Meet the 2018 Portland Fellows
(back to NLC 2018 Fellows)
Program Analyst, United States Forest Service
Maham Ahmed is a Program Analyst at the Pacific Northwest Research Station with the United States Forest Service. The Pacific Northwest Research Station operates 11 labs across Oregon, Washington and Alaska. It is a leader in the scientific study of natural resources and generates impartial knowledge to help people understand and make informed choices about natural resource management. Maham uses organizational data to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of research program delivery within the Station. Maham is also a facilitator for the management team and is currently convening researchers in order to better integrate science in responding to pressing land management issues.
Prior to joining the Forest Service, Maham was a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington, DC. The Presidential Management Fellowship is a program designed to develop the next generation of government leaders. During her time at FEMA, Maham served as the lead for the FEMA Office of Policy’s climate change adaptation portfolio and led the implementation of FEMA’s Strategic Plan that outlined the vision and priorities of the agency. During her time in DC, Maham also served a detail in the Obama White House as a Policy Advisor with the Office of Science and Technology Policy and was responsible for setting up a federal interagency task force focused on assessing science and technology investments in disaster response and recovery zones.
Maham earned a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth and Environmental Science from the University of California, Irvine. She lives in Northwest Portland with her husband and enjoys getting fit with boot camp, becoming an expert on Portland’s food scene, visiting America’s public lands and daydreaming about future trips.
Quality Improvement Analyst, CPCCO, CareOregon
Ho’onani Andermann is a clinical informatics specialist and quality improvement consultant with 10 years’ experience in healthcare and 8 years’ experience in agile software development. Ho’onani was the client-facing member of a 6-member scrum team that developed a top-revenue population health analytics and reporting software solution sold nationally by Allscripts (MDRX) with 100K+ users.
Ho’onani is currently applying her expertise leading quality improvement initiatives for Oregon’s rural, coastal Medicaid and Medicare populations in the Columbia Pacific CCO. Prior to her work in product development, she was the Lead Health Committee Clerk at the Hawaii State Legislature and before that, worked at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs helping advocate for Native Hawaiians’ access to health services.
Ho’onani enjoys communicating creatively, navigating cross-functionally, unpacking complex and abstract information, and leading inspiration.
Beyond healthcare, Ho’onani is passionate about Native rights, land use, environmental justice, and economic reform. She is pursuing her M.B.A. at Oregon Health and Science University and for fun can be found volunteer farming as a Master Gardener or secretly performing as part of ComedySportz Portland/with her musical improv group ‘The Notetakers.’
Landscape Program Coordinator, Verde
Carlina Arango is the Landscape Program Coordinator for Verde, an environmental justice nonprofit. As Verde’s Landscape Program Coordinator, Carlina is the training liaison for the Landscape Crew Member’s training program. She works with Verde staff and other partners to develop effective training, recruitment and hiring pathways for the crew. She also provides administrative support to the Verde Landscape Program Manager. She is really excited to work at the intersection of her environmental and social justice passions through her work at Verde Landscape.
Carlina grew up in Chicago, attended college in rural Iowa, and moved to Portland in 2016 to experience the great city and the natural and dynamic beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer. She has a B.A. in Spanish and Anthropology with an Environmental Studies concentration. During her time at college, she became engaged in intersectional justice movements, primarily the Real Food Challenge. Since moving to Portland, she has used her holistic undergraduate education and activism background to run public health and environmental campaigns through OSPIRG and Environment Oregon, and has worked with Ecotrust’s Food & Farm team on a regional food systems project. During her free time, she likes to stay active through practicing capoeira, doing Zumba, and looking for fun Latin dancing places with her partner. Additionally, she stays involved in immigrant rights advocacy events in her area.
Ana Azizkhani was born in Iran and moved to the United States at the age of five as a refugee. She grew up in Virginia and received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Virginia. She moved to Oregon to receive her MS in Oriental Medicine and that is where she has stayed. She opened her own Classical Chinese Medicine practice in 2009 and has been navigating the waters of small business ownership balanced with the significance of patient care.
