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Executive Leadership
 
Steven K. Choi
Executive Director
Steve Choi is the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, a coalition of over 200 member groups that represents New York State’s immigrant communities. He has tripled the organizational budget and doubled the size of the organization’s staff since joining in 2013, now overseeing the nation’s largest state immigrant rights coalition and serving as the chief advocate on immigrant rights, education, civic participation, and health care access on the Federal, state and local levels.
 
From 2009 to 2013, Steve was the Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, which represents the Korean and Asian community in New York. Prior to that, he was Director of the Korean Workers Project at the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund (AALDEF). His previous experience includes working for the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center in Boston, Greater Boston Legal Services, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Los Angeles.
 
Steve received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a M.A. from the University of Hawai’i, and a B.A. from Stanford University in History with honors. He is the recipient of the 2013 New York Law Journal’s “Rising Stars” Award, the 2012 NAPABA Best Lawyers Under 40 Award, the Korean American Association’s “Man of the Year” Award, the Skadden Fellowship, the Wasserstein Fellowship, the Skirnick Public Interest Fellowship, and the Harvard Law School Asian Pacific American Alumni Award. He also currently serves on the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
 
Sara Rakita
Executive Vice President
Sara Rakita is Executive Vice President. In that role, she supervises the NYIC's membership program, capacity-building efforts for community-based organizations, and support for direct service providers. She also oversees finance and administration. Sara played a key role in developing the NYIC's 2016-2020 strategic plan and in organizing the 2015 NIIC conference in her earlier role as Managing Director. Prior to joining the NYIC in 2014, Sara served as Associate Director of the Public Interest Law Center at New York University School of Law. She also served as a consultant to organizations including the Ford Foundation and Amnesty International USA and as an Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch-- two years of which were based in Kigali, Rwanda. Sara is a dedicated New Yorker and proud Queens resident where she lives with her husband and two children. She holds a law degree from New York University, a Master's of International Affairs from Columbia University, and a B.A. from American University. She speaks fluent French, proficient Spanish, and some Russian.
 
Genevieve (Gigi) Gazón
Chief of Staff
Gigi Gazón is the Chief of Staff. This is a newly created position at the NYIC, created to oversee the day-to-day management of the NYIC’s highly talented program, policy, and advocacy staff. In this role, she works closely with the NYIC staff to assist in maintaining high quality work across all areas of the organization. Prior to joining the NYIC, Gigi served as the Deputy Director of the City of Jersey City’s Division of Community Development. Gigi was born and raised in New York City to Dominican immigrant parents and currently lives in Jersey City with her husband and two children. She holds a degree in Urban Policy and Advocacy from SUNY Empire State College and speaks Spanish fluently.

Murad Awawdeh
Vice President of Advocacy
Murad Awawdeh is the Vice President of Advocacy at the NYIC. Murad leads the Coalition's Community, Political, and Member Engagement departments. Formerly, Murad was the NYIC’s Director of Political Engagement where he led the organization's federal, state, and local legislative and policy campaigns to push for a more inclusive New York. Through his work, Murad has been able to secure over $120 million in funding for low-income communities of color. He has been featured in VICE, the Baffler, NY1, NY Daily News, Daily Beast, and Huffington Post. He was honored with the Brooklyn Do Gooder Award, Congressional Recognition, and State Senate and Assembly Achievement and Service Awards.
 
Elizabeth (Betsy) Plum
Vice President of Policy
Betsy Plum is the Vice President of Policy. She oversees the organization's issue-based policy programs, which seek to influence public policies that expand basic rights for immigrants and ensure immigrants can build truly thriving and fulfilled lives. Since joining the NYIC in 2013, Betsy has led several initiatives and campaigns to empower and integrate immigrant communities, including her leadership of the “This is Our New York” campaign in response to the 2016 presidential election, adult education and workforce development policy, and the NYIC's Key to the City initiative. Prior to joining the NYIC, Betsy was a staff member at Central American Legal Assistance. She speaks Spanish, lives in Brooklyn, and is a graduate of Bard College and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
 
Staff
 
Mayra Aldás-Deckert
Senior Manager of Community Engagement
Mayra Aldás-Deckert is the Senior Manager of Community Engagement Manager at the NYIC, where she provides management, logistics, and strategic planning support for a number of NYIC initiatives that support community and family engagement. She develops and implements outreach strategies to engage, educate, and inform New York's diverse communities. Previously, she served as the main coordinator of the NYIC’s Key to the City initiative, which brings foreign consulates alongside social and legal service providers to schools in immigrant neighborhoods for multi-day special events.  A native of Ecuador, Mayra moved to NYC in 2005 with her family. She joined the NYIC in 2014.

