Meet the 2018 North Carolina Fellows
(back to NLC 2018 Fellows)
Consultant, Blue Strategies
Ashlei is a UNC Charlotte graduate with a B.A. in Political Science and American Studies. Previously, Ashlei has worked as a grassroots organizer for Organizing for America, The Action (Common People Purpose), the North Carolina Democratic Party, the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party, the Hip Hop Caucus, Black Political Caucus, Upward South and the Coalition to Protect NC Families. Ashlei got her start in 2008 working for Obama for America and soon after, worked for Mayor Foxx. She is a skilled communicator, having worked for The Fayetteville Observer, UNC Charlotte’s Atkins Library, Grammy Award Winner Anthony Hamilton and DTLR Urban Clothing. Ashlei started her consulting firm, Blue Strategies, in 2012, assisting non-traditional candidates and supporting community issue campaigns.
Personal Assistant, Legacy Commercial Real Estate
Andrew Blumenthal is a commercial real estate professional in the Charlotte, North Carolina region, where he focuses on developing transportation corridors and promoting sustainable urban growth. He graduated from the University of Miami in 2012 with bachelor’s degrees in Marine Affairs and Policy as well as International Studies. He subsequently received his Master of Science in Marine Affairs and Policy from Miami in 2014.
After school, Andrew lived in Milwaukee, WI for two years and was the Operations Manager of a fish farm, focusing on the development of sustainable, land-based aquaculture systems. In 2016, he returned to Charlotte and engaged in local politics as an Organizer with the N.C Democratic Party, helping to elect Governor Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein, and other progressives across the state. After the 2016 election, Andrew joined Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts’ reelection campaign as Finance Director, helping to craft campaign strategy and maintain progressive leadership of Charlotte.
Andrew recently became a commercial real estate professional with Legacy Real Estate Advisors, seeing an opportunity to help influence the rapid growth in the Charlotte area and promote sustainable urban development directly. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and an elected member of the North Carolina Democratic Party’s State Executive Committee. Andrew is passionate about environmental conservation, cultural preservation, and sustainable development and is excited to continue to work towards these ideals.
Teacher, Cleveland County Schools
Celeste Burkhardt, thus far, has found two recurring themes in her life: community and service. As a North Carolina Teaching Fellow, she attended UNC Asheville, where she was able to impact students through tutoring programs in the public school system, participate in NSF-funded undergraduate research, and find a home in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Celeste chose to return to her hometown of Shelby, NC. Here, she spends most of her days in the midst of teenagers as a committed educator at her alma mater, Shelby High School. Celeste is also proud to participate in community development in a variety of ways. Through her involvement in local organizations, she enjoys being in a position to facilitate connections between community partners. As student council advisor, Celeste developed and maintains a relationship between the high school and Foothills Farmers’ Market. She also provides opportunities for student and local leaders to have conversations about the state of their shared community. In her position as Intervention Team Leader at her school, Celeste works with stakeholders to deliver intentional, meaningful and effective programming to students.
She currently serves as President of Greater Shelby Community Theatre, a non-profit that has been celebrating and supporting the arts for over 40 years. Outside of these roles, Celeste enjoys cooking with local foods grown by the friends she’s made at the farmers’ market, perfecting her embroidery craft, and practicing yoga.
Consultant, Public Impact
Eldrin Deas is a consultant with Public Impact, a team of researchers, thought leaders, policy experts, tool-builders, and on-the-ground change-makers who work with education leaders to devise and advance visionary but practical ideas to improve K–12 education. Public Impact’s mission is to improve education dramatically for all students, especially low-income students, students of color, and other students whose needs historically have not been well met. Eldrin assists schools in implementing Opportunity Culture models and conducts state policy analyses to extend the reach of excellent teachers.
Eldrin previously taught high school math in DeKalb County, Georgia, and developed state math assessments at American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. While serving as Analyst for District Supervision and Support at the Connecticut State Department of Education, he led the development and analysis of turnaround initiatives in priority school districts across the state, engaging with senior school and district leaders, local boards of education, and other elected officials in order to help all assigned districts reach the goals established in their respective three-year Strategic Operating Plans. As an alumnus of two Education Pioneers Fellowship programs, Eldrin received the Scott Morgan Award for demonstrating remarkable achievement in creating equity and opportunity for underserved students.
