DRLA Alumni

Keilah Billings

Keilah BillingsKeilah Billings graduated in 2006 from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a joint major in Psychology and Sociology. Upon graduation Keilah began working as a social worker contracting through the Department of Children and Families serving children under the age of 18 in the care and custody of the State of Florida. After that, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia working as a health volunteer focusing on HIV/AIDS. Upon return to the United States Keilah worked as a Substance Use Disorder counselor in a women's residential facility and a detox as well. Following this, she worked as an Addictions Specialist on a multi disciplinary team providing wrap around mental health services to 80 of the most at risk clients in the city of Boston. In the spring of 2015, Keilah left this position to begin the DRLA program.

Mark Boone

Mark Boone is Mark Boonea career Marine Corps Officer with over 23 years of experience in global contingency operations ranging from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan to humanitarian assistance missions in Central and South America. Recently back from Iraq where he served as the Combined-Joint Chief of Plans and Strategy, he intends to increase his sphere of capabilities through the furtherance of his education in the DRLA Masters Program. Mark has a MA in Administrative Leadership from the University of Oklahoma and is a graduate of both Command and Staff College and Joint Staff College. His undergraduate is in Geosciences from Oregon State University. A dedicated father to his son Tanner who has enlisted in the Marine Corps, Mark is an avid runner and outdoor enthusiast excited to explore and enjoy everything that Tulane and New Orleans has to offer!

Atianna Cordova

Atianna Cordova

Atianna Cordova is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a Bachelors in Architecture. A native of New Orleans, LA, she is passionate about using design as a tool to assist historically under-served communities, and those affected by natural disasters. During her undergraduate career, Atianna became recognized as LSU School of Architecture’s first Ronald E. McNair Research Scholar with her research focusing on architecture and homelessness in New Orleans. Recently, she was awarded a 2016 University of California at Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence Travel Fellowship, where she journeyed to Haiti to further her research and examine the sheltering strategies that have been employed to assist those affected by the 2010 earthquake. With a drive towards community involvement, academic excellence, and professional development, Atianna is also honored as an LSU Tiger Twelve recipient for the 2016 graduating class, which identifies twelve outstanding seniors who contribute positively to the life of the campus and surrounding community. Currently, Atianna is pursuing her M.S. degree in Disaster Resilience Leadership with intentions on using design, community engagement and policy to advocate, empower and develop equitable, sustainable and culturally conscious living environments.

Chelsea Cornwell

Chelsea Cornwell

Chelsea Cornwell graduated from Elizabethtown College with a bachelors degree in Social Work. Her interest in peace studies and international community development led to her spending semesters abroad in Northern Ireland and The Gambia. Following graduation, she worked as a sexual assault victim advocate and spent 2 years as an AmeriCorps member. She is currently enrolled at Tulane as a dual degree student, pursuing Masters degrees in Social Work and Disaster Resiliency Leadership with a certificate in Global Social Work. Chelsea is interested in using her experience to work in program management with displaced people in emergency response or long term recovery programs.

Bert Cramer

Bert Cramer Bert Cramer is joining the DRLA after working in Central Asia since 2011. While in Central Asia he served with the Peace Corps in the Kyrgyz Republic at the Ministry of Health, and with Peace Corps Response as a PEPFAR volunteer together with the CDC in piloting a nationwide, comprehensive harm reduction program. Bert has also served as an advisor with Arysh, a community based NGO that works in the Kyrgyz Republic's informal settlements and slums. Most recently he completed a fellowship at the OSCE Academy, part of which was spent in Turkmenistan at the UN's Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA). Prior to his work in Central Asia Bert worked in Baltimore as Program Manger for the Maryland Violent Death Reporting System (MVDRS), part of the CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). He has also worked as a volunteer in the Maryland prison system to help inmates attain their GED. In all his work Bert focuses on community resilience building, a key component of which is bridging the gap between marginalized communities and structures of governance, whether on the local, state, or national level. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Development Sociology from Cornell University and a Master of Arts in Politics and Security from the OSCE Academy.

