Meet the Tow Fellows

2021-2022 
Bria Agard is a graduate student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she is in her final year at the college and will be obtaining her Master's degree of Arts in Human Rights. For her TOW host site, Bria was placed with The Women's Community Justice Association (WCJA), a social advocacy organization that works towards building change for women and gender-expansive populations that the mass incarceration has impacted. WCJA's main focus is to decarcerate, advocate, and organize in favor of these populations while driving forth campaigns such as #BEYONDRosies, a women's jail facility housed on Rikers Island in New York City. WCJA is advocating for its closure and reinvestment towards strengthening communities of women. Bria's role at WCJA is to assist in advocating in meetings with collaborators and create content for social media Power Hours to help spread awareness towards the push for decarceration of women and gender-expansive individuals. Following graduation, Bria looks to further pursue a career within the environment of social justice and advocacy, where she would like to work involving incarceration, specifically towards aiding rehabilitation services following reentry into society and reform of community supervision alternatives.
Roisin Bermingham is in the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice program at John Jay College. She is specializing in Criminology, Deviance, and Police Administration. Roisin is working towards an advanced certificate in Crime Prevention and Analysis. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism – Public Relations and Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina. Roisin is working with Sanctuary for Families in the child abuse law section of the organization. Her role with the site includes researching New York family court law; taking notes in subcommittee and roundtable discussions for a current bill regarding child safety; meetings one-on-one with family practitioners to discuss cases; completing trauma-informed training, and working with clients on resource development, needs assessments, and case specifics. After graduation, Roisin hopes to work for a federal organization as a child crimes investigator or a nonprofit or private entity in child crimes policymaking.
Demisha Forrester is a first-year graduate student at John Jay College studying Forensic Mental Health Counseling. In 2019, She graduated from Berkeley College with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Demisha is currently working with Youth Represent. Youth Represent improves the lives and future of young people affected by the criminal justice system. Demisha works closely with the Director of Policy and the Community Advocate on two emerging campaigns. First, expanding alternatives to incarceration and sealing opportunities for youth up to age 25. Second, closing youth prisons in New York and ensuring reinvestment in youth and communities. Demisha hopes to work at a juvenile detention center in New York after graduation.
Nia Gibson is currently in her final year of graduate school at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Nia is obtaining a Master’s in Public Administration, with a focus in Inspection and Oversight. As a Tow Fellow, Nia was placed at an amazing organization known as the Children’s Defense Fund. This organization advocates for children to ensure they have the necessary tools and support to succeed in life. Their mission is to make sure that they support policies and programs that emphasize the need to keep children out of poverty, protect them from abuse or neglect, and make sure they have access to quality education. As an intern, Nia uses what she has learned in the classroom to contribute to her well-rounded knowledge of criminal justice. She attends coalition meetings, creates policy memos to inform her fellow staff members on different reinvestment methods, and works side by side with her supervisor to coordinate events that educate the public on important ways to reinvest funds back into the community. Once Nia graduates, she hopes to become a Certified Fraud Examiner and advocate for people in need that have been affected by the criminal justice system.
Serena Lamacchia (she/her) is pursuing a Master’s degree in Forensic Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Victim Counseling. As a Tow Fellow, she has been placed at The Osborne Association, where she works at the Osborne Center for Justice Across Generations. At her placement site, Serena supports the efforts of New York Initiatives for Children of Incarcerated Parents (NYCIP) and See Us, Support Us (SUSU). Serena is also on a team of co-facilitators of the Youth Action Council, one of Osborne’s programs for children of incarcerated that promotes self-advocacy. As an undergraduate student at Goucher College, Serena double majored in Psychology and Dance with a minor in Theater. After graduating from John Jay College, Serena hopes to work as a direct service provider and advocate for youth who have survived trauma. She also aims to continue her involvement in the performing arts.
Dawoon Lee is a first-year graduate student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, studying Forensic Psychology. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology in 2020. Dawoon has worked as a research assistant by helping with data analysis, gathering research, and evaluating results. She works at Katal Center for Equity, Health, and Justice as a Tow fellow. She will be working as a policy intern, assisting in ending mass incarceration and the war on drugs. At Katal, Dawoon will help prepare and arrange rallies and work on the #LessIsMoreNY campaign and #CutShutInvestNY campaign. Dawoon also organizes factsheets and reports of bail reform and attends meetings of working groups for bail and parole reform in New York and Connecticut. She will also assist with organizing rallies. Dawoon is interested in youth justice and exploring its relevant risk and protective factors. She would like to pursue her Ph.D. in Psychology and Law to protect youth in the criminal justice system.
Lieren Tyira (she/her, they/them) is a second-year Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology student who plans to graduate in May 2022. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in Psychology, with a concentration in Forensic Psychology and a minor in Mathematics, from Stockton University in December 2019. Lieren's host site as a Tow Fellow is JustLeadershipUSA, where she works closely with Madeline Firkser, their Special Projects Associate. Lieren's primary role is to support various projects through research and the preparation of educational materials. She is also learning about grassroots organizing and legislative reform. JLUSA's #JustUS campaign is a priority project that Lieren is also working on. This campaign advocate for developing emergency preparedness protocols for correctional facilities at the local and federal levels. Lieren believes that empathy, unity, and community-based support are the keys to a flourishing society. She hopes that in the future, whatever role she plays fuels systemic and equitable reforms that result in the best outcomes possible for justice-involved people, such as by increasing/facilitating opportunities while incarcerated and upon reentry.
Ashley Lino-Frazier joined the Tow Advocacy Policy Fellowship in June 2021. As a Tow Fellow, Ashley is specializing in the John Jay College master's program for Public Policy and Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Operations and Management. Her current host site is the Women Against Mass Incarceration (WAMI). Currently, at her host site, she is researching the impact of women living with violent convictions due to domestic violence and current firearms laws in the following states:(Florida, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, and Washington). In this research, she is conducting a heavy analysis on the role of current laws and what areas of the law need improvement to further assist women in these situations. In addition to her research, there is a heavy focus on gun violence among youth and why this group's statistics are so high. She is gathering data from NYPD and other sources to highlight the major problem that exists in this borough, so there can be further conversations to find solutions. After graduation, Ashley plans to apply to the CIA or FBI positions. She wants to be involved in a government role to advocate for improvements and changes.
