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Farah Ahmad, Policy Analyst, Center for American Progress
Farah Ahmad is a Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress who focuses on Progress 2050, a project of the Center that develops new ideas for an increasingly diverse America. Previously, she served on the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee and the 2012 Obama campaign in Iowa. Before the 2012 campaign, she obtained her master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, where she studied public policy and performed policy analysis for governments and international organizations.
Before graduate school, Farah worked for a number of years in policy, politics, community outreach, and legislative affairs.She has worked on a range of domestic issues, including advocacy projects for health care reform in 2008 and renewable energy and conservation policy. Farah did her undergraduate studies at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and began her career in the labor movement working as a research analyst, creating strategic plans to provide community benefits for economic-development projects.
Melanie Bates, Legislative Director, Council of the District of Columbia
Melanie Bates was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area. She graduated from Hampton University in 2007 and North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law in 2011. She is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.
Ms. Bates currently serves as legislative director for Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells at the Council of the District of Columbia. She previously served as legislative counsel for the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. She was a paralegal specialist at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) immediately prior to her start at the Council. Additionally, Melanie has worked as a pro bono attorney at the D.C. Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP), student attorney at NCCU Civil Litigation Clinical Program, Martin Luther King, Jr. legal intern at Legal Aid of North Carolina, law clerk at Neighborhood Legal Services Program, and president and case manager of the NCCU Innocence Project.
Ms. Bates is President-Elect of the Greater Washington Area Chapter, WomenÍs Lawyers Division, National Bar Association (GWAC). She has been an active member of GWAC since 2008, initially joining as a law student member. She served as co-chair of the Program Planning Committee during the 2012-2013 bar year. Ms. Bates was selected to represent GWAC at The Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA).
Ms. BatesÍ awards and honors include: District of Columbia Bar Pro Bono Program Volunteer Spotlight, District of Columbia Courts Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, DCVLP Volunteer of the Day, LexisNexis Paralegal Certificate of Mastery, NCCU 3L Class Superlative ñMost Likely to Do Pro Bono Workî, North Carolina State Bar Pro Bono Hours Certification, North Carolina State Bar Practical Training Certification, NCCU Certificate in Judicial Opinion Writing, and Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Member.
Ms. Bates values the importance of community involvement. She is a volunteer attorney with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program Advice and Referral Clinic. She also volunteers at the Washington Center for Aging Services. Ms. Bates previously served as a volunteer with Mothers’ Outreach Network, Council on Legal Education OpportunityÍs College Scholars Program, and the Georgetown University Law Center D.C. Street Law Clinic.
Ms. BatesÍ hobbies and interests include: going to the beach, visiting museums, playing golf, and spending time with family and friends.
Lauren Belive, Democratic Policy Director, House Rules Committee
Lauren Belive started her career on Capitol Hill with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, then chaired by Representative Henry Waxman. In 2008, she moved to Chicago to join the Obama for America Campaign as their Regional Research Director for the West and Southwest regions of the country, and played point on background research for Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
After the 2008 Presidential election, Lauren returned to DC to become a Legislative Assistant for the Obama-Biden Transition TeamÍs Office of Legislative Affairs; where she liaisoned with the Presidential Inaugural Committee. Following the transition, Lauren started on day one at the White House, in the Office of Legislative Affairs, and served as a Legislative Assistant and Assistant for Events. Here she worked on the team that moved some of the Obama AdministrationÍs most hallmark legislation through Congress.
In the spring of 2012 Lauren moved back to the Hill, where she currently serves as the Democratic Policy Director for the House Rules Committee, lead by Ranking Member Louise Slaughter. Here she works with leadership to coordinate democratic messaging, while facilitating legislation to the House Floor.
Lauren graduated with a B.A. in American Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University. She and her husband, Jeffrey Zubricki, live in Washington, D.C.
Emily Burns, Legislative Assistant, U.S. House of Representatives
Emily is a Legislative Assistant for Congressman John Garamendi, serving the third district of California and advising on issues including healthcare, education, labor, manufacturing, trade, transportation, and foreign affairs. She loves the challenge of approaching policy objectives with a proactive, innovative, and entrepreneurial lens, and the responsibility that comes with working on a team to represent 700,000 unique voices. She is also the founder of Grayscale Creative, a group of D.C.-based writers who use creative nonfiction to challenge PR and marketing conventions and bring new life to the narratives of the city’s business and nonprofit scene. In this capacity, she has written and reviewed over 300 profiles that advance the discourse of leadership, investigate the human experience, promote social engagement, and teach young entrepreneurs about success, values, work ethic, and impact.
