Chris Herron Professional Development Grant Recipients

Fall 2019 Recipients

Yasmine Weil-Pourfard

NAIP AmeriCorps Citizenship Team at MIRA Coalition

Yasmine recently graduated from Hampshire College in Western MA where she studied political science and international migration. She is currently serving as a NIAP AmeriCorps member at MIRA coalition in downtown Boston, where she works every day with a lovely team that has the pleasure of helping permanent residents apply for U.S. citizenship. Yasmine has a deep passion for migrant advocacy and advancement and is honored to serve immigrants in the state of Massachusetts. She looks forward to a lifelong career working with migrants and their families and hopes to attend law school after her year of service.


Tran Vu

Deputy Director at AIR

Tran Vu is a 1.5-generation Vietnamese American multimedia artist and organizer whose socially engaged work draws from her experience as a cultural worker, educator, and healer. Born in Vietnam, she came to the United States with her family as political refugees and grew up in Boston's Dorchester and South Boston neighborhoods. Tran works at AIR (Association of Independents in Radio) where she supports independent producers in public media and mission-driven work. Tran works across borders and is based in Boston’s Dorchester Community.


Natasha Bourgoin

Family Mobility Mentor at EMpath

Natasha is the proud mother of three children. Ever since she had her first child at the end of her senior year of high school she was determined to show the world and her family that she was going to make it. She ended up graduating in 2014 with her Bachelor’s degree from Wheelock College and started working in the field of human services for years after mainly with the homeless population. She loved helping people and loved seeing the impact she could have on someone's life. This is when she decided to go back to school in 2016 for my MSW. Three long hard years filled with sweat and tears and she finally graduated in May of 2019 from Simmons College! 


Lauren Dybel

Program Associate at Summer Search

Lauren Dybel believes youth are our greatest leaders in creating a more equitable world. She has a passion for engaging young people in transforming our local and global communities, beginning with developing an understanding of self and society.

Lauren’s academic studies focused on Neuroscience and Public Health, particularly the neurological and socioenvironmental factors of development. She leaned into peer education, neuropsychological research, and program development for transition-age youth to bridge her interests under the overarching question of “Why do people develop into who they are?”

Upon graduation, Lauren took on a position through Campus Compact for Southern New England and AmeriCorps VISTA. In this role, Lauren created and led a tutoring and mentoring program to leverage the resources of Mount Ida College in support of BPS’ Urban Science Academy. Lauren accepted a Service Learning Program Coordinator role through buildOn in partnership with two Dorchester high schools for the 2018-2019 school year, to continue engaging youth around societal issues about which they are passionate.

In her current role as a Program Associate at Summer Search Boston, Lauren mentors teens and prepares them for challenging summer experiences. She serves as a thought-partner to navigate self-discovery and develop their own compelling senses of purpose.


Ashley Yee

Children Programs Special Projects Manager at Agassiz Baldwin Community

Ashley Yee joined Agassiz Baldwin Community as the children’s programs registration coordinator in 2015. She currently oversees registration while collaborating with children’s programs and agency leadership to manage HR and program development. She brings years of program and administrative support in educational and non-profit organizations. A graduate of Emerson College’s Writing, Literature, and Publishing program, she is inspired daily by the curious, creative, and adventurous folks in her life and continues to freelance edit in her free time. She currently lives in Framingham with her permaculture-and-hiking enthusiast husband and their bassetweiler Nala.


Spring 2019 Recipients

Dominik Doemer

Communications Manager


Joining the Scholars Strategy Network in June 2016 as Communications Manager, Dominik works directly with SSN members on their media efforts and helps journalists find the right source for their piece, fast. He helps researchers connect with the media, write opinion pieces for popular outlets, and develop a media strategy for their work. Dominik has helped scholars place pieces in outlets such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, USA Today, HuffPost, and many others. Dominik also produces SSN’s podcast, No Jargon, a weekly interview show with America's top researchers on the politics, policy problems, and social issues facing the nation — and no jargon.

Dominik is originally from Germany and moved to western Massachusetts in 2006. He graduated from Tufts University with a BA in Sociology and Environmental Studies.

Kendall King 

Campaign Associate

Kendall King currently serves as the Campaign Associate for Community Servings, a food and nutrition nonprofit that delivers medically-tailored meals to chronically ill neighbors all around Massachusetts. The new building that Kendall is helping to fundraise for will allow Community Servings to triple their meal production to 1.5 million meals a year, in turn tripling the number of people they can feed and growing to become a statewide program. Kendall grew up in Augusta, Georgia and graduated from The University of Georgia with a BA in Finance, and moved to Boston to live somewhere new and get out of her comfort zone. She loves working in the nonprofit sector and looks forward to a fulfilling career where she can be one of many people advocating for the more vulnerable among us.

