2016 Activist Alliance
Netsanet Tekeda Alemu was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and spent her childhood wrapped up in the world of Hogwarts, hence her tendency to be an idealist. She graduated with a degree in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015 (Go Bears!!!), but she would say that one of her favorite classes she took there was Advanced Feminist Theory. Netsanet is currently a LEAD Program Facilitator for New Women New Yorkers, where she facilitates workshops with a curriculum that aims to empower young women immigrants in NYC. She loves to write, read Middle East history and politics and hopes to become a foreign correspondent in the near future.
Kelly Alvarez is currently a sophomore pursuing her degree in Public Accounting at CUNY Brooklyn College. When she isn’t crunching numbers, Kelly works as a regional ambassador for Girl Rising, a social action campaign dedicated to educating girls in developing nations and as an advocate for women in business and STEM fields. She is particularly interested in empowering women economically including helping women swing away at the glass ceiling. This includes closing the gender pay gap and increasing minority women’s access to professional opportunities. In the future, she hopes to create a career that integrates her love for her profession and activism.
Katrina Ballard works at a health education tech company and volunteers with various advocacy organizations in New York City. As a former teacher, she is interested in the role sex education can play to combat gender stereotypes, promote gender equity and reduce violence against women. Katrina is also passionate about reproductive freedom, and before graduating from Boston University, she has been known to hand out condoms on spring break. Katrina also loves hiking, books, traveling and burritos. Life goals include emulating Leslie Knope. @KatrinaBallard
Lauren Berry is a Pace University graduate and Account Manager for a software company in Chelsea. Originally from New Jersey, her interest in Feminism and women’s reproductive rights started at a very early age (including the 6th grade report she recently found on Margaret Sanger). When she is not being an advocate for equality, she enjoys knitting and watching cooking shows.
Kate Brennan recently graduated from Brown University with a dual degree in Modern Culture and Media and Gender and Sexuality Studies. She currently works at a digital strategy firm fundraising for politically progressive nonprofits. Kate is passionate about inclusive feminism, reproductive justice, and representation in the arts. Outside of activist work, Kate can be found watching reality TV and talking about Hamilton the Musical.
Lucia Brown oversees External Relations at the Feminist Press, an indie publisher/nonprofit in NYC. She is a graduate of Ithaca College where she studied international communications and gender studies, and is originally from Maine. She enjoys libraries, eating snacks with friends, and listening to NPR.
Rebecca Brown works at an anti-hunger nonprofit where she assists families and individuals across the country who are in need of food resources. Rebecca attended New York University where she focused her studies on sociology and public policy. A former intern and volunteer with NOW-NYC, Rebecca is very excited to become part of a network of passionate, unique and intelligent young feminists with the Activist Alliance!
Diana Caley is a food security researcher and practitioner, with a focus on urban hunger in low-income countries. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Food Studies at New York University and holds a B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University. Ms. Caley is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.
Haishu Ding grew up in Guangzhou, China with her single mother. She came to U.S. in 2010 to pursue a dual Master’s degree in social work and public health, and now works as a bilingual social worker serving immigrant families in Brooklyn, NY. She is grateful for the privilege of meeting some truly amazing women through her work, whose resilience to thrive under a social system that sometimes works against them never cease to inspire her. Haishu is thrilled to be a part of the 2016 Activist Alliance, to learn to better advocate for women’s rights, particularly women of color or women in minority social groups. When Haishu is not occupied by work or worrying about social justice for women, she enjoys sampling different cafes in the city, binge-watching YouTube videos, chatting with her two cats in Pittsburgh, and learning to play the ukulele. She does not, however, like writing personal bios about herself.
Lynn Freedman wants to inspire women and girls to excel in math and business. She is passionate about getting the education and resources to girls and women in order to do this. As a member of the 2016 Activist Alliance, Lynn is most excited to be surrounded by strong, confident women who are as passionate about women’s issues as she is. Music has always been a huge part of her life and she frequents live shows and festivals.
Rachel Harris-Phillips is a grant writer and communications manager at an education non-profit. She looks forward to advocating for reproductive justice with the Activist Alliance, and is passionate about movement-building, intersectional activism, and strengthening connections between academic theory and grassroots practice. In her spare time, Rachel can be found with a good book, jogging through the streets of Brooklyn, or talking your ear off over a beer.
When Michelle Hernandez is not online sharing or defending women rights and social justice; she is traveling, volunteering in different places, or dancing Colombian folklore. She is the first person in her family to graduate college; She is a graduate of The City University of New York, College of Staten Island. She was able to complete her BA in International Studies in just three years. It was throughout her undergraduate studies that her passion for feminism was born. Besides being a feminist she is also an environmentalist, human rights enthusiast, dance enthusiast, culture enthusiast, nature enthusiast and very family oriented.
