Meet the 2017 WI - Milwaukee Fellows
(back to NLC 2017 Fellows)
Jazzmyne Adams, Research Program Coordinator, Medical College of Wisconsin
Jazzmyne, a Milwaukee native, is a Research Program Coordinator at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the Department of Emergency Medicine, specializing in pediatric trauma. A graduate from Dominican High School, Jazzmyne holds her BS in Psychology from Marquette University. She was accepted to Marquette through the Educational Opportunity Program (TRIO) where she served as a peer counselor for incoming freshmen prior to graduation. During her undergraduate career she served on several volunteer-based research laboratory committees and was accepted into the McNair Scholar’s program where she presented original research at local and regional competitions. She also served as the elected student representative for Marquette University’s Psychology Department’s Diversity Committee. Jazzmyne is currently a second year graduate student at UW-Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health where she is earning her MPH on the Public Health Policy and Administration track. She is an active medical volunteer for Milwaukee hosted road races and festivals as well as a reading tutor for selected Milwaukee Public Schools. Jazzmyne has embraced an undeniable passion for justice and service. She is particularly interested in policy framework that can combat the current opioid epidemic that her city faces. She enjoys yoga, exploring local parks and road trips with her husband, Brent.
Victoria (Vee) Bell, Director, Knowledge Management, Teach For America
"As a 12+ year veteran of the non-profit sector, Vee is dedicated to improving society through engaging donors with organizations and missions that speak to their desire to make an impact with their pocketbook. Her passion for non-profit work was born from a film-based service learning project in Tuba City, Arizona tutoring 4th and 5th graders to meet the strict guidelines of No Child Left Behind while also teaching them the joy of photo and filmmaking. Working in an environment different from her Pittsburgh and Philadelphia roots inspired Vee to continue this work by pursuing a MA in Arts & Non-profit Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz School. Relocating to the Bay Area (San Francisco & Oakland), Vee began her work with LGBTIQ organizations and Urban Planning & Policy think tanks. The intersection of policy & philanthropy led her to advance her career towards knowledge management (KM) within the social justice sphere. Now working with Teach for America, Vee focuses her work on KM – a field in which she asks tough questions, interviews stakeholders and then implements systems that allow more than 150 fundraisers across the nation meet their mission of connecting local donors to the organization. In late 2015, Vee moved to Milwaukee with her partner. Looking forward, she is passionate about her growth towards policy and change-making with NLC. With this community, she hopes to gain co-conspirators in action and skills necessary to push her new home further into becoming a beacon of progressive values in the Midwest."
Trevor Cooper, Graduate Student
In 2015, Trevor received his Bachelors of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in neurobiology with a certificate in global health. While pursuing his education, Trevor worked at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Goodwill Industries of SE Wisconsin, successfully completed an individual research program through the SPACE Lab, and participated in numerous extracurricular activities including Wisconsin Area Health Education Center’s Community Health Internship Program and Interprofessional Case Competition. These AHEC experiences fostered his passion for medicine with an emphasis in public health, cultural competency, and interdisciplinary programming. Shortly after graduation he began a year and a half of service through two separate AmeriCorps programs, Schools of Hope and Wisconsin HealthCorps. During his one year service in HealthCorps, Trevor served at the Waushara County Health Department to create a regional six county community health needs assessment (CHNA). This needs assessment was created to understand the overall health of the six counties and required detailed analysis of secondary data along with the collection of primary data through town hall forums, surveys, and key informant interviews. This assessment will then be used for planning and implementation of future public health programming. Trevor is currently a Master’s in Medical Physiology candidate at the Medical College of Wisconsin and will be applying to medical schools this year. In 10 years, it is his hope to be a practicing pediatrician, who will be an advocate for children’s rights and healthcare for all.
Caroline Gomez-Tom, Program Manager, Covering Wisconsin/Milwaukee Enrollment Network
"Caroline Gomez-Tom manages the Wisconsin Navigator Collaborative for Covering Wisconsin (CWI), the federally designated Navigator entity serving 23 southeastern and central Wisconsin counties, where she provides technical assistance to the University of Wisconsin-Extension program specialists and other statewide partners. Caroline also manages the Milwaukee Enrollment Network (MKEN), a multi-stakeholder collaboration co-convened by CWI and the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (MHCP) organized to improve consumer outreach and education, strengthen enrollment support resources, and assist Milwaukee County residents in securing adequate and affordable public or private health insurance. Caroline holds a Master’s in Social Work from UW-Madison and has been involved in many civic, academic, health and social service organizations and initiatives. She serves on the boards of directors for the Milwaukee Latino Health Coalition (MLHC) and Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin (CHAW), and was recently honored as one of the “40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health Care” by the National Minority Quality Forum. Caroline is a Racine, Wisconsin native of Mexican parents. She has two brothers (George and Israel) and lives in Milwaukee with her husband, Derek Tom, and their German Shepherd-mix puppy, Chicken “Katsu” Curry. She enjoys singing with the Milwaukee Choristers in Wauwatosa and powerlifting at Cream City CrossFit Cooperative in Bayview."