Emily grew up in Ohio and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College, where she studied Psychology and Sociology. While there, she was awarded a science fellowship to conduct a study on the intersection of religion and the environmental movement, which was used for an article published in the Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research. She was also Director/Coordinator of the Off-Campus Activities in Psychology Program, where she was a public service liaison between the student body and the surrounding community and led a mentorship program to inspire a passion for learning in local schools. In the summer of 2007, she went to Kenya to live in a rural Muslim village and work on community development, sustainable agricultural techniques, and environmental research for the Kenyan Wildlife Service. She also collected qualitative data in English and Swahili about the beliefs and life perspectives of the community around her.
Emily loves art as an avenue for expanding possibility and perception, and has been a creative enabler for ArtJamz DC, working with people of all ages and skill levels to get outside their comfort zones and challenge traditionally-held beliefs of creativity, culture, and self. She loves running for the same reason and ran the 2013 New York City Marathon as part of the National Blood Clot Alliance team, raising money for the prevention, early diagnosis, and successful treatment of life-threatening blood clots. Overall, her work traces the arc that connects the very local and personal with the very global and external, oriented around the idea that the evolution of self and society must be a simultaneous and intentional process.
Charlie Cummings, Program Manager, America Achieves
Charlie is the Program Manager for the Fellowship for Teachers and Principals at America Achieves, where he works to build and expand a program that helps outstanding educators across the country become involved in education policy-making. He began his career as a fifth grade teacher at Shaw Elementary School in St. Louis, where he founded an after-school sports club for fourth and fifth grade boys. After teaching, he earned a Master of Public Policy from the University of Maryland, where he specialized in social policy and nonprofit leadership. As a graduate assistant at the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, he co-founded the Do Good Challenge, a student-centered social impact prize competition. While at Maryland, Charlie completed two year-long Washington Grantmaker Philanthropy Fellowships, first at the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and then at the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.
Charlie was born in Morgantown, West Virginia, and graduated from high school in Granger, Indiana. He earned a BA in Economics with a minor in Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Charlie loves playing sports – especially softball, football, sand volleyball, and tennis – and attending live music performances. He lives in Petworth, DC, with a group of musicians who are about to become famous.
Josh Dickson, Director, Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, US Department of Commerce
Josh Dickson serves as the Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the US Department of Commerce, where he works to promote partnerships between businesses and community organizations that foster economic development and job growth. He previously worked as Associate Director for Constituency Outreach on the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Deputy Director of Faith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee and Faith Vote Director for Obama For America – Ohio.
Josh started his career as a teacher with Teach For America on ChicagoÍs South Side, where he volunteered with the Industrial Areas Foundation and developed a passion for sustainable community development. He subsequently worked at college campuses across the country as the National Recruitment Director for Teach For AmericaÍs Faith-based and Community Relations Team. Before joining the Obama campaign, Josh also served as a Summer Fellow with OpportunityNation, a broad-based coalition of more than 300 organizations focused on expanding opportunity for every American.
Josh has held numerous volunteer leadership roles with the Young Democrats of America (YDA), including National Finance Chair, Credentials Committee Chair and founding Director of the YDA Faith and Values Program. He has served in board leadership roles with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network and Evangelicals for Marriage Equality. He has also led national leadership programs for the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and 30 Summit, a TED-style convening of innovative emerging leaders focused on cross-sector collaboration and social change.
Josh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Dominican University and a MasterÍs in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. While at Harvard, he served as co-chair of the Center for Public LeadershipÍs Student Advisory Board, where he helped found the Harvard Graduate Student Leadership Initiative.
Originally from Rochester, NY, Josh is an avid runner and regularly competes in trail ultramarathons across the US.
LaToya Egwuekwe-Smith, Communications Specialist, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers
LaToya Egwuekwe-Smith is a Communications Specialist for the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM), one of the largest industrial trade unions in North America. In her role, she supports, through strategic media relations and communications, the IAMÍs mission of fighting to ensure every AmericanÍs right to a decent job, a fair and livable wage, good and affordable health care and the ability to retire with dignity.
LaToya has more than 10 years experience in communications and journalism.
