Meet The Team

The Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows are each hardworking, passionate individuals fighting poverty in the Capital Region of New York! Currently we have over 30 members serving. Meet each of these highly qualified members by reading their biographies and learning how they engage with the community and fight poverty in the Capital Region.

Coordinator of ACE

Lamara Burgess | Coordinator of ACE, AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows | (518) 782- 6962 | Schedule a meeting | 1 Fiddlers Lane Loudonville, NY 12211

Lamara has always been passionate about social justice, equality, and the betterment of youth. After graduating Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Lamara decided to serve as an AmeriCorps* VISTA for the Parent Engagement Project in Sacramento, CA. With the completion of a rewarding, insightful and successful year out west, Lamara will continue her national service journey closer to home. Born and raised in Bronx, NY, the presence of impoverished communities are too familiar. From 2012-2013, she served as a Siena College VISTA Leader, mentoring a team of VISTAs, coordinating professional development opportunities, measuring the impact of the VISTA team, and establishing local and national connections with VISTAs across the country. Now, she is a Coordinator of ACE with a focus on managing the Siena AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows Program.


VISTA Leaders

Jimmy Bulmer | Siena College Office of ACE | AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader | (518) 782- 6941 | 1 Fiddlers Lane Loudonville, NY 12211

Jimmy is a local who grew up across the Hudson in Troy and graduated from Siena College with a B.A. in Economics. After serving his first term as a Charter School Impact Evaluator for the Brighter Choice Foundation, Jimmy has decided to return for a second year of VISTA. He will be working at the Office of Academic Community Engagement as the Coordinator of College and Community Partnerships for the Siena Bonner Service Leaders Program. During this time his primary role will be to implement and improve on the community partner management process created in the first VISTA term. Through this he will look to further develop strong site-based teams of student anti-poverty volunteers, facilitate the development of issue-based teams of students and community partners, and develop a partnership with an environmentally focused program or non-profit. Jimmy is looking forward to using the skills he developed in his first term to bring his project to the next level.

Marie Lovato | Siena College Office of ACE | AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader | (518) 782-6962 | 1 Fiddlers Lane, Loudonville, NY 12211

Marie is originally from Newburgh, NY, but has resided in Albany, NY for the past several years. She graduated from SUNY Albany in May of 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Marie served her first VISTA term at Albany Barn as their Programming and Community Outreach Coordinator. In her second year of service she will act as a VISTA Leader and Coordinator of Media Production and Career Enrichment for the Siena College Office of Academic Community Engagement. She is looking forward to having a productive year, and assisting with the professional development of the 2013-14 cohort.

AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows

Jessica Baggs | Homeless and Travelers Aid Society | Development Specialist

Jessica Baggs was born in Wichita Falls, Texas and went to Texas Tech University. She graduated in three years with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in May 2013. Her service site is the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society, where she will be serving as the Development Specialist and will be responsible for increasing the presence of HATAS in the community.

Luke Ballenger | Hackett Middle School | Culture and Climate Coordinator | (518) 475-6475 | 45 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12202

Luke Ballenger is excited to serve at Hackett Middle School in the great city of Albany, New York. His new role will be Culture and Climate Coordinator. Luke’s service year will focus on empowering students to learn, while motivating teachers and fostering a safe learning environment for students. To enhance the school's culture, he will be focusing on anti-bullying programs and be a part of the Positive Behavior Implementation Support committee of Albany county. Luke thrives on meeting new people, traveling, and motivating anyone around him to achieve their goals or ambitions, and he looks forward to working and living in the Capital of New York.

Adriana Battle | Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless | Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Adriana Battle is originally from Syracuse, New York and graduated with a degree in Peace and Global Studies in May of 2012. Adriana will be serving at Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless as the Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator working on engaging and connecting community members to get involved with Interfaith's many meaningful services.

Alison Baxter | Community Justice Outreach Center (DA Office) | Community Outreach Program Coordinator | 518) 275-4735 | 155 Clinton Ave. Albany, NY 12210

Alison grew up in Guilderland, NY before attending Stony Brook University. She graduated in 2011 with a B.A. in Anthropology. After graduating she was a Direct Service Summer Associate with Siena College, and served for six months at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. This year Alison will be the Community Outreach Program Coordinator at the District Attorney's Criminal Justice Outreach Center. She will be strengthening partnerships and programs to improve the Albany community and prevent recidivism. Some of her duties include program evaluation, volunteer recruitment and training, event planning, and community presentations.