Mayra graduated from Brooklyn College, earning a B.S. in Business Management and Finance in 2013. In Ambato, she completed three years of Commercial Engineering with a focus in Management and Business Planning at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador.

Saima Anjam
Senior Director of Advocacy
Saima Anjam is the Senior Director of Advocacy. Saima has been working to create and support necessary social change so all New Yorkers can thrive. Prior to joining the NYIC, Saima was the Director of Public Policy at the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Environmental Health Director for Environmental Advocates of New York, and served as a Project Coordinator for the New York Public Interest Research Group where she coordinated the research, advocacy, and outreach efforts of offices in Long Island and Queens, New York.
 
Muzna Ansari
Manager of Policy
Muzna Ansari is the Policy Manager at the NYIC. She previously supported the NYIC's Immigration Advocacy team, working on state and federal policy. She now leads the organization's Blueprint project, a strategic plan for advocacy on state priorities. Before joining the NYIC, Muzna worked with the Immigration and Civil Rights Committees of the New York City Council. Previously, she worked on voting rights and campaign finance reform with the Democracy Fund of the Open Society Foundations.

Muzna received her B.A. with distinction from Barnard College and her Master's in Public Administration from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service.

Michelle Born
Manager of Immigrant Services Support, Training
Michelle Born manages the NYIC's training institute. As part of the Immigrant Services Support team, she oversees the development and growth of the NYIC's training initiatives to build the capacity of legal service providers and other community-based organizations serving New York State's immigrant communities. Previously, Michelle served as a Training and Outreach Manager for LawHelpNY / Pro Bono Net and as Staff Attorney in the Immigration Program at The Bronx Defenders. Michelle has worked abroad and in the U.S. in various program and development capacities with Caotholic Relief Services, Human Rights Watch, Maryknoll Lay Missioners, and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. She holds an M.A. in International Development from Fordham University and a J.D. from CUNY School of Law. Michelle speaks Spanish and is a proud resident of the Bronx, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
 
Claudia Calhoon
Director of Health Policy
Claudia Calhoon joined the NYIC in 2014. She leads development and execution of city and state campaigns to improve health access, coverage, and delivery for immigrant communities. Claudia has provided leadership to a diverse array of public health and non-profit settings including the Bellevue/New York Univerity Program for Survivors of Torture, the Open Society Foundations, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cuenca, Ecuador. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the HHC Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP) Performing Provider System and the Community Advisory Board of the New York University Center for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities.
 
Claudia is currently enrolled in the Doctorate of Public Health Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. She received a M.P.H. from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and a B.A. in American History from Earlham College.
 
Claudia Carrera
Immigrant Services Support Associate, Events
Claudia Carrera joined the NYIC in 2014 as a Public Ally Americorps fellow where she worked on the DACA initiative and helped support member organizations with outreach and materials. She later worked on the Mexican Initiative for Deferred Action which helped promote DACA applications among the Mexican community and build capacity among the Mexican-lead community based organizations chosen to participate in this project. She currently works to support the Immigrant Services department with Key to the City events around New York City that offer consular services, free legal consultations and social services for the immigrant community.
 
Makdyanet Cedeño
Manager of Immigrant Services Support, Outreach
Makdyanet Cedeño is a native New Yorker born to Dominican parents with a strong interest in public service. She attended high school in the Bronx and went on to complete her undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont where she earned a B.A. in Political Science. Post undergrad, she returned to New York where she attended New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and received her M.P.A. in Public Non-Profit Management and Policy. In Makdy's professional career, she has worked as a Single Stop Coordinator as part a Robin Hood initiative, screening low income residents for city and state benefits they are entitled to, and also as a Performance Improvement Coordinator doing continuous quality improvement work for a mental health service agency composed of 175 programs and approximately 40,000 clients.
 
