We are delighted to introduce our newest graduates for Project Change. These young men and women represent a diverse reflection of our state and aspire to give something back to the young people of Maryland.
Danielle Alvarado is originally from Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. Throughout her life, she has volunteered at various nonprofit organizations and in a number of capacities, including performing refugee assistance and HIV/AIDS outreach abroad. As the AmeriCorps VISTA Coordinator for the Montgomery College-Montgomery County Public Schools Service-Learning Collaborative Project through Maryland Campus Compact, she worked to engage high school and college students in various service-learning opportunities in the local community. It was through this position that she was introduced to Project CHANGE. This year, she is working as an AmeriCorps Volunteer as both the Volunteer Coordinator and ESOL 1 instructor for the Families Foremost Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Hindeke Ammanuel is a native Washingtonian of Ethiopian decent who recently graduated from the Catholic University of America. She is currently serving as a Civic Engagement Specialist for the Silver Spring Regional Center at locations in downtown Silver Spring and Wheaton. She plans to return to school to pursue a graduate degree next year. She resides in Hillandale with her parents, Ammanuel and Saba, and her older sister, Makda.
Paul Antich is truly a happy person and doesn’t take things for granted. Being adopted from Chile in 1984, his mother wanted to give him the chance for a better life. His new parents brought him to their home in Virginia where he met his new sister who was also adopted but from a different part of Chile two years earlier. When he attended Ferrum College, he studied psychology and music. After one semester he naturally gravitated to their jazz band program. Playing and performing music kept Paul grounded as he grew and learned more about himself. After graduation he began working, but still was unsure on what he wanted his career to be. He tried a bunch of different things, but none of them really ever made him happy. In the summer of 2010, Paul hurt his foot while working in a warehouse. This was a very traumatic injury and took him a very long time to recover from. Not wanting to repeat that experience he knew that he had to do something different with his life. After all the help and support from doctors and physical therapist, he decided that he wanted to help people and that’s when he found AmeriCorps. This was the type of giving back he was looking for
Maria Brown lives in the Silver Spring, Maryland where she went to school and now works for the Montgomery Housing Partnership. She just graduated from Springbrook High School in June 2012. At the present time she is a full-time student at Montgomery College, majoring in psychology. Maria loves animals and children and plans on being either an animal behaviourist or a child psychologist. She loves reading different kinds of books; her favorite authors are Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult. Lastly, her favorite hobby is volunteering at animal organizations when she has the time to help.
Consuwella Carrington is a recent graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.S. in Mass Communications-Creative Advertising and a minor in Marketing. Originally from Emporia, Virginia, she is new to the Montgomery County area and excited to be a member of Project CHANGE! Consuwella will be working with Montgomery County’s Commission for Women, where she will be assisting with women’s rights issues in regards to the Montgomery County Community. She is naturally a curious person and enjoys a range of activities from traveling and photography, to video games and anime! She loves anything that utilizes creativity, media, meeting and helping people and also learning about foreign languages and cultures.
Noemie Carroll is a French-American born in France to an American father and French mother. She moved to the United States when she was six and spent her summers in France. She loves learning about different cultures, dancing (Salsa and other Latin dances), photography, and hanging out with friends, and meeting new people. She received her Bachelors of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. This year is here second year with AmeriCorps, Project CHANGE. Last year, she worked at the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes; this year, she is at IMPACT Silver Spring.
Angela Chen is a Rockville, Maryland, native that recently graduated from Vanderbilt University in May with a degree in Chemistry and Medicine, Health and Society. Following four years in the loving city of Nashville, Tennessee, she headed on a bicycle adventure with a nonprofit organization called Bike & Build, riding for affordable housing across the country. After traveling the country from Charleston, South Carolina to South Cruz, California, she is now back in Rockville working in the Montgomery County Public School system with the Study Circles program.
Cathy Chu was born and raised in New Jersey and loves cooking, eating, tennis, card/board games, community events, and dancing for fun. She recently graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies and minor in Sociology. Currently, she is serving as the Youth Organizer at the Gandhi Brigade, where she is responsible for lots of multitasking, attending meetings, programming, and hanging out with young people not too much younger than herself.
