Meet the 2017 Maryland Fellows
(back to NLC 2017 Fellows)
Omofehintola Akinrinade, 6-8th grade SPED Social Studies, Vanguard Collegiate Middle School
Omofehintola (pronounced: Uh-muh-fen-tul-ah Ak-rin-ah-day) is a first generation Nigerian-American from Baltimore, Maryland. She is currently a candidate for a Masterís in Education from Johns Hopkins University. In 2015, she received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from American University. In the near future, Omofehintola hopes to merge her two degrees to make meaningful change in Baltimoreís education system. She is interested in social justice, specifically issues pertaining to race and gender. Her involvement in social justice started in 2013 when she attended an alternative break trip to Haiti focused on womenís empowerment and microfinance. The following year, she led her own trip to the Dominican Republic which examined the issue of colorism on the island of Hispaniola as a result of an ordinance passed in the Dominican Republic which banned Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian decent from the country. Noticing a void on her campus around racial tolerance, Omofehintola worked with a group of young women to organize her universityís first Black Lives Matter protest. Later that year, she helped organize a teach-in to continue the conversations started by the protest. Her organizing work continued in 2016 when she worked with Strong City Baltimore to address housing disparity in Baltimore. Also in 2016, she interned with MarylandCan, a policy advocacy organization. There, she helped lobby for funding to help improve school programs. She also completed a research project for an after school campaign headed by then mayoral candidate, Catherine Pugh. Prior to 2016, Omofehintola has interned with various elected officials including, John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Anthony Brown and Amy Klobuchar. Currently, Omofehintola is working to empower the next generation of leaders as a special education social studies teacher at Vanguard Collegiate Middle School. In her spare time, Omofehintola enjoys mentoring young girls. She is in the process of building G.R.O.W (Giving Real Opportunities to Our Women); a girls organization of which she is one the co-founders.
Irnande Altema, Chief of Staff, MD General Assembly - Senator Kathy Klausmeier
Irnande Altema is a versatile attorney with an academic and professional background in health care science and policy. She currently, serves as Chief of Staff for Maryland State Senator Kathy Klausmeier, representative for District 8 in Baltimore County. As Chief of Staff, she is responsible for advancing the Senatorís legislative agenda, representing the Senator at constituent events, and assisting in the resolution of constituent issues in the local community. During the 2013 legislative session, Irnande was also a Legislative Assistant with Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan and Silver, one of Marylandís premier legal and lobbying firms. Irnande has experience in civil litigation as an associate with the Law Office of Derek Challenger, where her main practice areas are in family law, personal injury, employment discrimination and housing. She also represents indigent defendants before District Court Commissioners requesting release on personal recognizance or a reasonable bond. Irnande is the founder of the FirstGenRise blog, which creates a platform for first-generation students, graduates, and professionals to share effective strategies that would empower them to rise to the top of their field, connect them to each other and encourage them to embrace their unique identity. She enjoys volunteering in high schools such as presenting a time management seminar during the Oakland Mills High School Professional Development Series, and has participated in mock interviews ñ a graduation requirement. Irnande received her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, and a Master of Science in Biomedical Science Policy and Advocacy from Georgetown University. She earned her law degree from Hofstra University School of Law and is admitted to both the Maryland State Bar and Maryland Federal Bar.
Adler Archer, CEO, Allasys
Adler Archer is a healthcare advocate and technology entrepreneur with a passion for making the healthcare industry more accessible, adaptable and accountable. Building on nearly two decades of success at DOD, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Allasys, Adler helps public sector organizations operate and communicate at their peak. He has provided strategy and technology solutions to clients ranging from innovative nonprofit start-ups in Brooklyn to European members of parliament in Brussels. Adler is also a proud veteran, having served on active duty in the US Air Force from 2000 ñ 2004. He has lobbied for important veteransí causes including ìJail Diversion and Trauma Recoveryî as well as ìDonít Ask, Donít Tellî repeal. Most recently, Adler launched Warrior Justice 501(c)(3). This nonprofit brings together medical and legal professionals to help ensure veterans receive comprehensive and collaborative support in alleviating health-harming legal and social issues. Adler holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from New York Law School, an M.Sc. in Mindfulness Neuroscience from Kings College London, an M.P.S. in Organizational Communication from the University of Denver, and a B.A. from Columbia College. Adler has been appointed to the Baltimore City Bar Associationís Health Law Committee, serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Maryland LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the American Medical Informatics Association, and American Health Lawyers Association.
