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The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Heller Student Association Representatives, 2016-2017

Robbie Dembo, PhD representativeRobbie Dembo, PhD representative

What is one goal you have for HSA?/What are you most excited about working on as a representative of HSA?

I’m excited to play a role in maintaining the building facilities, making sure Heller provides a comfortable learning environment.

What was your favorite job or volunteer experience prior to Heller?

 I used to sell concessions before the basketball games at my high school. Working with soft pretzels was the most gratifying job I’ve ever had.

What type of food would you be and why?/What is a hidden talent you have that few people know about?

  • Laboratory-engineered vegan meat
  • I am amazing at parallel parking. I only hit other cars around 40% of time.

Anna Jen, SID representativeAnna Jen, SID representative

What is one goal you have for HSA?

To plan fun events that bring the Heller community together!

What are you most excited about working on as a representative of HSA?

I’m looking forward to getting to know my fellow SID students better, learn their stories and what brought them to Brandeis, and do my best to advocate on behalf of what they need to be successful in the program and at Heller in general.

What was your favorite job or volunteer experience prior to Heller?

Before moving to Mass I volunteered a few seasons at the YMCA as a soccer coach. I coached 8-10 year old girls and 3-5 year olds. It was fun to teach basic skills and strategy to the older kids, and the little ones were so adorable - even if some of them would spend most of the game on the other side of the field picking flowers.

What type of food would you be and why?

Pizza. Everybody loves pizza.

What is a hidden talent you have that few people know about?

I’m kind of a geography nerd. I know a lot of random facts about the world and can find all 196 countries on a map.

Annie Leiter, MPP representativeAnnie Leiter, MPP representative

What is one goal you have for HSA?/What are you most excited about working on as a representative of HSA?

I’m excited about HSA’s community building work. We had a coffee house event in December, which showcased amazing and varied performances. We have some exciting upcoming projects, including starting a newsletter to highlight students, staff, faculty, and working groups and provide the community with more information on HSA’s work.

A goal that I have for HSA is that more Heller students know that HSA is a resource available to them and that it strives to be responsive to what Heller students want and need. We want your input!   

What was your favorite job or volunteer experience prior to Heller?

Some of my favorite experience is serving as a volunteer case manager for the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund. It’s an all-volunteer organization committed to helping people access abortion care regardless of their ability to pay. I like providing direct service to our callers on the fund’s hotline, and I value being part of the abortion-funding community.

What type of food would you be and why?/What is a hidden talent you have that few people know about?

If I were a food, I would be cereal. I eat it everyday and love it, but I don’t really have a deeper explanation than that!

Charlotte Nalumansi, COEX representativeCharlotte Nalumansi, COEX representative

For HSA, I envision a body so trusted by the students to see to it that their opinions, concerns, and question are presented to the faculty and put into consideration. I see it as a group to appreciate the faculty and call it out when necessary. That essential bridge.

I am excited about the fact that I get to influence things positively on behalf of my fellow students and those to come.

Prior to Heller, I worked with a group of phenomenal children who changed my life when they themselves had either been abandoned, abused or forced to be child soldiers in civil war in northern Uganda. My role as an administrator and care giver to the children made me who I am today. They had the simplest desires and genuine show of love I have ever experienced. It was fun watching them grown into the characters they are now as future leaders and responsible citizens in Uganda.

If you cut me, I would bleed rice. YES, rice. Spicy hot of course. Rice can be made in many ways; but my favorite is pilao/pilawo. It is also an Indian and Arab dish. A lot of cultures influenced each other’s dishes in Africa.

Talent, I’m not sure I have one. But something few people know is that I played basketball and swimming competitively all the way to the All Africa University games.

Samantha Nielsen, SID representativeSamantha (Sammy) Nielsen, SID representative

What is one goal you have for HSA?

Our best resource at Heller is the diverse ideas, experiences, and energy of the student body. I hope that HSA can become a way for students to participate in their education and engage in critical discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of our programs. As a student organization, HSA should give students an opportunity to address issues as important as diversity and as routine as replacing old microwaves in Zinner.

What is a hidden talent you have that few people know about?

I have played five instruments at different times in my life and love music theory! I’m not sure it’s as much of a talent now without practice…

Jess Peete, MBA representativeJess Peete, MBA representative

What is one goal you have for HSA?/What are you most excited about working on as a representative of HSA?

I want to serve as a voice for not only the MBA cohort but the entire Heller student body. I’m excited to help build an institutional memory that will ensure Heller is a welcoming and safe community for all students.

What is one challenge that the student body should know about regarding serving as a representative?

HSA wants to represent everybody. If there is something that you think we should be doing (or not doing), let us know. Reach out to the reps from the different programs.

What was your favorite job or volunteer experience prior to Heller?

As a member of AmeriCorps Project Conserve, I worked at an environmental organization that focused on the French Broad River Watershed. I spent my days getting muddy, pulling tires out of the river, and looking for salamanders!

What type of food would you be and why?/What is a hidden talent you have that few people know about?

I’d probably be a lovely lasagna, familiar and comforting with deep and complex layers.

Emily Forsyth Queen, COEX representativeEmily Forsyth Queen, COEX representative

What is one goal you have for HSA?/What are you most excited about working on as a representative of HSA?

Events that link students together across programs and outside of class can be so powerful. Everyone at Heller comes with such amazing life and work experience. I love working toward opportunities to share and become closer as a community.  

What was your favorite job or volunteer experience prior to Heller?

My first experience with international community work will always be dear to my heart. I worked in Burkina Faso from 2009-2012 on girls’ education and empowerment as a Peace Corps Volunteer. While there, I helped develop and implement two community-led pilot trainings on gender-based violence in schools, a topic that has since become another focus of Peace Corps global programming.

What type of food would you be and why?/What is a hidden talent you have that few people know about?

  • Guacamole – I can be a bit spicy or salty but ultimately love bringing people together around a table.
  • I play the cello (although after the Heller House event, many know that!)

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