Directors, Staff, and Research Fellows
Vincent Boudreau has served as the director of the Colin Powell Center since 2002. Dr. Boudreau is a professor of political science at the City College of New York and a member of the City University of New York graduate faculty. A specialist in the politics of social movements, particularly in Southeast Asia, his latest book is Resisting Dictatorship: Repression and Protest in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press). He also conducts research and writes on repression, government transitions to democracy, and collective violence. Dr. Boudreau's current research, supported in part by a grant from the Fulbright program, investigates the relationship between civil society, social movements, and democratization processes in Indonesia and the Philippines. He is the academic adviser to the International Development Program at the City University of Hong Kong. At City College, Dr. Boudreau has served as the director of the M.A. Program in International Relations, the chair of the Department of Political Science, the director of the International Studies Program, and the deputy dean of the Division of Social Science. In addition to his academic work, he has undertaken projects with ActionAid Asia, Jubilee South Asia, and The Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, and has consulted for Oxfam Asia, Action of Economic Reform (Philippines), and Freedom House. Dr. Boudreau received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1991.
Director of Student Leadership and College Access
Kamilah Briscoe is the Director of Student Leadership and College Access at the Colin Powell Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Princeton University, and a master’s degree in postsecondary education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. From 2000 to 2004, Briscoe served as the founding associate director of the Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship, where she shared responsibility for curriculum development, student programming, selection, and program evaluation. She spent the subsequent six years at New York University’s Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy; her research focused on issues of access and equity in higher education for underrepresented students. At the Center, Briscoe provides leadership for all aspects of the Colin Powell Program in Leadership and Public Service as well as strategic direction and vision for the Center’s college access programming.
Michael Busch is Program Coordinator at the Colin Powell Center. In addition to his work at the Center, Michael lectures on international political economy and world politics in the political science department at City College, and is working toward a doctorate in international relations at the CUNY Graduate Center. Michael is also a research associate at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, and has written extensively on politics and public policy for a variety of newspapers and academic publications. Previous to coming to the CPC, Michael was a public elementary and middle school teacher in Harlem and the South Bronx, and fellow at the Center for Humanities in New York.
Katherine Cho is Service-Learning Program Coordinator at the Colin Powell Center. She received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, with a major in public policy studies. During that time, she collaborated with Durham Public Schools and Duke University’s education department to improve tutor training and reflection. She also planned an alternative spring break service trip and spent a summer developing housing and education policies in a high-needs area. Last year through the New York City Civic Corps, Katherine worked at an educational nonprofit organization to incorporate a service-learning student philanthropy program in more than 140 schools. At the Center, Katherine focuses on student development by providing resources, offering professional development, and connecting service-learning to post-graduation, real-world applications. Additionally, Katherine investigates models of student leadership and opportunities for increased civic engagement. In her spare time, she paints local schools and gardens as a mural artist for New York Cares.
Director of Publications
Maura Christopher is the Director of Publications at the Colin Powell Center. She has a master's degree in journalism and an undergraduate degree in public administration from the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she majored in economic planning. Christopher comes to the Center with a background in educational and consumer publishing. She has held positions as senior editor and news editor and has developed educational materials for clients ranging from the state of Georgia to the USDA. At the Center, Christopher manages and produces content for the Center's Website and for its e-newsletter. Her responsibilities also include producing annual reports and related communications material, writing grants, and providing editorial support to Center scholars and fellows.
Coordinator for Student Leadership
Colin Dixon is the Program Coordinator for Student Leadership at the Colin Powell Center. He holds a bachelor's degree in secondary education/English from Temple University. Prior to working for the CPC, Colin was a college prep counselor and program coordinator with the Union Settlement College Readiness Program. He also taught secondary English to sophomores and seniors at AS Douglas High School in the School District of Philadelphia. At the Center, Colin coordinates professional development and internship opportunities for Colin Powell Fellows, and assists with alumni outreach and professional services.
