Fall Cohort 2019
Alexander B. Harris, MPH, CPH is the Clinical Research Manager at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center where he conducts research within TGNB communities. Prior to joining Callen-Lorde, he managed health promotion campaigns geared towards NYC’s LGBTQ communities at the New York City Health Department and lead an insurance advocacy coalitions to ensure coverage for gender-affirming care for Health Care for All New York. Harris currently manages the implementation of three federally funded observational studies focused on HIV prevention and health outcomes for transgender communities. He received his Masters of Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and his Bachelors of Arts in History and Russian Civilization from Smith College.
Andre Ward is the Associate Vice President of the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy, where he oversees Fortune’s advocacy efforts to reduce reliance on incarceration, promote model programing for incarcerated people, change laws and policies that create barriers for successful reintegration, and foster a just and equitable criminal justice system. (The Center is named in honor of Fortune’s founder, David Rothenberg.)
Prior to this promotion, Andre had managerial oversight of every aspect of Fortune’s robust employment and educational programs, including implementing a strategic vision that creates synergy and a continuum of services between the two units. Key among his responsibilities were using best practices and evidence-based interventions that improve Fortune’s existing programming. Specific goals included increasing the rate of job placement for Fortune clients, as well as decreasing time to placement, enhancing rates of retention, increasing starting and current salaries, and increasing skills and certification attainment. He also structured Fortune’s education services to improve literacy and math gains.
As a member of Fortune’s Executive team, Mr. Ward also helps steer overall agency operation.
Mr. Ward previously served as Director of Programs at Common Justice, an organization that develops and advances transformative solutions to violence and fosters racial equity without relying on incarceration. At Common Justice, he built community partnerships to support employment, internship, housing, education, vocational training, mental health and substance use needs. At the Osborne Association, a policy advocacy and direct-service organization dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system, Mr. Ward, who is formerly incarcerated, held numerous positions over the course of six years, including Director of Workforce Development.
He is a social worker and longtime advocate and activist for at risk and vulnerable populations who face barriers to employment and have criminal justice, chemical dependency and/or mental health issues.
Additionally, he serves as an Adjunct Professor at Medgar Evers College. In addition to being author of the book: “A Guide to Right Thinking for Reentry: A comprehensive study book for the presently and formerly incarcerated.” he is certified as an anger management specialist and mental health first aid instructor. He is a motivational speaker and Life Skills coach. Mr. Ward was also the Co-Host and Associate Producer for On the Count: The Criminal and Prison Justice Report that aired WBAI radio.
Angela Mora-Vargas received her MSW degree from the New York University School of Social Work and is a licensed social worker in New York State. She obtained her Bachelor Degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Angela Mora-Vargas is currently the Assistant Vice President of Programs for Vibrant Emotional Health. In her role, she supervises all direct services programs for the organization, including the Family Resource Centers, Harlem Bay PROS Program, Adolescent Skills Centers, Older Adult ACT Team and Family Link Preventive Program. Ms. Mora-Vargas joined the organization in July 2002 as Project Assistant of the Crisis Resource Center. In 2003, Ms. Mora-Vargas became part of the Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative as a Care Coordinator and later, as the Director of the initiative.
As part of her current role, she ensures that all direct service programs are meeting their contractual obligations, that the services provided are of high quality and accessible to the communities we serve and she is continuously ensuring that staff members receive appropriate supervision, training and support.
Ms. Mora-Vargas also facilitates trainings in Mandated Child Abuse Reporting, Mental Health First Aid and ASIST- Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. Ms. Mora-Vargas supported the expansion of Vibrant’s five Family Resource Centers, as well as the implementation of our Circle of Security Parent Coaching Program, including hiring and training of 25+ staff members.
Aside from her role at Vibrant, Ms. Mora-Vargas’s passion is to enhance the lives of those in her community and other communities in New York State by encouraging families and youth to take a lead role in their service plans and advocate for child/adolescent services that are strength-based, individualized and of quality.