Malcolm Coston was the Volunteer/Activities Coordinator for JP Morgan Chase in Wilmington while working as an Account Officer. Malcolm has had over 18+ work experiences which included nursing, restaurant management, sales, internet marketing and customer service. He enjoys spending time with family and reading. His hobbies are Internet Marketing/SEO, listening to gospel music and skateboarding. Although Malcolm has had a very diverse working career – he felt that it really never addressed the desire in his heart to help make a difference in the life of others. Working as a Program Assistant with the Study Circles program – Malcolm helps provide Montgomery County Public Schools and offices a tool to engage diverse staff, parents, and students in dialogue which helps participants to develop the relationships, awareness, and strategies needed to address racial and ethnic barriers to student achievement and parent involvement. Malcolm is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and he studied Organizational Business Management at Wilmington University.
Jemi Crookes is a Gambian-American born in the District of Columbia and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland. She has been a dedicated athlete, playing everything from soccer to volleyball to running track to gymnastics during her 10 years at Sandy Spring Friends School. She concluded her athletic career as varsity volleyball captain at Bryn Mawr College from which she graduated cum laude with a B.A. in both psychology and sociology. Her job experience has included work in inner city Philadelphia Public Schools as a research intern and student mentor, as well as a summer as a market research intern at Time, Inc. in New York City. During her year of service with AmeriCorps, Jemi would like to gain a better understanding of the non-profit sector which she hopes to be able to apply to her intended career in marketing. In her free time, she loves to spend warm days cooking on the grill and spending time with family and friends, she also enjoys traveling to new countries and learning about world cultures.
Rahel Denboba is a native of Prince George’s County, Maryland, with a passion for traveling both domestically and internationally. She has recently returned to her home state after a long stay in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she attended Temple University and obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, with a minor in African-American Studies. She then went on to obtain her Juris Doctor at Temple’s Beasley School of Law and is an attorney, licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland. She has been exposed to a variety of legal settings, ranging from a criminal court judge’s chambers, to in-house corporate counsel, to immigration law, an area in which she currently provides pro-bono representation to minors in Federal Immigration court. She is working in Rockville working in the Montgomery County Public School system with the Study Circles program.
Asha Diggs, a native of Takoma Park, Maryland, is a recent college graduate. She attended the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, before transferring and receiving a BA in Communications Studies from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. While attending high school she discovered her passion for video productions but also felt the need to give back to the community. While still in high school, Asha began serving as a mentor and tutor for children in the local community, which then continued when she moved to Princess Anne, Maryland to attend college. As a member of AmeriCorps Project Change, Asha is currently working at Gandhi Brigade as the Youth Media Trainer, where she leads a group of youth in the specialty of photography with a social justice related theme. While learning about diversity and social equality, they also develop leadership and job readiness skills. She will also be serving as the media trainer for an after school program called Dig Lit at Eastern Middle School and then at Silver Spring International Middle School the following semester.
Caity Eckert, is a 2010 graduate from Saint Mary’s College of Maryland with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Mathematics. Native to Frederick County, Maryland she graduated from Urbana High School where she was a member of the varsity field hockey and track teams. Caity’s placement through AmeriCorps is at the Center for Adoption Support and Education where she is the program coordinator for a youth development initiative called the Leadership, Empowerment, and Action Program (LEAP) which empowers middle school-aged youth in Montgomery County who are adopted or in foster care. After her year of service, Caity hopes to attend graduate school to become a school psychologist, so she can help at-risk high schoolers overcome obstacles and live their lives to their fullest potential. In her spare time, she enjoys drawing, running, and doing anything outdoors.
Yesenia Escolastico is working with the Montgomery County Public Schools Study Circles program. She graduated in May 2013 from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology and a minor in Non-Profit Management and Administration. The topics that interest Yesenia are educational equity, inequalities in urban education, Latino studies and discourses on race, class and gender inequalities. Right now she is exploring options in the educational system and the areas that intrigue her are educational policy, non-profits that work with schools, college access programs and student affairs in higher education. This summer Yesenia moved to North Bethesda, and she is excited to be in the Washington Metropolitan area. In her free time, she is very involved in her sorority, Sigma Lambda Upsilon, Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority Inc., and she currently serve as the administrative officer for the graduate professional chapter for the D.C chapter.
Jessica Espinozais is a recent graduate of Colorado State University with a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences. She has a passion for animals and plans on pursuing a career in Veterinary Medicine. Jessica loves sports and this is the first year that she has not been a member of a team. She plays lacrosse and field hockey, and played polo (horse) for Colorado State. In addition, she actively competed in 3-day eventing (combined training on horseback). Lastly, Jessica enjoys reading for pleasure, as well as hiking and spending time outdoors.
