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April Allen, Doctoral Candidate, Brandeis University - Heller School for Social Policy
April Allen is a Doctoral Candidate in Children, Youth, and Family Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Her current research interests, dissertation work, and advocacy efforts seek to promote healthy development for children involved in the child welfare system. In addition to completing her dissertation, April is working with researchers, state agencies, and child-serving non-profit organizations to implement legislative and procedural changes to Early Intervention services for maltreated children. Over the past several years, April has developed expertise in a wide range of programs directed to vulnerable children and families. She has managed research projects and a child health disparities center at Boston Children’s Hospital and conducted research on Early Intervention services for maltreated children at the Center on Child and Family Outcomes at Tufts Medical Center. In addition, she has held policy and research positions in child-serving agencies for the Ontario Government and at the Institute for Child, Youth, and Family Policy at Brandeis University. April holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Queen’s University, and an MA in Social Policy from Brandeis University. She completed her undergraduate studies in Political Studies and English Language and Literature at Queen’s University. A native of Canada, April has lived in the Boston area for six years and enjoys baking, reading, and fostering rescue dogs with her husband.
Corey Allen, Dean of Discipline/Community Liaison, TechBoston Academy
Corey J. Allen is a 29 year-old Bostonian with time spent in various career fields, including landscaping, live entertainment and education. While supporting his brother’s entrepreneurial dream, Allen, then a junior at Boston Latin Academy helped launch C.E.A.S.E. & Bros. Landscaping in 1999, specializing in property maintenance, snow removal and clean-outs. In the same year, Allen became an instrumental member of C.E.A.S.E. Entertainment, another family venture, focusing on promoting, hosting and providing entertainment for public and private functions. Allen maintained a safe and timely transportation schedule, routes and security during events, which spanned four New England states and New York City. Upon entering college in 2001, Allen began work as a college desk clerk in the Boston Globe Sports Department where he would be for the next eight years – six on the college desk as a clerk and part-time writer for high school sports and feature stories and two as a statistician/editor on the copy desk as a professional. Other journalistic endeavors during this time included an internship at Globe West, a bi-weekly supplement for residents in the suburbs west of Boston and Managing Editor of the Mattapan Reporter, a weekly newspaper focused on the Boston subsection of Mattapan, Allen’s birthplace and home. Allen remains a journalist, currently freelancing for ESPNBoston.com covering high school sports. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Boston in 2007 with a B.A. in English and minor in African-American studies, Allen began a year-intensive teacher preparation program at UMass Boston, interning at TechBoston Academy, where he was the lead teacher for two English Language Arts classes a day from October to June, and supported the school’s assistant headmaster with facilities and security logistics to gain experience in administration as well as classroom instruction. An ardent supporter of community based initiatives, Allen is a volunteer member of the Mattahunt Wheelock Community Center Advisory Board and in early 2012 helped organize a neighborhood group, Cummins Valley Neighborhood Association, which draws stakeholders from three parts of Boston to promote and maintain a dynamic community. After four years in the classroom as an English teacher, Allen is currently a dean of discipline and community liaison TechBoston Academy, working with parents, students, teachers and community partners to provide a healthy learning experience for the students while serving the community with volunteer efforts on behalf of the school.
Meredith Bazirgan, Licensed Clinician, Bay Cove Human Services
Meredith is a licensed clinical social worker with a focus on women's empowerment and working with adults who struggle with mental illness. She currently works at a large human service agency in Jamaica Plain doing annual assessments for adults with mental illness who focus on specific goals in their day to day living each year. She is most passionate about helping people, both individually and on a larger scale, find ways to not only survive but to thrive in spite of their struggles with mental illness. A graduate of Boston College school of social work, Meredith also spent a few months in Peru working on an assessment of effective programs for development of indigenous women's communities of South America. Her undergraduate studies focused on Psychology and Spanish. She enjoys travelling, learning about new cultures and meeting new people, any kind of adventure, playing outside, and trying new things. One day Meredith hopes to start her own company, perhaps by opening a wellness center with a multidisciplinary approach to holistic health and well being.