Meredith Fortin
Director of Immigrant Services Support
Meredith Fortin is the Director of Immigrant Services Support at the NYIC, where she oversees a program dedicated to supporting service providers in the state. This includes coordination of direct service providers in coalition (including rapid response work), management of the NYIC's training institute, and the administration of events like the NYIC's Key to the City initiative. Previously, she was the Asylum Program Officer at Physicians for Human Rights, where she oversaw the development, recruitment, and training of the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) Asylum Network. Before that, Meredith served as a staff attorney and later as Director of the Immigration Legal Program at Lutheran Social Services of New York. Meredith has represented clients before the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in a broad range of immigration matters, developed and conducted Know Your Rights programs as well as both legal and non-legal trainings for professionals, and managed community-based pro bono immigration clinics. Meredith holds a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
 
Kemah George
Community Engagement Manager
Kemah George is the NYIC's Community Engagement Manager, where she works to strengthen immigrant communities through education and engagement. In her advocacy role, she supports the Black Immigrant Engagement Initiative and Know Your Rights workshops. Prior to joining the NYIC, Kemah served as the Coordinator of Social Justice at the YWCA Brooklyn, where she developed programs and implemented social justice initiatives for women and girls. She also assisted in the development of the Central American Minors program at the International Rescue Committee in Silver Spring, MD and facilitated community orientation sessions for newly arrived refugees at the IRC in Atlanta, GA.

Kemah was born in Brooklyn, New York to Liberian immigrants. She holds a law degree from Howard University School of Law, a Master's of Public Policy from George Mason University, and a B.S.Ed in English Education from The University of Georgia.

Silvia Gonzales
Manager of Administration & Finance
Silvia is the Manager of Administration and Finance. In her current role, she manages the financial health of the organization and oversees state and city contracts from budgeting to reporting. A native Peruvian, Silvia fell in love with non-profits when she was a teenager. Inspired by Global Kids at International High School at LaGuardia Community College, Silvia quickly developed a deep passion for non-profit and charitable work. She joined the NYIC as an intern in 2005 and has provided administrative support to the NYIC for over 10 years.

Silvia holds a B.A. in Political Science and Latin American Studies from Hunter College.

Kiwi Grady
Senior Manager of Membership & Capacity Building
​Kiwi Grady is the Senior Manager of Member Services and Leadership Development at the NYIC. In her role, she runs leadership development and service programs such as the NYIC VISTA program, which places AmeriCorps members in service at non-profit organizations around New York State, where they build capacity for immigrant-focused anti-poverty programs and services. She also runs the NYIC Volunteer program, which provides opportunities for individuals to support diverse immigration services, advocacy efforts, and fundraising campaigns. She has a leadership role in the ongoing development of the NYIC's membership program, which works to support and engage non-profit organizations in immigration advocacy and service campaigns, and created the New Americans Youth Leadership Corps, a leadership development/service program for first and second generation immigrant youth. Prior to coming to the NYIC, Kiwi managed student leadership development programs and organizational chapters at the national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and peer education-in-residence and social justice programs at New York University’s Department of Residential Education.
 
Kiwi earned a B.A. in Gender and Sexuality Studies and a Master's in Higher Education Administration at the New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study and the New York University Steinhardt School of Education, respectively. In her fairly limited spare time, Kiwi loves to consume speculative fiction, read comic books, obsess over theme parks, and try to understand cats (it is not working).
 
Max Hadler
Senior Manager of Health Policy
Max Hadler is the NYIC's Senior Health Policy Manager. He works on issues and campaigns at the city and state levels to improve health access, coverage, and delivery for immigrant communities. Prior to joining the NYIC team, he worked in many capacities related to access to care for immigrants, including working as the Project Director and Research Associate at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, a Researcher at the UCLA North American Integration and Development Center, and a Spanish-English medical interpreter at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Max received a M.P.H. from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and a M.A. in Latin American Studies from the UCLA International Institute. He also holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University.
 
Anu Joshi
Director of Immigration Policy
Anu Joshi is the Immigration Policy Director at the NYIC. She has worked for six years in the immigrant rights movement, including with the Center for New Community in Chicago and the American Immigration Lawyers Association in Washington, D.C. Previously, Anu organized around issues relating to access to education and foreign policy. She was also a child protective services social worker. She is a native Californian and has her Master's in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley.
 
Mark Libatique
Membership & Capacity Building Associate
Mark has been the NYIC's Membership and Capacity-Building Associate since the beginning of 2017. Prior to that, he's been: a museum tour guide, an adult night school French and Mandarin teacher, a news editor, a freelance editorial consultant, a street canvasser, and a cashier at a Times Square watch store (among other things).