Clare Farrell is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology. She resides in Bethesda, Maryland, and attended Walt Whitman High School. Currently, she serves as the program coordinator for a youth development program known as LEAP, at the Center for Adoption Support and Education. LEAP, which stands for Leadership, Empowerment and Action Program, is for adopted middle school youth in Montgomery County. Clare competed for the United States nationally and internationally in figure skating and ice dancing for over 15 years prior to joining AmeriCorps. In the future, Clare hopes to attend graduate school for Industrial-Organizational Psychology.
Erin Futrovsky is a recent college graduate of Muhlenberg College with an incredibly strong desire to help people. She is a Montgomery County, Maryland, native who has worked at a number of summer camps and volunteered for many local organizations. Eventually, she wants to attend graduate school to get her PhD in clinical psychology, but for now she has chosen to take part in Project CHANGE to gain incredible experience working with the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes. She has two wonderful parents, and annoying, but loveable younger brother and sister.
YaAdam M. Fye
YaAdam M. Fye is proud to be half Gambian and half Tanzanian as the cross continental mix has exposed her to the best of both worlds. She is a recent graduate of New England College with a Masters of Science in Management (Non-profit Leadership). She is now applying her learned skills and knowledge as a first time AmeriCorps Member with the Montgomery County Public School Study Circle Program as a Program Assistant. Through the Study Circles Program she hopes to inspire and make a difference in the lives of young adults, YaAdam is a budding humanitarian. Her hobbies include shopping, reading, sleeping, and being with family and friends.
Katherine Garcia was born in the Dominican Republic, and moved around NYC and NJ for a number of years before landing in Derwood, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park Campus, in December 2009 where she majored in Criminal Justice/ Criminology, and minored in English. Her goal within the next few years is to get a Masters in Public Policy. Some of her extracurricular activities range from being an active sister in a multicultural sorority, to being on the Committee for Ethnic Affairs for the Montgomery County Council. This is her second year as an AmeriCorps member with the Study Circles program which is a division of Montgomery County Public Schools, and loves it! One of its many goals is to break down racial barriers within the MCPS school system. Her hobbies include playing the piano, reading, cooking, and hanging out with friends.
Nioud Gebru is a son, a brother, a student, a teacher and a proud AmeriCorps, Project CHANGE member. Born and raised in Ethiopia, he now calls Maryland home, where he attends school at Montgomery College and is seeking a degree in Bio-Psychology. President of the Student Senate at Montgomery College, he is very active in his community, taking part in and assuming leadership roles in various clubs and organizations to help address our social needs and shared aspirations. He is working in Rockville working in the Montgomery County Public School system with the Study Circles program.
Karina Granados is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland with a Hispanic background. She was born in the United States, but her parents are from El Salvador. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park and obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. She plans on continuing her studies in Law School. One of her passions’ is sports, especially soccer. She has been playing soccer since the age of 9 and still plays often. Through AmeriCorps she hopes to expand her knowledge and gain experience that will help her in the future.
Tiffany Green was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and relocated to Frederick, Maryland in 2001, which is where she spent most of her teenage years. Tiffany became a first generation graduate from the George Washington University with a B.A. in Psychology and pre-med option. Upon completion of her degree she was blessed with a bundle of joy, her daughter Shaniah. Tiffany realized that it was time to live on purpose and with a purpose which is why she joined Project CHANGE. She felt this was her chance to not only impact those who she surrounded and served but, also a chance for her to re-evaluate and reflect on her life thus far in order to determine her purpose. As a second year Project CHANGE member, she is continuing her partnership with YMCA Youth and Family Services and serves at Albert Einstein Community Connections program. Working with the students at Community Connections Tiffany realized there is a strong need for individuals who do not mind listening to these teenagers every thought, someone who is willing to feel their pain and empathize with them, someone who is willing to make sacrifices and look for nothing in return, and most important someone who do not mind being a role model. Throughout her first year of service, she has become that someone and genuinely cares and loves the students that she serves on a daily basis. Tiffany experience at Community Connections has also allowed her to observe, as well as, understand the issues the youth are challenged with every day. This has motivated her to work harder in pursuing her dreams of becoming a child and adolescent Psychiatrist.
Ashley Greenwood is a graduate of Temple University. Born in California and raised on its beautiful central coast, Ashley has an appreciation for the outdoors and small town living. She enjoys warm weather and comfortable sandals. Her desire is to serve. This year Ashley will be returning for a second year with the YMCA’s Youth and Family Services Branch through the Community Connections program at Albert Einstein High School. She is honored to have the privilege of serving the young people of Montgomery County.
