Advocates' Staff Print

Advocates' staff is a vibrant and diverse team of youth-serving professionals and youth activists. Staff come from a variety of backgrounds, including public health, law, social work, political science, international affairs, sociology, finance/administration and research, and are dedicated to improving adolescent reproductive and sexual health, securing young people’s rights, and realizing the Rights. Respect.Responsibility.® vision.

Management Team

Debra Hauser
President

Deb Hauser has been with Advocates for Youth for almost 20 years, first as Director of the Support Center for School-based Health Care, then as Executive Vice President. In January 2012, Deb became the organization’s fourth President and Executive Director, representing Advocates with the media, funders and colleagues organizations and speaking nationally and internationally about young people’s rights to honest sexual health information, confidential sexual health services and equitable social and economic opportunities. Deb’s areas of expertise include sex education, family planning and youth development. She is committed to a cascading style of leadership that promotes youth activists as change agents and leaders in the field. Before coming to Advocates, Deb served as Director of Community Health Services for the City of Atlantic City where she designed, implemented, and evaluated sexuality education, health promotion, teen pregnancy prevention, and teen parenting programs for an urban population. Early in her career, Deb served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, implementing child spacing, oral re-hydration, and childhood immunization programs. Deb holds a Masters of Public Health in Population Planning and International Health from the University of Michigan and is the author of numerous publications in the area of adolescent reproductive and sexual health.

Kathleen Farrell
Vice President, Finance and Administration

Kathleen Farrell, Vice President of Finance and Administration, oversees the organization’s financial management/controls. She prepares the organizational budget, works with program staff to develop proposals and financial reports for Advocates’ funders, and works closely with the Board of Directors’ Finance and Board Leadership Committees. She has spent the vast majority of her career working in various program and management capacities for Advocates for Youth. Kathy holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the College of William and Mary.

Kate Stewart
Executive Vice President for Public Affairs

Kate Stewart is a public opinion research and communications specialist who has worked with a wide-range of advocacy and non-profit organizations on communications, policy, and public affairs. Most recently she was a partner in the research and strategic communications firm, Belden Russonello & Stewart, LLC. Kate has created communications and public relations strategies for clients on topics such as civil liberties, public education, reproductive health, and reproductive justice. Her work has advanced the goals of many organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Ford Foundation, the ACLU, Wisconsin Education Association, the Illinois Education Association, the Center for Reproductive Rights and many others. Kate has been an adjunct professor at American University, where she taught public communication research and has served on the Governing Council of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. Kate has served on the Advocates for Youth Board and for the last three years was Board Chair. Kate received a BA with high honors in history from Haverford College and her MS in survey methodology from the University of Maryland.

Aimee Thorne-Thomsen
Vice President for Strategic Partnerships

Aimée Thorne-Thomsen has an extensive background in communications, movement-building, and leadership development across various social justice movements. Prior to joining the staff at Advocates, she served as the Interim Executive Director for the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice and the Executive Director of the Pro-Choice Public Education Project (PEP). Aimée has also held senior management positions in the non-profit and private sectors.  She sits on the Board of Directors for Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Mobilize the Immigrant Vote and RH Reality Check.  She is a member of the Women’s Media Center’s She Source and also volunteers as a Leader for the LiveStrong Foundation.  She has spoken around the country at venues including Netroots Nation, Center for American Progress, and WE ACT Advancing Climate Justice Conference, and her writing and blogs have appeared on Daily Kos, Feministing, and RH Reality Check among others. Aimée earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York.

Jennifer Augustine
Vice President, Organizational Development
Division Director, Health and Social Equity

Jennifer Augustine is the Director of the HIV/STI Prevention Division at Advocates for Youth. She oversees the provision of technical assistance and training to national and community-based organizations serving high-risk youth. Jennifer has 14 years of experience in adolescent sexual and reproductive health. She received a Master’s in Public Health from the George Washington University and is a certified health education specialist.

Staff

Colin Adamo
Young Men’s Initiative Coordinator

Colin is a recent graduate of Yale University, where he studied Psychology and Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies. While an undergraduate, he served as a Co-Coordinator of Community Health Educators, directed Sex Week at Yale, and penned a biweekly relationship column in The Yale Herald. Colin has collaborated with renowned sexual health educators to develop programs for college students and adolescents. After graduating, Colin developed the online sexual health and relationship resource, Hooking Up& Staying Hooked, geared specifically for high school aged boys. Additionally, Colin has spent the last two years as a NYC Program Associate for Peer Health Exchange, and has most recently joined Trojan’s Sexual Health Advisory Council.  

