2011-2012 Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows

Alicia Banister

Alicia Banister

Capital District Y Black and Latino Achievers Program - Albany, NY

Black and Latino Achievers Program Coordinator | (518) 869-3500 x9929 | abanister@siena.edu

Alicia emerges from the heart of Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate from the University of Hartford, majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Sociology. While attending college she found her passion for helping and mentoring adolescence so they succeed. As a VISTA, Alicia's main goal is to aid the YMCA in the fight against poverty. Her duty is to assist and organize events that will allow students, in high school, the chance to explore different career options and provide role models, for students, that will set the pathway for them to achieve and reach their goals.


Anna Bradway '11

Father Peter Young Housing, Industries, and Treatment: Schuyler Inn - Menands, NY

Coordinator of the Mentoring Program | (518) 463-1121 | abradway@siena.edu

Anna has moved around a bit but has lived in Columbia and Greene counties throughout her life. She graduated from Siena College with her Psychology Degree in December 2011. She then went on to become an AmeriCorps VISTA Fellow through Siena College and coordinates a mentoring program with Peter Young Housing, Industries, and Treatment (PYHIT). Her main responsibilities include recruiting mentees through programs in the organization, recruiting mentors through local community organizations and colleges, and matching them based on strengths/weaknesses, personalities, and expertise.

Erika Cary

Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless - Albany, NY

Marketing Coordinator | (518) 434-8021 | ecary@siena.edu

Erika Cary is from Latham, NY and attended Shaker High School. She graduated from St. John Fisher College in 2011 with a degree in American Studies and History. At Interfaith Parthership for the Homeless, she oversees much of the organization's marketing and community outreach efforts. This involves event planning, updating social media, creating community partnerships, volunteer recruitment and organization as well as creating connections with the Siena community. She finds her position to be incredibly rewarding, each day is a new adventure and she loves coming to work each day!


Pete Cichetti

Siena College Research Institute - Loudonville, NY

Coordinator of Community Based Research | (518) 956-1168 | pcichetti@siena.edu

Pete grew up in Clermont, NY, a rural town about an hour south of Albany. He attended the George Washington University in Washington D.C. where he majored in International Affairs. After graduating with his Bachelor's degree, Pete moved home and applied to VISTA. As the Outreach VISTA for Community Based Research, Pete is in charge of offering SRI's services to local residents and non-profits to collaborate with them on improving the overall quality of life here in Albany County. In the coming months he hopes to develop and implement a tool for assessing local public education.


Brian Costello '11

Albany County District Attorney - Albany, NY

Office of the Albany County District Attorney | (518) 275-4785 | bcostello@siena.edu

Brian is from Cohoes, NY and graduated from Siena College in 2011 with a Bachelors of Arts in English. His main responsibility as Outreach Program Coordinator at the District Attorney's Office consists of administration and marketing for the Office's various outreach and prevention programs, including the ENOUGH initiative to stop gun violence in Albany County, the Conviction Step Team, and Halloween "Safe Night Out." He also provides technological advisement, creates website and media content, and assists the Crime Victims Unit in the various services they provide to victims.


Courtney Cozzy '11

Siena College Research Institute - Loudonville, NY

Coordinator of Community Based Research | (518) 281-1162 | ccozzy@siena.edu

Courtney is originally from the Latham-Cohoes area. She attended Siena College where she received her Bachelors in English and minored in history. As an AmeriCorps VISTA her main responsibilities include the administration and development of the National Assessment of Service and Community Engagement (NASCE) survey, which measures the volunteer rates of college students and assists colleges in implementing changes to increase community involvement, and to assist in the creation and development of research projects pertaining to community need assessments and volunteer capacity.


John DeCirce '11

Hope 7 Community Center - Troy, NY

Coordinator of Capacity Building | (518) 272-8029 | jdecirce@siena.edu

John DeCirce is from Syracuse, NY. He graduated from Siena College in the spring of 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Economics and a minor in Political Science. He spent his senior year in college as part of the Siena Bonner Service Leaders Program which is an undergraduate direct service academic scholarship program. After he graduated, he applied for VISTA and was hired to be the VISTA at Hope 7 Community Center in Troy, which has both a pantry and a community center that holds an After School Program. He does grant research and writing, building partnerships, expanding programming, and securing donations.