2020-2021  
Melissa Ariza is a graduate student at John Jay College where she is obtaining a Master of Public Policy and Administration. Melissa is a Tow Fellow and is placed with The Corporation for Supportive Housing, a non-profit that works to advance housing as a platform for services to improve the lives of the most vulnerable. Through Melissa’s well-rounded experience in the justice system, she has been able to contribute and add value to The Corporation for Supportive Housing. Currently, Melissa works as a Probation Officer where she caters to youth ages 16-25 ensuring they are connected to the proper resources and lead a law-abiding life. When Melissa graduates from John Jay College she aspires to uplift Black and Latino communities by creating and finding spaces for youth to feel welcomed and deserving of optimistic opportunities. 
Sagar Das is a Master in Public Administration student. Their pronouns are they/them. Sagar obtained their Bachelor of Arts at SUNY Fredonia in Criminal Justice and Psychology. As a Tow Fellow, Sagar is working with the Center for Community Alternatives, where they are gaining exposure to policy advocacy and analysis. Sagar has witnessed their family members come in conflict with the criminal justice system and is proud to be at an organization that fights for the rights of those incarcerated or affected by the system. At John Jay, they are the Vice President of the MPA Student Association. They are a student representative on the Teaching and Learning Advisory Board. In the future, they want to be a policy analyst. The idea is to become an activist not only online, but in their career as well to help change the criminal justice system.
Mamou Doumbia is in her final year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she is earning a Master of Public Administration, with a specialization in Human Resources. In 2017, Mamou graduated from the State University of Albany with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Sociology. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, Mamou currently works with the Women’s Community Justice Association (WCJA). WCJA is a gender-specific, trauma-informed, justice agency that uplifts and amplifies the voices of all women and gender non-conforming New Yorkers. As a Tow fellow, Mamou works on engaging community organizing in the Greater New York City area. She facilitates events organized by WCJA, such as rallies, town halls, and focus groups. She assists the Director of Community Engagement with community outreach. Mamou also assists WCJA staff with campaigns and special initiatives to develop and implement strategies to introduce policy proposals at the city and state level. In addition, she conducts research that aids in the creation of policy recommendation. After graduation, Mamou hopes to work with a nonprofit organization that fights for gender equality and criminal justice reform.
Kyra S. Mitchell is in the final year at John Jay College, where she is earning a Master of Administration in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Terrorism. Concurrently, she is also obtaining her Advanced Certificate in Criminal Investigation. As a Tow Fellow, she is placed at Exodus Transitional Community, where she is learning about policy advocacy while working with a community of formerly-incarcerated individuals. Kyra has a passion for policy change, especially with regard to issues involving both undocumented and documented youth. Understanding the rights of young people has always been a must in Kyra’s plan to see change within her community and soon the rest of the country and the world. Upon graduation, Kyra hopes to make lasting connections that will help her make contributions to improve the criminal justice system for at-risk youth.
Annette Navarro is in her final year of the Master of Forensic Psychology program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In addition to this degree, she is in the process of receiving her certificate in Victimology Studies. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from Florida International University in 2017. As a Tow Fellow, she is placed as an intern at the Correctional Association of New York (CANY). CANY was established in 1844 to provide oversight of state prisons, improve conditions of incarcerated individuals, and protect the rights of vulnerable populations, and report to elected officials and the public. In alignment with Annette's experience, she will be working on the Mental Health Chart Review Project within the Prison Visiting Program to conduct research on the current mental health care issues and needs of incarcerated individuals in New York State prisons. This research will then be used to create and present policies, practices, and reforms that promote mental health and safety to elected officials and the public. Upon completion of her Masters degree, Annette aims to use her knowledge in forensic psychology to assist in creating policies and reforms to ensure equality in the criminal justice system. Annette has always had a passion for the pursuit of justice for all people. 
Kateryn Plasencia is in her final year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she is earning a Master of Public Administration, specializing in Inspection and Oversight. In 2016, she graduated from John Jay with a Bachelor’s in English. As a 2020-2021 Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, she is currently placed with the Children’s Defense Fund, where Kateryn is working with the Youth Justice Research Collaborative to analyze data and policies pertaining to the Raise the Age law passed in 2017. She assists in conducting research and focus groups, advocating for future campaigns regarding youth justice, writing and reviewing reports, and publishing the data on social media platforms. She also provides outreach to key stakeholders and takes part in weekly meetings regarding policy initiatives. Kateryn hopes to become a policy analyst one day and aspires to work hard to protect and expand the rights of women, immigrants, and children.
Abigail Ramos is a dual degree student obtaining a Master of Public Administration-Inspection & Oversight from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her Juris Doctor from CUNY School of Law, completing both in 2022. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, Abigail is placed at The Osborne Association, a non-profit organization that works with communities impacted by incarceration by providing court-based advocacy, substance abuse treatment, job training and placement, and opportunities for community service. While at Osborne, Abigail works to support the efforts of the NY Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents (NYCIP) through building advocacy skills among youth up to 24 years old enrolled in Osborne programs. Specifically, Abigail assists with facilitating monthly workshops for Osborne’s Youth Action Council. She supports NYCIP policy efforts focused on rehabilitation, restorative justice, and reinvestment; and will be planning community based public education events. Abigail was awarded the 2020 Sorensen Fellowship for International Peace and Justice from CUNY Law School to support her work surrounding H-2A “guestworkers.” Abigail has been part of the Latin American Law Student Association, Labor Coalition, Mentoring Youth Through Legal Education and CUNY Law Review. Upon graduation, Abigail hopes to work within the cross-over between employment and criminalization either though legal representation or policy advocacy.
Weonjeong Yoo is in her final year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she is earning a Master of Arts specializing in Forensic Psychology and an Advanced Certificate in Victimology Studies. In 2018, she graduated from State University of New York, at Albany with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. Weonjeong gained advocacy experience during her undergraduate senior year when she founded a student organization working for the survivors of sexual violence on the college campus. She hosted educational events to bring awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, she is planning to pursue her career helping survivors address their trauma.
