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Meet the 2016 St. Louis Fellows
Emily Adams co-authored The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy while working at the Earth Policy Institute, a non-profit that provided a plan for a sustainable future. She earned a Master of Environmental Management degree in 2010 from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment with a focus on the intersection of science and policy. For her master’s project, she analyzed a community and conservation partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund. Prior to graduate school, Emily served for two years as an AmeriCorps*VISTA at Milwaukee Area Technical College where she established a service-learning program. Emily graduated magna cum laude from American University with a BA in environmental science. While a college student, she interned at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Change Division. Before joining Earth Policy Institute, she spent a year living in Geneva, Switzerland learning French, hiking, and working at the World Meteorological Organization. Emily is happy to have returned to her hometown, St. Louis.
Marissa Burik is currently enrolled in her first year at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. After graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in Political Science, Marissa spent five years working in campaign politics around the country. Most recently, she served as a Director-at-Large for a new political consulting firm called MBA Consulting Group. There Marissa worked with major US Senate campaigns in Missouri and Ohio to set up campaign operations and campaign finance compliance practices. In this role she was responsible for training and leading teams, and working directly with campaigns to find solutions under tight, inflexible deadlines. Originally, Marissa was attracted to politics to make a positive impact on the world. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, reading, and exploring St. Louis.
Beth Casagrand, Director, Youth Leadership St. Louis and Emerging Leaders
Beth Casagrand is the director for Youth Leadership St. Louis and Emerging Leaders at FOCUS St. Louis, a nonprofit organization that develops leadership in St. Louis. The Youth Leadership St. Louis program is an experiential leadership development program for 160 high school juniors throughout 33 schools in the St. Louis region. The Emerging Leaders program offers a select group of St. Louis’ young professionals the opportunity to receive training to develop leadership and management skills. Beth is also the staff liaison for Connect With St. Louis, an initiative of FOCUS St. Louis that aims to provide leadership, professional development and networking opportunities for young professionals, as well as promoting collaboration between groups aimed specifically at young professionals. Outside of work, Beth serves on the board for Launch St. Louis, a collaboration of St. Louis' young professionals working to fuel a stronger St. Louis charitable community by helping local nonprofits build young friends groups, or junior board groups. She is a Mosaic Ambassador for the St. Louis Project. She formerly served on the leadership team of the Young Friends Development Board of St. Patrick Center. Prior to joining FOCUS, Beth was the Development Manager for Teach For America St. Louis. She earned a master’s degree in public administration at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, where she concentrated her thesis on college support programs aimed at single mothers. Prior to that, Beth taught eighth grade reading in a rural Texas town through Teach For America, a program aimed to close the achievement gap in low-income communities. She holds a dual bachelor’s degree in English and sociology from University of Missouri Columbia. She is a certified facilitator for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as well as certified in Facilitative Leadership for Social Change through the Interaction Institute for Social Change.
Betsy Dankenbring, Community Referral Coordinator, Saint Louis Integrated Health Network
Betsy Dankenbring works as a Community Referral Coordinator with the Saint Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN), connecting underserved, non-emergent patients in Saint Louis University Hospital’s emergency room to primary care clinicians in Saint Louis’ health clinics. As a longstanding advocate for global maternal, child and reproductive health, Betsy has enjoyed a myriad of public health roles. She worked as the Interim Medical Director of Clinica Verde, a non-profit, outpatient community health clinic in Boaco, Nicaragua. While in Nicaragua, Betsy led several initiatives, including the design and implementation of an education program that teaches first time mothers basics in prenatal nutrition, child development and home agriculture. That program has seen an 80% increase in participants’ health knowledge while connecting 30 new families to Clinica Verde. Betsy also worked as an Associate Project Coordinator at Washington University School of Medicine on a research consortium studying the interplay of breast milk, the human gut microbiome and immunity among maternal-infant dyads from nine international sites. In addition to her professional positions, Betsy served on the Junior Board of the International Institute of Saint Louis and was elected as the Vice President of the Junior Board in 2014. She has also volunteered on the Associate Board of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri. Betsy is a graduate of Washington University in Saint Louis and earned her degree in International Studies with a concentration in Public Health. She embraces her eternal student by taking continuing education classes at Washington University and via online platforms. In her spare time, Betsy enjoys traveling, cycling and attending the fantastic concerts and events that the Saint Louis region offers.
