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Class 2: 2008 Atlas Corps Fellows

Abby Flottemesch, 31, Washington, DC

Abby initiated her career in the nonprofit sector immediately following her college graduation and brings nine years of experience in project management, volunteer recruitment, fundraising, program development, youth leadership development, and community organizing. Most recently, she completed five years of employment with The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP)—a national, student-powered hunger relief organization connected with the innovative DC Central Kitchen. Her five years with the organization included serving as the first coordinator of the Campus Kitchen at Augsburg College (Minneapolis, Minn.) to becoming the first development director and leading the fundraising and marketing efforts as well as organizing the annual CKP Leadership Conference. During her tenure, the organization grew from five programs to a national network of 12 programs with thousands of student volunteers involved and more than 720,000 meals delivered. Prior to her experience at CKP, Abby served as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Puerto Rico and organized community development efforts in the northern part of the island. She also taught English in China, led high school students to Belize with the Experiment in International Living, and served as the Waterfront Director of Campemento La Llanada en Venezuela. Abby shares her international and national nonprofit experiences as a presenter at such national gatherings as: Social Enterprise Summit, National 4-H Conference, Meals On Wheels Association of America Conference, and the National Young Leaders Conference. Abby received a B.A. in communications and Spanish with a minor in marketing from the University of Minnesota Duluth. While in school, Abby served as the Student Association President and was active in numerous community service organizations. Her studies included educational experiences in Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. Abby successfully completed the Fundraising for Small Nonprofits course presented by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Host: Fundación Saldarriaga Concha

Imani Crawford, 33, New York

Imani has nearly ten years of experience in the non-profit and public sectors. Her professional background is primarily in program management and communications, with a focus on intercultural education. She helped develop, manage, and evaluate cross-cultural student programs at Meridian International Center, and oversaw local coordinators for foreign students living with American host families through Program of Academic Exchange (PAX).

Since recently serving as the writer for the Clinton Global Initiative, Imani has developed a stronger interest in venture philanthropy and social enterprise, especially as they relate to poverty alleviation and conflict resolution. The position entailed communicating project results, new partnerships, and funding developments to a wide range of stakeholders and interested parties around the world. Imani received her Bachelor of Science in Languages (BSLA) degree in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and French from Georgetown University. In addition, she completed graduate courses in non-profit management, project evaluation, and public relations at the University of Maryland. She has lived abroad as an exchange student four times and is currently developing a scholarship fund to encourage and assist minority students in studying abroad.

Host: Oxfam Great Britain

Sylvia Pérez, 26, Washington, DC

Cities, community development, and the capacity development of people, organizations, and systems have been Sylvia’s passions for the last ten years. Following a path that led her from Washington, DC, to New York City, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Masaya, Nicaragua and many places in between, her career has developed within a spirit of exploration and discovery, and a dedicated sense of purpose. Following the completion of her B.A. degree in Urban Studies from Columbia University, Sylvia worked with Living Cities, Inc.: The National Community Development Initiative (Living Cities), where she was the first to fill the position of the Grants and Contracts Manager. With Living Cities – a public-private partnership established to bring opportunities and the power of mainstream markets to inner-city, American neighborhoods – Sylvia managed all contractual agreements with funders, grantees and services providers, including creating and maintaining a management control system to track and assess contract performance, deliverables, and budgets. In addition, she also supported the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors with development-related strategies and outreach. Most recently, Sylvia completed an internship with Pro Mujer, Masaya, Nicaragua, learning about mircro-finance and international development at a grassroots level. As an Atlas Fellow, she hopes to broaden her knowledge of different community development systems, while working to increase the capacity of international, public-private partnerships that improve the lives of others through coordinated, at-scale investments. Sylvia is a member of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/ Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc., and is on the Board of Directors for the Helena M. English Fund (a nonprofit organization that raises money for AIDS prevention and education projects in Africa) and API, Inc. (a for-profit company that provides psychological and family services in Washington, DC.).

