Meet Our 2017 New Economy Maryland Fellows

Tom Caponiti grew up in Derwood, MD. He developed a passion for environmental and social justice issues while earning his undergraduate degree in Community, Environment, and Development from Penn State University. Since college, he has worked in underserved communities through AmeriCorps terms with the Baltimore Energy Challenge and Rebuilding Together. He has dedicated himself to environmental causes, including energy conservation and local food and farming. Tom has also gained multicultural experiences by working with refugee populations in Baltimore and volunteering on farms abroad. With Civic Works’ Baltimore Energy Challenge, he currently works to expand access to solar energy in low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore.
As the National Aquarium’s Social Media Manager, Nabila Chami counts herself lucky to have found a role that combines her passions for responsible hashtag use, bioluminescent fish and social good. Through its diverse social presence, the National Aquarium connects with close to one million online users every day. In her role as Social Media Manager, Nabila works closely with internal and industry stakeholders to highlight their stories and foster meaningful connections between the Aquarium’s online community and our natural world. Nabila received her degree in Journalism from American University in 2012.
Stephanie Hall is a PhD candidate in International Education Policy at the University of Maryland College Park. Her research focuses on the privatization of public education and her dissertation is an analysis of federal teacher policy in Brazil. She earned her MA in Educational Leadership and Administration from the George Washington University, during which time she interned for the Participatory Budgeting Project in New York City. Before graduate school, Stephanie taught middle and high school in several locations including her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia and most recently, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Jasper Jones is new to Maryland, but he is not new to social justice and fighting for causes that he believes in. He was born in Wilson, NC and has lived in Chicago for the last five years. Jasper has several years of experience in non-profit education and workforce development. He loves working on the front-line helping people achieve their dreams. Jasper currently resides in Silver Spring and works in Baltimore for an organization that puts Baltimore first. He is passionate about all issues that affect African Americans and has dedicated his life to fighting for them.
Jennifer Kunze grew up in Frederick and studied at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she majored in mathematics and history but fell in love with community organizing and fighting for the environment. For four years, she worked as a community organizer at The Center for Grace-Full Living in East Baltimore, developing and teaching programs focused on gardening, healthy foods, pollinating insects, stormwater infrastructure, and ecology while organizing two community gardens. Now, as the Maryland Program Organizer for Clean Water Action, Jennifer focuses on shifting Maryland from fossil fuel infrastructure to clean energy, working for public health and healthier communities, and protecting drinking water, streams, and rivers throughout the state. She also spends her time growing food at the Amazing Port Street Commons, a community garden owned by Charm City Land Trust, and working within the Baltimore Housing Roundtable to strengthen community-controlled development via land trusts throughout Baltimore.
Ryan D. Lang is a board-certified internal medicine physician who is passionate about chronic disease prevention in urban communities. He wishes to use public health strategies to help create an equitable economy and living environment for all in Maryland. He completed an internal medicine residency with concentration in urban health and primary care at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2016. He also has an extensive global health background and has worked in Jordan, Kenya, and South Africa. His interest in health and media advocacy led to a brief internship with ABC News in New York in 2014. He earned an MD degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a BS degree in biochemistry from Oakwood University. Ryan is currently a preventive medicine resident physician and an MPH degree candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Leon Mait is a lifelong resident of Montgomery County, MD and recently received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He is currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at Montgomery Housing Partnership, an affordable housing nonprofit in Silver Spring, where he helps track measures of program success and neighborhood revitalization. In addition to affordable housing, he is particularly interested in learning how best to expand and remove barriers to other social safety net programs. He has been able to explore these interests through internships at the Center for American Progress and The AIDS Institute, as well as by participating in undergraduate research examining the effects of deindustrialization and gentrification in Baltimore.
Rev. Terence Mayo works at the intersection of Religion, Education, and Public Policy. He currently works as an Implementation Specialist with the Bizzell Group, where he is creating new educational supports for the national Job Corps program. Before this he has worked in several positions within local & state government, public education systems, and fortune 500 companies. He is a recent graduate of Howard University where he received his Master’s in Divinity with a focus on Ethics & Public Policy. He is the 2015 recipient of the Most Outstanding Presentation in the Area of Ethics, Law & Religion for his work on domestic faith-based policies within the US at the Howard University Research Day. He also has degrees in Business, Secondary Education, and Educational Leadership & Policy. Terence serves as a community leader on various faith-based boards within the DC metropolitan area that serve to enhance the spirit of ecumenical work, including the DC Interfaith Leadership Summit. He is also the Associate Pastor of Kingdom Worship Center in Upper Marlboro, MD. When not engaging in his professional passions he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and learning about new cultures.
