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Meet the 2016 Denver Fellows
Jessica Anders, Director, Alumni and Community Engagement, Teach for America
Jessica Anders grew up outside of Asheville, North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Public Policy. Jessica currently serves as the Director of Alumni and Community Engagement with Teach For America Colorado where she helps to support the growing and diverse alumni base across the state. Prior to joining TFA staff, Jessica taught high school health education for two years in Brooklyn, NY and served for 3 years as a Senior Program Manager with HealthCorps, a national non-profit working to address the obesity crisis among youth in communities across the country. In her free time, Jessica enjoys skiing, running, biking, hiking, and anything outdoors in the beautiful Colorado rockies.
Kojo Asamoa-Caesar, Director of Outreach and Operations, Office of Sen. Mike Johnston
Kojo was born in Alexandria, Virginia and spent his childhood in Accra, Ghana. He graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in Communications, and from William & Mary School of Law with a J.D. Kojo currently serves as Director of Outreach and Operations for the Office of Colorado Senator Mike Johnston. Prior to that, Kojo taught kindergarten and third grade at Tulsa Lighthouse Charter School in Oklahoma as a Teach for America corps member. He was named Teacher of the Year by his peers at the end of his second year of teaching. While in undergrad, he co-founded and served as president of a non-profit organization called To Respect Unite Support & Teach (T.R.U.S.T.) to encourage youth volunteerism, and organized and expanded membership from 3 to over 700 students; it is now based on three college campuses. Kojo hopes to combine his passion for community building with his experience in the classroom and continue to develop a deeper understanding of the policymaking process in order to help advance policies and programs that provide equal opportunity for people to achieve their highest potential.
Emmy Barcelo, Project Coordinator, Project New America
Originally from Boston, Emmy came to Colorado to attend Colorado College and never left. She graduated in 2012 with a degree in Sociology with a focus on Qualitative Research. She worked for the OFA political team in 2012 and found Project New America shortly after, where she has now been working for three years. Emmy feels very fortunate to have found PNA as it connects so many of her interests including: progressive politics, policy and research, and happens to be in the amazing city of Denver. Outside of work Emmy enjoys crafting of all kinds and in 2013 she co-founded Comy & Wool, a line of handmade fashion goods, as a side project.
Rachel Bush, Brand Manager, ShipCompliant
Rachel is a Tennessee native currently residing in beautiful Colorado. From her non-profit volunteering experiences, Rachel noticed a gap between strong business practices and successful organizations, which led her to major in Business Administration and Political Science at the University of Tennessee. During her time in college, she completed a legislative internship with Senator Ken Yager in hopes of better understanding the intricacies of the political arena. Upon graduation, Rachel joined Teach for America as a Corp Member in New Orleans with the aim of exploring another crucial sector. She then completed the Urban Leaders Fellowship with Senator Mike Johnston. Working on an educational innovation project, Rachel was inspired by the entrepreneurship opportunities within the public sector. Currently, Rachel is the Brand Manager for a start-up in Colorado. Focusing on lean start-up practices, she is learning the operations and project management skills of the for-profit world. Recently, she has used these tools for Project Education South Sudan, a non-profit she serves on the board of. Rachel has a deep love of bluegrass music, homemade jambalaya, and her blue tick hound, Tupelo.
Meghan Carrier, Community Organizer, Together Colorado
Meghan Carrier grew up in Traverse City, Michigan and graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from Hope College and a Master of Social Work from the University of Denver. Meghan currently works as a community organizer with Together Colorado, a state-wide, multi-race, multi-faith grassroots community organizing organization. As the Parent Engagement Organizer, Meghan organizes parents around both local education issues and state-wide education policy, while also providing leadership and advocacy development. Additionally, Meghan co-leads the Inclusivity Committee at Together Colorado and is developing a crisis management manual for the organization. Prior to joining Together Colorado, Meghan served for three years in the Peace Corps in Bangladesh and Morocco teaching English and organizing youth and community development projects. Furthermore, Meghan spent a year researching, designing and implementing an English Language Learner school district policy for Sublette County School District 1 in Pinedale, Wyoming. Training staff and supporting students were part of the year long experience. In her leisure time, Meghan enjoys serving as the Chair of the Social Action Committee with the Abrahamic Initiative and creating spaces for interfaith dialogue, education and social action. Hiking, gardening, traveling and reading take up the rest of Meghan’s free time.