Eldrin serves on the education committee of My Brother’s Keeper Durham and as education and transition strategy advisor to staff attorneys at the Julius L. Chambers Center for Civil Rights, supporting the Center’s grassroots organizing, community outreach, research, and policy analysis work. He also serves as policy advisor to the Centro Universitario de Participación Social at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. Eldrin holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Morehouse College, an M.S. in Social Foundations of Education from Georgia State University, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education; Culture, Curriculum, and Change at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Communications & Marketing Specialist, North Carolina Community Foundation
Louis Duke manages communications, public relations and marketing for the North Carolina Community Foundation, a leading philanthropic resource and the single statewide community foundation serving North Carolina. In this role, Louis has an emphasis on directing new media, supporting local affiliate foundations across rural North Carolina and spearheading digital innovation. He serves as Chair of the Foundation's Community Impact Committee and a member of the Financial Integrated Management System and facilities management committees.
Outside of the Foundation, he serves as Co-Chair of the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers Emerging Leaders Networking Group, on the Annual Meeting Planning Committee, and as a member of the Communicators Networking Group. He graduated from Campbell University with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Political Science. While in college, he developed a passion for politics, advocacy and organizing, serving as President of the College Democrats of North Carolina, Chair of the College Democrats of America National Council and as a member of the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Council and State Executive Committee.
Louis is a native of rural North Carolina, now living and working in Raleigh. He is passionate about justice, philanthropy, technology and policy, both inside and outside of the office.
English Teacher, Chatham County Schools
Terrence Foushee is a Chapel Hill, NC native with a passion for educating youth. He was raised in the church with parents that prioritized service to the community and that has permeated his life since. Terrence lives out those passions every day at Northwood High School located in Pittsboro, NC where he serves as a high school English teacher. As an educator, Terrence believes in helping students find their voices via introspective writing and public speaking. He has taught creative writing classes that promote literacy skill development through storytelling and poetry. Currently, he serves as the advisor for the poetry club at Northwood High School where students have a safe space to write, share, and perform with their peers.
Terrence is a graduate of North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC where he holds a bachelor’s degree in English Education. He came to teaching after having served for two years with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, taking his service to the community mindset from Chapel Hill to communities across the United States. Working alongside various nonprofits and organizations around the Gulf Coast, Terrence and his fellow team members helped rebuild homes devastated by hurricanes, built trails for state parks, and led camping trips with inner-city youth. After his two years of service, he received a Bronze Congressional Award for Community Service and returned to Chapel Hill with a renewed sense of purpose. Terrence lived that purpose through his work at the Street Scene Teen Center, a youth focused community center, serving as the Weekend Program Director along with his service on the board of the Sacrificial Poets, a youth serving spoken word poetry organization.
In his free time, Terrence enjoys playing basketball (on the court or on PS4), reading, and watching any television show based on a comic book.
Senior Researcher, Democracy North Carolina
Sunny Frothingham was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina and attended Duke University, where she majored in public policy and women’s studies. As a student, Sunny advocated to make Duke's health and housing systems more trans* and queer inclusive, and received honors for her thesis on gender non-specific housing in higher education, which examined the interplay of student advocacy at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, institutional responses, and state-level policy changes. Since graduating, Sunny has held research and advocacy roles on a variety of issue-based campaigns ranging from family economic policy to gun violence prevention, labor, and LGBTQ rights.
Today, Sunny is the senior researcher at Democracy North Carolina in Durham, where she leads the organization's quantitative analysis on voting rights, redistricting, and money in politics. She is currently pursuing a certificate with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke, where she is producing an oral history project about the life of her grandmother and the integration of the Girl Scouts of America in Canton, Mississippi. Before joining Democracy North Carolina, Sunny was the senior researcher for women’s economic policy at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., and a policy advocate for Generation Progress. While at the Center for American Progress, Sunny was a leader in the staff’s successful union drive with the International Federation of Technical and Professional Employees, and part of the team that negotiated the new union’s first contract.
Political Consultant, Target Persuasion
Kriss Gomez has successfully established himself as a dedicated Digital Strategist, Fundraiser and Political Consultant across the Tar Heel state.
While matriculating at North Carolina State University, Kriss’ community engagement and leadership skills were hones as a Shelton Scholar. Through the prestigious scholarship program, Kriss conducted qualitative and quantitative research for underrepresented community needs as well as developed and wrote grant proposals for local schools and nonprofits. He also had the unique opportunity to organize and manage several sustainable public-private partnerships for the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
In the last two years, Kriss has had considerable experience in political consulting, specializing in minority community outreach and fundraising. He has pioneered digital and grassroots strategies for ballot initiatives for campaigns ranging from municipal to the 2016 presidential election. In his most recent role as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Charles Francis Mayoral Campaign, Kriss used his substantial network and relationship building expertise to raise over $400K from over 600 individual donors in less than three months. Kriss also managed to increase new voter turnout to 20% and overall African-American participation from 7% to 15%, attributing to the huge success.
