Meet the 2018 St. Louis Fellows
(back to NLC 2018 Fellows)
Student and Community Activist
Recently, Clair began working closely with other community members to establish The Missouri Civics Project (MCP), a PAC registered with the Missouri Ethics Commission with the mission of encouraging civic engagement, civic education, campaign staffer training, and candidate training. Through education workshops and fundraising, MCP empowers Missourians to participate in the political process both as voters and potential politicians.
In addition, Clair serves as the chapter director for Delivered STL, an organization which amplifies community member stories about their experiences with reproductive justice, birth, and expanding families.
Deputy Managing Director, Arch to Park Collaborative
Sarah Arnosky is the Deputy Managing Director of Arch to Park Collaborative, a civic initiative dedicated to stimulating inclusive economic growth in St. Louis’s central city. In her role, Arnosky leads the strategic planning and operations management.
Arnosky began her professional career through Teach for America as a secondary science teacher in Oakland, California. Beyond her responsibilities in the classroom, Arnosky held roles as a STEM Coach for the district and as a member of the Instructional Leadership Team and the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports Team at her school during her five-year tenure.
After working in education and developing a better understanding of the systemic issues that affected her students’ lives, Arnosky pursued a Master in Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis. During her coursework, Arnosky discovered her passion for creating healthy places through policy and the built environment.
Prior to her current role, Arnosky served as the Program Manager of Accelerate St. Louis at the St. Louis Regional Chamber. While strengthening connectivity and raising awareness of the innovation in the region, Arnosky became intimately familiar with the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the value of equity in innovation.
Arnosky has a B.A. in Biology from Kalamazoo College and a M.P.H. with specializations in Health Policy and Urban Design from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health. In her spare time, Arnosky captains the Arch Rival Roller Derby All Stars, one of the premier roller derby teams in the world.
Financial Wellbeing Coach, Operation HOPE
Abby Buckhouse is a Financial Wellbeing Coach for Operation HOPE where she works toward financial dignity for all. Abby conducts free Credit and Money Management workshops and free credit counseling. She is located in the Office of Financial Empowerment, a part of the Treasurer's Office in St. Louis, where they work to extend financial empowerment to the St. Louis region.
Abby has her Master of Social Work from Washington University, concentrating in Social and Economic Development. During her time at the Brown School of Social Work, Abby worked with Rise Community Development and with Dr. Jack Kirkland on development plans for East St. Louis. Abby graduated from Wash U in December, 2016.
Abby grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, where her family still lives. She has her Bachelor of Social Work from Briar Cliff University located in Sioux City, Iowa.
Aside from her formal education and employment, Abby works with Mobilize Missouri on fundraising. She is also a member of the Policy and Advocacy Foundation Team for Ready By 21 through United Way.
Financial Literacy VISTA, College Bound STL
For Grace Callahan, life, politics, and art are three inseparable threads of being human. Although politics have not been her career focus, Grace has been active in local and national politics since the age of 14 - when Proposition 8 was on the ballot in California. Since then, she has campaigned for President Obama and served as a State Delegate for Sanders in the 2016 election, amid numerous other local policy efforts.
During the Proposition 8 battle, Grace saw the capacity that stories had to change people's hearts and minds, and was captivated. Studying creative writing at Cornell College, she also realized her drive to help others find their voices. As theatre had always been her favorite way to experience stories, she formed and led Playwriting Interest Group for three years. After college, she tried to keep the storytelling fire alive solely as a hobby while she worked in finance and paid off her student loans. However, after two years, she decided to get back into the entertainment industry full-time.
Grace took a job in Hollywood at a leading performing arts school. While this meant the opportunity to see countless performances and meet many amazing like-minded individuals, it also gave her insights into the myriad of institutional issues within higher education. The students were taking on ever-mounting debt without clear information about what their repayment options would look like. The students Grace worked with had a better-than-average chance at employment because of the college's connection to opportunities, but they still ended up grossly under-employed and saddled with debt.
As 2016 came to a close and Grace saw how much worse things were going to be under the new administration, she decided that the time had come to take decisive action. Combining the skills she had gained at her two previous jobs, Grace took a position serving in a year-long full-time volunteer position as Financial Literacy VISTA with College Bound in St. Louis. She currently spends forty hours a week researching student debt trends and strategizing ways to help collegians graduate with a manageable debt-load.
However, institutional obstacles aren’t restricted to college students. Through NLC, Grace hopes to find ways to reduce the financial burdens of new and aspiring St. Louis entrepreneurs. There are so many voices lost to institutional oppression, and Grace hopes to help create an upward spiral of people using their talents to give voice to others.