Anita Bernardi | Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany | Resource and Corporate Development Coordinator

Anita Bernardi is from Delmar, NY. She recently graduated from SUNY Oneonta this past may with a degree in English. She will be serving at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany as their Resource and Corporate Development Coordinator, and will be working in the PR department helping out with campaigns.

Rebecca Cleere | Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany | Marketing Coordinator | (518) 462-5529 | 21 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12210

Rebecca is originally from the small town of Seneca Falls in the Finger Lakes region of New York. She graduated in May of 2012 from SUNY Albany with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication and Rhetoric. She is currently serving at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany as their Marketing Coordinator. Her primary responsibility in this position is to increase awareness of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany and the impact of services on youth and the community. Rebecca is looking forward to working with and learning from her cohort, the ACE office, and the amazing staff at her site.

Brittany Cole | Albany Police Athletic League (PAL) | Marketing and Resources Development Coordinator | (518) 435-0392 | 844 Madison Avenue, Albany, NY 12208

Brittney Cole is from Lansing, MI. She attended Alma College and majored in sociology. Brittney will be serving at the Albany Police Athletic League as their Marketing and Resources Development Coordinator. She will be in charge of increasing awareness through marketing and outreach as well as researching and securing additional funds for current and future programming. Brittney is looking forward to making a difference in the community in the coming year.

Rhonda Daniel | Parsons Child and Family Center | Assistant Program Coordinator

Rhonda Daniel is from Jackson, MS. She received a certificate in Graphic Print Communications from Hinds Community College in May of 2009. She will be serving at Parsons Child and Family Center as the Assistant Program Coordinator. During her service term she will assist the Associate Director and work with the IT department.

Justin Devendorf '12 (2nd Year VISTA) | Albany County District Attorney's Office | Program Coordinator | (518) 275-4785 | Albany County Judicial Building, 6 Lodge Street, Albany, NY 12207

Justin is originally from Syracuse, NY and went to Siena College where he received his bachelor’s degree in History and a certificate in Pre-Law Studies. After graduating from Siena College, Justin joined AmeriCorps VISTA and enrolled in the Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows Program, where he served at the Albany County District Attorney’s Office as a Program Coordinator.

Justin is currently completing a second year of service at the Albany County District Attorney’s Office through July 2014, and will continue to help coordinate the media relations for the DA’s Office as a Program Coordinator. Justin is looking forward to continue his role as an advisor to the Youth Advisory Board and help the Board develop a public awareness campaign on the risks of texting while driving. Justin hopes to attend law school following the completion of his second service year, and is thrilled to spend the next year working at the DA’s Office.

Shawn Duhaney | Albany Public Library | Volunteer Coordinator

Shawn Duhaney's hometown is Poughkeepsie, New York. He is an alumnus from SUNY Albany political science major, class of 2013. His service site is Albany Public Library, working as their Volunteer Coordinator. This position requires him to manage and recruit volunteers to serve through out the Albany community.

Anne Dunn | Hackett Middle School | Coordinator of Program Development | (518) 475-6488 | 45 Delaware Ave, Albany, NY 12202

Anne grew up in Albany, NY and attended the Albany School District. She went to college at the University of Vermont and graduated with a BS in Human Development and Family Studies and a minor in American Sign Language. Anne is the Coordinator of Program Development at Hackett Middle School and will be working with faculty, staff and students to help create and sustain programs to improve the culture and climate of the school. Anne will be an active member of the Hackett Culture and Climate committee, help to expand on exisiting after-school programing and help to establish stronger parent engagement opportunities. She is looking forward to helping expand on the initiative to build trust between teachers and students at Hackett using DEEP partnerships with Siena College.

Loreily Escobar | Albany High School | Extended Day Coordinator

Loreily Escobar is from the Bronx, NY. She graduated this past May from the SUNY Albany majoring in Latin American Caribbean Studies with a minor in Women Studies. She will be working at Albany High School as the Extended Day Coordinator. She will be working with the youth, finding productive activities that will aid them to succeed in the future.

