Get to Know
Our Fellows

Spring Cohort 2016

  • Alicia Hansen
    NYC Salt

    Alicia Hansen has worked as a professional photographer for over 20 years. Alicia has a BA in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a Masters Degree in Visual Communication from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. She taught photography at the undergraduate and graduate levels while at Syracuse, and has worked for world‐renowned National Geographic contract photographer, Joe McNally, as his first assistant and producer. For the past eleven and half years she has grown NYC SALT from a small photo class to a nonprofit organization with a 100% college acceptance rate.

  • Amy Taylor
    Make the Road

    Amy Taylor is the Legal Director at Make the Road New York where she leads a team of forty attorneys and advocates who provide legal services to low-wage workers and immigrant New Yorkers in the areas of housing, public benefits, workplace justice and immigration. Prior to joining Make the Road, Amy was a Senior Staff Attorney and the founder of the Equal Rights Initiative, a civil rights project to fight discrimination among low-income New Yorkers, at Legal Services NYC (LSNYC). She was also the Coordinator of the Language Access Project, a cutting edge project that seeks to increase access to services and justice for low-income limited English proficient (LEP) New Yorkers through litigation and policy advocacy. Before working at Legal Services NYC, Amy was the Director of Policy at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Public Benefits and Language Access Coordinator at the New York Immigration Coalition. Amy received her J.D. from the CUNY School of Law.

  • Antonio Rivera
    The Fortune Society

    Antonio Rivera is the Senior Director of Programs at the Fortune Society and is responsible for their Alternative to Incarceration programs and Education unit. He has been with the Fortune Society since January 2016 after a long tenure of working in the Harlem community as Director of Prevention Education and Client Services at FACES NY, a community-based organization. He holds Master degrees in Sociology and Social Work with over 25 years of experience in the fields of reentry services, health prevention education, curricula development and grant writing. He also has extensive experience in behavioral health programs for diverse and disenfranchised segments of the NYC community. Antonio’s experience in serving diverse populations has allowed him to hold executive positions with local government health prevention planning bodies, pharmaceutical community advisory boards and is a current member of the NYC Department of Health’s Institutional Review Board where he reviews and approves health research studies and protocols for inmates in detention in NYC jails. Prior to his employment at the Fortune Society, and FACES NY, he was a Coordinator at the Harlem Director’s Group for a Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s Community Coalition Development Project in Harlem, NY and was also a Transitional Coordinator for an Alternative to Incarceration program for youthful offenders at the Center for Community Alternatives. Antonio is a formerly incarcerated individual who served over 17 years in prison.

  • Cate Cowit
    New York Public Interest Research Group

    Cate Contino Cowit is the Campaigns Associate at the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), New York State’s largest student-directed research and advocacy organization. She focuses primarily on public transit, transparency in government, and the regulation of mercury-added products.

    As coordinator of NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign, Cate spends the majority of her time fighting for safe, affordable, dignified and reliable public transportation in New York City.

    She can often be found with yarn-laced fingers and a crochet hook in hand.

    Cate graduated with honors from the SUNY University at Albany with a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. She is also a Senior Fellow with the Environmental Leadership Program (Eastern Region, 2011), a national organization whose mission is to support visionary, action-oriented, and diverse leadership for a just and sustainable future and boasts a dynamic network of 700 of the country’s top emerging environmental and social change leaders.

    Cate is a native New Yorker by way of the Finger Lakes and proud Brooklyn transplant. She happily lives in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens with her husband and best friend, Jay Cowit, and their rescue cats, Alf and Zoey.

  • Christine Mullaly
    Rockaway Artists Alliance

    Christine Mullally earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Poetry from New School University. Since 2004, Christine has been the Education Director of the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA). RAA is a nonprofit 501(c)3 community based organization striving to provide access to art and cultural events to the residents of Rockaway. In her role, Christine oversees the agency’s art education programming for children and adults, including after-school programs, summer camp and ongoing classes. She works as the liaison between RAA and various government entities and funders and manages large-scale exhibitions that RAA undertakes in partnership with other New York City cultural institutions and the National Park Service. Christine lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Rockaway, New York.

