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Tami Bolk was born in South Korea and raised in Wisconsin, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing before moving back to South Korea to teach English for a year to employees at Samsung Electronics. In 2011, she moved to Boston to start a graduate program in Intercultural Relations at Lesley University. She spent her first few years navigating different industries between an educational tech startup to assisting in the resettlement process for newly arrived refugees. During her time as a study abroad advisor at MIT, she was most excited about the times students returned from their programs abroad and shared stories of growth and transformation. It was her own study abroad experience that had a similar effect and ultimately led her down the path she is currently on. In 2016, she moved to Harvard Business School, where her team coordinates the logistics and operations of sending 900+ MBA students to 12 different cities around the world.
All of these prior experiences, paired with local volunteer opportunities, have helped develop a greater curiosity in many of the policies and structures behind such organizations and industries. She strives to operate with a critical optimism and intercultural lens in order to push herself to continually improve.
Currently, she is focusing her efforts both on diversity and inclusion efforts at the staff level at HBS, and learning more about decreasing youth recidivism rates by volunteering with at Roca Inc. in Chelsea, where she has recently put down roots.
Anthony Britt is the Program Manager for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF) at Commonwealth Corporation, a workforce development agency that seeks to strengthen the skills of Massachusetts youth and adults by investing in partnerships between public agencies, businesses, career centers, and community-based organizations. In this role, Anthony manages a grantee portfolio of training and education programs that train unemployed and underemployed workers for jobs in high-demand fields to meet the immediate and emerging needs of businesses and workers so that they can prosper in our dynamic economy.
Having grown up in an interracial family with two adopted siblings, Anthony aims to break down the barriers that all too often prevent children with low-income backgrounds from realizing their potential and attaining high-outcome lives in adulthood. He is dedicated to building a more equitable society where all children have access to educational, economic, and social opportunities and supports that empower them to thrive for the good of themselves and their communities. Anthony is on a lifelong journey to grow his capacity to advance systemic solutions that help individuals and their families overcome oppressive structures that limit upward mobility and well-being.
In addition to his work at CommCorp, Anthony serves as the President of the Young Education Professionals Boston Board and as a youth mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Previously, he held a number of roles at City Year Boston such as instructional coach, lead literacy trainer, and program manager, and taught 8th Grade Science in Mississippi through Teach for America where he coached basketball and led a number of book and school supplies drives. Anthony has also interned at the Mississippi Department of Education, was a ServiceNation intern at Be The Change, Inc., and served as a member of the OneIn3 Council (Spark Boston) where he focused on civic and neighborhood engagement. Anthony was raised in Ellsworth, Maine and graduated from Harvard University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Government. He recently completed the Community Fellows program through the Institute for Nonprofit Practice at Tufts University and is affiliated with the Mel King Institute.
Nyasia moved to Boston from New York in 2013 in order to continue her studies at Suffolk University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Philosophy. Shortly after graduating from Suffolk University, she served as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year Boston at Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Roxbury in a 3rd grade classroom. It was during her service year she realized her passion for serving and the importance of educational equity for all children.
Nyasia is currently working at an Uncommon School in Dorchester as the Office Manager. She is committed to empowering youth, and it is of the upmost importance for her to encourage them and let them know that they do matter and how important it is for them to believe in themselves as well as value themselves, and to take their education seriously.
Nyasia enjoys working (and serving) with like-minded people who are passionate about social justice, and who strive to make a positive impact in the lives of others around them in their professional lives, as well as their personal lives.
In Nyasia’s free time, she enjoys reading, writing, traveling, going to new restaurants, volunteering and spending time with friends and family.
Elizabeth Cooper is the Lawrence Susskind Graduate Fellow at the Consensus Building Institute where she works with senior staff on facilitations, mediations, and multi-stakeholder problem-solving processes and conducts research on energy conflicts.
She is also master’s candidate in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she studies environmental governance and collaborative decision-making around public disputes. Elizabeth also serves as a volunteer mediator in the Massachusetts courts.