Patrick Beaudry, Community Affairs Aide, Senator Michael Knapik
Patrick Beaudry serves as State Senator Michael Knapik’s point person on all matters pertaining to economic development in the 2nd Hampden & Hampshire district with a focus on community affairs in the district’s urban core. Previously, he served in the Offices of State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz and State Representative Michael Kane. A proud native of Holyoke, Patrick enjoys the ability to split his work and personal time between the Paper City and Boston in his current position. He lived fulltime in Boston for a number of years, both attending Suffolk University and working in the State House, before moving back to his hometown this past June. The relocation allowed him to be highly involved in the field efforts of the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Western Massachusetts. Patrick has been a member of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay’s Emerging Leaders Gala Committee since 2010. He is also currently serving as an appointed member of the Holyoke Public Schools’ Superintendent Search Committee. Patrick enjoys spending his free time golfing, skiing, cooking and working on campaigns.
Nicole Bourgoin, Foundation and Political Manager, Barbara Lee Family Foundation/Barbara Lee Political Office
Nicole Bourgoin currently works as Foundation Manager at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation where she manages strategic non-partisan grantmaking initiatives that expand women's participation in American politics and in contemporary art. Nicole also works as Political Manager for the Barbara Lee Political Office where she directs political fundraising initiatives, coordinates a candidate training program, and manages political expenditures in support of Democratic pro-choice women candidates around the country. Nicole previously served as Foundation and Donor Communications Manager and Program Associate at Family Equality Council, the national organization working to ensure equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) headed families. There, she managed the organization’s grantseeking and donor communications, designed and implemented resources and programming for LGBT parents and their children, led speaker trainings for LGBT parents in cities around the country, and organized for issue advocacy campaigns such as advancing California’s marriage equality initiative (Prop 8) and overturning Florida’s LGBT adoption ban. Nicole serves as a hotline volunteer and is on the leadership team of the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund (EMA Fund), a grassroots organization that provides grants and case management for people seeking abortions in eastern Massachusetts. Nicole is also a new volunteer with Comfort Zone Camp, a bereavement camp that seeks to provide grieving children with a community in which to heal, grow, and lead fulfilling lives. Nicole is a passionate advocate for social justice and is actively involved with body size justice work. She is also particularly interested in disability rights and anti-racism. Nicole graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Drama. In her spare time, Nicole can often be found cooking, crafting, singing, or exploring the hiking trails of New England. A Massachusetts native, Nicole currently resides in a small co-op in Jamaica Plain with her partner and roommates.
Aaron Chalek is currently pursuing masters degrees in public policy and business administration degree through the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where he is a 2012 Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Program Fellow. With a focus on health care policy and management, Aaron's areas of interest include integrative health care delivery initiatives, payment and financing models, and health disparities. Aaron is current a policy intern at NEHI, a national health policy think-tank in Cambridge, MA, where he supports the policy team with its health care innovation programs and initiatives. Aaron is the former Director of Operations for the Progressive Business Leaders Network (PBLN), now the Alliance for Business Leadership, where from 2008-2011, he was responsible for the daily operations of the organization, membership and fundraising, as well as the coordination of sector-specific working group initiatives. Prior to PBLN, Aaron served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in the Development Coordinator role for the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell, Massachusetts, a non-profit youth center for "at-risk" and under-served youth. Aaron has also recently held internships at the Boston office of Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health, and the Disparities Action Network. Aaron received his BA in international relations and government from Clark University in 2006.
Christopher Conroy, Project Manager for Influence Strategy, Year Up, Inc.