Kriss was raised in Smithfield, NC, he graduated from NC State University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in Public Policy. In his free time, Kriss enjoys working out and biking in Raleigh's greenways and playing with Cooper, his one-year-old miniature Dachshund.
Associate Director, Federal and Administrative Advocacy, Sierra Club
Matt Gravatt is an energy and environment advocate focused on advancing policies in support of sustainable and equitable communities; he currently serves as Associate Director of Federal and Administrative Advocacy at the Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. Matt has a record of leadership and management in campaigns, nonprofits, and startups. He has managed state-level races, served as a senior staffer on gubernatorial and congressional campaigns, and served in various capacities with national political, training, and advocacy programs. Previously, he led nonprofit environmental advocacy and youth leadership development programs. He remains an active volunteer in support of environmental causes and for young progressives seeking election to public office. His professional and research interests center on environmental, energy, and foreign policy, particularly focused electoral politics and the climate and security nexus.
Program Evaluation Manager, Provide Inc
As Provide’s Program Evaluation Manager, Amy ensures essential data and information are available for program implementers to make decisions. Amy has long had a passion for improving sexual and reproductive health by using evidence to inform action. Prior to joining Provide, Amy oversaw evaluation activities for two of SHIFT NC’s teen pregnancy and STI prevention initiatives, worked as a Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for MEASURE Evaluation, coordinated the Rethinking Sexuality Education for the Population Council, and was a Legislative Aide in the Wisconsin State Senate. In each of these positions, Amy saw the important role that evidence and data play in informing decision-making. Amy holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Political Science and Sociology and completed her master’s in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. In her spare time, Amy enjoys hiking, running, and biking the trails in North Carolina.
Recruiting Director, Worldwide Express
David Humphrey serves as a transportation management professional. A North Carolina native, he was born in Raleigh. His dad was a small business owner and his mother was a school teacher in the public school system. He graduated from Sanderson High School in 2004. He attended Appalachian State University in the same year and graduated in 2008 with a degree in Business Administration.
At Appalachian State, David was a recipient of the Holland Fellows Scholarship and studied at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. After graduation David worked for the Boy Scouts of America as a District Executive in Georgia. He organized volunteers, fundraising initiatives, and recruited youth into the program. David earned his Eagle Scout award as a teenager.
Later, David would move back to Raleigh, North Carolina and start work with Worldwide Supply Chain Solutions. Worldwide-SCS is a private transportation management company that works with small and mid-sized businesses to improve their supply chain with the aid of advanced data analytics. He works as a talent development manager.
David is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and APICS Board Member in Charleston, South Carolina. In his free time, David enjoys reading about start-up initiatives and finding new places to hike.
Educator and Activist
Da’Quan Love is an educator, activist and community leader committed to empowering and uplifting communities through service. Da’Quan received his Bachelor of Arts with honors in Political Science from Hampton University, where he also minored in leadership studies as a fellow of the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute.
Da’Quan has been privileged to work as an educator in public, private and charter schools in the ambits of both K-12 and higher education. An accomplished educator, Da’Quan was named a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction, Profound Gentlemen’s 2017 Educator of the Year, and received a citation of commendation from the City of New Orleans for his work promoting quality education across the country.
In addition to education, Da’Quan is passionate about civil rights, evidenced by his strong connection to the work of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). A life member, Da’Quan has served in a various national leadership roles including, national board member, chairman of the National Youth Work Committee, and vice chairman of the annual national convention. As national NAACP Youth Work chairman, Da’Quan oversaw a successful national organizing campaign resulting in exponential growth in the NAACP Youth and College Division. Further, he led the NAACP’s successful 2012 campaign that defeated partisan attempts to invalidate over 16,000 voter registration applications garnered by the Virginia NAACP.
Da’Quan is a member of several organizations and honor societies, including: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, and Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. In 2014, The Root named Da’Quan as one of its 25 “Young Futurists,” a listing reserved for high achieving youth leaders who have made a significant impact in their community.
