The 2019-2020 Work First Fellows
The Work First Foundation welcomes the 2019-2020 Work First Fellows to the start of their service year run in collaboration with America Works. This cohort includes high-achieving recent graduates from colleges and universities across the country. This impressive group of young professionals held internships with government offices and officials, advocated for various causes, and did significant work abroad. This year each Fellow will have the opportunity to help adults living in poverty gain meaningful employment. Additionally, each Fellow will complete a research project aimed at finding creative solutions to complex problems in the areas of workforce development and urban poverty. Meet our newest class of Fellows below!
Washington D.C Fellow
Allyson grew up in Denver, Colorado where she developed her love for the mountains, hiking, and running. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Emory University with a B.A. in Philosophy in 2017. While in college, Allyson studied in a Tibetan community in India where she completed a qualitative and quantitative research project on the Tibetan community’s transition towards Democracy. After graduation, she worked for a political and market research firm in Washington, DC where she worked on political campaigns doing polling, research, and strategy during the 2018 midterm elections as well as public opinion research for issue advocacy and nonprofit organizations. She is excited to work with America Works’ clients and apply her background in both qualitative and quantitative research as a Work First Fellow.
Manhattan, NY Fellow
Angelia Miranda is from the Pacific Northwest, where she graduated cum laude from the University of Washington with degrees in International Studies and Philosophy. Her previous internships—from handling immigration casework for U.S. Senator Murray, serving a summer with AmeriCorps, and managing communications for a global development non-profit—instilled a drive to become a tireless advocate for others. She ran for student government and was elected as Director of University Affairs, a role in which she advocated for students at faculty, administrative, and government levels by pushing for policy changes, reviewing university budgets, and overseeing lobbying efforts. As a Mock Trial competitor and Editor-in-Chief of the Jackson School Journal of International Studies, she loved learning about trial advocacy and the world, and combined both interests for her honors thesis on South African Equality Court procedures. Angelia is excited to further the Work First mission and empower others as a Fellow.
Brooklyn, NY Fellow
Ben Metrikin was born and raised in New York City, and is thrilled to return home after five years away! He graduated from Williams College in 2018 with a B.A. in English before moving to rural Alabama for a year to complete a fellowship in community health at Project Horseshoe Farm. While in college, Ben was active in sexual violence prevention, snowboarding instruction, and his college’s residential advising program. He also played both soccer and rugby at various points in his college career. Ben’s passions lie in the creation of sustainable, wraparound community health services for the most vulnerable members of our communities. While working in Alabama, he began to see the importance of employment in alleviating rural poverty by creating a sense of structure and purpose for patients with mental illness. He is excited to continue learning about ways that vocational support programs can be implemented in conjunction with community health services to alleviate urban poverty. Ben hopes to attend medical school one day and is incredibly excited to be a Work First Fellow!
Baltimore, MD Fellow
Devin Rossin graduated from the University of Virginia, where he majored in Political and Social Thought. While at UVA, Devin wrote his thesis on the necessity of bail reform and chaired the university's Honor Committee. After graduation, Devin worked as a police officer trainee for the Baltimore Police Department and later a paralegal for the white collar defense group at Steptoe & Johnson. He also loves cooking and Roman history podcasts. Devin is excited to continue his research on bail reform and to serve his community as the Baltimore Work First Fellow!
Milwaukee, WI Fellow
Erica Jackson is a recent graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While there, she double majored in Criminology & Law Studies and Social Welfare & Justice. This provided her with an understanding of the criminal justice system and the social injustices within the United States. While attending Marquette, she was the senator of her residence hall, a member of Black Student Council and even founded the club, Center for Urban Teaching, on campus. Erica has worked and interned at a multitude of nonprofit organizations that focuses on improving the lives of low-income, minority families. Erica is currently pursuing her master’s in social work at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: concentrating on Child & Family Welfare and Community & Organizational Leadership. She is looking forward to working directly with clients as a Work First Fellow conducting research to seek correlation between an increase in employment opportunities and decreased crime rates within Milwaukee.
Queens, NY Fellow
Jade Little grew up in northern Virginia and recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received a B.A. in Health & Societies with minors in American Public Policy, Political Science and Economics. While at Penn, Jade worked as a mentor for the Girls Advocacy and Leadership Series at Women’s Campaign International, helping equip teenage girls in Philadelphia with the leadership skills necessary to create social change in their communities, and spent two years interning at PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where she assisted in the translation of research into actionable programs and policy recommendations to improve child health and well being. She is passionate about evidence-based policy and its potential to improve lives, and plans to return to school to study social impact and social policy. Jade is excited to move to New York and for the fellowship’s opportunity to combine research and direct service work.
Los Angeles, California
Meghan McKenzie grew up in a small town in Northern California before traveling across the country to attend Cornell University where she further discovered her passion for addressing worldwide injustice. There she dedicated her time to fighting for women's empowerment by countering human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and female genital mutilation (during a summer internship in Moshi, Tanzania). After graduating with a B.S. in Global and Public Health, Meghan moved back to California to intern at an anti-human trafficking nonprofit in Orange County for the past year. In her spare time, she is modeling and curating outfits for her blog about ethical/fair trade fashion. She is so excited to further her work in the realm of human rights during her fellowship in Los Angeles.
MILWAUKEE, WI fellow
Addie Lipson proudly lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has a continued devotion to advocacy, diversity and inclusion, and direct action. Through her two years serving as an AmeriCorps Member in Milwaukee Public Schools, she improved 55 students capacity in the areas of literacy, numeracy, and social-behavioral skills. She uses her Master’s in social justice and Community Organizing from Prescott College to build grassroots power in Milwaukee's transgender/nonbinary/gender nonconforming community. She hopes to continue this work at the intersections of education and employment justice, green energy, and food access.
