Governor Cuomo Announces 2013-2015 Class of Empire State Fellows

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  19. September 2013

Albany, NY - September 19, 2013 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the members of the 2013-2015 class of Empire State Fellows. The 21 experienced professionals from diverse backgrounds were selected through a highly-competitive process that analyzed the unique skills they bring to government, as well as their leadership potential, commitment to public service, and creativity.

“The Empire State Fellows program continues to help us attract new talent into the ranks of New York State government,” Governor Cuomo said. “We had great success with our inaugural class last year and we welcome the newest class who will help us continue to build a new New York and make sure our government is working for the people.”


The Governor appointed each Empire Fellow to a position that matches their skills with the needs of State government. Empire Fellows will work closely with senior administration officials and participate in the policy-making process while also engaging in educational and professional development programs, including completion of a unique, interactive curriculum developed specifically for the Empire State Fellows Program by the Rockefeller Institute at SUNY Albany in consultation with Cabinet-level officials.


The Program began with a class of nine 2012-2014 Empire Fellows who enhanced the diversity of New York government and brought unique and needed talent to the administration. The new class will also play important roles in the Governor’s key initiatives, including the New York State Office for New Americans, the Regional Economic Development Councils, Market NY, Casino Gaming, and the Local Government Restructuring Board.


A number of the newly-announced class will be placed in the Governor’s Executive Chamber, while others will be placed in state agencies to work with key advisors to the Governor.


“I’d like to welcome the 2013-2015 class of Empire State Fellows,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, whose New York Department of State oversees the Empire State Fellows program for Governor Cuomo. “This program trains established professionals in the art and science of policy-making and creates leaders ready to address the next generation of challenges.”


The 2013-2015 Class of Empire State Fellows


Jalila Aissi
Jalila Aissi comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as an Attorney with Cleantech Law Partners, where she advised startups, not-for-profits and other companies in the renewable energy sector. She also managed a large government grant and contract portfolio for the Wildlife Conservation Society, a leading global conservation organization. Previously, Jalila led projects for the Net Impact Service Corps and sat on the Grants Committee of the NYC Venture Philanthropy Fund. She also served on the Energy Committee of the NYC Bar Association and completed the CleantechExecs Program at NYU Polytechnic Institute. Jalila earned her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from UCLA and her law degree from University of San Diego School of Law. She has been admitted to the state bars of California and New York.Placement: Executive Chamber


Allison K. Auldridge 
Allison Auldridge comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Policy Associate for Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). In that role, Allison was responsible for helping extend critical financial protections to same-sex older adults in New York, develop strategic partnerships with diverse aging, HIV and LGBT organizations, represent SAGE on state and regional advisory boards, and oversee SAGE’s national “Spousal Impoverishment Protections” Medicaid Initiative. Prior to her work with SAGE, Allison spent over four years as a communications and marketing professional, first with the Madison Park Development Corporation in Boston, and later with the Brooklyn Historical Society. Allison received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Smith College and her Master’s of Science in Urban Policy Management from the New School. Placement: Empire State Development Corporation


Adam Bushey
CPT Adam Bushey comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where he served as a Democracy Specialist for the Center of Excellence for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance. Mr. Bushey started at USAID in 2007, after he was selected for the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program, the federal government’s premier leadership development program for advanced degree candidates. At USAID, Adam was responsible for assisting developing countries in strengthening their governance systems to better recognize and protect the rights of their citizens by providing technical expertise in governance and the rule of law. In addition, CPT Bushey is a Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the New York State Army National Guard. In 2010, he was promoted to Captain while serving in Afghanistan, where he was awarded the U.S. Bronze Star for meritorious service during his ten-month deployment. In Afghanistan, CPT Bushey worked to establish a functional judicial system and build the capacity of the Afghan government. In 2011, Adam formed his own business with the civic purpose of bettering the neighborhoods of Syracuse by restoring dilapidated vintage homes. Adam graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from Le Moyne College and earned his law degree with Honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Placement: Executive Chamber


Sidra Chaudhary
Sidra Chaudhary joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a position as the Program Director for the Liberty Partnerships Program (“LPP”) at the State University of New York at Albany. In this role, Sidra was responsible for the acquisition and financial oversight of a 1.75 million dollar grant from the State Education Department, all program operations and development, and program evaluation. As director, Sidra created and implemented strategies designed to help close the achievement gap for underprivileged youth at risk for dropping out from middle school and high school. Before joining the LPP, Sidra worked in various human service organizations including the Young Adult Institute in Queens, NY, the Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region, and Clearview Center, Inc. in Albany, NY. Sidra received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York at Purchase and her Masters in Social Welfare from the State University of New York at Albany. She is currently a board member of the Juvenile Court Accountability Board with the Albany County Probation Department. Placement: Executive Chamber