Erin Bradley, Community Partnerships Manager, Housing Opportunities Commission
Erin Bradley is a native Marylander who has spent her career in External Affairs and Government Relations. Erinís work focuses on social determinants of health, initiatives that help empower communities and social justice issues. She has lobbied the Maryland General Assembly as a Legislative Analyst for Prince Georgeís County government, and managed public affairs for the County Health Department. Erin also spent nearly four years as a public policy and communications consultant working for some of the Nationís largest public health foundations and non-profits. Currently, Erin is Community Partnerships Manager at the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County. A 2004 graduate of Wofford College, Erin has undergraduate degrees in Intercultural Studies, Latin American Studies and Spanish. In addition, she completed her Masters of Public Administration at the University of Georgia in 2006. In her free time, Erin is a co-founder and board member of the Wofford College Black Alumni Group. She is a volunteer consultant for Equitable Schoolsóa start-up non-profit charged with creating more inclusive environments for students of color and closing the achievement gap.
Laura Garcia was born in Tacoma, Washington. She attended college at Miami University of Ohio, obtaining a B.A. in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs. After graduating, she joined the Peace Corps and served in Morocco as a Community Health Promotion Volunteer from 2006-2008. Her service included leading numerous regional health seminars, conducting dental hygiene education, facilitating a water access project, and helping to start a women's cooperative in her village. Inspired by a Moroccan nurse named Omar with whom she worked closely, she decided to return to school and graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.S. in Nursing in 2010. After completing her nursing degree, she worked for Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center as a registered nurse on the Progressive Care Unit from 2010-2014; during that time, she returned to school for a graduate degree. In 2014, she graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Masterís of Science in Nursing. She obtained a position as a Family Nurse Practitioner at Health Care for the Homeless (HCH), and continues to care for adults and children facing homelessness as a primary care provider. During her tenure at HCH, she has also obtained certification to treat Hepatitis C, worked on a depression screening performance improvement project, and mentored nurse practitioner students. In August 2016, she became the Director of Adult Medicine. In addition to clinical care, she is involved in advocacy on behalf of homeless, incarcerated, and undocumented residents of Maryland. She participates in the Alternatives to Violence Project, an all-volunteer organization that conducts prison workshops to help facilitate non-violent conflict resolution strategies. She is also the political action committee chair and a member of the legislative committee for her professional state organization, the Nurse Practitioner Association of Maryland. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading books, and talking politics.
Leslie Hall, Senior Manager HBCU Program, Human Rights Campaign
Leslie has devoted his lifeís work to defending, advocating and supporting under-represented, under-privileged and marginalized people through higher education, non-profit, and community-based organizations. Raised by his grandparents in Capitol Heights, Maryland- Leslie was a member of the second graduating class of Forestville Military Academy in Forestville, Maryland. In 2006, he was elected to the Prince Georgeís County Board of Education as itís student member. After graduation, he attended Bowie State University, earning a bachelors degree in sociology. While at Bowie State, Leslie was appointed by then Governor Martin OíMalley to serve on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. Fusing the plight of his community with the desire to make a difference, he went on to attend Howard University School of Social Work, earning a Master of Social Work in 2014. Leslie currently works at the Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community, as the Senior Manager of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Project. In this critical role, Leslie works with university Presidents and senior level administrators in crafting inclusive policies that support and empower LGBTQ students and staff. In 2016, Leslie established the Grandfamilies Project which works to support and advocate for Grandparents who raise Grandchildren, in addition to other relative caregivers.
Christopher Jennings, Teacher, Baltimore City Public Schools
Chris Jennings is a science teacher at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore City Public Schools. He currently serves as the Asst. Director to the Urban Agriculture Program. Chris is the Head Swim Coach as well as the Sophomore Class Adviser. Chris graduated from DePauw University in 2013 with a degree in biology. After graduation, he joined Teach For America (TFA) and has continued to teach at the school where he was placed, while actively engaged as an TFA alumni. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2015 with a Masters Degree in Science of Education.