Kennita Hickman, Trainer and Owner, Rescare and Catera OmniVision
"Kennita Hickman is an urban cultural and music writer, entrepreneur and health enthusiast. She is the principal of Catera OmniVision Group (formerly KIS Communications LLC), a full service brand development and management company based in Milwaukee, WI where she manages and develops independent talent. In addition to her work through Catera OmniVision Group, she facilitates job readiness and development workshops through ResCare Prior to her work at Catera OmniVision Group, she wrote for various music publications including Urbanology, Relevant and The Source. She currently serves as a board member for Above the Clouds, a faith based arts and youth organization and Repairers of the Breach, Communications and Fundraiser Committee. She also served as Vice President for Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI). "
Alex Kautza, Manager of Teacher Leadership Development (TFA-MKE); Co-Founder, Lead Consultant (LiberatED) Teach For America - Milwaukee; LiberatED Consulting, LLC
Alex Kautza is an Antigo (WI) native who is currently a teacher coach at Teach For America Milwaukee. He is in his third year in the role, where he has supported over 75 teachers in building culturally responsive, student-centered classrooms that serve students from low-income backgrounds all across Milwaukee. He has coached teachers in over twenty-five Milwaukee schools and has worked to revamp pedagogical practices in the pursuit of social justice and educational equity for students of color in Milwaukee. In addition to his role as a teacher coach, he has become a community-recognized trainer and facilitator on culturally responsive pedagogy through his work at TFA and as co-founder of LiberatED, a training and consulting firm for schools and non-profits dedicated to social justice. Prior to his work in Milwaukee, Alex was a high school science teacher at Kingstree Senior High (KSH) in Kingstree, SC, where he was awarded the 2013-2014 KSH Teacher of the Year Award. Alex also coached varsity football at KSH and helped lead the team to its first playoff victory in over a decade. He is a Winona State University graduate where in addition to studying Spanish, Economics, and Pre-Medicine, he served as captain and linebacker on the university's football team. Alex is married to Kale Kautza, a teacher and coach in the greater Milwaukee area, and his passions include his Christian faith, his family, entrepreneurship, and servant-leadership. In his free time he enjoys writing, football, and the exploring the great outdoors.
Cassy Krueger, Associate DEPLOY/US, Bergner Associates
"Cassy Krueger is a lifelong learner, big picture thinker, and fervent optimist. She has a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Philosophy from UW-Madison and over 4 years of communications experience. Throughout her young career, she has applied this background in a variety of different ways, including within the public health, sustainability, and peacebuilding sectors. She is passionate about cross-sector work, engaging with diverse communities, and creating positive social and environmental change. Cassy is a recent graduate of the UW-Milwaukee Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding program, which teaches students how to utilize systems thinking tools to address complex societal problems. Cassy focused her studies on climate change and organizational development, earning a certificate in nonprofit management and working on several climate-related projects. She currently works for DEPLOY/US, a nonprofit based in Boston, where she is working with leaders across the political spectrum to expand bipartisan support for climate action. She also works with several Milwaukee-area consulting firms that focus on supporting management, fundraising, leadership, and organizational development within environmental nonprofits. Cassy would like to continue her focus on growing and strengthening impact within the nonprofit sector, but expanding her cross-sector experience as well. She is driven by a belief that the nonprofit sector plays an integral role in stimulating social and environmental change. Going forward, she is also interested in working with foundations that have climate programs, helping them to use a systems approach to be more strategic and holistic in their grantmaking."
