Leadership & Staff
Equal Justice Works staff is a dedicated group working to mobilize the next generation of public interest lawyers. A close community with a passion for ensuring the equal representation of all, Equal Justice Works staff is proud to support the work of our Fellows, member law schools, host organizations, NAC members and Board of Directors. We thank host and event sponsors for their generosity and for making our work possible.
Tim Wierzbicki, Chief Development Officer - BIO
Patricia Reilly, Director of Philanthropy - BIO
JT Redmon, Senior Manager of Philanthropic Operations - BIO
Claire Shanley, Communications and Marketing Manager - BIO
Shanika DeWindt, Digital Media Specialist - BIO
Evan Underwood, Development Operations and Research Specialist - BIO
Anne Brown, Development Specialist - BIO
Michelle Morrisey, Development Assistant - BIO
Mia Sussman, Director of Fellowships - BIO
Sterling Morriss, Senior Manager - BIO
Tammy Sun, Senior Manager - BIO
Lauren Worsek, Portfolio Manager - BIO
Andrea Wood, Portfolio Manager - BIO
Sarah Lilly, Program Specialist - BIO
Braxton Gore, Fellowships Assistant - BIO
Taí Merey Alex, Senior Program Manager - BIO
Toya Lynch, Senior Program Manager - BIO
Qudsiya Naqui, Program Manager - BIO
Josh Porter, Program Manager - BIO
Brian Stone, Program Specialist - BIO
Renee Lavigne, Program Specialist - BIO
Sarah Corcoran, Program Specialist
Whitney Williams, Program Coordinator - BIO
Will Walker, Program Assistant - BIO
Kelsey Edwards, Program Assistant - BIO
Alexander Roberts, Program Assistant - BIO
LAW SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT & ADVOCACY
Isaac Bowers, Director of Law School Engagement & Advocacy - BIO
Ashley Matthews, Program Manager - BIO
Claire Cusella, Program Manager - BIO
Michelle Gaeng, Program Coordinator - BIO
Kenneth Strickland, Student Debt Specialist - BIO
Yvonne Vargas-Santos, Director of Administration - BIO
Jamie R. Odle, Senior Manager, Alumni Relations - BIO
Steven Rice, IT Business Manager
Peter Majano, IT Specialist - BIO
Anita Adams, Events & Special Projects Manager - BIO
Diana Miranda, HR & Benefits Manager - BIO
Alex Peffley, Operations Coordinator - BIO
LaBianca Jones, Operations Assistant - BIO
Michael Byrne, Operations Assistant - BIO
Nadine Smith, Administrative Assistant - BIO
With more than 30 years of experience in public interest law, David Stern has helped develop Equal Justice Works into the nation's leading organization in mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. David has served as Executive Director for the past 19 years, vastly expanding the size and impact of the organization.
David joined Equal Justice Works, then known as the National Association for Public Interest Law (NAPIL), in 1992 to establish a postgraduate fellowship program; in 1995 he was promoted to Executive Director. During his tenure as executive director, the organization's budget has grown from roughly $1.5 million to $15 million, staff has quadrupled, and more than 98 percent of ABA-accredited schools are now members of Equal Justice Works.
Under David’s leadership, Equal Justice Works has funded more than 1,200 public interest fellowships, with more than 85% of the former Fellows still practicing public interest law. Currently there are more than 200 full time lawyers working on the front lines to combat injustice, up from 150 a year ago (and up from seven when the fellowship program started 21 years ago); and there are 720 law students who advance justice through Equal Justice Works’ AmeriCorps JD program. In addition, Equal Justice Works is a national expert on student debt relief and provides tools to promote public interest law opportunities on campuses across the country.
David has been recognized as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal, as a “Champion of Change” by the White House for his work fighting for equal justice for all, and as one of the "Greatest Washington Lawyers in the Past 30 Years” by The Legal Times.
In 2006, David was honored by the Mississippi Center for Justice for bringing national attention to the legal needs of survivors of Hurricane Katrina and for creating Equal Justice Works’ Katrina Initiative, which deployed lawyers to the Gulf Coast region to help the hundreds of thousands of people left without homes, jobs, or social services.