Leila Darwish

Ryan Durand

Ryan DurandRyan Durand is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with a concentration in Latin America and a double major in Spanish. He is a native of Louisiana and the son of a local rice grower, which is why environmental sustainability and disaster preparedness have always been relevant in his life. While studying at LSU, he spent three months working in Guatemala with an NGO called AsoPuente, a grassroots organization dedicated to fighting malnutrition and extreme poverty in rural indigenous communities through the empowerment of women. He collaborated with organization leaders to develop job-planning programs with micro-credit loans. Ryan went on to further his education in community development, immigration, and human rights issues by studying for a semester at la Universidad Nacional (UNA) in Heredia, Costa Rica. Once he returned from Costa Rica, he began interpreting for the Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge Refugee and Immigration Services. He also interpreted for unaccompanied minors who were in need of mental health services after reuniting with family through Jewish Family Services. Once he graduated, he spent another six months in Costa Rica working as an environmental science teacher for students at a bilingual school. Now that he is at Tulane earning his MSW with a certificate in Global Social Work as well as an MS at the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy, he hopes that the hands-on approach of both programs will prepare him for future international humanitarian work in sustainable development, immigration, as well as community leadership and advocacy training.

Miriam Eisenstat

Miriam Eisenstat Miriam Eisenstat is a dual Masters student in Social Work and Disaster Resilience and Leadership. Originally from Philadelphia, she came down to New Orleans on a relief trip 10 months after Katrina. This trip ultimately guided her decision to attend Tulane University with the question in mind, "how do you do the right thing in the right way", especially as it relates to humanitarian aid both domestically and abroad. Miriam graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelors in Philosophy in 2012. Miriam interns at the Youth Empowerment Project, New Orleans' only reintegration program for juveniles involved in the justice system. She is a research assistant of Dr. Catherine Burnette, examining the risk and protective factors of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw.

Anna Feigum

Anna FeigumHailing from the tundra of Minnesota, Anna Feigum is a second year graduate student and research assistant at the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane University. She is also the DRLA Vice President for the School of Social Work's SGA. Anna's focus is in community resilience, specifically in the implementation of mitigation and preparedness activities. Driven by her educational background - a BA in Mathematics and Norwegian and an MA in International Relations - and experience volunteering for New Orleans-based organizations that focus on community hazards, Anna strives to continually hone her knowledge of and skills in community engagement and research in both qualitative and quantitative methods and analysis. In her spare time, Anna enjoys producing art for her small business, photography, exploring nature, and training for marathons/barefoot running.

Elizabeth Harrison

Elizabeth HarrisonElizabeth (Liz) Harrison is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s in Public Health and minor in Spanish. Liz served with AmeriCorps as the volunteer coordinator for Communities in Schools of the Midlands. She learned how to train and conduct orientations for tutors and volunteers as well as engage universities and other local partners. During the October 2015 flood in South Carolina, Liz jumped at the chance to help the community. She served on the Volunteer Management for Disaster Relief with United Way Association of South Carolina. Liz’s previous experiences combined with the knowledge gained from DRLA will help her become a leader in the disaster resilience community.

Timothy Hefflinger

Tim Hefflinger Timothy Hefflinger graduated from Appalachian State University in 2012 with degrees in Philosophy and Sustainable Development. He has traveled widely and volunteered with NGOs in places as diverse as Sri Lanka, Belize, and Peru. His undergraduate Honors Thesis was published in modified form by the University of East London in their Undergraduate Journal on International Development in 2012. Entering his second year of study with DRLA, Tim's academic foci are studying resilience among indigenous peoples and the social and economic impacts of wildfires. Working with Dr. Katherine Burnette in the School of Social Work, Tim has contributed to academic articles relating to fostering resilience among indigenous women who have experienced intimate partner violence. Tim intends to pursue further study after graduating from DRLA in August 2016.

Margaux Hoglind

Margaux Hoglind Margaux Hoglind is a local Louisiana resident who received her BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. She is a dual degree MSW/MSDRL student and received her Masters in Social Work with a Certificate in Global Social Work in December 2015. Margaux's graduate research as part of the MSW program involved a project studying female sexual dysfunction as a mental health issue, on the subject of which she and her group members conducted a 3-hour CEU seminar for local professionals. Along with this project, she has researched several other projects that link issues in women's health with culture. As part of the MSW program, Margaux interned at New Hope NOLA, a short term respite program for people experiencing a mental health crisis, and traveled to India with other students to learn more about social work in the global context, where she worked on a project centered on women's health for Tibetan nuns in exile. She has an interest in continuing to work in the mental health field, both locally and abroad, as well as continuing to research women's and children's health and rights issues.