Jacqui Goetz is a philosopher. A graduate of McDaniel College, she has been exploring how her thoughts and ideas can influence the environment around her, particularly the educational environment for preschool to middle school age children. In addition, Ms. Goetz leads an exciting personal life, by helping to raise her sister-in-law, finishing and publishing her first novel, and being an awesome addition to a Co-ed soccer league at the Rockville Sportsplex. Also, she’s a twin – isn’t that cool? She is working in Rockville working in the Montgomery County Public School system with the Positive Behavioral and Intervention and Support Program (PIBS).
Dominique Hale is studying Psychology at the University of the District of Columbia and will graduate in December 2011. She is from Manassas, Virginia, and is interested in a career in social work and plans to continue her education. Dominique enjoys cooking and spending time with friends and family. She is looking forward to a new experience with AmeriCorps, Project CHANGE. She is working at the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes (JFGH) in their MOST program.
Brittany Joseph is originally from Pasadena, California, where she grew up playing soccer. Brittany attended Pasadena High School, where she played varsity soccer for four years and was enrolled in an art academy where she studied graphic and fine art. After high school, she went on to Alabama A&M University, and she received a B.S. Degree in Marketing. Brittany also played soccer at her university and participated in a number of campus organizations. While in college, she received a variety of awards including being recognized in the 2010-2011 Who’s Who Among College Students, recognized by Source Magazine as one of 20 campus leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and academic honors including Dean’s List. Brittany served as a member of AmeriCorps for the first time over the summer in Omaha, Nebraska, working for Omaha Serves Program, which focused on grassroots poverty elimination. She currently works with the YMCA at Albert Einstein High School with the Youth and Government Program and looks forward to spending the year helping youth in her community.
Allison Klothe is originally from Montgomery County, Maryland. She recently graduated from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she studied Psychology and Archaeology. She moved back to Maryland to work for AmeriCorps at Montgomery College’s Takoma Park campus in the Office of Service Learning. She hopes to continue on to graduate school to study school counselling, while spending her free time working on archaeological excavations.
Ruchi Kumar is a graduate of Teacher’s College Columbia University where she completed two Master’s degrees: one in Clinical Psychology and one in Teaching Children with Disabilities. She has been a high school learning specialist for the past six years. Ruchi chose to join AmeriCorps to give back to our community in the education and health fields by making use of her skills and training. In addition, Ruchi is a lover of the outdoors and nature and also enjoys dancing and yoga on a regular basis. She is a certified Health Coach and ACE fitness instructor and is working on getting certified as a yoga instructor as well.
Robin Levien is president of Power2YouCoaching, a company that provides professional development, training, coaching and consultation services to personnel in the United States and abroad. Her clients have included the International Step by Step Association, a George Soros Foundation dedicated to bringing democratic practices to the former republics of the Soviet Union; Johns Hopkins University; AmeriCorps, the District of Columbia Public Schools; the Elmira (NY) Public Schools; the Washington County (MD) Public Schools; and the Montgomery County (MD) Government. She served in Montgomery County Public Schools for 30 years as a teacher, counsellor, specialist, author and educational TV producer where she produced, directed and appeared in several shows that pioneered the dissemination via educational TV of state-of-the-art teacher training.
Zachary Levin-Epstein is a native of Rockville, Maryland who recently graduated with B.A. in Secondary Education from Arizona State University. After student teaching A.P. History in Tempe, Arizona–Zach returned to the D.C. area to work at a non-profit which provided clean water for Haitians during the summer. Zach is an avid reader, tennis player, and fan of his Alma Mater’s sports teams. He is currently an AmeriCorps member working for the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes. In the future, Zach wants to attend graduate school and spend time overseas.
Laura Liles is a happy, open hearted, Maryland native. She received her BS in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in May 2013. She is excited to be back in Maryland and helping her community with Montgomery Housing Partnership. Laura loves working with children, learning new things, trying new foods and traveling. She also enjoys photography, creating art and exploring nature. She loves to read authors like Hemmingway and Fitzgerald. Laura hopes to learn a lot this year and figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life. She plans to pursue a graduate degree and join the Peace Corps.
Isa Martinez is proud to be from New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where she received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and had a minor in English. She is very compassionate about youth and education. Isa hopes to be a pre-school teacher, as well as, have non-profit helping girls with self esteem issues. She joined AmeriCorps to further her knowledge on non-profits and to have a rewarding experience where she can help others while she grows as an individual.