Christopher Jennison, Honors Attorney, U.S. Department of Transportation
Christopher Jennison was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland and is proud to call Montgomery County home alongside his fiancÈe, Josephine Bahn. He graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts in Policy Studies and Public Relations, before going on to the University of Pennsylvania for a Master's Degree in Public Administration and returning to Syracuse University to earn his Juris Doctorate. Chris is currently an Honors Attorney with the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he has held rotations in the Federal Aviation Administrationís Enforcement Division and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administrationís Chief Counselís Office. He has previously interned with the offices of Senator Harry Reid, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissionís Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of State Legislative Affairs Bureau, and the City of Syracuse. He also serves on the American Bar Associationís Standing Committee on Paralegals, the body which accredits paralegal education programs, and previously served on the Associationís governing body from 2015-16, the Board of Governors. He is an appointed member of the Montgomery County Commission on Juvenile Justice and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Bel Pre Recreation Association. He is a probationary member with Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, having held his EMT certification since 2009 in New York State
Katherine Jones, Advocacy Manager, Blue Water Baltimore
Katherine Jones serves as the Advocacy Manager for Blue Water Baltimore. She engages in public policy efforts at the local and state levels on behalf of Blue Water Baltimore related to eliminating pollution in the urban environment. Collaborating across Maryland, she advocates to ensure all citizens needs are met to foster a healthy and thriving Baltimore community and Chesapeake Bay. She comes to Blue Water Baltimore with a passion for social justice having significant experience in the areas of community development, advocacy, and cross-sector collaborative initiatives. Katherine is a two term AmeriCorps alum, StartingBloc Social Impact Fellow, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Connecticut, with a minor in Sociology, and a Master in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, with a concentration in public management.
Laura Lubben is a graduate of Smith College with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Jewish Studies. Laura spent her college years deeply engaged in student government, ensuring that all students have adequate access to funding as the Chair of the Organizational Resource Committee. Laura was most recently a Program Associate at Opportunity@Work where she supported the leadership team and built organizational processes to facilitate internal communication. Prior to Opportunity@Work, she served as a White House Intern at the National Economic Council where her work focused on infrastructure and transportation. In her role, Laura helped plan and execute a roundtable on low-income access to transportation, working to ensure affordable and accessible transportation options for all Americans. She also helped coordinate interagency efforts, working with stakeholders both inside and outside of government. Prior to the White House, Laura spent two summers as an Investment Banking Analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York, where she worked with the Financial Sponsors, Transportation, and Financial Institutions Groups. Laura aims to use her experience and skills to improve the world around her and strives to be better, and do better, every day. She brings her enthusiasm, positivity, and idealism to the New Leaders Council.
Yaheiry Mora, Senior Policy and Elections Manager, CASA
Yaheiry Mora is the Senior Policy and Elections Manager for CASA, the largest immigrant rights organization in the mid-Atlantic region. She focuses on state policy and advocacy in Maryland. In her role, she also manages and designs data-driven voter engagement programs targeting immigrant communities in Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania for both CASA (C3) and its C4 sister organization CASA in Action. She designed and executed CASA in Actionís targeted independent expenditure program for the Maryland 2014 statewide elections resulting in hundreds of Latinos turning out to the polls to vote for progressive candidates throughout the state. Since, Yaheiry had led eight multi-candidate direct mail, field and phone programs using micro-targeting data, latest research and new technologies. For the 2016 elections, Yaheiry led CASA in Actionís first presidential Get Out The Vote (GOTV) program in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. These efforts targeted thousands of first time and low propensity voters of color in Lancaster, York and Dauphin counties ñ key areas with the fastest growing communities of color. Yaheiry is passionate about civic engagement. She is driven by the mission of building power for our disenfranchised communities and influencing change. Yaheiry comes from the labor movement, previously serving as a political organizer at SEIU Local 32BJ and working on electoral campaigns in New York City. She co-led the Central Bronx office of Former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloombergís re-election campaign. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the State University College at Buffalo, where she first arrived as a transfer student from the Dominican Republic, her native country. Yaheiry is a member of Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and currently serves on the board of Maryland Working Families and Progressive Maryland. She resides in Montgomery County, dances salsa New York style and is the proud mom of Diego.
