Alumni Advisory Board

Sarah
Alexander

Associate at Mindset

Sarah Alexander is an Associate at Mindset, a bipartisan advisory and advocacy firm in Washington, DC. Focusing on environment, energy, infrastructure, transportation, trade, agriculture, and defense issues, Sarah produces targeted research and adaptive analysis to distill key federal legislation and regulations into actionable takeaways for corporate clients. She also mentors and trains new analysts, as well as leads Mindset’s internship program. Prior to joining Mindset, Sarah interned for the public policy department of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), as well as for the DC office of Representative Thomas Garrett.  Sarah graduated from UVA in 2019 with a BA in Public Policy & Leadership and a minor in French.

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Conor
Boyle

Business Operations Consultant at Accenture Federal Services

Conor Boyle is currently a Business Operations Consultant at Accenture Federal Services - where he functions as a product manager for four large software implementations working to corroborate federal directives and legislative policy into large IT infrastructure for the US Department of Education  He has over four years of experience in management and technology consulting where he has led engagement workstreams and assisted clients throughout the public sector. Throughout his career, he has become an analytical and tactical consumer lending expert that excels in managing and collaborating with large, diverse teams to deliver complex technology priorities.

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Jasmine
Burton

Vice Chair, Alumni Advisory Board

Jasmine Burton is a senior associate in The Raben Group’s Issue Campaigns practice area, where she brings a strong background in education equity, public policy, and the law.  Prior to joining Raben, Jasmine worked in the Business Affairs Department of ABC Studios, where she negotiated agreements for above-the-line talent, crafted deal memos, and drafted short form agreements for several of ABC’s shows. She also served as a judicial intern for the Federal District Court in Maryland and for Secretary John King at the U.S. Department of Education. Jasmine holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Howard University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, as well as a minor in African and African American Studies. While at the University of Virginia, she was captain of the volleyball team where she was honored as the State of Virginia Rookie of the Year and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Freshman of the Year, as well as being named to the ACC All-Second Team and as an East-Coast Region All-American.

 

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Schafer
Castella

Associate Director of Technical Program Development at Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA)

Schafer Castella is currently an Associate Director of Technical Program Development at Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA). Schafer is an international development and humanitarian specialist with ten years of experience in building partnerships with public and private partners, mobilizing resources, and designing and managing projects, with a focus on agricultural market systems development. She has managed portfolios of up to $25 million and led proposal development for bids up to $30 million. She also has experience overseeing and providing technical assistance for projects funded by USAID, USDA, EU/ECHO, AFD, GAC, corporations and foundations.

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Tyler
Chandler

Research Specialist at EdPolicyWorks

Tyler Chandler is a Research Specialist at EdPolicyWorks, a joint collaboration between the School of Education and Human Development and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He is currently involved in projects related to understanding the impacts teacher working conditions have on student outcomes, the impact of the pandemic on student achievement, and teacher retention trends. Before joining EdPolicyWorks, Tyler spent a year working for Eastern Shore Land Conservancy developing an educational workshop series designed to inform Eastern Shore residents about the impact’s climate change will have on their communities. During his master’s program, Tyler partnered with Richmond Public Schools on an applied policy project to canvas existing low-cost STEM programs and curricula that could be used to transform a city middle school into a STEM academy in an equitable manner. He earned his MPP from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia and his BA in Government from the University of Virginia.

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Chloe
Cohen

Budget Analyst for the Executive Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia

Chloe Cohen is a Budget Analyst for the Executive Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia. In this role, she provides budget analysis for D.C.’s economic development agencies and manages relationships between agency staff and D.C.’s budget policymakers. Prior to her role with District government, Chloe was the Project Coordinator for Affordable Housing at the Mortgage Bankers Association, where she oversaw the day-to-day execution of MBA's Affordable Housing Initiatives. Chloe holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Virginia. In her free time, Chloe performs in the D.C. community with the 18th Street Singers.

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Jack
DiMatteo

Senior Legislative Assistant in the Office of Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14)

Jack DiMatteo is a Senior Legislative Assistant in the Office of Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), where he covers health, veterans, foreign affairs, and Social Security issues. He joined Congresswoman Underwood’s office in 2019 as a David A. Winston Health Policy Fellow after graduating from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He is from Deerfield, Illinois.