Prior to joining CBI, Elizabeth worked as an associate of the UMass Boston Center for Governance and Sustainability, researching the level of implementation that environmental treaties achieve among party countries. Her previous research projects include a study of neighborhood collectives organizing to develop local water systems in Cochabamba, Bolivia and an examination of the Zapatista’s efforts to increase food autonomy in Chiapas, Mexico.
Cristina Costa has been working in the digital marketing and tech vertical in Boston for the past 4 years. She currently works as the Digital Marketing Manager at a startup named Lendbuzz geared towards providing equal lending opportunities and fair rates to all internationals living in the US. As a cultured Latina woman who attended Boston College, lived and taught abroad for 3 years and has experience working in higher ed and corporate verticals, Cristina has witnessed a tremendous lack of diversity and opportunity in these institutions, particularly in tech. For this reason, she is passionate about racial and gender equality as well as passionate about creating opportunities for people of color in the ever expanding technical vertical. Cristina is on the Advisory Board for Project 99, a for-profit organization who's mission is to diversify corporate industries in all sectors, she is also the Branding Officer for Women with Purpose, an organization geared towards empowering professional women of color in the Boston area and she volunteers at Resilient Coders, a non-profit who's mission is providing the tools for urban youth to become computer programmers and developers.
With a background in political and community organizing, Rielle is dedicated to improving systems, especially when it comes to education, justice, and equality. After serving as an AmeriCorps member and volunteering with many community nonprofits focused on education, healthcare, homelessness, and civic engagement, she developed a passion for working directly with people most in need of help. This work eventually led her to a position providing constituent services to residents of Massachusetts as a Regional Director for US Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Currently, Rielle works as an Outreach Director for Panorama Education, a company focused on improving student outcomes by helping schools and districts act on data. She believes that with the proper resources and support, every student can succeed and build a personal path towards success.
One day, Rielle hopes to start her own nonprofit to provide wraparound services to students and families.
Zach serves as Director of the Community Service Center at Boston University, working to develop his students as engaged civic leaders who create programs and opportunities for their peers to engage meaningfully beyond BU’s campus. Zach sees his role as creating space within an academic institution to center student and community partner voices in the learning experience. Zach hopes that his students, above all else, develop a sense of accountability for the strength of their communities, working towards equitable access to resources and opportunities for all community-members. In addition to supporting his students, partners, and programs, Zach is frequently called upon to speak on topics including civic identity and leadership development, addressing mental health as a leader, centering community and personal stories in leadership work, and the awesomeness of being introverted. Studying U.S. History at Boston University, Zach developed a strong interest in the social justice, cultural, and counter-cultural movements that have shaped our country and world. He found his passion for developing empowered civic identities in young adults while earning a Master of Education in Prevention Science and Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Beyond Boston and BU, Zach has worked in civic education in Andover and Lawrence, MA at Phillips Academy Andover, and in New Orleans at Tulane University. A fiercely proud native of New York’s Capital District, he spends time away from work eating pizza, going to shows, slowly working to become an Adirondack 46er, and exploring The U.S.’ cities, small towns, and national parks.
Vivian Kalumbi is a first generation Malawian-American from the city of Mzuzu. She spent majority of her childhood in the Midwest in St. Paul, Minnesota and West Des Moines, Iowa before her family settled in Seattle, Washington. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2014, with a Bachelor's in Marketing and Information Systems. Born with a sense of adventure and natural curiosity to explore new places, Vivian moved to Boston immediately after graduation. She currently works as a technology consultant for healthcare providers, aiding clients in development and execution of their technology strategy. She has had the opportunity to work with clients in each region of the United States, and as a result, gained first-hand exposure to the varying challenges consuming the American healthcare system.