David received his B.A. from Union College and his law degree from Georgetown. After law school, David clerked for United States District Judges Roszel Thomsen and John Hargrove in Baltimore, Maryland. After clerking, David worked for a small commercial firm and then a civil rights law firm in Washington, DC. David serves as a member of the Advisory Committee for Voices for Civil Justice, a nonpartisan communications hub advancing fairness in America’s legal system.
In 2016, David joined the Legal Services Corporation's Leaders Council, a committee dedicated to raising public awareness of the crisis in civil legal aid nationwide.
Sara Morello, the Executive Vice President of Equal Justice Works, is responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of Equal Justice Works. She plays a pivotal role in guiding the program and operational growth of the organization to achieve our strategic goals and successfully transition Equal Justice Works from a small to mid-sized organization.
Ms. Morello has extensive nonprofit management experience working to advance social justice issues in the United States and internationally, and holds an unwavering commitment to Equal Justice Works’ mission. With a keen ability to align mission, vision and implementation, she has successfully leveraged internal strengths and external relationships to build high-performing teams to achieve success and expand access to just and equitable opportunities for women and their families.
Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, Ms. Morello served for eight years as Executive Vice President of Catholics for Choice, where she led the organization's strategic development, program design and evaluation, fundraising, finance and operations; with her guidance, the organization expanded its work to Africa and Asia and built effective and lasting partnerships with policymakers, advocates and activists around the world. Her professional experience also includes a senior role in fundraising at the National Women's Law Center and the position of canonical advisor at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Ms. Morello holds degrees from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
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ANA MARIA BOITEL
Ana María Boitel comes to Equal Justice Works with 25 years of experience, including as Interim Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer of OSA, the leading professional society in optics and photonics; Executive Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer of Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, a New York Stock Exchange traded Real Estate Investment Trust; and Personal Executive Assistant to Cathy Delcoco, Executive Vice President of CBRE's Global Corporate Services Group. Ana María has also worked as Managing Director of Fusión MC Communications, a marketing agency focused on helping clients understand the diversities within the U.S. Latino community. Prior to her work with Fusión, Ms. Boitel was Principal in charge of Business Development at architectural firm OPX. In a volunteer capacity, Ana María chaired the board of the SED Center, DC’s first accredited bilingual preschool, for two years. Ms. Boitel also chaired the board of Women in Technology, during which time she testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Science Technology and Space regarding opportunities for women in science and technology. She is a recipient of the Women in Technology Leadership Award and is a graduate of Leadership Fairfax. She has a Bachelor’s degree from George Mason University.
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Tim Wierzbicki brings 25 years of nonprofit management and development experience to Equal Justice Works, and will help establish our newly restructured Institutional Advancement department.
Tim has served in senior level development positions at several major NGOs, including American National Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity International, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. He is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and his pro bono activities include presenting a workshop he created to assist nonprofit board members entitled What They Don’t Teach at the Harvard School of Fundraising. He also has served on the Foundation Board of his alma mater, Minnesota State University.
Tim is widely recognized as an innovative leader and a creative problem-solver, with incredible talent for developing relationships. He is a seasoned fundraiser with an unwavering commitment to our mission of creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of public interest lawyers.
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Patricia Reilly is the Director of Philanthropy for Equal Justice Works. She practiced communications law at Kirkland & Ellis and Wiley, Rein & Fielding, both in Washington, D.C., for many years. Subsequently she directed the fundraising and communications operations of Norwood School in Bethesda, Maryland, where she also served as a trustee and Board Chair. While practicing law, Reilly served as an officer of the Federal Communications Bar Association, chaired the ABA’s Forum on Communications Law, and was a member of the ABA House of Delegates. Reilly's previous public interest experience includes working as a summer intern for DNA-Legal Services on the Navajo Reservation in Window Rock, Arizona. She received a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
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JT Redmon joined Equal Justice Works in February 2016. His career began doing Geographic Information Systems and research for an education management organization in Akron, Ohio and for a commercial real estate research firm in Washington, DC. He began his 8 year nonprofit career with the National Wildlife Federation as a research analyst. He transitioned to an executive management roll where he worked with board committees and project management. JT then moved into a Senior Management position where he was instrumental in the transition to a new donor database. He received a B.A. degree in Geography from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia.