She is the creator of The Decline: The Geography of a Recession,î an animated map which shows the progression of U.S. unemployment from January 2007 to February 2011. Her work has been featured on CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, The Huffington Post, BoingBoing and hundreds of blogs, local newspapers and television outlets around the world.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Union of Unemployed (UCubed), a non-profit organization born under the helm of the IAM, and as a Vice President on the Executive Council of the International Labor Communications Association (ILCA).
Prior to joining the labor movement, LaToya worked as a political television news reporter/anchor for The Florida Channel in Tallahassee, FL, and as a television news producer for WEWS-TV in Cleveland, OH.
LaToya is a graduate of the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Interactive Journalism from American University.
Born and raised in the Chicago area, LaToya currently resides in Washington, DC, with her husband, two children and German shepherd.
Carolyn Florey, Operations Officer, The World Bank
Carolyn Florey is currently an Operations Officer with the World BankÍs Innovation Labs. Carolyn’s career has focused on accelerating development impact through technology and innovation.
At the World Bank, Carolyn specializes in identifying and supporting social enterprises to effectively deliver services to low income communities. Prior to joining the Innovation Labs, Carolyn worked at the World BankÍs infoDev program, which focuses on mobile innovation for job creation and economic growth by supporting incubators and mobile entrepreneurs around the world. Prior to infoDev, Carolyn worked as a Private Sector Partnerships Specialist at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), focusing on mobile technology and maternal health partnerships such as the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA) and mPowering Frontline Health Workers. She has worked in the information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) space across sectors including mHealth, mobile money, women’s access to technology and eAgriculture. Carolyn has also been a Fulbright grantee in Jeonju, South Korea and a William J. Clinton Service Fellow in Delhi, India through the American India Foundation.
She has an MA in International Development and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA from Tufts University. Carolyn is originally from Montgomery, Alabama and enjoys running, reading, and visiting new places.
Emilia Gutierrez, Digital Director, Center for Community Change
Emilia is an experienced organizer and campaign strategist with over seven years of online and grassroots movement building. Emilia has managed domestic and global campaigns around key human rights issues.
As a Campaign Manager at Change.org, Emilia worked to empower citizen activists and non-profit organizations to use Change.org’s tools and platform to successfully launch and win campaigns. Emilia’s work has resulted in hundreds of thousands of new Change.org members, top tier media coverage in NYT, BBC, The Guardian, and numerous campaign victories for social justice. Prior to Change.org, Emilia’s managed grassroots field and outreach efforts for Amnesty International, Pleitez for Congress, and Obama for America. Emilia is a dedicated activist with a strong commitment to providing change-makers and innovative organizations with the tools and strategy needed to affect social change. Emilia is excited to embark on a new role this January as Director of Digital Strategy for Reform Immigration for America.
Emilia is originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico but currently calls DC her home away from home. When she isn’t working, she is exploring the city with her Beagle/Jack Russell, Topper.
Racine Harris, Management Specialist, Arlington County Government
Racine Harris is currently a Research and Communications Specialist in the Arlington County Department of Human Services, Public Health Division. In this role, she provides internal support to the Community Health Protection Bureau through policy implementation, research, and process development. She also provides public health and risk communication to county consumers and constituents.
Previously, Racine worked in clinical vaccine and health policy research. Before joining Arlington County Government, she gained valuable experience in domestic and military health care research at the RAND Corporation. While at RAND, Racine worked on projects related to quality of care in national private and military health systems, veteran and service member mental health, and innovation in public-private partnerships.
Racine was raised Arkansas and graduated from Duke University with a degree in Psychology. While at Duke, she was a member of Duke Student Government, The PresidentÍs Council on Black Affairs, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is currently a Master of Public Health candidate at The George Washington University. Racine has a interest in public health policy and the development of programs addressing lifestyle modifications for healthy living. In her spare time, Racine enjoys exercising, obstacle-course challenges, staying current on fashion trends, and being a backyard tourist.
Carey Hogg, Regional Alumni Coordinator, Near Eastern Affairs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Carey Hogg is the Regional Alumni Coordinator for Near Eastern Affairs at the State DepartmentÍs Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. In this role, she supports the BureauÍs mission to increase mutual understanding between people from the U.S. and abroad by engaging with alumni of U.S. government exchange programs from the Middle East and North Africa. Recently, she led a seminar that brought 40 young alumni from across the region together to develop action plans for youth-led community service projects in their countries.