Vivian is passionate about shaping healthcare and social policy for underprivileged populations—including immigrants, minorities, and low income households. Growing up in an immigrant household, Vivian recognizes the challenges her family endured. Her parents had to learn to navigate American culture while endlessly working to provide stability, comfort, and a better future for their children—a luxury they weren’t able to enjoy themselves. A strong community support system and educational opportunities helped Vivian’s parents succeed on this front, but Vivian isn’t blind to the fact that this is not always the norm (for immigrant families or otherwise). She thus dedicates her time volunteering and fundraising for organizations whose mission is to help these communities, including Junior Achievement USA, United Way, and the International Rescue Committee.
Vivian is also equally committed to promoting civic engagement. She works to protect the right to vote by promoting initiatives that increase voter confidence and participation. As a New Leaders Council Fellow, she is looking forward to further engaging Millennials in all levels of government to build a more inclusive America.
Lisa was born in Trinidad and moved to Brentwood, New York when she was nine years old. She grew up understanding the value of an excellent education. Her parents always reinforced the idea that your education is the one thing that someone cannot take away from you. Lisa was inspired and supported at an early age to advocate for herself and her education. While obtaining her degree, it became apparent that there were few women of color majoring in the sciences. After graduating from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor of Science and an M.B.A., she found her way to teaching high school chemistry. She always had a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and wanted to inspire more young women and young men of color to pursue degrees and careers in STEM. In the classroom, she found her calling as an advocate as she had a greater understanding of the causes for the lack of representation in the STEM field and wanted to broaden her impact to include as many students, families, and communities as possible. Lisa transitioned her career into the field of policy and advocacy where she sees the power of grassroots organizing as a vehicle for change.
Currently, Lisa works for Educators for Excellence as an Outreach Director where she works to ensure that teachers’ voices are a part of policies that impact their classroom and careers. As an immigrant and a woman of color, there have been many spaces where she felt her voice was either stifled or not allowed. In her work, she grounds herself in listening to the needs of her community and always bears in mind that the best intentions do not always have the intended impact.
Sathyaprya Mandjiny, also known as Sathya, was born in France and raised in North Carolina. Sathya recently graduated from the Boston College School of Social Work with her MSW focused on macro social policy. Her interest in policy was sparked during her undergraduate studies at UNC Chapel Hill focusing on Global Studies and South Asian Studies. However, inspired by the work of her parents, both educators, she joined Teach for America to teach 9th grade science in Colorado Springs and later 7th and 8th grade science in her hometown. During this time, Sathya saw first-hand the need for social workers for both children and families. Once at Boston College, her previous interest in policy was renewed and she interned at the Massachusetts State House and then at the National Association of Social Workers-Massachusetts Chapter where she focused on legislation surrounding child welfare and criminal justice. She had the unique opportunity in her final year internship at the NASW to lead 700 social workers to the Massachusetts State House to lobby on a variety of bills of interest to social workers. Sathya’s collective experiences has led her to her current position as Account Coordinator at Lynch Associates where she currently works with the legislative team on a variety of issues ranging from health care to trade association issues. Sathya lives in Quincy and now calls Massachusetts home.
Sarah is an ancestral excavator and creative ecologist, listening to the interconnected systems at work in, around, and through us. having grown up in a family contracted with the US Military in the name of Christian youth ministry work, sarah spent her young life in movement and contemplation - between languages, cultures, schools, and communities. her work now investigates what community can look like across distance and difference; how roots can grow in soil, air, and water; how radical presence, vulnerability and joy can birth liberation. carrying on the work of many comrades before and beside her, she facilitates sensorial experiences, sculptural meditations, and communal gatherings that decenter authorship. after obtaining her BA from Brandeis University in 2016, sarah spent a field season on hōlanikū, a seabird sanctuary of the papahānaumokuākea marine national monument. she participated in an ongoing conservation effort on the 200-acre, uninhabited atoll 1,400 miles northwest of honolulu. bearing witness to the wounds our society continues to inflict on this planet, her personal research specifically interrogated decolonization processes in the context of endangered plants, animals, and earth.