As an immigrant escaping from a war stricken region, she is passionate about refugee resettlement and foreign affairs, namely the United States' history and role in the Middle East. She is also interested in bridging the sometimes separate realms and perspectives of whites with that of immigrants and people of color. She has always been active within her local Iranian diaspora, helping to educate the younger children and create a tighter community through events, performances, and public access television programs. Through her professional work and her social circles, she is dedicated to making children and adults feel a sense of belonging and purpose whether they are refugees, foster children, victims of domestic violence, homeless, or of another marginalized group. She feels that compassion and understanding should be the foundation for social and political advancements.
Chief of Staff, Representative Andrea Salinas
Mark Bond grew up in the rural Madison Valley of Southwest Montana, where they learned the values of hard work and perseverance. The conservative, faith-based upbringing that Bond experienced also provided them with an in-depth perspective on issues impacting rural communities in the American west.
Mark attended Montana State University in Bozeman, where they studied Political Science and began to apply their passion for politics. After organizing a series of grassroots political actions and serving as the Government Relations Director for ASMSU, Bond worked as a Field Organizer for the Montana Democratic Party in 2012 and 2014. Additionally, they served as Chair of the Gallatin County Democrats.
In 2015, they moved to Portland in an attempt to expand their skillset, grow as an individual, and learn the fundamentals of political work. They have since fallen in love with Oregon, having worked for Environment Oregon, the Oregon Student Association, and FuturePAC. They currently work in the Oregon Legislature, where they staffed Representative Ann Lininger and (currently) Representative Andrea Salinas. They are incredibly excited to work on progressive policy through the 2018 Legislative Session and beyond.
Mark’s other passion lies in the outdoors, where they try to spend as much time as possible enjoying the natural beauty that Oregon has to offer.
Water Resources Specialist, City of Hillsboro
Alexis Cooley grew up in Oregon and graduated from Barnard College. After, she worked as a consultant in DC for a number of federal agencies including EPA and USDA. At the EPA she focused on Superfund and led a team of developers on a Superfund asset management system. She completed a MS in Geography at Portland State focusing on precipitation and climate. She collaborated on an international research network focused on urban sustainability and resilience. Currently, she works for City of Hillsboro in the Water Engineering department. She is passionate about politics, justice and land use planning. She is excited to be joining NLC.
Master of Social Work Student, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon Policy Fellow, MSW Intern at Portland Public Schools
An Do is in the process of getting her Master of Social Work from Boston University. She is currently a Policy Fellow at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon and a School Counseling Intern at Portland Public Schools. An is committed to doing both macro and micro work, believing adamantly that effective policy must be rooted in the realities, needs, and voices of the communities it impacts and that individual progress is best cultivated and sustained if there is systemic and institutional change and just practices to support it. In her work, she aims to connect the insights of direct service to the reach of policy making.
Previously, An was a Legislative Fellow with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, as well as an officer for Planned Parenthood’s Leadership and Advocacy Team. She chaired the group’s Speaker’s Bureau, an initiative that uses story-telling to highlight the impact and importance of reproductive justice issues within the community.
Prior to moving to Portland, An lived and worked in New York City. After spending seven years in biotech, she transitioned careers and began working with vulnerable youth in Brownsville, Brooklyn, as well as with sexual assault survivors. An holds a B.A. in English from the University of California Berkeley and an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University.
Urban Tech Jobs Program Manager, Urban League of Portland
Andrea Gall is the Program Manager for the Urban Tech Jobs Program at the Urban League of Portland. This program supports long-term unemployed individuals to obtain new skills and ultimately jobs in tech. Through this program, she is working to improve diversity in tech in Portland and support career development for underrepresented groups. Andrea is passionate about workforce development, and in particular, workforce programs that allow for economic growth to be shared equitably in the community. Prior to relocating to Portland, she worked for BP and was based out of Singapore, focusing on business management system implementation across Southeast Asia. She started with BP in Houston as a Strategy Manager on environmental remediation projects across the US and Canada.
Andrea was born in Calgary, Canada and was raised in New Jersey and Texas. Her education includes a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University.
She enjoys traveling, hiking, running and ultimate frisbee.
Toxic Cleanup Program Intern, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Kim is a budding professional with a background in ecology, food access, and community building. Currently, she is an intern with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Toxic Cleanup Program where she works to protect human health and the environment.