  • Erica Lessem
    Treatment Action Group (TAG)

    As Director of the TB/HIV Project at Treatment Action Group (TAG), Erica Lessem advocates for improved services and technologies to prevent, diagnose, and treat TB and HIV. In this role, Erica supports research activists across the world, and works closely with developers and policymakers to catalyze TB research and ensure that it responds to the needs of affected communities. Previously, Erica worked on HIV behavioral research studies, supported efforts to end sex trafficking in South Asia, volunteered for the Baltimore City Needle Exchange Program, was a grant writer for the TB Alliance, conducted press relations as an Urban Fellow in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and helped create the Republic of Georgia’s first peer support group for breast cancer survivors. Erica received Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Psychology from Georgetown University, and her Master of Public Health as a Sommer Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public health.

  • Felicia Grandy-Miller
    The Five Towns Community Center Inc.

    Felicia Grandy-Miller is the Program Director for the Head Start Program at The Five Towns Community Center Inc.  Felicia’s career at the Five Towns Community Center Inc. stems from her childhood, as a community resident and summer youth worker in the daycare program. Felicia graduated from Lawrence High School.  After graduating high school, she attended The College of SUNY New Paltz where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Services and a minor in Black Studies.

    Upon graduating from college, she returned to her community to help others. Felicia earned a fulltime position at the Five Towns Community Center Inc. in 1995 as a teacher assistant for preschoolers.  As her passion for teaching children and assisting families grew, she earned a position as a Head Start Family Service Worker.  This position allowed her the opportunity to work with families; helping them to achieve their short and long term goals.  While working as a Family Service Worker in the Head Start Program, she obtained her New York State Family Development Credential.

    Felicia Grandy-Miller’s profession at the Five Towns Community Center Inc. spans over 20 years, in positions of increasing responsibility.  She has her Food Service Manager Training Certificate, which allows her to cook healthy meals for her Head Start students. Also, she has her Medication Administration Training Certificate; allowing her to administrated medication to children when needed.  

  • Jana King
    Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

    Jana King is the office operations manager at Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.’s New York Office. Jana manages the operational aspects of the New York office, including management of facilities-related functions of the 70-plus office staff, coordination of budget management across multiple programs, planning for more than 1,000 internal and external events annually, and strategic communications support. Jana oversees the office services team and works closely with support departments including human resources, accounting, online services, and marketing & communications.

    Jana brings more than 15 years of leadership experience in market research, HR and operations, most recently as the director of talent recruitment at L’Oréal. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Marymount College and an M.S.Ed. in counseling from Hunter College, where she is also an adjunct professor.

  • Joe Luesse
    Harlem RBI

    Joe Luesse is the Director of Evaluation for Harlem RBI, a community-based youth development organization in East Harlem and the South Bronx. Joe leads monitoring, evaluation, research, and innovation efforts. Joe has supported organizational capacity building and process and system planning for over seven years. Joe is a founder of the New York Consortium of Evaluators, the New York region’s American Evaluation Association affiliate. Prior to his current role, Joe worked with the Ford Foundation, The Research Alliance for New York City Schools, Government Relations at Columbia University’s Teachers College, research projects conducted by Columbia University professors. Joe taught high school English for over ten years, and during that time he created a small learning community, became a UCLA Writing Project Fellow, formed a mentor exchange between high school and middle school students, and assisted coaching basketball.

    Joe earned an Ed.M. in Sociology from Columbia’s Teachers College and a B.S. in English, Language, and Literature from Eastern Michigan University

  • Kayla Santosusso
    Arab American Association

    Kayla Santosuosso is a Brooklyn-based nonprofit professional and community organizer. She has been the Deputy Director of the Arab American Association of New York since 2013, leading development efforts to support programming in the largest Arab community in NYC. Prior to her time at AAANY, Kayla led communications for the Office of Sustainability at New York University, moving thousands of university students, faculty, and administration toward positive environmental behavioral change. Kayla has co-founded numerous non-profit initiatives and a for-profit company, and served on the national board of the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFED). Kayla is an Arabic speaker and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from New York University, where she was named one of the university’s ten most influential students. Kayla organizes around racial justice, environmental justice, and alternative economies, and has presented throughout New York City on her activism and organizing work. Hailing originally from small-town Ohio, she is now a proud resident of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