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Donald
Fryar

Program Director for MindsMatterDC

Donald Fryar was born in San Diego, California and raised in Fredericksburg, VA. He attended the University of Virginia, where he majored in Public Policy and Leadership. While at the University of Virginia, Donald was a part of the Army ROTC program. Upon graduation, Donald commissioned into the Army reserves as a Combat Engineer. Recently, Donald graduated from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. After graduation, Donald plans to move to Charlotte, North Carolina where he will work as a Corporate Attorney. Outside of school, Donald is heavily involved in the Washington, D.C. Community. He serves as a Program Director for MindsMatterDC, a non-profit that is aimed at providing SAT preparatory and mentoring high school students.

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Matt
Gillam

Teacher, Miner Elementary School

Matt Gillam is from Long Island, NY and a 2021 graduate of the BA program. He has since joined Teach For America and is teaching first grade at Miner Elementary School in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC. While teaching, he is pursuing a MSEd from Johns Hopkins University. While at UVA, he served as Batten Undergraduate Council President, co-Director of UVA's Camp Kesem chapter and Chair of UVA's Hillel Jewish Leadership Council.

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Alexander
Gregorio

Associate, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Alexander Gregorio is a current Associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in the General Practice group looking to serve and advance his client's interests. He formerly was enrolled in the University of Virginia School of Law and the Darden School of Business where he combined thorough legal reasoning with both quantitative and normative analysis to solve problems. Prior to entering law school he worked for the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division where his economic and legal reasoning skills were put to good use on complex and important issues related to antitrust enforcement, intellectual property, and healthcare. He also holds a Master's of Public Policy from the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy giving him a solid foundation for analyzing client needs and developing effective solutions from a legal, business, and regulatory viewpoint.

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Saajid
Hasan

Desk Officer in the Office of Middle East, U.S Department of Commerce International Trade Administration

Saajid Hasan (M.P.P 2020) graduated from Batten’s accelerated program after earning his bachelor’s in government and economics in 2019. Throughout his time at UVa, Saajid also took great interest in studying Arabic language and culture, both in Charlottesville and abroad. He now works at the U.S Department of Commerce International Trade Administration as a Desk Officer in the Office of Middle East. In this position, he helps US companies navigate trade barriers exporting to the Middle East. He is excited to advise and connect with future Batten leaders interested in trade policy, middle east affairs, global development, and diplomacy. Outside of work, he enjoys going to the gym and learning how to make different dishes in the air fryer.

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Sarah Jameel is a 2016 graduate of the Batten Undergraduate Program with a double major in Middle Eastern Studies. She is currently a student in the JD-MBA program at Northwestern University pursuing a career in sustainable real estate development. Prior to Northwestern, she worked in legal services and intellectual property legal technology for four years. While a student at UVA, Sarah cofounded the Virginia Undergraduate Law Review, was a member of the Jefferson Literary & Debating Society, and was a competitive dance member of UVA Di Shaan.

 

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Kendall
Johnson

Strategy & Consulting Senior Analyst at Accenture Federal Services

Kendall Johnson is a Strategy & Consulting Senior Analyst at Accenture Federal Services - where she uses educational disciplines to address mass systemic inequities within our education, political and economic structures. I.  After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in Government, she enrolled at UVA's Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. In May of 2020, she graduated with a Master of Public Policy.

 

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Sofya
Olenicheva

Policy Advisor at the Zero Emission Transportation Association

Sofya Olenicheva currently serves as a Policy Advisor at the Zero Emission Transportation Association, a federal coalition advocating for transportation electrification, and Pioneer Public Affairs, a climate- and renewable energy-focused lobbying firm. Sofya’s professional policy experience began at Batten with an assignment to conduct research for the Virginia gubernatorial transition team. Later, she worked as a Program Assistant at the Community Climate Collaborative, a nonprofit committed to facilitating environmental policy development in local government and encouraging residents to integrate sustainable solutions into their lifestyle. At UVA, Sofya earned a Bachelor of Arts with Highest Distinction in Public Policy and Global Environments & Sustainability.

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Katherine
Pajewski

Secretary, Alumni Advisory Board
Healthcare Analyst for Huron Consulting Group

Katherine Pajewski is currently a Healthcare Analyst for Huron Consulting Group in the Care Transformation area, working to improve patient throughput and advance hospitals’ abilities to better serve their communities. She formerly worked for a small healthcare lobbying shop out of DC, working on behalf of healthcare plans, drug manufacturers, and hospital systems. She holds a Master's of Public Policy from the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy where she pursued healthcare policy and research and developed analytical skills that help her work through client’s complex problems. Katie is a Charlottesville native and double Hoo’.