Attorney, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Nashad Carrington is an attorney specializing in business litigation, sports, media and technology transactions. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Arkansas - Little Rock School of Law. Since entering the professional ranks, Nashad has worked with the likes of AT&T, the New York Yankees, and a major Internet infrastructure start-up. Over the last two years, he has been in private practice representing many of the tech companies dotting the St. Louis landscape, and advancing impactful litigation in and around the St. Louis metropolitan. And as Municipal Judge for the historic city of Kinloch, he is the youngest sitting judge in St. Louis County. Most recently, Nashad joined the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’s Legal Department as in-house counsel.
Nashad is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., while also being a volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. In addition he is an Associate Board Member of Boys Hope | Girls Hope, the St. Louis Sports Commission, as well as an active member of the Urban League Young Professionals. In 2017, he was named to the St. Louis Regional Business Council’s Leadership 100.
David Dwight IV
Communications & Strategy Catalyst, Forward Through Ferguson
Driven by a passion for systems change and equity, David Dwight serves as a founding team member and the Communications and Strategy Catalyst at Forward Through Ferguson, the organization created to carry on the work and vision of the Ferguson Commission. In this role, he leads strategic projects for the organization, directs communications and messaging, and liaises with organizations and institutions implementing racial equity policies, practices, and training across the St. Louis region.
Following a roaming childhood in which his family moved every three or four years, David has taken root in St. Louis where he has lived for seven years. In May of 2015, he received his degree in biomedical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. His experience co-founding Students in Solidarity - an organization that mobilized student activism after the killing of Michael Brown Jr. and lobbied university administrations to improve the experience of people of color on campus - led him to center equity, justice, and advocacy as critical aspects of his future career.
After graduation, he was an intern and communications fellow for the Ferguson Commission where he worked closely with the Citizen-Law Enforcement Relations working group, helped build the final report, and aided the storytelling team to connect the everyday experiences and stories of St. Louisans to the policy recommendations of the report. He is dedicated to supporting the region as we forge a path toward a transformed St. Louis where racial equity is the status quo.
David balances his equity work with a passion for theatre and performance and tries his hardest to be in at least two shows each year. Otherwise he ends up in musical outbursts at work - something he finds natural, but that also draws puzzled looks in office environments.
Communications Manager, Community Catalyst
Stephen Eisele serves as Communications Manager for Community Catalyst, a Boston-based nonprofit that advocates on behalf of consumers in local, state and federal health care policy. At Community Catalyst, Stephen provides strategic communications support to state and local advocates, as well as federal partners. As an advocate for quality, affordable health care, Stephen advises others on topics ranging from ACA implementation and Medicaid defense to health literacy and children’s health.
Prior to joining Community Catalyst, he developed his communications and organizing skills through his work with Drury University, a small family foundation and a strategic communications firm in Boston, Massachusetts. He has also worked on ballot and candidate campaigns across four different states, from the local level up through Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Stephen is a former board member of Tennis4All, an LGBT tennis organization, and Launch Progress PAC’s Candidate Advisory Board. He now serves on MindsEye Radio’s Development Committee and as a mentor through Drury University. Stephen also volunteers his time with the city of Richmond Heights and the Church of St. Michael and St. George, and the Hadley and Clayton Township Democratic Committees.
Stephen graduated from Missouri State University and Drury University, both in Springfield, Missouri. He is an avid tennis player, reader and gardener. He lives in Richmond Heights with his husband Ian, a candidate for state representative, and his dog Remy.
Community Organizer, Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment (MORE)
Jessica believes that your values are expressed by the way in which you spend your time. Her commitment to advancing social justice led her to acquire her Master of Social Work from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, concentrating in social and economic development and specializing in policy.
Jessica believes policy should be informed and designed by the people. She is a new community organizer with Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment. She is also an active member with the Organization for Black Struggle as co-chair of the base building committee. Jessica occasionally volunteers with Missouri Jobs with Justice and Show-Me $15. Additionally, she was a 2017 Community Engagement Fellow with Organizing for Action.
Jessica is constantly seeking opportunities to design and execute systems level change through policy, advocacy, organizing, political education, and informed civic engagement.
Associate Director for Campus Life - Angel and Paul Harvey Media Center, Washington University
Steven Harowitz is the Associate Director for Campus Live overseeing the Angel and Paul Harvey Media Center at Washington University in St. Louis. In this role, Steven leads a team of full time professional staff and student staff managing a full-service studio and equipment rental service along with design, video, and photo production services.