2019-2020 
Kimberley Aguirre is in her final year at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, completing a Master of Arts in the International Crime & Justice program with an Advanced Certificate in Transnational Organized Crime Studies. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, Kimberley is currently placed at the Osborne Association where she works with the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents (NYCIP) on the See Us, Support Us initiative. This initiative works to raise awareness for youth with incarcerated parents, ease prison visitation for families (e.g., through proximity, televisiting, free busing for families, etc.), and to promote change for the rights of youth. When she is not working, raising her daughter, or at her fellowship, Kimberley provides educational support services such as essay tutoring, college application editing, and scholarship support to students in low-income communities. After graduation, Kimberley plans on pursuing doctoral studies and/or teaching in high need areas.
Cecilia Allan is a first-generation college student from Canada working towards her Master of Arts in Forensic Mental Health Counseling. As a Tow Fellow, she is placed at the Women’s Prison Association, which provides direct services for women in the criminal justice system and advocates for related policy reform. Cecilia advises senior management on how the organization can best leverage direct service expertise to inform city, state, and federal level policies and practices related to criminal justice reform. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Cecilia intends to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology. In the future, she hopes to help others learn to use their direct service experience to influence policy and advocate for their clients’ rights.
Nicole Arzola is in her final year of the Master of Public Administration program, where she is concentrating in Public Policy Analysis and specializing in Management and Operations. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, Nicole is working with Exodus Transitional Community, a non-profit organization that delivers innovative programming tailored to adults and youth affected by the justice system, and advocates for a just society in which all can achieve social and economic wellbeing. Nicole plays an integral role on the policy team at Exodus working alongside the Executive Director and VP of Strategies. She co-organizes and supports a local policy campaign directed by Exodus staff and partners, drafts testimony and press quotes to support city and state legislation, prepares for advocacy events, and develops and delivers leadership development trainings for agency staff. Nicole also helped develop Exodus’ Participatory Education in Advocacy and Civic Engagement (PEACE) Plan, a new civic engagement curriculum, and she works with the executive team on a clemency reform initiative.
Lauren Buscato is in her final year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she is earning a Master of Public Administration, specializing in Criminal Justice Policy. In 2017, she graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Anthropology and a minor in Criminal Justice. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, Lauren is currently placed at JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), a nonprofit working to cut the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030 by empowering those most impacted by the criminal legal system to drive policy reform. During her time with JLUSA, Lauren will be working alongside the Advocacy and Policy teams to conduct important criminal justice reform research; assist in the preparation for, and execution of, direct actions and grassroots events; and prepare staff for various meetings with policymakers and key stakeholders. Specifically, she will help accelerate JLUSA’s groundbreaking campaigns that focused on transforming the criminal justice system by reducing incarceration, closing carceral facilities, demanding an end to harmful technologies such as risk assessment instruments or electronic monitors, and reducing probation and parole populations. Upon graduation, Lauren hopes to continue working in criminal justice reform, either with a non-profit organization or a government agency.
Shereemer Chevannes is an international student from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in her second year of the Master of Public Administration and Public Policy program, specializing in Urban Affairs. In 2016, she received her Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Carleton University. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, Shereemer is placed at The Fortune Society, working to build equitable legal systems, change counterproductive laws and policies, and shift public perception. While working with various external agencies, Shereemer advocates on behalf of the Fair Chance for Housing campaign, participates in task force and coalition meetings, and organizes communities to participate in racial healing circles and community restoration projects. Following the completion of her master’s degree, Shereemer wants to become a Senior Policy Advisor focusing on the effects of mass incarceration and prisoner reentry programs.
Danielle E. Gary is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). She is a graduate of Hostos Community College (CUNY) and The City College of New York (CUNY), where she earned an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts & Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, respectively. Danielle is completing her Tow Fellowship placement at Sanctuary for Families, New York's leading service provider for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence. Danielle works within the Legal Department on the Incarcerated Gender Violence Survivors Initiative, which seeks to improve the justice system’s response to trauma and incarcerated gender violence survivors. As part of her work on the newly passed Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA), she conducts outreach at New York State prisons to connect incarcerated survivors with legal services and coordinates a program to assist incarcerated women preparing for parole. Prior to becoming a Tow Fellow, Danielle worked in the non-profit sector with organizations including Safe Horizon Streetwork Project, Sadie Nash Leadership Project, and Girls Educational & Mentoring Services. After completing her master’s degree at John Jay College, Danielle will pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology.
Maya Williams is in her second year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, pursuing a Master of Public Administration. Maya obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Brooklyn College. She is currently a Tow Fellow at Youth Represent, where she serves as a Research Assistant, working on their collaborative proposal of Youth Justice Research. This project involves evaluating and monitoring Raise the Age, a new law that raised the age of criminal responsibility in New York to 18, in order to minimize unintended consequences, expose problems, and advocate for further legislative reform. Maya supports Youth Represent in bringing her knowledge of public policy analysis, political science, as well as experience in research. As a part of the project, Maya conducts participatory research through court watching, public data, and surveys to study the impact of this legislation on justice-involved youth. In her role, Maya works closely with advocates, lawyers, and service providers and hopes to change the way youth are treated in the justice system. Outside of this fellowship, Maya serves as a Block Advocate with the Do the Right Thing Block Association, where she attends local town hall meetings, community board meetings, and tracks the necessary changes for community betterment and social justice in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Upon graduation, Maya hopes to continue advocating for children and women’s social justice by becoming a policy analyst and then attending law school.
2018-2019 
Sandy Abiad is in her first year of the International Crime and Justice Master’s program at John Jay College where she also received her bachelor’s degree in International Criminal Justice. She is currently a Tow Policy Fellow at Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice where she works on the Women and Girls project. This is an effort to raise awareness about the trauma of sexual violence and abuse, and specifically advocate for the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act. This legislation aims to give judges the discretion to sentence domestic abuse survivors less harshly if their abuse experiences are a contributing factor to their crime. Sandy’s role at Katal will be conducting research to help support this bill. Prior to joining Katal, Sandy worked with several non-profit organizations focused on empowering women socially and economically. Following the completion of her Master’s degree, Sandy hopes to continue her work in non- profits, particularly focusing on women’s rights.