Kiera DeNoyer

Capital District YMCA: Troy Family Branch - Troy, NY

Community Outreach Coordinator | (518) 272-5900 x2212 | kdenoyer@siena.edu

Kiera grew up in Scotia, NY and attended Nazareth College of Rochester where she earned her degree in Psychology. She wanted to continue serving her community and did a year of service with AmeriCorps NCCC and is now with AmeriCorps VISTA, serving at the Troy Family YMCA. She has been making community connections within Troy and bringing organizations together to facilitate discussions. Kiera has interviewed Troy community members on specific aspects of Troy that they enjoy, as well as what they would like changed. Kiera is responsible for the distribution of the monthly newsletter.


Odalina Duran

Brighter Choice Middle School for Girls - Albany, NY

After School Program Coordinator | (518) 694-5550 | oduran@siena.edu

Odalina is originally from Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, but she was raised in Queens, New York. She graduated from the University of Richmond, in Richmond, Virginia, with a Double Major in Italian Studies and Urban Practice & Policy. Currently, she serves at Brighter Choice Middle School for Girls as the After-School Program Coordinator. One of her major responsibilities is initiating partnerships with community organizations and designing after-school programs that meet our students' developmental needs. She is also responsible for recruiting and supervising volunteer facilitators.


Ashley Farrell

Fr. Peter Young, Housing, Industries, and Treatment: Schuyler Inn - Menands, NY

Volunteer Coordinator | (518) 463-1121 | afarrell@siena.edu

Ashley Farrell is from Middleburgh New York she went to the University at Albany and received her bachelor’s degree. She majored in Sociology and had a double minor in criminal justice and psychology. She is currently a Siena College VISTA Fellow at Peter Young Housing Industries and Treatment (PYHIT). As the volunteer coordinator at PYHIT Ashley manages the volunteer program that meets client needs and supports volunteers as a key resource in the development and sustainability. Ashley also assists in planning events for the Father Peter G. Young Foundation.


Natasha Grant (2nd Year VISTA)

Green Tech High Charter School - Albany, NY

Career and College Resource Development Coordinator | (518) 618-4642 | ngrant@siena.edu

Natasha Grant is from New York City and she attended The Ohio State University, where she received her B.A., B.S., and M.A. Degrees. She serves as the Career and College Resource Development Coordinator at Green Tech High Charter School, an all-boys college preparatory charter high school, located in Albany, NY. Some of her main responsibilities include building capacity in Green Tech High Charter School's College Office, by coordinating and developing career and college access resources for Green Tech students. This year is the first senior class and Natasha has played a pivitol role in helping seniors apply for college.


Carolyn Holthausen

Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region, Inc. - Albany, NY

Coordinator of Assessment and Development | 518-449-5155 x105 | cholthausen@siena.edu

Carolyn is originally from Albertson, NY on Long Island. She went to SUNY Oswego for a Bachelor's in Cinema and Screen Studies with a minor in Creative Writing. While at Trinity Alliance Carolyn has helped plan and fund raise for Trinity's 100th Anniversary Gala. As well, she has maintained a local publication called the South End Voice, organized a oral history video project about Trinity with students at Siena College, and implemented and enhanced new programming at Trinity. She also serves on committees such as AmeriCorps Week, VISTA Video Project, and End-of-Service gift.


Beatrice Jean

Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar - Albany, NY

Program Assistant | (518) 935-1046 | bjean@siena.edu

Beatrice grew up in Florida, where she also obtained her Bachelors in Business Administration degree at Florida A & M University. Her site is at the Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar organization, which serves students at Albany High School, Troy High School, and Schenectady High School. Her title is Program Assistant, which entails alumni relations; grant writing; improving the organization’s web presence; assisting with pioneering a new fee-based tutoring program; assisting with events planning; and assisting with public relations. She Is driven daily by the selflessness of AmeriCorps.


Clare Kelly '11

Albany County District Attorney Office - Community Outreach Center - Albany, NY

Community Justice Program Coordinator | (518) 275-4768 | ckelley@siena.edu

Clare is originally from Haddonfield, NJ. She came up to Albany to attend Siena College and graduated in 2011 with a BA in Sociology. Following graduation she was thrilled be hired by the Siena VISTA Fellows Program and serve at the Albany County District Attorney's Office Community Outreach Center. She helps build and strengthen their Community Accountability Board and community service sites for people recently released from jail who are re-entering into their communities. She helps promote restorative justice as an alternative to traditional criminal justice practices.