Host: Give to Colombia

Nilanjana Chowdhury, 25, Burdwan, India

Nilanjana has four years of experience with fundraising and public relations for teams in the UK, USA, and Netherlands as the information and communication officer and later fundraising and PR officer for the Brooke Hospital for Animals in India. She has also assisted in preparing international summits, field visits and socio-economic impact assessments. Previously, Nilanjana worked in the Child Guidance Centre within the Department of Social Work at the University of Delhi, where she surveyed the community to analyze adolescent girls' literacy levels and organized recreational activities. Nilanjana has also focused her efforts on child rights advocacy and ending sexual abuse through researching child-trafficking cases in Delhi for Umeed. As a member of Shafa, she organized group programs with adolescents and drug addicts, conducted initial interviews and case work, learned the therapeutic community module for drug rehabilitation and Alcoholics Anonymous for alcohol rehabilitation, and advocated against drug use in outreach programs. Nilanjana's background is in social work, and with her experience working for NGOs, she aims to address the challenges youth face in an urban centric development model (with factors influencing drug peddling, human trafficking, the sex trade, and more). She earned a B.A. in social work from Delhi University and has a post-graduate diploma in public relations from Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan in Delhi.

Host: InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington

Meher Rehman, 33, New Delhi, India

Meher has ten years of experience in the citizen sector, both in India and South Asia. Documentation, evaluation and research are the core areas of her experience. Her experience also includes management of projects on issues such as women's empowerment, gender and governance, child labor, disability, youth development and NGO capacity building. Her most recent experience was working at JAGORI ('Awaken, Women'), a feminist group raising consciousness on violence, health, education and other issues critical to women. There, she researched and developed resource material to support the organization's advocacy work on legal rights, food security rights and the health of women. Prior to this, Meher conceptualized and initiated a development program for youth called YES (Youth Enrichment Services) for a corporate body in Delhi. From 1999-2006, Meher worked at Association for Stimulating Know How where she coordinated the Evaluation, Research & Documentation Unit. She was primarily involved in planning, conducting, supervising and documenting evaluations and studies for national and international agencies. During that time she also managed projects on gender and governance in Rajasthan and economic empowerment of Muslim women in Uttar Pradesh. She organized women into groups and coordinated and facilitated trainings and other capacity building inputs to help women meet their development objectives. Meher also coordinated the advocacy component of a project providing developmental opportunities to children working in household brassware units in Uttar Pradesh. From 2004-2005 Meher was with Saarthak where she coordinated a UNIFEM project in tsunami affected communities of Sri Lanka. She was involved in the process of gendering the reconstruction work and addressing psychosocial impacts on women and children. She also worked closely with local organizations and the government, enhancing their capacities to identify and address gender related vulnerabilities after a disaster. Meher holds a B.S. in sciences from Delhi University and a M.A. in social work from Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi.

Host: Population Action International

Yatin Sethi, 24, Faridabad, India

Yatin is currently a design researcher at Human Factors International where he organizes and conducts research studies throughout India for education and mobile segments; analyzes market entry strategies; and develops personalized, self-sustaining online communication portals to be deployed at other HFI locations in India and the United States. Concurrently, he co-founded the Pankhudi Foundation, which aims to benefit underprivileged children. There, he built the chapter from four to 40 volunteers and established partnerships with organizations such as Children Lovecastle Trust, iVolunteer, doSomething, Siemens, Yahoo, and IBM. He also started doSomething in Bangalore, India, which is a social innovation organization founded to nurture social enterprises and to help people convert their ideas into reality. He has received awards for his work, including the Wall Street Journal's Technology Innovation Award and NASSCOM IT Innovation Award for the Gesture Keyboard Project. Yatin received his B.A. in information and communication technology from the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. He has also attended business proposals and NGO management seminars at iVolunteer in Bangalore.

Host: Youth Venture

Richa Tyagi, 31, Bijnor, India

Richa has a background in human resource development and management, economics, planning & development. She is presently the deputy director of programs at the Business & Community Foundation (BCF) based in New Delhi. BCF is a civil society organization that has been working to promote corporate social responsibility since the early 1990s. During her four-year stint with BCF, Richa has been involved in facilitating the corporate social responsibility initiatives of companies ranging from CSR policy formulation, overall due diligence, coordination, monitoring and project evaluation, CSR award assessment, workshops, conferences, training, management development programs, employee volunteering programs, disability initiatives and more. Previously, Richa worked as an associate consultant with Time Manager International (TMI), and was instrumental in starting the Association of Students of Human Resource Development & Management (ASHRAM) in Allahabad. Richa received her B.A. in economics and industrial relations and personnel management from Delhi University, and has also earned a M.A. in economics from Rohilkhand University, a M.A. in human resource development and management from Allahabad University, and a M.Phil. in planning and development from the Indian Institute of Technology.

