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2016 Urban Education DC Winter Seminars Students

Jacqueline Amaya Mendez '17

Jacqueline Amaya is a junior studying both Public Policy as well as Global Studies with a concentration in Latin American Studies. She is originally from Woodbridge, Virginia. On campus Jackie is involved with the first Latina sorority, Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc., where she currently serves as community service chairwoman. She also volunteers weekly at Matthew Whaley Elementary School where she leads interactive Spanish learning periods with two kindergarten classrooms. During the summer of 2014 she participated in the DC Summer Institute and interned at The Literacy Lab. (A non-profit organization providing low-income children individualized reading instruction in order to improve their literacy.) She is excited to take on DC again and gain knowledge on the policy side of education. Jackie is very passionate about empowering Latino’s through the medium of education and hopes to pursue a career in education policy.

Rachel Becker '19

Rachel Becker is a freshman at the College pursuing a double major in Public Policy and Finance.  She is originally from Chesapeake, Virginia and was an International Baccalaureate student.  On campus, Rachel is involved in Kappa Alpha Theta and hall council, and hopes to join more activities as her first year continues.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time in Colonial Williamsburg, reading and hanging out with friends. She is looking forward to spending her winter break in D.C. and is very excited for the chance to observe and analyze the school systems of the area.  

Samuel Berkot '19
Merci Best '17

Merci Best is a junior studying Neuroscience at the College. She is from Richmond, Virginia. On campus, Merci dances with both the African Culture Society and Syndicate Hip Hop Dance Teams, participates in both Education Equity Dinners and the Sharp Seminar Program, mentors a STEM Takes Flight Scholar and conducts research in the Biology and the Interdisciplinary Studies department.  In her free time, she works to develop the curriculum for her business, STEAMtrix, LLC, which is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education program for underrepresented minorities in STEM fields. She has had previous experience as a College Partnership for Kids tutor, summer tutor with Richmond Public Schools and a Summer Teacher with the Higher Achievement Richmond Program. Along with her experiences in urban education, she brings her excitement for the opportunity to network with other individuals who share her passion for education to the W&M in DC program.

Dasha Bradfield '18

I’m a sophomore at the college and am a Psychology major, pursuing a secondary major in Elementary Education. I lived in California, Germany, and Russia before moving to Virginia, but I consider Herndon, VA home. My interest in education has developed from working with kids as a music teacher, school tutor, and camp counselor. I really enjoy tutoring 1st graders at Matthew Whaley Elementary and I am excited for additional hands-on experiences in education with the DC seminar. On campus, I play in the William and Mary Wind Ensemble and have a job as the Music Librarian. I am also involved with Delta Omicron, the professional music fraternity. In my free time I like to go to concerts, play guitar, do yoga, and play IM sports.

Emily Bramhall '19

I am a Freshman and I intend to study Public Policy and Psychology. This past year I moved to New York City, however; I was born and raised in New Jersey. On campus, I am a member of The Roosevelt Institute, I tutor with Lafayette Kids, and I visit schools through Eco School Leadership Initiative with SEAC. I am thrilled to be a part of the DC Seminar Program and I cannot wait to expand my knowledge on a topic that I am so passionate about. I also love reading, farming, and playing board games.

Meredith Clay
Sarah Collier '17

Sarah is a junior majoring in English and intending to get her Masters in Secondary Education at the College of William & Mary. She serves on the Executive Board in the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, which allows her to be involved in a number of different service projects on campus, including tutoring with College Partnership for Kids. She dances and choreographs in W&M’s modern dance company, Orchesis, is the Production Director for ROCKET, a campus fashion and photography magazine, and has a radio show with the college radio station WCWM (tune in Thursday afternoons). She works in the nursery at a local church, and as a dance teacher for a traveling dance company at a few private and public schools. Sarah is excited to learn from experienced educators and explore what DC has to offer!