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Claire brings seven years of marketing, communications, and business development experience to Equal Justice Works. Prior to joining the team, she held various marketing roles in the engineering sector where she specialized in developing technical proposals and presentations to compete for complex environmental consulting contracts. Beyond her professional experience, Claire brings a deep love of volunteerism to the team. She established a chapter of a peer-to-peer mental health advocacy group on her college campus and after graduation started a non-profit to help young adults with Type 1 Diabetes secure affordable medical services and supplies in Central Oregon. A Beaver State native, Claire earned a B.F.A. in Applied Visual Arts (Graphic Design) from Oregon State University.
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Shanika DeWindt joined Equal Justice Works on a temporary basis during summer 2015 and worked on coordinating our digital and print marketing needs for the fall events. Outside of Equal Justice Works, Shani brings an impressive depth of social media and digital marketing experience to this position. Prior to her time at Equal Justice Works, Shani coordinated the digital marketing efforts for companies like USA Today, where she helped launch a new mobile app. She has also worked with organizations in the non-profit sector, like the Entrepreneurs' Organization where she conducted a digital brand audit and created a successful social media expansion plan. A Virgin Islands native, Shani earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Connecticut.
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Evan was born and raised in Kentucky, staying in Lexington for undergrad at the University of Kentucky. After graduating with a degree in History, he soon moved to Seoul, Korea to teach English. Evan lived in Korea for a year and had a chance to travel around Southeast Asia before returning to the states for graduate school. He attended the University of Pittsburgh for a Master’s program in International Development, studying international economics, environmental policy, and educational systems. Evan also went to Chiang Mai and various small villages in northern Thailand, working with Burmese refugees to develop skills to report on the conditions inside Myanmar to international outlets. After graduate school, he moved to Washington, DC where he landed a job at Year Up, on the Operations Management team, working with their finances, office move, data projects, and various other teams throughout the site to ensure that we ran smoothly and implemented best practices for financial management and evidence-based programmatic decision making.
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Anne Brown is a Specialist in the Fellowships & Advancement unit. Prior to Equal Justice Works, Anne interned for Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06) in his legislative office on Capitol Hill and his District Office. Anne also worked on Dean Vanderstelt’s Congressional campaign in Michigan’s Second Congressional District. Throughout her undergraduate career, Anne worked extensively to develop a program to prevent sexual assault and harassment on her college campus and conducted community service outreach and development. Anne graduated cum laude from Hope College in West Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science.
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Michelle Morrisey joined Equal Justice Works in March 2016. Born and raised in the Washington, DC area, she attended Pace University in New York City where she studied Sociology-Anthropology. During her studies, Michelle was a Dean’s List student, a member of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society, and a member of the Pforzheimer Honors College. Michelle is also a experienced Administrative Specialist with an extensive volunteerism background, having served for organizations like New York Cares and Read Ahead in New York, NY; Eddie’s Club in Springfield, VA; and Cross-Cultural Solutions in Cape Town, South Africa.
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Mia Sussman is the Director of Fellowships at Equal Justice Works. She joined Equal Justice Works in March 2011. She previously worked as a litigation associate in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins LLP from 2007-2011, where her practice focused on antitrust litigation. She also helped manage the firm's pro bono program, assisting Holocaust survivors in applying for reparations from Germany. Mia's previous public interest experience includes serving as Program Assistant at the International Senior Lawyers Project and as a summer intern at the Human Rights Law Network in Delhi, India. She received her B.A. summa cum laude from Tufts University and earned her J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where she served as an articles editor for the Michigan Journal of International Law. Mia also holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. Mia serves on the Board of the Washington Council of Lawyers, the Washington Lawyers' Committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and on the Anti-Defamation League's Young Professionals Division Board. She also volunteers with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program’s Small Business Legal Clinics.
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Sterling Morriss is Senior Manager of Fellowships at Equal Justice Works. Sterling joined Equal Justice Works in 2011 upon her graduation from Georgetown University Law Center, where her passion for nonprofit management and fundraising was forged through producing an annual charity basketball game benefiting the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. She also avoided studying for class by chairing the Student Bar Association’s Events Committee, which meant she got to plan the law school’s annual prom. Prior to law school, Sterling held various positions with other foundations and nonprofits, primarily with a focus on the arts. She graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University with a Degree in Art History in her native city of Dallas, Texas in 2007. Sterling serves on the board of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.