Dharna Noor was born and raised in Baltimore County. She works as a producer at the Real News Network, an independent news organization based in downtown Baltimore. At the Real News, Dharna focuses on social and economic movements in Maryland and beyond. Dharna received her BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied political philosophy and vocal music, and worked with the Greyston Foundation’s community gardens in Southwest Yonkers. Her work has been published in Popular Resistance, Black Agenda Report, Alternet and others. Dharna is a member of the American Friends Service Committee’s Coalition of Friends. A trained classical singer, she also sings with the Canticle Singers of Baltimore.
Jaisal Noor was raised in the Baltimore area, and received a degree in history with a focus on modern resistance movements at the University of Maryland College Park (Class of ’07). He’s spent the subsequent years reporting for independent media outlets on a range of issues including public education, economic inequality, police brutality and environmental justice. He also also closely covered the 2016 elections in Baltimore, Maryland and nationally. Jaisal’s work has appeared on Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News and The Indypendent. He currently reports for The Real News Network, a nonprofit news program based in Baltimore.
Carmen Shorter is Senior Manager for Learning with the Field Engagement team at CFED in Washington, DC. In this role, Carmen oversees virtual and in-person learning opportunities for members of CFED’s Assets & Opportunity Network and Taxpayer Opportunity Network. In addition, Carmen provides training and technical assistance to organizations exploring financial capability integration and coordinated service delivery. Carmen founded Kitchen Table Collective (KTC) in 2015 in response to the needs of low- and moderate-income Black women to name and analyze their economic experiences through an intersectional racial wealth equity lens. As a volunteer-led grassroots community organization, KTC uses social media, popular education, and peer support to highlight and improve the financial lives and opportunities of Black women. She has lived in Maryland since 2000, first in Prince George’s County and now in Baltimore City.
Lyn Griffith Taylor currently serves as Energy Democracy Specialist at the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), a nonprofit organization in Takoma Park dedicated to a nuclear-free, carbon-free world. She leads NIRS’ efforts to advance clean energy, climate justice, and energy democracy in Maryland, primarily by coordinating a statewide campaign for energy democracy and grid-of-the-future reforms. As the coordinator for Marylanders for Energy Democracy and Affordability (MEDA) she brings to bear several years’ of international experience consulting with public and private sector interests, as well as civil society groups, on energy efficiency and the transition to clean energy. An avid globe-trotter and amateur film critic, she earned her BA from Middlebury College in Vermont.
Justin Uehlein grew up in Takoma Park and did his undergraduate degree at University of Maryland-College Park in anthropology and history. He has 4 years of experience in labor organizing with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and 3 years of experience in community organizing with Project Clean Stream. Justin has also worked with the Labor Network for Sustainability and the Center for a New American Dream. In both positions, his work focused on green consumption and production initiatives. Justin is pursuing his PhD at American University, where he also teaches undergraduate students. During his time as a teacher and graduate student, Justin has helped to organize and facility outreach programs with undergraduate students, including a media drive to aid Pacific Island nations under threat from climate change. Justin lives in Takoma Park where he continues to work with community organizations on green projects.
Eva Wingren is a Baltimore Corps Community Investment Fellow at the Baltimore Community Foundation. She is working on several transformational projects that move the foundation closer to their vision of a growing Baltimore economy where all have the opportunity to thrive, including developing an impact investing program. She also organizes her fellow white people, and fellow young people with wealth, through the local chapters of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and Resource Generation. She is interested in fostering conversations about the role that foundations and donor-organizers can play in supporting the New Economy through both resources and advocacy. Prior to coming to Baltimore, she coordinated federal policy for several national nonprofits on the topics of affordable housing, homelessness, community development lending, and social impact bonds. She is a contributing blogger for Rooflines, a community development magazine. Eva is excited to use the fellowship to bring together her personal interests in intentional community, arts-driven development, writing, and community organizing for racial justice, with her professional interests in policy and finance.
Matan Zeimer grew up in and around Baltimore and moved back after receiving BA in Sociology with a Concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies from Oberlin College. Since then, Matan has worked with numerous social justice organizations. He is committed to violence prevention efforts through his work as the Associate Director of Health Policy, Baltimore at Cure Violence and in a volunteer capacity with local groups, such as the Baltimore Youth Kinetic Energy Collective (BYKE). Prior to his current position at Cure Violence, he assisted with their local system change efforts as a Baltimore Corps Fellow. Through engagement with youth, community organizations, health providers, elected officials, and government agencies, Matan works to change the understanding and response to violence as a preventable health issue and place a focus on trauma and equity. He believes in the power of community-based organizing to create system change and build a more just and equitable future for all Maryland residents.