Chris serves as the Project Manager for Influence Strategy at Year Up Boston, where he manages the organization’s relationships with influence stakeholders across the city and collaboratively designs strategies for mobilizing Year Up's students, alumni, staff, corporate and community partners to participate in systems change activities. Prior to his work in influence, Chris served as Stand for Children’s Lead Organizer in Boston, where he managed the construction of a chapter organizing team made up of volunteer parents, teachers, and community members. He also maintained strategic and collaborative relationships with school district leaders and key education stakeholders. Chris has also developed and orchestrated field strategy for a statewide ballot question and Boston City Council campaign on a volunteer basis. Chris’s has a passion for youth leadership development; he began his career as a public school educator. He taught at Codman Academy Charter School as special education Instructor & Program Coordinator and at the Patrick F. Gavin Middle School in South Boston (which is now UP Academy). Chris was also an Americorps National Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools and interned at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office as part of their Safe Neighborhood Initiative in the Upham’s Corner neighborhood of Dorchester. Chris's most exciting recent professional experience has been leading the development of a youth voter education and registration campaign at Year Up this past fall, in which 85% of all eligible students voted in general election and 74% of all students said they would vote in every future election. Chris was born in Dorchester, is a resident of Roxbury, and graduated from Amherst College in 2005 with a B.A. in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought. He enjoys writing, football, and spending time with his family.
Katherine Duarte, Research Assistant, Health Resources in Action, Inc.
Catherine Duarte is a Research Assistant in the Research and Evaluation Department at Health Resources in Action (HRiA), a non-profit public health consulting group. In that capacity, she contributes to the collection and analysis of reliable data to guide the program development and implementation process for a variety of clients from governments, communities, scientists, and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining HRiA, she interned with the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center CURE program contributing to research on the impact of race in prostate cancer treatment outcomes and has worked with the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Urban Planning and Public Health on a project concerning the intersection of the built environment and community health. Catherine holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology, with a concentration in pre-medical studies and a minor in French from Boston College. When not working, Catherine volunteers as a Hotline Counselor at AIDS Action Committee where she is responsible for responding to phone calls with confidential information, support, and referrals related to public health topics such as HIV/AIDS, STDs, viral hepatitis, and sexual health. Born in New Bedford, MA, Catherine grew up overseas in Mali, Guinea, and Kenya before returning to the US to live in Virginia. She moved back to Massachusetts to attend Boston College, and currently resides in Cambridge.
Steven Dry, Master of Divinity candidate, Harvard Divinity School
Steve Dry is a Master of Divinity candidate at Harvard Divinity School and a candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church (UMC). Steve focuses his studies on the intersection of science, sexuality, and religion. He brings with him a concern for social justice, a passion for global mission work, and a desire to create a more inclusive church. He is enthusiastic about reaching diverse people with new ideas and different approaches to practicing the Christian faith. Growing up in the church, Steve has worked with the UMC to make spaces for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Nationally, Steve worked with the Methodist Federation for Social Action and the Reconciling Ministries Network to advocate for LGBT inclusive legislation at the 2012 General Conference. Regionally, he sits on the Visioning Table for the New England Annual Conference of the UMC, where he works with leaders from across the region on creative ways to support the ministry of the local church. In addition, Steve has planned conferences to provide clergy and lay people with tools to develop ministries with and for the LGBT community. Steve graduated from Emory University with highest honors in chemistry and religion. While at Emory, Steve served on the President’s Commission for LGBT Concerns and as a worship deacon for the university chapel. Steve also competed on the track and field team, where he won team and individual conference championships. For his success on the track and in the classroom, Steven was recognized nationally as a two-time Academic All-American and received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. After Emory, Steve studied at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland as a recipient of the Robert T. Jones Scholarship from Emory University.