Grace Covello '16

My name is Graziella (Grace) Covello I am a senior here at college studying Psychology.  I am from South Chesterfield Virginia and transferred to William and Mary in the Fall of 2015!  I am a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and was new member assistant this fall!  I also am a site leader for College Partnership for Kids at Rawls Byrd elementary, and volunteer at Eastern State Hospital once a week!  I was inspired to apply to this program from a class I am taking this fall called Contemporary Problems in Urban Education it is awesome and has inspired me to learn as much as possible about the education system! I hope to pursue a career in higher education administration and work to help first generation college students, transfer students, and students who come from a low SES background on their college experience overall.  I also am filling out the two forms now that were attached to the e-mail!

Heidi Crockett '17

 I am currently a senior at the College majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Mathematics. I was recently accepted into the 5th year Master’s in Education program and have begun taking courses toward my Secondary Education Masters. After completion of the program in May 2017, I plan to teach Chemistry and Mathematics in a Title I urban school, most likely in Washington, DC or Richmond. At the College, I am currently a member of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and a member of a physical chemistry research lab. I also volunteer at Berkley Middle School in the Geometry and Math 8 courses. I am originally from White Post, Viriginia, about an hour west of DC. I would like to thank the Noyce program for providing the scholarship that is funding my spectacular opportunity for hands on experience in the Education and Policy fields through this winter program.

Catherine Duffy '17

Catherine is a Virginia Beach native and is a graduate of Norfolk Academy. She is a junior at The College and is majoring in American Studies. Catherine enjoys being a member of her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta and spends time in the community as a volunteer coach at Walsingham Academy. She spent her past two summers working with Breakthrough Collaborative in the classroom and is excited to see what happens behind the scenes in the education world. 

Kiara Earle '16

Kiara Earle is a senior at the College majoring in Government with an East Asian Studies minor.  She was born in Fayetteville, NC, but raised in Norfolk, VA.  Kiara has been very active on campus as volunteer for the Admissions Office, a Peer Advisor, a member of Black Student Organization, and a Resident Assistant on campus. When she is not busy with school, Kiara enjoys reading, writing short stories, hanging out with her friends, and watching movie trailers.  She looks forward to exploring education through the winter seminar and seeing what opportunities are waiting for her in DC.

Adryan Flores '16

Adryan Flores is a senior studying Neuroscience at the college of William and Mary. He was born in the Philippines until his family moved to Lynchburg, VA when he was 7 years old. Calling Lynchburg home ever since, he developed an interest in science going through the pubic school system. Coming to William and Mary he explored different paths including pre-med and scientific research before he had a great experience teaching middle school summer students and decided to pursue education. Finding himself in a research lab with professor Charity Hudley, he is currently writing an Honor's Thesis on the role of language and culture in science education. Adryan hopes to go to graduate school in education and continue to challenge the educational system to make it better for future students.

Jordan Gilliard '18

Jordan is a sophomore pursuing a major in Public Policy and a minor in Music at the College. She attended all four years of high school in Woodbridge, Virginia before becoming a member of the Tribe. Jordan is very interested about the role of policy in society, but education policy holds an especially passionate place in her heart. She wants to make sure that schooling caters to the diversity of human capabilities. Jordan hopes that her experience as a Sharpe Community Scholar and a Weingartner Global Policy Fellow has prepared her for the experience in DC. She has also spent her time at William and Mary as a member of the Botetourt Chamber Singers choral ensemble, E.S.S.E.N.C.E Women of Color, the Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), and Residence Life as a Program Advocate. Looking to the future, Jordan hopes to work in policy on local, state, national, or international levels, but she would find just as much fulfillment in being a local county school board member in her hometown as a U.S. Ambassador in Italy. She hopes to learn how to solidify her passions and successfully apply them to her future life ambitions. 

Vanessa Gray '16

Vanessa Gray is a senior at the College earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics-Standard Concentration and a minor in Accounting. She was born and raised in Gloucester, VA and still resides in her hometown. On campus, Vanessa is involved in the WM Chapter of Ruritan Club where she is the treasurer, the President of WM Black Student Organization, and a designated WM Scholar heavily involved in the William and Mary Scholar Undergraduate Research Experience (WMSURE). Post undergraduate, Vanessa plans to attend a one year graduate program to earn a Masters in Accounting here at the College in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business. Her career goals are to become CPA licensed and work in an Accounting firm in the Auditing or Forensic Accounting fields. 