Tammy Sun joined Equal Justice Works as Senior Manager of Fellowships and Advancement in August 2013. Tammy was an Equal Justice Works Fellow from 1999 to 2001, developing a juvenile justice project at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta to address the abusive confinement of children in prisons and detention centers in the South. After her fellowship, Tammy practiced as a public defender in Oregon and Washington D.C. Tammy was a litigation associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell prior to her fellowship, and later clerked for a federal district court judge in Boston. More recently, she taught criminal law and procedure at Catholic University School of Law and University of Baltimore School of Law. Tammy received a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Lauren Worsek joined Equal Justice Works as a Manager of Fellowships and Advancement in September 2014. She previously worked as an employee benefits associate for Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Washington, DC, where she maintained an extensive pro bono practice primarily focused on immigration law. As a direct result of this immigration work, Lauren earned the firm’s Pro Bono Associate of the Year distinction in 2013. She also served on the firm’s pro bono committee, where she promoted and facilitated public interest opportunities for other attorneys. Prior to joining Seyfarth Shaw, Lauren practiced real estate tax law in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Lauren earned her B.A. in psychology and sociology from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was as an editor for the Washington University Journal of Law and Policy. During law school, she served as a foreign law clerk in Jerusalem, Israel to Justice Dorit Beinisch, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel, a legal intern in the Washington, DC Office of U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and a Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children (CASA) in St. Louis, Missouri. Lauren is member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Next Generation Board and does volunteer work with her dog, Oscar, through People Animals Love.
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Andrea Wood joined Equal Justice Works as a Manager of Fellowships in May 2016. Andrea previously practiced in the areas of estate planning and probate law in Atlanta, Georgia. She served as a board member of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Foundation, where she helped plan the Foundation’s annual Art Auction fundraiser and served as a chair of the community service committee. Andrea’s previous public interest experience includes working as a summer law clerk at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia and the Office of the Georgia Capital Defender. Andrea’s interest in juvenile justice and child advocacy led to internships in the juvenile division of the DeKalb Office of the Public Defender and participation in the policy and legislative clinics of the Barton Center for Child Law and Policy. Also drawn to issues surrounding conflict resolution and peacemaking, Andrea contributed to a book chapter on restorative justice practices and studied at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland for a semester during law school. Prior to law school, Andrea worked in development and fundraising at the Georgia Justice Project. Andrea received her J.D., with Honors, from Emory University School of Law, where she served on the board of the Emory Public Interest Committee (EPIC) and as an articles editor of the Emory Law Journal. Andrea received her B.A. in History, cum laude, from Davidson College.
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Sarah was an Equal Justice Works summer intern before joining the team full time in August 2014. Previously, Sarah worked at Ohio University’s Political Science Department and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, where she researched issues pertaining to transnational racial policy diffusion, community economic development, and LGBTQIA communities. Sarah received her B.A. in Sociology-Criminology & Political Science and a Certificate in Law, Justice & Culture from Ohio University. She is a Baltimore, Maryland native.
Braxton joined Equal Justice Works as a temporary assistant in the Public Programs unit several months ago, where he worked closely with the AmeriCorps JD Program. Braxton is a native Washingtonian and he attended Penn State University, majoring in Business Management. Following college, Braxton moved on to own a family franchise in Howard County and Baltimore for over 7 years.
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TAI MEREY ALEX
Taí Merey Alex is a Senior Manager in the Public Programs unit and has been with the organization since January 2014. She oversees several programs, including the VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project and the Elder Justice AmeriCorps programs, and has worked on all programs within the Public Programs unit during her tenure. Previously, she was a Project Manager at the Center for Court Innovation for several years, where she managed a Help Center in a community court in Harlem, and oversaw a reentry based program for young adults. Taí’s commitment to social justice began as an AmeriCorps member in East Harlem, where she assisted children with learning disabilities and facilitated an after-school program in the community. For the last 15 years, her career has focused almost exclusively on public service, including housing rights, economic empowerment, and the protection of civil and human rights through a variety of public interest initiatives. She graduated magna cum laude from Pace University with a B.A. in English, and holds a J.D. from CUNY School of Law. Taí grew up in Puerto Rico and Vermont, was a New Yorker for several years, and now lives in Washington, DC with her husband, rescue dog, and two cats.