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Catalina Perez has been an active member of the Batten community for the past 3 years. Originally part of the Class of 2020 Bachelor's of Public Policy, she decided to make the switch to the Master's of Public Policy Class of 2021 program party because of her great interest in public policy but also because of her love of the Batten School. Former Women in Policy President and Batten Pillar Project founder, she pursues her future career in Law as a W&L law student, she still hopes to give back to the Batten school through BAAB in serving current Batten students and alumni.

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Lauren Russell is currently a member of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Master of Public Health (MPH) class of 2022. In addition to her current role as a full-time student, Lauren serves on the Hopkins Student Outreach Resource Center (SOURCE) Student Governing Board, and she works part-time as a research assistant and teaching assistant at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Prior to returning to school, Lauren worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New England Healthcare System. She began her career as a Presidential Management Fellow, then co-developed and co-led a multi-site health-related social needs screening and referral program known as the Assessing Circumstances & Offering Resources for Needs (ACORN) initiative. Outside of work, Lauren enjoyed serving as the Sports Chair for the UVA Club of Boston and as a mentor for four years with Minds Matter – Boston, an organization which “connects driven and determined students from low-income families with the people, preparation, and possibilities to succeed in college, create their future, and change the world.” Her experiences at the VA and with Minds Matter – Boston fueled her interest in and commitment to developing programs and policies that promote health equity and led her to pursue an MPH. Lauren earned a Master of Public Policy (MPP) and a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Linguistics and Philology and Interdisciplinary Global Studies – Public Health at the University of Virginia.

 

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Hannah
Semmes

Consultant at Guidehouse State & Local Government

Hannah Semmes is a consultant at Guidehouse State & Local Government. Prior to that, she was a consultant in the private sector for Salt Flats (née Optimity Advisors). She is an alumna of the State Department’s Critical Language Scholar in Indonesian, and previously worked as intern at the World Wildlife Fund, in the Office of Congressman Beyer (VA-08), and various political campaigns. At UVA, she served as Co-Captain of Women's Club Soccer. As a BAAB member, it is her goal to support and grow Batten’s entrepreneurial community.

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Shivshankar
Srikanth

Foreign Service Officer, United States Department of State

Shiv Srikanth is a Foreign Service Officer for the United States Department of State. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Shiv worked as a Climate Policy Advisor for the State Department’s Office of Global Change where he served as a negotiator on the team responsible for the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Shiv also led Western Hemisphere bilateral engagement to increase regional climate change ambition in line with the priorities of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. Prior to joining the State Department, he served as a Disaster Risk Management Specialist at the World Bank. A 2014 graduate of Batten’s MPP program, Shiv began his career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama where he collaborated with local communities on education and environmental initiatives.

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James
Villarrubia

Presidential Innovation Fellow, NASA

James Villarrubia is currently serving as a Presidential Innovation Fellow for NASA.  Prior to this, he was the VP of Software Engineering for CipherHealth, enabling better patient outcomes through healthcare automation during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Before that, as the CTO of Werk, he used A.I. to help Fortune 1000 companies improve productivity and equity through flexible work policies.  James has also led startups focused on cybersecurity, cryptography, and educational technology.  His educational A.I. research project was a top-ranked competitor for the global IBM A.I. XPrize.  Before his startup journey, he spent 6 years in DC serving in policy and portfolio management roles at the White House, DOJ, and DOD. James earned a Master's of Public Policy and BS in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia.  He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.  When he is able, James volunteers his time with non-profit arts organizations in his community.

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Brian
Zuluaga

Associate, Center for Public Impact's Government Legitimacy

Brian Zuluaga is an Associate supporting the Center for Public Impact's Government Legitimacy team. In this role, Brian has worked with local governments across the United States to build trust in government, embed design-thinking and innovation techniques into government processes, and to foster more inclusive economies. Previously, Brian was a Legislative Fellow for Senator Jeremy S. McPike of Virginia’s 29th District. He has also worked at the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, a non-profit organization, representing over 300 elected Hispanic State legislators throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  Brian holds a BA in Public Policy and Leadership from the University of Virginia. He currently serves on the National Advisory Council for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, the Batten Alumni Advisory Board, and the UVA Hispanic/Latinx Bolivar Network. Brian is also the proud founder of the Batten Latinx Network at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

 

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