She graduated from Portland State University with a major in environmental science and minor in biology. She was the recipient of two scholarships from her department (Barry Commoner Environmental Science Scholarship and the Gilbert & Laurie Meigs Conservation Education Endowment Scholarship). Her seasonal positions have allowed her to participate in research and work on climate change, fire ecology in the Klamath Basin, wolf populations in Northern Idaho, water quality in urban environments, salmon habitat restoration, native seed collections in Alaska, and long-term plant community shifts in Puerto Rico.
Kim has also worked in environmental education at the Mount St. Helens Institute, SUN Schools, Center for Research in Environmental Science & Technology, and the Audubon Society of Portland primarily in programs that seek to increase access to these services. In addition, she leads wildlife tracking trips with Cascadia Wild, co-organizes a native plant group, and serves on the Forest Watch Committee for the advocacy organization, Bark.
She’s volunteered in jails and youth correctional facilities as a tutor and creative program facilitator. Most recently she’s co-created restorative justice curriculum for a 10-week ecology class with the Insight Development Group at Oregon State Correctional Institute. She believes that mass incarceration & systemic racism must end and that restorative justice is an important instrument in that change.
She’s a co-founder & organizer of Kitchen Share Southeast, a community kitchen tool library, located in Portland, Oregon. She believes that the sharing economy can increase access to materials & services while reducing waste and bringing communities together in meaningful ways. She’s completed two years of Americorps, one at Clark County Food Bank as their Local Produce Coordinator. She then went on to lead Slow Food SW Washington’s backyard fruit tree gleaning program to reduce food waste and ensure access to healthy, local foods. She believes that working across movements and bringing science into policy will lead to vibrant, sustainable and equitable communities.
Constituent Services Specialist, City of Portland | Commissioner Amanda Fritz
Born and raised in Minnesota, Michelle graduated from the College of Saint Benedict. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, minoring in Theology and Psychology.
After graduating, Michelle moved to Portland, Oregon to pursue opportunities in politics. She first worked as Finance Assistant on Governor Kate Brown’s 2016 campaign where she was part of a four-person team that raised over 5 million dollars to ensure the election of Governor Brown. The following spring, she served as a Legislative Assistant for Senator Kathleen Taylor. During the the 2017 Oregon Legislative Session, she managed all constituent communication and facilitated meetings with advocacy groups on behalf of the Senator, as well as prepared and produced committee testimony, floor speeches, and monthly email newsletters. Michelle currently works as Constituent Services Specialist for City of Portland Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
Passionate about public policy and community organizing, Michelle is particularly interested in economic equity, gender equality, and environmental justice. She believes the issues contributing to the cycle of poverty are not personal problems, rather they are institutional injustices that need to be addressed at the policy level. Eager to inspire social change through community conversations, she has volunteered for campaigns and worked for two interfaith organizations. Michelle aspires to become an elected official.
When not working at City Hall, Michelle enjoys exploring Portland and the Pacific Northwest by hiking, biking, swimming, and kayaking. She likes to read about feminism and watch social justice documentaries, which often leads to engaging in philosophical conversations and political discussions over dinner with friends. She enjoys cooking vegetarian dishes and strives to live a zero-waste life.
During her time as an NLC Fellow, Hansmann looks forward to further cultivating her leadership abilities and collaborating with other young progressive professional’s ready to make change in Portland.
Communication and Membership Manager, The Street Trust
Alexa Jakusovszky grew up in the mountains of Colorado Springs, Colorado and moved to Portland, Oregon to attend Lewis & Clark College in 2012. Portland provided a stark contrast to Alexa's 12 years of Catholic school education in Colorado Springs, often touted as "the Evangelical Vatican".
While earning a degree in international affairs and gender studies, Alexa fell in love with the community of Portland. She was struck by the progressive nature of the people she met particularly in the realms of transportation, equity, and environment. As a result, Alexa became deeply involved with cycling and LGBTQ advocacy.
Alexa formalized her passion for public service in 2017 when she served as a legislative aide for Oregon State Representative Karin Power. In this role, she interacted closely with environmental policy and LGBTQ policy, honing her understanding of progressive policy in Oregon. With a strong background in community development, public speaking, and event management, she currently works in development for The Street Trust. Alexa is interested in the major social role bikes have played throughout time and specifically their advancement of women’s liberation. She is deeply drawn to The Street Trust’s equity lens and is excited to continue advocating for a safe, truly accessible mix of transportation in our state.