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Toya Lynch joined Equal Justice Works Public Programs unit in October 2014, providing coordination and management to the AmeriCorps programs. Previously, she was a Program Monitor for a DC government agency that provided programming for youth in the juvenile justice system. She came to Equal Justice Works with program management experience from overseeing DC government funded programs such as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Employment Program. Toya holds a Master in Education, in Counseling and Workforce Development from Bowie State University and a BA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Maryland in Baltimore County.
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Qudsiya joined Equal Justice Works as a Program Manager for the Public Programs unit in November 2014. She manages the justice AmeriCorps program - a collaborative effort of Equal Justice Works, the U.S. Department of Justice, and AmeriCorps - that will enhance access to legal counsel for unaccompanied immigrant children. Qudsiya comes to Equal Justice Works with significant experience in the immigration field, specifically on child migration issues. Prior to joining the team, she served as a Program Associate in the Unaccompanied Children Program at the Vera Institute of Justice in New York City, where she managed, trained, and provided technical assistance to a national network of legal service providers that assist immigrant youth fighting deportation. She has also represented Central American and South Asian immigrants seeking asylum and other forms of protection in the United States at the New York Legal Assistance Group and the Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia. Qudsiya holds a B.A. in political science with a concentration in human rights from Barnard College, and a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law.
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Josh Porter joined Equal Justice Works as a Program Manager for the Public Programs unit in July 2016. Prior to joining the team, Josh was a Policy Analyst for The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, where he researched state and federal education policies, primarily in the k-12 sphere. Josh also interned for the U.S. Department of Education, the American Bar Association, and the Georgia Association of Counsel for Children. A native of the greater Atlanta area, Josh holds a B.A. in English from Morehouse College, and an M.P.A. and J.D. from the University of Georgia.
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Brian Stone is a Program Specialist in the Public Programs unit, where he supports AmeriCorps Fellows and AmeriCorps JD Members. Brian previously served in the Public Policy Office of the United Methodist Women, where he tracked legislation related to social justice issues and supported members working to train their communities about human trafficking in the United States. Brian previously interned for U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (OH-02) and the Middle East Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving relations and understanding between people from the Middle East region and the U.S. Brian earned his B.A. in International Studies from Miami University.
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Renee Lavigne joined Equal Justice Works as a Program Specialist in the Public Programs unit in July 2016, where she supports AmeriCorps Fellows and AmeriCorps JD Members. She previously served as a Social Media Associate for The Reilly Group, overseeing grassroots advocacy campaigns and creating public relations strategies for mental health non-profits. She also worked for the Combined Federal Campaign providing IT support for the federal fundraising program. A native of Vermont, Renee graduated from St. Lawrence University with a B.A. in Sociology and George Washington University with a Masters in Public Health.
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A California native, Whitney Williams comes to Equal Justice Works as a Program Coordinator in the Public Programs unit. After graduating with a B.A. in Sociology, minor in Values, Law, and Policy from the University of Houston, Whitney worked with the Department of Justice as a Legal Instruments Examiner in West Virginia. She is a proud member of Phi Kappa Phi National Honors Society and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. Whitney is currently pursuing her Juris Doctorate degree from American University Washington College of Law.
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Will Walker joined Equal Justice Works in January 2016 as a Program Assistant in the Public Programs unit. Previously, he worked at ImmigrationWorks USA and Opportunity America as the Office Coordinator and the Research and Communications Coordinator. Additionally, he interned in the offices of Representative John Delaney (MD-06) and Senator Bill Nelson (FL). Will is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned a B.A. in Political Science and Peace, War, and Defense with a History minor. He is a native of Orlando, Florida.
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A native from West Orange, New Jersey, Kelsey Edwards joined Equal Justice Works as a Program Assistant with the Public Programs Unit in June 2016. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, Kelsey served as the Development and Communications Intern for 826DC, a Program Instructor with the AnBryce Foundation, and a Graduate Ambassador for the George Washington University. She is a recent graduate from the George Washington University with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Human Services & Social Justice and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration. Kelsey has a passion for social justice, human development, and the environment, and is an advocate for systemic change.
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Al joined Equal Justice Works as a Temporary Assistant in March 2016, where he played an important role assisting the Public Programs Unit in the processing of AmeriCorps JD applications and the enrollment of students selected to serve as AmeriCorps JD law student members. Al has always had a passion for social justice, with long-term career objectives in this field. He graduated from Florida State University with a BS in Political Science and recently moved to the DC area. After holding several positions in the private sector, he was drawn to Equal Justice Works because of his interest in social justice issues.