Eleanor Allen
Associate Director of Foundation Relations

Eleanor has an extensive background as a strategic researcher and versatile writer for high-profile campaigns and national nonprofit organizations, along with a proven track record in foundation relations and grants management. She is responsible for contributing to the success of Advocates for Youth’s development program raising approximately $6.5M annually, including foundation strategy, prospect identification, proposal development, grant reporting and grants administration. Eleanor previously coordinated all aspects of foundation relationships, including drafting successful grant documents, for the National Partnership for Women & Families, a well-respected advocacy organization with a complex policy portfolio and having an annual budget of $8 million. She received her BA from Syracuse University and her JD from American University’s Washington College of Law. She serves on the community advisory board of the Teen Alliance for Prepared Parenting Program (TAPP) in Washington D.C.

Urooj Arshad
Associate director, International Youth Health and Rights

Urooj Arshad manages a project of the International Division that builds the capacity of youth-driven organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to empower young people as powerful advocates within their own countries and at international forums on reproductive and sexual health and rights of youth, especially young women and GLBTQ youth.  Previously, Urooj  provided capacity building services to community based organizations working with youth of color around reproductive and sexual health. Urooj has presented about her work at several domestic and international conferences including the International HIV/AIDS Conference 2010 in Vienna, Austria; the Youth Pre-conference to the International HIV/AIDS Conference 2012 in Washington, DC; the European Science Foundation’s conference on Religion, Gender and Human Rights 2011 in Linkoping, Sweden;  the LGBT Pride and Heritage Event hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and at the State Department.  Urooj has had fourteen years of experience organizing within GLBTQ communities of color especially addressing issues of Islamophobia, violence, sexism, transphobia and ageism. Urooj was a member of the Center for American Progress’ Women’s Health Leadership Network and a current member of it’s Faith and Reproductive Justice Institute. Urooj was also a fellow with the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute.

Arlene Basilio
Web Development and Graphic Design Associate

Arlene designs and develops day-to-day operations of Advocates’ organizational websites. She manages the distribution of e-mail newsletters, action alerts, and records site metrics. She graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelors of Arts in Graphic Design.

Deborah Billings, PhD
Director, SC Contraceptive Access Campaign

Dr. Billings earned her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Michigan and worked as Senior Research and Evaluation Associate with Ipas, collaborating with youth, women's and feminist organizations as well as health systems in Africa and Latin America to improve sexual and reproductive health services. Her work has focused on abortion, gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice in these regions. In South Carolina, Dr. Billings collaborates with initiatives that aim to meet sexual and reproductive health needs and demands of Latino and Latina immigrant community members and the CenteringPregnancy program. She has served as a TellThem Ambassador since 2008 and is a co-Chair of the South Carolina State Alliance for Adolescent Sexual Health (SAASH). Dr. Billings has served as a consultant to various global organizations including the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Oak Foundation, UN Women, and UNFPA.

Suzette Brann
Associate Director, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative

Dr. Suzette E. Brann has more than 20 years of program management and implementation, sustainability planning, and organizational development in the fields of juvenile justice and public health.  She has provided training and technical assistance to state and local social service, juvenile justice and mental health programs in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe on issues ranging from creating evidence-based, gender-informed and culturally proficient substance abuse treatment, and criminal/juvenile justice systems for women, to improving access to services for women of color, at-risk youth and African American men.  She has a doctorate in Human Services specializing in Criminal Justice, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Baltimore’s School of Law and both a Master in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Howard University.

Emily Bridges
Director of Public Information

Emily Bridges oversees the content of Advocates' web sites, including www.advocatesforyouth.org and www.amplifyyourvoice.org, finalizes materials for publication, develops fact sheets and other educational materials, and assists staff, Advocates' partners, and the public with research. Emily has a Master's in Library Science from the University of Maryland and a BA in English from Towson University.  She has been with Advocates since 2006.

Angel Brown
Associate Director For LGBTQ Health and Rights

Angel Brown is a native Washingtonian, who has been active in the non-profit social justice, social change arena for the past sixteen years. Over the years Angel has served in the capacity as a trainer, organizer, educator, artistic director, performer and advocate in the fight against HIV/AIDS and social stigma. Her work began as an HIV prevention peer educator and she has been going full steam ahead ever since. She is actively involved in the youth, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

Angel is passionate about youth and their right to live safe, healthy, powerful lives. In her career, she has committed herself to ensuring that adults have all the tools they need to effectively support and be of service to young people. She has been featured in many publications, such as DC’s local GBLTQ newspaper The Washington Blade and The Advocate magazine featuring her efforts as an advocate for the GLBTQ community. She continues to be active as an advocate for continued HIV/AIDS education, community accountability and mobilization, public policy and accessible HIV treatment, among the many other human adversaries that afflict her communities.