Host: Grameen Foundation

Andrea Calderón Leal, 25, Bogotá, Colombia

For the last three years, Andrea has directed the nutrition, education and health programs for the Alejandrito's Corazon Foundation, an organization that was founded to help children with heart diseases. Since she assumed the position of CEO for the foundation, Andrea has been strengthening programs and has created the architectural design for their new facility. Andrea has also focused her job on fundraising for the children and their families by organizing events and implementing sustainable projects. She has linked up with entities such as the Shaio Clinic Foundation, Gift of Life Foundation, and the International Children's Heart Foundation to increase the capacity to help children with heart diseases. To date, the Foundation has helped more than 3,680 children by providing surgeries free of charge and room and board for their parents. The Foundation also runs a kindergarten for 3,600 children. In 2007, Andrea was recruited by Chevron to participate as one of the representatives for Colombia in the management seminar for NGO leaders in Latin America, where she introduced the organization "Footprints of Joy" which she founded in 2006. This project seeks to help abandoned and abused domestic animals, and work with them to perform therapies for disabled children. Andrea did her architectural thesis about this initiative and the organization began as a complementary program for the children of Alejandrito´s Corazon Foundation. Andrea has a degree in architecture from Los Andes University with minors in Asian studies and Italian culture and language. She has also taken specialty courses in finance and project management at the Los Andes University Business School.

Host: Student Movement for Real Change

Laura Lozada, 23, Cali-Valle, Colombia

Laura has worked in both the public and private sectors for over three years and has extensive experience working in educational programs for childhood and youth. In 2006, she co-founded Sueño Mi País, and implemented the Educando Soñadores program that promotes civic education for children in rural areas. She also worked for the Universidad del Rosario, in the Escuela de Control Social, where she facilitated the validation of games to promote civic participation for preschool and high school aged children in 60 schools from different areas of Bogotá. In 2004, Laura assisted the human resources department of the National Ministry of Treasury in building an interactive network of the Treasury Sector and redesigned staff evaluation and permission formats to make them more efficient and easy to understand. During her internship at the OAS General Secretariat in the summer of 2006, Laura wrote an investigative research paper on the land tenancy situation in Latin America and the Caribbean for the Department of Sustainable Development of the OAS. Laura's latest work was with HL Consultoria Organizacional, where she contributed to the salary structure definition project of the Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular and the development of its human resources strategic policies. Laura has a B.A. in political science and government from the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá.

Host: CentroNía

Lina Ochoa, 28, Tulua, Colombia

Lina is an economist with a working knowledge of nonprofit initiatives in Colombia, assessment and advocacy of public policies, as well as the promotion of entrepreneurship in rural communities. Previously, she worked for the Fundación Manantial de Talentos in Bogotá, which deals with community and economic development for marginalized groups. Lina also has experience managing conferences with 20 international speakers and more than 100 attendees, organizing rural sector initiatives, and translating crucial meeting and conference documents for the Fundación Agenda Colombia. Last year, Lina was a volunteer and translator for Atlas Service Corps during the launch of the Bogotá office in Colombia. Awarded the Colfuturo Loan-Scholarship for postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom, Lina has built a strong academic foundation by pursuing a MSc in development management at the London School of Economics after graduating from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia with a B.A. in economics and a M.A. in economic sciences. She is the recipient of the London School of Economics' Graduate Support Scheme Award. Lina hopes to master all main aspects of work in a social organization, in order to return to Colombia to work with civil organizations, grassroots organizations, research centers, and the like as a liaison between the different groups. She credits her volunteer experience as a factor in her success: "To me, social, nonprofit organizations give young professionals numerous opportunities to learn and share ideas and build up a broad range of useful skills, while working in specific areas (economic projects, political awareness, advocacy, and gender issues, among others)."

Host: Grameen Foundation

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