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Isaac Bowers is Director for Law School Engagement & Advocacy, overseeing the Student Debt, Student Engagement, and Law School Relations programs. He was previously responsible for the organization's educational debt relief initiatives. In that capacity, he wrote a weekly blog for U.S. News; conducted monthly webinars for a wide range of audiences; advised employers, law schools and professional organizations; and worked with Congress and the Department of Education on Federal legislation and regulations. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, he was a Fellow at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP in San Francisco, where he represented citizen groups and local agencies in environmental litigation and land use and planning issues. Isaac received his J.D. from New York University School of Law.
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Ashley Matthews is a Program Manager for Law School Engagement & Advocacy for Equal Justice Works. She helps expand law student membership and maintain Equal Justice Works’ leadership position on student debt in the legal community. Previously, Ashley worked as the Communications Manager for Legal Services Corporation, where she helped design communications strategies to increase public and congressional appreciation of federally funded civil legal aid. She has also led the digital communications team for PSJD, the largest public service initiative of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). Ashley has previously interned with Advancement Project, Florida Legal Services, Georgia Justice Project, and the Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office. She received her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and holds a B.A. in Journalism and Political Science from Hampton University. Ashley is a native of Houston, Texas.
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Claire Cusella is a Program Manger for the Law School Engagement & Advocacy Unit. She joined Equal Justice Works in August 2014, originally as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works, she served as the Scheduler to Maryland State Senator Jim Rosapepe, Finance Director for Marylanders for Rosapepe, and Fundraising Associate for the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council. Additionally, Claire previously worked as a field organizer for the 2012 campaign of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25) and as an intern for U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer’s Rochester, NY office. Claire has a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from State University of New York at Geneseo.
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Michelle Gaeng is a Coordinator for the Law School Engagement & Advocacy unit. Prior to joining the team in January 2015, Michelle worked as a Field Organizer for the Nevada State Democratic Party in Las Vegas. She was responsible for organizing and staffing events and rallies on behalf of the 2014 Lieutenant Governor candidate. Michelle is also a former intern for U.S. House of Representatives Minority Whip, Steny Hoyer (MD-05), and the 2008 Marylanders for Marriage Equality Campaign. Prior to that, she interned at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, where she staffed events, planned international travel, and attended committee meetings. She is a graduate of Emory University with a B.A. in International Studies and History.
Ken Strickland is the new Student Debt Specialist for Law School Engagement & Advocacy for Equal Justice Works. Ken comes to us fresh off a clerkship with North Carolina Advocates for Justice where he helped developed educational materials for poverty law attorneys. One of Ken’s biggest passions is ensuring that all people have access to a legal system that is affordable and for which quality legal counsel is available. Ken enjoys exploring the ways in which intersectionality (particularly gender identity and sexuality) affect poverty status, reading feminist literature, horror films from the 1980s, video gaming with the besties, dancing with no rhythm, attending the shows of his favorite drag artists, baking delicious cakes, and community service. Ken has his law degree (J.D.) from the University of North Carolina and has been known to obsess over Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Yvonne is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. and recently served in senior positions at Year Up Inc. in Operations and Human Resources. Yvonne has 15 years of corporate and nonprofit experience in operations, event planning, and human resources. She has maintained a specific focus on strategic growth, fundraising, and people development. Yvonne holds a master’s in Nonprofit Management with a concentration in Human Resources from Cambridge College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Marymount Manhattan College. She began her career in film and event planning before finding her true passion in people and leadership development. Yvonne also holds a certification in Computer Information Systems, and enjoys using her technological prowess to create innovative business strategies.
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Jamie Odle is Senior Manager for Alumni Relations at Equal Justice Works, cultivating and securing opportunities for public support for the organization’s initiatives. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Access to Justice Foundation in Kentucky, where her work primarily focused on legislative and administrative advocacy efforts to increase funding for civil legal services. She comes to Equal Justice Works from the District of Columbia Primary Care Association, an organization promoting access to health care for low-income residents, where she managed the development program. Jamie has a B. M. from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.
