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New Leaders Council

2016 Alumni

Julio Alicea











Originally from Pennsylvania, Julio Alicea grew up in a working class, Latino community outside of Philadelphia. His firsthand experiences with inequality left him with a passion for social justice. He first explored this passion at Swarthmore College, where he participated in the rigorous Honors Program and graduated Phi Beta Kappa after studying Sociology & Anthropology, Educational Studies, and Spanish. While at Swarthmore, he served as a mentor to black and Latino youth off campus while advocating on campus for living wages for campus employees, increased faculty diversity, and more focused conversations around issues of race and policing


Karen Alzate












Karen Alzate is an alumnus from Rhode Island College, who is currently employed at The Providence Center. Karen is first generation American.  Karen has worked with the College Crusade of RI as her internship while in college and then employed with the family engagement team, educating parents on the importance of their children attending college and how to find ways to pay for it. At her current employer, Karen is a case manager for the community support program, in which she assist clients of Hispanic background in the community, advocating for them.



 Laura Bozzi











In over a decade of work across the United States and now in her family’s home state of Rhode Island, Laura has led efforts to bring about just and effective solutions to complex environmental problems. Laura is the Farm, Food and Youth Programs Director at the Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) in Providence, RI.  At SCLT, Laura strengthens urban food systems by leading initiatives including a youth employment program, healthy food access- related marketing, education & community outreach, and programs to support beginning farmers through training and access to land.  Before moving to Providence, Laura lived in southeastern West Virginia and worked at Appalachian Mountain Advocates, where she developed cases to enforce environmental compliance at mountaintop removal coal mines and led the creation of a new sustainable agriculture program.

Laura earned a Ph.D. from Yale University in Forestry and Environmental Studies.  Her research, grounded in institutional theory and public policy scholarship, applied social science tools to uncover the historical drivers to environmental problems and to identify strategies for achieving durable solutions.  Before returning for her Ph.D., Laura worked on fisheries management and ocean policy issues in New England, Washington DC, and on the West Coast.  Laura holds a B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Yale College and a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.



 Isabella Cassell








Isabella Cassell grew up in Dartmouth, MA (just a short drive from the Ocean State) and after spending four years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, decided to return to New England and make RI her home. Isabella studied Psychology and Art History at UNC, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. She also spent a semester at King’s College in London, exploring the multidisciplinary perspectives of health and impacts of health system structures on society.



Bryant Estrada












Bryant A. Estrada is a Central Falls native who after graduating from Central Falls High School in 2009, matriculated into Brown University without having a clue about what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. After graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education Studies: Human Development, Bryant was still indecisive and unsure of his passions and aspirations, and so he decided to move to Philadelphia the following fall.



Emily Gonzalez








  Born and raised in the South Bronx, NY, Emily felt the impact communities can have on individuals from an early age. While her parents were unable to attend college, they deeply understood the importance of education. Their initial push to follow opportunities led her to be part of different communities that instilled the values of scholarship, leadership, and service.



Eve Keobounthanh













Eve Keobounthanh grew up in neighboring Massachusetts and attended Suffolk University in Boston for her undergrad degree in International Relations.  Her passion to work on change for those inflicted with interpersonal violence, due to their socio economic status, led Eve to her current position as the Victims of Crime Assistance (VOCA) Program Coordinator at a Providence based non-profit called the Center for Southeast Asians.  Through the few year’s Eve has worked implementing and executing the objectives of the program, she has realized the lack of Southeast Asian, culturally competent and sensitive programming and services in Rhode Island and hopes to work with others in eliminating the void. 

In Eve’s personal life, she tremendously enjoys traveling.  Fortunately for Eve, her father took her on a month long trip to Laos when she was 14, and it became the life altering experience that built the foundation for her to decide she wanted to work in the human and social services field.  Other countries Eve has traveled to are Egypt, Greece, Serbia and Spain- just to list a few!

Besides traveling, Eve likes to head north to snowboard in the colder months and go to the beach and further east for the warmer ones.  Thank to her mom, Eve is an avid cook…. and eater! Cooking and entertaining with friends and family is a staple of hers, and encourages everyone to get out of their comfort zone to try new foods and activities.

On her off time, Eve can be spotted at the State House or Blackstone Conservation Park with her pup Lilly, at her local favorite sushi restaurant, partaking in a Cross fit workout or admiring the beauty of historical Down City.



Alex Krogh-Grabbe










 Alex is the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition. His work involves making bicycling safer, more comfortable, and more accessible across the state through advocacy for complete streets & bike paths and events & trainings that grow bike culture. Prior to this position, Alex worked on two political campaigns, organized a conference about urbanism, and launched a freelance map design consultancy. Before moving to Rhode Island in June 2014, Alex worked as the founding Executive Director of the Amherst (MA) Business Improvement District, where he launched dozens of programs designed to help local businesses bring new energy to the college town's downtown. In 2012, Alex received a Master's Degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University.



Kabir Lambo







  Kabir Lambo is Providence native and the son of Nigerian immigrants. He attended Mount Pleasant High School and gained access to the world of nonprofits through Youth in Action. Later, with the support of College Visions, a RI-based college access program, he was accepted into the University Of Rhode Island. At URI, he developed his skills as a leader becoming Vice President of the Pan-African organization UHURU SASA and Lead Organizer for URI's Annual One Love Weekend. As a major in Sociology and Africana Studies he hopes to help his community become self-reliant and reach its fullest potential. He looks forward to honing his leadership skills and builds a strong network through NLC. Kabir also loves video games, podcasts and binge watching Curb Your Enthusiasm.