Wanda Baldera is currently in her final year of the Criminal Justice Masters with specializations in Criminology & Deviance and Police Administration. In 2016, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Bachelor of Science in Forensic Accounting from John Jay College. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, Wanda is currently placed at FPWA (formerly known as Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies), an anti-poverty and advocacy organization committed to economic opportunity and upward mobility for low-income communities. Wanda supports the Senior Policy Analyst leading the “Ending the Poverty to Prison Pipeline” initiative, a project generating policy and programmatic recommendations to help New York City interrupt the criminalization of poverty. As part of the initiative, Wanda will support the launch and implementation of the Pipeline campaign by doing policy research, coalition building assistance and policy advocacy work at the New York City level. Upon graduation, Wanda hopes to either join the U.S Marshals or continue working with a non-profit organization advocating for social justice.
Quadira Coles is in her second year of the Masters of Public Administration program at John Jay College. She is currently a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at the Legal Action Center, where she works on policies that will remove barriers against persons with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, and/or criminal records. Quadira supports her team, along with other interdepartmental teams, by identifying strategies and providing research that will expand Alternative-to-Incarceration and community reentry programs for justice-involved and reentering individuals, as well as treatment and preventative care programs for persons with histories of substance use disorder and mental illness, both in and out of the criminal justice system. In addition to fighting against social disparities, Quadira’s academic interests include criminal justice reform, civil rights advocacy, and political processes. Before coming to John Jay, she worked as a youth counselor at Children’s Aid and Family Services. She plans to pursue a career in the legislative division of government, go to the law school and in the near future, run for office.
Eduardo Garcia is a proud Chicano and first-generation college student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is currently in his final year at John Jay where he is pursuing a BS/MPA with a concentration in Inspection and Oversight. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts from John Jay in Latino/a and Latin American Studies, graduating with Honors in 2018. As a Tow Fellow, Eduardo is placed at the Bronx Defenders, a public defense organization dedicated to going beyond the courtroom by providing individualized representation and holistic client care. Specifically, Eduardo will be working on building the organization’s R.A.P. (Records Accuracy Project) initiative, which seeks to uphold sealing laws, challenge the use and dissemination of sealed criminal records in civil courts, and review rap sheets for life affecting errors. In this role, he will assist with research, including collecting and analyzing surveys and data from other sources, meet with clients, attorneys, activists, partner organizations, and community activists regarding their design of public policy papers, and develop workshops for a wide-ranging audience. In addition to his fellowship, Eduardo serves on his local community board and in the past, was a research assistant in the Public Management department.
Vanessa Gutiérrez is in her final year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, completing a Master of Arts in the International Crime & Justice program with an Advanced Certificate in Transnational Organized Crime Studies. Vanessa obtained her Bachelor of Arts in International Criminal Justice and Criminology with a Minor in Law from John Jay College. Vanessa is a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at Sanctuary for Families, an organization dedicated to the safety, healing, and self-determination of victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and other related forms of gender violence. Vanessa works directly with the Incarcerated Gender Violence Survivors Initiative, which seeks to improve the justice system’s response to incarcerated gender violence survivors. She conducts research on successful strategies and policies that support incarcerated gender violence survivors, conducts outreach at New York State prisons, develops training curricula for parole commissioners and incarcerated survivors, and also works with advocating for passage of the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act (DVSJA). Upon completion of her Master’s program, Vanessa will pursue doctoral studies in Criminal Justice.
Gwen Saffran is in her final year of John Jay’s Master of Public Administration program with a specialization in Criminal Justice Policy and Administration. She is a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice working on the Safe Alternatives to Segregation (SAS) Initiative within Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections. The SAS Initiative works with state and local corrections systems to significantly reduce the use of segregated housing through the advancement of safe and effective alternatives. She works on keeping the team up-to-date on the latest news and research pertaining to restricted housing, as well as tracking legislation and litigation affecting restricted housing practices. Gwen holds a B.S. from Wheelock College in Juvenile Justice/Youth Advocacy and also works in John Jay’s Public Management department as a research assistant studying sex and gender in the public sector. Prior to coming to John Jay, Gwen worked in juvenile justice reform and police reform organizations. After receiving her MPA, she would like to continue to pursue her passion for youth justice and criminal justice reform in the non-profit sector.
Kelly-Mae Smith is in her last year of graduate school at John Jay, completing her Master’s of Public Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management and Management and Operations. Kelly is currently carrying out her duties as a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at The Osborne Association. She, along with members of the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, is working to support children who are indirectly affected by the criminal justice system. NYCIP’s mission is to raise awareness, promote policy, practice change, and build partnerships to ensure that children's rights are upheld. Kelly will be working closely on NYCIP’s See Us Support Us campaign centered around children with incarcerated parents and their proximities. Once she has obtained her Master’s, Kelly plans on continuing her work on social justice reform geared towards children affected by the criminal justice system.
2017-2018 
Janielle Adams is currently in her last year at John Jay College, pursuing her Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Criminal Justice Policy and Administration. She received her Bachelor of Arts in International Criminal Justice from John Jay College as well. As a Tow Fellow, Janielle is currently placed at the Fortune Society’s David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy working on policy papers along side her supervisor on behalf of the clients who are in the reentry process in efforts to promote and advocate for a fairer criminal justice system. Specifically, Fortune works to remove the barriers that limit successful re-entry, advocate to change laws that are counterproductive and create and implement program models that meet the needs of our clients. After graduation Janielle plans to continue her career working in the criminal justice reformation field advocating for alternatives to incarceration.