Registrar, Multnomah Education Service District
Wentemi is originally from Portland, OR, and a graduate of Portland State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies.
In 2012, Wentemi decided to take a leadership role as the Vice President of the Ghana Association of Oregon (GHASO), a local nonprofit organization that is used to promote Ghanaian culture. As the Vice the President of GHASO, Wentemi was in charge of logistics and planning cultural events for members. In 2017, Wentemi became the President of GHASO. One of her main objectives as the President is to create strong ties with the local Portland community.
Currently, Wentemi is a Registrar at Helensview High School, where she enrolls students. Wentemi is passionate about helping others advocate for themselves and building strong relationships in her community. In her spare time, Wentemi enjoys traveling internationally, cooking, reading, and writing on her blog.
Marketing Coordinator, TMT Development
Meagan Morrow is passionate about education and engagement around issues of reproductive justice and voting rights. She currently works as a Marketing Coordinator at a local development firm in downtown Portland, but considers her real job to be that of political activist. Since 2015, she’s mentored high school students as an Ambassador with City Club of Portland’s Civic Scholars Program. In this role she seeks to demystify leadership, advocacy, and local government for youth from underserved Portland schools. Meagan is also the Secretary for the Multnomah County Leadership & Advocacy Team with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, where she advocates for public policy that will enhance and protect reproductive health care. In Spring 2017, she was elected Precinct Committeeperson by the Multnomah County Democratic Party.
Meagan is a proud community college graduate of Perimeter College at Georgia State University. Born and raised in Atlanta, GA, she now resides in Southeast Portland with her husband, writer Matt Sailor, and their two cats, Che & Frida. When she’s not at home you can find her getting into “good trouble,” (to use a term coined by her hometown hero, Congressman John Lewis) advocating for the rights of the diverse many, not the privileged few.
Staff Attorney, Oregon Law Center
Jesse Neilson grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon, after his family moved from Northern California to live with his Grandma, as his family, headed by a single-mother, sought housing security. Jesse realized that while his family was able to evade poverty, most families facing similar prospects do not have the same opportunities. This drives his efforts to serve low-income and marginalized people and to challenge systems that entrench poverty. Jesse currently serves as a Staff Attorney with the Oregon Law Center, where he works to achieve justice for low-income Oregonians. In his work, Jesse strives to serve those less fortunate in our community, working to preserve affordable housing and advocating on behalf of domestic violence survivors, low-wage workers seeking justice in the workplace, and folks who need help accessing crucial public benefits programs relating to health care and self sufficiency.
After attending public schools in Coos Bay, Jesse attended Portland State University where he was a member of the Diversity Enrichment Scholars program for first-generation college students who demonstrate a commitment to community service. He volunteers with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project as a pro bono attorney representing political asylum seekers and serves as a mentor to students in the community. Jesse holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Portland State University and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Lewis & Clark Law School.
Jennifer Parrish Taylor
State Affiliate Political Organizer, AFT-Oregon
Jennifer Parrish Taylor is currently the State Affiliate Political Organizer for American Federation of Teachers, Oregon where she works closely with members and local union leaders to advance their political programs. Additionally, Jennifer serves on the board of the Oregon Labor Candidate School where she works with other members to identify and recruit labor friendly candidates to run for office.
Upon her graduation from Smith College, Jennifer parlayed her interest in social justice and her penchant for speaking up, into working for a number of nonprofits (NARAL Pro-Choice America), political candidates (then Senators John Kerry and Barack Obama), and unions (Working America, SEIU, and AFT-OR). Throughout her tenure, Jennifer worked to advance diversity and inclusion at all of her places of work, from her serving on the Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce which helped to enact Employee Resource Groups at the Peace Corps to working with members to establish the Social Justice Council at AFT-OR.
