Executive Director, National Service-Learning Partnership at the Academy for Educational Development

Nelda Brown is the new executive director of the National Service-Learning Partnership, a grassroots network of more than 9,000 members from all 50 states and U.S. territories that shares resources, organize change, and sponsor innovation to advance service-learning as an essential teaching practice for public education and the academic, social, and civic development of America’s young people.

Founded in 2001, the Partnership connects young people, teachers, parents, administrators, policymakers, education leaders, community partners, businesspeople, and researchers dedicated to advancing service-learning as a core part of every young person’s learning and development. The Partnership works in collaboration with and through its members across the country on five complementary and mutually reinforcing strands of work: Field-Building; Policy Advocacy; Intellectual Capital; Prototyping Innovative Practice; Practice Excellence.

Before joining the Partnership, Nelda was the founding executive director of the State Education Agency K-12 Service-Learning Network (SEANet). SEANet plays an active role in keeping state-level staff and administrators informed about federal policy issues that affect the day-to-day management and long-term sustainability of K-12 school-based service-learning.

From 1995 to 1999, Nelda worked for the California Department of Education CalServe Initiative. In this role, she contributed to the formation and implementation of policy regarding California’s statewide service-learning initiative. Her work included working with local school and district administrators, teachers, students and community partners to implement the goals of their service-learning initiatives. She also provided key leadership for several state and regional training and technical assistance activities. Prior to working at the state level, Nelda was a program coordinator at a local youth service and service-learning program for students in East Palo Alto and Palo Alto, California.

As an undergraduate at Stanford University, Nelda was an active member of the university community, serving as a student representative to many university task forces, work groups and advisory committees. Since graduating from Stanford in 1993, Nelda continues to volunteer in the communities in which she lives and works. Nelda was selected as the 2000 Roback Scholarship Outstanding Public Administration Student before earning a Master of Public Administration at The George Washington University in May 2001.

Currently, Nelda is a member of the Voices for National Service steering committee and serves on the advisory board of The George Washington University’s School of Public Policy and Public Administration and the steering committee for the Civic Mission of Schools Coalition Campaign. Nelda volunteers for Meals on Wheels and serves as a troop leader for Junior Girl Scout Troop #995 in Alexandria, VA.

President, Vietnamese Professionals Society – DC Chapter

Dr. Chu is the President of the Vietnamese Professionals Society and an Executive Member of Vietcare. Vietcare was started in 1998 by a small group of Vietnamese Americans who were former refugees. When they were in the refugee camps, each one of them made individual promises to return and provide the same assistance that they had received as refugees. Vietcare began its mission at the last “home” for Vietnamese refugees (the Vietvillage in the Philippines) by taking care of the remaining Vietnamese and proceeded to aid the Filipinos who lived in the surrounding communities. Vietcare aims to help other Vietnamese to learn how to form other volunteer groups so that they too, as Vietnamese refugees, can give back, contribute and continue the spirits that got them to where they presently find themselves.

In 2003, Dr. Chu was nominated and accepted into the American College of Dentists. His induction will be in October 2003. The fellowship in the American College of Dentist is given to those who provide leadership in the field of dentistry and demonstrate commitment to community services. Additionally, he received a Gubernatorial Citation from Governor Parrish Glenndening of Maryland.

Agent, State Farm

Joe Fernandez is a State Farm Agent in Centreville, Virginia. He opened his insurance and financial services agency in 2002 and has been recognized by State Farm as a Mutual Fund Leader, Life Ambassador, Vice President of Agency Club recipient, and Select Agent. He has completed the State Farm Mastering Business Acumen program as well as the Corporate Coach University program. Joe is also a recognized leader in the community, serving as Public Relations Officer of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Washington DC, board member on the Centreville Community Foundation, board member on the Fairfax County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, member of Rotary International, and founding member of the Northern Virginia Business Alliance. Joe is also a member of the Centreville Volunteer Fire Department, where he continues his 12 years of service to the community as an Emergency Medical Technician.

Joe graduated with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Accounting from Rutgers University in 1997. He held many leadership roles at Rutgers University, including Vice President of the Class of 1997 (3 terms), Vice President of the Order of Omega Honor Society, several leadership positions within his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, and a Cap and Skull Honor Society inductee, the highest honor bestowed on leaders within Rutgers College. Following graduation, he worked as a Senior Management Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City, where he performed work for Fortune 100 clients including Bertelsmann AG, Random House, and Barnes and Noble. He became a Project Manager for Commerce One in San Francisco, California, where his clients included Tyco International, Concert (joint venture between British Telecom & AT&T), Exostar Aerospace Exchange (joint venture between Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Rolls Royce, Raytheon), and several start-up ventures. After many years of travel, Joe decided to start his own business with State Farm and enjoys building client relationships each day and being an active member of the community.

Clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, U.S. Supreme Court

Jim has over seven years of experience serving in all three branches of the federal government as well as in state government. From 2003 to 2005, Jim served as chief counsel on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to Senator John Cornyn of Texas; in that capacity, he served as chief counsel of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights during the 108th Congress, and as chief counsel of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship during the 109th Congress. From 2001 to 2003, Jim worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, first as Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and then as an attorney-adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel; he was also appointed to the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders coordinating committee. He was a law clerk for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1999 to 2000, and for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court during October Term 2005. In 2002, Jim received an Exceptional Civilian Service Award for his service at the Justice Department, and in 2005 he was named one of the best 35 Congressional staffers under 35 by The Hill.

