The work of Minnesota Alliance With Youth is driven by our three core values: Equity, Quality and Collaboration. This is the team that makes it all happen!
Emily is a connector and listener who would love to go with the flow at every turn. When working with people though she combines assertiveness and compassion to challenge people and help get them what they need. Emily served both as a Promise Fellow at Murray Middle School in St. Paul, and as a Promise Fellow Leader and enjoyed the ebb and flow of chaos in the lunch room and peace and calm in a 1-1 with a student during the school day. In her free time she enjoys running, playing volleyball, eating Thai food and spending time with her pals, often functioning as the mom friend. And she often struggles to choose between cheesecake and ice cream.
Director of Youth Partnerships
Brandon is a big-picture thinker, ideator, and initiative-taker. Brandon is not afraid to question the status quo, and presses for accountability from all parties that he works with. He loves working with young people and facilitating dialogues. He is always looking to preserve the integrity of youth voice. Brandon is an AmeriCorps Public Allies alumni. In his free time, you can find him cooking, playing video games, watching documentaries, or napping.
AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Leader
Maya is someone who loves discussions and implementing progressive ideologies into pop culture conversations. Maya is a strong believer in education but a realist in the changes that need to happen to ensure that Minnesota schools are providing equity to all of their students. Maya hopes to use her understanding and opportunities from her own Promise Fellow experience to help cultivate a community for Promise Fellows where they can be the best versions of themselves for the students they support. In her spare time, Maya is an avid reader and journal writer. Maya loves experimenting with new recipes, going to museums and parks, and is always on the search for new music and films!
Minnesota Youth Council AmeriCorps VISTA
Graduating from Arizona State University in May 2021, Jordan received a Bachelor’s in Philosophy as well as a minor in African/African American Studies. As a VISTA, Jordan serves as a capacity builder in her communities, creating, strengthening, and connecting resources and best practices to better serve youth, especially young people of color and young people living in poverty, with the ultimate goal of supporting more youth to graduate and closing the opportunity and achievement gaps in Minnesota. Jordan is passionate about equity work in schools and strives to create a more equitable system for students of color and from marginalized backgrounds. Jordan is a Colorado Native, and grew up in the Denver area before moving to Tempe, AZ and now resides in North Minneapolis. She enjoys hiking, spending time with family, and traveling.
Halla is competitive, caring, and empathetic. She is continually inspired by youth power and seeks to drive educational equity in Minnesota. As the Youth Policy Coordinator for the Minnesota Youth Council, she works to build relationships with state legislators and Alliance members. A crossover cosmopolitan, she was raised in Minneapolis but spends most of their time in St. Paul now. Halla graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in psychology. She has a cat named Luna at home who sleeps on her lap after she eats. Halla is politically engaged outside of the office. She runs a school board campaign in St. Paul.
AmeriCorps VISTA Leader
Hannah is guided by her immense gratitude and admiration for the world around her. She is always seeking new ways to experience joy and share it with other people. Her time spent as a Promise Fellow taught her about the value of strong relationship building, but also highlighted the need for systemic changes in education. She is excited to be a supportive advocate for VISTA members and continue to develop the program at the Alliance. Outside the office, you might find Hannah in the woods, on her bike, at a record shop, or in her purple sunroom surrounded by paintbrushes.
Director of Operational Management
Kyle is a match-maker. He connects the right AmeriCorps recruits to the right positions. Kyle works to keep AmeriCorps members happy while building structures and balancing compliance. Kyle is driven by his passion for National Service, and wants others to have the opportunity to serve. Kyle is a two term AmeriCorps alum, serving with AmeriCorps NCCC out of the Vicksburg MS campus and as a Green Cities Sustainability Fellow in Pittsburgh PA. When he's not being a total "AmeriCorps nerd" he enjoys listening and producing podcasts, exploring the Cities on bike, and completing the NYT crossword puzzle daily.
Michaela loves a good bit of data analysis, but also finds real meaning in supporting people around her. She is a resilient and reflective learner who strives to have a good growth mindset whenever unfamiliar problems come her way. After two demanding terms of service in the Promise Fellow Program, Michaela is thrilled to return to the Alliance as an staff member. Outside of work, Michaela loves colouring with her niece and if you give her even the slightest encouragement she will happily expound on why Argentine tango is the best social dance.
