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Patricia Ceccarelli, Program Associate, Faith in New York
Patricia Ceccarelli grew up in Westchester, New York and attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After interning on the Hill and for the Public Defender’s Office of Washtenaw County, Patricia knew that she needed to be a part of systemic change in America to reduce inequality and increase opportunity for all.
Patricia went on to be a Community Organizer with the Harriet Tubman Center, doing youth organizing with a high school student group called YOUTH VOICE around the issue of gang violence in the city of Detroit. After graduating and moving back to New York, Patricia’s passion for organizing led her to apply to be an Organizing Fellow with Organizing for America in New York City in 2011. Patricia went on to become Organizing for America-New York’s Regional Field Director for Brooklyn & Queens, supervising a staff of six Field Organizers who were building local volunteer teams to call into battleground states and travel to Ohio and Pennsylvania for door-to-door canvassing to re-elect President Obama.
Patricia is now a Program Associate with Faith in New York (formerly known as Queens Congregations United for Action), which is an affiliate of the PICO National Network—the largest faith-based community organizing network in the United States. In her position, Patricia is in charge of operations, communications, and fundraising, while building leaders through training and engaging within congregations to promote social justice throughout New York City. She looks forward to meeting other individuals with similar passions and goals and learning new skills to improve her leadership and increase the number of progressive leaders in New York City and beyond.
Ashley C. Emerole, Recovery & Resiliency Fellow, MTA NYCT
Ashley C. Emerole is a career public servant who has worked for various government agencies since graduating with a Masters in Urban Planning from CUNY Hunter.
Currently working as a Recovery & Resiliency Fellow for MTA NYCT, her work focuses on assessing the damage to the subway system from Hurricane Sandy while working on ways to mitigate future natural disasters.
Prior to working in infrastructure, Ashley worked for the NYC’s Office of Management and Budget as a Senior Budget Analyst in the Administration of Justice Taskforce. Managing an expense and capital budget for 7 city agencies and the city’s courts, this role offered an enlightening look into government prioritization, agenda setting and the politicized world of a balanced budget.
Ashley is a member of the Executive Board of the Manhattan Young Democrats (MYD) as Co-chair of the Transportation Committee. Additionally, she is a Volunteer Team Leader for New York Cares serving needy populations in northern Manhattan.
A Queens, NY native and long-suffering Knicks fan, Ashley received her B.A. in Geography from the University of Arizona and is active in the neighborhood of Harlem where she currently resides. A tea connoisseur and fan of lectures and seminars of all sorts, Ashley is perpetually fascinated by infrastructure, solutions to social problems big and small and when the Knicks will win another championship.
Joelle Gamble, National Field Strategist, Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network
Joelle Gamble is the National Field Strategist for the Roosevelt Institute | Campus Network, an organization dedicated to engaging young people in the policy writing and implementation process. Prior to this role, as a student organizer in the University of California Student Association, she worked on numerous political campaigns related to tax reform and lobbied extensively.
As a political organizer, she has appeared in over 40 articles and television segments, including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Gate, Fox News, NBC, ABC and CBS. While still an undergraduate student, Joelle also worked as a paid federal employee with the consular community in Los Angeles for two years at the U.S. Department of State, Office of Foreign Missions. In addition, she has served as a French language research assistant with the UCLA Department of Economics, working on the history and development of North African trade routes.
Joelle cares deeply about issues of economic justice and development, as well as creating access to decision-making spaces for underserved communities.
She graduated from UCLA in 2012 Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in International Development Studies. She is also a StartingBloc Social Innovation Fellow and a Democratic National Committee Hope Fellow.
Jacob Heyman-Kantor, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department of Labor
Jacob recently joined the U.S. Department of Labor, where he helps enforce U.S. employment laws. Previously, Jacob was an associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, and an Assistant Counsel at the National Treasury Employees Union. Jacob graduated with honors from The George Washington University Law School in 2009.