  • Lai-Lin Robinson
    Urban Bush Women

    Lai-Lin Robinson (Associate Producer / Choreographic Center Program Coordinator) is an arts administrator and dancer from Washington, DC. She has played many roles at Urban Bush Women (UBW). She entered “The Bush” as an intern, then began working as UBW Marketing and Development Assistant, Program Assistant and later Manager of Operations. Currently Lai-Lin serves as UBW Associate Producer and UBW Choreographic Center Program Coordinator. She manages and supports UBW programming and performances, the production of new work and the creation and operation of the UBW Choreographic Center. She continues to deepen her knowledge of UBW’s methodology by participating and supporting the planning and production of multiple UBW Summer Leadership Institutes. Prior to joining UBW Lai-Lin spent 18 years training and performing pieces with Maryland Youth Ballet and Orlando Ballet. She later completed the Certificate Program at The Ailey School and is now a freelance dancer rehearsing and performing in New York and the Washington DC area. Lai-Lin has choreographed for Fordham University’s production of Young Jean Lee’s play Groundwork and created her own works, Me and My baby and Restoration. Lai-Lin graduated from Fordham University with a BA in Communications and Media Studies and a minor in Spanish Language after studying in Granada, Spain for a year. Lai-Lin carries many different experiences in the dance world. She works on, off and behind the stage and continues to grow through her work and learning at Urban Bush Women.

  • Maria Santangelo
    College and Community Fellowship (CCF)

    Maria Santangelo is the Director of Programs at College and Community Fellowship (CCF). Maria is deeply committed to helping adult learners to reach their potential. In 2004, Maria and her husband Richard became Peace Corps Volunteers and taught English and Environmental Education to university students in Sichuan, China. After completing her Peace Corps service, Maria became a GED instructor and trainer at the Brevard Correctional Institution in Cocoa, Florida where she prepared her students for their GED examination and trained other instructors. As CCF’s director of programs, Maria oversees programs that support women who have been impacted by the criminal justice system from college transition through degree attainment. Maria received her M.A. in Adult Learning and Leadership in May 2012 from Teachers College, Columbia University. Maria’s graduate work focused on the impact of for-profit and noncompetitive not-for-profit institutions and student loan debt on formerly incarcerated college students.

  • Monica Ingkavet
    ExpandED Schools

    Monica is responsible for overseeing operations of ExpandED Schools in NYC schools ensuring they have support and guidance to increase enriched experiences for low income students. She supervises a team of program managers who deliver coaching and technical assistance to schools and their community partner. Monica has extensive experience working with youth development organizations including Posse Foundation, Summerbridge (Breakthrough Collaborative), and Global Kids. She has a master’s degree in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College at Columbia University.

  • Nick Mancini
    New-York Historical Society Museum & Library

    Nick Mancini is the Director of Visitor Services at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library, the city’s oldest museum and one of the country’s preeminent cultural institutions. Prior to his current role, he served as Manager of Public Programs at New-York Historical for seven years. A lifelong New Yorker, Nick has dedicated his career to improving the museum experience for all visitors and shaping how they engage with history.

    Nick received his B.A. in English from Dartmouth College.

  • Pedro Carneiro
    Callen-Lorde Community Health Center

    Pedro Carneiro is the Prevention Data Manager at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Callen-Lorde is a federally qualified health center that provides primary care and specialty services for over 15,000 New Yorkers, both in Manhattan and a new location in the South Bronx.

    For the past 3 years, Pedro has been working towards streamlining and maintaining large databases that help the clinic collect accurate and robust data. In his capacity as Data Manager, Pedro oversees programmatic compliancy and reporting for over 10 funded prevention related programs. Pedro’s work helps the clinic maintain sustainable tracking systems that support initiatives in quality, reporting, audits, and funding reporting. Pedro also participates in larger operations committees and his work helped shape the way Callen-Lorde collects data and implement programs.Pedro is also an active member of the Needs assessment Committee of NY HIV Planning Council, where issues impacting the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS are discussed and funds are allocated to specific programs. Prior to joining the Callen-Lorde team, Pedro obtained an MPH in Epidemiology from Columbia University, and work on several research and direct services initiatives both in New York and abroad.