Megan Holleran is a passionate women’s rights advocate with a specific focus in the area of violence against women. She has worked with several New York based anti-trafficking organizations to combat sex trafficking. She is currently a member of The New State Anti-Trafficking Coalition, which works to increase public awareness of human trafficking and enact anti-trafficking laws. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, people watching and making little kids laugh. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in political science.
Faye Kilburn is an equal rights activist with a special interest in intersectionality, body positivity, LGBTQIA rights, and the impact of gender norms on society. She has a masters degree in physics and philosophy, and is currently a Wall Street journalist. In both these areas, she learned about the lack of female representation and is now passionate about supporting women to aspire to typically male-dominated roles. Faye is currently a counsellor on a suicide helpline for LGBTQIA youth and recently spoke at their gala event about her experiences on the lifeline. She is also a team leader for an education program for unprivileged youth at New York Cares. In the future, she plans to become a politician or political campaigner, and fight for equal rights at the highest level.
Celestina Leon has gone by Celeste since she was little. She is passionate about community building and cultivating mindfulness in her daily life. Currently working in a direct service role, she is on the front lines of the rapid changes occurring in north Brooklyn, advocating on behalf of a diverse constituency. She is excited to spend the next year learning and growing with the rest of the Activist Alliance members. Her interests include urban policy, the art of performance, and how socialization effects our identity. She will likely be seen biking through Brooklyn and Queens.
Senti Sojwal is a New York native and currently works as the Outreach and Communications Coordinator at Sakhi for South Asian Women, a women’s advocacy and anti-domestic violence organization serving immigrant populations across the five boroughs. She earned her B.A. in Gender Studies & Politics at Hampshire College. Senti has a background in reproductive justice, education, political writing, and feminist advocacy. She is interested in the intersections of feminism, race, gender, sexuality, youth, and pop culture. Senti loves early 2000s hip hop and avocados on everything. Follow her on Twitter @senti_narwhal.
Larissa Szilagyi, born and raised in Edison, New Jersey, is currently a student at Pace University studying Political Science and Women’s & Gender studies with minors in Sociology and Queer Studies. Larissa began her activist work as the Policy Chair to the grassroots campaign, #PaceUEndRape. She is also the founder of the Women’s Political Caucus at Pace University. She has been active within politics as head recruitment and co-campaign manager for several local campaigns in New Jersey and policy internships throughout various legislative offices. Larissa hopes to attend law school upon graduation from Pace and study constitutional law. You can follow Larissa on twitter and instagram at @rissasalami
Brittany Tedeschi works in higher education as a residence hall assistant director. She is a graduate of the University of Miami and the University of Georgia, as well as an AmeriCorps*VISTA alumna. In her role on campus, Brittany works with college students, helping them to develop their leadership skills and become more engaged in their communities. She is passionate about sexual violence prevention and response on college campuses, and she is excited to spend the next year engaging in advocacy work with her fellow Activist Alliance members. In her free time, she can be found baking, running, kayaking, or going to Broadway shows. @brittanyted10
Jessica Warner was born and raised in the California Bay Area and now lives in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Jessica holds a B.A. in both Sociology and Psychology from Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges, as well an M.S.W. in Social Welfare and an M.A. in Criminal Justice from the University at Albany. Jessica is the Assistant Director of the Fontana Center for Child Protection, Adjunct Faculty at CUNY Hunter’s Silberman School of Social Work, Co-Chair of New York State’s Juvenile Justice Coalition work group on Conditions of Confinement, Co-Coordinator and former teacher of the People’s Education Initiative (a volunteer group that provides academic courses to women who are detained), as well as a member of the Advocacy Council for the Citizen’s Committee for Children. Jessica specializes in systemic issues impacting children and youth who are dually involved with the child welfare and juvenile or criminal justice systems, which disproportionately affect girls and youth of color.
Ashleigh Williams, DC-born and a Baltimoron at heart, graduated from NYU with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Gender & Sexuality Studies and has worked in the fields of community education, reproductive health, publishing, and higher education. She has become an unintentional erotica analyst and a very intentional crazy cat lady (minus the cat, for now). Ashleigh is ignited by the notion that demanding societal recognition, representation, and respect is radical as all heck, and thus aims to explore feminism as it engages with body positivity, queerness, race, disability, and so much more. In her spare time, she’s a Potterhead who loves exercise and listening to film scores that make her cry. Send her book recs and life hacks on twitter: @bombus_vagans
Imogene Winkleman works in government relations and special events at a NYC-based health and human service nonprofit. A recent graduate of Clark University, with a double-major in Women’s & Gender Studies and Psychology, Imogene is passionate about deconstructing systemic inequalities, empowering young women through alternative education, and building discourse for healthy conversations about consent and sexuality. In her spare time, Imogene enjoys attending concerts, biking, playing her guitar, and exploring parks and markets.
Maria Winters DiMarco works within the intersection of strategic communication and social justice. She specializes in helping others use their own personal stories to drive concrete action in their communities. She lives in Brooklyn and loves being able to get around without a car.
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