Before attending law school, Jacob worked at the New York Musicians’ Union, where he negotiated collective bargaining agreements on behalf of classical orchestras. He graduated from Hamilton College in 2002, majoring in Spanish and sociology. Jacob was born and raised in New York City. He is participating as an NLC Fellow purely in his personal capacity.
Kacie Lyn Kocher, Operations Manager, PublicStuff
Kacie Lyn Kocher moved back to the US after completing an MSc. in International Development and Economic History at the London School of Economics. As of January 2014, she is the Operations Manager of PublicStuff, a technology startup that uses web and mobile solutions to connect people with their local governments. Her main responsibilities involve managing all core operations, and she reports directly to the CEO in this multi-faceted position.
Before completing her Master’s degree in 2013, she founded Canimiz Sokakta, which is a Turkish NGO that uses crowdsourcing techniques and digital and social media to combat street harassment and other forms of gender-based violence and discrimination. Working in Istanbul for two years at TTNET (Turkey’s leading ISP), she was able to utilize her market research on internet use and behavior in Turkey to create digital approaches and programs at local universities. She has also forged partnerships with the U.S. Consulate, technology developers and consultancies, PR firms, other NGOs, and local leaders. Her work has been documented in radio, newspapers, TV, and online in five languages. In April 2013, Kacie gave a TEDx talk titled “Silence is a Choice”. Kacie continues to work with Canimiz Sokakta remotely, focusing on bringing self-defense courses to Turkey.
Kacie grew up in Austin, Texas and enjoys live music, letter writing, and cooking from scratch. She is passionate about public policy, the potential of new technologies for social and economic change, food politics, and financial literacy. She has worked in the US, Morocco, Turkey, India, and the UK, and holds an honors B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Wellesley College.
Madeline Lagattuta, Special Assistant, Executive Office
Madeline works for an independent, non-partisan, foreign policy think tank, where she manages several large, operational projects and writes institutional essays for publication.
Several years ago, she served as Co-Chair of the CASE Committee of the Manhattan Young Democrats, and prior to that, as a Field Organizer on President Obama’s 2008 campaign, where she managed campaign activities in 11 districts in southwestern Pennsylvania and organized over 1,500 active volunteers.
Madeline graduated from the University of Chicago, where she studied International Relations with an emphasis on human rights. Her thesis focused on transitional justice efforts following crimes against humanity. She was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and moved to New York after graduating from college.
Darryn Lee, Associate, U.S. Defined Contribution Institutional Sales, BlackRock
Darryn Lee is currently an Associate at BlackRock within the Institutional Client Business, focusing on the Defined Contribution space. He is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with plan sponsors, to whom he markets BlackRock’s retirement solutions, for their respective 401k plan participants. Prior to this, Darryn was an Analyst in the Portfolio Analytics Group at BlackRock, where he provided analytics and reporting support to portfolio managers of multi-asset strategies. He also worked with different client businesses to help them understand the extent to which they can leverage the firm’s proprietary investment platform. At BlackRock, Darryn is also the Chair of New York Campus Recruiting and the Vice-Chair of External Partnerships for the MultiCultural Network, an internal affinity network that strives to promote the firm’s diverse talent through networking opportunities and professional development.
Outside of BlackRock, Darryn is actively involved with non-profit work in New York City. He serves as the Co-Chair of the Mentor Leadership Council (MLC) within New York Needs You, which provides professional development assistance to first-generation college students, and sits on the Junior Board of Brooklyn-based Children of Promise NYC, which provides a multitude of services to children of incarcerated parents. Among many Children of Promises initiatives is running a mental health clinic for the participating children, helping them cope with having a parent incarcerated, along with after school programming that keeps them busy and off the streets. Additionally, Darryn sits on the organization’s Strategic Planning Committee.