Sarah Lutz

Sr. Thea Bowman Center for Women at Siena College - Loudonville, NY

Coordinator of Community Engagement and Partnership | (518) 782-6209 | sklutz@siena.edu

Sarah is from Stony Point, NY. In 2010, she graduated from Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY with a BA in Spanish. She has a passion for helping others. As an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Center for Women, her main responsibility is to coordinate a volunteer program called Women of Wisdom. Through this program, Siena College women facilitate the Grow Girl curriculum at various sites in the Capitol Region. The goal is to empower Siena Women while educating at risk female youth in the community to become women of tomorrow. She also plans events and strengthen partnerships.


Megan Lynch

Unity House of Troy, Inc. - Troy, NY

Volunteer Program Associate | (518) 274-2633 x290 | mlynch@siena.edu

Megan Lynch is originally from Albany, NY. She graduated in the Spring of 2011 from the College of the Holy Cross with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. During my time at Holy Cross, she learned about social justice issues and engaged in several immersion service trips which helped shape her perspective on poverty in America. She is currently placed at Unity House of Troy, Inc. She is working to improve their existing volunteer program by creating a database that keeps track of volunteers for both ongoing and special event opportunities. She is also responsible for the ongoing volunteer recruitment and placement process.


Victoria Malaney (VISTA Leader)

Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows Program - Loudonville, NY

Siena VISTA Leader & Coordinator of Training and Enrichment | (518) 782-6962 | vmalaney@siena.edu

Victoria Malaney is originally from South Florida. She graduated with honors from Skidmore College and majored in English-Spanish. In her first service year as a Siena College AmeriCorps*VISTA Fellow she developed a re-entry mentoring program for women in Rensselaer County at the Roarke Center and wrote grants for programs at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. She committed to a second year of service as an AmeriCorps*VISTA Leader in July 2011. Victoria works at the Office of ACE. She works on all professional development and academic trainings for Siena College VISTA Fellows.


Dana Mazer '11

Siena College Office of Enrollment Management: Trailblazers Program - Loudonville, NY

Coordinator of the Trailblazers Program | (518) 782-6937 | dmazer@siena.edu

Originally from Rochester, NY, Dana graduated from Siena College in 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in History and a Certificate in Education. She then enrolled in a year of service with the VISTA program at Siena, working in the Office of Enrollment Management, where she currently serves as the coordinator of a college access program called Trailblazers. As the coordinator, Dana works with a cohort of Siena students who work directly with a group of 6th and 7th grade middle school students, helping them to cultivate leadership skills and create a vision of life after high school.


Pou Mok

Albany Preparatory Charter School - Albany, NY

Experiential Learning Coordinator | (518) 694-5005 | pmok@siena.edu

Pou Mok is from Staten Island. He attended New York University, and studied Economics. Assigned to Albany Preparatory Charter School, Pou is responsible for expanding and strengthening its service learning program. He works with middle school students, encourages them to be engaged in community service, and coordinates their efforts in volunteer work. A big part of his assignment this year is to connect Albany Prep with local non-profits as well as Siena College. Pou hopes that in his year of service, he will be able to cultivate compassion and motivation in his students.


Melissa Moore '11

Capital District Habitat for Humanity: ReStore - Albany, NY

Coordinator of ReStore Resource Development | (518) 462-2993 | mmoore@siena.edu

Melissa was born and raised in Troy, New York. In May 2011, Melissa received her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Siena College. This year as a VISTA Melissa’s main focus is to establish new donors and volunteers for the Habitat ReStore. Melissa attends and participates in numerous community outreach events and maintains the Habitat ReStore’s presence online through social media tools in order to create new partnerships. Melissa has been working diligently on creating an Operations Manual for the ReStore as well as developing and managing a donor recognition program.