Pro Bono Staff Attorney, North Carolina Bar Foundation
Nihad Mansour is a Raleigh native, currently working as the Pro Bono Staff Attorney for the North Carolina Bar Foundation (NCBF), where she promotes and oversees the North Carolina Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program (NC LEAP), which provides free intellectual property and business-related legal services to low-wealth entrepreneurs and inventors, and NC Free Legal Answers, an American Bar Association national program that allows eligible users to ask legal questions on a web-based portal for attorneys to answer pro bono. Before working at NCBF, Nihad served as the Access to Justice Coordinator for the NC Equal Access to Justice Commission, assisting the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center by coordinating pro bono legal clinics with legal service providers, statewide organizations and several underserved communities. Nihad completed her undergraduate degree at UNC Chapel Hill with a double major in Global Studies and Hispanic Linguistics, and a minor in Arabic. She is a 2016 graduate of the UNC School of Law where she demonstrated her commitment to social justice, education, service and pro bono assistance, interned at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. in New York City, and was a recipient of the 3L Pro Bono Student of the Year award.
Community Economic Development Attorney
Antoine Marshall is an advocate who seeks to serve the 33rd House District in the North Carolina General Assembly. Antoine is a Community Economic Development Attorney who assists neighborhood groups combat systemic inequality through effective implementation of the Fair Housing Act. Antoine also operates the Law Office of Antoine G. Marshall, specializing in the areas of bankruptcy, landlord-tenant, and estate planning. Previously, Antoine worked with Legal Aid of North Carolina assisting low income North Carolinians in a variety of legal issues, including housing, government benefits, and estate planning. A native of Raleigh, Antoine earned his undergraduate degree at Claflin University and his Juris Doctor at Wake Forest School of Law.
NC State Manager, Faith In Public Life
An activist and advocate, Kahran Myers serves as the North Carolina State Manager for Faith In Public Life (FPL). Prior to joining FPL, Kahran worked as a civil rights, first amendment and defense attorney. Originally from Saint Petersburg, Florida; Kahran has been a proud North Carolina resident for 12 years. She has a background in political organizing and served as a fellow for the North Carolina Democratic Party in 2008, as well as an outreach and canvass coordinator for various North Carolina state senate candidates. Kahran obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC in 2009 and her Juris Doctorate from Charlotte Law in 2014. She is most enriched by working to defend the rights of historically marginalized communities and grassroots community organizing.
Political Communications and Regulatory Affairs Director, NC REALTORS
Seth Palmer is an experienced young professional with a background and passion for the policy process. Throughout his nine years of professional experience, he has led multiple large-scale projects addressing needs of state government organizations, trade associations as well as small businesses, start-ups and nonprofits.
Seth currently serves as the Political Communications and Regulatory Affairs Director for the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®. In this role, he manages the association’s advocacy communications efforts to its more than 35,000 members. Seth also serves as its primary regulatory lobbyist, representing the association before agencies such as the North Carolina Real Estate Commission and North Carolina Appraisal Board. Prior to joining the REALTORS® team, Seth served on the staffs of the North Carolina House Majority Leader, North Carolina Lieutenant Governor, and the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. In 2012, Seth authored the final report for the Governor’s Logistics Task Force, a 30-member commission tasked with examining North Carolina’s freight logistics capabilities and economic development opportunities.
Seth is a 2008 graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He was elected to the Pi Sigma Alpha, National Political Science Honor Society and is a 2011 Fellow of the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership. He is actively involved in numerous community organizations and serves as the 2017 Event Co-Chair for Band Together NC, a nonprofit whose efforts have raised over $6.5 million for Triangle-area nonprofit organizations.
Program Associate, NC Council of Churches
Michelle is a native of North Carolina and an alumnus from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies with a concentration in Economics, Trade, and Development. Identifying as Peruvian American, Michelle‘s area of study was Latin America. In addition, she received a double minor in Music and Social and Economic Justice. During her time at UNC, she credits her experiences studying in Ireland and volunteering in Costa Rica for how she was shaped both personally and professionally. While living Ireland for four months, she studied at the National University of Ireland - Galway near the well known Galway Bay. While in Costa Rica she stayed with an indigenous community for six weeks living and working alongside the community members.
After graduation, she continued her education as a fellow with Student Action with Farmworkers, a nonprofit organization in Durham, NC. Working with farmworkers taught her the important life lesson that if you want to change the world, the best thing you can do is start with your very own community.