Mark received his B.A. in journalism at Rutgers University and is currently working on getting his Master's in Public Administration from New York University.

Camille Mackler
Director of Immigration Legal Policy
Camille J. Mackler, Esq. is the Director of Immigration Legal Policy at the NYIC. In that role, she works on crafting NYIC policy priorities relating to access to justice and right to counsel for New York's immigrant communities. Prior to joining the NYIC, Camille was in private practice representing detained and non-detained immigrants facing deportation, in asylum proceedings, or in family-based petitions. She currently serves as the Chair of the Protecting Immigrant New Yorkers Task Force, the Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Immigration Representation, and sits on the American Immigration Lawyers Association committees on Consumer Protection and Unauthorized Practice of Law (national) and Media and Advocacy (New York Chapter).
 
Francis Madi Cerrada
Manager of Advocacy
Francis Madi Cerrada is a Venezuelan-Lebanese immigrant writer, performer, and community organizer who lives in Hempstead, NY. She is the Manager of Advocacy at the NYIC. Her writing has been featured in several publications including the New York Times Women in the World, Medium.com, Youth Communications, Variedades Magazine (Venezuela), Noticia LI, and LongIslandWins.com. Her previous organizing work includes the Arab American Association of NY, 32BJ-SEIU, and the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding. 
 
Meghan Maloney de Zaldivar
Manager of Member Engagement, Western NY
Meghan Maloney de Zaldivar is a native of Buffalo, New York. She is the Manager of Member Engagement Western New York at the NYIC. Meghan coordinates Western New York where she works with NYIC members and partners to understand and advocate for the complex and diverse issues that immigrants face in the Western New York region. Before coming to the NYIC, Meghan worked on Buffalo's West Side for People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo as an organizer and Community Education Specialist. Prior to her work with PUSH, Meghan worked in El Salvador for the Center for Exchange and Solidarity. In El Salvador, Meghan also contributed in various roles, researching gender inequality in organizing, coordinating international election observation, working with community health organizations, and interpreting and translating for various individuals and professionals. Meghan holds a B.A. from Hampshire College in Central American Studies and Popular Education.
 
Jessy Menjivar
Administrative and Finance Associate
Jessy Menjivar is the NYIC's Administrative and Finance Associate. She is Salvadorian American and from Fort Lee, NJ. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey- New Brunswick Campus. Her past work experience includes: Bone Marrow Recruiter, Executive Nurse Recruiter, and Medical Office Manager.
 
Theodore Moore
Senior Legislative Fellow
Theodore Moore is the Senior Legislative Fellow at the NYIC where he supports the development of local and regional campaigns. He brings over 15 years of non-profit and political advocacy experience, having previously worked as a Senior Policy Analyst for NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in the Policy & Innovation Division, as the National Lead Organizer with the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC-United), with ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York, and with the Working Families Party. Theo is also a founding member of New Kings Democrats and serves as a board member of the Riders Alliance. He is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, born and raised in the East Flatbush section of the borough, and a long-suffering Mets fan. #LGM
 
Fabiola Ortiz Valdez
Manager of Member Engagement, Central NY
Fabiola is originally from Chihuahua, Mexico. She is the Manager of Member Engagement for Central New York. Fabiola is based in Syracuse, where she coordinates the advocacy efforts of the NYIC's members and partner organizations in CNY around issues of deportation, workers' rights, access to services, etc. Fabiola worked as an organizer in her home country supporting the work of Zapatista communities in Chiapas. Fabiola has worked with migrant farmworkers in the U.S. since 2009, first as a health case manager and researcher in the egg, dairy, and blueberry industries in Maine, and then as a researcher and labor organizer with dairy workers in New York. She has also participated and led research projects with different immigrant communities across the country. Fabiola holds a B.A. in Anthropology-Georgraphy from the University of Southern Maine, a M.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Syracuse University, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology from Syracuse University.
 
Carlene Pinto
Manager of Member Engagement, NYC
Carlene Pinto is the Manager of Member Engagement, New York City at the NYIC. Carlene coordinates the engagement for over 130 member organizations and partners across the five boroughs. Since joining the NYIC in 2015, Carlene has mobilized thousands to support the NYIC's efforts to defend and protect the rights of all immigrant New Yorkers. Before joining the NYIC, Carlene worked with The Justice League NYC-- a task force under The Gathering for Justice founded by civil rights pioneer Harry Belafonte. With the Justice League, Carlene helped coordinate logistics for a 250 mile, 9 Day Journey from NYC to Washington DC, The March2Justice (2015). Prior to that, Carlene served The Riverside Church as the Coordinator of Mission and Social Justice Programming, providing program support to seventeen different issue area campaigns, focusing on human rights, equity and equality. Carlene holds a B.A. from the State University of New York College at New Paltz where she majored in Criminal Justice, and minored in Disaster Relief Psychology. During her time there, she traveled the country as a first responder to natural disasters.
 
