Meet Our Summer 2016 Next Leaders!
Aya Laurel Iwai-Folk — Communications
Aya is an organizer and restaurant worker from Tokyo, Japan and the Bay Area, California. Aya graduated from American University in Washington, DC, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology. In school, she organized against the student debt crisis and served as an LGBTQ peer educator. In addition to working with the Communications team at IPS and doing restaurant work, Aya currently does community organizing with a DC-based Asian racial justice organization in solidarity with the DC Movement for Black Lives.
Brandon Ward — New Economy Maryland
Brandon hails from Baltimore, Maryland. He recently graduated from Mercyhurst University with a M.S. in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Human Resources. At Mercyhurst, Brandon split his time between serving as the graduate assistant for the recreation and fitness center and for the men’s basketball team while conducting his graduate research study on youth leadership programs mainly focusing in the inner city of Erie, Pennsylvania. Brandon is very enthusiastic about traveling the world and just recently completed a study abroad at Sanda University in Pudong, Shanghai, China where he studied Chinese culture, history, and the Pinyin language. He is very passionate about issues regarding world hunger, social justice, and youth involvement. When his has spare time, Brandon loves to workout, listen to music, and be a part of nature related activities.
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson — Criminalization of Poverty and Race
Ebony is from Potomac Falls, Virginia. She is a recent graduate of Princeton University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a certificate in African American Studies. Ebony’s academic interests include the histories of marginalized groups, particularly in the United States, and the engagement of these marginalized groups with the prevailing political institutions. Her Senior Thesis explored the African American response to their treatment under the New Deal in terms of their political activity and civil rights activism. As a passionate advocate of equality of opportunity, Ebony was actively involved in civic engagement at Princeton. She led freshman orientation service trips, directed a curriculum-based tutoring program in Trenton, New Jersey, and advised education volunteer organizations as a member of the Student Volunteers Council Executive Board. Ebony expanded upon her enthusiasm for social activism with internships with Environment America, the House of Representatives, and the Washington, DC chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Ebony is very much looking forward to spending the summer with the Institute for Policy Studies. She is excited to combine her interests in the historical trajectories of marginalized groups and social justice activism to call attention to the atrocities that the most vulnerable among us face at the hands of the various actors in the justice system. In her spare time, Ebony enjoys reading, trying new foods, and traveling.
Eli Massey — New Internationalism
Eli is a journalist, researcher, and editor from Chicago, Illinois. He graduated last spring from Lawrence University with a BA in English. His journalism work has taken him to India and the Middle East. Before interning at IPS, Eli worked at In These Times as an editorial intern where he contributed writing on Middle Eastern politics, labor, and more.
Hannah Hunter — Visual Communications/Design
Hannah is from Charlottesville, Virginia. She recently graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Urban Studies. At Mary Washington, Hannah served as an Honor Council Representative and worked with various social justice organizations on campus. Last summer, she interned for the International Rescue Committee working with newly arrived refugees in the San Francisco Bay Area and Our Family Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing equity for LGBTQ individuals and their families. In her free time, Hannah loves swimming, binge watching Netflix, and exploring D.C.
Jaime Miguel McCarthy — Fundraising and Development
Jaime is a recent graduate from the International Studies Institute at the University of New Mexico (2016) with a major in international studies and minor in economics. He studied abroad at Barcelona’s Universitat Pompeu Fabra and also visited China during my freshman year through a travel seminar pointed toward my attainment of a designation in the UNM Honors College. While at UNM, he also founded the school’s intercollegiate running club, was a founding member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and was active in several other student organizations. His future plans include earning a Master’s in Public Administration or Development Management and working toward initiatives in literacy, financial literacy, and student success in rural communities.
Janaé Bonsu — Black Worker Initiative; Criminalization of Poverty and Race
Janaé is a womanist organizer and activist-scholar with a firm belief in the dual power of direct action organizing and transformative public policy. Raised between South Carolina and New York, Janaé found her way to Chicago for graduate school where she was introduced to a powerful collective of young Black people dedicated to freedom and justice, the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100). She currently serves as BYP100’s National Public Policy Chair where she has co-authored of the organization’s public policy agendas – the Agenda to Keep Us Safe and the most recent Agenda to Build Black Futures. She is also currently a first-year doctoral student at Jane Addams College of Social Work focusing her studies on participatory action research with criminalized Black women, girls, femmes, and LGBTQ folks. Through her social work scholarship, policy advocacy and organizing, Janaé is dedicated to working towards a world free of prisons, oppressive policing, and other systemic mechanisms of punishment. In her free time, Janaé enjoys having sister-circles with her friends wherein they catch up on each other’s lives over a filling bowl of fufu, a staple food in her paternal family’s home country of Ghana.
Jorge Villarreal — Climate Policy
Jorge is from San Antonio, Texas, where he recently completed graduate studies in Public Administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio. A passionate urbanist, Jorge has spent the better part of the past decade working on political campaigns, mobilizing underrepresented youth at the grassroots, and advocating for responsible and humane urban policies everywhere from his college campus (where he helped lead the successful fight for a multimillion dollar sustainability initiative) to city hall. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, traveling, podcasts, and trying the foods that your other friends won’t. At IPS, he is working in the Climate Policy Program under the tutelage of Janet Redman.
Luisa Santos — Peace Economy Transitions
Luisa was raised Brazilian in Miami, FL. She majored in Anthropology at Amherst College, and her deep sense of justice found a home and an avenue for expression among student groups organizing on-campus and in the local community. After graduating, she worked in democratic education and contributed to the budding people’s climate movement in Miami. In DC, she organizes around housing and labor rights, toward establishing a local carbon tax that is redistributed to communities, and in solidarity with Brazilians for democracy at home. Luisa is eager to be working with IPS to promote a less militarized economy and a reinvestment of resources toward civilians and the planet. Luisa is passionate about the new economy movement, popular education, and cooperatives. She enjoys the arts and the outdoors.
Milen Mehari — Criminalization of Poverty and Race
Milen is a native of the East African nation Eritrea, but currently calls Northern Virginia her home. She is a sophomore at the University of Mary Washington, study Philosophy: Pre-law, English, and Women and Gender Studies. Milen is a former DC Youth Poetry Slam Team member who has travel the District and country performing poetry of witness. She has brought her enthusiasm for social justice to her school’s African Student Union where she has lead student run discussions on the treatment of African refugees and the internal issues that lead displacement of these people. For the future Milen want to bring her talent and motivation to the fight to liberate Eritrean people both in the state and those in the diaspora.
On Tim Tang — Global Economy
On Tim (or OT, as everyone calls her) was born in Singapore and raised in Hong Kong. She is a rising senior at Colgate University, where she is double majoring in Political Science and International Relations. Her previous two summers were spent teaching English at Summerbridge Hong Kong and serving as a student paralegal in bankruptcy law at the Legal Aid Society of Mid-New York. She has been active in student government since her first year at Colgate, and was recently elected Senior Class President. She enjoys learning to cook, writing poetry, and having great conversations with people from all backgrounds.