Ariel Cerrud
Youth Activist Network Coordinator

For the past eight years, Ariel has been an advocate, trainer & educator of young people. Ariel’s advocacy work has been in the field of adolescent health & behavior and youth leadership development with an emphasis on working with young people of color and LGBT youth. Prior to joining Advocates, Ariel was a Unit Director with Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland where he successfully provided leadership, direction and administrative oversight or the organizations youth development and academic programs. Ariel led the design, development and delivery of several mentoring & leadership initiatives and provided trainings on effective youth guidance and program development, assessment and evaluation. A former Board member of Advocates and Peer Educator of YouthResource, Ariel was born in Panama and raised in Portland, Oregon where he received his BA in Political Science from Portland State University.

Nicole Cheetham
Director, International Youth Health and Rights Division

Nicole Cheetham is the Director of the International Youth Health and Rights Division of Advocates for Youth, where she has worked for over ten years. In this capacity she provides leadership in setting international programmatic priorities and supports the implementation of initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean focused on youth-led advocacy for sexual and reproductive health and rights; community mobilization, peer education, and youth-friendly services programming; and global and US-based advocacy to advance youth sexual and reproductive health and rights. Nicole started her career in international public health working on maternal and child health and nutrition issues at the American Public Health Association, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Manoff Group. Nicole holds a Masters of Health Sciences in International Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of American Sexuality Education.

Rachel Cooke
Associate Director of Communications

Rachel works directly with the media to add the voice of young people in the conversation about adolescent reproductive sexual health; promotes the organization, its programs and campaigns; leads media trainings; and engages external audiences with Advocates' various social media properties. A native Washingtonian, Rachel graduated from The George Washington University with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and Communications. Prior to joining Advocates she was a Senior Account Executive at GolinHarris, a global PR agency, was the Communications Assistant at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, and worked at Strauss Radio Strategies and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Annie Cromwell
Communications and Online Campaigns Coordinator

Annie promotes Advocates’ programs and campaigns through the implementation of their social media strategy and texting initiative. She also assists in the distribution of email Action Alerts. Prior to joining Advocates she was a Communications Associate at the Consumer Federation of America. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Communications and a focus in Public Relations.

Laura Davis
Director, Adolescent Sexual Health Services


Laura Davis is Director of Adolescent Sexual Health Services at Advocates for Youth. She has both international and domestic experience, including more than twenty years of program planning, teaching, training, and organizational development in the field of reproductive and sexual health. She is the former manager of a mall-based family planning clinic for teens and has worked as a consultant with International Planned Parenthood Federation and the United States Agency for International Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is the co-author (with Dr. Claire Brindis and Susan Pagliaro) of Communities Responding to the Challenge of Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (Advocates for Youth, 1998) and Protection as Prevention: Contraception for Sexually Active Teens (National Campaign, 2000).

Rosanna Dixon
Senior Manager of Social Innovation Design


Rosanna designs and builds campaign-specific websites and print materials while maintaining the visual consistency and vibrancy of Advocates' brand throughout. She is an alumni of the socially-oriented design workshop Project M and contributed to the spin-off project PieLab. Rosanna received a Bachelors of Fine Art in Graphic Design from the Corcoran College of Art + Design.

Yvonne Gaither
Associate Director, Finance and Administration

Yvonne Gaither has been Advocates for Youth’s Office Administrator since 1994. Yvonne has over 14 years of corporate bookkeeping and accounting experience and has worked with nonprofits for over 19 years. Yvonne has also participated in volunteer work at D.C. General Hospital and Columbia Hospital for Women.

Nora Gelperin
Director of Sexuality Education and Training

Nora Gelperin is the Director of Sexuality Education and Training at Advocates for Youth. Nora is one of the national technical assistance providers on the Working to Institutionalize Sex Ed (WISE) initiative and has been a member of the Future of Sex Education (FoSE) initiative since it's founding. She has more than twenty years of experience providing sexuality education to youth and professional development to school health and education professionals. Prior to joining Advocates she was the Director of Training at Answer where she founded the Training Institute in Sexual Health Education (TISHE) and Answer's online professional development workshops. She was a community educator with Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey. Nora holds a Masters in School Health Education from Temple University was awarded a Mary Lee Tatum Award from Planned Parenthood Leaders in Education (APPLE) and has been named a 2014 Fellow of the American School Health Association.