Bri Ehsan, Political Newswriter, The Current-Independent Student Newspaper
Bri Ehsan is a senior criminal justice and pre-law student at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. She is a student journalist at The Current- Independent Student Newspaper at UMSL where she works as a political news columnist. Bri is a student of the Pierre Laclede Honors College at UMSL and is involved with student organizations including Tau Sigma Honor Society, Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society for Criminal Justice, and the Student Government Association. She is a graduate of the LEAD program sponsored by UMSL’s Sue Shear Institute where she has received leadership and professional training for a career in public policy. Bri is also a campaign staffer for local political campaigns in Ferguson. She has been a field director and phone bank coordinator for Wesley Bell, current Ferguson City Councilman. She is interested in politics and government and aspires to be a campaign manager, working in local political campaigns in St. Louis. After she receives her Bachelor’s degree in May 2016, Bri will be attending law school to become an immigration lawyer.
Theodore Floros, Research Technician, Washington University School of Medicine
Theodore Floros is Research Technician at the Washington University School of Medicine. At Washington University, Ted studies the pathophysiology and behavioral outcomes of Traumatic Brain Injury. Currently, Ted is applying to graduate programs in Psychology and Public Health. Ted graduated from the University of Missouri Columbia in 2011 with dual degrees in Psychology and Biochemistry. Ted is a volunteer teacher and Board President for the Immigrant and Refugee Women's Program, a St. Louis organization focused on providing English language and life skills education to immigrants and refugees within the St. Louis metropolitan area. As Board President, Ted has worked extensively with staff and board to increase fundraising and create sustainable structure and leadership. Ted also sits on the board of ArtScope, a St. Louis children's arts charity, with a focus on fundraising and event development. Previously, Ted volunteered as member of the planning group for PechaKucha STL focused on technology and event planning. Ted is an commuter cyclist and a supporter of all things craft. In his free time, Ted can be found pouring beers and talking shop at Four Hands Brewing.
Catherine Gilbert, Graduate Research Assistant, St. Louis University
Catherine Gilbert currently serves as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Center for Sustainability at Saint Louis University. In this capacity, she explores the connection between the built environment and sustainability through research into subjects such as Brownfields, Legacy Cities, and local real estate trends. With a focus on sustainability, transportation, and smart urban planning, Catherine’s professional interests aim to increase collaboration and efficiency as a means to improve organizations and our region as a whole. Catherine also served as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. As a Coro Fellow, she completed projects for St. Louis area organizations including Missouri Jobs With Justice, Purina, the Missouri Department of Health, Doe Run, and the Missouri Charter Public Schools Association. As a native St. Louisan, Catherine is a passionate proponent for the City of St. Louis. She is an ardent supporter of neighborhood revitalization and small-scale community development initiatives. She leads the Young Friends of Tower Grove Park, and holds leadership positions within the Coro Fellows Alumni, Urban Land Institute, and Tower Grove East Neighborhood Association. In addition, in 2015 Catherine co-founded the Greater Gravois Initiative to bring community engagement to an important public project in south St. Louis. Catherine graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio with a degree in Urban Studies and Political Science. In May, she will complete her Masters in Urban Planning and Development from Saint Louis University. In her free time, Catherine is an avid bike-commuter and can be found exploring the city’s newest restaurants.
Elad Gross, Assistant Attorney General, Missouri Attorney General's Office
Elad Gross is the President and CEO of the Education Exchange Corps, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with kids in St. Louis to provide better educational opportunities. The EEC focuses on leadership programming and empowering members of the community to build a fairer St. Louis. This work has taken Elad all over the City of St. Louis and parts of North County. The EEC runs a free leadership academy for underserved children in the summer and is currently developing weekend courses for the school year. The EEC is also working with other community partners on Hack4Hope, an immersive and experiential hackathon and six-month academy that teaches kids teamwork, technology skills, and entrepreneurship. Elad has been working with St. Louis youth since 2006. Elad also serves as an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri, representing the state in courts all over Missouri. He graduated from Washington University School of Law in 2014 and Duke University in 2010.