Rovika Rajkishun
Development Director
Rovika Rajkishun is the Development Director for the NYIC. In this capacity, she oversees the fundraising initiatives for the organization. Utilizing almost fifteen years of experience in fundraising, Rovika's expertise includes strategies for increasing revanues and diversifying funding streams, individual donor and board stewardship, and establishing and maintaining relationships with foundations and corporate grantors. Rovika has a B.A. in Comparative Religion from Barnard College. She has lived in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for the last sixteen years with her husband. They now have two sons. Rovika is on the board of directors of two non-profits: Girls for Gender Equity and Wild Earth. She also teaches as part of the Robin Hood Foundation's Grant Readiness Training Program (G.R.I.T). 
 
Juan J. Ramírez
Manager of Human Resources
Juan is the Manager of Human Resources with the NYIC. Juan joined the organization in 2007 as the Executive Assistant, managing the Office of the Executive Director. In his current position, he manages office administration along with the IT infrastructure of the organization. He's involved in the logistics for most organizational events such as: advocacy days of action, the NYIC Gala, and the Annual Meeting, among others. Additionally, he works with core functions relating to human resources and assists in setting and implementing employee policies. In his personal time, he volunteers with non-profits that focus on education access and served as a mentor through iMentor. Juan holds a Bachelor of Arts in History with a focus on Colonial Latin America from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
 
Christina Samuels
Manager of Development, Individual Giving & Events
Christina Samuels is the Development Manager of Individual Giving and Events. She oversees the organization’s individual fundraising activities along with the annual gala. Previously, Christina was a Development Associate at Facing History and Ourselves and has held positions in the corporate sector and with government contractors. Christina holds an M.A. in Anthropology/International Development from George Washington University and graduated summa cum laude from the Robert E. Cook Honors College at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Anthropology.
 
Anique Singer
Operations Associate
Anique is the NYIC's Operations Associate. She assists with event planning and provides administrative support to the staff. She previously worked at The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) as the Finance and Operations Associate and as a Fellow with their Reproductive Justice Leadership Institute (RJLI). Before that, she was the Project FAIR and Public Benefits Paralegal with the Legal Aid Society. She is Okinawan American and was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai'i. She holds a B.A. from Tufts University, where she double majored in Sociology (with a focus on Social Inequalities and Social Change) and Peace and Justice Studies (with a concentration in Gender Studies). 
 
Kim Sykes
Director of Education Policy
Kim Sykes is the Director of Education Policy at the NYIC. Kim has longstanding ties to the NYIC, first working as a Fellow within the Worker's Rights program in 2008. She then joined the NYIC in September 2010 as a Policy and Program Fellow responsible for special projects such as co-leading the National Immigrant Integration Conference's education track and developing the NYIC's first performance evaluation system. Her current responsibilities include overseeing the NYIC's education policy work to support immigrant students and English language learners. She has run the NYIC's Education Collaborative since 2012, steering its successful campaigns on language access and protecting students from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Previously, she was Account Supervisor at Resnicow + Associates, a leading strategic communications agency for non-profit arts organizations.

Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Spanish from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana and an M.P.A. from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) with dual concentrations in social policy and non-profit management.

Jano Tantongco
Communications Associate & Online Editor for Long Island Wins
Jano Tantongco is the Communications Associate at the NYIC, supporting the organization's overall communications strategy. He also serves as the Online Editor for Long Island Wins, an editorial advocacy project of the NYIC. Before joining the team in 2018, he worked as a journalist for weekly newspapers in Long Island and Queens. His work has appeared in Long Island Wins, Long Islander News, Long Island Weekly, The Queens Courier, and The New York Times. He also occasionally works as a wedding photographer on the weekends. In his spare moments, he enjoys reading about Zen philosophy, listening to Bossa Nova, and writing fiction. A proud alumnus of Queens College, Jano earned his B.A. in Media Studies.
 