Brennan Frazier (2nd Year VISTA) | Mediation Matters | Program Development Coordinator | (518) 446-0356 ext.14 | 10 North Russell Road, Albany, NY 12206

Brennan Frazier came to Albany from Marietta, Ohio, He attended the Ohio State University where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and History, graduating in 2013. He is serving his second year in the Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA program as a Program Development Coordinator at Mediation Matters. This organization serves as a dispute resolution center that gives communities the tools to handle conflict in a constructive way. The programs he works with assist veterans, the formerly incarcerated, youth, and families.

Alison Horgan | The Pride Center of the Capital Region | Program Coordinator

Alison Horgan is from Delmar, New York. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Manhattan College, class of 2006, where she was a Division I athlete and double majored in Communications and Psychology. She will be a Program Coordinator at The Pride Center of the Capital Region where she will assist with the development of the Pride Center's youth program.

Destiny Johnson | Trinity Alliance | Outreach and Marketing Coordinator

Destiny Johnson is a 21-year-old native from the Bronx, NY. She graduated in May of 2013 with a BS in Human Services from the first degree-granting HBCU in the country - Lincoln University. Her VISTA site is Trinity Alliance, where she will be assisting in the outreach to the community, as well as the marketing of the organization.

Jack Kelly | Affordable Housing Partnership | Community Outreach and Program Development Coordinator | (518) 434-1730 | 255 Orange St #105, Albany, NY 12210

Jack Kelly is from Ormond Beach, Florida and is a graduate of Stetson University, 2011. He majored in Political Science and minored in American Studies. During his undergraduate, Jack was a Bonner Scholar and heavily involved with the organization as well as other on-campus service organizations. Prior to becoming and Americorps VISTA, he worked for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Currently, Jack is working with the Affordable Housing Partnership of the Capital Region in Albany, New York, as the Community Outreach and Program Development Coordinator. Jack will be implementing a curriculum for post-homebuyer education to continue helping new homeowners maintain their homes even after purchasing. He will also be working on grants for the organization. Jack is looking forward to taking on a new role and becoming an important tool to an established nonprofit organization as well as learning grant writing.

Joy Landas | Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless | Community Connections Coordinator

Joy was born and raised in East Greenbush, New York. She graduated from Siena College in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science. Joy is excited to be serving this year with Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless as their Community Connections Coordinator, based at the Sheridan Hollow Drop- In Center. She is looking forward to the year ahead!

Ella MacDonald '13 | Albany Barn | Programming and Outreach Coordinator | (518) 935-4858 | 48 N. Swan St., Albany, NY 12210

Ella MacDonald is originally from Bethel, NY. She graduated cum laude from Siena College with a BA in Psychology and a Pre-Law certificate. Ella is a current, serving AmeriCorps* VISTA fellow at Albany Barn, Inc. As Programming and Outreach Coordinator, she facilitates developing and maintaining programming at Arbor Hill community art gallery, Stage 1. Although she is new to AmeriCorps* and the VISTA program, Ella is looking forward to making professional connections, working with artists, and meeting new people throughout the Arbor Hill and Siena communities.

Casey Mackesey (2nd Year VISTA) | Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York | Girl Leadership Specialist | (518) 348-1413 | 23 Executive Park Drive, Halfmoon NY 12065

Casey grew up in Clifton Park, NY. She attended Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY where she received her Bachelor’s degree in English with minors in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies. Casey is currently serving in her second year of service as a Siena College AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellow. She had previously served at Unity House of Troy as the Volunteer Coordinator. As Volunteer Coordinator she was responsible for recruiting, training and maintaining all volunteers, as well as providing support to the Development staff.

This coming service year Casey will be serving at the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York as the Girl Leadership Specialist. She will be responsible for increasing girl scout participation in local schools, increase urban and rural girl participation in Girl Scout events and establish college and university partners for troop pathways. Casey is looking forward to working with the Girl Scouts and continuing to build relationships within the Capital Region.

Alaina McCreary |  Parson's Child and Family Center| Capacity Building Specialist

Alaina McCreary studied Psychology at SUNY Fredonia until 2013. She returned to her hometown of Delmar to work with Americorps*VISTA. She will be at Parsons as their Capacity Building Specialist, reaching out to school and military families to implement the suicide prevention program and organizing the volunteers for Camp to Belong.