Jessica Hunt, Clinical Research Assistant II, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
Jessica is a Clinical Research Assistant II at Washington University School of Medicine where she is developing an online and mobile-based platform for type 2 diabetes self-management for youth and adolescents. Prior to moving to St. Louis, Jessica worked under a collaborative research grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at the University of Michigan that created an online searchable video library of teaching practices for educators, researchers, and administrators. Jessica is also working towards her Masters degrees in Social Work and Business Administration at Washington University in St. Louis, passionate about the intersection of entrepreneurship and impact on an international scale. As a graduate student, she has interned at social enterprises and investment funds in St. Louis, focusing on education and international social and economic development. In her free time, Jessica can be found exploring new restaurants in St. Louis, planning her next adventure abroad, or cheering on her alma mater, the University of Michigan.
Jon-Paul Johnson, Administrative Assistant/LGBT Liaison, City of St. Louis
JP Johnson serves as an Administrative Assistant to Mayor Francis G. Slay, and as the LGBT Liaison for the City of St. Louis. A native of St. Louis, JP has lived and experienced the culture that is unique to one of the country's oldest metropolitan areas. Fascinated with politics from an early age, JP inundated himself with historical knowledge from his two ideals, JFK & Bill Clinton. This would lead him become active in school politics from junior high through college as a way to engage in issues he felt he could make a difference. Soon to follow would be jobs in several campaigns, including field organizer for the Missouri Democratic Party, GOTV for State Senate Candidate Joan Barry, intern for Congressman Clay, and field organizer for Congressman Carnahan's Re-election. At the very core of JP's belief system is the good of public service. Born into difficult circumstances and enduring economic hardships as a youth, JP has a visceral understanding and appreciation of the benefits of education, positive role models, social service programs, and intentional community outreach. Ordinary citizens in extraordinary leadership positions fought for those that are the less fortunate, and coupled policy prescriptions with an individual's will to never give up, for the purpose of providing the opportunities JP was and is able to have. One of those public servants is Mayor Slay, and JP's service to him on behalf of the citizens of St. Louis, not only is his way of giving back to the community, but also provides an example to a new generation in what is possible through public service.
Amelia Colette Jones grew up in North Texas and attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where she received a bachelor’s in fine art in 2005. In 2007, Amelia moved to St. Louis for a master’s in fine art from Washington University and fell head over heels in love with The Gateway City. In 2010 Amelia co-founded Sloup, a meal based micro-granting initiative that funds local creative projects. Sloup was named Best Arts Organization by The Riverfront Times in 2010. Since passing on Sloup to new leadership in 2012, Amelia has worked to support other local arts organizations as well as advocate for women’s health. She believes creative strategies can and should be used to affect social change. Amelia writes arts criticism and continues her studio practice in the Tower Grove South neighborhood. You can find her at the Kuva Coffee Roaster’s tent making coffee most Saturday mornings April through November at the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market.
Erin Little, Founder, Sucre Blue
Erin Little is the founder of Sucre Blue, a nonprofit focused around chronic disease access and affordability in the developing world and has worked with multiple social investors including LGT Venture Philanthropy and Acumen Fund. Previous to Sucre Blue, Erin cofounded Portapure, a water purification company based out of Chicago and helped foster the first social enterprise accelerator in the Midwest, Impact Engine. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network, through Harvard Global Equity Initiative. Erin is a delegate of the International Diabetes Federation Young Leader programme for both India and America and is the South East Asia Chair for the organization.