Chase Nugent-Dunn

Ningjie Huang

Ningjie Huang Ningjie Huang is currently a dual degree master student in Social Work and Disaster Resilience Leadership, at Tulane University School of Social Work in New Orleans, LA. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, where he double majored in Psychology and International Development. Ningjie Huang is a social work and disaster mental health professional with experience working in clinical and social services settings. He has excellent research, analytical and critical thinking skills with a special focus on behavioral health, institutional and social work capacity development in the health sciences.

Sandra Joslyn

Sandra JoslynSandra Joslyn was born in Baltimore, Maryland as the daughter of a military officer in the US Air Force. Sandy loved the arts so she perused both a degree in Ceramics. She also obtained a certification in Aircraft Welding taking a job with Rolls Royce building large Aircraft Engines. Later, she married and had eight children. Sandy home schooled her children for 25 years. Six of the children are in or graduated from college and two of the children are still in high school. In 2009, Sandy returned to college at LSU and graduated with a degree in Disaster Science and Management and a graduate degree as a Master of Public Administration MPA. Sandy volunteers for the American Red Cross where she serves in many capacities but primarily as an Assistant Director of Planning and Information or Government Liaison Supervisor during a disaster. She also serves as an Advocate for both the St Vincent de Paul Stepping Stones ministry helping those affected by poverty and the Medical Center of West Africa hospital in the nation state of Cameroon. Sandy’s interests include Disaster and Humanitarian Relief, Poverty, Working with Immigrants, GIS Mapping, Sailing, Live Theater, Weather, Arts and Culture, Education, Hiking, Swimming, Gardening, Camping, Welding, Woodworking, Baking and Birding.

Allison Kalnik

Allison KalnikAllison Kalnik graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, focusing on international development, from the State University of New York at Purchase in 2012. She spent a semester abroad in Cameroon, where she completed an independent study project at an organization that provided micro-credit loans to low-income mothers. She was inspired by her experience to write her undergraduate thesis on the impacts of climate change and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2013, she worked for the Student Conservation Association in Brooklyn, leading a crew of high school students to complete Hurricane Sandy recovery projects designed to build an ethic of community and environmental stewardship. At DRLA, she is now researching the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill with the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities and advancing her knowledge in courses on environment and development. She hopes to help shift the notion of development away from simple economic "advancement," which often leaves communities more vulnerable to disasters by contributing to climate change and erasing previously existing social mechanisms and morals of mutual protection, and instead prioritize development that is community-led, holistic and sustainable.

Elizabeth Krzywicki

Elizabeth KrzywickiElizabeth Krzywicki graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. At Tulane, she is currently pursuing a dual Master's degree in Social Work and Disaster Resilience Leadership. Her ultimate goal is to pursue a career involving policy making and macro practice to improve the lives of those negatively affected by the oversight of politician involvement in local areas. Her ambition includes the desire to prevent and prepare communities for man-made disasters and develop resiliency programs to be implemented in unaided conditions.

Jill Lahman

Jill Lahmann Jill Lahman is currently pursuing a dual Master's degree in Social Work and Disaster Resilience Leadership, with a social work certificate in Disaster Mental Health and Trauma. After graduating with her Bachelors in Social Work from Seattle University, she worked for three years at Treehouse, an organization committed to supporting youth in foster care and their educational outcomes. Through her travels, Jill has developed a passion for exploring the ways different communities adapt to the ever-changing climate, technological advances, and culture specific responses to trauma. She is interested in exploring traditional natural disaster response protocols, and their appropriateness in man-made tragedies. Jill plans to use the knowledge and skills gained in the DRL program to support long term efforts in rebuilding community identity and trauma informed counseling in the wake of human made tragedies. She hopes to partner her knowledge learned in DRLA with further research on the neurobiology of trauma, using this information to impact policy as it pertains to survivors of traumatic events.