now, as guest here on native land, her daily praxis centers personal and ecological healing as instruments for collective transformation - re-membering the etymology of “to heal” as to make whole. this process begins in microcosm: tending her own wounds, relationships, and ancestries offers first steps towards actualizing social change. having inherited the ancestry of the colonizer and a vocabulary of love assuming possession, this unearthing evolves into creative collaborations with family members, friends, and neighbors. she is building frameworks for being that decompose all that does not liberate the most marginalized, and instead uplift listening as sacred disposition - through our bodies, our environments, and each other. learning this slowness, patience, and trust offers strategies for healing the violence of systemic oppression – knowing that the longevity of liberation praxis means learning to take care; knowing that sustainability necessitates cultivating deep honor for truth, even unto its innermost parts.
Elizabeth (Liz) Murphy is a government affairs, advocacy, and communications specialist who is passionate about social justice. Liz relocated to Boston in 2016 after working in the political space in Washington, D.C. for eight years. She currently serves as Legislative Director for the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists (MOSES), where she represents the interests of the Commonwealth's scientists and engineers on Beacon Hill.
While in Washington, D.C., Liz served as Communications Director for two members of Congress and spent five years doing both communications and legislative work on Capitol Hill, focusing on women's issues and the House Progressive Caucus Agenda. After the Hill, she joined The Sheridan Group, a small lobbying and advocacy firm representing nonprofit clients at the Federal level, where she served as a Director for policy and advocacy. While at The Sheridan Group, she completed her M.P.P. at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University, writing her graduate thesis on the relationship between paid paternity leave and maternal wages.
Liz currently volunteers weekly with the Irish International Immigrant Center as a teaching assistant with a beginner English class. She is also active with her alma mater, Bates College, and serves on the Bates Executive Fund Committee and as Co-Chair of the Class of 2008 10-year Reunion Committee. She enjoys Irish step dancing, indoor rock climbing, and spending time with her dog, Oscar, in her spare time.
Lee Nave Jr. is the Diversion Network Project Coordinator for Citizens for Juvenile Justice, based in Boston, MA. Since June 2015, he has advocated for more fair juvenile justice system for young people around Massachusetts. His work includes working with community members, partner organizations, system leaders and other advocates to create community-led solutions for alternatives to arrest and court processing for young people. His work includes carrying out focus groups with parents and young people, coordinating community-driven conferences, and developing research papers that summarize community recommendations.
Lee in 2012, Co-Founded Student Voice, a student-run organization that advocates to empower students to have more say in their education. Using social media campaigns that have engaged millions, Lee was the primary author of the organization's founding documents, strategic plan, and oversaw the management of day to day operations of the organization, while also being a full time graduate student. Lee's work with Student Voice led to major partnerships with corporations and foundations such as Microsoft, The Hewlett Foundation, and Dell. He has spoken on panels for Cengage Learning, Dell, NBC Education Nation, and SXSWedu in Austin, Texas, advocating for student rights.
Lee began his nonprofit career when he was a junior in high school in St. Louis, MO, where he worked with inner-city youth to develop leadership and team building skills at Urban Future, a tutoring and teen leadership development nonprofit. This experience of working with young people, helped him in his decision to advocate for the rights of young people in multiple capacities.
Lee continues to be active in his new home of Boston, where he has joined several local boards of youth serving organizations. He also plays a vital role in the direction of national juvenile justice policy work, as an Alum of the Youth Justice Leadership Institute Fellowship Program, and a current member of the National Juvenile Justice Network Advisory Committee.
Lee holds a dual Masters in Public Administration and a Masters in Diplomacy & International Relations from Seton Hall University. He also Bachelor's Degree in History and Communications Arts from Ottawa University (Kansas). In his free time, he trains in Tae Kwon Do and Boxing and writes fiction novels for fun.