Paula Matallana was born and raised in Cali, Columbia. At the age of 10, she moved to Miami, Florida. She left the warm and sunny tropics for the cold and long lasting Iowa winter in order to get a liberal arts education at Grinnell College. At Ginnnell, she was a studio art major and graduated in 2010 with a B.A.. After graduation, she went to Columbia during the fall to be with her extended family and then moved to Arlington, Virginia. In the beginning of 2011 she started an internship with an artist collective. The Floating Lab Collective, which is a part of Provisions Library in Washington, D.C. At the same time, she worked at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution under the Genocide Prevention Project as a programs officer. She is currently the youth organizer at the Gandhi Brigade, a non-profit organization which aims to train youth in new media production and teach them how it can be used as a vehicle to explore themes of community and social change.
Mayet Matungulu was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she first moved to the United States when she was five years old. Since 1992, Mayet and her immediate family and have been moving on and off between the United States, more specifically Montgomery County, and various countries in Central Africa. She graduated from the French International School in Bethesda and went on to receive a B.A. in political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Since graduating in the spring of 2009, she has worked/interned at various non-profits in Washington D.C., in areas ranging for international education/development to domestic violence. At the end of her year in AmeriCorps, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in either public policy or social work. In the mean time, she is happy to be working with Study Circle to improve student achievement and parental involvement in Montgomery County Public Schools.
Sarah M’Boua is a second year Project CHANGE AmeriCorps member serving at the YMCA Youth and Family Services Afterschool program. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 where she obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Social work and also founded a multicultural sorority on campus. In November of 2009 Sarah married her other half, Fabrice, who is Brazilian and Ivorian and has never been happier or complete. Sarah is a world traveller, having been born in Japan and having lived additionally in Spain, Italy and Panama. Sarah hopes to obtain her Masters in Social Work in the near future.
Yonelle A. Moore
Yonelle A. Moore was born in Guyana, South America, and is the first generation in her family educated in the U.S. By the time she was 8, she had lived in three different countries, and has been traveling the world ever since (to date, Yonelle has visited almost 40 countries)! She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of D.C., and a Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law. Yonelle is currently pursuing a Master of Science Degree in Negotiations & Conflict Management at the University of Baltimore. In addition to being a licensed attorney in the State of Maryland, Yonelle is also a trained mediator and arbitrator. During her year of service, she will be working with the Montgomery County government at the East County Regional Services Center. Yonelle’s greatest joy is her beautiful 6 year old daughter Gabrielle Elise.
Irene Neequaye was born in Accra, Ghana. At a young age she moved to Washington D.C., and later to Silver Spring, Maryland. Growing up in such an eclectic environment, Irene could not help but be eager to learn about others’ cultures. In high school Irene earned the Chris Van Hollen Public Service Award for her outstanding dedication to serving others through community service work. After graduating from Wheaton High School, Irene attended The University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, where she studied International Studies (concentration in Global Health) and Anthropology. In the future, Irene is looking to be of great service within the healthcare community. Some of her past work includes working as a certified nursing assistant, pharmacy technician, clinical programs intern, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT) project coordinator in Gulu, Uganda, and Community Outreach Chair and Global Health presenter for GlobeMed at UNC. In 2010, Irene had a life changing experience when she interned abroad in Uganda with a grass roots non-profit organization, Health Alert Uganda. Through this internship she had a chance to work with mothers and children affected and infected with HIV/AIDS and she developed a deeper passion for public health. Irene takes interest in media production, non-profit organizations, and service-related work, with hopes of connecting communities and serving as an advocate for underrepresented groups. Currently, Irene is taking a year off before she attends graduate school, to explore exciting career options which are aligned with her passions. Irene is enthusiastic about working with the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Study Circles Program. This program, under the Equity Initiatives Unit, tackles issues related to race and reviews policies in MCPS. Study Circles works on facilitating dialogue between parents, faculty, and students in order to move towards a more equitable school system. In addition to this, Irene manages Hanifa Boutique, an online women’s clothing boutique. And although this is nothing like anything she has done before, she thoroughly enjoys managing the work. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Haley Parsonnet is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Film and Television Studies. She was a competitive gymnast for 17 years and has been coaching for eight. She is currently volunteering at the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes in the MOST program as an AmeriCorps, Project CHANGE member, back in her home state of Maryland.
Hema Patel was born and raised in New Jersey. At the age of 13 she moved to Smithfield, North Carolina. She is currently still a student at North Carolina State University studying Political Science. Hema will be graduating in the fall of 2013. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, dancing, and watching football. Her passion for community service started in high school with her high school band and has since grown and expanded from a passion to a dedication of service to our society. Currently, she is working with the Study Circles program in the Montgomery County Public School addressing race in education with the goal of decreasing the student achievement gap. Upon her graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in social justice as an advocate for equity and diversity in politics.