Barbara Joy Beatus-Vegh is the Associate Director of Girls Inc. of Long Island, whose mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. A life-long feminist and girls advocate, Barbara started as a volunteer in mid 2013, helping to build the organization, grow its outreach and impact tenfold, and more than double its budget. Barbara has also been teaching yoga for over a decade. Her classes focus on mindful self-compassion, and fostering a strong connection to one’s own inner wisdom. She is also an active member of the Long Island Women’s Diversity Network, the Long Island Coalition for Gender Equity, and the State Sex Education Policy Action Council (SEPAC). Barbara holds a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College and a Bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University. She is also a poet and visual artist, selling her goddess-inspired paintings and reading her poetry throughout Long Island.
Danny Kirk is Manager of Maker Space Programs at the New York Hall of Science where he supports an amazing team of facilitators as they design and implement creative maker-centered programming. He is a long time youth educator and program facilitator with a passion for making and hands on learning. Before joining the NYSCI team, Danny was the Education Community Coordinator at Maker Ed in Oakland, California. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his terrier pup Margot.
Dr. Elizabeth Bishop is an educator, researcher and youth advocate. She currently serves as Director of Curriculum and Outcomes Evaluation at Global Kids as well as the Assistant Director of Strategy at the CUNY SPS Youth Studies graduate program where she teaches on the faculty. Bishop is also the recipient of the 2019-2020 JFK Jr. Institute for Worker Education Faculty Fellowship from CUNY SPS. Previously, Bishop taught on the faculty at Ithaca College, served as Deputy Director at the Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School and as Assistant Director of the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Originally from Newtown, Connecticut, Bishop began her career as a classroom teacher in the Bronx and has served in leadership positions across NYC public schools and youth development organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S.T. in Adolescent Education from Pace University, an M.A. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.A. in Planned Studies: Critical Ideologies from Ithaca College. She has published and presented widely on her research and is the author of two books published by Peter Lang Publishing, including her 2015 “Becoming Activist: Critical Literacy and Youth Organizing” and “Embodying Theory: Epistemology, Aesthetics and Resistance” which was released in early 2019. She is online @DrBishopDigital.
Erin Palmer is the Director of Evaluation and Practice Innovation at S:US. In her role she helps implement new initiatives as well as evaluate new and existing programming. Her team helps develop new programming through private and government funding opportunities, bring new evidence based and promising practices into the agency, evaluate programs, and help develop metrics to measure success. In recent years, she has lead an agency-wide initiative and training in Continuous Quality Improvement around consumer satisfaction and a focused analysis of Social Determinates of Health in urban farm participation. In the coming year, she is working across divisions at S:US to measure and improve quality of services through a standardized assessment tool as well as implement a data-driven health access project to implement interventions for chronic health diseases and improve integrated care. Erin has represented S:US on various city-wide health care workgroups and is active on multi-agency data and quality committees. Her current policy interests include the evolving needs of homeless individuals in New York City, person-centered practices, and the use of technology to improve health outcomes. Erin came to S:US in 2014 and has worked in the field of behavioral health non-profits since 2006. Erin has a Master’s in Social Research from Hunter College. Outside of work, Erin plays competitive volleyball, reads fiction, and travels with her dog.
Jaime Abbott is Senior Director of Individual Giving at Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest nonprofit victim services agency. In over five years working with Safe Horizon, she has developed an annual major giving program focused on increasing donor loyalty and commitment to Safe Horizon’s work, leading to the generation of year-over-year revenue growth. Jaime enjoys getting to personally know the organization’s donors and connecting them on a personal level with the life-changing work Safe Horizon does.
She has over 15 years of fundraising experience, including prior positions at Habitat for Humanity – NYC and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, as well as volunteer fundraising for domestic violence shelters, animal shelters and youth sports programs. Prior to committing to the nonprofit sector full-time, Jaime worked several years in various areas of the legal field, including as a paralegal and a Judge’s Bailiff.
Jaime holds a Masters of Public Administration in Nonprofit Organization Management from Seton Hall University, a Masters of Arts in Ancient & Medieval History from Ohio University and Bachelors of Arts in Economics Management and History from Ohio Wesleyan University.