Carey’s fascination with cultural diplomacy and its ability to foster peaceful relations between nations began in high school, when she became a Student Ambassador for the ñPeople to People ñexchange program. Thirteen years and four passports later, this fascination has become the driving force of her career in international relations.
Prior to joining the State Department, she led womenÍs political participation programs at Vital Voices Global Partnership, where she focused on empowering women in developing nations to become active leaders in government and civil society. As the International Missions Coordinator for Operation Smile International, Carey managed public health missions in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. She has served as an advisor on gender-based violence in Africa for the British Parliament and has published research on womenÍs political participation in post-conflict Rwanda.
A Washington D.C.-area native, Carey holds a Masters degree in International Development from the London School of Economics and a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. She is an avid runner, guitar player, and blues music aficionado.”
Jarrod Loadholt , Associate , Troutman Sanders LLP
Jarrod is currently an associate at Troutman Sanders in the firmÍs Government Litigation and Regulatory Compliance Group. JarrodÍs practice encompasses a wide variety of compliance and government-related matters for clients in heavily regulated industries, particularly consumer financial service providers regulated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Jarrod also regularly advises corporate governmental affairs units on compliance strategies in response to federal and state laws governing governmental relations activities in the areas of lobbyist registration and reporting, gifts for public officials, and political contributions. He also has substantial experience assisting clients in the formation and administration of corporate-sponsored and independent state and federal political action committees (PACs).
JarrodÍs practice builds upon extensive experience in electoral politics and public policy in federal, state and local government, including serving as a Policy Director for Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell in 2009, as a Field Director for the South Carolina Democratic PartyÍs Coordinated Campaign and former Congressman John Spratt in 2010, and currently as a Senior Adviser to South Carolina Representative Bakari SellersÍ campaign for Lieutenant Governor.
Jarrod is a native of Orangeburg, South Carolina and a graduate of Morehouse College, Harvard UniversityÍs John F. Kennedy School of Government and the New York University School of Law. In his spare time, Jarrod enjoys reading, cooking, fishing, and cheering on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and the Carolina Panthers.
Imran Mahmud , Program Analyst , USAID via CAMRIS International
Imran J. Mahmud is a Program Analyst within the Office of Population and Reproductive Health in the Global Health Bureau at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In this role, he has worked extensively on both social science and biomedical research projects at the forefront of family planning in the developing world. Prior to his time at USAID, he worked primarily in the world of domestic health policy and health care coverage as a Health Legislative Strategy Intern at the Center for American Progress and later as a member of the State Coverage Initiatives team at AcademyHealth. His ideal career path allows him the opportunity to tackle issues related to health care across the spectrum in developing, industrial and post-industrial countries, discerning linkages that will facilitate health and progress for transitioning economies into the future.
Imran was born in Bangladesh, where he spent the first six years of his life, grew up in southern New Hampshire, and has spent nearly a third of his life in Washington, DC. He is a graduate of the George Washington University, where he met his wife, Rachel, and studied public health. He was involved with the School of Public Health and Health Services at GWU, serving as a mentor for incoming students and was voted to the Public Health Students Association executive board by his classmates. Imran plans on beginning the MBA program at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business in the Fall of 2014.
Angelo Mathay, DACA Law Fellow, National Immigration Law Center
As a DACA Law Fellow at the National Immigration Law Center, Angelo connects DREAMers to legal services providers, develops models for providing legal services to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants, and conducts administrative advocacy to ensure that DACA is implemented in a robust fashion. Prior to his position at NILC, he externed for the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Los Angeles and San Francisco office), Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Department of Justice, Executive Office of Immigration Review, and Judge Harry Pregerson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
As a law student, Mr. Mathay served as co_editor-in-chief of the Asian Pacific American Law Journal and a member of LEAD (formerly the Diversity Task Force). As an undergraduate student, Angelo was a co-editor of Underground Undergrads: Undocumented Students Speak Out, a student publication highlighting the DREAM Act and access to higher education for undocumented students. He is a recent graduate of the UCLA School of Law Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.
Claire Morel, Education Consultant, World Bank Group
As an Education Consultant at the World Bank (WB), Claire provides analytical support on economic and education sector work in West and Central Africa, focusing on education access, quality, and labor market relevance. The projects she supports focus on competitive innovation funds, education-to-employment interventions, and youth entrepreneurship.