Sloane Gray is completing her last year at John Jay College, earning a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology. She is a Tow Fellow at the Joyful Hearts Foundation and works in the Policy and Advocacy Department. She is assisting the department on the Campaign to End the Backlog, an effort to address and eliminate the backlog of sexual evidence kits that have remained untested since collection. As a Fellow, Sloane assists in research and analysis on relevant legislature and policies, writes material for endthebacklog.org and other department efforts, and represents the foundation at advocacy events. She will also conduct an independent research project with the support of the department. Sloane holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Lander’s College for Women and plans to pursue a law degree after graduation from John Jay College. She hopes to combine her passion for advocacy with legal experience and work on behalf of survivors in pursuit of justice.
Daun Jung is a licensed social worker and completing her Master of Arts Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. She received a bachelor’s degree with Forensic Psychology at John Jay and with Social Work in Korea, which allowed her to work for the Child Victim Protection Agency in Korea. Her research focuses broadly on sex trafficking and risk factors associated with sexual assault. Daun Jung has served as a guest speaker and researcher at U.S Department of State and has conducted workshop about International Sex Crime and Sex/Human Trafficking. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow with Her Justice, Daun focuses on the analysis of justice issues on immigrant policy and laws under the Violence Against Women Act(“VAWA”) by conducting policy work in which focuses on advocacy for systemic change—law and court reform—in the criminal justice system. Specifically, Daun is focusing on strategizing about advocacy for VAWA reauthorization, and advising policy solutions at a local and national level for public media
Serena Maszak is in her second year of the forensic psychology master’s program at John Jay College. She is currently a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she works with the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative at Vera’s Center of Sentencing and Corrections. This initiative works with five state and local corrections agencies to reduce their use of segregation, or solitary confinement, and develop alternative correctional strategies through site visits, data analysis, and reviewing the agencies’ policies and practices. Serena works alongside programming and research team members on their evaluation of these agencies' use of segregation and restrictive housing. In addition to correctional mental health reform, Serena’s academic interests include violence prevention, sexual violence, and procedural justice. Before coming to John Jay, she worked as a youth counselor at the Ali Forney Center and taught English abroad. She plans to pursue a doctoral program in psychology and law after finishing her master’s degree.
Trushal Pandhi is in his final year of obtaining a Master in Public Administration with specializations in Human Resources Management and Operations and Management. Trushal is a Tow Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), where he contributes to building coalitions to support safe drug policy reforms throughout New York State. He conducts regular outreach to constituents, tracks legislative meetings, and monitors related media. He also supports DPA’s Office of Academic Engagement, which strives to connect researchers and policymakers.
Trushal previously served as a Peer Success Coach at John Jay’s Student Academic Success Program and interned for former John Jay College President Jeremy Travis. After completing his degree, Trushal hopes to combine his passion for social justice and policy analysis to address the needs of disadvantaged communities. In addition, Trushal wishes to pursue a law degree in order to help individuals living in destitute situations.
Julia Ramirez is in her final year at John Jay, completing her Masters in Public Administration in Public Policy. Julia is placed at the Osborne Association, where she focuses on the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents. The initiative’s mission is to increase awareness and support for children of incarcerated parents through policy reform and partnerships with government agencies community and faith-based organizations. Julia will also be working closely with the Youth Development and Youth Leadership Programs for children of incarcerated parents at Osborne. Prior to her work at the Osborne Association, Julia participated in the Pinkerton Fellowship. As a Pinkerton Fellow, Julia worked as an Academic Counselor at College Initiative (CI) a program of the Prisoner Reentry Institute that assists formally incarcerated people pursue higher education. Julia is also part of the Honors Program and the CUNY Becas Scholarship. After graduation, Julia hopes to attend law school and combine her advocacy and policy work with the immigrant and criminal justice involved population.
Matthew A. Thompson is currently in his last year at John Jay College, pursuing his Master of Public Administration, with a specialization in Forensic Accounting. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at Legal Action Center, Matthew is working to advocate for policies that will remove barriers against persons with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, and/or criminal records. Specifically, Matthew supports the team by identifying strategies that will expand Alternative-to-Incarceration and community reentry programs for justice-involved and reentering individuals, as well as treatment and preventative care programs for persons with histories of substance use disorder and mental illness, both in and out of the criminal justice system. Upon completing his M.P.A., he hopes to continue working in the social justice realm, by partnering with community organizations, individuals, agencies, and non-profits, to advocate for equitable policies and serve his community. Outside of Matthew’s academic endeavors, he serves as President of the M.P.A. Student Association, and is a proud Big Brother, with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC.
Elizabeth (Claire) Toal is in her second year at John Jay College, completing her Master of Arts in the Forensic Psychology program. Claire is a Tow Fellow at Sanctuary for Families, an organization dedicated to the safety, healing, and self-determination of victims of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence. Sanctuary is currently advocating to align NYS anti-trafficking laws with federal law through the passage of Bill A. 6823, which would lift the burden from sex trafficked children of having to testify about their exploitation by eliminating the need for prosecutors to prove coercion in sex trafficking cases where the victims are minors. Her role at Sanctuary will be conducting research on topics such as the long-term effects of child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking, and the relationship between child sexual abuse and engagement in prostitution and/or commercial sexual exploitation. Following the completion of her Masters, Claire plans to pursue a law degree so that she can continue to seek justice for victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and gender based violence.
2016-2017 
10_25_16_pri_jjay_portrait_headshot_c_arpi_pap-1044Robert Americo is in his last year at John Jay College, completing his Master of Public Administration in Inspection and Oversight with a specialization in Investigation and Operational Inspection. Robert is currently a Tow Fellow at The Urban Justice Center, supporting its Mental Health Project’s campaign to abolish the use of solitary confinement in New York State prisons. The MHP also strives to restrict the use of solitary confinement particularly for elderly, youth, and mentally or medically ill populations. The MHP accomplishes these aims by working directly with clients, promoting advocacy from the community level, and attempting to influence policymakers to support relevant legislation. Aside from corresponding with clients on a one-to-one basis, Robert is responsible for generating a shadow report that highlights the misuse of solitary confinement in NYS prisons, particularly involving the admission and treatment of prisoners. Upon completing his MPA, Robert hopes to continue his work in the public sector in an oversight capacity, and he plans to pursue a PhD in Criminal Justice, with a focus on Policy, Oversight, and Administration.