Hana Dansky, Executive Director, Boulder Food Rescue
Hana Dansky is a cofounder and the current Executive Director of Boulder Food Rescue, a non-profit organization that works to redistribute healthy produce to low-income people in Boulder, by bicycle. They do this work through a participatory approach by developing relationships with residents at low-income housing sites and working on the back end to make sure their voices are integrated within their programs. Hana is also a part of the Boulder County Healthy Eating Active Living Team, a cofounder of Boulder Food Not Bombs, and a co-founder and organizer of an LGBTQ activist and safe space in Boulder. Hana grew up in North Carolina but has been living in Colorado for over 9 years now. Hana sees food as a catalyst for change, a tool that helps build community and bring people together. Hana is constantly critiquing and engaging in different ways that justice organizations implement their actions, while also jumping on a bike to haul food across town. They are particularly interested in how food justice as a process boils down to developing relationships, and how food is the language in which to do that.
John Dillon, Manager of Elected Leadership and Compliance, Educational Equity
John Dillon serves as the Manager of Elected Leadership Resource and Compliance at Leadership for Educational Equity, a nonprofit organization focused on the leadership development of former educators. Originally from Maryland, John has spent time working in both the legislative and campaign aspects of politics in the 'Old Line State' until recently moving to Colorado. John is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland where he played offensive line for the 'Terps' football program. An avid outdoors-men and conservationist, he is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and has partnered with the Colorado Fourteener's Initiative to raise funds to protect Colorado's 53 tallest peaks.
Kyle Hartman, Minnesota native, is a transplant to Denver in 2015. He studied at St. Cloud State University, earning a BA in political science and public administration. During his time at St. Cloud State he was a campus leader participating as a tour guide, campus ambassador, and President of TKE Fraternity, as well as being honored with the Excellence in Leadership Award. After college, Kyle went on to work on two political campaigns. The first was in 2008 with the Democratic Party of Minnesota, field organizing in rural southwest Minnesota to help elect President Obama and Senator Al Franken. In 2010 he served one year as a campaign staffer for Senator Russ Feingold in Wisconsin.
After organizing on electoral campaigns Kyle brought his skills to Labor, working for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to organize home health care workers into a union. The focus of his work with SEIU quickly shifted after Governor Scott Walker announced the Budget Repair Bill, effectively stripping collective bargaining rights from public workers. After the bill was announced, Kyle helped organize protests for hundreds of people in Northern Wisconsin.
After a few experiences organizing for campaigns and causes, Kyle took a position as a financial specialist with a Non-for-Profit Cooperative, the University of Wisconsin Credit Union, where he served the financial needs of members, as well as acting as a financial mentor to those in the community. While working with UW Credit Union, Kyle’s activism was focused on campaign finance reform, serving on the board of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign - a watchdog and advocacy group in Wisconsin.
Sara Joss, Campaign Coordinator, Community Shares of Colorado
Sara is an Atlanta native who has continuously been involved with progressive nonprofits in a volunteer and professional capacity throughout her life. Her involvement in social activism began at a young age through her family and community, and has continued in several states across the country.