Anita Godfrey
Administrative Assistant

Anita Godfrey is the Receptionist/Administrative Assistant for Advocates for Youth. Born and raised in Washington, DC she has worked with non-profit/government establishments in the field of Receptionist for over two decades. Prior to joining Advocates for Youth, she was with The Wilderness Society/Ansel Adams Gallery for 12 years. She volunteers with for organizations such as Bread for the City, Children’s Hospital, and Providence Hospital.

Jeryl Hayes
Domestic Policy Analyst

Jeryl Hayes, JD, LL.M. joins Advocates for Youth’s policy team as our Domestic Policy Analyst. Jeryl is a lawyer and strong progressive reproductive health and justice advocate. Most recently, Jeryl was the Reproductive Justice Law and Policy Fellow at the Black Women’s Health Imperative, where she advocated for the health and wellness needs of Black women, girls and families. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Denison University, her law degree from Washington University School of Law and her Masters of Law from American University Washington College of Law.  During law school, Jeryl worked as a Student Attorney and Guardian ad Litem through the Civil Justice Clinic where she witnessed first-hand how the intersection of class, race and gender impact the reproductive rights of young people.

Rana Holland
Executive Secretary

Rana Holland has been at Advocates for Youth since July 1987.  After nine months on the front desk, she became the Executive Secretary. Until 1992, she worked for Judith Senderowitz, our founding Executive Director/President who currently serves on the Board of Directors. She also worked for the two executive director/presidents who served between Judy and our current CEO, Debra Hauser.

Sophia Kerby
State Policy & Partnerships Coordinator

Sophia Kerby is the State Policy & Partnerships Coordinator at Advocates for Youth. She works with local and state-based organizations and youth activists across the country to advocate for cultural and policy changes that improve and value young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights. Sophia is a advocate for civil and human rights. Most recently, she was the Policy Associate at the Brennan Center, where she worked on racial and criminal justice advocacy and reform, voting rights, and ex-felon enfranchisement. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, Sophia worked at the Center for American Progress where her work focused on communities of color, women and their socioeconomic intersections. Sophia is originally from New York and holds a Bachelors degree in Government and Politics from University of Maryland-College Park.

Amanda Keifer
International Policy Analyst

Amanda Keifer, MPH, serves as Advocates' International Policy Analyst. Keifer comes to Advocates from Ipas, where she worked as a consultant analyzing U.S. foreign policy and advocating policies to promote reproductive health and rights, including abortion access, for women and girls in developing countries. She received her Masters of Public Health from George Washington University, focusing her studies on global health policy and federal funding for international family planning and reproductive health. Keifer also worked at the Public Health Institute, where she advocated for young people's access to sexual and reproductive rights and health both on the Hill and through United Nations processes.

J. L.
Manager, Information Technology

J. has worked in the information technology field for more than a decade and has been Manager of Information Technology at Advocates for Youth since 2006.

Abbey Marr
Reproductive Justice Fellow

Abbey is Advocates for Youth’s 2014-15 Law Students for Reproductive Justice Fellow. She previously worked with Advocates for Youth as a public policy intern, blogger, and member of the International Youth Leadership Council. Abbey is a 2014 graduate of Harvard Law School and the Harvard-Berkeley Law School Exchange program, where she focused on the intersection of gender and economic justice issues as well as integrating reproductive justice issues into the legal curriculum. She graduated in 2009 from George Washington University with a degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies. Between college and law school, Abbey worked for the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division-Educational Opportunities Section and served as a volunteer case manager for the DC Abortion Fund.

Lottie McClorin
Program Manager, South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign

Lottie is the Senior Program Manager for the South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign (SCCAC), a broad public education awareness campaign.  She brings 15 years of extensive experience in public health with experience in health education, applied research, implanting efforts surrounding adolescent sexual and reproductive health and training/technical assistance (T/TA).  Lottie strongly believes that young people should have the right to access all forms of sexual and reproductive health services available and is a committed advocate for this cause. Prior to her work with Advocates For Youth, Lottie served as Project Director of Health for a CDC-funded grant to provide T/TA to AME churches throughout South Carolina where she facilitated health promotion and education sessions to empower members on how to live healthier by exercising and eating healthy.  She has also provided support to Black River Health Care, the Department of Health and Environmental Control on implementing community-specific healthcare approaches to increase behavioral changes in nutrition and breast-feeding, and sexual health issues, including the reduction of transmission of STDs and HIV/AIDS.