Keri Rasmussen received her B.F.A. in photojournalism from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. in 2004. After a couple of internships in Pennsylvania and South Carolina she settled at a newspaper in Central Florida tackling community issues such as the housing market crash, homelessness, freedom of religion and immigration. She returned to DC seeking to enhance her media skills and work closer within the service community. Keri has found a place combining her passion for social justice and talents in multi-media, story-telling and design at the Gandhi Brigade in Silver Spring, Maryland as a Youth Media Trainer. Keri can be seen photographing life around her neighborhood, running along the Sligo Creek trail or building calluses learning to play the guitar. She still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up and is content with the unknown.
Andres Roa is a Latino, born in Colombia (South America) and raised in the state of Maryland since age two. He received an A.A. degree from Montgomery College in Business before transferring to the University of Maryland, where he graduated with a B.A. in Communication. He enjoys the company of family and friends, which is usually filled with fun, dancing, sports and laughter. Additionally, he is currently taking classes at Montgomery College to expand his knowledge in the area of electricity and achieving an electrician’s certificate. He is presently working at the Gandhi Brigade which is located in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Cynthia Rodriguez is a current student of UMUC majoring in Humanities and minoring in Communications. Her mother and father are from Nicaragua and Colombia respectively, however she was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland. She currently serves at the George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy as a Parent Outreach Coordinator for their Saturday School program. The Saturday School program is a tutoring and mentoring program for students in Montgomery County in grades 1 -12. This is her third year with AmeriCorps Project Change and she has enjoyed every moment. After graduating Cynthia hopes to continue her education and serving the community in the non-profit sector.
Julia Rosenfield is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker at the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.), where she is currently working with youth transitioning out of foster care and with adoptive families. Julia holds a BA in History and Chinese from Middlebury College in Vermont and an MSW from Catholic University in Washington D.C. During college Julia fell in love with Chinese language and culture, and she spent time as an undergraduate and graduate student living in Harbin and Nanjing, China. Prior to becoming a social worker, Julia worked as a research analyst and made use of her Chinese language skills to conduct research on and offer analysis of Chinese political and military affairs. Since becoming a social worker, Julia has provided psychotherapy to undergraduate and graduate students at the Catholic University Counselling Center, and she has also provided social work services to older adults in a local retirement community. In her free time, Julia enjoys traveling, cooking, hiking, music, spending time on the water, and being with family and friends.
Katie Sayago was born and raised in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Bloomsburg University with a political science degree. After living in Dallas, Texas for three year she and her husband moved to Silver Spring where they have been living for the past year. During that time she interned at TAYA, a reproductive health clinic in Silver Spring and Globe Women, an organization for businesswomen where she was able to help organize and attend the Global Summit of Women in Istanbul, Turkey. Katie is currently working with the County’s Volunteer Center planning the Days of Service which promotes volunteerism around the county.
Paul B. Schnitman
Paul B. Schnitman is a native Washingtonian and most recently remodelled and moved back into the house in which he grew up as a child. Professionally, he is an educator and worked in Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools for 31 years, the last 18 years of his career as an elementary school principal. He served as the Assistant Director of Project CHANGE, an AmeriCorps program in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Lauren Seeley is a University of Maryland alumna, and now resides in Bethesda, Maryland. She is grateful for the skills she acquired while earning a professional Maryland teaching certificate. Some of her fondest memories of being a college student include traveling to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Croatia with the International Student Volunteer organization. She worked on the Macaw Parrot Finca Farm in the rainforest while in Costa Rica, built a school and taught English in a rural town in the Dominican Republic and worked at the Kuterevo Brown Bear Orphanage in Croatia. She trained for and ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2009, and is currently interested in pursuing triathlons in the future. During her free time she loves to cook, dabble in graphic design, read, and spend time with family and friends. She is excited to be an AmeriCorps member, and even more excited to be involved in service learning and volunteerism at Montgomery College, Rockville.
Katherine Selheim was born in North Carolina and resided in Indiana, England, and Virginia before moving to Maryland in the summer of 2010. A graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in Justice Studies, Katherine found Project CHANGE as a way to put her passion for social justice into practice. As a second year Project CHANGE member, she is continuing her partnership with YMCA Youth and Family Services and serves at the Benchmarks After-school Program. Benchmarks provides academic support and programming such as recreation, arts & crafts, and boys & girls groups to 5th through 8th graders. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and outdoor activities such as hiking and rock climbing.