Samantha Van Doran
Senior Associate of Development & Communications
Samantha Van Doran is the Senior Associate of Development and Communications at the NYIC, where she supports grant writing and reporting, event planning, all fundraising-related communications, and more. She originally joined the NYIC as a development fellow through the federal AmeriCorps VISTA program in August 2015 and joined the Coalition as a full-time staff member in September 2016. Prior to her work at the NYIC, Sam interned with World Relief at their headquarters in Baltimore, MD and the Keeler Tavern Museum in Ridgefield, CT, focusing on fundraising and communications at both.
 
Samantha graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, with a B.A. with honors in History.
 
Benita Von Lilienfeld-Berry
Executive Associate
Benita von Lilienfeld-Berry is the Executive Associate at the NYIC, where she supports the Executive Leadership Team. Before joining the NYIC, Benita was a financial services paralegal at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, where she wrote a daily newsletter on financial regulatory policy with 20,000 subscribers. Benita received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia in English and Spanish Literature and Culture.  
 
Erica Watson
Immigrant Services Support Associate, Training
Erica Watson is the NYIC’s Training Associate. As part of the Immigrant Support Services team, she coordinates trainings in order to build the capacity of legal service providers and other immigrant-serving organizations. She first joined the NYIC as an Americorps VISTA and worked to connect low-income immigrants to legal services and other critical resources. Prior to joining the NYIC, Erica worked to support migrant farmworkers in New York State at the Cornell Farmworker Program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish at Cornell University.
 
Lucy Wu
Development & Administration Associate
Lucy Wu is the NYIC's Development and Administration Associate. In this role, she provides support with grant management and tracking, interdepartmental communication, and database maintenance. Prior to joining the NYIC team, Lucy focused on development during her internships at a fundraising consulting firm and a non-profit membership organization. She has also previously worked as a CAMBA summer camp program leader and volunteered with Legal Hand. Born in China, Lucy moved to the U.S. as a child and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Rochester.
 
Karen Yau
Director of Membership & Capacity Building
Karen Kithan Yau, Esq. is the Director of Membership and Capacity Building at the NYIC and is responsible for overseeing membership services and capacity building efforts that strengthen and sustain our member organizations. Karen has over two decades of experience working with immigrants, workers, and other poor and working people. Karen began her career as a community organizer for MFY Legal Services. Karen became a long-time workers’ rights lawyer, serving as an Assistant Attorney General at the Labor Bureau at the State Attorney General. She led investigations into labor violations in the agricultural, greengrocer, moving, restaurant, taxi, and other industries. She was also the recipient of a Skadden Fellowship at the National Employment Law Project and a Robert M. Cover Teaching Fellowship at Yale Law School, and held an assistant professorship at Syracuse University College of Law. In addition, Karen served as the Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, a pan-Asian advocacy organization. Karen currently mediates disputes, facilitates small group discussions, and teaches as an adjunct college professor. Karen is active in community organizations and bar associations.
 
Karen received a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.A. from Stony Brook University. She emigrated from Hong Kong.
 
Fellows
 
James Collins
AmeriCorps VISTA - Development
James Taichi Collins is an Americorps VISTA for the NYIC and is working in development. He is specializing in fundraising and event planning, which assists the NYIC’s efforts in connecting low-income immigrants to legal services and other programs to support their access to economic opportunities. Previously, James was a fellow of United Students for Fair Trade, a student ambassador to the Delaware Environmental Institute, abd worked as a personal assistant with Easter Seals. He started working on immigration issues his last year as an undergraduate, where he co-draft a petition and organized a campaign to assure protections for DACA/undocumented students on his campus. And he is also a dual citizen and a “Zainichi Korean,” having lived in Japan for most of his life, before moving to the United States in 2012. James holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Delaware.
 
James Ha
Immigration Law & Policy Fellow
James is the Immigration Law & Policy Fellow at the NYIC. Through this position, he works closely with the policy and advocacy staff to analyze how Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are impacted by recent developments in immigration policy. He previously served as a Policy Analyst at the Office of New York City Comptroller. James holds a B.A. from Bowdoin College and a M.P.A. from NYU Wagner.
 
