Alumnae

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Jane Rayburn currently works as the Research Director at Fako Research & Strategies, a national public opinion research and political consulting firm. At FR&S, Jane specializes in developing strategy and message for candidates up and down the ballot across the country.  Jane also serves as a Ward 21 committeewoman and on the board of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts

Beatriz Rivera is a mentor, a youth worker, a health educator and a spiritually grounded community leader.  She was born and continues to live in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston.  She is a graduate of Boston Public Schools and holds a B.A. from Pine Manor College in Social and Political Systems. Beatriz grew up as the youngest child in a working class family of eight. Experiencing the struggles many families face in her community and losing numerous friends to violence in her neighborhood, Beatriz committed herself to a life of creating change within herself and her community.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is home to a vibrant arts, cultural, and creative community, featuring world-class cultural institutions, vibrant neighborhood arts centers, and brilliant creative entrepreneurs.  Organizations and Institutions such as The Piano Factory, The Design Studio for Social Intervention, ArtPlaceAmerica, and MASSCreatives play a critical role in connecting the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns to the creative class. I am a young woman of color who is an activist and advocate for the arts.

President and CEO, Hope for Children International, Inc.

With an ambition to help and empower children, Blessing Rogers (Brockton) has been the President and CEO of Hope for Children International, Inc. for the past four years. The organization provides assistance for children living in impoverished conditions. Blessing oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization and handles budgeting, networking, and volunteer recruitment. She has 10 years of professional experience and is the author of two children’s books and a poetry book.

Larisa K. Schelkin is a CEO & President & Co-Founding Director of the Diversity and Outreach in Math and Engineering (DOME) Foundation, Inc.Prior to her position with the DOME Foundation, Larisa served as the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Massachusetts, and also as the Director for the Center for Diversity and Inclusive Leadership at Tufts University in Massachusetts.Before joining Tufts, Larisa managed engineering training, college relations, and diversity programs at Tyco Electronics, M/A-COM, Inc.

Celeste's passion resides in supporting her community, and especially youth, in Lawrence through her volunteer work, and she is actively engaged in her local Democratic Ward Committee, and volunteers with Lawrence Community Works.She also supported fundraising efforts for the Campaign to Elect Ted LeClair for State Senate in 2002.Celeste attended Simmons College and has worked for both corporate and non-profit entities managing databases. She was born in Antigua, VI, and is currently married.

As the oldest daughter of a blue-collar immigrant family from Laos, Vatsady Sivongxay has always charted her own path and illustrated commitment to making a difference in the community. Vatsady is a Trustee of the Harry H. Dow Memorial Legal Assistance Fund and a Director of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts.

Tina St. Gelais Kelly has been a committed community activist since buying her home in East Boston.  She is currently The Vice-President of the Eagle Hill Civic Association, the Lead Organizer of her Neighborhood watch group and a member of The East Boston Community Common Alliance. She has organized community building events neighborhood clean ups, block parties, and nights out at local restaurants for East Boston Mothers. Tina continues to work with elected officials to improve the overall quality of life in East Boston.

Tina St. Gelais Kelly has been a committed community activist since buying her home in East Boston.  She is currently The Vice-President of the Eagle Hill Civic Association, the Lead Organizer of her Neighborhood watch group and a member of The East Boston Community Common Alliance. She has organized community building events neighborhood clean ups, block parties, and nights out at local restaurants for East Boston Mothers. Tina continues to work with elected officials to improve the overall quality of life in East Boston.

Ethel is the Manager for the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Partnerships Matching Funds Program in the Office of External Affairs and Partnerships. Prior to joining the Commonwealth, Ethel worked for Bank of America (Fleet Bank) for eleven years working on various initiative projects with a focus on Diversity Development.
She received her Associates Degree from New England Banking Institute a/k/a New England College of Finance.  She is also a graduate and Class Valedictorian of the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities.

Linda was born in Roswell, New Mexico and raised in the West.  Over the course of her life she has lived in nine states across the country from coast to coast, giving her a broad national perspective on many critical and sensitive issues facing this country.  Linda graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and earned a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University on full scholarship.  Her early focus was on disability awareness, advocating for the rights of individuals with disabilities.

Lexington School Committee

Mary Ann Stewart (Lexington) is President of Massachusetts PTA, the oldest volunteer child advocacy association in the country. In this capacity, she is active in federal and state education policy, serving on PTA’s Federal Legislative and State Advocacy Teams, DESE’s Educator Evaluation Task Force, and as Vice-Chair of MassPartners for Public Schools, a coalition of the six statewide education associations and PTA. Mary Ann lives in Lexington and is Director of Education and Programs for Children, Youth, and Families at a small Episcopal church in Newton.

Brianna is currently Adult Programming & Publicity Director at Plaistow Public Library, Of Counsel at the Law Office of Ron St.

Dian Taylor is a member of the City of Chicopee Board of Appeals and the Chicopee Neighborhood Development.A current candidate in the 2009 Alderman elections, Dian's mission is to help the residents in her community achieve the prospects of new developments on their existing properties and to rebuild newer homes in the city for first time homebuyers.Dian was nominated to be the treasurer for the Democratic City of Chicopee Committee and has volunteered and dedicated her time to work faithfully on the Mayoral Campaign for the City of Chicopee.She has also worked successfully with the YMCA of th

Marija Tesla is the Project Manager at the Center for International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Marija graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2011 where she studied English and Russian language and literature.  She currently sits on the Board of Trustees at Mount Holyoke College, is involved with Women’s Education Worldwide, the Women in Public Service Project, among many other initiatives. Originally from Croatia, Marija grew up in Akron, Ohio. Marija speaks Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and Russian. 

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