Originally from Compton, CA, Darryn earned his B.B.A. at Temple University, with Honors Scholar distinction, majoring in International Business and Finance, specializing in Spanish and Latin American Studies for Business. Darryn studied abroad in Madrid, Spain for a semester while at Temple, representing the school as a U.S. State Department Benjamin A. Gilman scholar. Darryn also traveled to Costa Rica to serve as a construction volunteer, to Peru to teach English, physical education, and to assist mentally impaired children, and to several other countries. His university experience culminated in receiving the Diamond Award, which is the highest student honor awarded by the Office of Student Affairs, and being the 2011 University Commencement Speaker, delivering the commencement address to over 8,000 people.
Janos Dev Marton, Special Counsel, Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption
Janos Dev Marton is Special Counsel to the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, a commission convened by Governor Cuomo and Attorney General Schneiderman in response to recent political scandals in New York.
Born and raised in New York City, Janos attended Dartmouth College, where he majored in History, wrote for the college’s liberal newspaper, and became the first student to serve two terms as Student Body President. After college, Janos worked on several political campaigns before joining Hands on Disaster Relief, one of the largest volunteer operations rebuilding the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Janos returned to New York City to attend law school at Fordham, where he founded a legal workshop program for incarcerated youths on Rikers Island. After graduation, Janos worked for the civil rights firm Siegel, Teitelbaum & Evans, and the law firm Hogan Lovells, participating in major cases relating to campaign finance and housing discrimination. Janos also supported the Occupy Wall Street legal team.
Janos enjoys playing basketball, rocking out at live shows, and the open road. He currently lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Franklin Mora, Deputy Director, Queens Economic Development Corporation
Franklin Mora is the Deputy Director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC). A locally recognized economic development leader, he has worked over the last 7 years with entrepreneurs big and small alike. Franklin’s work at QEDC includes overseeing program directors and business advisers, creating new innovative and successful programming for immigrant entrepreneurs and small business owners, and fundraising for QEDC among many other tasks.
Franklin is a 40 under 40 City and State Rising Star, a certified Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council, and Minority Leaders for Tomorrow MBA Prep Fellow. A born-and-raised New Yorker and son of immigrant Ecuadorian parents, Franklin is keenly interested in helping scale and finance social enterprises as a way to create sustainable business solutions to socio-economic challenges.
Franklin has a liberal arts degree from the University of Vermont, where he majored in Spanish Literature and minored in Consumer & Advertising and Latin American studies.
Megan Moskop, Special Education Teacher, M.S. 324 Patria Mirabal, New York City Department of Education
Megan Moskop teaches middle school special education at M.S. 324 – Patria Mirabal in Washington Heights. She also serves as the High School Admissions Coordinator, 7th grade team leader, and faculty-elected delegate to the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).
Megan is an active member of the Movement of Rank and File Educators, the social justice caucus of the UFT, and Director of Manhattan Young Democrats’ new Learning Labs program. She strives to be an advocate for educational systems and policies that will help all of our students and communities thrive.
Prior to beginning her teaching career in New York, Megan served for a year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Malta. She grew up in Greenville, North Carolina, and attended Duke University where she received a B.A. in International Comparative Studies and a Certificate in Documentary Studies. She also holds an M.S. in Special Education from Hunter College.
Amanda Pisetzner, Associate Producer, Peacock Productions, NBC News
Amanda Pisetzner is an Associate Producer with Peacock Productions, a division of NBC News that creates and produces reality programs, documentaries, and topical specials for broadcast, cable, syndication, and emerging platforms.
Amanda’s academic and professional background prior to entering television production focused primarily on issues surrounding incarceration and prison reform. Beginning in 2008, Amanda helped develop Northampton County’s first rehabilitative reentry program for women and later traveled to the Netherlands where she worked with a government-sponsored inmate advocacy group to ensure equal program opportunities for male and female inmates.
Upon return to the US, Amanda was awarded the Kathryn Wasserman Davis Project for Peace Grant to work with inmates in Santa Cruz County, California, addressing the state’s higher-than-national-average rates of recidivism. As a capstone to her prison work, Amanda wrote and produced a play “Voices Behind Bars,” which integrated writings from women incarcerated in Northampton County into a monologue-format theater piece. Her prison work and related studies have been published in the US, Canada, and Holland.