Januari McKay
Program Coordinator, Health and Social Equity

Januari McKay is the Program Coordinator for Health and Social Equity. Januari received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Health Education from North Carolina Central University. She has worked with various non-profit organizations implementing group-level youth development interventions and conducting HIV testing and counseling services. From 2011-2013 Januari served as a Young Women of Color Leadership Council member. She served on the DC Community Coalition Youth Core where she assisted in planning events for the 2012 International Conference on AIDS. Because of her exemplary commitment to HIV/AIDS education and prevention through volunteerism and service in the District of Columbia, Januari was selected as the 2012 Mayor’s Community Service Award recipient for The Advocate Award for HIV/AIDS. She currently serves as co-chair for the Women’s Health Policy Network with the Women’s Information Network (WIN).

Hilary O’Brien
Project Coordinator, Teen Pregnancy Prevention

Hilary is a two-time graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Minor in Human Sexuality, as well as a Master of Science in Public Health Promotion. Hilary worked as an intern at Advocates for Youth under Barbara Huberman in the Department of Education and Outreach, where she conducted a comparison study of sexual health content in American and European teen magazines. Hilary then moved to the Policy Department and worked with Kate Stewart to provide assistance in surveying young people about their attitudes, knowledge, and awareness of what preventative health services are currently offered under the Affordable Care Act.

Megan Ramsey
Program Associate, Adolescent Sexual Health Services

Megan Ramsey is the Program and Fundraising Assistant at Advocates for Youth. Megan divides her time between managing the logistics for the Division of Adolescent Sexual Health Services, and assisting the Development Department with the Youth Fundraising Advisory Board, helping manage the individual donor program and supporting major fundraising initiatives. Prior to joining Advocates for Youth, Megan served as the managing Capitol Hill and SCOTUS liaison for the government relations firm FiveFortySix. Complementing her work in interest group policy, Megan also volunteers with several DC area advocacy groups and charities. Her true passion is community improvement, and she seeks to improve her community by working with poverty alleviation, abuse recovery and sexual health education. Megan holds a bachelor's degree from American University in Communication, Legal Institutions, Economics & Government, and uses each of these four pillars to inform her understanding of the most effective solutions to today's sexual health crises.

Julia Reticker-Flynn
Associate Director, Youth Organizing & Mobilization

Julia Reticker-Flynn is the Youth Activist Network Manager at Advocates for Youth, where she works with young people across the country to advocate for cultural and policy change that supports young people’s sexual health and rights.  Since starting at Advocates in 2010 she has trained over one thousand young people on grassroots organizing skills, mobilized thousands to take action on federal policy initiatives to protect young people’s sexual health and rights, and launched the 1 in 3 campaign to destigmatize abortion and promote access to abortion services.  Julia sits on the Board of Directors of Nursing Students for Choice.  She graduated from Georgetown University Phi Beta Kappa, with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service and certificate in Justice and Peace Studies.

Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes
Associate Director, State Policy & Partnerships

Diana has been working on social justice issues for nearly a decade, primarily around issues that affect women, young people, people of color and the LGTBQ community. She has vast experience in program management, grassroots advocacy and state policy strategy. She previously worked with the Center for Women Policy Studies and assisted in coordinating educational and strategic planning programs for women state legislators and international Members of Parliament on women’s human rights issues. She is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, where she was actively involved in grassroots activism, as well as the local arts community. Her passion lies in facilitating and creating intentional spaces for not only social justice, but also for creativity and self-expression. She holds an M.A. from George Washington University in Public Policy with a concentration in Women’'s Studies, as well as a B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Sociology and Women’s Studies.

Ann Rodrigues
Program Manager, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative.

Ann Rodrigues is the Program Manager for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Ann has more than 10 years of experience managing and implementing programs, developing and delivering training and technical assistance, capacity building, developing sustainability plans and grant writing in the areas of juvenile justice, education, and healthcare for federal, state, local governments, schools, and nonprofit organizations. She has worked with local and state courts to set up teen court programs and provided training to state Guardian Ad Litem volunteers. She has a Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University and Master of Health Administration and Bachelor of English degrees from the University of Southern California.

