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Our Approach

Our Team

LaKisha N. Williams is the Director of #DegreesNYC, a data-informed collective impact movement co-lead by young people to achieve education equity in New York City. As such, she represents #DegreesNYC and Goddard Riverside on many groups, including the Government Relations and Human Relations Committees of the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling, the National College Access Network Policy Council, and the CUNY Rising Alliance. She serves on the Steering Committee of the New York State Poor People’s Campaign, as well as on its Coordinating and Faith Committees, where she organizes moral fusion direct action against systemic racism, poverty, militarism & ecological devastation. Recently, she was honored with the United Neighborhood Houses Award for Achievement in Civic Advocacy in recognition of her social justice work.  Williams holds a BA from William Smith College and a Masters of Divinity from the Union Theological Seminary of New York.  

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 Jordana Suriel is the Advocacy and Administrative Coordinator of #DegreesNYC, a citywide collective impact initiative that focuses on postsecondary equity. She joined #DegreesNYC in September 2021 as an intern, and later transitioned into a full-time position. Some of her passions involve youth advocacy, equity in education, providing mental health and mentorship resources inside and outside of school settings, disability rights, and working with systems-impacted people. Her dedication in equity is reflected locally and internationally, including her past work in Uganda, Guatemala, and Spain. At #DegreesNYC, she co-leads the Counseling and Advising Report, is supporting the Data Fellows Report, along with all of #Degrees' workgroups and Task Forces. Apart from her work at #DegreesNYC, she tutors and supports currently incarcerated students in preparation for the GED. During her free time, she spends time with family and friends, traveling, painting, and exploring new hobbies.

Imani Brown is the Communications Coordinator of #DegreesNYC. She is a Fall ‘21 graduate from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she obtained her Bachelors of the Science in Criminal Justice and a certificate in Dispute Resolution. She began attending law school in Fall 2022, where she aspires to become a juvenile justice attorney. She started at #DegreesNYC in April 2022 with a desire to be involved in working towards accessible and equitable education, in addition to emphasizing youth advocacy and leadership. Imani has always had a passion for helping others, especially young people, which is reflected by current and past internship and fellowship experiences. Imani’s experience working with youth populations at #DegreesNYC, Kings County District Attorney Office’s School Advocacy Bureau, and other nonprofits geared toward youth justice provide her with firsthand knowledge to thrive in her future career aspirations.

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Victoria Lu is the Youth Council Co-Coordinator of #DegreesNYC. She is a first year student at Macaulay Honors at City College. At #DegreesNYC, Victoria has focused on course access and mental health for NYC students, writing letters advocating for change, and spearheading a Call to Action. Lu is also involved in environmental justice, specifically pertaining to mobilizing the youth in Queens. In the future, Victoria aspires to become a public interest attorney.

Dale Mcenany is the Youth Council Co-Coordinator of #DegreesNYC. They are a junior at Columbia University are majoring in Sociology and Educational Studies. They are originally from Mesa, Arizona, then moved to San Diego, California, and are now in New York City! At #DegreesNYC have background in youth advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement.

#DegreesNYC Steering Committee


Gregg Betheil, President, PENCIL   

Marcia Cantarella, Advisor to CUNY Black Male Initiative, educator, author, activist  


Alison Overseth, Chief Executive Officer, Partnership for Afterschool Education  

Allison Palmer, Associate Executive Director, New Settlement Apartments  

Victoria Lu, Youth Council Co-Coordinator, #DegreesNYC 

Dale Mcenany, Youth council Co-Coordinator, #DegreesNYC

Chad Franklin, Director of The Options Center, Goddard Riverside 

Kevin Stump, VP of Economic Mobility and Workforce Innovation, SUNY Rockland  

Lan To, Senior Consultant, Community Resource Exchange

Megan McAllister, Senior Program Officer, The Altman Foundation   

Michael Partis, Director, Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative 

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