Get to Know
Our Fellows

Spring Cohort 2018

  • Anya Irons
    Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

    Director of Operations since 2013, Anya Irons began working at UHAB in 2007. She also serves as General Counsel (UHAB’s sole in-house attorney) overseeing the physical rehabilitation and co-op conversion of UHAB’s development pipeline. With legal matters an integral part of preserving the affordable co-ops created by UHAB, she helps ensure the survival of this unique form of homeownership and fields issues on co-op formation, regulation, governance, finance and lending, as well as interest inheritance. Anya’s other legal specialties include Elder Law and Wills, Trusts, and Estates. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and New York Law School.

  • Brian Lewis
    Exalt Youth

    Brian Lewis is a passionate critical pedagogue and systems-change leader with more than 10 years of experience pushing the envelope and re-imagining possibilities for marginalized and under-resourced youth. He is currently the Director of Programs at Exalt Youth as well as an Adjunct Instructor at The New School. In these roles, he’s been committed to supporting the transformation and empowerment of individuals and communities oppressed by social structures that impose hierarchy, punishment and social control. His work in this capacity has included organizing numerous conferences and symposiums focused on the topics of race, class, gender and the “isms”, designing and teaching a menu of unique courses related to mass incarceration and education reform, as well as piloting new projects and programs that serve disenfranchised youth and communities.

  • Cydney Gray
    Carnegie Hall

    Cydney Gray, a native of Chicago, Illinois, studied Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She most recently held the position of Program Manager, teaching artist, and resident techy at the DreamYard Project in the Bronx and previously worked in the Mission Hill neighborhood with the Summer Urban Program as a teacher, program director, and project manager. A lifelong learner, she was a National After School Matters Fellow for the National Writing Project and has spoken at several nationwide educational conferences. She is currently the Assistant Director of Youth Programs at Carnegie Hall for the Weill Music Institute.

  • David Thorpe
    The Fortune Society

    For the past 12 years, David has advocated for consumers of alternatives to incarceration, workforce development, and re-entry programs. He previously worked as a manager for the Osborne Association and the East River Development Alliance (aka Urban Upbound), as a Director of Compliance at TNT Forensic Solution, and as a Director at the PAC Program. David is currently employed at the Fortune Society as the Director of Strategic Partnerships, a position he was promoted to after only 15 months as the Director of Employment Services and Educational & Vocational Counseling. He believes that now, more than ever, progressive, right-sized criminal justice reform, agitation, advocacy, and robust policies are needed to bring into balance a mass incarceration system that is restorative and trauma-informed for everyone impacted.

  • Diane Berry
    PHI

    Diane Berry is the Director of Development at PHI, where she oversees implementation of the organization’s fundraising strategy and maintains the infrastructure to support its contributed revenue budget through the solicitation of foundation and corporate grants, federal and state awards, and major gifts. Diane works with staff across the organization to inform fundraising activities that strengthen PHI’s impact for direct care workers and clients. She has been a development professional for more than 15 years, and her most inspired work has been in pursuit of minimizing health disparities within vulnerable populations, particularly those in densely populated communities. Diane received a Public Health Generalist graduate certificate from the University of South Florida. She received a BS in Management from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she graduated summa cum laude.

  • Erica Garber
    LEAP

    Erica Garber is the Senior Program Manager at LEAP, now in its 40th year of service to all boroughs of NYC. She collaborates with artists, educators, and youth to bring the arts to opportunity-ready communities. She supports LEAP teaching artists in providing quality programs for schools and families across the city, and has been crucial to developing LEAP’s foundational pedagogy, curriculum design, professional development, and student learning. Erica is committed to the delivery of rigorous arts instruction—all aimed to strengthen creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking—as well as supporting the social and emotional growth of all LEAP students. As a lifelong student, artist, and educator, she firmly believes in the arts as a powerful vehicle for change.

  • Holly Sansom
    Theatre of the Oppressed NYC

    Holly Sansom is the Operations Director of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC (TONYC), an organization that partners with community members at local organizations to form theatre troupes to devise and perform plays based on their challenges confronting economic inequality, racism, and other social, health and human rights injustices. Holly oversees TONYC’s finances, payroll, HR, volunteer management, and facilities. Her previous experience includes General Manager and Ensemble member of Honest Accomplice Theatre, creating devised theatre by women and trans people; Production Supervisor of the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, and Roundabout Theatre Company. For the past two years she has also organized a monthly bookclub for queer women and trans people.