In 2010 Amanda began working for CFY, a national non-profit that helps students in low-income communities harness the power of digital learning to improve educational outcomes. The following year, she pursued a career change, getting her start in television through the NBC Page Program where she worked assignments ranging from Saturday Night Live to Primetime MSNBC programming.
Amanda’s other interests include advocating for the LGBT community, practicing sign language, performing with her juggling sticks, and making people laugh. She was born and raised in Puyallup, Washington and graduated magna cum laude from Lafayette College with a degree in English and Equality & Social Justice.
Altaf Rahamatulla, Program Analyst, Ford Foundation
Altaf Rahamatulla has pursued his passion for social justice and progressive reform through his years in legislative advocacy, non-profit organizations, and government. He is a Program Analyst at the Ford Foundation, where he focuses on criminal justice reform, immigrant and migrant rights, and racial justice. In this role, he performs extensive research and analysis and supports the Foundation’s knowledge management function.
Previously, he was a Policy Analyst with the Innocence Project, a national litigation and policy firm that seeks to overturn wrongful convictions using DNA testing. He analyzed and researched criminal justice reform bills in states across the country and produced testimony, policy briefs, and other advocacy materials.
Altaf received his Master’s degree from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, where he led the Black Student Organization for Planning and Policy. He earned his Bachelor’s in Political Science and Spanish at Amherst College. Raised in New Jersey, Altaf currently resides in New York City.
Steve Randazzo, Intergovernmental Relations Aide, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
Steve Randazzo is an Intergovernmental Relations Aide for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. In this capacity, he coordinates policy initiatives between different levels of government and represents the County Executive at various community functions. Steve’s passion for state and local government stems from his belief that communities are often best suited to address the toughest challenges facing people today.
Steve is also the Volunteer Coordinator for the Town of Babylon Democratic Committee – one of the largest active political committees in Long Island. He manages recruitment, retention and capacity-building endeavors. His management style emphasizes the importance of civic engagement, inclusiveness and leadership development.
From 2008-2011, Steve was a public school teacher and Teach for America corps member at PS 211, in the South Bronx, NY. He taught social studies, math and reading. He was also a football and basketball coach, and founded the PS 211 Specialized High School Enrichment Program. Steve’s teaching experience motivated him to pursue government and community advocacy as a means for effecting systemic change.
Steve previously served as an intern in the district office of former NYS Senator Eric T. Schneiderman, and later as a body person in Schneiderman’s successful campaign for NYS Attorney General. In 2012, he was a Michael Dukakis Public Policy Fellow in the Executive Office of the Governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy. He wrote speeches, drafted policy memos and assisted the Governor’s Early Childhood Planning team with implementing recent education reform legislation. These experiences exposed Steve to the more technical and institutional aspects of government.
Immediately preceding his current job with the Suffolk County Executive, Steve was an organizer with MassEquality – focusing on securing passage of anti-bullying legislation by the Massachusetts State Legislature. In this role, Steve began to understand the tremendous potential communities have to build power from within. This understanding became even clearer in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which wreaked devastation on Steve’s hometown, Lindenhurst, NY. It was community groups and neighbors that led – and continue to lead – the way in aiding people in need.
Steve graduated from Boston College in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Theology. He also earned a Master’s degree in Adolescent Social Studies Education (M.S.T.) at Fordham University in 2010 and a Master’s degree in Public Policy (M.P.P.) at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2013. He is currently pursuing his Juris Doctor (J.D.) at Brooklyn Law School, where he is a Prince Scholar and Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Fellow.