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Peter comes to Equal Justice Works from Airway Sheet Metal in Sterling VA, where he provided Tier 1 desktop support services, network configuration/maintenance, and database management. He has worked with tech companies such as Sony and Google where he gained broad experience in technical support. Peter obtained his Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, with an emphasis on networking and database administration, from Francisco Gavidia University in El Salvador. Peter is passionate about service and has volunteered at NGOs in El Salvador such as SOS Children’s Villages where he coordinated educational activities for children and Habitat for Humanity where he did translation work.
Anita Adams joined Equal Justice Works in August 2015 and works as the Events & Special Projects Manager. Anita, a Milwaukee native and enthusiastic Green Bay Packers fan, is a versatile events and public relations professional. She has a wide range of experiences in event management both in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Anita has over five years of live event execution. She has worked for Walt Disney World’s Media Relations, Network Afterwork, and for her own personal media relations consulting company. Anita holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a minor in Public Relations from Stillman College. She also conducted graduate research at Miami International University of Art & Design with a focus in media management. Beyond her professional duties, Anita enjoys spending time with her two toy poodles Black Pearl and Sir Duke.
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A New York native, Diana joins Equal Justice Works as Human Resource and Benefits Manager. Diana holds a BA from SUNY Oswego with a double major in Psychology and Spanish, as well as an MBA from the University of Phoenix, with a Certificate in Human Resources. Diana comes to us from Harlem Children's Zone; a non-profit organization dedicated to providing employment opportunities in over 70 programs to Harlem Natives and running 2 charter schools within the neighborhood. At Harlem Children's Zone, Diana worked as an HR Generalist. Prior to, she managed the internship program at Year Up New York; a non-profit organization which works to bridge the opportunity gap for young adults. Diana has worked as an Office Manager at HSM Americas, Inc; a company that held management training conferences for Corporate America. She also spent three years at Edwin Gould Foundation; a non-profit foundation that funds afterschool program, as Project/Office Assistant to the President. Diana began her professional career as a school teacher; teaching Spanish to grades K-8 in New York City. Diana offers a wealth of information and experiences, as well as support to the Equal Justice Works and their stakeholders.
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Alex Peffley is an Operations Coordinator at Equal Justice Works. Prior to joining Equal Justice Works in April 2015, Alex worked as a Regional Field Organizer for the New York State Democratic Committee in Hornell. He was responsible for organizing and staffing events and rallies on behalf of the 2014 Congressional candidate Martha Robertson in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. Alex was an intern for U.S. House of Representatives Members Louise Slaughter (NY,25), and Jerrold Nadler (NY,10). He worked at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History for two years as a Gallery Experiences Presenter and also spent a year as a team member for the JumpStart AmeriCorps program teaching children to read and write in Pittsburgh. Alex graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in History and Political Science and a minor in Legal Studies.
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LaBianca Jones joined Equal Justice Works in August 2015 on a temporary basis as the IT Database Coordinator. She helped managed the CRM database, assisted with system upgrades, and managed various steps in our database training. She graduated from Year Up in July 2015 while interning at Fannie Mae on the SF Ops Credit Enhancement Team. A native of Landover, Maryland, LaBianca also attended Bowie State University where she studied Communications Broadcast Journalism.
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Michael was born and raised in Euclid, Ohio (greater Cleveland area). Michael has a BA in Religious Studies and an MA in Global Interactions from Cleveland State University. He completed his thesis work on how cities can become more immigration friendly. His prior work for Global Cleveland as an intern involved coordinating their Welcome Hub in Cleveland Heights working primarily with Nepalese refugees as they acclimated to their new surroundings. Michael discovered his passion for international politics through taking part in Model UN, helping to start a chapter of the organization at Cleveland State University, where we competed at the national and international level.
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Nadine Smith is not new to Equal Justice Works. She has volunteered with us for years assisting with our Annual Dinners. She has worked in Federal Government with the Department of Housing and Community Development, then advanced her career into non-profit organizations, including, Faith & Politics Institute, serving as the Director of Administration. There she assisted with connecting the Members of Congress, both the House and the Senate by coordinating experiential Pilgrimages, Reflection Groups, and Forums, all of which opened persons to respectful discussions and shared views. Nadine has endeavored to connect the communities less fortunate and the communities of help, to bridge the gap of the two. At Equal Justice Works, Nadine continues her desire of service to the mission that creates a just society to equal justice.
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