  • Renée Nogales
    Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)

    Renée Nogales is a Business Development Manager with the national office of Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP), a not-for-profit organization that supports the high-quality replication of an evidence-based maternal and early childhood health program for low-income, first-time mothers in 43 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and six Tribal communities. She is responsible for leading expansion and sustainability efforts of NFP program sites in New York, parts of New England and the USVI. In her role, Renée cultivates interest in as well as sustained political and fiscal support for NFP through strategic advocacy and policy actions among policymakers, funders and other stakeholders at the city, county and state levels.
    Prior to working with Nurse-Family Partnership, Renée spent several years at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. helping to conduct evaluations for state and federal government projects in the policy areas of early childhood education, child care, school nutrition, childhood obesity prevention, workforce development and training, nutrition assistance and after-school programs. She also worked for various organizations in Washington, D.C. and taught English in Japan to children and youth ranging in age from toddlers to high school students.

    Renée received her B.A. in English from Haverford College and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

  • Sarah Edkins
    PEN America

    Sarah Edkins currently serves as the Deputy Director of Communications at PEN America, where she develops all outgoing messaging, manages press relationships, and drives social media growth and engagement. Her career in non-profit communications spans community service and development, veterans’ affairs, human rights, and the arts.

    Before joining PEN, Sarah served as Communications Manager at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, where she coordinated communications between 180 institutional members globally and provided media training to historical sites, museums, and human rights initiatives across the world. From 2009-2011, she worked as Program Coordinator at Iraq Veterans Against the War, liaising between the organization’s military veteran members and their civilian supporters and funders. She started her professional career at the Cheshire YMCA in Keene, NH, working directly with families to provide transformative experiences for children in need.

    Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Film and Television from Boston University and a Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies with a concentration in Business from New York University.

  • Sharese Bullock-Bailey
    Tribeca Teaches

    Sharese Bullock-Bailey is a multimedia producer, strategic consultant and program leader who has funded, developed and distributed youth media for the past 13 years through leadership and consulting for premier independent media networks. She joined Tribeca Film Institute in 2014 and serves as Director of Tribeca Teaches. Previously, she has showcased independent and youth media and culture to new audiences by pioneering strategic partnerships with major film festivals and broadcast networks at the international youth-media network Listen Up!/Learning Matters. She has led service and international education programs in over 20 countries, including filmmaking exchanges for young producers and educators throughout the UK and India.

    Sharese received a BA in Communications at The University of Pennsylvania and developed a broad financial skill set through the Financial Analyst program at Goldman Sachs. In 2002 she created a brand management consultancy that develops global brands and non-profits across the social sector. She taught with Teach for America in her hometown of Brownsville, Brooklyn, and as a founding teacher at Harlem Village Academies Elementary in Harlem, NY. She serves on the Board of Directors for The Independent Television Service (ITVS) and The Cahn Fellows Program at Teachers College. In 2015, Sharese was selected for the inaugural cohort of Ford Foundation’s Rockwood JustFilms Fellowship.

  • Sharon Jensen
    Community Health Action of Staten Island, Inc.

    Sharon Jensen is the Director of Testing and Benefits Services at Community Health Action of Staten Island, Inc. As a member of the management team, Sharon is a key advisor to the Executive staff overseeing the HIV/HCV counseling and testing services and the SNAP and Health Insurance programs of the organization within the Outreach, Engagement and Access department. For the past 16 years Sharon has spent her career working in the behavioral health sector as a part of Community Health Action. Sharon has developed expertise surrounding NYS and CDC HIV Counseling and Testing policy and procedures, regulations and guidelines. She has devoted countless hours striving to reduce the spread of HIV and HCV by educating the Staten Island Community on safer sex methods, transmission risks, the importance of getting tested and accessing treatment . Sharon is excited about New York City’s current plan to “End the Epidemic” by 2020 and will continue to dedicate her time, experience and passion in support of this plan within the Staten Island community that she was proudly born and raised in.

    Sharon Jensen received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at Kean University within the State of New Jersey. A future goal of Sharon’s is to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work.