Rachel Moore

Albany Barn, Inc./Stage 1 - Albany, NY

Stage 1 Programming and Community Outreach Coordinator | (518) 935-4858 | rmoore@siena.edu

Born in a small town near Albany, Rachel has been working her way around New York State. After receiving her BA in English from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, she moved to New York City to work in publishing, then received her MA in English at SUNY Buffalo. As a VISTA at Albany Barn, she gets to put her marketing experience and writing skills to good use, establishing creative arts programming, engaging with the vibrant communities of Arbor Hill and Albany, and planning for the renovation of St. Joseph's Academy. Great things are happening in upstate New York and she is glad to be a part of them!


Vanessa Rodriguez

Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany - Albany, NY

Community Outreach & Volunteer Services Assistant | (518) 462-5528 | vrodriguez@siena.edu

Vanessa Rodriguez is from Earlton, NY a small rural town nestled in the Catskill Mountains. She attended the State University of New York College at Potsdam where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice. She is serving at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany assisting with the volunteer and community outreach programs. She is also maintaining and updating the social media outlets and website at the Boys & Girls Clubs. Vanessa is also apart of the grant researching funds. Vanessa is excited for the year and can't wait to see what this year has in store.


Ryan Rose '10 (VISTA Leader)

Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows Program - Loudonville, NY

Siena VISTA Leader and Coord. of VISTA State/Nat. Partnerships and Technology Support | (518) 782-6963 | rmrose@siena.edu

Ryan Rose is originally from Catskill, New York. He received a degree in Accounting in 2010 at Siena College and became a Siena VISTA Fellow with the 2010 Summer Cohort. His first service term was at the Homeless and Travelers Aid Society (HATAS) as the Coordinator of Development. He is now a AmeriCorps VISTA Leader, supporting and mentoring VISTA Fellows in our program. He also networks with other VISTA members in the Capital Region area who are not in the Siena VISTA Fellows Program and helps the Siena VISTA Program track our impact on fighting poverty in the Capital Region.


Briavel Schultz

Office of Academic Community Engagement - Loudonville, NY

Coordinator for Strategic Communications | (518) 782-6958 | aschultz@siena.edu

Briavel Schultz graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2010 with a degree in Electronic Media, Arts, and Communication. Her concentration is in Digital Storytelling. She creates videos, graphic art, and other media for The Office of Academic Community Engagement. Bria is glad she became an AmeriCorps*VISTA, both for the professional opportunities and the chance to learn valuable lessons about poverty and its root causes. Briavel attended high school in Virginia, and lived in 5 states prior to that. In her spare time, she performs in community theatre in the area.


Jennifer Simek (VISTA Leader)

Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows Program - Loudonville, NY

VISTA Leader and Coordinator of ACE Public Relations | (518) 782-6961 | jsimek@siena.edu

Jennifer is originally from Gig Harbor, WA and graduated from the University of Washington with her degree in Law, Societies, and Justice. She moved to the Albany area to start an AmeriCorps VISTA position with the Siena College AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows Program in 2009. She served for one year at Grand Street Community Arts as the Development and Volunteer Coordinator and then recommitted to a second and third year as a Siena AmeriCorps VISTA Leader. Presently, she helps recruit, hire, train, and support AmeriCorps VISTA Fellows as well as assists in public relations and marketing efforts for the Office of ACE.


Kevin Sullivan

Siena College Bonner Service Leaders Program - Loudonville, NY

Coordinator of College and Community Partnerships | (518) 782-6929 | ksullivan@siena.edu

Kevin is from the second smallest city in the country, Sherrill NY. Him and his family moved there from Johnston Rhode Island when he was twelve. Kevin graduated from Mohawk Valley Community College with an Associates and he attained his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego in Human Resource Management. At the Office of ACE, he works with Gretchen Mielke, the Coordinator of the Bonner Program. He researches and implements community partnership development best practices, helps facilitate the program, and works directly with the students. He plans to pursue a Masters in Public Administration.


Amanda Wilson (2nd Year VISTA)

Green Tech High Charter School - Albany, NY

Coordinator of Service Learning | (518) 618-4642 | awilson@siena.edu

Amanda was born and raised in Brooklyn New York. Amanda is a Siena alumna with a degree in History. She joined VISTA with the 2010 summer cohort. She is currently completing her second year of service. At Green Tech High Charter School, an all boys charter school in Albany, she is coordinating all of their volunteer work, getting the boys out in the community and inspiring them to care about giving back.