She has now been a staff member of the NC Council of Churches since January of 2017. She plays the dual role of Program Associate for two of the programs at the NC Council of Churches. The first, Partners in Health and Wholeness, focuses on providing resources for health ministries to begin, sustain, or grow to positively impact communities across the state. The second, NC Interfaith Power and Light, has given Michelle the opportunity to participate in energy efficiency and renewable energy advocacy and education in and around the state of North Carolina.
Her future aspirations are shaped by her desire to listen and empower all communities of North Carolina through social and environmental justice. Outside of work, Michelle dedicates her free time to singing in two choral groups, traveling, and exploring watercolor.
Managing Attorney, Pulliam Law Firm, PLLC
Lachelle Pulliam is the owner and Managing Attorney at Pulliam Law Firm, PLLC. Lachelle is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Georgia. Her firm is based in Statesville, NC and she serves all North Carolina and Georgia counties.
Lachelle’s practice focuses on government relations, corporate, aviation, and entertainment and sports matters. Additionally, Lachelle has spent the last few years zealously advocating for the rights of indigent parents in juvenile court proceedings.
Prior to forming Pulliam Law Firm, PLLC, Lachelle worked at Johnson C. Smith University, Inc. (JCSU) providing counsel and representation to the University, directing the Office of Judicial Affairs, and formulating and implementing higher education policy. Before joining JCSU, Lachelle spent time working at the North Carolina General Assembly, the 26th Judicial District, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Lachelle is passionate about public service and civic engagement. She has worked on campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels, as well as provided campaign strategy consulting services. Recognizing the issue of low voter turnout across the country, she loves to encourage young people to participate in the process.
Riverkeeper, Yadkin Riverkeeper
Will Scott serves as the Yadkin Riverkeeper, the primary advocate protecting North Carolina's second largest watershed by land, air and water. He also serves as adjunct faculty at the Wake Forest University School of Law & Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability. He previously coordinated John Ager's successful campaign for the North Carolina House in 2014 and served as an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. During law school he clerked at the firm of O’Donnell, Schwartz & Anderson in Washington, D.C. and at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. He has also worked as a high school teacher in New York City and as a print and radio journalist. He holds a J.D. and B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a member of the North Carolina bar. He enjoys large eared dogs, walks on the beach in the winter and Carolina basketball. He lives in Saxapahaw, NC with his spouse, their two pups and the cat.
Alicia Dawn Williams
Attorney/Patent Fellow, North Carolina Central University School of Law
Alicia Dawn Williams, Esq. is currently the Patent Fellow with North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law’s Intellectual Property Law Institute (IPLI). As a Patent Fellow, Ms. Williams teaches courses in intellectual property law and designs doctrinal exercises for law students involving the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) administrative Inter Partes Review (IPR) legal proceedings. Ms. Williams conducts research on patents, patent applications, and patent social justice issues. She creates programmatic and content-based Continuing Legal Education (CLEs) for lawyers and inventors. Ms. Williams acts as a liaison between pro bono law firms and the law students on current patent law trends.
Prior to joining the IPLI, Ms. Williams consulted with a broad range of U.S. multi-national and foreign-owned clients including leaders in private equity and Fortune 500 public corporations as an associate in the Mergers and Acquisitions group with KPMG, LLP. Subsequently, Ms. Williams performed discovery on patent infringement cases involving roofing technologies and medical devices. In addition to assisting clients in federal trademark registration, she has also represented start-up companies in trademark opposition matters. Ms. Williams taught Torts and Civil Litigation at Berkeley College in New York, NY. She served as a Visiting Faculty member at Guizhou University of Finance and Economics’ Larry L. Luing School of Business in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China. As a professor in China, she taught Business Law for Berkeley College’s Global Alliance Program, a cooperative education initiative.
Given the scarcity of minority attorneys in the field of patent law, Ms. Williams is a trailblazer. She mentors intellectual property students and acts as an advisor to the Intellectual Property Law Journal. Cognizant of her diverse background, Ms. Williams prides herself on being non-traditional. Her motto is: “What’s important is not how you arrive at your destination, but what you do when you get there.” Ms. Williams is a native of Greenville, NC, and currently resides in Durham. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UNC – Chapel Hill, a Juris Doctor from NCCU School of Law (magna cum laude), and an LL.M. in Taxation from NYU School of Law. Ms. Williams is a founding board member of the Jazz Collective, Inc., a nonprofit organization with a mission to expand Jazz education in the Carolinas. She has volunteered with NC LEAP and Legal Aid of North Carolina. Ms. Williams is licensed in NC, NY, NJ, and is a registered patent attorney.