10_25_16_pri_jjay_portrait_headshot_c_arpi_pap-1025Joanna Callen is currently in her second year of the Master of Arts International Crime and Justice program. She is an international student from Jamaica, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in criminology. She also holds a degree in social work, which allowed her to work for the Child Development Agency in Jamaica. Joanna now serves as a Tow Fellow with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), which works to protect vulnerable children, who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. Joanna works directly with CDF’s Youth Justice Advocate, focusing predominately on juvenile justice, health, and education. Joanna conducts research to support the Cradle to Prison Pipeline campaign, a CDF initiative that provides preventive supports and services for children to eliminate the flow of youth from underserved communities to incarceration. She also supports Dignity in Schools, a national coalition of non-profits that seeks to reduce the harsh discipline policies that interrupt the education process. After completing her degree, Joanna plans to return to Jamaica and help reform the country’s juvenile justice system to improve outcomes for youth entangled in the criminal justice system.
10_25_16_pri_jjay_portrait_headshot_c_arpi_pap-1052Michael L. Coleman is currently in his last year at John Jay College, pursuing his Master of Public Administration with dual specializations in Organizational Assessment & Monitoring and Investigation & Operational Inspection. He is a Tow Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice, working with the Center on Sentencing and Corrections’ Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative. Michael supports Vera’s team in partnering with corrections systems to reduce their reliance on segregated housing in prisons and jails across the country. His work consists of conducting research on best practices in restrictive housing, analyzing assessment data, and preparing presentations to stakeholders and Vera staff. After graduation, Michael hopes to contribute to social justice reform through performance assessments and evaluations. Outside of his academic pursuits, Michael is President of the MPA Student Association and serves as the Policy and Procedures Officer of the New York Urban League’s volunteer auxiliary, New York Urban League Young Professionals.
10_25_16_pri_jjay_portrait_headshot_c_arpi_pap-1038Jennifer Hernandez is in her last year at John Jay College, where she is pursuing a Master of Public Administration with dual concentrations in Operations Management and Emergency Management. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow for The Bronx Defenders’ Policy and Community Organizing Department, she is working on a civil forfeiture reform campaign, conducting political intel research on the winners of the 2016 New York State primaries, and shadowing members from the various departments to better understand the organization’s holistic defense model. She also works for Victoria’s Secret as an Operations & Staffing Supervisor. Jennifer is a graduate of Marist College, where she received her B.A. in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations/Organizational Communication and a double minor in criminal justice and social work. Jennifer previously worked in public relations for companies such as MTV, ABC, and KB Network News. She was also recognized in 2009 by then-New York Governor David Paterson for her strategic communication and event planning contributions to the Explore NY400 Celebration.
10_25_16_pri_jjay_portrait_headshot_c_arpi_pap-1073-1Edward Lopes is a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow for MFY Legal Services, where he is compiling research and contributing to the development of policy reform related to privately operated, unregulated three-quarter houses. As a Fellow with MFY, Edward engages on matters concerning multiple aspects of housing and tenant rights advocacy by working with a coalition base of non-profit organizations and legislators, conducting policy research, coordinating tenant outreach, and organizing campaigns. Edward holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in Humanities and Justice Studies and is a current Master of Public Administration (MPA) student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Edward has chosen to specialize in Law and Public Management and plans to obtain a Juris Doctor degree to continue his focus on housing and property law. Edward currently works as a Senior Writing Consultant with the John Jay College Writing Center, tutoring both undergraduate and graduate students in various subjects.
10_25_16_pri_jjay_portrait_headshot_c_arpi_pap-1057Shameika Nixon is currently in her final year of pursuing a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Inspection & Oversight. She also attended John Jay as an undergraduate, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a minor in Law. Shameika serves as a Tow Fellow at the Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY), a collection of over 200 nonprofit organizations working to expand supportive housing for vulnerable populations. In addition to housing individuals at risk of homelessness, SHNNY assists clients with employment services, mental health counseling, and other support. Shameika contributes to organizing SHNNY’s NY/NY III campaign, which focuses on providing supportive housing for youth who are aging out of foster care and potentially facing homelessness. Shameika is also supporting an initiative to determine the number of homeless youth in New York City and to obtain federal funding to develop housing for that population. After graduation, Shameika plans to continue her career in social services, particularly focusing on children in foster care.
10_25_16_pri_jjay_portrait_headshot_c_arpi_pap-1035Muhammad Rehman is in his final year of a Master of Public Administration with specializations in Human Resources Management as well as Operations and Management. Muhammad is a Tow Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), where he contributes to building coalitions to support safe drug policy reforms throughout New York State. He conducts regular outreach to constituents, tracks legislative meetings, and monitors related media. He also supports DPA’s Office of Academic Engagement, which strives to connect researchers and policymakers. Specifically, Muhammad is helping develop and maintain a database to track research relevant to drug policy. Muhammad previously served as the Treasurer for John Jay College’s Student Government and interned for President Jeremy Travis. After completing his degree, Muhammad hopes to combine his passion for social justice and policy analysis to address the needs of disadvantaged communities. He ultimately hopes to start his own nonprofit organization to help immigrants obtain education, employment, and stability.
10_25_16_pri_jjay_portrait_headshot_c_arpi_pap-1064Loreal Simpson is in her last year at John Jay College, completing her Master of Public Administration in Inspection and Oversight. She is also pursuing an Advanced Certificate in Criminal Investigation. Loreal is a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow for the Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents, which partners with government agencies and nonprofit organizations to safeguard the needs of children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system. Specifically, the Initiative works to raise awareness about parental incarceration, advance policy reforms, and monitor the implementation of those reforms. Loreal previously worked as a Human Service Specialist in the South Carolina Department of Social Services’ foster care unit. Her social work experience with children and families provided insights to how policy affects vulnerable populations. Upon graduating, Loreal plans to continue working in the social justice field and advocating for the rights of women and children who are victims of injustice.