Sophie Gray is Program Coordinator at the Colin Powell Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in higher and postsecondary education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Gray focused her studies at Teachers College on college access and success after years of work and interest in the field. She has performed a variety of roles in higher education from advising to marketing. Her most recent positions include a year of service as an AmeriCorps VISTA in a college readiness program, college success counseling at a charter school in mid-city Los Angeles, and work as an admissions associate with Columbia University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In her role at the Colin Powell Center, she works with both community partners and students to support and develop the Partners for Change Fellowship program.
Amanda Krupman is Communications Coordinator at the Colin Powell Center. As an editor she developed foundational experience in educational publishing, but soon moved her focus to nonprofit communications. She has a special interest writing about and for social justice movements, as reflected in her past positions at national and international legal defense organizations advancing LGBTQ and reproductive rights. She has volunteered extensively as a counselor, facilitator, and organizer with women-and-youth-centered community programs in Cleveland, Chicago, and New York. Additionally, she has been a reporter and essayist for magazines such as Time Out New York and the late, great Chicago zine, Punk Planet. Amanda holds an MFA in fiction from the New School and an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois-Chicago. She provides content and production support for the Center's print, web, and social media and manages the Center's blog, Neighborhood and Nations.
Administrative Director/Office Manager
Wanda Mercado is Administrative Director/Office Manager at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies. She received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Lehman College. She began her career by working in broadcast, first as a junior assistant and eventually as one of the top sales account executives for one of New York's premier radio stations. She made the transition from broadcast to academia in 2004. At the Colin Powell Center, Mercado oversees much of the Center's daily administrative activities and works closely with the Center's directors on the Center's management.
Dee Dee Mozeleski
Director of Development
Dee Dee Mozeleski has more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, having worked for the American Friends of Tel Aviv University, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in various fundraising and senior management capacities. She also regularly consulted with major nonprofits around the country to help them develop long-term strategic plans, focusing on board recruitment and retention, increased corporate support, and comprehensive marketing and branding initiatives. Mozeleski joined CCNY in September 2012 as the dedicated fundraiser for the Colin Powell Center and she is focusing her fundraising work on the funding needs of the Colin Powell School. A native San Diegan, Mozeleski graduated from San Diego State University and has a daughter enrolled at Pennsylvania State University.
Tiffany Scruggs is the Office Assistant at the Colin Powell Center. Her interest in human rights first led her to participate in civil rights groups and violence prevention efforts, and eventually led her to the political science program at Northeastern University. In New York she has worked for the Working Families Party and most recently as office assistant for an online tutoring company. At the Center, she assists the Director of Administration with general office tasks including the distribution of a biweekly internal newsletter, financial management, event planning, and overseeing supplies and inventory. Tiffany also provides logistical support to the program staff.
Director of Service-Learning and civic engagement
Genea Stewart is the Director of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement at the Colin Powell for Policy Studies. In this capacity, she develops the Center's community partner network and assists faculty with service-learning course development. She also coordinates the New York Metro Area Partnership for Service-Learning, the Center-led regional service-learning network. Prior to this role, Stewart spent three years developing a service-learning program for Kingsborough Community College, CUNY, ultimately raising faculty participation from three to more than 21 participants. She also has several years of experience teaching high school English in a Northeast Philadelphia high school and working for two education-focused nonprofit organizations in New York City. Stewart has co-authored an abstract on service-learning program development which is featured on the Community College National Center for Civic Engagement (CCNCCE) website. Stewart received her teaching certificate in Secondary Education from the University of Pennsylvania and also has studied social work through the master's degree program at New York University.
Initiative Director for Multilateral Diplomacy and International Organizations
Jean Krasno is director of the Center’s Initiative in Multilateral Diplomacy and International Organizations. A political scientist, Krasno specializes in international law and United Nations decision-making. Her most recent books include, The United Nations and Iraq: Defanging the Viper
(with co-author James S. Sutterlin, Praeger Publishers, 2004), and The United Nations: Confronting the Challenges of a Global Society,
(Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004). Krasno was selected by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to organize and archive his official papers, which will be stored at the Powell Center.