Matthew Serre is a second-year AmeriCorps member volunteering as a counsellor with the Meaningful Opportunities for Successful Transition (MOST) program at the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes which is located in Rockville, Maryland. In the program, Matthew aids individuals with developmental disabilities in establishing and reaching goals associated with achieving independence. Otherwise, he is a young professional with a passion for activism, the Android mobile operating system, cooking, gaming, music, painting, rhetoric, social justice, technology, and volunteering. Originally from Lilly, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Mount Aloysius College with a bachelor’s degree in English. In his spare time, Matthew writes posts for Droid Lessons (http://www.droidlessons.com/) in an attempt to educate mobile users about Android and its benefits.
Amanda B. Simon
Amanda B. Simon is and has always been an idealist throughout her life. She has attempted to work hard for social justice and equal opportunity. This New York born, Michigan Alumna; has worked at College Tracks and been an AmeriCorps member long enough to meet three graduating classes. Both have inspired her to look into a dual degree in social work and public health . . . or public administration or public policy . . . or non-profit management . . . it will work out eventually. She is the happiest she has ever been and is excited for what the future holds.
Jean Souchet is from Gabon originally and moved to the US in 2008 with his family. he graduated from University of MD in 2013 with a BS in geospatial information systems. While a student, he started a non-profit organization to share excess campus food plan benefits with the homeless to ensure that all students at University of MD have enough to eat. The organization is memorably named Jelly for the Belly. He is an AmeriCorps member working at Einstein High School. He especially enjoys coaching basketball and the opportunity to tutor high school students.
Brittany Thompson is a native Virginian. She graduated from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Currently, Brittany is an Undergraduate Family Science major at the University of Maryland. After receiving her undergraduate degree, she plans to attend graduate school to receive an MBA in Marriage and Family Therapy. In her free time, Brittany enjoys spending time with her family and giving back to the community through community service. She is working with the YMCA at Einstein High School where she is a group leader Community Connections After-School program.
Melissa Tran is a recent graduate of Towson University in Maryland. She currently has two Bachelor degrees: Non-profit Management and Theatre Design. Before she started to volunteer and work for non-profits, Melissa was involved in theatre for many years. She has experience in stage design and lighting for many of her high school and college plays. She loves to draw ever since she was little. She also loves to read, knit, and travel. Photography is another one of her passions in the arts. At 18, she committed herself to volunteering in the community and has not stopped since. Before coming to Silver Spring, Melissa worked in Baltimore City teaching arts to kids. She is currently working for Montgomery Housing Partnership and loves the interaction that she has with children and their families that are there. She plans to return to school to receive her license in Family and Marriage Counselling and, in the future, she hopes to continue her work with immigrant families . Even though Maryland is her current home, she was originally born in Vietnam and moved to the states when she was 11.
Sarah Tran grew up in Silver Spring, MD, where she graduated from Montgomery Blair High School and went on to major in Sociology with a Social Psychology focus from the University of Maryland. Her passion for community and humanitarian efforts led to her interest in AmeriCorps. As a Project Change member, Sarah is developing a comprehensive volunteer program for the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, and assisting with projects in the Human Resources department. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys spending time with friends and family, hosting parties, volunteering, shopping, photography, and doing arts.
Susan Ucanay is a native of Arequipa, Peru. She came to the United States when she was thirteen years old and she has been living in Montgomery County, Maryland ever since. She graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University with an International Business and Economics degree. In her first year of service with the “New Americans Citizenship Project of Maryland” she worked with the Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity. Now, on her second year of service, she is working with the Montgomery County Public Schools “Study Circles Program.” She has been volunteering with the Gilchrist as a basic computer instructor and assisting permanent residents become US citizens. Her interests include community development, business administration and non-profit organizations.
Sarah Whitelocke was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica where she spent her free time laying idly in the shade drinking coconut juice. She moved to Maryland when she was 16, where she spent her junior and senior year at Gaithersburg high school, before going to college at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. She spent her college years studying media and communication. Sarah was involved in several clubs and groups organized around social justice and forward movement. She used her summer breaks to travel to different summer programs along the east coast to create promotional and marketing videos for summer camps, as well as teach the young people at the camps about storytelling through the use of film and photography. These years were some of her best. At the end of her college career she was offered an internship with Saturday Night Live where she got to experience the intense hustle and bustle of an American network television production. Working on live shows proved rewarding in developing time management skills. She then went on to work for a production company, as well as, a photography studio. Somewhere along the line she felt she had lost touch with the things she truly cared about. She left those jobs and applied to AmeriCorps through which she was introduced to the Gandhi Brigade. Sarah joined the Gandhi Brigade in September of this year. The organization is a combination of two things close to her heart, media and its use for social justice. She is the youth media trainer at the Gandhi Brigade. Which means she gets to hang out with youth and teach them about media.