Alejandra Lopez-Cuellar
AmeriCorps VISTA - VISTA Leader
Alejandra Lopez-Cuellar is the AmeriCorps VISTA Leader for the 2017-2018 VISTA cohort at the NYIC. Through her position, she manages, supports, and allocates the proper resources to current VISTA serving at various NYIC host sites, as well as recruiting and training volunteers. Before joining the NYIC, Alejandra served a year as an AmeriCorps CSU STEM VISTA, at her host site, San Jose State University, under their Engineering Projects for Community Service (EPICS). During her time there, she supported the students enrolled in the course and connected the EPICS program with the necessary community partners, industry sponsors, and technically skilled mentors. Alejandra earned her B.A. in Ethnic Studies with a Political Science minor from the University of San Diego.
 
Kiana Miller
Public Ally - Health Policy
Kiana Miller is a Public Ally Americorps member who has joined the NYIC’s health policy team. Kiana will be working in the health policy program and will be involved in the NYIC’s Key to the City event, the health collaborative, and all other health work. Kiana is studying Social Work at York College in Jamaica, NY and has previously worked with two non-profits in the past, assisting with youth programs and helping organize community events. Kiana’s future goal is to become a Licensed Master Social Worker. Her hobbies include writing poetry and short stories.
 
Maya Moskowitz
AmeriCorps VISTA - Communications
Maya Moskowitz is a recent graduate of Oberlin College, where she majored in Politics with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies. She also has a strong filmmaking background, and studied at the Prague Film School in the Documentary Production program. Maya has worked on several student films, as well as commercial shoots. She began her focus on immigration when she traveled to Lesvos Island, Greece in 2015 as an independent volunteer, assisting migrants crossing the Aegean Sea. Upon returning to Oberlin, Maya conducted research on the rejection of refugees as an effect of the Communist legacy in the former-Eastern Bloc, as well as the rise of Islamophobia in the United States post-9/11 and how it may contribute to restrictionist immigration policy. She previously interned with HIAS Refugee Resettlement in their Community Engagement department. Maya is passionate about social justice and equal opportunity, as well as dogs, good food, and curly hair!
 
Nirmala Singh
NYC Civic Corps - Immigrant Services Support
Nirmala is a recent graduate of Mount Saint Mary College, where her deep interests in gender equity and education policies led her to major in History and Political Science with a minor in Sociology. Most of her undergraduate career has been focused in government agencies, primarily the New York State Assembly and the United States House of Representatives, as well as numerous non-profits and volunteer organizations.
 
Assisting those who feel voiceless within society has been her passion both in the U.S. and in Guyana, where she is originally from. She hopes one day to contribute to the bridging the gaps between gender and education inequality.
 
Wendy Odle-Harvey
NYC CivicCorps Member - Volunteer Coordination
Wendy Odle-Harvey is the 2017-2018 New York City Civic Corp member. She has over thirty-three years of experience working in the private sector. She worked as an Import Brokerage Specialist. This work entailed customs clearance, classifying, timely delivery, payments of duties and monitoring the account receivables of imported non-hazardous chemicals, food and general merchandise items. She also volunteers with the Mayors Office of Immigration Affairs - Citizenship Now team, New York Votes - voter registration team and Love Fellowship Church. She directs the Children's Ministry/Children Church for ages 3-12 at Love Fellowship Church. She has her B.A. in Political Science from Brooklyn College and her M.A. in Public Administration from Alfred University.

When she is not busy with the above activities she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, sightseeing and reading.

Oriana Rosado
AmeriCorps VISTA - Community Engagement
Oriana Shulevitz Rosado has taken a winding career path since graduating college in 2016. After graduating from Brown University, where she dual majored in History and Political Science, she worked for AlphaSights as a Client Service Associate. There she navigated the world of start-ups, hedge funds, and consulting. After five months she realized that she was really meant for the non-profit world and left to spend some months volunteering at UnLocal and Legal Hand. At Legal Hand, she was a volunteer providing legal information to the Crown Heights community, which ranged from tenant rights to resume writing lessons. At UnLocal, an immigrant legal aid organization, she helped with English to Spanish translation and filling out immigration applications. She then went to a full time job as an Immigration Paralegal at the Law Office of Cheryl R. David. As an Immigration Paralegal, she worked firsthand with the legal immigration system and handled clients’ Adjustment of Status from start to finish. Finally, wanting to do more to protect the rights of immigrants in NYC, she took a position as an AmeriCorp VISTA member at the NYIC. On her off time, she enjoys kicking things and people at Taekwondo practice—it is her favourite way to blow off steam. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico and is trying to get used to winter; she is still not a fan.

 

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