Steven also is the Founder and Director of Campfire, a business focused on public speaking and storytelling. He believes storytelling is a powerful tool and is grateful to be able to help others sharpen this tool for their own work. Steven started Campfire as an outlet to continue teaching and exploring storytelling, public speaking, and group facilitation.
Outside of his work and business, Steven is an Improviser at the Improv Shop in St. Louis and previously served as a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Steven holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Education from the University of South Carolina. Steven is the youngest of three kids, with two older sisters who now have kids of their own, adding “Uncle” to one the list of Steven’s job titles. Steven was born and raised in Palm City, Florida.
Public Affairs Director, Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
Born and raised in Arkansas, Matthew Huffman has called Missouri home for the last ten years. It was the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism that originally brought him to Columbia, and though he didn’t continue on as a journalism major, attending MU shaped his commitment to social justice and public service. While attending the University, Matthew worked in the Women’s Center and Office on Community Involvement, organizing outreach efforts around women’s and LGBTQ+ health, media literacy, and civic engagement.
These interests are still central to Matthew’s commitment to social justice and public service, currently serving as the Public Affairs Director for the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence (MCADSV), where he has been since 2012. Working at MCADSV, a statewide nonprofit that advocates to pass laws and improve policies to address rape and abuse in Missouri, Matthew has developed a deep and pragmatic appreciation for public policy. Ensuring that laws are consistently, justly and effectively implemented is a critical aspect of public policy advocacy, so "How a bill becomes a law" must be coupled with "How does this law affect the daily lives of women and children?" It is this philosophy that informs Matthew’s work at MCADSV where he focuses on digital and traditional media outreach, and prevention initiatives to increase coalition-building between college campuses and local domestic & sexual violence service providers.
Matthew always appreciates the opportunity to have a lively conversation over beers about politics, public health, or documentary film, and in his spare time enjoys trying new recipes, and attempting to grow a vegetable garden each year.
Community Development Manager, Dutchtown South Community Corporation
St. Louis native, Sunni Hutton is an activist, poet and educator. Her background is expansive for being so young. She has taught St. Louis children science, social studies and literacy while simultaneously performing, and engaging residents in city-level decision-making processes.
Director of Development (Regional), Anti-Defamation League
Tasha Kaminsky is the Director of Development for the Anti-Defamation League of Missouri, Eastern Kansas and Southern Illinois. Previously, she served as the Director of Programming & and Communications for Kol Rinah, a synagogue in University City. Tasha graduated with honors and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa from Florida State University with a double degree in Creative Writing and Religion. She went on to receive her master’s degree in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University where she focused on nuclear policy and transitional justice.
Tasha is a published fiction author, most recently featured in Jewish Noir. In her free time she runs Ashreinu (ashreinustl.org), a non-profit focused on bringing Jewish resources to people living in the city of St. Louis. She is a founding board member of MahTovu, a Jewish neighborhood center in South City St. Louis that is set to launch in May of 2018. She is the previous Jews United for Justice board member. Born in Chicago, and raised in Sarasota, Tasha is proud to call St. Louis her home and favorite city in the world.
Chief of Staff, 24th District, Missouri Senate
Jill serves as the chief of staff for State Senator Jill Schupp who represents the 24th Senatorial District which includes 21 municipalities in St. Louis County. In her role, Jill manages all aspects of the Senator’s legislative agenda, oversees messaging and strategic communication, and supervises community outreach programs. During her tenure Jill has focused on mental health policy, reproductive rights, paid family leave, and LGBT advocacy.
Prior to working in the state legislature, Jill served as the communications manager for the Missouri Department of Economic Development where she helped overhaul the department’s communications and marketing plan, earning Missouri the Pollina Corporate award for Best State Economy Development Agency and further elevating the department’s brand statewide, nationally, and internationally. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism, specializing in strategic communication. She also earned the Global Leadership Certificate from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Jill is currently a master’s of public affairs candidate at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Jill also produces Heads Up, Missouri!, a podcast that aims to promote the voices of progressive women in Missouri politics and make the interworking of Jefferson City politics and procedure more accessible to Missourians. In her spare time, Jill enjoys pitching in on local and statehouse campaigns, completing DIY renovation projects on her house, trying out new recipes, and attempting to train her stubborn rescue dog.