From May 2007 to November 2008, Jennifer held several different positions on the Obama for America campaign; she aided in the political education of voters, oversaw the delegate selection and operations for the Rust Belt area for the 2008 Democratic Convention, and worked with communities of color to turn out the vote. Jennifer would later serve in the Obama Administration as a Special Assistant at the Peace Corps. As an organizer with Working America, Jennifer was part of an effort to advance both Paid Sick Leave and raising Oregon’s minimum wage to $15. She would go on to work with local massage therapists to address workplace issues and to leverage their collective organizing power to effective change.
Jennifer holds a B.A. from Smith College and has lived in her hometown of Portland, with her ever energetic pup Sula, since 2014.
Field Applications Engineer, KLA-Tencor
Candice Porter is an Applications Engineer at KLA-Tencor, a leading company in metrology solutions for the semiconductor industry. Candice works directly with semiconductor manufacturing customers to increase yielding devices that are used in computers, phones, televisions and virtually every piece of technology used today.
Candice is passionate about bringing gender and racial equality to the technology sector and works tirelessly to foster an environment of inclusivity for all those who work with her. To do this Candice works with both professional and academic inclusion groups to educate, mentor, and improve conditions for women at all stages of their careers.
Candice holds a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Arizona. In her free time Candice enjoys reading, spin classes, and cooking.
Chief of Staff, State Representative Margaret Doherty
Born and raised in rural northeast Oregon, Taylor grew up witnessing the value of serving your community. This early learned value has led Taylor to pursue a career in public service and to his current role as Chief of Staff for Oregon State Representative Margaret Doherty who serves as Chair of the House Education Committee. As Chief of Staff, Taylor works to develop and advance Representative Doherty’s legislative priorities with particular focus on education and labor policy. Prior to his work in the Oregon Legislature, Taylor worked on a variety of political campaigns, and served as a White House Intern during the Obama Administration.
Taylor, a proud member of Beaver Nation, attended Oregon State University where he studied political science. While at OSU, he served as Student Body President and was appointed by the Governor to serve as a Trustee for OSU’s inaugural Board of Trustees.
Taylor tries to stay active in his local community and currently serves on his local city’s budget advisory committee as well the local police foundation board. He also is active in his local Rotary International club where he serves a Chair of Community Service. True to his rural roots, Taylor is also proud to serve on the Board of Directors for the Rural Development Initiative.
In his free time, you might find Taylor out on the golf course or enjoying one of Oregon’s famous craft beers!
Community Engagement Project Coordinator, Lois D. Cohen Associates
Elliott Tran is a first-generation immigrant who have called Portland home since she was six years old. She is passionate about good public communication, digital policy and government transparency and accountability. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon in Journalism and Economics, where she was also a Diversity Excellence Scholar. During her time in university, she volunteered and interned at multiple community-oriented agencies as well as played a leading role in various student organizations. After graduation, Elliott began working with government agencies and institutions from the local to global scale.
Currently, Elliott works in public involvement and community engagement for built-environment projects, assisting in mitigating risks for public agencies and spreading information for impacted stakeholders. Her long-term goal is to become an expert in digital and communication policy and to do work that will further integrate technology into policy decision-making. In her free time, she enjoys reading, finding new music, playing tennis and going to the movies.
Project Manager, Portland General Electric
Desiree Williams was born and raised in the Portland metro area and received her MBA from Marylhurst University with a minor in sustainability. She has a passion for her community and the people that live in it. Desiree is an active participant in several local youth programs working to motivate young children through sports and being active. She also works to encourage young girls that are interested in STEM programs through peer mentorship, and has just recently started partnering with NCWIT, as a scholarship review member to help further young girls in STEM careers and education goals.
When Desiree is not volunteering in the community, she is working her day job, as a project manager for Portland General Electric Company (PGE). PGE is Oregon’s largest utility company and has a service area of 872,000 residential and commercial customers. Desiree is actively involved in the PGE women’s business resource group, leading new and innovative ways to help influence other women in her organization. During her time at PGE Desiree has helped lead new initiatives with the company corporate giving campaign, motivating employees to donate in new and creative ways, and set record numbers for giving. Desiree is also an active member of the PGE mentorship program, helping to inspire new PGE employees, and share her experiences of career and success, as well as learning along the way.
In any free time that Desiree has, she enjoys teaching herself to bake from her grandmother’s old cookbooks, and bringing the treats to share with others at work.