Nora Cronin
Nora Cronin joins the Empire State Fellows Program after a career as a Senior Assistant District Attorney for the Brooklyn District Attorney. As a criminal prosecutor, Nora gained extensive trial experience in both felony and misdemeanor trials, and engaged in post-verdict appellate issues, grand jury investigations, and motion practice. Nora has also consulted with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative in Panama, where she instructed attorneys and police on investigative and trial techniques. Before beginning her career as an attorney, Nora was a Staff Writer for the Long Island Press, where she covered issues on politics and the environment. Nora received her Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Philosophy cum laude from Mary Washington College located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and her law degree from St. Johns University School of Law. Nora speaks and writes Spanish. Placement: Executive Chamber


Carlos Cuevas
Carlos Cuevas comes to the Empire State Fellows Program after completing his term as the Executive Fellow at the Urban Health Plan (UHP), a federally qualified community health center network located in the South Bronx. As the Executive Fellow, Carlos reported directly to the President & CEO on a variety of financial, policy and operational matters. At UHP, Carlos developed a financial reporting system to help department managers better track spending and spot trends in visit volume and supply utilization. Additionally, Carlos conducted research projects for UHP senior management on Integrated Delivery Systems to help the organization develop strategic plans to adjust to the changing care delivery models and incentives system. During his health care career, Carlos has also worked with other health care organizations, including: The Military Health System of the United States Department of Defense, the William F. Ryan Community Health Network, the Greater New York Hospital Association and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. Prior to his career in health care, Carlos worked as an analyst at a hedge fund in midtown Manhattan. Carlos is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research (COER) from SUNY Albany. A native New Yorker, Carlos was born in the Bronx and earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Economics, a Master in Public Administration (M.P.A.), and a Master in Public Health (M.P.H.), from Columbia University. Placement: Executive Chamber


Raymond Cummings, Jr.
Raymond Cummings, Jr. joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as the Interim Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Staff Development for the Archdiocese of New York. Raymond was responsible for overseeing matters related to the Archdiocesan curriculum, providing schools with leadership and training in the use of cooperative problem-solving techniques, and in the understanding and implementation of the New York State Common Core Learning Standards. Raymond also engaged in strategic planning to identify and develop system-wide plans/programs for instructional interventions and professional development. In addition to his work with the Archdiocese, Raymond has taught courses as an adjunct professor at Fordham University and Teachers College, Columbia University. Raymond also spent four years as a middle school Language Arts teacher in Miami. Raymond earned his Bachelor of Arts in English and American Literature from Harvard University, his Masters in Education from the University of Florida, and his Doctorate in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Raymond feels that his experience in the Empire State Fellows Program will allow him to strengthen his knowledge, skills, and dispositions to continue to serve the educators, children, and families of the state of New York. Placement: Executive Chamber


Ana Doroghazi
Anna Doroghazi joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as the Director of Public Policy and Communication for Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS), the coalition of Connecticut's nine sexual assault crisis services programs. While there, Anna led successful efforts to update the state's stalking statutes and improve laws related to sexual violence and people with disabilities. She also managed the organization’s media and communications strategies and served on several statewide workgroups related to victim services. Prior to her work at CONNSACS, Anna interned with Freedom from Torture in London, England, and worked as a domestic violence victim advocate in Michigan. Anna received her Bachelor of Arts in European Studies and Spanish magna cum laude from Hillsdale College, and her Master’s of Science in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Placement: Executive Chamber


Tanisha Dyall
Tanisha Dyall comes to the Empire State Fellows Program with an international development and public policy background. Her work so far has focused on policies that address the root causes of socioeconomic challenges that stunt global development. In her most recent role as Senior Associate for National Membership Programs at the United Nations Foundation, Tanisha was involved in designing and implementing programs that supported the success of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. Tanisha also mobilized 120+ grassroots Chapters across the U.S., and build a strong U.S.-UN relationship by developing relationships with UN agencies such as the United Nations Development Program, UN Women and the United Nations Department of Public Information. Tanisha also worked with the U.S. Department of State to educate the American public about U.S.-UN policy. Tanisha earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics, her Masters of Arts in International Relations, and a Graduate Certificate in International Law from St. Johns University. Placement: Executive Chamber