Lauren Miller 

College Affordability Advisor


Lauren is a College Affordability Advisor at uAspire. In this role, she helps post-secondary students navigate the financial aid process through in-person meetings and texting. Prior to working at uAspire, Lauren was the Community Engagement Director at Company One Theatre, where she worked to make the Boston arts scene more accessible and inclusive. She also previously served as the Program Coordinator at Social Innovation Forum and as a tutor helping students through the college application process at 826 Boston. Her passion for writing lead her to pursue a B.A. in English from UMass Amherst and inspired her to become a Youth Poetry Coach for elementary school students through Boston SCORES.

Whitney Mooney 

Fund Development Manager


Whitney Mooney has a BA in Communications with concentrations in Public Relations and Social Media Marketing from Southern New Hampshire University in 2015. She also received her Masters in Political Science from SNHU in 2017. She started her career at National Braille Press in Boston as a Sales Administrator and worked her way to Sales Associate and Social Media Creative. After 2.5 years, she stepped in the role of Administrative Assistant for YWCA Cambridge in October 2017. As of January 2019, she has been promoted to the Fund Development Manager.

Christopher Schroeder

Executive Director


Boston-based musician, educator, and advocate Christopher Schroeder is a catalyst for social change through music and arts education. With over a decade of arts leadership and teaching experience, he has successfully established programs and influenced music ecosystems within the Boston community and throughout the United States. Most recently, he was recognized as a quarter-finalist for the 2019 Grammy Music Educator Award.

As an experienced conductor and trumpeter, Schroeder connects and inspires musicians of all ages to achieve their highest level of musicianship, while instilling character traits that transcend rehearsal and performance spaces. As a nationally-recognized speaker and consultant, he works together with arts leaders and educators on organizational strategy, program development/implementation, interdisciplinary curriculum design, and community engagement.

Schroeder currently serves as the Executive Director of the Josiah Quincy Orchestra Program. Prior to this appointment, he was the Director of Community Engagement & Resident Artist for Conservatory Lab Charter School since the inception of its El Sistema music program in 2010; and National Teaching Faculty with the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s National “Take A Stand” Youth Orchestra Festival. He also serves as Music Director of the Cape Youth Orchestra with the Cape Symphony & Conservatory and is a guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States, Europe, and South America.


Fall 2018 Recipients

Geo Hernandez 

Senior Program Manager at Peer Health Exchange 


Though I now call Boston home, I’m originally from Miami, FL. After graduating from Florida State University, I decided to move to Boston to serve with City Year. I served two corps years in an elementary school in Hyde Park supporting 4th-grade students in academics, attendance, and social-emotional learning.  In 2016 I transitioned into my current role at Peer Health Exchange; a national health education nonprofit. I am currently a senior program manager in charge of training and support for our 300 college student volunteers. I ensure volunteers are prepared to work with our young people through a trauma-informed and anti-oppressive lens. My career goals include DEI consulting and nonprofit management at an executive level.


Nakennia President 

Youth Leadership Manager at Youth Enrichment Services  


I am a manager at a small, but mighty, nonprofit in the South End called Youth Enrichment Services and I teach part time with The Steppingstone Academy. I take pride in the work that I do with both organizations because I am exposing young people to opportunities and education that will help them to grow and succeed in life. Both organizations that I work for have small teams that produce large outcomes through dedication and strategic solutions to the challenges our city youth face. I am a mother of two and a proud veteran of the United States Navy. 


Jennifer Mayo Shiiba 

Social Worker at FamilyAid Boston


Originally from the Big Island of Hawaii, I am a passionate Social Worker with a history of working in the non-profit social service industry. I value inclusive community work and am a social services professional with a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) focused in Clinical/Medical Social Work from Simmons University. Currently I am working with families who are homeless in the city of Boston to transition towards obtaining stable housing and long-term, self-sufficiency.


Tracey Wingate 

Regional Collaboration Coordinator at Growing Places/TerraCorps


Tracey is a recent graduate of Skidmore College with a BA in Environmental Studies and a minor in Intergroup Relations. She is currently completing an AmeriCorps service term through the Massachusetts TerraCorps program. She is serving with the nonprofit, Growing Places, that works in North Central Massachusetts to combat food insecurity through farmers markets, community gardens, and youth education. This year, Tracey is working on a consumer and producer needs assessment to understand how Growing Places can better support a local, resilient food system.


Click here to learn more about Chris Herron Professional Development Grants 

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