Debbie Nguyen is a Managing Consultant at Impact Catalysts, where she partners with social enterprises and philanthropies to develop tools and systems to deepen their work and impact. Prior to consulting, Debbie’s work focused on designing and implementing youth development programs. Her work in direct service includes time as a College Success Director at Let’s Get Ready, where she developed and expanded the organization’s near-peer mentoring program for low-income and first-generation college students in the New England region. In Philadelphia, she implemented job readiness programming for homeless and foster youth through her work at Valley Youth House. Outside of her full-time work, Debbie continues her commitment to serving young people and their families through numerous volunteer commitments. For the past 10 tax seasons, she has offered free tax preparation assistance to low-income individuals and families through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. She also tutors and mentors Cambridge public school students at Enroot and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. Finally, she is developing a virtual mentoring curriculum for Go Laadli, a nonprofit organization that empowers young women in India to view themselves as changemakers and leaders. Debbie is a proud alumna of the Brockton Public Schools system in Brockton, Massachusetts. She is forever grateful to the Questbridge National College Match program, which granted her the opportunity to study English Literature at Swarthmore College. After graduating from Swarthmore College, Debbie obtained a Master of Education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Tram T. Nguyen, a graduate of Tufts University and Northeastern University School of Law, is a staff attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS). Currently, she is the project coordinator for the Civil Legal Aid for Victims of Crime (CLAVC) Project and serves victims of crime in multiple areas of law, including family, immigration, employment, housing, consumer fraud., and more. Prior to this position, she was an Equal Justice Works Fellow and then staff attorney with the Asian Outreach/Employment Law Unit of GBLS, where she fiercely advocated for survivors of domestic violence and low-wage workers, who face difficulties due to the clustering, segregation, and isolation that they experience because of their status as racial and ethnic minorities, immigrant women, families with children, etc. She helps clients overcome some of those difficulties and barriers, by getting them legal immigration status to allow them to work and apply for public housing, helping them separate from abusers, protecting them from wage theft, preventing them from being wrongfully evicted, and more. As a community lawyer who works to serve as a conduit to help members of immigrant communities gain access to legal services and navigate the legal system, she has extensive experience collaborating and coordinating with local and state government entities and community organizations across the state to make sure that clients’ needs are met. Through legislative advocacy, she works with statewide coalitions, lawmakers, and lawmaking bodies to push for laws that address issues of racial and economic justice and protect the rights of the most vulnerable populations. She has received the Lawrence Bar Association Merit Award, Vietnamese American Bar Association Public Service Award, and Reginald Heber Smith Award.
Born and raised in northern Idaho, Garrett Nichols moved to Massachusetts in 2014 after accepting a position as an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Bridgewater State University. At BSU, Garrett conducts research and teaches courses on rhetoric, queer studies, political campaign rhetoric, and rural studies. He also worked to develop and lead the first Residential Learning Community for LGBTQ students at the university. He earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2013, with a dissertation that sought to understand how symbols of rural culture are used to promote heteropatriarchy and white supremacy in the United States. His recent publications have examined topics such as the intersections of social justice and typography; decolonial and queer-inclusive teaching practices; and the use of rural fashion. Garrett previously served as the co-chair of the Queer Caucus for the Conference on College Composition and Communication, a professional organization for scholars in rhetoric and writing. As co-chair, he helped develop three new awards to recognize and promote LGBTQ scholars and students. Outside of the classroom, Garrett volunteers at the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, providing communication and writing assistance to promote the ORI’s initiatives. He is also looking to get more involved in political campaigns after working on a successful reelection campaign for a city councilor in Quincy. He enjoys board games, karaoke, crafting, and talking politics.