Tim Lumpkins, Statewide Data Coordinator and Affiliate Data Manager,
Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri
Tim is the Statewide Data Coordinator and Affiliate Data Manager for Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri. In this role, he helps the statewide public affairs team utilize data to make strategic outreach decisions, visually tell the story of grassroots organizing efforts, and to improve engagement with supporters. In addition to working to protect and improve access to reproductive healthcare, Tim serves on the board of directors for the Metro Trans Umbrella Group, an advocacy organization that provides resources, educational outreach, and support for transgender and gender non-conforming people and their allies in the St. Louis metro area. In the last two years, Tim has actively sought to improve his skills, engage with other progressives, and share his knowledge. Since 2014, he has participated in the New Organizing Institute’s Data Bootcamp in Washington, DC, attended the Transgender Law Center’s National Trans Anti-Violence Convening as well as the first national Movement for Black Lives Convening, and co-facilitated a regional data training for Planned Parenthood. Tim is a lifelong resident of the city of St. Louis and is a graduate of Webster University. When he isn’t working or volunteering, Tim can be found teaching himself how to code, tinkering with technology, creating art with one of his cameras, or listening to inspirational podcasts.
Richard Payton, Assistant Director, Operations, Washington University
A native of the St. Louis area, Richard Payton is a recent new resident of St. Louis city, having lived in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, DC after graduating from the University of Missouri. Richard currently works at Washington University as an Assistant Director for Operations within the Division of Student Affairs. Prior to working at Washington University, Richard directed a state-wide college advising program in Illinois that served more than 10,000 high school students. He also worked at the U.S. Department of Education where he managed federal grant portfolios for the Charter Schools Program and the Race to the Top fund. During graduate school, he managed and analyzed student performance data for a network of five charter schools in Chicago. Richard started his career in education as a middle school English teacher in Philadelphia through Teach For America. Richard is a proud alum of the University of Missouri and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently enrolled in the Professional MBA program at Washington University.
Nick Speed, Americorps VISTA Program Manager, United Way of Greater St. Louis
Nick Speed is resident of Hazelwood, MO and was born and raised in the greater St. Louis area. He currently is employed at the United Way of Greater St. Louis as a Americorps VISTA Program Manager. Over the past two years as Recruitment and Outreach Manager, he helped build a newly launched national program (ServiceWorks) from ground up by mobilizing the resources of United Way, connected with local schools and community organizations resulting in multiple program sites, developed and maintained partnerships with local agencies in order to recruit high school and college students to participate in community service and professional development workshops. Nick volunteers with various organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mathews-Dickey Boy's and Girl's Club, Gateway Greening, and Sex Positive St. Louis. He is passionate about youth empowerment, urban farming, sex education, traveling and the Los Angeles Lakers. Nick graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in May 2011 with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. In August 2014, he received a certificate for completing the Volunteer Management Training series from the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
Kayla Wingbermuehle, Campaign Director, Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Kayla Wingbermuehle is the Debt-Free College Campaign Director at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, where she served as the Director of Field Support during the 2012 and 2014 campaign cycles. Prior to joining the PCCC, Kayla was the Field Director on a Federal Campaign and a Campaign Manager at the local level. She began her political career as an Associate at Hilltop Public Solutions, where she worked on races and initiatives in Colorado, Missouri, Washington and California. A St. Louis native, Kayla graduated from Missouri State University in 2010. She currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
Craig Yugawa is a medical student at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM). Passionate about the intersection of healthcare and government policy, he serves as the Associate Chair for Legislative Action in the WUSM chapter of the American Medical Association-Medical Student Section and as the Student Liaison elect on the Board of the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society. Along with these positions in organized medicine, Craig also volunteers as the Student Liaison for WUSM with CHIPS, a regional nonprofit that provides healthcare services for the uninsured. Originally from Kaneohe, Hawaii, he completed a B.A. in American Studies at Brigham Young University after serving a two-year LDS church mission in Johannesburg, South Africa. Before beginning medical school, Craig served in many positions within progressive politics, working as an intern to Utah House of Representatives Minority Leader Brian S. King and a board member of the Young Democrats of Utah County and the BYU College Democrats. He also worked on several campaigns, including Peter Cooke’s gubernatorial campaign. In addition to his work in politics, his undergraduate research examined the political and cultural importance of sports throughout American history. Craig is also involved as the Service Committee Chair in the Saint Louis Young Single Adults Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. An Eagle Scout and a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve, he is prepared for anything life throws at him. When he’s not debating the merits of the designated hitter or cheering on the Red Sox, he can be found playing on the soccer or softball fields of Forest Park.