Meet the 2017 New Hampshire Fellows
(back to NLC 2017 Fellows)
Damber Acharya, Licensed Practical Nurse, Bedford Hills Center
Since childhood, Damber Acharya has always dreamt of herself working with people to improve their health. Her Mission has become to promote healthy living in a community setting. She was raised in a refugee camp in Nepal. Her painful life in a camp became the challenge for her to dream of herself as a professional. She learned to live with no electricity, houses made of bamboo, mud and thatches. While she left those days behind, the memories still trigger her emotions. The experience, however, has made her stronger and more committed to her career. Now she wonders about other refugees living in foreign countries. What are they experiencing? Do they have the same problem as she did? Do they suffer with poor medical facilities, poverty, and a poor education? She knows she won't be able to help everyone around the globe but she would like to work to educate, heal, and help them to live a healthy life. She has just begun her career as Licensed Practical Nurse at Bedford Hills Center where she takes care of her patients with love and care. In her future, she wants to provide help to those who are in need and those who are dealing with life challenges like hers. She would like to make a difference in people's life through leadership in the community.
Andrew Aulbur, Personnel/Admin Officer, US Navy
Andrew Aulbur grew up in Jefferson City MO and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2001. After graduating boot camp he went to the Ceremonial Guard in Washington DC for 6 months. Then he went to YN ""A"" school in Meridian MS followed by submarine school in Groton CT. Andrew's duty assignments include USS PROVIDENCE (2003-2005), Submarine Squadron 4 (2005-2007) USS NEBRASKA (2008-2009), USS NEW HAMPSHIRE (Leading Yeoman, 2009-2011), Naval Reactors (2011-2014), USS ANNAPOLIS (Leading Yeoman, 2014-2016) and Submarine Atlantic Fleet Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Representative Office (Personnel Officer, 2016-present) He is married to Amali Cowan and they have two children; Benjamin (5), and Samuel (3). Andrew is authorized to wear the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (8 awards) and various campaign and unit awards.
Kelly Boisvert,Volunteer Coordinator, Animal Rescue League of NH
Kelly Boisvert is passionate about a diversity of progressive causes, including but not limited to environmental protection, animal welfare, and gender equality. She is particularly interested in how such causes interact with and influence one another. Born and raised in Manchester, NH, Kelly attended the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Biology; Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, with the University Honors Program. During this time, she was involved with a variety of conservation-focused research projects, including work with insects, tracking black bears, processing genetic material, and assessing raccoon intelligence. While at the University of New Hampshire, Kelly also led the Animal Welfare Alliance student group, and participated in an internship program with a local animal shelter. After college, Kelly went on to complete her Master's degree at Tufts University, with a focus on invasive species research and conservation ecology. During her time at Tufts, she became strongly interested in the role that research plays in informing policy and commercial sustainability initiatives. After graduating, Kelly returned to New Hampshire. She is currently employed as the Volunteer Coordinator at the Animal Rescue League of NH, and volunteers with the Planned Parenthood Action Team. She is an active member of the New Hampshire Association for Volunteer Administrators, and enjoys participating in local pond clean ups during the spring. Kelly joined the New Leaders Council with the goal of sharpening her political engagement skills, and looks forward to future opportunities to promote progressive environmental stewardship initiatives throughout New England.
Agbessinyaleh D'Almeida, Grassroots Organizer Intern & Youth Coordinator American Friends Service Committee & New American Africans
Agbessinyaleh T. D'Almeida is currently the grassroots organizer intern for American Friends Service Committee in Concord and the Youth Coordinator for the New American Africans Program in New Hampshire. Prior to these positions in the summer of 2016, he was an AmeriCorps member who served for an educational program called Granite State Education Corps. In addition, he has extensive experience working with youth of middle and high school age in after school programs and camps. He has been a mentor, camp counselor and assistant program manager. Agbessinyaleh was born in Togo but grew up mostly in Ghana West Africa. He moved to the US in 2008 with his immediate family. He came to the US with little to no English and was immersed into the American culture with no prior exposure. He went to high school and graduated with an amazing grade point average. He applied to six different universities including the New Hampshire University and was accepted to all due to his excellent academic background. He went to UNH for four years and graduated with honors in International Affairs and Health Psychology. Agbessinyaleh currently works with 18-30-year-olds demographic, low-income families, immigrants and US-born citizens. He conducts one-on-one interviews with residents in his town to find out their issues of concern in the town and provide them with the opportunities to be involved. He uses his interpersonal and social skills to organize young people to be engage in the community. He is very social and outgoing as well as open to new opportunities and learning. He also works with after school program 21Century where students stay after school to get extra help on their assignments and to do extracurricular activities. He enjoys diversity and has an excellent work ethic.
