Meet the 2017 North Carolina Fellows
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Whitney Barkley-Denney is legislative policy counsel, based in Durham, NC, where she works with state legislatures, attorneys general, and governors to fight predatory lending, exploitative student loan practices, and unscrupulous debt collectors. Prior to CRL, Whitney worked on a range of election law issues as director of the Michigan Election Law Project and field director for Election Protection 2008, coordinating law students and attorneys to monitor polls for election irregularities during the 2008 presidential campaign. Whitney clerked for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, serving in the Voter Protection Division, working to enforce the 1964 Voting Rights Act. She accepted a fellowship from Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps to do foreclosure assistance work with the Mississippi Center for Justice, developing legal and policy expertise in foreclosure, consumer lending, and for-profit colleges. In 2013 and 2014, Whitney was appointed to the US Department of Education's Federal Rulemaking Committee on Gainful Employment and Programmatic Integrity, helping to set federal financial policy for students. Whitney attended The College of Charleston, in Charleston (SC), and graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, being named 2009 Woman Law Student of the Year by the National Women Lawyers Association.
Anne Gordon is a member of the clinical faculty at Duke Law School, teaching and directing the student externship program. Before coming to Duke, Gordon taught at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, first found her love of working with students and coaching them in life and lawyering. She was also a senior research fellow at the California Constitution Center, where she researched the constitutional right to education. She spent the 2015-2016 academic year as a distinguished visiting professor at Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey in Puebla, Mexico, teaching professional skills and comparative constitutional law. Before teaching, Gordon practiced criminal appellate law in Northern California. She was a staff attorney with the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, worked with individual clients in their criminal appeals, and did post-conviction work for clients on death row in San Quentin prison. She has been a longstanding and dedicated member of the American Constitution Society and the American Civil Liberties Union. She has traveled widely, living and working in in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas. She speaks Spanish, and enjoys raising her bilingual children to be citizens of their community and of the world. Gordon received her A.B. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School.
Ricky Hurtado is the Executive Director of N.C. Sli, a project housed at the Center for Global Initiatives at UNC Chapel Hill. In this capacity, he works towards expanding access to educational, professional, and civic engagement opportunities for Latinx students across North Carolina, particularly first- and second-generation immigrant students. N.C. Sli’s flagship initiative, the High School Scholars Program, provides mentorship, leadership development and college access support for Latinx high school students. Overall, Ricky’s work focuses on advancing social and economic equity by applying a critical understanding of race, place, and gender to issues impacting low-income communities in the U.S.. Throughout his personal and professional experiences, Ricky has worked to find the intersection of immigrant rights and racial justice issues in an effort to unite communities and mobilize support for programs and policies advancing equity. Before joining Sli, Ricky worked with PolicyLink, supporting their work with the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color and the Obama Administration’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. Prior to graduate school, he worked as a consultant at Frontline Solutions, helping non-profits and foundations enhance their impact. He has also worked with LearnFresh’s NBA Math Hoops education program and the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Policy Planning and Coordination. Ricky earned his B.S. with Honors in Business Administration at the University of North Carolina and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
Kristen Powers is a Southerner on a mission to bring racial equity to her home state of North Carolina. Currently working at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ), Kristen actively uses messaging and media to promote the work of SCSJ. Kristen uses her spare time to mobilize fellow white allies, encouraging them to take up progressive actions in their schools or workplaces through her online platform, Woke Up. Kristen is most well-known for her documentary, Twitch, which followed her as an 18 year old as she underwent genetic testing for Huntington's disease. She recently returned to the South after four years at Stanford University, where she studied Communication and African & African American Studies.
Virginia Reed is a North Carolina native and alumna of Appalachian State University, from where she graduated in May 2016 with a degree in Public Relations. During her time at Appalachian, Virginia was involved in leadership roles through Student Government, University Housing, and a student programming board called Appalachian Popular Programming Society. In the summer of 2015, Virginia completed an internship at EMILY's List, where she learned more about the impact and importance of state and local government, and the need for equal gender representation in governing bodies. From there, Virginia went on to volunteer for Sue Counts' and Chaz Beasley's state house campaigns while completing her undergraduate degree before eventually becoming campaign manager for Jen Ferrell, candidate for NC House 36. Virginia hopes to continue her work in state government and politics.
Ryan Regan serves as the Marketing Project Manager for North Carolina's Southeast regional economic development partnership. In this role, Ryan works with federal, state, and local partners to spur economic growth in southeastern North Carolina. Prior to his current position, Ryan worked for a community and economic development consulting firm in Atlanta and also as a Grants & Economic Development Representative for the Office of U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (D-NC). As a professional in the field of economic development, Ryan is passionate about issues related to economic justice and growing America's middle class. Ryan also moonlights as a freelance writer where he writes frequently for clients on public policy, politics, and economic development topics. A native of North Carolina, Ryan earned bachelor's degrees in Political Science and Business Administration from UNC-Pembroke, and a Master's of Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Katherine “Kate” Rucinski is an epidemiology PhD student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her areas of research include HIV/AIDS and its intersection with reproductive health, unmet need for family planning and abortion, and the integration of HIV and sexual and reproductive health services. Her current research explores the relationship between reproductive decision-making and engagement in HIV care in sub-Saharan Africa. A native of New York City, Kate completed a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Spanish Literature from New York University in 2006. In 2009 she was awarded a Master of Public Health degree from the same institution. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies at Carolina in 2013, Kate spent four years as a research scientist with the Bureau of HIV/AIDS at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. During her tenure at the Health Department, Kate served as principal investigator of an HIV prevention survey that routinely tracked sexual risk behaviors in young men who have sex with men (MSM). Kate is committed to improving access to sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls, both globally and domestically. Her long-term research agenda is to identify and eliminate barriers to reproductive choice, so that all women have the opportunity to live long, healthy and productive lives. In her free time, Kate enjoys baking, yoga, crossword puzzles and travel. She prefers iced coffee to hot coffee, even on the coldest of days. Kate is also a loyal supporter of the New York Mets and an avid listener of “The West Wing Weekly”.
Audrey Whetten has been facilitating change in small communities for over six years. She was drawn to the strategic nature of planning and its potential for positive impact beginning with internships at Clarion Associates and the Town of Manteo, NC. After graduating, Audrey worked in planning and downtown development with the City of Clinton, NC, where she led a visioning and strategic planning process that rejuvenated the community’s interest in their central business district. Now at the Uptown Shelby Association, Audrey works to empower stakeholders, build partnerships, secure grant funding, galvanize growth, and foster engagement in the community. She has overseen significant increases in public and private investment in the district. Her public, private, and non-profit roles over the years have informed her passion for and work in building bridges to effect meaningful change. Audrey grew up in Raleigh and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied city planning, sustainability, and French. She loves to travel and studied urban planning and international relations in France. Audrey serves on several community boards in Shelby and is an active member of the Shelby Rotary Club, where she has served as program chair and youth exchange counselor.