  • Shena Elrington
    Center for Popular Democracy (CPD)

    Shena Elrington is the Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice Policy at the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) where she works on a range of campaigns promoting immigrant integration and inclusion and advancing equality across the country. Prior to joining CPD, Shena worked at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a civil rights law firm where she served as the Director of the Health Justice (HJ) Program. At NYLPI, Shena worked in collaboration with community groups on a number of campaigns to ensure that people from medically underserved neighborhoods in New York have access to quality healthcare. Prior to joining NYLPI, Shena was a litigation associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, where she worked on white-collar and anti-trust matters and provided pro bono representation to clients on a variety of family, criminal, and immigration law matters. Shena earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and graduated cum laude from Princeton University with an A.B. in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a certificate in African-American studies.

    Shena serves on the board of Princeton AlumniCorps and as the Leader-in-Residence for Health Equity at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at City College, where she works closely with talented undergraduates on applied research projects related to advancing health justice.

  • Terri Jackson
    Brooklyn Museum

    Terri Jackson Richardson is the Government and Community Affairs Officer at the Brooklyn Museum a fine arts museum. Terri brings to the Museum a broad range of professional experience and a wealth of knowledge regarding public policy, advocacy strategies and nonprofit administration. Prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum in 2007, she was a senior policy analyst at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) with a focus on child care and child welfare issues. In addition to her public policy experience, Terri worked as a freelance Production Office Coordinator on independent feature films and television shows. She earned a Master of Science degree in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.

  • Thanu Yakupitiyage
    New York Immigration Coalition

    Thanu Yakupitiyage is the Senior Communications Manager at the New York Immigration Coalition. She has worked at the NYIC since 2010 and leads the Coalition’s communications and media relations strategy. Thanu liaisons on the daily with local, state, and national press around issues pertaining to immigrant communities, works with the Coalition’s program areas including immigration advocacy, health care, special projects, membership & capacity, and state and city advocacy to get our work and message across, oversees our social media strategy, and facilitates a story-based approach to our policy initiatives. She has previously worked for the Applied Research Center, Global Action Project, and the Andrus Family Fund, and has international communications experience in Thailand and Sri Lanka. Thanu has a MA in communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a BA in critical media studies and international development from Hampshire College.

  • Todd Dorman

    Todd Dorman is the Sr. Director of Outreach & Communications at INCLUDEnyc, and recently helped lead the 31 year-old organization’s rename/rebrand process. He has worked in non-profit and the arts in NYC for over 10 years, with an interest in social justice and equity issues.

  • Tom Eichler
    Row New York

    Tom Eichler is currently the Director of Youth Rowing programs at Row New York, a nonprofit organization founded in 2002 that uses the sport of rowing, along with comprehensive academic and emotional support, to transform the lives of New York City’s youth, regardless of background or ability. Tom has been working with Row New York since 2012, and is looking forward to helping the organization find new ways to grow and better execute its mission through the Leadership Fellows program. Tom graduated from Columbia University in 2010 where he rowed for four years, is an avid Philadelphia sports fan, and enjoys exploring New York City with his wife Allison.

  • Yvonne Peña
    Community Service Society (CSS)

    Yvonne is the Unit Supervisor with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) at the Community Service Society (CSS), a 170-year old organization that addresses the root causes of economic disparity through research, advocacy, litigation, and innovative program models that strengthen and benefit all New Yorkers. As Unit Supervisor, Yvonne assists with the recruitment and placement of older adult volunteers at our over 300 partner organizations. She is also involved with the management, development, and implementation of general RSVP programming.

    Yvonne completed a year of volunteer service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA for RSVP’s Financial Advocacy Program at CSS. With the Financial Advocacy Program, Yvonne provided training, technical assistance, and ongoing support to older adult benefit counselor volunteers deployed throughout NYC. After completing her year of service, Yvonne became a part of CSS’s Experience Corps intergenerational literacy program as a Program and Volunteer Manager, where she managed the day-to-day operations and implementation of the program in one of NYC’s public school for three years.

    Yvonne holds a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Business Management from Stony Brook University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch’s School of Public Affairs.