Lisa Demaine, Prep Cook, Oak House
Lisa Demaine is a long-time Granite Stater with a passion for social justice activism. Throughout her time at the University of New Hampshire, Lisa led student organizations with focuses on the environment, campaign finance reform, and finance allocation to other student organizations. Lisa co-hosted over four dozen public events bringing social justice issues to the minds of the seacoast community. Lisa has attended and organized marches and rallies around different aspects of climate change from ending fossil fuel pipeline expansions to urging elected officials to increase renewable energy sources. During the past election cycle, with national attention around NH's primary, Lisa pressed climate change denying presidential candidates on the campaign trail and volunteered for political organizations targeting the NH millennial bloc to vote for climate champion candidates. She also co-founded the NH chapter of Democracy Spring which seeks to end the corruption of money in politics and guarantee the right to vote for all through reform. Lisa has volunteered for communities in NH, MA, MS, GA, ND, Panama and New Zealand. Most recently she was the Coordination Intern at Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) for their 3rd Annual Students for Zero Waste Conference.
Madeline DeSantis, Finance Director, Carol Shea-Porter for Congress
Madeline DeSantis is a caseworker for United States Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire's first district. Before her work in district, Maddie served as the Congresswoman's Finance Director on the campaign team during the 2016 election cycle. As an undergraduate, Maddie studied religion and American history at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, working to understand the role of religion in American politics and law. She continued her studies at Harvard Divinity School where she explored the relationship between religious and political identity and the unique American tension between church and state. She holds a Master's degree of Theological Studies from HDS. Maddie is a proud New Hampshire native and has served in various community-building capacities in her hometown of Somersworth, including heading up a non-profit involved in arts, culture, and historic preservation, chairing the City's Historic District Commission, serving on the advisory board of the regional newspaper, and organizing an annual community fireworks celebration. She has been published in local publications and on ReligionAndPolitics.org with a piece about religious and political culture in New Hampshire. In her free time, Maddie cross stitches and embroiders pillows and other soft ephemera with feminist quotes to give to female friends and the inspiring women in her life.
Manuel Espitia, Constituent Services Coordinator, Office of US Senator Maggie Hassan
Manuel (Manny) Espitia, is a Constituent Services Coordinator for US Senator Maggie Hassan in Nashua, NH. Prior to this position, he served as assistant to Mayor Jim Donchess of Nashua. Manny first came to New Hampshire during the Presidential Primary as an organizer for the Hillary Clinton campaign and has spent a large portion of his career focusing on grassroots outreach for campaigns, non-profits, and government entities. Following his graduation from Princeton University with a Bachelor's Degree in History and certificate in African American Studies, Manny joined President Obama's re-election campaign as a fellow in Las Vegas, New Mexico. He then became a field organizer in Albuquerque and registered hundreds of Latinos to vote. After the Obama campaign, Manny continued his passion for grassroots organizing first in the Los Angeles area under Mayor Eric Garcetti and then as a community outreach coordinator in Chicago, where he managed a group of ACA navigators for the non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center, Access Community Health Network. As a Santa Ana, CA native, Manny is passionate about issues affecting his community, specifically working class Latino families. In his free time, Manny volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters, enjoys exploring New England, and is an avid runner.
Meghan Farrell, Communications Coordinator, New Futures, Inc.