Alexandra Greene
Alexandra Greene comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as Legal Associate at the Office of Labor and Employee Relations within the Newark Public Schools (“NPS”). In that position, Alexandra was responsible for addressing legal and policy issues pertaining to a variety of matters such as new school initiatives, federally funded grants, as well as the negotiation of and compliance with collective bargaining agreements between NPS and eight labor unions. Alexandra assisted in the creation of district-wide policies to address emerging needs and maximize human capital. Alexandra earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Development (Educational Psychology) from Boston College, Juris Doctor from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and is currently working towards a Masters of Arts in Sociology and Education at Columbia University. Placement: Executive Chamber


Imran Khan
Imran Khan has served as a policy fellow with the U.S. Department of Energy and as an Education Pioneers fellow in Houston, his hometown. In 2009, he founded Develop U, a non-profit organization aimed at community development, urban renewal, and neighborhood revitalization in South Dallas. During the summer of 2010, Imran worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA member, teaming up with PepsiCo and CitySquare to deliver food as part of a student nutrition and summer enrichment program for underserved communities in Dallas. Prior to this, Imran taught high school science in Dallas area public schools and worked at 3M as a materials scientist. His professional interests include anti-poverty programs, community development, and resource access through the use of effective social policy and government operations. Imran received his Bachelors of Science in biochemistry from Texas A&M University, Masters in Education from Southern Methodist University, and Masters in Public Policy from the University of Virginia’s Batten School. Placement: Executive Chamber


Richard Lecky
Richard Lecky joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as the Director of Regulatory Compliance for the Institute for Family Health, where he worked to ensure compliance with federal and state rules and regulations. Prior to joining the Institute for Family Health, Richard was a real estate attorney with the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, and a Real Estate Appraiser & Research Analyst at Cushman & Wakefield. Richard has also dedicated substantial time volunteering with the National African American Drug Policy Coalition, Inc., which is committed to reforms in healthcare and criminal law that promote a public health approach to substance abuse. Richard received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and his law degree from Howard University. Placement: Executive Chamber


Ana Liss
Ana Liss has a background in economic development, fiscal policy, public budgeting, local government ethics, and journalism. Ana comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Business Development Associate at the Greater Rochester Enterprise, where she managed a regional business retention and expansion program and performed labor market research. Previously, Ana was a Research Associate for the Center for Government Research, where she traversed New York State assisting local governments interested in consolidation. Ana also worked for WETM 18 News Today and 13 WHAM News as an on-air television reporter, producer and anchor, focused on political, economic, and social events in upstate New York. Ana graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from Ithaca College and earned her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania Fels Institute.Placement: Executive Chamber


Shaymaa Mousa 
Shaymaa Mousa brings experience as a doctor, medical researcher, and public health policy analyst to the Empire State Fellows Program. Shaymaa worked as a medical intern at Cairo University Hospitals, where she moved through rotations in Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, and Anesthesiology. Subsequently, Shaymaa conducted medical research at Pharmaceutical Research Institute at Albany College of Pharmacy. Shaymaa received her Degree in Medicine from the University of Cairo and her Master’s in Public Health from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Shaymaa speaks fluent Arabic and basic French. Placement: New York State Department of Health


Laura Valeria Gonzalez Murphy 
Laura Valeria Gonzalez Murphy joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as an Assistant Research Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Albany. During her tenure at the University, Laura co-directed implementation of a project titled “The International Context of Immigration Reform: US, Mexico and Beyond,” which involved researching and comparing immigration policies and reform in the United States and Mexico. Laura has also published a book and numerous articles on topics including Mexican migration to the United States, Mexican immigration policy, and boarder security. Previously, Laura spent seven years working for the New York State Office of Rural Affairs, where she focused on farm worker services. Laura earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science summa cum laude from Elmira University, her Master’s of Science in Urban Planning and Environmental Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and her PhD in Comparative Politics/International Relations at the State University of New York at Albany. Laura is fluent in Spanish. Placement: New York State Department of State