Emily Flynn, Manager of Special Projects, Sustainable Endowments Institute
Emily Flynn is the Manager of Special Projects at the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a Cambridge-based organization that works with colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to reduce their environmental impact by implementing energy and resource-use reduction initiatives. Emily is the principal author of the Institute’s 2012 Greening the Bottom Line report, a publication on the field of green revolving funds and their environmental and financial impact on the university campuses that operate them. Emily was the lead researcher in the Minority Serving Institutions Green Report Card (2011), the first publication to report on the environmental programs at historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic, and tribal-serving institutions in North America. Since June 2010, Emily has been a lead consultant in the growing student-led coal and fossil fuel divestment movement. Before joining SEI, Emily worked with Project Piaba, a community-based interdisciplinary project of the New England Aquarium. Her focus was on the ecological and socio-cultural systems of the middle Rio Negro basin, Brazil and its impact on sustainable fisheries and poverty alleviation. During that time, she also dabbled as a free-lance writer, reporting on cultural events around Western Massachusetts. Emily is a 2009 graduate of Williams College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Ecology. She hails from the land of greener pastures, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. When she’s not thinking about saving the world, Emily enjoys blogging about her misadventures, bad pop songs, and Shark Week.
Justin Kang, Organizer, Opportunity Nation
Justin Kang manages 125+ campaign advocates in 45 states for Opportunity Nation, a bipartisan, cross-sector national campaign made up of more than 250 non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, faith-based organizations, community organizations, and individuals all working together to expand economic opportunity and close the opportunity gap in America. Prior to this role, he supported dozens of entrepreneurs at two nationally recognized business accelerators as an Associate at MassChallenge and as an Associate Director at the Unreasonable Institute. In his spare time, he serves as the Co-Chair of the Social Investment Council for Echoing Green and volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Timothy McDonald, Healthcare Systems Preparedness Manager, Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Timothy is a native Bostonian and a graduate of Harvard, where he concentrated in Government and completed an advanced study certificate in Health Care Policy. He works for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health in the field of emergency management, with a specific focus on the preparedness of public health agencies and healthcare systems for emergency and disasters. Before moving to DPH in 2007, Timothy worked for the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals and the Boston Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management. His work involves planning for the worst case disaster scenarios, but he is happy to talk about more mundane (i.e. less morbid) subjects, particularly affordable housing, sustainable development and state transportation policies. And if Timothy is somehow able to merge those subjects with his interest in home brewing and cycling, all the better!
Paola Moll, Researcher, Joint Committee on Revenue, Massachusetts Legislature, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Paola Maynard-Moll is the Senior Research Analyst for the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Revenue. After spending a year assisting the constituents of Lexington, Woburn, and Arlington as Representative Jay Kaufman’s Legislative Aide, she transitioned over to the Committee on Revenue, Chaired by Rep. Kaufman, to focus on revenue and fiscal policy. Paola grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico and came to Massachusetts in 2002 for college. She graduated from Bentley College in 2006, where she studied English Literature and minored in Business and Women’s Studies, and Northeastern University School of Law in 2011. Through Northeastern’s cooperative legal education program she previously interned in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance and in the Senate Counsel’s Office. Between college and law school, Paola worked at Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company for two years. She has also volunteered in a number of campaigns for candidates she admires and causes she cares about.
Nolizwe Nondabula, Financial Analyst, Staples
Born in California and raised in South Africa, Lizwe works at Staples Corporate as a Financial Analyst for the Inventory Accounting and Control team. In her position, Lizwe is responsible for providing comprehensive modeling, forecasting and reporting of inactive inventory and inventory reserve. Prior to joining Staples, Lizwe was a Senior Associate at State Street Bank where she worked with the Financial Reporting and Tax departments in preparing financial statements for over 90 mutual funds. Her work efforts earned her the State Street Global Rising Star Award. Lizwe currently serves on the Board of Directors of Brookview House and BUTCH Voices. Brookview is a nonprofit with the mission of helping homeless and at risk families learn the skills necessary to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. BUTCH Voices is a grass root organization that provides programs to build community and positive visibility towards all self-identified Masculine of Center* people and their Allies. Additionally, Lizwe is the Mentorship Program Coordinator for the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition (HBGC). HBGC inspires and empowers Latin@, Hispanic and Black LGBTQ identified individuals through activism, education, community outreach, and counseling. When she’s not working or serving her community, you can find Lizwe on the football field, playing full contact tackle football for the New England Intensity.