Andrew Reinel, English Language Aquisition (ELA) Instructor, Strong City Baltimore
Andrew Reinel is an ELA (English Language Acquisition) Instructor with Strong City Baltimore. Previously he was a community organizer with CASA, the largest Latino/immigrant rights organization in the Mid-Atlantic region. During his five years with CASA, Andrew helped the organization expand their services and organizing into new areas, notably Anne Arundel County and Pennsylvania. He is a graduate from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree in history. From 2009-2011, Andrew was a teaching fellow with Citizen Schools, an organization that partners with school districts to provide quality after school programming for students grade 6-8 around the country. He completed his teaching fellowship at Van Buren MS, a Title I public school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Andrew will continue to teach and organize in his community while he applies to public policy programs in the area.
Mayo Sonko, Growth Associate, Service Year Alliance
Mayo Sonko is a native Marylander. She graduated from Macalester College in 2013 where she studied Political Science and Urban Studies. Upon graduating, she served as an AmeriCorps member with Public Allie D.C, a program whose mission is to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. As a component of Public Allies, she completed an apprenticeship with the YMCA Youth and Family Services Branch in Silver Spring, MD, where she was a Program Associate with Linkages to Learning and was responsible for coordinating after-school homework tutoring clubs at two elementary schools and helping provide a supportive environment for families that sought Linkagesí services. After her term of service, served as the Program Coordinator for the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute working towards the vision of moving society to a place where service is a cultural expectation, common opportunity, and civic rite of passage for young people across the country. She continues to work in the national service space at Service Year Alliance on their Growth Team where she works to help grow the number of service year opportunities available in the United States. In her free time, she enjoys playing co-ed soccer, finding new music, and exploring new places.
Thomas Squire, Para Educator, Montgomery County Public Schools
Thomas Squire was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburbs of Washington, DC. From an early age he has always had a love for serving people. He attended Coastal Carolina University, where he earned his Bachelorís Degree in Communication with a minor in Journalism and holds a Masterís Degree in Special Education from Howard University. An experienced mass media professional with more than 10 years of experience in the television and radio industries. Most recently working with the branding solutions department with the during the 2016 BET Awards. He has worked on Democratic campaigns as a staffer, most recently with Tom Huckerís successful County Council bid in 2014 and with the Honorable Herman Taylor in 2007 and 2008. He currently works for Montgomery County Public Schools and is the Executive Assistant of the Minority Business Economic Council. Additionally, Thomas is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated where he mentors young men of color. Thomas is excited about community service and involvement and bridging the gap between services and access to communities in need. Oh and Brunch.
Brandy Wimberly, Branch Chief - HR Specialist, National Institutes of Health
Brandy Wimberly is a change agent who offers leadership, compassion and innovation to communities and organizations. In 2008, Brandy moved from sunny Florida to Maryland to pursue a Masterís Degree in Human Resources Management and explore a new career path. While completing her education she reinvented her career by joining the National Institutes of Healthís (NIH) Administrative Fellowship Program in the Office of Human Resources (OHR). Through education and work experience, Brandy has acquired a unique set of skills that is beneficial for any project she has an opportunity to impress her point of view. She fine-tuned her ability to effectively engage with senior leaders to develop and implement strategic goals. During her federal career, she worked on several initiatives to expand workplace flexibilities to help the Federal government attract and retain top talent. Her exemplary efforts to lead and collaborate with all levels are recognized through numerous OHR and NIH Directorís awards. Thus earning a position as a Branch Chief in the HR Systems and Analytics Division at NIH. Ms. Wimberly is a firm believer in empowering a personís ability to redefine their reality. In 2014, she became the founder of Empowergize U, LLC. The company utilizes her passion for helping people believe they can realize their lifeís purpose and go beyond their current circumstances through creative goal setting. Empowergize Uís mission is to provide a framework to assist others in creating a vision for a purpose driven life. Over the past five years, she facilitated workshops and information sessions to various populations that include adults and adolescents. Most recently implementing a program using the concepts developed from Empowergize U in a corporate environment to cultivate organizational cultural changes. Brandyís unique style of coaching leverages her humor, honesty and intuition as she encourages participants and employees to produce unprecedented results in their organizations and personal relationships. Her goal is to expand Empowergize U by becoming an Executive Coach to develop progressive professionals and improve traditional corporate infrastructures. She looks forward to working with others across all industries to support equal opportunities for young adults. Through mentoring and creativity she will use her diverse background to motivate others while serving as a conduit for change in our communities.