Abby Kuranz, Communications Specialist, Milwaukee Riverkeeper
BOriginally from Racine, Abby Kuranz received her BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison before moving out west for five years. Most of her professional experience comes from working at nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California. She has worked as an environmental educator and helped implement a program installing residential solar on affordable housing. She completed an MS from the University of Colorado-Boulder in Environmental Studies with a focus in western water policy. She is back in the Midwest and currently working as the Communications Specialist at a small Milwaukee non-profit called Milwaukee Riverkeeper. She is responsible for managing social media, digital content, traditional public relations, and civic engagement on issue based advocacy campaigns including recent efforts to remove the Estabrook Dam on the Milwaukee River and opposition to the city of Waukesha's request to divert Great Lakes water. She is committed to protecting our natural resources for future generations and finding was to better marry environmental and social issues.IO
Obiageli Nwabuzor, Resource Development, Special Projects Coordinator, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County
"Oby Nwabuzor, a proud millennial native of the city of Milwaukee obtained her Bachelors of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Organizational Communication, and Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Recognized for striving to make a significant impact in the community, she continues to value her role as a mentor and advocate for the youth of Milwaukee. In 2015, Oby was invited to be a representative in the University’s, Issue of Community Concern, Public Speaking Showcase, an honor that spoke to her student leadership capabilities. Oby was awarded ‘Best Delivery’ after becoming one of the 5 finalists in the Showcase, and strives to spread her public speaking techniques to the mentees she works closely with. Currently, Oby attends Cardinal Stritch University where she is pursuing her Masters in Business Administration and Management. Upon the completion of her MBA, Oby plans to pursue a career path focused towards servant leadership, social innovation, and policy in hopes that she will continue to make herself a willing vessel and advocate for the needs of the Milwaukee community. As a Program Coordinator in Character & Leadership at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, Oby has implemented National Boys & Girls Club curriculum, programs, projects, and other events within centered around growing and developing our youth to envision themselves as leaders of society. Simultaneously, she obtained a paid internship at the Argosy Foundation; owned by County Executive Chris Abele and his family. At the Argosy Foundation, her role was Research & Program Support where she worked with Argosy staff to conduct research on, but not limited to, renewable energy, environmental justice, recidivism, and investments. She assisted in funding non-profit organizations, around the country, to receive grant funding ranging from $10k - $1million. Now, at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, Oby is the Resource Development, Special Projects Coordinator. Outside of work, most recently, she has conducted a presentation on branding yourself with, one of the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Pipeline Programs, Apprenticeship in Medicine (AIM). This presentation has led her to be able to continue doing work, not only with AIM but also, with the MCWs other Summer Enrichment Programs; ROADS & DSHREP. Oby’s latest accomplishment is that she successfully launched her own Limited Liability Company (LLC) titled “Envision Self”. Envision Self, aims to polish young adults who desire to learn methods of self-branding and personal development. "
Mike Pawlak, Applications Developer, TWC
Mike cut his teeth on progressive politics during the 2011 Wisconsin State Senate recall as a field organizer, moving into a campus communications role for the Gubernatorial recall the following year. During this time he also served in the UW Oshkosh College Democrats, first as Membership Director and then Chairman of the chapter where he coordinated the campus recall operations as well as a Student Senator and Legislative Affairs Director of the Oshkosh Student Senate. During the 2012 Presidential election he worked on student voter registration as a United Council Student Vote Organizer. He then dropped out of school to focus on learning how to code while working in tech support at a local call center for Time Warner Cable. He built a program while taking calls that got him a position as an applications developer where he builds and maintains internal web applications based on his initial program. He has since then returned to school to complete his degree in Political Science emphasizing digital and data campaign work. Mike hopes to make an impact in the world of progressive politics with his digital expertise. In his free time he enjoys building computers, playing video games with his amazing wife, and is training for a 5k in the summer.
Freddie Perry, Business Technology Analyst, US Bank
"Freddie Perry is from Milwaukee, WI. He earned his associates degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2011 before gaining his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics at The University of Wisconsin-Madison with focuses on economic development and labor economics in 2014. He is a current candidate for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Graduating in 2017. He has maintained levels of service and leadership with different local and national community organizations throughout his college career. He worked as a U.S. Census Bureau Field Representative, a Youth Supervisor at the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, and a Tutor at Milwaukee Area Technical College while attending the college. He also served as a student mentor for incoming students at the University of Wisconsin- Madison under the Center of Education Opportunity (CeO), while also serving as an area tutor and mentor for high school students under the Nehemiah non-profit Organization in Madison, WI. He helped organize and run polls, helping citizens register and vote during the 2008 and 2012 presidential complains, while also helping citizens vote for during local elections as well. He is also a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. Helping people obtain economic-empowerment, social cohesion, and educational excellence are his goals. He believes that every person has a chance to achieve given an adequate amount of mentorship and resources. Freddie lives in Milwaukee where he works as a Business Technology Analyst at US Bank, mostly in special projects concerning new technology for increasing workforce efficiency and large data management programs. Most of his work experience is in leadership, technology, and financial services."