Manhattan, NY Fellow
Alexandra Marek is from Livingston, New Jersey and recently graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Public Health and Human Service Studies and a minor in Poverty and Social Justice. Alexandra was an Elon College Fellow, in which she conducted undergraduate research that focused on the foster care system, specifically investigating biological parents’ experiences within the system. Alexandra deepened her experience and work within the human services profession through multiple internships. She interned with the Superior Court of New Jersey, as well as with Communities in Schools of North Carolina, where she interned at a Title I elementary school. Alexandra became deeply motivated to work more with individuals who are underserved, and to work at the policy level to improve access to services as a whole. She hopes to broaden this passion as a Work First Fellow and by obtaining a law degree to reform policy in order to provide more equitable opportunity for individuals who face too many barriers.
Brooklyn, NY Fellow
Anna Fox is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University, where she received a BA from the College of Social Studies with certificates in Social, Cultural, & Critical Theory and International Relations. While at Wesleyan, she volunteered with the Center for Prison Education, where she tutored incarcerated students taking Wesleyan courses. Her undergraduate thesis, which was awarded high honors, explored how restorative justice processes for sexual violence can implicitly perpetuate flawed narratives of respectability and redeemability. Anna is passionate about the pursuit of justice, and looks forward to working directly with clients to explore possibilities for a more equitable world.
Bronx, Ny fellow
Originally from Queens, New York, Brandon Manbahal recently graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida with a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. During his time at Rollins, Brandon was a parliamentary debater, most notably representing the college at the international varsity level at Cambridge University. He also spent a semester in Washington, D.C. working with Atlas Corps, an international development non-profit. Additionally, while in D.C. he worked with professors at American University to complete research about indigent defense and its jurisprudential history. Most recently, Brandon completed an internship at Cass Community Social Services in Detroit, performing direct service for people experiencing homelessness and developmentally disabled adults living in poverty. He is deeply interested in issues broadly related to public policy including urban planning, public health, and criminal justice reform.
Manhattan, NY Fellow
Elizabeth Cottle recently graduated from Binghamton University summa cum laude with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Business Administration, concentrating in Leadership. In addition to her studies, she worked at the career center assisting students with their applications and running programs on professional development. Helping students find and utilize their strengths effectively while searching for employment has become one of her great interests. After traveling to Malawi and leading a small microfinance project, she found a passion for sustainable development and women empowerment which was strengthened by her internship with PeaceCorps in Washington, DC. Elizabeth is very excited to combine these two areas of interest, successful employment practices and social justice, to serve fellow New Yorkers this coming year. She hopes to use this experience as a spring board into the world of microfinance and female empowerment, encouraging individuals globally to use their strengths to become successful leaders.
Memphis, TN Fellow
Originally from Atlanta, GA, Hannah McCarty is a recent graduate from Rhodes College with a BA in Anthropology & Sociology. As a student, she played collegiate volleyball and was in involved in student government. In 2017, Hannah worked at a non-profit in Memphis dedicated to serving the needs of individuals impacted by HIV, an experience that sparked her interest in social work and poverty alleviation. In 2018, she studied abroad in South Africa, learning about the anti-apartheid movement and engaging in contemporary human rights issues through an internship at an NGO for refugee women. Hannah also completed an 18-month independent research project on domestic violence through the lens of race, class, gender, and sexuality in Memphis. She looks forward to applying her research skills as a Work First Fellow in Memphis, a city that has become her home over the past four years. She ultimately hopes to earn a Master’s in Social Work and Public Policy.
San Francisco, CA Fellow
Katherine Scotnicki is from Shelburne, Vermont and recently graduated from Georgetown University where she received a B.A. in Government and minors in Justice and Peace Studies and French. During her time at Georgetown she became interested in mitigating the harmful impacts that public policies often have on marginalized communities. She worked on increasing access to education locally and nationally, connecting low-income families in D.C. with global learning opportunities through Learning Life and researching the affordability of higher education through the College Promise Campaign. This summer she interned at Samhita Social Ventures in Mumbai, India, where she researched ways to improve sanitation policies and investments in India. She is excited to work with clients and help bridge the gap between policy and practice as a Work First Fellow, and hopes to use her learning to pursue criminal justice reform through a career in public policy or law.
Staten Island, NY Fellow
Veronika Hanks recently graduated from Saint Mary’s College where she double majored in Philosophy and Global Studies, with a concentration in Modern European History and Culture. She speaks three languages — English, Russian, and French — and has spent her first post-graduate year living in the nation’s capital and interning in the international affairs scene, both at the State Department and at the Atlantic Council’s Resilience Center. Her interest in labor issues stems from the time she spent studying the papal encyclicals of John Paul II in a Catholic Social Teaching tutorial at Oxford. She expanded on these interests during her senior year when she researched and wrote extensively on the migration of care work in the global economy.
Brooklyn, NY Fellow
Originally from the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, Sarah Tseggay is a recent graduate of Rice University in Houston, Texas, where she earned a B.A. in Sociology. In her coursework, she analyzed socioeconomic disparities in a variety of realms, focusing primarily on education, housing, and criminal justice. Outside of her studies, Sarah engaged in relevant work with organizations and through programs such as the Houston-based youth development agency Workshop Houston, the Texas Tenants’ Union, and numerous legal and judicial internships. As an aspiring lawyer, Sarah plans to pursue a career in public interest law, specifically focusing on tenants’ rights advocacy. She is excited to move to Brooklyn to continue her service work as a Work First Fellow and contribute to an organization that supports those experiencing urban poverty.