Sara spent eight years in Wisconsin, moving from Appleton to Madison in 2011, where she dug deep roots in her community. She worked for several nonprofits including the State Environmental Leadership Program, Health Innovation Program, Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, and the Environmental Power Building Summit. In addition to her professional experience with nonprofits, Sara spent numerous hours volunteering as a Crisis Line Counselor for the Dane County Rape Crisis Center; providing outreach for Planned Parenthood of Dane County; joining the Outreach Committee for FairShare CSA Coalition; and helping a young couple with their organic farm. Sara is a firm believer in leading change by example, making sure to participate in several facets of her community.
Sara chose to move to Denver in the summer of 2015 to continue her growth professionally and personally. She currently works at Community Shares of Colorado, where she operates as the Campaign Coordinator for the Colorado Combined Campaign, allowing her to work with over 600 local Colorado nonprofits and 60,000 State employees. Her work with Community Shares and the Colorado Combined Campaign inspires philanthropy at every level, as well as providing an accessible platform for State employees to give to the charities of their choice through payroll contributions. In 2016, Sara will also be taking over the Denver Employee Combined Campaign, allowing her to work with City of Denver employees to give back to their community.
Sara is an alumnus of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she graduated with a BA in History and Film.
She is extremely excited to bring her personal and professional skills and enthusiasm for change to the first Denver NLC cohort!
Adele Khan, School Director in Training, DSST Public Schools
A native of the DC Metro Area, Adeel Khan attended Virginia Tech, where he majored in Accounting and Information Systems. While at Virginia Tech, Adeel served in many leadership roles including as student body president. For his leadership after the tragedy on April 16th at Virginia Tech, Adeel was presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award at the White House from President George W. Bush. Adeel’s passion for service led him to Teach for America in Atlanta, GA, where he completed two years teaching 9th, 10th, and 12th grade English. Since beginning his teaching career, Adeel has worked in education in a variety of roles including as a teacher, a public policy advocate, and as a school administrator. After completing his Teach for America commitment, Adeel went on to teach 7th grade social studies teacher at KIPP STRIVE Academy and become a curriculum developer for KIPP Metro Atlanta. While at KIPP, Adeel’s students showed the highest growth and proficiency on their end of course testing in the entire Atlanta Public Schools district. Adeel’s work as a teacher in Atlanta strengthened his belief him that all children, no matter what their circumstance, can achieve at the highest levels when given the right support. Adeel completed his master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Columbia University to prepare him to pursue his dream of becoming a school leader in high needs communities. Last year, Adeel joined Denver Schools of Science and Technology (DSST) as a School Director in Training and helped strengthen school-wide culture as the Dean of Students at DSST: Cole Middle School. This year, helping found and lead the network’s newest school in Southwest Denver, DSST: College View High School as the Associate School Director. Adeel shares in DSST’s mission to transform urban public education by eliminating educational inequity and preparing all students for success in college. Adeel’s deepest passion lies in his daily work - doing his best to ensure that every child has an opportunity to achieve at the highest levels. In his free time, Adeel enjoys a pickup game of basketball, watching his Hokies play football on Saturdays, listening to podcasts, and reading a good book.
Janiece Mackey, Executive Director, Young Aspiring Americans for Social and
Political Activism; Political Science Adjunct, University of Colorado Denver
Janiece is a Colorado native and grew up in Aurora, Colorado. She is a wife to her high school sweetheart and mother of 4 children. Janiece has built her career of service and leadership from her narrative. She has been involved in politics since 17 years old and noticed that she was often the only youth of color. She knew youth of color either weren’t interested in civic engagement or they didn’t have a conduit to civically engage in our communities. Due to being one of the few African Americans within academic, political, and professional spaces, she created an organization entitled Young Aspiring Americans for Social and Political Activism (YAASPA) to provide a conduit for youth of color to become civically engaged in community and career. For YAASPA, she is the co-founder, Executive Director, aka teacher-preneur who maintains the following programming: scholarship fairs, social sciences institutes, and a course entitled civic engagement in community and career. Recently, she just launched a partnership with YAASPA and the Community College of Aurora to provide students interested in pursuing social sciences degrees a two year scholarship. She has had a direct impact on youth and the education system through counseling, lobbying, mentoring, researching, and teaching. She is an African American social scientist with a zealous commitment to social justice and creating innovative experiences for youth who will pursue social science academic and career development. Due to her converging interests in education and policy, she also teaches Political Science to high school students who are concurrently enrolled in college courses and high school. She is also a PhD student in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Denver. By reflecting upon her counter-narrative, she was able to place “her story” into a larger sociopolitical context that reflects not just “her story,” but that of many youth of color. She desires to deepen, further develop, and expand “healing praxis” for more youth and professionals within the social science sector. She believes that those who commit to transformational justice and equity must validate and innovate academic and career experiences that will sustain, retain, and rejuvenate youth and professionals of color who commit to “transformational praxis.” After completing her PhD, she hopes to eventually hire youth to maintain and manage YAASPA, conduct research and consult in the education and policy arena, and be elected to public office.