Neil Reilly, Policy Analyst, Citizens Housing and Planning Council
Neil Reilly is a researcher and writer who works as a Policy Analyst at Citizens Housing and Planning Council. He has a passion for urban social policy, ranging from neighborhood transition to transit access to public higher education. Prior to joining CHPC, Neil was a Research Assistant at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, where he wrote policy and issue briefs, helped design a field experiment, and conducted extensive background research. He also has experience in the federal government: while working in the office of U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Neil crafted policy memos on high-speed rail and the relationship of immigration to Social Security solvency, as well as a white paper on gun control. He also served as an intern at the U.S. Department of State, where he drafted updated guides to the German-speaking countries at the Foreign Service Institute.
Neil has experience in the private sector, as well. He served as a research analyst at Glass Lewis & Co., where he created reports on the corporate governance of large Swiss, German, and Austrian firms. He also served in community development and fundraising roles at Forestdale, Inc., a social service agency in Queens, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Away from the office, Neil is active in the Participatory Budgeting initiative of the New York City Council in his home District 39. He facilitates the district’s delegate committee on transit and serves on the district-wide steering committee. A classically trained brass musician, he fiddles around with his guitar for fun. He is an avid soccer player and willing to chat about any sport. Neil enjoys writing book reviews and essays on topics ranging from the transcontinental railroad to Theodore Roosevelt.
Neil holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University, where his thesis examined the capital budgeting policy of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He also holds a B.A. in Government and Politics and a B.S. in International Business from the University of Maryland.
Charlie Samboy, Assistant to the COO, Hunter College
Charlie currently works at Hunter College as Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer & VP for Finance and Administration. In recent months he has also assumed the role of Assistant to the AVP of Business Services. In each of these roles he provides recommendations, facilitates special projects and helps implement policy for senior-level administrators of the College.
Before his current position at Hunter, Charlie worked for over 6 years as an aviation maintenance technician for companies such as Virgin Atlantic Airways, Jetblue Airways and Liberty Helicopters, to name a few. Attending school full-time and working full-time is what allowed Charlie to develop his strong work ethic, practice time management skills and value hard work.
In addition to his professional work, in the last few years Charlie has worked tirelessly for his community in a variety of roles: as a member of the local community board, chair of a neighborhood advisory board, and intern for the Bronx Borough President. In each of these capacities he has analyzed policy and advocated for the improvement of government services to the respective constituencies represented. Charlie has also been extensively involved with helping the next generation of leaders develop. Through his role as a facilitator for the CUNY Model State Senate program he trains undergraduate students in the legislative process, improved decision-making abilities and public speaking skills. He also serves as a mentor in New York Needs You by partaking in professional and personal development workshops for high-achieving, low-income, first-generation college students.
For the last two years Charlie has run the Chicago Marathon and helped raise funds for World Vision International and St. Jude Children’s Hospital in 2012 and 2013, respectively. He looks forward to bringing his energy, commitment and passion for being a change agent to NLC and meeting individuals with similar goals to help produce tangible results.
Charlie was born and raised in the Bronx, and obtained both his B.A. in Political Science and M.S. in Urban Affairs from Hunter College in 2010 and 2012, respectively.
Alexandra St. Charles, Development & Government Outreach Coordinator, The Bronx Defenders
Alexandra St. Charles is the Development & Government Outreach Coordinator at The Bronx Defenders, a public defender office in the South Bronx. Since joining The Bronx Defenders in 2010, Alexandra has worked to increase support for the organization’s innovative holistic model of legal representation from foundations, government sources and private donors. In addition to traditional development work, she also manages The Bronx Defenders website, new media and other communications.
Before coming to The Bronx Defenders, Alexandra worked as a Political Organizer for the Working Families Party, where she coordinated electoral and issues campaigns. Alexandra also managed fundraising for State Senator Daniel Squadron.
Alexandra grew up in California and moved to New York City in 2005 to study Economics and Latin American Studies at New York University. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters NYC and raising her French Bulldog puppy, Ultimo.
