Team of 2017-18


Haily Gonski at Hospice CaringHaily-150x150

Haily Gonski is in her second year as an AmeriCorps Project CHANGE member, working with Hospice Caring. She will be working alongside the director of children’s bereavement services to facilitate bereavement support groups in Montgomery County Schools as well as assisting with the planning and facilitation of Camp Erin, Hospice Caring’s bereavement camp for children. Haily was born and raised in Connecticut but, attended the University of Maryland where she graduated with a degree in Psychology with a focus on child development. The past few years she has worked with children in various settings including preschools, family resource centers, and with Linkages to Learning. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, going to the beach, attending music festivals, and watching the Patriots.

rosaRosa Diaz at YMCA Benchmarks

Hello, my name is Rosa Diaz. I get referred to as rosy when you know me well. I am in my second year with AmeriCorps. My birthday is March 09 which presumably makes me 21 years old and a Pisces. I am the youngest of four. Two sisters and one brother. What I love the most about that is, it makes me an aunt of five too! Two nieces and three nephews to be exact. Out of the many things that I value, Family is at the very top of my list for sure! I graduated from John F. Kennedy HS, class of 2014. Currently, I am enrolled in Montgomery College majoring in communications. One of my short term goals is to transfer to the University of Maryland within the next year or so.

Wendy Pintado at MCPS Saturday  School

Wendy is a Montgomery County Alumnus who is every excited to give back to her community. Although she was born in Silver Spring, her family is from Guayaquil, Ecuador. She is currently a senior at the University of Maryland pursuing a degree in family science. She has done a great amount of community service in the past. She has volunteered as a mentor for Sisters in Action, at S.O.M.E soup kitchen, at Walter Pierce Park and for K-9 Lifesavers. She is very passionate about education and working towards closing the achievement gap. She wants to be able to mentor first generation students like herself who many times don’t have the resources in their life to seek advice to apply to college from their friends or family. She hopes to serve as a role model that inspires others to pursue higher education despite any kind of financial background. This is her second year of AmeriCorps, where she is serving  with Project Change at the Saturday School and also at Blair High school helping out in the ACES program.

deepnaDeepna Anand at  MCPS Study Circles

Deepna Anand was born and raised in Maryland and attended Montgomery County Public Schools. Deepna is entering her third year as an AmeriCorps Project CHANGE member, working at Montgomery County Public Schools’ Equity Initiatives Unit. She studied psychology at University of Maryland, Baltimore University. In her free time, she loves to travel. She has been to places such as India, Egypt, Poland, Israel, Her dream is to travel the world.  She is a MASSIVE Harry Potter fan, Wingardium Leviosa. After completing her year at AmeriCorps, she hopes to continue her education by pursuing her masters in social work.

doloresDolores Byrnes at Study Circles

Dolores Byrnes is a writer and anthropologist. She grew up in Warren, Ohio and has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Cornell University.


Zainab Lawal at Community Bridges 

Zainab has joined AmeriCorps Project for her first year as a program specialist for Community Bridges. She is recently graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a Bachelor’s in Family Science. Zainab attended elementary, middle, and secondary education in both Ibadan, Nigeria and Montgomery County, Maryland. As a daughter of two West African immigrants, working to empower young girls from immigrant families and marginalized groups is exciting and important. Her interests are in gender equity, immigrant health, cross-cultural communication and social justice. After completing her AmeriCorps service year, Zainab plans to pursue a career in global public health after earning a dual master’s in Social Work and Public Health as well as PhD in Health Behavior. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling and watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Bertha VargasBertha Vargas at MCPS Gaithersburg Hisgh School METS/ESOL Program

My name is Bertha Maria Vargas. I am 22 years old and was born and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland. I have one younger brother and my parents are immigrants from Nicaragua. I graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 2012 and then went on to graduate from Marymount University in 2017. I received a Bachelors degree in Biology with a secondary education teaching licensure. I am very excited to work with some amazing AmeriCorps individuals at Project CHANGE!

