Student Groups

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Fels Institute of Government students lead a variety of interest groups that focus on professional engagement and development and are open to all current Fels students. Along with broadening your perspective as a future public leader, our student-run organizations help you connect with peers in our close-knit academic community.

Fels Student Association

FSA

The Fels Student Association (FSA) works to build connection and community among all Fels graduate students, including both the full-time and executive programs. From engaging events to professional development, FSA serves as the central student group representing the interests of Fels students and working to provide the best graduate experience possible for the dedicated, passionate public servants that make up the Fels student body. Past FSA events have includedbowling, mini-golf, community service, book club, and guest speaker panels.

Student leaders 2020-2021

Alaynah Tombridge, President
alaynaht@sas.upenn.edu
Alaynah Tombridge hails from Grand Rapids, MI. After graduating from Northwestern University, she worked for companies like GE and Chobani in corporate communications and reputation management before deciding to follow her passion for public service and pursue her MPA at Fels. Her policy interests are in criminal justice, women’s representation in elected office, and voting rights. In her free time, Alaynah loves to cook, listen to podcasts, and snuggle with her rescue dog.

Ambika Singh, Vice President
Ambika Singh is originally from Central Jersey and is a new Philadelphia transplant. She graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. Ambika has a background in mortgage lending which led her to her current position at Penn where she is the director of the nonprofit office Penn Home Ownership Services. Her desire is to learn more about how she can expand and improve their services and to learn more about policy and law in relation to fair housing and real estate in the public and private sector. Ambika was a competitive fencer all throughout college and now loves to coach and fence recreationally in her spare time. She loves hip hop, traveling the world, going to her favorite teams’ stadiums to watch games, staying active, and most of all—her two cavapoodles, Yogi and Mini.

Sean Naylor, Treasurer
Sean Naylor is a proud native of Philadelphia. He completed his undergraduate degree at Penn, majoring in communications with a minor in urban education, and then spent a few years working in marketing analytics in New York City and Philadelphia. Sean’s policy topics of interest include early childhood development and education, Philadelphia cultural institutions, and environmental protection (and all of the ways that these intersect). In the free time he has, Sean enjoys singing with his a cappella group PHLx (pronounced ‘flex’), hanging out with his dog Murphy, and searching for the perfect breakfast sandwich and cold brew coffee pairing.

Jacob Pollicove, Communications Director
Jacob Pollicove is originally from Freehold, New Jersey. He completed his undergraduate degree at Albright College in Reading, PA, and majored in political science with two minors, the first in history and the second in public administration and policy analysis. Jacob’s policy interests are mainly education and transportation, but he’s always looking to expand. In his free time, Jacob enjoys watching Netflix, going out with friends, and drinking more coffee than a person generally ought to.

International City/County Management Association (ICMA)

ICMA

The Penn student chapter of the International City/County Management Association is based at Fels and chapter leadership is comprised of solely Fels students. For anyone interested in becoming a local management leader, this group offers access to ICMA content and programming, including the opportunity to attend national and regional conferences. Our student chapter also organizes both intimate and larger-scale events for Fels and other interested students to engage with local government leaders across various sectors of public service. Past events have included the ICMA Regional and National Conference; speaker events with Ted Dallas, Ted Gaebler, and a local government leader; and a “Conversation with 3 Mayoral Administrations.”

Student leaders 2020-2021

Guerline L. Laurore, President
gladou@sas.upenn.edu
Guerline Laurore works for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as the Pennsylvania Human Relations (PHRC) Commission’s Director of Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs and the Director of the Mediation Program. Guerline lobbies to expand PHRC’s law enforcement authority under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and has completed an overhaul of the mediation program, which has led to an outstanding level of success. In addition, she has maintained a prominent immigration law practice for over ten years while teaching psychology and law as an adjunct faculty at several colleges and universities. She is fluent in English, French, and Haitian Creole, with a working knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese. In 2004, Guerline earned a BA and MA in psychology in France, and a Juris Doctor from Widener University Delaware School of Law. She is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, in Pennsylvania state courts, and in several other courts.

Nicole Carmichael, Vice President
Nicole Carmichael hails from North Jersey and is a full-time Fels student, an ImpactED fellow, an intern for a Wilmington-based policy consultant nonprofit, and an aspiring local public administrator. She began state-hopping to receive her bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of Delaware before doing a stint in the Pacific Northwest at the State Department of Commerce. She finally landed in Pennsylvania for the long-haul. Outside of work and school, Nicole loves desserts, her attention-hogging puppy, and exploring her community.

Josh Darfler, Secretary
Joshua Darfler, EMPA ’22–expected, is the department manager for biology at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a BS in molecular biology from Binghamton University, and an MS in public horticulture from the University of Delaware. Josh is passionate about the science of sustainability, equitable access to green space and natural areas, and food security issues.

Tommy Doot, Treasurer
Tommy Doot was born and raised in Southeast Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in political theory and constitutional democracy, Tommy commissioned as a US Army officer. Recently, he began a career bridge program through the Army in Cleveland’s Department of Public Health as the emergency preparedness coordinator, assisting in the city’s COVID-19 response. Tommy lives in Cleveland with his fiancé, Rachel.