2015-2016 
Ann ChevealleAnn-Chevealle is currently in her second year of the Master of Public Administration program with a specialization in Human Resources Management. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Culture and Deviance Studies from John Jay College as well. Ann-Chevealle is currently placed at The Fortune Society, where she is continuing the research efforts of the previous Tow Fellow, Crystal Charles, on criminal justice debt and issues pertaining to Fortune’s Reentry Veterans Initiative. Ann-Chevealle also helped the organization with launching its first Twitter Chat on mental health. After graduation, she plans to pursue an Ed.D. in Urban Education Leadership and hopes to become a superintendent to reform policies in urban education. Another long-term goal is launch her own non-profit organization that encourages the growth and fulfillment of children who have or had incarcerated parents and/or have been incarcerated. She wants to help individuals that are perceived as criminals by giving them a second chance and providing them with the resources they need to live a rewarding life.
KaylaKayla McCarroll is currently in her last year at John Jay College, pursuing a Master of Public Administration with specializations in Criminal Justice Policy and Emergency Managements. She is a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow for the Osborne Association‘s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents. The Initiative partners with government agencies and community-based organizations to advocate for policies and practices that meet the needs of children whose parents are incarcerated. She is actively researching current and prospective polices that may infringe upon children’s right to visit and maintain strong relationships with incarcerated parents. Kayla previously interned at the Kinds Country District Attorney’s Office, where she gained firsthand exposure to the impact of criminal justice policies. After graduation, Kayla plans to continue working to shape policies surrounding sentencing and other issues that negatively impact minorities.
RadoslavaRadoslava Mechkyurova is currently completing her master’s degree in Forensic Mental Health Counseling at John Jay College. Radoslava is passionate about promulgating social justice and implementing evidence-based practices within the criminal justice system. She would like to use her clinical and research experience to facilitate the implementation of more efficient policies pertaining to justice matters. Radoslava is a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at the Correctional Association of New York. She is working on the “Raise the Age” campaign, which aims to increase the age of criminal responsibility for 16- and 17-year-olds, who are currently arrested, prosecuted, and detained as adults in New York State. She is responsible for developing effective social media publications for the campaign by drawing from various sources in an effort to generate public awareness and policy revision. Radoslava also contributes to the design of advocacy strategies in the legislative process and collaborates with coalition members to initiate critical thinking on the issue.
GinaGina Moreno is in her final year of the Criminal Justice Master’s Program, with a specialization in Criminology & Deviance, at John Jay College. She also received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice with an English minor at John Jay. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Gina works on New York drug policy reform campaigns by conducting regular outreach to constituents, developing informational materials, participating in coalition and legislative meetings, and tracking related media. As an undergraduate at John Jay, Gina was a Writing Center tutor and a volunteer with the Prison to College Pipeline Program, where she participated in monthly learning exchanges with incarcerated individuals at an upstate correctional facility. She was also a 2014-15 John Jay Vera Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice, where she worked on expanding access to college education in prison. After graduation, Gina hopes to continue working in the social justice field, conducting research and policy analysis.
LaurenLauren Moriarty is in her final year of the Public Administration Master’s program, specializing in Criminal Justice Policy and Operations Management. Lauren is a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow for The Bronx Defenders, working with the Policy and Community Organization Department. The Bronx Defenders is known for its holistic defense model, offering legal services for the destitute communities of the Bronx. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, Lauren is continuously expanding her exposure to the legislative process and actively contributing to community organizing efforts to reform NYPD policies and issues involving the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). Working directly with community members and The Bronx Defenders clients, Lauren collects stories to provoke policy advocacy within the Bronx community. Lauren has extensive experience working in the private sector, where she gained administrative skills in a fast-paced environment and established a well-rounded work ethic. She received her B.A. in English with a minor in Urban Studies at Queens College. Lauren is a native New Yorker who aspires to amend police and community relations through progressive policy changes.
IngridIngrid Olsson is a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at the Citizens Budget Commission and a second-year Master of Public Administration student concentrating in Criminal Justice Policy Analysis and Operations Management. At the Citizens Budget Commission, Ingrid researches how city and state legislators develop their budgets and allocate their funds. She is also researching overtime expenditures among city agencies, resiliency in New York City, and the availability and disparity in access to Broadband Internet. Before her work at CBC, Ingrid interned at the New York City Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, where she oversaw nonprofit contracts and reviews. Ingrid was also a New York City Teaching Fellow, through which she earned a Master of Science in Education from City College and taught high school and middle school special education in New York City for five years.
MegMeg Osborn is a second-year MA student in Forensic Psychology and a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at College and Community Fellowship (CCF), an organization dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated women earn college degrees. Within CCF, Meg works primarily with the Education from the Inside Out Coalition (EIO), a group that advocates for removing barriers to higher education for current and formerly incarcerated individuals. She conducts outreach efforts with allies and legislators at the state and national level, with the goals of reinstating funding eligibility for incarcerated students and ending the practice of criminal history screening in the college application process. Meg’s other interests include economic and racial disparities in pretrial practices and the treatment of women and LGBTQ individuals within the prison system. Her previous work has included volunteering as a sexual assault crisis counselor for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and designing a mentoring program for tenants of a women’s supportive housing organization. After completing her MA, she hopes to continue her study of criminal justice policy at the PhD level.
KristinKristin Vick is a Tow Fellow at MFY Legal Services. At MFY, Kristin is working toward meaningful policy reform to improve three-quarter houses. Also called “sober homes,” these unregulated private residences are known to provide unsafe, illegal, and inhumane living conditions to the city’s most marginalized and vulnerable populations and often engage in illegal Medicaid kickback schemes with drug treatment providers. By fostering a dedicated and passionate coalition base of policy leaders and legislators, conducting policy research, and coordinating tenant outreach and organizing campaigns, Kristin is engaging the issue on multiple fronts. Kristin is a second-year MPA student specializing in Criminal Justice Policy and Administration. She holds a BA in Honors Psychology and Criminal Justice from Rutgers University and has previously worked as a Research Fellow at Rutgers Graduate School of Criminal Justice, a Research Assistant in the Social Perception Lab at Rutgers, and an intern at multiple organizations including the Drug Policy Alliance, Middlesex County Jail’s Adult Substance Abuse Program, and Advocates for Children of NJ.