"Becky Rasmussen is an Organizer based in Northeast Wisconsin. Her areas of interest include Reproductive Healthcare, Environmental Conservation, and Public Education. She first became interested in election work during the Fall 2010 general election and has been involved with various campaigns for the past 6 years, including spending the 2016 cycle organizing with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. One of her greatest passions is assisting first-time local candidates in building the infrastructure necessary for running a successful campaign. Additionally, she enjoys mentoring young progressives and serves as the Vice-Chair of the Young Democrats of Wisconsin for the 8th Congressional District. She is an alumnus of UW-Green Bay and was raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While completing her B.A she was heavily involved in Student Life and held leadership positions in the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, Ski and Snowboard Club, and Advocates for Choice among others. Becky also creates and sells handmade chainmaille jewelry, and teaches dance lessons throughout the Fox Valley. You can find her doing yoga and watching shows produced by Ryan Murphy on most days; and if it’s snowing, she’s most likely downhill skiing in Colorado. One day she will complete her goal of visiting all 50 states as well as each of the Canadian Provinces and Territories."
Ayah Sarsour, Teacher, Milwaukee Public Schools
Ayah Sarsour is currently a 7th and 8th grade Reading and Social Studies teacher at Mary McLeod Bethune Academy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ayah graduated from Marquette University in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Corporate Communications. After graduation, Ayah joined Teach for America Milwaukee to serve her hometown as an educator in Milwaukee Public Schools. Ayah’s students walk into her classroom eager to learn about themselves and the world around them. Her classroom's vision is Social Justice. She defines Social Justice as everyone deserving equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities. Her students understand that if they each do their best to demonstrate Grit, Leadership, Proficiency, and Empathy, that they will be able to contribute to the larger goal of Social Justice together. Ayah is currently obtaining her Master’s in Education at Alverno College. Prior to teaching, Ayah has gained various experience from several internships including working for Congresswoman Gwen Moore, working for the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office, and ESPN Milwaukee. Ayah deeply cares about Social Justice issues and Education reform, and hopes to influence change in these areas. In the future, Ayah would like to develop her own business ideas and eventually run for government office. Ayah’s interests include business,politics, mental health issues, sports and traveling.
Matt Stienstra, Advocacy Campaign Manager, Hunger Task Force
"As Hunger Task Force's Advocacy Campaign Manager, Matt Stienstra creates and implements statewide campaigns to strengthen nutrition policy. In 2016 these campaigns connected nearly 4,000 more children from low-income families to a daily school breakfast. Matt has built a career around connecting citizens and stakeholders to progressive policy solutions at the local, state and federal level. A Wisconsin native, Matt studied Conservation Biology at University of Wisconsin-Madison and began his career knocking doors to protect the state’s last pristine national forests. He moved to Massachusetts to manage organizing campaigns that raised over $400,000 for progressive causes. He went on to manage field staff and volunteers on four electoral campaigns cycles in Wisconsin. Most recently, Matt oversaw field operations for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign for the majority of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. Since becoming the Advocacy Campaign Manager at Hunger Task Force he grown the agency’s advocacy action group, Voices Against Hunger, by over 1,500 members, and has elevated stories of hunger to national media outlets such as The Huffington Post, VICE and Bloomberg News. Matt resides in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin with his wife, new baby girl and two dogs. He is an aspiring cook and 90’s pop culture enthusiast. "
Robyn Wohlfeil, Grants Specialist, Senior Aurora Health Care Foundation
Robyn Wohlfeil has spent nearly a decade working in the nonprofit sector as a fundraiser, program coordinator and community relations specialist. She currently works for the Aurora Health Care Foundation as a Grants Specialist Senior raising major gifts for patient care, medical research and education. Robyn previously worked for the United Performing Arts Fund, United Way of Greater Milwaukee, Interfaith Older Adult Programs and Community Shares of Greater Milwaukee. In 2010, she graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities where she studied the intersection of American politics and religion, focusing on the Religious Right. Robyn is passionate about equity and social justice issues including access to quality healthcare, education and employment. She is especially concerned with the restrictive trends in women’s health care rights, the growing gap in income inequality and campaign finance reform. Since 2014, Robyn has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Southeastern Wisconsin chapter and in 2015 she became the Co-Chair for the Developing Professionals group. In late 2016, she started volunteering with the Public Policy Institute of Community Advocates to help plan community events. Additionally, she will serve as a 2017 Hope Shining Blue Ambassador to bring awareness and raise funds for sexual assault survivors. Robyn is very excited to serve as a 2017 Fellow and address the many unique challenges her hometown of Milwaukee faces.