Noah Yosif, Assistant Treasurer
Noah Yosif is Assistant Treasurer at the International City/Council Management Association (ICMA) and a first-year candidate for the Fels EMPA. As Assistant Treasurer, he is responsible for providing financial oversight of all ICMA activities and initiatives. Yosif also serves as Head of Economic Research at the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), a trade group representing local banks.

Shamsa Dhayow, Communications Lead
Shamsa Dhayow was raised in the heart of Minnesota, Twin Cities where she graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in sociology with an emphasis in policy analysis. She is currently a candidate for the Executive Master of Public Administration program. Shamsa is passionate about human rights and international development

Ronaldo Ribeiro, Director of Programming
Ronaldo Ribeiro, EMPA ’22–expected, currently works as a manager at the Greater Philadelphia YMCA. He was raised in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where he graduated from Universidade Catolica with a BA in journalism and literature, later pursuing degrees in literature and theater (MA and PhD-ABD) in Madison, Wisconsin. He currently serves as Director of Programs for ICMA, as Vice President for the Whitemarsh Art Center, as a board member for the Community Center at Visitation in Kensington, and as an advisor for the Artblog.

Women of Fels

Women of Fels

Women of Fels (WOF) aims to advocate for issues that women face in the public sector and beyond by hosting speaker panels, fundraisers, and more. Past WOF events have included a Myers Briggs Workshop on leadership styles, an End of the Year Celebration, and speaker series titled Intersectionality in Feminism, Women Who Don’t Normally Lecture, and Mistakes I’ve Made.

Student leaders 2020-2021

Ebony Wortham, President
ebonywo@sas.upenn.edu
Education: Temple University and Widener Law School
Assistant District Attorney, supervisor of Juvenile Unit

Ms. Wortham is a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, PA. She is a former assistant district attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office where she served as the supervisor of the Juvenile Court Unit. In this capacity, Ms. Wortham led a dedicated group of attorneys and critical staff persons in the pursuit of guiding youth to healthy futures while also protecting the community and giving voice to victims.

Ms. Wortham is actively engaged as a volunteer leader in numerous organizations that work to provide enriching opportunities and increase the life chances of young people, including her service as vice chair of Teenshop, Inc., a college preparatory program for the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia, Inc. where she serves as a board member.

Ms. Wortham was recently named Outstanding Young Lawyer by the Barristers Association of Philadelphia. She is a graduate of the Central High School of Philadelphia’s 256th class. She earned her BA in criminal justice at Temple University and her JD at Widener University School of Law. Currently, Ms. Wortham is an Executive Master of Public Administration candidate at the Fels Institute of Government of the University of Pennsylvania where she serves as the President of the Women of Fels.

Saraya Louissant, Treasurer
Education: Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Hometown: Willingboro, NJ
Recent employer: Oaks Integrated Care
Fun fact: “I can speak Haitian Creole.”

Saraya is from New Jersey and attended Rutgers University, in New Brunswick as an undergraduate. She graduated from Rutgers with a major in social work and a minor in public health. Saraya came to Penn as a dual degree student in the Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration program but deferred for a year. In May of 2020, she graduated with a Master of Social Work and earned a license in social work. Saraya currently works as an outpatient therapist at the Juvenile Justice of Philadelphia, while studying full-time in the MPA program. Her policy interests are mainly education and housing with a focus in learning more about local government. In her free time, Saraya loves watching Netflix, taking long walks, and spending time and traveling with her friends. 

Cassidy Cramton, Vice President
Education: University of Redlands
Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Recent employer: Peace Corps
Fun fact: “Last year I hiked the tallest mountain in Ukraine!”

Cassidy Cramton is originally from Southern California and is new to the Philadelphia area. After graduating from the University of Redlands, she joined the US Peace Corps where she served in Ukraine for three years before deciding to come to Fels to pursue a career in public service. Cassidy’s policy topics of interest include environmental protection, women’s rights, and international development. In her free time Cassidy loves to spend time with friends, read, and travel.

Gaby Hartney, Communications Lead
Education: Arcadia University
Hometown: Surf City, NJ
Recent employer: Americorps VISTA at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School|
Fun fact: “I am a Jersey Shore lifeguard during the summer, where I compete as a surf boat rower in lifeguard tournaments.”

Gaby was raised in Surf City, New Jersey. She earned a bachelor's degree in international relations with two minors in French and political science from Arcadia University. Along with being a member, and eventually the captain, of the university's swim team, Gaby studied for a semester in Paris, France and spent some time volunteering and translating at a refugee camp in Greece. She has interned with two NJ senators, State Senator Chris Connors and Senator Cory Booker. After graduation, she moved into Philadelphia to serve an Americorps VISTA year at YouthBuild Philly Charter School, which brought her to Fels to pursue a career in public administration. Gaby is particularly interested in immigration, women's rights, and advocating for disenfranchised peoples. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and visiting new beaches, finding cute new coffee shops, and taking her French bulldog on walks.

Fels Institute of Government

The Fels Institute of Government
3814 Walnut St. 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(215) 898-7326
felsinstitute@sas.upenn.edu