Claire is a native of Austin, Texas, where she attended the University of Texas and obtained her B.A. in Economics, Government, and French. She went on to earn a Dual Master of International Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris), specializing in International Economic Policy and Management. In addition to her current work in Guinea, the Gambia, and Guinea-Bissau, Claire has research and project management experience in Senegal, Cameroon, and Ethiopia.
As the runner-up in the WB's 2013 Development Case Competition, Claire is working with the Youth Employment Network to implement her proposed business model for financing youth-owned microenterprises. Additionally, she serves as the head of Mentorship Programs in the WB Youth2Youth Community and tutors and mentors refugee youth with the International Rescue Committee in East Riverdale, Maryland.
Ali Rodway, Life and Leadership Coach, Ali Rodway Coaching
Ali Rodway, PCC is a certified coach, dynamic leader, and bold visionary, committed to generating deeply connected teams and inspired leaders. Coaching since 2008, Ali had earned the gold-standard distinction of Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF), at the time, the youngest on record. Ali’s private coaching practice hosts a roster of clients ranging from professors to entrepreneurs to community leaders and innovators. In addition to her private practice, from 2009 to 2013, Ali has served as a Mentor Coach for Accomplishment Coaching. In this capacity, she lead and mentored two teams of 30+ coaches in the ICF accredited Coaches Training and Leadership Program.
Ali’s unique style of coaching leverages her humor, honesty and humanity as she stands for her clients to produce unprecedented results in their businesses, relationships, fitness and lives. Focusing on who the client is being as the source for what they are doing, Ali supports her clients in transforming themselves so as to make a difference for others.
In her executive coaching capacity, Ali has coached teams of managers at lululemon athletica – one of Fortune 100′s Fastest Growing Companies and spoken at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, Running Start, and Share Our Strength. Ali has individually coached leaders at the Brookings Institution, Morgan Stanley, Booz Allen Hamilton and professors and leaders at several Top 25 Universities.
Sam Sepah, Administrative Officer, National Institutes of Health
Sam Sepah is truly passionate about improving accessibility and workplace protection for the disability community. Mr. Sepah is currently serving as an Administrative Officer at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Under his leadership, he oversees several million dollars of federal operational budget and is also responsible for providing strategic administrative direction for over 10 Chief Scientists and 120+ employees in support for the NIH’s business objectives and human resources strategies.
Prior to his employment at NIH, Sam worked for well-known organizations for more than 7 years: U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), GE-NBC Universal, IBM, Siemens, Sprint, MCI, and Apple. Sam was the youngest person appointed by the Governor of Vermont to serve on the Commission on Employment for People with Disabilities. Mr. Sepah is known as an expert on advocating employment rights for the underrepresented workers, especially for the deaf and hard of hearing population. He was appointed by President of National Association of Deaf (NAD) to become their chairperson for their Employment Taskforce. He has led successful implementation and execution in building a National Employment Resources Center for over 2 million deaf and hard of hearing Americans.
Mr. Sepah graduated from Rochester Institution of Technology (RIT) with Bachelor of Science in Social Science and Masters of Science in Human Resources Management. In his free time, he is an avid mountain biker and golfer. He also enjoys speaking, consulting, and coaching for profit and non-profit organizations.
Luke Squire, Co-Founder, Co-Director, LaunchProgress
Luke Squire has worked in management consulting, government, and political campaigns. He currently is the co-founder and co-director of LaunchProgress Action Fund and LaunchProgress PAC. LaunchProgress (www.LaunchProgress.org) is a national organization and political action committee (PAC) that encourages young progressive leaders to run for state and local office to grow the base for future elected leaders. We are interested in redefining how we use money in politics by investing in young leaders over a longer time horizon and by expanding the opportunity of running for office to a new generation of young Americans.
Previous to founding LaunchProgress, he worked for a year in the U.S. Senate where he worked on labor and science and technology policy as well as managed the correspondence office for Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). His campaign work includes research and finance on Democratic Senate races, including most recently on the research team of Heidi HeitkampÍs 2012 Senate race, featured in the Washington Post as ñCandidate of the Year in 2012.