  • Jason Bocko
    Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation

    Jason A. Bocko currently serves as Academic Coordinator at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC). He assumed the role after teaching both English as a Second Language and High School Equivalency courses at NMIC for two years. Prior to joining NMIC he taught in the K-12 system as both a special education and social studies teacher while also teaching an English class at the ANSOB Center for Refugees. His other experience in the non-profit sector includes three years as program director of the Museum of Kids Art in Rochester, NY, where he built a partnership to launch Girls Rock! Rochester – which is currently entering its 7th year. He holds a bachelor’s from the University at Buffalo and a master’s in education from the University of Rochester.

  • Jennifer Silverman
    Sunnyside Community Services

    Jennifer Silverman is the Manager of Institutional Giving and co-chair of the Advocacy Leadership Team at Sunnyside Community Services (SCS), a multiservice community-based organization in western Queens that serves preschoolers through older adults. Jennifer holds a MA in Urban Affairs from Queens College, and a BA in literature from Bard College. She came to SCS in 2015 with 15 years’ of experience in the nonprofit world, having worked in development, program management, and community organizing. As a former full-time and current freelance journalist for regional and national publications, she has written about healthcare and health disparities, disability rights and access, and food justice, among many other issues. Jennifer has appeared on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show and NPR’s Here and Now, and been a panelist at the National Women’s Studies Association annual conference and the Left Forum.

  • Jessica Facciponti
    New York Housing Conference

    Jessica Facciponti is the Director of Policy and Programs at the New York Housing Conference, a statewide affordable housing policy and advocacy organization. In this role, she advocates on the city, state and federal levels to create and preserve affordable housing opportunities for her fellow New Yorkers. Previously, she had worked at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) on federal affordable housing policy, mobility research, and project-based assistance contract management. Jessica holds a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College-Columbia University and a master’s degree from the University of Maryland-College Park in Applied Anthropology, where she specialized in socio-cultural research methodologies and sustainable development policy.

  • Jessica Santana
    New York On Tech

    Jessica Santana is one of the co-founders of New York On Tech (NYOT), a nonprofit organization on a mission to prepare the next generation of technology leaders emerging from New York City. NYOT provides students with access to the development, mentoring, networking and professional experiences that prepare them for degrees and careers in technology. Their work has been featured in major media outlets such as Forbes, CNN, Wells Fargo, Sirius XM Radio, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, BET, Black Enterprise, AlleyWatch and The Network Journal. Jessica’s commitment to philanthropy and community engagement is evidenced by her world travels and work in parts of Europe, China and South America to work with nonprofits, private companies and social enterprises that better local communities and economies. She graduated with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Accounting and Information Technology from Syracuse University.

  • Kalilah Moon
    Brooklyn Workforce Innovations

    Kalilah is originally from Oakland, California, and she is driven by the belief that every person provided the opportunity and experience has the ability to reach their full potential and in doing so positively impact their own families, their peers and our communities. She is currently the director of the New York Drives (NYD) training program at Brooklyn Workforce Innovations. NYD is a six-week professional development and driver’s license access training program for low-income individuals who have barriers to employment. She has more than 14 years of front-of-the-classroom, project coordination, curriculum development, management experience, a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the New School, a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Langston University and a passion for helping disadvantaged New Yorkers achieve economic and personal success.

  • Karali Pitzele
    New Teacher Center

    Karali Pitzele is the Program Director for the NYC office of New Teacher Center (NTC). NTC is a national organization focused on training mentors, coaches, and school leaders to better support in-service training of new teachers. Karali’s responsibilities include program design, overseeing program implementation and quality, training and supervising staff, and advising on national program development. Prior to her work with NTC, Karali founded The Green School in Brooklyn, where she was principal for 6 years. The Green School pushed the boundaries of traditional high school to include cross-disciplinary real-world projects, truth-telling curricula, and a student-as-citizen school culture. Karali received a B.A. in Cross Cultural Studies from Antioch College, an M.S. in Teaching from The New School, and a certificate in School Leadership from Baruch College and the NYC Leadership Academy.