Jessica is passionate about bringing people together as an event planner and fundraiser. She is a Lead Specialist focusing on fundraising and engagement events at Accion International, a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world. She also serves as Operations Officer for Women with Purpose, a Boston organization that strives to connect, cultivate and empower women who identify themselves as minorities by enhancing their professional and leadership skills and helping them to thrive personally and professionally. In this volunteer role, Jessica plans and emcees a series of development seminars on topics ranging from negotiation to personal branding and financial health. A woman of many trades, Jessica is also a team member for Without a Hitch, working with brides and celebrants to ensure their wedding day is flawless. Previously, Jessica worked on several political campaigns in Massachusetts; she is particularly proud to have been a part of Attorney General Maura Healey's historic win in 2014. Jessica is a champion of racial and LGBT equality as well as services for elders. She volunteers weekly with FriendshipWorks as a companion for isolated elders. Jessica holds a B.A. in International Studies and Anthropology from Colby College. In her free time, she enjoys hosting themed potlucks, curating playlists, and bullet journaling. She is a Hygge enthusiast and a proud Cantabrigian.
Herb Susmann is from Ithaca, New York where he spent his childhood being homeschooled and attending an alternative community school, where he worked with his peers to organize a conference on youth leadership and empowerment. After receiving a B.A in mathematics from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 2014, he started at his current position as a Data Scientist/Software Developer at Silent Spring Institute, a non-profit environmental health research organization in Newton, Massachusetts. One of his major projects has been to develop digital tools for communicating complex scientific information to participants in environmental health studies. His efforts have been incorporated into several major studies, including the Center for Disease Control’s Green Housing Study and the Child Health and Development Studies’ Three Generations Study. He played a leadership role in launching the first crowd-sourced and crowd-funded biomonitoring study, “Detox Me Action Kit”, in which members of the public can sign up to have their urine tested for a panel of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Herb currently resides in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he is an active member of the local community. He volunteers as an English as a second language instructor at WATCH CDC, a local non-profit organization, and, during the summer, Herb enjoys getting his hands in the dirt as a volunteer at the Waltham Fields Community Farm. He knocked on doors in his ward to support a progressive candidate in the 2017 city council election, an experience that has led to an interest in making local government more transparent and accessible to community members.
Connor is committed to creating collaborative, scalable solutions that help low-income individuals gain access to greater economic opportunity.
He currently works for Grads of Life, a national initiative that works to change employer perceptions and hiring practices to make quality jobs more available to the 5 million young adults in the United States who are currently unemployed and not enrolled in higher education.
As an Associate, Connor engages directly with employers and job training organizations to build partnerships that allow motivated young people to enter the workforce with a clear pathway and resources to guide continued career growth. He also supports Grads of Life’s work to measure and communicate the impact of such programs, both on the lives of participants and on the companies that have created sustainable solutions to their pressing talent needs.
Connor entered the workforce development field through a New Sector fellowship on Year Up’s Human Resources team, in which he coordinated several initiatives to support organizational development and staff wellbeing. Before moving to Boston, he spent a year as a Fulbright Fellow in Saratov, Russia. During this time he taught English at the city’s main university and organized several events with local partners to foster greater understanding of American culture and society.
Connor graduated from Middlebury College, where he studied political science and Russian. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and enjoys running, cooking, and kayaking in his free time.
Sneha Walia was born and raised in Massachusetts, and is the daughter of two immigrants from India who taught her the value of education at an early age. She is currently a 7th grade history teacher at New Mission Collegiate Academy in Hyde Park, working with the 7th grade team as they build a middle school into the existing high school. She previously taught 11th grade history at Somerville High School. Sneha is passionate about using history education to help teach students about themselves, and to address historical issues that shape the systems of privilege and oppression that we all operate in today. She is also interested in education policy and how teachers can play a role in advancing educational equity. Sneha is a 2015 graduate of Brandeis University, where she studied Politics and Education Policy. At Brandeis, she served as Student Government President and was able to intern at the US Department of Education's College Access Program. Through those experiences, she saw the fundamental break between the needs of academic institutions and the lack of representation of educators at the policy-making level. Sneha is committed to creating spaces for educators to be the primary areas of change in college access and retention, and wants to advance teacher leadership through her practice. Outside of school, Sneha enjoys spending time with friends and family, writing, and seeing musical theater. She also began distance running this year and just completed her first half-marathon.
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