Meghan Farrell is currently the Communications Coordinator of the NH Advocacy Hub, a project of New Futures aimed at increasing advocacy capacity in the state of New Hampshire, particularly in healthcare and early childhood policies. As Communications Coordinator, she is responsible for all outward-facing communications and day-to-day public relations of the organization, as well as helping to train advocates to use their voice to positively influence the legislature. She is an ardent believer in the power of advocacy, particularly through traditional and social media, and has seen it work time and time again. Meghan has previously worked in fundraising, communications, and program development at nonprofits focused on improving the quality of life in NH for children, youth, and families. She came to the Granite State to serve a year as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the Seacoast, building nonprofit capacity and gaining a real love for the state. Meghan has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Boston University. In her free time, she loves to travel and has gone on multiple solo-travel adventures. She also loves comedy shows, knitting, political podcasts, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
Ryan Fowler, Direct Support, Helping Hands Safe Station Respite
Ryan Fowler was born and raised in New Hampshire where he learned to value all walks of life, the planet, and peace. Ryan is an environmentalist and an advocate for human rights as well as animal rights. As a person in long-term recovery from substance use disorder, he finds nothing more fulfilling than helping people in their time of need. He currently works in Manchester as a direct support for addicts seeking treatment who have turned themselves into The Safe Station Program. As a person of faith, Ryan believes that there is hope for all people and that everyone is here on Earth to serve a purpose. A firm believer that the government's duty should be to protect all people and the planet, Ryan can sometimes be found in or around the State House in Concord participating in our democracy. With vast experience working with several political organizations and candidates, he has come to realize that the partisanship and corporatism of the two-party political system is failing our nation. One of his long-term goals is to help form a new political party in New Hampshire, and eventually see a more vibrant democracy nationwide. Using his experience in political organizing and working directly with addicts, Ryan sees a future in advocacy work and helping enact legislation that is needed to combat the drug epidemic currently traumatizing New Hampshire. He truly celebrates life in his free time and can be found hiking, camping, mining minerals, and foraging for edible plants and mushrooms. Ryan thoroughly enjoys living in New Hampshire and hopes to help make it a better place to live for future generations.
Lisa Gately, Retail Manager, Wellington's Marketplace
Lisa is Midwest transplant currently serving the Concord community as Retail Manager and cheesemonger at Wellington's Marketplace, an independently owned shop across from the State House. Prior to pursuing this passion, Lisa spent nearly a decade in the media and advertising technology businesses. She climbed the ladder from sales assistant to manager, eventually overseeing a global team of 30 people. Here she honed her talent for team development and training as well as process management and standardization. She hired and trained over 20 individuals and was most excited when mentoring her employees. Humility, mutual respect, and a collaborative approach to conflict resolution are key tenets to Lisa's leadership style. Lisa holds a B.S. in Marketing from Valparaiso University and is currently pursuing her Masters in Business Administration at Southern New Hampshire University. She is committed to continue using her skills and varied experiences to advocate for progressive policies and approaches in the private sector -- where workers are deeply affected on a daily basis. In her free time Lisa enjoys hiking, photography, travel, cooking and cuddling with her cat, Pepper
Kaytlynn Jacobs-Brett, Barista, Kaffee Vonsolln
Kaytlynn Jacobs-Brett is in the process of completing her bachelors degree in political science at the University of New Hampshire. She also plans on attending graduate school or law school in the future with a focus in environmental law. In her home state of New Hampshire she just managed a winning state senate campaign allowing the incumbent to keep her seat. Kaytlynn is very passionate about state and local government and hopes to find herself working with public policy in New Hampshire once she has graduated. This state senate race was her first campaign experience and helped her understand another aspect of what it means to be a legislator. Currently she is working and living in Portsmouth where she spends most of her time pouring coffee in a local shop. When she is not working she is cooking or reading.
Aislinn Kalob, Book Processor, YBP Library Services
Aislinn is a New Hampshire native who recently moved back to her home in Henniker. She graduated from McGill University in Montreal this past June with a degree in History and North American Studies, and she hopes to continue on to a master's or PhD program in the future to focus on 20th-century American labor history. Upon returning to New Hampshire, Aislinn worked on Andru Volinsky's exciting and successful campaign for Executive Council in District 2. Two years ago, she interned during her summer break at the New Hampshire Democratic Party and worked on Chris Pappas' Executive Council campaign. Currently, Aislinn is trying to develop interests outside of New Hampshire politics. She substitute teaches at the elementary and middle schools in Henniker and Weare and works a second shift job at YBP Library Services in Contoocook. She is also a volunteer at the New Hampshire Historical Society, where she helps process collections and fulfills her love of reading old documents. While she is uncertain of where her professional life will take her, she knows that there will be a lot to do to protect and further the progressive agenda in the coming months and years and she is ready to get to work.
Vestine Ncungu, Healthcare Navigator, New American Africans
Vestine Ncungu is working as a healthcare navigator at New American Africans. Previously, Vestine worked as an office assistant at L&L Class A Recruiter and as a loan administrator and analyst at COGEBANQUE. She graduated at Adventist University of Central Africa with Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a major in accounting. Vestine is Rwandan Genocide Survivor with a heartbreaking story which involved losing all of her family members. She is married and has two children.