Ebony Ross
Associate Director of the Adolescent Sexual Health Division

Ebony Ross is the Associate Director of the Adolescent Sexual Health Division. She has a wide range of experience in capacity building, evidence-based strategic planning, and program evaluation. Ebony brings more than twelve years of project management, workgroup facilitation, and organizational development in the fields of nonprofit management and public health to Advocates. Previously, Ebony served as a Senior Policy Associate for Altarum where she provided technical assistance to local and State health departments providing prevention and treatment services to HIV infected clients, to Federal and State teams as they worked to create and implement action plans to reduce homelessness in their States, and to State coalitions addressing health disparities in pediatric asthma. Prior to her work at Altarum, Ebony served as a Program Manager for the Academy for Educational Development. She managed numerous national multi-site projects, provided capacity building services to federally funded grantees, and completed needs assessments, work plans and technical assistance provision for over 175 minority community-based and faith-based organizations across the country as they worked to build their capacity to provide primary care services to HIV-positive clients in their communities. Ebony holds a Master of Arts degree in psychology from North Carolina Central University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Hampton University.

Jen Stark
Director of Development

Jen is a fundraiser and organizational management specialist whose mantra is "no money, no mission." She managed multi-million dollar fundraising efforts for the American Red Cross where she led the team at the heart of the Red Cross' ability to have the funds needed to respond quickly and decisively to catastrophic events like the earthquakes in Japan and Haiti. In response to the Haiti earthquake alone, her team helped raise more than $350 million, including the launch of a mobile giving campaign which earned an unprecedented $31+ million, more than 1 million online transactions totaling $100+ million, and approximately $20 million in corporate support. At the age of 28, she was the Senior Vice President & Director of Development at the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA). At NARAL Pro-Choice America, she managed the logistics and finances of the 2004 March for Women's Lives, which brought more than a million supporters to Washington, DC. Jen is a proud alum of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in Economics and Political Science. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Carolina Women's Center.

Kashif Syed
Reproductive Justice Fellow

Kashif Syed is responsible for policy areas relating to reproductive health, rights, & justice, including issues arising under the Affordable Care Act. In law school, Kashif focused on sex and gender equality. He has previously worked on a variety of legal projects, including trans-inclusive housing & restroom policies in higher education, sex discrimination in intercollegiate athletics under Title IX, and sexual harassment in schools. As a student, he served as a volunteer domestic violence legal advocate. Prior to entering law school, Kashif staffed a Michigan state lawmaker’s office and volunteered as counselor/trainer at a crisis intervention center. Kashif earned his J.D. at the Chicago-Kent College of Law and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Michigan State University.

Mary Beth Szydlowski
Program Manager, School Health Equity

Mary Beth’s charge as Program Manager is to assist State Education Agencies, funded under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention 1308 cooperative agreement, to increase the provision of sexual health education through identifying and implementing comp sex ed curriculum and policy awareness in districts throughout their state. With over 10 years of experience working in the educational setting at the school or district level, Mary Beth’s passion is to ensure the provision of education to youth so they can make informed healthy decisions and provide adults with the training and skill development necessary to assist youth with this process. A Chicago native, while working for Chicago Public Schools, she was instrumental in passing the comprehensive Sexual Health Education policy, development of K-12 sexual health education curriculum aligned with the National Sexuality Education Standards, lead trainer for providing sex ed professional development and building collaborative partnerships. Mary Beth has a B.S in Elementary Education and a MPH in Community Health Practice from DePaul University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Wesley Thomas
Program Coordinator, LGBTQ Health and Rights

Wesley Thomas is the Program Coordinator for LGBTQ Health and Rights. He assists the Health and Social Equity department to increase the capacity of targeted local education agencies and community based partners to improve their programs, policies, and environments to meet the needs of young men of color who have sex with men. He supports and coordinates the Anti-Homophobia and Transphobia Project, as well as oversees the mobilization and training for YouthResource, Advocates’ youth leadership program for LGBTQ youth. Wesley currently holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Temple University. A Philadelphia native, he did previous work with community based organizations conducting HIV testing and counseling for gay men of color. He also facilitated educational programs that included topics around HIV/STI, prevention techniques, stigma in the gay black community, as well as contraception and teen pregnancy.

Shomya Tripathy
Youth Activist Network Coordinator

Shomya Tripathy plays a major role coordinating the Campus Organizing Team and the 1 in 3 Campaign student activists. Prior to working at Advocates, Shomya worked at the New Organizing Institute as the Senior Organizer in Chicago, running free trainings in the city to ensure that organizing skills were more accessible to women and communities of color. She also served as the Community Manager at STAND, a student-led organization to end genocide. Shomya graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelors in Political Science and Black Studies.

 

 
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