  • Kate Boicourt
    Waterfront Alliance

    Kate is the Waterfront Alliance’s program manager for the Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines (WEDG), a LEED-like rating system and program that supports resilient, accessible, and sustainable waterfront design. Prior to her work at the Waterfront Alliance, Kate served in multiple roles focused on coastal issues and climate change, from managing the development of a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the State of Maryland to serving as program manager for habitat restoration at the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program here in New York. She holds a Master of Environmental Science from Yale and a BA from Kenyon College.

  • Kelly Dougherty
    The HOPE Program

    Kelly is Chief Program Officer for The HOPE Program and Sustainable South Bronx. In this role, Kelly oversees the program design and implementation of HOPE’s job training programs. She also supports integration of these programs with best practices in job readiness, employer engagement and work-based learning, and wellness to ensure meaningful career and advancement outcomes for unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers. Prior to HOPE, Kelly served as Assistant Commissioner of Training in the Workforce Development Division at the NYC Department of Small Business Services. She also worked on education and labor policy in the United States Senate. Kelly holds a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies from Northwestern University.

  • Kendra Chiu
    Outreach

    Kendra Chiu is the Director of Grant Development and Special Projects at Outreach, a nonprofit that provides treatment and training services to individuals and families struggling with addiction. In her role, Kendra oversees the research, writing and reporting of private and state grants, and is involved in most of Outreach’s programs through internal and external marketing, outcomes evaluation, and more. Passionate about mentoring, Kendra is also an adjunct professor at St. John’s University, where she instructs incoming freshmen on sociology and New York City history, and she has been a “Big Sister” mentor at Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC since 2011. Kendra received both her Master and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. John’s University.

  • Lakimja Mattocks
    Support Center

    Lakimja Mattocks is the Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships and Learning at the Support Center. She oversees the Professional Development portfolio which includes their public workshops, customized trainings, Leadership Certificate Programs and Leadership Collaborative Cohort. Prior to joining the Support Center, Lakimja spent ten years in youth and staff development with a focus on youth leadership through service learning, college preparedness and access, work readiness, situational leadership and coaching. She possesses a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus in Non Profit Management from Baruch College, loves to volunteer in the area of College Access and holds Alumni Leadership roles with her beloved alma mater, Temple University.

  • Leigh Reid
    Extreme Kids & Crew

    Leigh Reid is the Director of Development and Communications at Extreme Kids & Crew, a non-profit that provides weekend and after-school programs and play spaces for kids with disabilities and their friends and families. Established in 2011, Extreme Kids operates sensory gyms and arts spaces in public schools in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and Ridgewood, Queens, and is expanding to a third location in the Bronx. In addition to overseeing fundraising initiatives, marketing, and communications, Leigh works with programming staff and constituents on special events, regular programming, and community outreach. Leigh has a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and International Studies from Penn State University, and has worked in the non-profit sector for Incarnation Camp and Good Shepherd Services.

  • Lisa Stein
    Lantern Community Services

    Currently, as the Chief Operating Officer, Lisa oversees Lantern’s fiscal strategy and program operations as well as leasing and compliance. Previously, she was the Vice President of Work and Family Supports at Seedco, where she provided program management and fiscal oversight for programs around the country. Lisa has also served as the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer for STRIVE, a job development nonprofit, and as Executive Director of Recycle-A-Bicycle. She has previously worked at LISC and the Food Bank for NYC, among other organizations. Lisa has an MBA from Boston University and received her BA from Brandeis University.

  • Mario Biancamano
    South Bronx United

    Mario Biancamano is the Director of Operations for South Bronx United. In this role he is involved with the day-to-day operations of various soccer programs, finances, human resources, and after school programming needs. Mario was a volunteer for South Bronx United for two years before taking advantage of a staff opportunity and joining the team. In the past, Mario has run an educational center in Queens, has worked as a store manager in various retail spaces, has been the general manager of a talent agency in Qatar, and most recently worked in the operations department of a hedge fund. Mario graduated from Northwestern University with a dual degree in Economics and International Studies.