Lisa Raville, Executive Director, Harm Reduction Action Center
Lisa Raville grew up outside of Chicago, IL and graduated from DePaul University with a degree in Communications and a minor in Women's Studies. Lisa is the Executive Director of the Harm Reduction Action Center, a public health agency that works with people who inject drugs. Prior to joining the Harm Reduction Action Center almost 7 years ago, Lisa’s activist voice was cultivated with her experiences as an overnight homeless shelter coordinator, development work at a domestic violence agency, a former campaign manager for a CA County Supervisor, and an AmeriCorps VISTA at an AIDS agency. Lisa is on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Criminal Justice Coalition. In 2014, Lisa won the Colorado Public Health Association Award for Excellence in Policy.
Felipe Vieyra, Program Director, Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club
Felipe oversees the development and implementation of the Zarlengo Outreach Program. The goal of the Zarlengo Outreach Program is to provide access to high quality, developmentally appropriate soccer programs to Latino children in under-resourced areas throughout Colorado. Felipe brings over five years of experience working within the Denver community on social justice issues including education justice, labor rights, and immigrant rights. Felipe is excited to continue working with Latino youth and families within Rapids Youth Soccer and believes all children should have access to these opportunities regardless of where they come from. Felipe graduated from the University of Denver with degrees political science, international relations and Spanish literature and language. He holds a USSF 'E' License and National Youth License. Felipe was born in Mexico but has lived in Colorado for most of his life. Growing up he played for the Greeley Central High School soccer team and has played on many recreational teams throughout Denver
Shira Weiner, Manager of Executive Recruitment, Hillel International
Shira is passionate about connecting great people with the opportunity to do good. She's worked for various non-profit organizations helping them recruit and hire top talent. Currently, she is the Manager of Executive Recruiting, for Hillel International. Previously, she served as the Regional Admissions Director for City Year, where she hired thousands of young people to work as tutors and mentors in under-served schools across the nation and at City Year's three newest locations. She joined City Year in 2011, following her term as the Program Coordinator for the Jeannette K Watson Fellowship. There she saw the power in connecting young people with the issues and communities they're passionate about. Shira hails from the great state of Wisconsin and, true to form, loves cheese curds. She holds a bachelors degree in Human Resources from University of Wisconsin and a masters in Higher Education from Teacher's College, Columbia University. She's thrilled to join NLC and be part of this exceptional network.
Jane Wiedenbeck, Executive Assistant to the President, the Public Interest Network
Jane works as the Executive Assistant to the President of the Public Interest Network. In this capacity, Jane oversees the planning and execution of trainings and board meetings, as well as database development and IT for over a dozen organizations and 500 staff across the country.
Jane got her start in the progressive movement in 2011 as a field organizer and then an organizing director with Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing. During her time at Green Corps, Jane ran and oversaw campaigns for partner organizations such as the Sierra Club, Food and Water Watch, and Fair Share. Jane received a bachelor's degree in Biology and Environmental Science, and a master's degree in Biology from Wesleyan University.