Spring Cohort 2016
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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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.
Joseph E. Luesse is a founding partner and CEO at 8RES, a Research, Evaluation, and Strategy consulting firm. Joe has more than 20 years of experience in varied settings as a leader, teacher, program developer, researcher, and evaluator. Joe has extensive experience leading program design, research, strategy, capacity building, change management, innovation, and monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) efforts across the nonprofit, foundation, and education sectors. He’s an adjunct teaching evaluation at NYU’s School of Global Studies, a co-founder and former President of the NYC metro region’s American Evaluation Association affiliate, a New York Community Trust Leadership Fellow, and actively engaged in several professional communities. Joe is a regular presenter, speaker, and writer on evaluation and strategy.
Prior to his current role, Joe worked with DREAM (formerly Harlem RBI), the Ford Foundation, The Research Alliance for New York City Schools, Government Relations at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Joe also taught high school English for over ten years, and during that time he created a small learning community, tutored, became a UCLA Writing Project Fellow, formed a mentor exchange between high school and middle school students, participated in a progressive co-ed soccer collective, and assisted coaching basketball. Joe earned an EdM in Sociology and Education from Columbia University.