Christopher Ortiz
Christopher Ortiz comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as an Associate Attorney at the New York law office of Kaye Scholer LLP, where he focused on antitrust, general commercial and real estate litigation matters. During his tenure at the firm, Chris maintained a robust pro bono practice representing immigrants seeking asylum in the United States and defending the City of New York in tort litigation. Outside of Kaye Scholer, Chris led the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, a voting rights affiliate of the New York State Democratic Party, as Secretary and a Committee Co-Chair in the organization, where he recruited and organized Election Day poll-monitors and advocated for measures to increase voter-participation. Chris graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics from St. Johns University and earned his law degree at Cornell Law School. He also served as an editor of the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. Placement: Executive Chamber


Rajiv Shah
Rajiv Shah joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Volunteer Assistant Attorney General, where his caseload ranged from statewide environmental crimes, including cases involving air and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste and endangered species, to auto insurance fraud and other white collar crimes. Previously, Rajiv served as a judicial clerk for the Kings County Civil Court and as a judicial intern for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Before becoming an attorney, Rajiv worked as a scientist first at the Stroud Water Research Center's Microbiology Laboratory, and later at Dr. Nathaniel Heintz's Neuroscience Laboratory at the Rockefeller University. Rajiv received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Pennsylvania and his law degree from Fordham University. Placement: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation


Jahnhoy Smith 
Jahnhoy Smith comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as an Operations Manager at New York City Health & Hospital Corp/Metro Plus Health Plan. In that role, Jahnhoy was responsible for overseeing the operational and policy issues related to Government sponsored health programs, namely Medicare and Medicaid. Jahnhoy managed Medicare Operations and business strategies to meet planned objectives and external business partners to ensure that the Medicare program performance was consistent with the corporation’s business and regulatory requirements. Jahnhoy received his Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from the City University of New York-Brooklyn College, and his Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management from Baruch College/Mount Sinai Medical School. Placement: New York State Division of Budget


Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Trey Joseph Wadsworth joins the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Transportation Planner for Sustainability at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. In that role, Trey functioned as the Project Manager for a strategic multimodal plan, weMove Massachusetts, which is a data driven capital investment prioritization methodology and MAP-21 compliant state long-range transportation plan. Trey was also the principal designer of the performance management framework for MassDOT’s progressive GreenDOT Policy Implementation Plan that utilizes state-of-the-practice performance management techniques, and was the author of MassDOT’s bold statewide mode shift goal, using a pioneering measure specifically chosen to minimize the use of limited staff and financial resources for future performance management. Trey earned a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Concordia University in Montreal, and both a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Regional Planning from the State University of New York at Albany. Placement: Executive Chamber




Peter W. Walke
Peter W. Walke comes to the Empire State Fellows Program from a role as a Naval Intelligence Officer, having risen to the rank of Lieutenant. Peter deployed twice in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his final posting at NORAD -Unites States Northern Command, Peter was regularly required to distill potential threat indications and decide whether they represented an imminent danger to the United States and Canada. For example, when North Korea launched ballistic missiles, within seconds, Peter was required to assess whether or not it was a threat. He was also called upon to decide whether a commercial airliner that had lost communications represented a September 11th-style threat and needed to be shot down. During his nine years in the military, Peter also developed budgets for new organizations, managed civilian and military direct reports, contributed to the initial operating capability of United States Africa Command, and wrote policies governing the entire United States European Command targeting enterprise. Peter received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science cum laude from Williams College, and his Masters of Applied Geography from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Placement: Executive Chamber


Angela Wu
Angela Wu joins the Empire State Fellows Program after a first career during which she rose to become a Senior Project Manager at the prestigious landscape architecture firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. In that role, Angela developed and managed a $12 million budget and coordinated the initial stages of a 300-acre waterfront revitalization project in Toronto, which was recognized by the Clinton Climate Initiative as one of sixteen founding climate positive “Cities for the Future”. Angela has also worked for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where she analyzed various development project proposals’ potential impact on and economic contribution to New York City. Angela graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History of Art & Architecture from Harvard University and earned both her Master in Business Administration and her Master of Environmental Management from Yale University. Placement: Executive Chamber


The Empire State Fellows Program is one of the three parts of Governor Cuomo’s New NY Leaders Initiative, which is designed to renew the connection between the public and private sectors and prepare a new generation of leaders to serve in state government. The Excelsior Service Fellowship Program brings highly-talented recent graduates to serve throughout the state government, and the New NY Leaders Internship Program offers hundreds of college students an opportunity to work in state government. Information regarding the Empire State Fellows Program is available at http://www.newnyleaders.com.

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