Kyle Polk, Senior Analyst, ICIC
As a senior analyst in the research division, Kyle Parrish Polk is focused on identifying the strengths of inner city residents and employers. Kyle translates those skills and industrial capabilities into growing markets of the national and international economy. Kyle plays a lead role in ICIC’s industrial strategy for Mayor Dave Bing’s Detroit Works Project. He is responsible for identifying, understanding and developing opportunities around Detroit’s competitive and emerging clusters. Prior to joining ICIC, Kyle was a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and focused on rating risk management practices and testing institutional conformity with Basel II. Additionally, he has extensive experience as an investment banking analyst within the Mergers & Acquisition group for Deutsche Bank’s Global Corporate Banking Division in New York City. Kyle holds a bachelor’s in finance from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA
Prem Ramaswami, Product Manager, Google
Prem Ramaswami has been a Product Manager at Google since, 2006. Currently, Prem is on educational leave attending Harvard Business School where he is President of the Harvard Business School Democratic Club. At Google, Prem focused on Google's Dotorg efforts around Crisis Response, making critical information more accessible around natural disasters and humanitarian crises. Prem has also worked on projects such as Google Checkout, Google's ecommerce shopping solution, and the Internet Bus Project aimed at increasing Internet penetration in India. With Google Checkout, Prem was instrumental in launching Google Checkout for Non-Profits and Political Contributions. Prem was also part of Google's Network Infrastructure team as part of the Make the Web Faster Initiative launching Google Public DNS. Prem graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in Computer and Biomedical Engineering and worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on an airborne 3D laser radar wide area mapping system before joining Google. He also is a depressed Jets fan, loves college basketball, and is addicted to TV.
Nadir Vissanjy is currently a 2014 candidate for the Master in Public Policy degree at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Nadir last served as a Congressional Aide for the Honorable Michael M. Honda representing Silicon Valley. Before his tenure in Congress, Nadir was the Strategic Campaigns Organizer for the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, representing 55,000 public sector employees in Northern California. Prior to that, Nadir was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs, Chair of the California State Student Association and President of the Associated Students of Sonoma State University. Nadir is the first in his family to graduate from college, where he was part of the inaugural class of the California DREAM Act students from Sonoma State University. Nadir was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal and spent his formative years in Northern California where he plans to return after graduating from the Kennedy School. After earning his Master in Public Policy Degree, Nadir eventually plans on moving back to California and working in local politics.
Keiko Zoll, Founder & Writer, The Infertility Voice
Keiko Zoll is a leading infertility and women’s health writer for TheInfertilityVoice.com. She is also principal for Words Empowered, a social media, web design and freelance writing consultancy specializing in social communication architecture. Keiko serves as the Director of Communications and Social Media for RESOLVE New England, a 501(c)(3) non-profit providing education, support and advocacy to the infertility community of New England. As principal for Words Empowered, Keiko leverages social media technologies and online communications to help small businesses, non-profit organizations and individual brands develop online presences that inspire connection, engagement and action with their customers and clients. Named as one of the top online influencers for infertility in 2012 by ShareCare.com and winner of the 2011 Health Impact Award from Wellsphere.com, Keiko has appeared in numerous media outlets including The Huffington Post, REDBOOK Magazine, and Babble.com, among many others. She has twice been named a BlogHer.com Voice of the Year for her writing. Her writing has appeared in Metro News International, Identity Magazine, and BlogHer.com. A tireless advocate for the infertility community, Keiko seeks to empower infertility patients through their family-building journeys toward healing, hope and authentic living. The Infertility Voice seeks to free infertility from cultural shame and silence while catalyzing a national, open and compassionate dialogue about infertility as a disease. After several years of battling infertility personally, she and her husband will welcome their first child in June 2013. Keiko holds a B.A. in Communications from The College of New Jersey.
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