Maria C. Binz-Scharf
Maria Binz-Scharf is a Research Fellow at the Colin Powell Center and an assistant professor of management in the economics department at the City College of New York. Her research focuses on the processes of knowledge sharing in bureaucratic structures, with a particular emphasis on how information technologies (IT) are used to support these processes. Currently she is exploring how forensic scientists in government crime labs search for the knowledge they need to get their work done. In addition, she is working on the diffusion of cultural competence in healthcare organizations. At the Center, Professor Binz-Scharf is working on a project examining the sharing of innovation across government agencies.
2012-2013 Leader in Residence
Shena Elrington is Director of the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a nonprofit civil rights law firm committed to advancing health, disability, and environmental justice through community lawyering and partnerships with the private bar. Shena holds a JD from Yale Law School and an AB from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. While in law school, Shena worked at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, and the Jamestown Project, where she helped launch a program encouraging civic engagement and democratic participation among historically underrepresented groups in New Haven. Shena’s current work with the NYLPI Health Justice Program has focused on bringing racial justice and immigrant rights perspective to health care advocacy. In collaboration with local community-based organizations and coalitions, Shena has worked on campaigns to end racial and ethnic discrimination in hospitals, the practice of medical deportation, and the closure of community hospitals and clinics in medically under-served areas. As the Colin Powell Center’s current Health Justice Leader-in-Residence, Shena is guiding a group of four Partners for Change undergraduate fellows through an introductory seminar on the health justice field and incorporating them in the NYLPI’s efforts to revise and expand their Health Disparities and Healthcare Rights in New York City Manual.
2012-2013, 2011-2012 Leader in Residence
Allison Palmer, director of the College Access Center (CAC), joined New Settlement, a Bronx-based community development organization, as the founding director of the College Access Center in July 2001. Palmer has more than a decade of experience in access to higher education and positive youth development, teen leadership training, and adolescent counseling. As director of New Settlement’s CAC, Allison leads program design, development, and implementation, including a one-to-one college-counseling program and the intensive four-year College Explorers program. She also represents New Settlement’s Center citywide and at statewide coalitions and national conferences. She is a lead trainer for Goddard Riverside’s Options Institute, which provides college access training for New York City Department of Education school guidance counselors and others in schools and community organizations across New York City. Palmer also served as the Bronx delegate at the National Association for College Admission Counseling for three years. Previously she taught in public school in the Inwood section of Upper Manhattan through Teach for America; she also ran leadership workshops at Great Hollow Wilderness School, an outdoor educational camp for teens and young adult attendees participating in Upward Bound. As a graduate-school intern, Allison worked at Brooklyn’s Puerto Rican Family Institute and, later, the Council on Accreditation, where in 2000 she became Special Projects Coordinator. She holds a MS in social administration from Columbia University’s School of Social Work and a B.A. in history from Wesleyan University.
2012-2013 Leader in Residence
Brandon Whitney is co-founder and COO of ioby,
a crowd-resourcing platform where great environmental ideas come to life, block by block. Currently, he is a Leader in Residence for Urban Sustainability at The City College of New York, as well as a Visiting Fellow with the Next Generation Engagement Project at UMass-Boston. An environmental anthropologist and accidental techie, Brandon is interested in how digital technology can help us build healthier neighborhoods, more just communities and more sustainable cities. He was a former associate with the Center for Humans and Nature, an interdisciplinary think-tank that explores and promotes civic responsibilities for the environment. Previously, as a program manager for the Earth Institute at Columbia University, he worked to develop collaborative research programs on climate change, global water issues, and extreme poverty. Brandon’s background includes conservation science, community-based development, civic engagement and education. His experience spans academia, NGOs, and community organizations in rural and urban contexts in the United States and abroad, including Latin America and West Africa. A proud non-profiteer, amateur chef, fair-weather runner, and aspiring gardener, Brandon has lived in NYC since 2006. He holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Political Science from NC State University and a Master of Environmental Science from Yale University.
See Bios of Previous New York Life Leaders in Residence