Sarah Horan '18

Sarah Evy Horan is a sophomore intending to double major in Psychology and Education at William and Mary. She is from McLean, Virginia. On campus, she is a site director for College Patnership for Kids, and has tutored in both elementary and middle schools in the area. In addition she participated in Education Equity talks last year. She worked as a teaching assistant and swim instructor for two summers at the non-profit Horizons Greater Washington, which serves low income students in the DC public school system. In high school she also taught swimming at Nadar Por Vida, a non-profit for first generation swimmers in Fairfax County.  She plans to work in the education field, either in the classroom or in policy (or both)!

Justine Kahn '16

Justine Kahn is a senior at the college of William & Mary studying Public Policy. She hopes to work with students firsthand as a teacher before transitioning into education policy. She is passionate about general education equality and reform, as well as sexual health education reform. She believes education is the key to solving almost all of our world’s problems. On campus, she is very involved in her sorority and is a health outreach peer educator. 

Chloe Madvig '18

I'm a sophomore here at the College looking at either a Government/Econ double major or a Public Policy major/Math minor. I'm from Chicago and have always been interested in the Chicago Public Schools system so I'm really excited to learn more about urban education through this program. I love meeting people and bringing out their best genuine selves.

Elena Macdonald  '17

Elena Macdonald is a junior at the College pursing a major in Kinesiology and Health Sciences, concentration Health Sciences and minoring in Psychology. She is originally from Salem, Virginia. She tries to stay involved in all areas of campus by participating in a wide range of groups and organizations. She is a campus tour guide, Orientation Aide, an active member of Health Outreach Peer Educators (HOPE), a member of a social sorority, and a delegate on the Panhellenic board. In her free time, she enjoys binge eating pints of Ben and Jerry's, collecting coffee mugs and googling images of small animals. She is also avid volunteer with the Arc of Greater Williamsburg and Camp Easter Seals and is, therefore, most interested in learning about special education within the urban setting of DC. Elena is thrilled to get to know more students from William and Mary and gain a comprehensive education about the cultural and political characteristics of urban education through the DC Winter Seminar program. 

Sarah Malks '19

Sarah is a freshman at the college from Arlington, VA, hoping to pursue a double major in Hispanic studies and education. She comes from a long line of educators in the public school system and hopes to continue that tradition by becoming a Spanish teacher. Sarah has had experience tutoring and teaching both domestically and internationally, solidifying her interest in education and policy. On campus, Sarah stays busy with playing Ultimate Frisbee for the Mother Huckers and going to Hillel and Young Dems club functions. Her favorite activities outside of classes are going on outdoor adventures with her family and friends, playing the guitar, and writing. 

Keegan Paugh '18

Keegan Paugh is a sophomore at the College studying public policy and economics. He is originally from Rapid City, South Dakota. On campus, Keegan is involved in a variety of organizations. He performs in multiple music ensembles, is a member of the William & Debate society, and serves on the executive board of the Delta Phi fraternity. He also volunteers at Matthew Whaley Elementary School in Colonial Williamsburg. Keegan is very excited to both learn more about the urban education and explore Washington, DC. In particular, he wants to begin to understand the ways in which race and poverty affect quality of education. After graduation, Keegan hopes to continue his education and pursue a graduate degree in some aspect of public policy.


Natalie Powers '16

Natalie is a graduate student in the School of Education Curriculum and Instruction Program. Born and raised in Chesapeake, VA, she graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 with a BS in Biomedical Engineering. After working in technology consulting, she decided to go back to school to pursue a career in teaching. This past summer, Natalie worked with the Virginia Living Museum sharing a love of animals and the environment with summer campers and families. Following graduation, she plans to teach physics in high-needs schools in Virginia.

Briana Sinden


Hope Thompson '16

Hope Thompson is a senior studying English and Biology, and pursuing a Masters in Elementary Education at the college. On campus, she's an active member of Student Assembly, Delta Gamma fraternity, and Lafayette Kids, a tutoring and mentoring program. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, where she plans to teach after graduation, Hope is looking forward to studying education in an urban setting in DC, and learning how to take those lessons back to campus and beyond.

Yohance Whitaker