Naomi Leipold













Born and raised in Okinawa, Japan. Moved to Rhode Island in 2015 and is in love with New England. Background in urban planning and community development. Favorite way to spend weekends is to stroll empty beaches with her two dogs.



Miellette McFarlane













Miellette McFarlane moved to Providence, Rhode Island in February 2015 to take a position in Governor Raimondo's administration as the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff. She then transitioned into a policy focused role supporting the Deputy Chief of Staff. Prior to moving to Rhode Island, Miellette worked as an analyst for Goldman, Sachs & Co. in their Salt Lake City office focusing on government interactions. Miellette graduated with a B.A. in Economics from the University of California Riverside and also completed a Global Economics study abroad program in Brazil. Miellette was raised in Oakland, CA.



Eliesel Morales










 Eliesel Morales was born and raised in Providence, RI in a place called Hartford Projects. He was raised by a single immigrant mother of four. He grew up in a culture of violence and non-stop drama which ultimately led him down the path of self-destruction, where he found himself addicted to drugs and eventually wound up in prison.

 Eliesel Morales is now thirty years old and he was able to turn his life around. He has traveled to twenty-two states throughout the U.S., as well as six countries around the world. He is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and loving father of three. He is Co-founder of an interactive classified-ad site for the Latino community.

 He recently completed his first turkey drive where he gave away one hundred free-range turkeys to the Latino community. Also he organized a fundraiser where he was able to join Pasha Hookah Bar and Praise Tabernacle Church to raise $630.00 (with two days’ notice) for Project Christmas, a program that provides Christmas gifts for the children of people who are currently incarcerated.

 He is also a member of the Black and Latino Alliance of Providence. A newly formed group dedicated to building harmonious relationships and finding common ground between the two influential cultures.

 Eliesel is determined to have a positive impact on this planet. He will do this by connecting with like-minded individuals and merging his life’s' experiences along with the tools that he acquires from the NLC, to help him resonate deeply with the community and at-risk youth. He will encourage different approaches to age old problems to inspire productivity and positive progress throughout society.



 Tiesha Nieves










 Tiesha Nieves, Regional Recruitment Manager, Northeast Region at City Year and Americorps alumna ('09) is responsible for creating a pipeline of qualified and diverse 17-24 year old applicants who will be successfully admitted to the City Year corps. Prior to serving with City Year, Tiesha worked at Year Up - Providence where she was able to recruit a more diverse applicant pool of 18-24 year olds within Rhode Island as an Outreach Coordinator. At the YMCA of Greater Providence, Tiesha held the position as a Mentoring Coordinator. As the Mentoring Coordinator, she planned and implemented after-school programs. She was also responsible for launching their first summer program for high school students focused on environmental and internal wellness initiatives in Providence. Tiesha is passionate about working with Providence youth and young adults raising awareness of and offering opportunities to further grow their personal and professional skills. Tiesha holds a BS in Social Work degree from Salve Regina University.



Lynne Prodger











Lynne Prodger currently serves as Financial Reporting Analyst for the City of Warwick, the second largest city in Rhode Island. In this capacity, she manages the annual budget as well as grants for the city. Her in depth knowledge of budget administration and grant management were honed in her previous roles at Pawtucket School Department and the New England Foundation for the Arts.



 Carinel Ramirez














Carinel Ramirez was born in New York City to newly immigrated parents from Colombia and the Dominican Republic. She spent several childhood years living in South America but journeyed back to the United States with her mother settling in Pawtucket, RI at the age of nine.  Having had limited exposure to the English language she was immediately enrolled in an English as Second Language (ESL) program in elementary school.  By middle school she was able to reach English proficiency and test out of ESL which allowed her to embark on a college preparatory track. In 2000, she proudly graduated from Tolman High School and went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Psychology and Communications from the University of Rhode Island in 2005. 

Upon graduating from URI Carinel felt a strong duty to serve her community and fulfilled it by encouraging ESL and GED students to pursue their education through her work as Case Manager for Project Opportunity at Blackstone Valley Community Action Agency.  After over a decade of experience in social services Carinel earned her Masters of Public Administration with a focus on government and nonprofit administration from Roger Williams University in May of 2015.  She currently works as Program Manager for Healthy Families America at Children’s Friend. HFA is a national evidence-based maternal and child home visiting program which aims to promote and strengthen positive parent-child relationships and prevent child abuse. Her passion is to drive progressive programming which empowers families and shapes Rhode Island to become a place where all families have a chance to not only survive but thrive.



Elena Vasquez











Elena Vasquez was born and raised in Pawtucket, RI. She attended the Pawtucket Public School System from K-12. Elena received her Bachelors of Arts from Brown University in Commerce, Organization and Entrepreneurship in 2011. She went on to earn her Masters of Science in Law and Public Policy from Northeastern University in 2014.



Kunal  Vasudeva










 Kunal Vasudev is a native of the South, born in Louisiana and raised in North Carolina and a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from India. He attended North Carolina State University, graduating with a double major in Political Science and International Studies.



Emily Winchell












Emily Winchell is a native of Manchester, CT who is passionate about advocating for progressive change. After receiving a B.A. in Political Science from Rhode Island College in 2011 she moved to Washington, D.C. where she completed a M.A. in Legislative Affairs from The George Washington University.

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