Community Activist, Washington University in St. Louis
Ashley Kuykendall is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a particular focus on sexual and reproductive health. She uses her skills to work with local organizations engaged in both community organizing and direct practice strategies to examine and leverage policies and practices to create a more empowering and equitable support system for all. As a community activist, she pursues ways to integrate justice of all kinds into service provision in St. Louis City and County. Her work centers on ensuring that people have the information and access that they need to make empowered health decisions for themselves, especially as it pertains to sexual and reproductive health.
Ashley graduated from Truman State University with a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences with concentrations in business administration and health administration. Currently, she is a dual master’s candidate in social work and public health at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She is pursuing a concentration in health social work with a specialization in sexual health and education. She now serves as the Sexual Health Promotion Coordinator for Washington University.
In her free time, she works actively with the West County Community Action Network (WE CAN) to address systemic racism in local institutions and is the co-leader of their organizational planning process. Ashley also enjoys trying new recipes, listening to stories, and exploring hidden parts of the city.
Care Manager, Missouri Alliance for Children and Families
Alyssa Lazzeroni relocated from Washington DC in 2015 to pursue her Master in Social Work in Trauma Prevention and Treatment at Washington University in St. Louis. While at Georgetown University, she studied Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies, which gave her the language to better understand the social injustices she witnessed in DC. At Georgetown, she had the opportunity to work with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, educate her peers about sexual assault on campus, and work with adjudicated youth through the Georgetown University Center for Social Justice.
Originally from San Antonio Texas, she found the flavor of St. Louis unlike any other. During her graduate study, she fell in love with the city of St. Louis. As part of her graduate program, she worked in Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s Immigration Law Program and Lasting Solutions Family Law Program. During these practicum experiences, she was able to see several coalitions and grassroots movements in action while working individually with survivors of domestic violence, immigrants, and refugees. While at Wash U, she was able to participate in the planning for the annual Pow Wow as head of the Children’s Booth Committee for the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies.
Currently, Alyssa works with the Missouri Alliance for Children and Families as a Care Manager. She works predominantly with high-needs, high-risk teens providing support and resources. She is particularly suited to this job because it allows her to work with teens from an array of areas from the St. Louis metro area from Hannibal to Jefferson County.
Solar Educator, StraightUp Solar
Natalie recently moved to St. Louis from Tucson, Arizona. She has a master’s from the University of Arizona in Development Practice, and studied emissions impacts from fuelwood extraction in Lombok, Indonesia. Currently, she is a Solar Educator for StraightUp Solar. She works with community members and organizations to educate individuals about the benefits of going solar, and manages the company's customer flow.
During the evening, she manages an international nonprofit that supports international youth capacity building, sends young people to the United Nations climate talks, and supports a coalition of organizations to execute the climate communications campaign, ClimateSign.org.
In addition to working on these initiatives, Natalie serves on the Board of Directors for the Sierra Club. She is committed to getting the United States to address climate change, commit to 100% renewable energy, and create an equitable world where people can have access the resources they need in order to meet their basic needs.
Consultant, Vector Communications Corporation
Tonia is an innovator committed to equity. She is a consultant at a boutique communications firm where she works on a range of communications, public engagement and policy issues spanning education, transportation, healthcare, and inclusion.
Prior to relocating to St. Louis, she spent the last five years strengthening pipelines for underrepresented students to S.T.E.M. fields through Teach for America and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She also participated in research at the intersection of policy and quantitative public health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
She is a graduate of Wellesley College where she got her start as a social entrepreneur. Inspired by the school’s motto, Non Ministrari sed Ministrare, which means “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister,” she started a social justice organization and launched an international service trip for 30 students to volunteer and explore sociopolitical issues in the Caribbean. Tonia is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. On weekends, you can find her biking with her partner, Frank.
Assistant Director, Washington University in St. Louis
Purvi Patel is the Assistant Director of the Center for Diversity & Inclusion at Washington University in St. Louis. In this role, Purvi advocates for underrepresented and marginalized students on campus, and develops curriculum and programming to advance students understanding of equity and social justice. Her research and professional interests include campus climate, resilience of historically marginalized communities in higher education, and providing diverse students skills and capacity to create change through civic education. She utilizes her research, programmatic initiatives, and advocacy to empower and center voices that are often left at the margins of the academe. Prior to working at Washington University, Purvi worked at Oberlin College, and Loyola University Maryland.
Purvi is originally from Dallas, Texas and completed her B.A. in History at Loyola University Chicago and her M.A. in College Student Personnel at Bowling Green State University.
Digital Operations Manager, Commission Depot
Charles Purnell currently serves as the Digital Operations Manager for Commission Depot and the Digital Marketing Manager for Farfetched. In addition, Charles serves as an active board member for the Social Media Club of St. Louis.