Annika Wilson has a drive and passion to help people achieve the highest quality of life possible. She was born to two loving parents in a small town called Ionia. Her parents continually challenged her to pursue her dreams. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from Ferris State University and her M.S. of Social from Wayne State University. She has since gone on to marry her best friend and joined him in his adventure with the Navy in Washington, D.C. Her passion to help those in need has found its purpose with CASE (Center for Adoption and Support Education,) assisting as program coordinator for LEAP (Leadership, Empowerment and Action Program). LEAP is a comprehensive, youth development program for middle school children who are adopted or in foster care with an adoption plan program to help adopted and foster care children cope with the many challenges they face.
Denise Wilson is a University of Maryland, College Park alumna who was born on the island of Grenada. After moving to the United States at an early age, she lived in Washington, D.C. but now resided in Montgomery County, Maryland. Denise has a passion for dance, and as a person of a Caribbean decent she uses the arts to promote cultural awareness whenever possible. She has working with children for more than five years and she hopes to give today’s youth an opportunity to experience the joy and expressive component of dance as a therapist in the future. Because of Denise’s interest in therapy, working with children and community service, her match with the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) is ideal. At C.A.S.E., she is one of the Program Coordinators of the Leadership, Empowerment and Action Program (LEAP), which is a comprehensive, youth development program for middle school children who are adopted or in foster care with an adoption plan. Denise hopes to use her previous experiences, as well as, her enthusiasm and passion for the arts to make a meaningful impact on the individuals who she interacts with at C.A.S.E.
Danielle Wollner born and raised in Queens, New York, is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Special Education. She has dedicated much of her time to social justice work, most recently having interned at the Family Crisis Center of Prince Georges, County, a safe haven for battered women and their children, battered where she facilitated therapeutic groups with children. Danielle’s placement through AmeriCorps is at the C.A.S.E., the Center for Adoption Support and Education, where she is the program coordinator for the Leadership, Empowerment, and Action Program (LEAP), an initiative which teaches life skills and empowers middle school youth in Montgomery County who are adopted or in foster care. Upon completing the year of service, Danielle plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in school psychology.
Dominique Young-Smith was born and raised in Washington DC. She studied international relations at old dominion university and plans on getting her BA next year. Dominique gained her passion for teaching when she joined the Bringing the Lessons Home program (BTLH) at the US Holocaust memorial museum. There she focused on teaching high school students not only Holocaust history but other genocide histories as well. Using these histories Dominique had students think about how they can apply lessons into their everyday life. Besides educating, Dominique also has a passion for films, acting, traveling, and eating! Dominique hopes to grow as an educator with AmeriCorps and eventually earn a teaching degree.
Lucy Yost is a fun, spirited person who’s always up for trying something new. Making her way back home to Montgomery County, Maryland, after attending Providence College in Rhode Island, she is excited to be back and is exploring the possibilities such as gardening, biking and . . . She spends most of her time coordinating volunteers to make a difference and encourages everyone to find what they’re passionate about. She is presently working with the Montgomery County, Government where she is coordinating County-wide Days of Service to promote a culture of service and volunteerism.
Efrain Zelaya A.K.A. Effy was born in the capital city of San Salvador, El Salvador. He moved to Washington, DC at the age of 10 against his wishes, but knowing that there was not much he could do about it because his parent’s vision was that their family’s success and well-being laid in the capital city of one of the richest nations in the world. He graduated from Truesdelle Elementary School and from Paul Junior High School; predominantly African American schools with an expanding Latino community. Both schools were in physical deterioration and even lacked certain basic needs such as heating and air conditioning systems in parts of the school. Due to street violence in his neighborhood, his parents decided to move to Maryland where he attended Albert Einstein High School. Personally and academically Efrain found it difficult to adapt to the high school culture but, cherish his years there nonetheless because it was a totally different experience. He is currently pursuing a degree in Elementary School Education at Montgomery College/Takoma Park with plans of transferring to a four-year institution. Efrain is all about experiencing the journey and putting his faith in the present moment while building his own path to personal success and growth. He finds AmeriCorps, Project CHANGE to be an amazing tool for helping pave a path towards personal growth and success through learning, experiencing and opening up to new things. He tells everyone to not be afraid to absorb and take with them everything they experience in this unique opportunity. The AmeriCorps experience it’s about you!