Heather Milton

Heather Milton Heather Milton, GISP received her BA in Environmental Studies from University of Kansas and her MS in Geography from University of Wisconsin. After 15 years teaching and working in the GIS field, she is returning for a second Master's in Disaster Resilience Leadership to pursue her interests in information management in the context of disaster response and recovery. She is actively involved in disaster related Virtual Technical Communities (VTCs), andhas been a member of the GISCorps Core Committee for 8 years and is currently one of four volunteer coordinators of the Digital Humanitarian Network. Since joining DRLA, Heather has been involved in various department projects, including the Disaster Resilience Leadership program, Resilient Africa Network, Resilient Malian Children, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative,and theProgram to Enhance Resilience in Somlia.

Jennifer Murphy

Jennifer Murphy Jennifer Murphy graduated from Virginia Tech in 2014 with a degree in Sociology, concentrating in crime and deviance. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, she worked with the Crisis, Tragedy, and Recovery Network at Virginia Tech, studying the impact of social media on emergency management. In addition, she was a Certified Hunger Event Facilitator with the organization Stop Hunger Now and a lead volunteer for a crisis hotline in Virginia. She is currently in a dual degree program at Tulane, pursuing her Masters in Social Work, with a certificate in Disaster Mental Health, as well as her master's degree with DRLA. She is the social work intern at the Center for Restorative Approaches and has been a Graduate Research Assistant with the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities through DRLA.

Shayle Nelson

Shayle NelsonShayle Nelson graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations with a minor in Political Science from Idaho State University. During her undergrad career she studied abroad in Uruguay and volunteered to work with underprivileged children in immensely impoverished communities in Montevideo. Coming from Idaho, Shayle has always had a passion for the outdoors and the environment and coming to Louisiana only furthered that passion. Horrified by the correlation between the lack of environmental conservation and the effect it has on increasing human vulnerability in disasters, she hopes DRLA will help her develop a career that brings awareness to this largely understated issue. Before coming to DRLA, Shayle joined a Disaster Action Team with the American Red Cross in Idaho and is going to continue to serve the ARC here in New Orleans. Furthermore, Shayle is currently doing an internship with the local New Orleans Sierra Club to help educate the community about our coastal wetlands providing our first line of defense against hurricanes and coastal flooding and the importance of wetland restoration. Shayle hopes one day she can help the domestic and international community make the connection between environmental conservation and their resiliency against disasters.

Fnu Nugrohojati

Fnu NugrohojatiFnu Nugrohojati previously completed a BA in Architecture from Universitas Sebelas Maret in Indonesia. After completing his undergrad, Nugrohojati worked as journalist for an architecture magazine Indonesia Design. He then worked as a community facilitator to assist local farmers in the Water Resources and Irrigation System Management Program (WISMP) in Central Java Province, Indonesia. Since 2009, he has been working for Boyolali District Government as a development planner. Jati has taken part in two post disaster recovery projects: post 2006 earthquake and post 2010 Mount Merapi eruption, in Yogyakarta Special Region and Central Java Province, Indonesia.

Catherine "Cat" Patteson

Cat PattesonCatherine "Cat" Patteson is a graduate of the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. She is currently enrolled in a dual graduate degree program at Tulane University pursing a Master's in Social Work with a Certificate in Disaster Mental Health and Trauma Studies as well as a Master's of Science in Disaster Resiliency and Leadership. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, she worked for three years in a women's health and four years in a psychiatric hospital setting with children, adolescents, and adults in crisis stabilization. In these roles, she developed her leadership and program development skills. Cat is a mental health professional with over a decade of experience working with diverse and marginalized populations in settings ranging from small non-profits to large healthcare systems. She has strong clinical and community social work skills and has experience working with women's health and justice, LGBTQI, HIV/AIDS, homelessness, domestic violence, sexual assault, Latino populations, as well as substance abuse/dual diagnosis and psychiatric diagnoses. Cat has advanced organizational, creative, technology, and service-oriented skills. She will obtain her MSW in December 2015 and begin pursuing part time work as an LMSW while completing her MS-DRL in May 2016. After graduation from both programs she hopes to obtain a full time social work position with a non-profit in the New Orleans area.

Elisabeth Perez

Elisabeth Perez Elisabeth Perez received a BA in Language Studies from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2007. After receiving her degree in Language Studies with an emphasis in Spanish and French, Elisabeth worked as a counselor to foster and homeless youth in the San Francisco, Bay Area. There she developed curriculum and implemented programs to help identify supportive networks for youth aging out of the foster care system. She then spend six months traveling,volunteering, and improving her Spanish in South America. In 2010, she moved to Egypt where she taught English and Spanish to Egyptian, Bedouin and German youth. She later moved to New York City where she began volunteering as a responder for the NYC chapter of the Red Cross. She hopes to use her previous work experience and current studies to work internationally, specifically in disaster mitigation and response in urban settings.