Stef Nelson is the Partnership Manager supported partnerships with AmeriCorps Host Sites and has a long history of service as both a former Promise Fellow and supporter of the Minnesota Youth Council. In addition to this role, Stef currently works to support community education and school programming in the Anoka Hennepin School District and has worked for decades in non-profit and education focused organizations.
Summer Program Manager
AmeriCorps helped launch Kaela into the world of youth work and she’s thrilled to return to the Alliance as the Summer Program Manger. She is a relationship builder and is excited to support the Summer Fellows in creating meaningful experiences. Kaela is passionate about racial identity exploration through story-telling and story-listening. She’s always got a project going for personal and professional growth and you can often find her journaling or reading. She loves witnessing growth over time, which is what draws her to being both a mentor through BBBS, and a mentee through KOWIN (Korean Women's International Network). Harboring a creative soul, Kaela organizes her thoughts through diagrams and mind maps. Outside of work, she’s typically making handmade gifts out of origami, clay, and watercolor.
AmeriCorps Recruitment Specialist
Alex is an optimist who strives her best to bring in love and positivity wherever she goes. She is a former Promise Fellow who currently works as an Academic and Behavior Interventionist at the same middle school she did her service at. Her service experience shed light on the importance of being intentional about the work that needs to be done in education, especially to support Black, Indigenous, and Students of Color. Alex strives to empower youth to see the potential in themselves as she sees in them. She is a team player who loves to help and will go out of her way to find an answer if she doesn’t know it. She is excited to utilize her service experience and passion for relationship-building to support the outreach and recruitment process as the AmeriCorps Recruitment Specialist. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, reading, napping, and watching Korean dramas or horror movies.
Chief Advancement Officer
Kate is a communicator with a knack for coherent and succinct writing. She is creative by nature, and is energized by supporting others and making the Alliance successful through her behind-the-scenes work. Kate is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Honduras 2007-09), mama to two boys, gardener, soccer-player, and pie-lover. When not at the office, Kate is volunteering with MN350 and Moms Demand Action.
AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Leader
William is an energetic entertainer who loves to express himself through music. Usually found riding his longboard or playing the ukulele. He’s great at listening when you need to be heard; yet, you can always count on him to fill an awkward silence. After spending the last year serving as Mr. Will the Promise Fellow by day, and Rockband instructor by night at Murray Middle School (where he's an alumnus); he is currently attending MCTC in Minneapolis for an AS in Sound Arts. Born and raised in St Paul, Minnesota, he is in a local band called PhilTyr (“we on Spotify” - Will himself), and enjoys making art, adventuring the great outdoors, as well as ice skating.
Sarah France Ullmer
Chief Program Officer
Sarah France Ullmer, “Sullmer” oversees the Alliance's AmeriCorps programs. Sarah does “the work of purpose,” and is mindful of creating space for reflection and healing. Sarah has worked with youth on local, state, and national levels and is a trained life coach. She believes deeply in the power of people to create change for good in the world. She is constantly trying to keep up with her kids as they try to understand the changing seasons, defined by the magic of icicles and blooming trees. She calls Minnesota home, but sometimes — as a Colorado native — gets lost looking for the mountains.
Lauren Van Schepen
Lauren is passionate about helping folks determine how they can best serve their communities. She supports VISTA members and sites to make the most out of terms of service. Lauren holds degrees in American Studies, Education Policy, and Higher Education Administration, and is a VISTA alum. She enjoys gardening, reading fiction, and taking lots of long walks with her husband, son, and dogs.
Chief Practice Officer
Kita effectively supports others to feel comfortable while doing their work. She creates safe spaces for people and quells anxieties in the workplace. In her own words, “If you don’t notice me, I’m doing my job successfully.” Kita is open-minded and laid-back. Kita is an AmeriCorps VISTA alum who enjoys spending time with her family. Their favorite things to do includes watching movies, playing board games, and scouring the Twin Cities food scene for delicious French fries.
If life were basketball, Lily would be the player with the most assists. She shines in the background knowing that she's doing all she can to help others perform and be their best. She is people-centered and values meaningful and authentic relationships above all else. When she's not at work, you'll find her lost in a book or somewhere out in nature.
Director of Financial Management
Hannah is the office organizer and information keeper, and approaches compliance with compassion. She strives to make policies and benefits equitable to both AmeriCorps members and staff, and seeks to create an engaging work environment. Hannah values gratitude and motivating others. She is great at big-picture thinking, enjoys strategic systems building, and remembers the small details too. When not reminding people to save to Dropbox, she is often exploring nature, riding her bike, spending time with her cat, or reading favorite books.