He previously worked as a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton in the defense market. At Booz Allen, Luke worked on the strategy and organization team interfacing with the Air Force Civil Engineers on a project to create a digitized process management system. Luke also served as a White House Intern for President Obama in the summer of 2011. He holds a B.A. in economics from Oberlin College where he served as Class President and currently sits on the Oberlin College Board of Trustees.
Luke has participated in several other development programs, including as a Young People For (YP4) fellow, a Front Line Leaders Academy fellow, and an Oberlin College Business Scholar, Law Scholar, and Cole Scholar. He is currently a mentor with YP4. Luke was born and raised in sunny San Diego, California and currently lives in Washington, DC.
Maria Town, Policy Advisor, US Department of Labor
Maria Town is a Policy Advisor at the US Department of LaborÍs Office of Disability Employment Policy. At ODEP, her work focuses on issues related to youth with disabilities as they transition into the workforce. MariaÍs portfolio includes creating career development opportunities in the classroom, developing leadership in young people with disabilities, and building opportunities for inclusive volunteerism. She has spoken at a variety of national and international venues on disability topics, including: the national conferences on youth leadership and transition to work, the Society for Disability Studies, Mobility International USA professional Exchange in Jordan and the American Councils for International Education. She currently co-leads a networking group for young professionals called The Hidden Army and volunteers on the Inclusion Task Force of the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital. She also writes about fashion, disability, and design on her blog CP Shoes. Before coming to Washington DC, Maria worked for her alma mater Emory University in the Vice ProvostÍs Office of Community and Diversity where she helped to develop programming and policies to improve access, equity, and inclusion on Emory’s campus. While a student at Emory University, she majored in Anthropology and served as the University-wide Student Government Association President. Maria hails from Louisiana, where her family still resides.
Lauren Underwood, Policy Coordinator, US Department of Health and Human Services
Lauren Underwood is a Policy Coordinator in the Immediate Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Health and Human Services. In this role she manages the clearance and review of regulations, secretarial correspondence, and other policy documents relating to health reform issues including private insurance reform, healthcare quality and Medicare. In addition to her federal health policy experience, Lauren previously worked on the state/local level at the District of Columbia Department of Health, in government affairs with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and on capitol hill in the office of Sen. Barack Obama. Prior to joining the Department of Health and Human Services, Lauren worked as a research analyst with the Advisory Board Company, and also as a research nurse and study coordinator at Johns Hopkins University. Lauren completed a BachelorÍs of Science in Nursing at the University of Michigan _ Ann Arbor and earned a joint Masters of Science in Nursing and Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. Outside of work, Lauren volunteers with Empowerment Health, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, Girl Scouts, and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Tristan Wilkerson, Regional Policy and Outreach Coordinator, Young Invincibles
With a background in politics, advocacy and organizing, Tristan Wilkerson currently supports Young Invincibles, a nonprofit policy and advocacy group for youth and young adults, in development, policy and outreach.
Prior to joining Young Invincibles, Tristan worked as a Capitol Hill staffer for District of Columbia Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. In this capacity, Tristan managed a portfolio that included juvenile justice, drug policy, healthcare, and higher education. Under Norton, he led the development of the first Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys and coordinated its nationally televised initial event.
A political engagement enthusiast, Tristan has written and developed programs to improve civic engagement among minority youth that have been adopted by the Trayvon Martin Foundation and others.
Tristan’s extensive non-profit work includes co-founding and developing M.E.R.I.T., Inc. (Molding Exceptional and Responsible Individuals for Tomorrow), a mentor-scholarship organization based in Central Arkansas that prepares underserved and underrepresented high school students for college and careers.
Tristan is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. He earned his bachelors in Political Science and Rhetoric in Communication with a minor in Africana Studies from the University of Memphis. He has also studied at the University of Ghana in Accra.
Kacey Wulff, Special Assistant, Department of Health and Human Services
“Kacey Wulff is a Special Assistant at the Department of Health and Human Services. She serves in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness in Response, the office that leads the nation in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters.
Prior to HHS, Kacey worked on the 2012 Obama campaign in Denver, Colorado as the Special Projects Coordinator. In this role, she worked as a constituency group organizer and implemented logistics for statewide trips by campaign principles, celebrities, and other surrogates.
Kacey has a MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in Philosophy from Stanford University. In addition, she was a Fellow in Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health.
Kacey is passionate about community service, and has spearheaded efforts to connect her peers to local service opportunities. She is a proud mentor to three young resettled refugees.