Christopher Russell

Christopher RussellChristopher Russell graduated May 2015 with Masters of Social Work with a Global Certificate from Tulane. He has been CEO of Truth 180 since 2002 servicing the substance abuse and mental health needs of individuals of St. Tammany and Washington Parish. His focus began to shift to macro-level Social Work (policy development) as part of the Global Certificate Program. A further shift occurred with his participation in Tulane School of Social Work "Journey to South Africa" international learning experience and being introduced to Disaster Management. Chris's goal professionally is to work domestically or internationally in policy development focused on programming and/or integration of social work (psycho-social response) into disaster response and humanitarianism.

Jennifer MacNeill

Jennifer MacNeillJennifer MacNeill is currently a GRA for the DRLA program, a Teaching Assistant for the School of Social Work Trauma MOOC classes, and a second year student in the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy, a masters program academically housed in the Tulane School of Social Work. She is already an alumna of Tulane, having earned her B.A. Degree in Social Sciences in 2012, followed by a Master of Science from New York University in Global Affairs/Human Rights and International Law in 2014. She has volunteered in a humanitarian capacity or conducted research in more than ten countries around the world, including India, Rwanda, Malawi, Brazil, Guinea, and others. In 2015 she gained valuable case management experience working at the International Rescue Committee NYC office in the intensive case management department and is also currently a volunteer disaster responder at the American Red Cross. Her focus area of previous academic research has included evaluating reparations accessibility for survivors of sexual violence in conflict (SVC) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (seven months, 2014) as well as other transitional justice mechanisms in post conflict societies. In May 2016 she completed a nine-month certificate in Global Mental Health: Trauma and Recovery through the Harvard Program for Refugee Trauma. For her career path, she aims to find a place at the intersection between trauma recovery and providing direct humanitarian assistance, working in operations. As a side note, she also loves photography and believes it is an important and effective tool for inspiring social change.

Maria Muñoz

MariaMunozMaria Muñoz graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in Landscape Architecture and minors in Spanish, French and Human Geography. Being heavily influenced by her grandmother’s commitment to landscape ecology, sustainability and community participation in Puerto Rico, Maria grew a special interest in the relationship between people and their environment, specifically within Latin America. She believes by emphasizing the individuality of a place and using local resources and methods, we can improve human well-being, local economy and urban development both locally and globally. Maria plans to use the knowledge gained from DRLA to highlight existing methods of engaging with our environment to be more effective, resilient and socially responsible. She aspires to hold a leading role as a global humanitarian through further education and research.

Kevin Schwartz

Kevin SchwartzKevin Schwartz is a dual degree masters student with Tulane's School of Social Work and DRLA. He received his bachelor's in History and Political Science from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2013. During this period, he worked as a Congressional Intern in the Washington, D.C. office of Representative Dennis Kucinich, focusing on global human rights and social justice policy. He volunteered extensively with Habitat for Humanity in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and New Orleans. After graduating in 2013, Kevin moved to New Orleans to volunteer with the Americorps program City Year. As a City Year Corps Member, he taught and counseled at-risk youth at Joseph S. Clark High School in the Treme neighborhood.

Anthony Vendetti

Anthony VendettiAnthony Vendetti graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Planning and Environmental Policy focusing on Disaster Reduction and Emergency Planning in 2010. After graduating he spent three years in AmeriCorps working in multiple capacities including wilderness firefighting, emergency planning, and small business resilience. Upon completion of his third year, Anthony moved to New Orleans to attend the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy. While in New Orleans, He was also a member of the Executive Leadership Committee for Evacuteer, an organization created to recruit, train, and facilitate the volunteer manpower behind large-scale evacuations. After graduation from DRLA, Anthony moved to Seattle where he worked as an Emergency Management Consultant and spent his weekends working for a New Orleans-influenced blues club. In 2016, Anthony moved to Vancouver, WA to work as the Mitigation and Recovery Coordinator for Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency and make use of the mountains, oceans, and rivers of the Pacific Northwest.