Sasha Miller | Albany High School | Coordinator of Civic Engagement TeenCorps Academy

Sasha Miller is a 2013 graduate of Allegheny College. She majored in English and minored in Political Science. She will be working at Albany High School, along with ACE, as the Coordinator of Civic Engagement TeenCorps Academy. She will be working with both Siena and Albany High students to create a curriculum for Albany High's Community Service Club.

Alexandra Pizzola | Peter Young Housing Industries and Treatment | Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator

Alex is an energetic 2013 graduate of Siena who originally hails from the small, farming town of Homer, NY. During her time at Siena, she majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. Alex will be working to strengthen community partnerships while managing volunteers and interns at PYHIT as their Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator.

Jahnna Rymer '13 | Green Tech Charter High School | College Access Coordinator | (518)-227-4006 | 321 Northern Blvd, Albany, NY 12210

Jahnna was originally born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. A week before her tenth birthday she migrated to the United States with her mother. She currently lives with family in New York City. Jahnna graduated from Siena College class of 2013 with a major in Sociology and a minor in English.

During her time as a Siena College student, Jahnna was a Bonner Leader. She served by helping people who were formerly incarcerated reintegrate within society. As a VISTA she will be serving at Green Tech High School as their College Access Coordinator. Her responsibilities involve helping students successfully make it to college. This year she is looking forward to doing a lot of networking and growing as a professional.

Anthony Salvatore | Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar | Director of Alumni Relations

Anthony is originally from the town of Charleston SC. He graduated from Stetson University in May of 2010 with a Bachelors of Business administration. Afterwards, he went onto Stetson University College of Law were he earned his Masters in Business Administration and his Juris Doctor. He became a member of the New York Bar in June of 2013. He is currently serving at Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar as their director of alumni relations. His primary responsibilities in this position are to better the current alumni relations and the apply for over $200,000 in grants. Anthony is immensely enthusiastic to be doing a year of service with the ACE office, and the amazing staff at Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar.

Morgan Schrankel | Green Tech High Charter School | Academic Service-Learning Coordinator | (518) 227-6711 | 321 Northern Blvd, Albany, NY 12210

Morgan is originally from Pittsburgh, PA in May 2013. She graduated from Allegheny College, located in Meadville, PA. majoring in Values, Ethics and Social Action. At Allegheny College, Morgan served as a Bonner Service Leader. Through this position, she partnered with Thurston House, an organization that worked with pregnant and parenting teens with a focus on education support.

Morgan will be serving at Green Tech High Charter School as the Academic Service-Learning Coordinator. Through this position, she will connect students to service opportunities in the community and assessing the current structures that exist to create partnerships and find opportunities for improvement. Morgan is most looking forward to learning about the Albany area and finding ways to connect with the community. She hopes to make the service-learning program at Green Tech High Charter school sustainable and to support the students she will be working with.

Jahmal Simms | Albany Public Library | Public Computing Center (PCC) Coordinator

Jahmal Simms is from Queens, NY. He recently graduated from the University at Albany receiving a Bachelor of Science in Information Sciences, double minoring in Business and Computer Science. He is currently serving at the Albany Public Library as the Public Computing Center (PCC) Coordinator. With his role as PCC coordinator, he aims to educate, entertain and empower the Albany community by managing, sustaining and developing the PCC with initiatives such as the Working Knowledge and Homework Space programs. With these two programs assisting the community with digital literacy, the Albany Public Library can better acclimate the community into utilizing new technology.


Kevin Sullivan | Mediation Matters | Community Coordinator

Kevin is from Sherrill NY, obtained his B.S. at SUNY Oswego, is working towards a MPA at UAlbany, and previously served as Coordinator of Community Partnerships at the ACE Office. His current position is Community Coordinator with Mediation Matters. There, he will be assessing community needs and spreading awareness about the organization's services.

Ryan Tink | 15-Love | Program Coordinator of Education and Healthy Living

Ryan Tink grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2013, Tink graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from MidAmerica Nazarene University. He moved to New York to serve as the Program Coordinator of Education and Healthy Living at 15-LOVE. Here, he will develop, improve, promote, and expand 15-LOVE's educational and healthy living programs for youth and families.

Lanee' Williams | Albany High School | Magnet Leader

Lanee’ Williams grew up in Rochester, NY. After graduating from high school she attended Virginia State University, later transferring to the University at Albany, where she obtained her degree in Sociology in May of 2013. During her VISTA service term she will be serving at Albany High School as a Magnet Leader.

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