Mitchel Pyles, Program Clinician for Adult and Elder Services, Dr. Franklin Perkins School
Mitchel Pyles is a proud New Hampshire resident that has lived in Milford most of their life and is committed to help make NH a safe place to live for LGBTQ residents. Mitchel has been passionate about educating Granite Staters on the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming folks since 2005. Mitchel has been advocating with the transgender community in different capacities for over eleven years, which include; conducting trainings on Transgender 101 and Cancer and the Trans-community, co-facilitated a support group for transgender youth and their parents, volunteered at an overnight camp for Transgender and Gender Variant youth. Most recently Mitchel has joined the Board of Directors for Equality Health Center in the summer of 2016. Mitchel earned their Master's in Social Work from the University of New Hampshire in 2013 and is currently working with adults and elders with intellectual and developmental disabilities .
Margaret Rice, Health Care Associate, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
Margaret Rice currently works for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England as a Health Care Associate. After being raised in Keene, New Hampshire, Margaret graduated summa cum laude from Keene State College in 2015 with a B.A. in Spanish and a minor in Studio Art. During her time as an undergraduate, she served as a student liaison to the Keene College City Commission (a board dedicated to facilitating a harmonious relationship between the city and Keene State College) and earned a TESOL certificate (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) from the School of International Training located in Brattleboro, Vermont. She also served as president of the KSC chapter of Sigma Delta Pi (National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society). More recently, Margaret has been volunteering for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund PAC and lives in Keene with her beloved geriatric cat. Her hobbies include yoga, experimental-and-often-disastrous cooking projects, and the occasional excursion abroad.
Rebecca has spent the past four years working at the Massachusetts State House, most recently as Staff Director to State Representative Timothy Madden, helping to develop his legislative initiatives through analysis of various policy areas such as environmental protection and conservation, community development and planning, tourism, and renewable energy. Previously, she worked as a Legislative Aide to former State Representative and former Mayor of Cambridge, Alice K. Wolf, serving as the main constituent services coordinator. In May 2016, Rebecca completed the Gender, Leadership and Public Policy program at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston. During the program, she was a graduate intern with Emerge Massachusetts, an organization that prepares Democratic women to run for office. In late 2016, Rebecca returned to New Hampshire, where she is from, to become active in local government and advocacy. Rebecca has a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Simmons College and was a Barbara Lee Foundation Fellow.
Zack Sheehan, Field Organizer, Civix Strategy Group
Zack grew up in Concord, New Hampshire and recently moved back to the capital city. He graduated from The College of Wooster in Ohio with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Environmental Studies. Zack was an active student volunteer throughout college, serving as a mentor for kids in transition and helping advance student environmental advocacy efforts on campus. After graduating, he moved to North Carolina where he was the Assistant Canvass Director of the Chapel Hill office of the Fund for the Public Interest. Zack currently works as a Field Organizer for Civix Strategy Group, a full service consulting firm in Concord, N.H. Zack's field efforts include working to advance policies that help people make ends meet, such as expanding access to quality, affordable child care, and other policy solutions that will improve the quality of life for Granite State families. Zack grew up skiing and working as a ski instructor at Pats Peak in Henniker, and is looking forward to taking trips up to Tuckerman's Ravine this spring. When it's warmer outside, you can find him playing ultimate frisbee or hiking with his family.
Jahdiel Torres-Cab, Field Organizer, Civix Strategy Group
Jahdiel Torres Cab· was born and grew up in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. He has been organizing around environmental and political issues for nearly a decade. In 2008, He achieved a Bachelor's degree in Biology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. He has been an active member of the Sierra Club Student Coalition where he served at the Executive Committee and at the International Committee by participating as a delegate at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Qatar, Poland, and France. Currently, Jahdiel lives in Keene, NH where he is pursuing a MS Degree in Conservation Biology at Antioch University New England. In addition, he works as a Field Organizer for Civix Strategy group where he focuses on building/mobilizing volunteers and communities to make the world a better place. Jahdiel have diverse interests within the science and social fields, but he mainly focuses on seed dispersal dynamics, animal-plant interactions, environmental racism and activism. On his free time, Jahdiel spends his time working on his thesis, hiking, training in ballet and modern dance, and traveling.
Kaira Wells is a law student at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. She is tailoring her legal studies to focus in intellectual property law, specifically patent law. Prior to law school, Kaira attended Goucher College where she received a bachelors of arts and sciences degree in biology. Aside from a career in patent law, Kaira plans mentoring minority women interested in the fields of law and science. Her goal is to guide young women in pursuit of their career goals. Her journey in both the law and science has fueled her dedication to educational and career success and equality for minority women.