JussaraJussara Kramer at MHP

Jussara Kramer is the Director of the International Educational Conference & Cultural Exchange (IECE). An annual event which takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has been working as an education consultant for Teachers College Columbia University located in New York. In the past, she worked as a Portuguese professor at Howard Community College, located in Washington DC. She is the former Curriculum Design & Development Director at the Alliance for Community, Teachers and Schools (ACTS). As a director, Jussara evaluated the mission, vision, and values of the Learning Ignited by Family and Teachers Together (LIFT) program. She reorganized the program conceptual framework, and designed workshops, seminars and activities that encouraged parents and teachers’ collaboration at Baltimore City Schools.  Previously, Jussara worked at the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) located in Baltimore and developed a leadership program initiative targeting 4th and 5th graders. The program was designed to develop youth leadership traits, network students with leaders in the community and develop future leaders in the Baltimore City.  Jussara Kramer has received her Bachelor of Education Degree and Masters in Nonprofit Management from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She was a distinguish delegate for the United Nations at the Commission on the Status of Women in 2013 and 2015. In 2016, she traveled to Sweden, Norway, Finland, Amsterdam, and Germany to research education curriculum and school design. In 2017 and 2018 Jussara will volunteer as AmeriCorps Vista because she feels the need to be involved in helping others, learn from diversity, and support the community.

IMG_DanielaDaniela Hernandez at Kemp Mills Elementary

Hello, my name is Daniela Hernandez, I am currently working at Kemp Mill Elementary School,  with AmeriCorps Project Change. I assist the teacher & students with class work & by supporting them with their academic learning, I am also a hair dresser on the side. I enjoy working with kids, I was an intern in Arcola Elementary School with 1st graders.

Ankur pic

Ankur Rastogi at MCPS CREA Program at Thomas Edison High School

A native of Montgomery County, Ankur Rastogi, in Project Change, works with Career Readiness Education Academy(CREA) at Thomas Edison High School of Technology helping students to increase their English and Math proficiency, career skills, and gain a GED.

Prior to AmeriCorps, Ankur attained his BA from University of Maryland(UMD) and MA from Columbia University where he examined the global economic and political order impact on wealth inequality in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa regions. After completing his research and degrees, Ankur, worked with the American Pool Association(APA), where he fell in love with teaching youth billiards and life skills and, as a result, inspired him to continue working with youth.

NoahNoah Hughes at MCPS CREA Program at Thomas Edison High School

Noah Hughes was born in Washington, DC and lived there for 11 years before moving to Bethesda, MD in the summer of 2007. Noah is working with MCPS’ CREA (Career Readiness Education Academy) program, part of the Department of Career Readiness and Innovative Programs. His focus is on running tests and charting the students’ growth over the year long program. Noah is also assisting with the math program, on top of helping make sure the program runs smoothly everyday. Noah Hughes is a computer science/game design major but is taking a break from school to volunteer for AmeriCorps. Noah graduated with honors from Walt Whitman High School in 2014.

AmeriCorpsMDGonzalo Fernandez-Coffee  at Gandhi Brigade


David nrciesseDavid Narcisse 

David Narcisse is a graduate of the great HBCU, Dillard University, located in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a native of Vacherie, Louisiana, roughly a half hour from New Orleans. He prides himself on being the best that he can be & wakes up each day striving to be better for his beautiful & talented daughter, Daelyn Victoria Narcisse. His skills include aspects of film production, writing in different literary genres & more. He is thrilled to be apart of the Americorps: Project CHANGE & Gandhi Brigade organization. Be on the lookout…


Fiorella Montoya 

Fiorella Montoya is a Peruvian native, but she has been living in Maryland since she was 12 years old. She is currently studying to obtain her B.A. in Secondary Education- Spanish as she aspires to become a teacher. Fiorella is very passionate about education and being involved helping the youth in her community. This is her first year as an AmeriCorps Project CHANGE member, working with Kemp Mill Elementary School Dual Language Program.

ImaniImani Scott 

Currently as An Americorps member I am website developer at MCPS Carver Center, I use HTML and Tron to do routine maintenance on MCPS webpages. I also work at East Potomac Golf Course working within the driving range and proshop, I assign tee time, training sessions and member support. I am a part time student at University of Maryland, I am majoring in software development and cyber security. I currently am working on several projects where I use C Code. I have recently completed a 1 year work force development program that specializes in technical training.I am working towards several certifications such as in A+, Security+, and Network+. While I am currently emerged in a full schedule. I am looking for training courses or programs where I will be able to study, develop and learn several coding languages, such as python and ruby on rails. In the near future my career field will be a software application developer, where I plan on creating my own mobile gaming applications.

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