2014-2015 
CrystalCrystal Charles was in her third and last year of the Public Administration Master’s program, Public Policy track, specializing in Human Resources. Her Bachelor’s degree, also from John Jay, is in Humanities and Justice with a Philosophy minor. Crystal was also the Vice President of the MPA Student Association. She is passionate about empowering, informing, serving, and connecting disadvantaged groups. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at The Fortune Society, Crystal researched Criminal Justice Debt and justice-involved veterans, assisted with participatory budgeting efforts, and participated in Three Quarter House Coalition meetings. Crystal looks forward to pursuing a PhD in the future. Her main research interests are transparency, communication, collaboration, and the use of technology by governments and nonprofits to improve services (i.e. social media).
JanerJaner Cordero was a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow for the Policy and Community organization Department for Bronx Defenders, an organization that utilizes a holistic defense model to provide legal services for the indigent population of the Bronx. As a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, she gained exposure to the legislative process, and was able to participate in activities that propel meaningful reforms within the criminal Justice System. Additionally, she is responsible for researching, collecting, and analyzing information from clients as a method of informing policy advocacy. Prior to this opportunity, Janer interned for the investigations department of the Legal-Aid Society, and was also a Pinkerton Fellow for the Bronx Community Solutions (BCS), a demonstration project for the Center for Court Innovation (CCI). She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration with a specialization in Criminal Justice Policy. As a native to New York City, Janer has directly witnessed the adverse impact of draconian policies within the Criminal Justice System and hopes to use her career to help inflict systemic change.
HeatherHeather Han was a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at the Prisoner Reentry Institute, where she assisted with the development of the National Online Certificate Course in Reentry (NOCCR) project. The NOCCR is a practice based training program designed for front line prison staffs working with formerly incarcerated individuals returning home. The NOCCR hopes to equip front line prison staffs with knowledge and information for successful reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals. Prior to the Tow Policy Advocacy Fellowship, Heather interned at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where she assisted federal investigators with allegations of employment discrimination. Heather is pursuing an MA in Forensic Psychology. Her research interests including racial microaggression, subtle forms of discrimination towards ethnic/racial minorities and the LGBT population, multicultural issues in Psychology and the criminal justice system. She holds a BA in Psychology from Stony Brook University. After graduation, Heather plans to pursue a PhD in Psychology and hopes to become a researcher to reform the criminal justice. She is a member of Asian American Psychological Association.
BriannaBrianna Jackson was a Tow Public Policy and Advocacy Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) while pursuing both her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and an Advanced Certificate in Crime Prevention and Analysis at John Jay College. At DPA, she worked on a number of policy campaigns by conducting outreach to constituents, participating in coalition and legislative meetings, developing materials, and completing analysis and tracking of legislation and related media. A transplant to Brooklyn from San Diego, Brianna actively participated with the local ACLU, USD Pride, Trans-Border Institute, and USD Women in Politics and Public Policy Initiative groups during her undergraduate education in Sociology at the University of San Diego. Previously, she worked as a behavior modification intern at the BI, Incorporated San Diego Daily Reporting Center, a research assistant with the Institute for Criminal Justice Ethics. She was also a teaching assistant in statistics and working with Jon Shane and Richard Curtis on research projects on NYC drug injector behaviors/networks, internet-facilitated prostitution in NYC, and police policy pertaining to gun violence and homicide in New York State.
EricaErica Murphy was a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow, CUNY Service Corps Member, and second-year graduate student in the Forensic Mental Health Counseling program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. As a Tow Fellow, Erica served at the nonprofit coalition Education from the Inside Out (EIO), where she contributed to their campaign of abolishing barriers to higher education for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Erica focused her efforts on encouraging EIO’s main goals of ending discriminatory practices in higher education application processes as well as supporting reinstatement of Pell Grant and TAP eligibility to people who are incarcerated. In the years to come, Erica plans to combine her health counseling training with her policy advocacy experience. Her aspirations include obtaining her LMHC licensure after graduation and continuing her work in the social justice sphere by assisting victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
DanielleDanielle Owens was a second-year Criminal Justice MA student, specializing in criminology and deviance. As a Tow Fellow, she worked at MFY Legal Services with their Three-Quarter House Project as a policy analyst and advocate. At MFY, she assisted with planning coalition meetings with other major players in housing and criminal justice policy in order to help reform the illegitimate transitional housing called “Three-Quarter Houses,” which provide shelter to many individuals who are formerly incarcerated or previously residing in substance abuse programs. She also advocated for residents of Three-Quarter houses to know their rights as a tenant, especially when faced with illegal lockouts, which are prevalent. After graduating from John Jay, Danielle hopes to continue her work in the field of criminal justice policy and obtaining a PhD in Criminology, to further research the subject.
MeganMegan Penney was a second year M.A. student studying criminal justice and a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow placed with the Osborne Association’s Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents. The initiative works towards achieving goals such as family responsibility statements, easier prison visitation for families (proximity, televisiting, etc.), and appealing to higher decision-makers to help with the needs of children with incarcerated parents. Megan graduated with multiple honors from the University of New Haven with a B.S. in Criminal Justice in 2013. She is also involved with multiple animal welfare related non-profits on the east coast. Her goal after graduating is to work for a non-profit on policy advocacy or direct services until she completes a PhD program. Megan’s overall long term goal is to acquire a PhD and pursue research on animal-related policies and procedures such as those affiliated with canine policing and police training.
CeemaCeema Samimi-Luu was an MPA student focusing on Public Policy & Administration. Ceema hails from Denver, Colorado, where she majored in Political Science at the University of Colorado. Prior to moving to New York, Ceema worked with high-risk youth populations, including homeless youth living on the street, HIV positive youth, and young people involved in the child welfare system. She also worked to train systems-involved youth to become restorative justice facilitators, volunteered as a mediator in a court diversion program, and organized around police brutality and racial profiling. Ceema received a Master’s of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2010 and subsequently worked with court-involved youth as a Forensic Social Worker in The Bronx and Staten Island Family Courts. She was placed as a Tow Policy Advocacy Fellow at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, where she works on school climate issues.