Five Things Friday: Alumni Board Spotlight

At City Year New York we are fortunate to have a committed group, of 27 City Year Alums, who continue to serve as members of our Alumni Board. The Alumni Board plans fundraising events like the Annual Friends and Family Fundraiser and corps networking events such as 18 minute Networking, and the Alumni and Corps Meet and Greet.

We asked our Alumni Board for personal bios and we were so impressed when we heard what our former corps members were up to, we decided to share a few of profiles for this week’s Five Things Friday.

1. Daniella Grossman: Daniella Grossman is an assistant editor at the McKinsey Quarterly, a business and economics journal that publishes in print and online. She grew up in Vienna, Virginia, then attended the College of William & Mary, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English and political science and, among other pursuits, served as a director for a campus-wide tutoring program. The three years she spent working with elementary-school students and leading others in service brought her to City Year New York, where she served as a corps member and team leader as P.S. 111 in Long Island City, Queens. Daniella then pursued her masters in journalism at Northwestern University, worked abroad in India, and returned to New York in 2010, where she interned at Entertainment Weekly magazine before moving onto her current position at McKinsey.

Describe your interest in being a member of the board:
My overall experience on last year’s board was positive; it also made me realize how vested my interest is in ensuring the organization is well equipped to grow and to provide the same kind of transformative corps experience that I had to hundreds and thousands of others. I also believe fully in the mission and work that City Year does, and I would love to lend my skills and time to keeping the site strong.

2. Siddartha Aneja: Siddartha Aneja is research associate at the Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) at NYU. IESP specializes in evaluating large databases with special emphasis on New York City schools. He is currently analyzing data that involves the health of students in New York City Public Schools. He is also responsible for social networking and maintaining the website for our organization. Siddhartha was born and raised in Greenville, NC and went to college at Wesleyan University where he majored in Mathematical Economics and minored in International Relations. He completed his year of national service with City Year Little Rock in 2010.

Describe your interest in being a member of the board:
I want to remain active in the City Year community and share with the organization some insight of being in education research. Furthermore, I am very interested in being involved in helping the corps understand and process the highs and lows of their year.

3. Charlotte Twaalfhoven: Charlotte Twaalfhoven is a “Foundation Fellow” at a private philanthropic foundation based in Tribeca; her work includes project management, research, and participating in the consulting work of the foundation. Charlotte grew up in Marblehead, MA, and received her BA in Social Anthropology from Harvard College in 2010. During her time at Harvard, she worked extensively with the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, a student-run drag burlesque musical that puts on over 50 performances in Cambridge, New York, and Bermuda. Since graduating, Charlotte has been part of an effort to found an alumni board for the Hasty Pudding, and is working to increase and organize support for the organization from its alumni and benefactors. She completed her year of service as a Team Leader with City Year New York in 2010-2011.

Describe your interest in being a member of the board:
I’m interested in being a member of the board for two reasons: to stay connected to the City Year New York site and community that I respect and enjoy, and to support the work that City Year does in whatever way I can. I firmly believe in CYNY’s mission and work, and would enjoy the opportunity to spread awareness and support of an organization that I care about.

4. Jason Martinez: In the Summer of 2011 Jason joined Reading Partners, a literacy non-profit organization, as a Program Manager. Jason supervises Americorps members at 3 New York City public schools. Jason was born and raised in the South Bronx, but earned his Bachelor’s Degree in both Theatre and Sociology at Northwestern University. It was during his four years at N.U. that Jason learned the value of education and community. After graduation, he took his educational aspirations further by becoming a Senior Corps Member with CityYear Chicago. In 2005, Jason returned to New York City where he joined NYC Teaching Fellows and earned his Master’s of Science in Urban Education from Mercy College in 2007. For six years Jason worked as a Special Education teacher in an inclusion setting, helping to modify curriculum to meet the needs to all his students.

Describe your interest in being a member of the board:
This past July, I joined Reading Partners, a literacy non-profit in NYC. Working for this organization has really made me think about the amazing changes I was able to make when I was working with City Year in Chicago. The mixture of my work and family life does not allow me to be active with City Year on a consistent weekly basis, but I would be able to dedicate time each month and for special events as well. I think it is important to make sure new Corps Members feel as supported as I did when I did my year in Chicago. I also would love the opportunity to assist in finding the right kinds of people to join City Year in the future.

5. Qianna Brooks: Qianna Brooks was raised in South Georgia and graduated from Tift County High School. She attended Columbus State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. She is currently the Student Services Manager for Achievement First Endeavor Middle School in Brooklyn, NY. As a member of the Brooklyn/Queens Alumnae chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, Qianna sits on the committee for the Rhoer Club, the sorority’s mentor group for young girls. From 2003-2005 she served as a corps member/project leader for City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley. She then spent 3 years as a program manager for City Year Boston and City Year New York.

Describe your interest in being a member of the board:
The experiences I had as a corps member, project leader and program manager have left a lasting impression on me. Serving on the alumni board will give me an opportunity to continue working with an organization that I hold in high esteem and allows me to provide support for the corps members. I also feel that the NYC area holds great potential for connecting CY alumni and increasing City Year’s brand awareness.