacher on the faculty of an independent school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan where the mission is to inspire a passion for learning through a progressive approach to education that values intellectual pursuit, creativity, diversity and community involvement. In the classroom, Ebony's inquiry-based and layered approach to teaching literacy, writing and social studies has allowed her to form authentic connections with students. With a passion for civic engagement and a reflective, continually evolving practice grounded in experiential learning and discussion-based problem solving, she is particularly interested in the cultural and political intersections of critical pedagogy, gender, pop culture, and class.

A 2012 graduate of the Women's Campaign School at Yale, Ebony was also part of the 2014 NYC National Organization for Women Activist Alliance, an energetic troop of emerging feminist leaders. Ebony was a fellow of the inaugural cohort of the Interschool Leadership Institute for Educators of Color (ILI) held at The Lycee Franais de New York in 2013.

A proud, UCONN alum, after college she taught in a GED program for pregnant and parenting teens in Springfield, Mass, and was active on the steering committee of the Young Women's Leadership Program for the CT Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. Ebony has taught previously at Watkinson School, Capital Community College, and as a volunteer instructor for Charter Oak Cultural Center's B.O.T.S. Center for Creative Learning, which offers free classes for HartfordÕs homeless community. Ebony has served on the boards of The Hartford Friends and Enemies of Wallace Stevens and The Cove Center for Grieving Children, has appeared on WNPRÕs Where We Live, and aspires to state level policy-making and lifelong teaching, learning, and mentoring. She is also on the Greenwich Academy Alumnae Association Board (GAAAB).


 


Nicholas Ouellette, Attorney, Matthew Dallas Gordon LLC


Nicholas N. Ouellette is an attorney with Matthew Dallas Gordon LLC, and practices in the areas of commercial law and municipal liability as well as personal injury and insurance-related litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Attorney Ouellette was an associate with a boutique firm representing the mortgage banking industry, particularly in the areas of foreclosure and bankruptcy law. He started his legal career as a Clerk in the Superior Courts in the Waterbury and Rockville Judicial Districts.

Attorney Ouellette attended the University of San Diego School of Law and was awarded the CALI Excellence Award for Class Performance in his Separation of Powers seminar. He graduated from Boston University cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He is admitted to the Connecticut and New York State Courts and the United States District Court of Connecticut and is a member of the Hartford County Bar Association.


 


Alice Xiang, JD Candidate, Yale Law School

	Alice	Xiang	Alice is passionate about using public policy and technology to increase access to social justice. She is currently a student at Yale Law School, and previously completed graduate degrees in Statistics and Economics from Harvard and Oxford. Before coming to law school, Alice worked as a data science intern at LinkedIn, where she developed statistical models to improve LinkedIn's predictive algorithms. She has also worked at the Federal Reserve, where she tested economic models to predict recessions, and at the public policy firm Civic Enterprises, where she conducted research on poverty alleviation and disconnected youth. While in school, Alice worked as a research assistant for economics and business school professors at Harvard, developed GIS training modules for the Oxford Microfinance Initiative, and currently serves on a diversity advocacy committee at Yale.

Alice completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard in 2013, graduating with high honors and Phi Beta Kappa. She won the Hoopes Prize and Harris Prize for having the top economics undergraduate thesis, in which she wrote about the potential impact of moving from race-based to class-based affirmative action on student diversity and academic achievement. While at Harvard, Alice served as the Vice President of the Harvard Education Society and the Director for International Programs of the Harvard Forum for International Development. Moving forward, Alice hopes to leverage her combination of technical, legal, and policy skills to develop innovative solutions to pressing social and economic policy issues.


 

 
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New Leaders Council is a 501 (c) (3) public charity dedicated to educating a new generation of leaders and to providing those leaders with the tools they need to succeed. NLC does not engage in political or legislative activities of any kind, does not support or oppose any candidate for public office, and serves only as an educational leadership training ground.


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