  • Michael Cruz
    Urban Dove

    Michael has worked with youth for 11 years and loves the idea of having a positive impact on the lives of children. He joined Urban Dove in 2010 and was recently appointed the Assistant Director of Sports-Based Youth Development for the Urban Dove Team Charter School. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Clark University.

  • Rafael Sánchez
    Repertorio Español

    Rafael Sánchez is the Assistant to the Executive Producer at Repertorio Español (Spanish Repertory Theatre), a non-profit organization that has been performing the best of Latin American, Spanish and Hispanic-American theatre for the last fifty years. Born and raised in Madrid, Spain, Rafael possesses a BA in Drama from the University of Kent at Canterbury (ESAD), a Master’s in Performing Arts from the University Rey Juan Carlos, and also studied graduated courses in Comparative Literature at the University of Puerto Rico. He is currently finishing his PhD in Hispanic Studies and Literature at the University of Puerto Rico. He has taught at that institution and at ICPR Junior College since 2012, and is an Adjunct Lecturer with the Hispanic Languages and Literature Department at Queens College (CUNY). He is also a performing artist, and has acted in and produced over 50 works in Spain, Puerto Rico and the United States.

  • Sevonna Brown
    Black Womens Blueprint

    Sevonna Brown is the Assistant Executive Director at Black Women’s Blueprint. She is a birthworker and doula who dedicates her work to the survival strategies that Black women build from rituals, sacred truths and the ways they honor the intergenerational narratives of their reproductive herstories. Her organizational affiliations include Spirit of a Woman Leadership Development Institute and Standing in Our Power: A Women of Color Transformative Leadership Institute. As a survivor, she seeks to bridge the connections between reproductive justice and anti-sexual violence advocacy through her cultural work, human rights lens and womanist frameworks. She believes in every community’s right to holistic healing, as well as radically freeing and unconditionally loving themselves.

  • Song Kim
    Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

    Song Kim is the Staff Attorney heading the Anti-Trafficking Initiative at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), where she represents survivors of forced labor and other types of trafficking. Song believes in using the law to empower and uplift immigrant communities and works closely with community and faith-based organizations to provide trainings, technical assistance, and consultations through free legal clinics throughout the New York metropolitan area. She represents individuals on their applications for immigration relief to help survivors find stability and rebuild their lives, and in federal civil litigation to ensure access to compensation and justice. Song received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, and her B.A. in Sociology from the University of Southern California. She is a former Kirkland and Ellis New York City Public Service Fellow.

  • Stacy Parsell
    Island Harvest Food Bank

    A fundraising executive with more than 15 years of experience, Stacy Parsell has served as Vice President of Development at Island Harvest Food Bank since 2014. She is responsible for leading a development department and overseeing a fundraising budget of more than $5 million, which she has consistently exceeded. Among her other accomplishments at Island Harvest Food Bank, Stacy has worked closely to increase levels of giving in furtherance of the organization’s mission. Stacy is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), and a board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Long Island.

  • Vadim Panasyuk
    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

    Vadim emigrated from Ukraine to the U.S. as a teen and subsequently received his citizenship during his second deployment to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division as Team Leader in a Battalion Task Force Sniper Section. Transition out of the military was not easy, but that experience led him to dedicate his life to serving our nation’s veterans. Before joining the team at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), Vadim received his MSW from Fordham University, and gained extensive experience as a Case Manager and a Program Coordinator working with New York City’s homeless veteran population. Vadim joined the IAVA family and Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) as a Veteran Transition Manager in 2015 and rose through the ranks to lead the program in 2017.

  • Yineska Guerrero
    Urban Health Plan

    As a Healthy Livable Communities coordinator for the Hunts Point Peninsula at Urban Health Plan, (UHP), Yineska is responsible for managing and coordinating the Healthy Neighborhood Grant provided by the New York Community Trust. In her capacity as coordinator, she focuses on developing a healthier community by creating opportunities for physical activity, increasing access to nutritious and affordable food, and promoting community safety and empowerment. Yineska is the first in her family to attend college and obtain a law degree. She graduated from SUNY at Albany with a Bachelors in Psychology and History and continued her education at the University at Buffalo Law School, where she was awarded a Juris Doctorate and can practice as a licensed attorney in the state of New York. She has always been passionate about working in the public service sector and enjoys being an advocate for uplifting underrepresented communities.