Emmanuel Paul Sterling, Regional Recruitment Director-Northeast, City Year
Emmanuel Paul Sterling builds and implements the recruitment strategy for the education-based nonprofit City Year as the organization’s northeast Regional Recruitment Director. Emmanuel is also a proud AmeriCorps-City Year alumnus, having spent a year working full-time tutoring and mentoring students in the Hunts Point community of the South Bronx, NY.
Emmanuel is a Louisiana native, who has continued to return to his home state to engage local elected officials, provide resources to students from his high school and to support his siblings with instilling in his nieces and nephews strong family values.
After high school, Emmanuel moved to Ohio to pursue his bachelor’s degree at The College of Wooster where he studied Studio Art with a concentration on Photography. Emmanuel fell in love with The College very early on and has continued to give back, because of the lessons learned inside and outside of the classroom. Emmanuel was recently appointed to alumni board, supporting and devising new alumni engagement opportunities.
When Emmanuel isn’t chasing students down on high school and college campuses to educate them about City Year, he can be found running or biking through his neighborhood in East Harlem.
Annie Werner, Community Engagement Specialist, Tumblr
Annie Werner is a Community Engagement Specialist at Tumblr and serves on the Executive Council for the New Kings Democrats in Brooklyn.
In her time at Tumblr, she was the first hired intern and subsequently spent two years as the company’s Arts Evangelist, building the arts community on Tumblr from the ground up, and co-organizing large-scale events such as Moving The Still: A GIF Festival and Paddles ON! The First Ever Digital Art Auction at Phillips. She now serves on the Product team, focusing on broader community engagement and content management.
Annie joined the New Kings Democrats in the fall of 2012 and quickly rose to serve on the Communications Committee and Executive Council, where she works with fellow progressive Brooklynites to bring transparency, accountability, and inclusionary democracy to the Kings County Democratic Party.
She hopes to use her time as a NLC Fellow to learn how she can better apply her digital engagement background to promote progressive policies and action. A thoroughbred Texan transplant, she studied New Media and Public Discourse at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.
Pichaya Poy Winichakul, Co-Founder and Co-Director, LaunchProgress
Pichaya Poy Winichakul is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of LaunchProgress, an organization that encourages and supports young progressives running for state and local office. As Co-Director, Poy manages the organization’s operations, which include LaunchProgress’ finance and communications work. Poy previously served as Special Assistant to the President at the Brennan Center for Justice, where she helped oversee the day-to-day operations of the think tank and public interest law firm, including all tasks related to fundraising, communications, and strategic management. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, she served as Executive Director at Helping Oberlin Maintain Equity (H.O.M.E.), a nonprofit dedicated to improving the impact of the home foreclosure crisis in northeast Ohio. She has worked on multiple issue and electoral campaigns and has also previously worked with then-Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and with Senator Russ Feingold’s Progressives United PAC. Poy received her B.A. from Oberlin College.
Ron Zacchi, Director of Communications and Individual Giving, The Center for Urban Community Services
Ron Zacchi currently oversees the digital and traditional communications for CUCS in their Development Department and is excited to be a 2014 NLC Fellow. Prior to joining CUCS, Ron was the Coordinator of Presidential Initiatives for the Center for Social Inclusion’s campaigns and programs. He worked closely with the Executive Director on communication testing that informed strategy on how to talk about race effectively in messaging. He got his start in the non-profit sector, serving as the Executive Director at Marriage Equality New York, where he led a successful grassroots campaign for equal marriage rights in the state of New York. His organization was one of five that were part of the coalition working alongside Governor Cuomo on gaining support for marriage equality in New York State (NYS). While serving as Executive Director, he created a campaign called Marriage Equality Day which brought constituents to Albany to educate their legislators on why marriage matters. He also started their District Community Organizing program, which supported leadership in each of the then-62 senate districts of New York State.
Before moving into the non-profit sector, Ron worked in marketing with several agencies, as well as directly for the Ad Sales teams at NBC Universal and CNN. He received a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Baruch’s Executive Program and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Hofstra University.