Taiwanese by birth (and Texan by marriage), Jim is active in the Asian community. He is co-founder of and advisor to the AEF Robert T. Matsui Annual Writing Competition, and has served on the Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund (AEF) board of directors, the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership advisory board, and the host committee of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s 2004 annual convention in Dallas, as well as co-chair of the convention’s program committee. In addition, he has served on the board of directors of the Friends of the Tony Patiño Fellowship Foundation and the Capital Fellows Alumni Association of the Center for California Studies, and as a member of the National Selection Committee of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

Jim graduated in 1999 with high honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was appointed to The University of Chicago Law Review, elected to the Order of the Coif, and awarded the Ann Watson Barber Award for Outstanding Service. During law school, Jim volunteered at the Asian American Legal Services Clinic and Streetlaw, co-founded the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship, and co-chaired the 1999 Federalist Society Student Symposium. He was a research assistant to Professor David P. Currie, author of the acclaimed series, The Constitution in Congress. Before law school, Jim received a California Senate Fellowship and served as legislative aide to state Senator Quentin L. Kopp (I-San Francisco). He graduated in 1995 with a B.A. in Public Policy with honors and an Honors Thesis Prize from Stanford University.

Chief Counsel, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL); Staff Director, Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Mark L. Keam is Chief Counsel to the Assistant Senate Democratic Leader (Whip) Richard J. Durbin and is also the Democratic Staff Director of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Corrections and Rehabilitation, which has jurisdiction over the government’s prisons, parole, probation and other detention-related policies.

In these roles, Mr. Keam serves as the top legal advisor to the senior Senator of Illinois on various legislative, policy, and political matters that come before the high profile Senate panel. He also supervises a team of attorneys and professionals who work on committee hearings and legislation that address a wide variety of issues, including amendments to the Constitution, civil liberties and civil rights, criminal justice, federal courts, homeland security, immigration, privacy, and terrorism. Mr. Keam and his staff also advise Senator Durbin in the confirmation process for the President’s nominees to various Department of Justice and other executive branch positions, and to serve lifetime judicial appointments on the federal bench.

Mr. Keam’s areas of expertise include First Amendment constitutional matters as well as business issues, such as antitrust, bankruptcy, civil justice reform, corporate and securities fraud, intellectual property, Internet, technology, and telecommunications. He also works with Senator Durbin, Senator Obama, House Speaker Hastert, and the White House in a bipartisan process they have established to select nominees for federal judicial vacancies in the state of Illinois.

Before coming to Capitol Hill in 2001, Mr. Keam served in the Clinton Administration as Assistant Chief Counsel in the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), where he worked to protect the regulatory interests of small, minority-owned, and woman-owned businesses. Prior to that appointment, Mr. Keam was an enforcement attorney with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where he worked on implementing the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996. Before that, Mr. Keam held a number of positions in private, public, and political organizations.

Mr. Keam studied political science at the University of California at Irvine. While in college, he interned in Washington, DC, at the Democratic National Committee, and was a staff of the Democratic National Convention. Mr. Keam received his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in San Francisco, where he was elected a first year section representative to student government. He served as a senior editor of the Hastings Law Journal, was on moot court, and clerked at the U.S. Attorney’s and City Attorneys’ offices.

Reporter, The Washington Post

Phuong Ly got her start in journalism as editor of her high school newspaper in North Carolina. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with degrees in journalism and American history. She worked for two years at the Charlotte Observer before joining the Washington Post in July 1999. Currently, she reports for the paper’s Maryland desk, covering criminal justice and immigration issues. She also sits on the national board of the Asian American Journalists Association, a 1,700-member group that works to ensure fair and accurate news coverage of Asian Americans and increase the number of Asians in the media business.

Grants Manager, Youth Service America

Julie Mancuso serves as the Grant Manager.In this role, Julie helps to administer the grants and awards program to increase opportunities for youth and youth-related organizations to plan and execute successful service and service-learning projects.Past grant and award programs include the State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning grant; DisneyHand Minnie Grants; the Clay Aiken ABLE To SERVE grant; the prestigious Harris Wofford Awards; and many more from America’s Promise, AT&T, Verizon, Motorola, and others.

Julie began at Youth Service America as a Project Assistant helping to manage National and Global Youth Service Day, the largest service event in the world.Prior to her work with YSA, she served as a Faculty Advisor and Student Relations Advisor for the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference and the Jr. National Young Leaders Conference held in Washington, DC.

As a champion for youth volunteering, Julie has given her time globally as a volunteer in both Europe and Africa, advocating for youth orphaned by AIDS; endangered sea turtles in the Mediterranean; and persons with disabilities in the UK.Domestically, Julie has volunteered as a youth dance instructor, respite care provider, visitor to the homebound and conversation partner to international students.

Julie received her BA in Journalism and Mass Communication and African Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a native of North Carolina.

Field Manager, Youth Service America

Cassandra Miller serves as the Field Manager for National Youth Service Day. Every year in April, millions of young people and adults worldwide participate in community service projects in celebration of National & Global Youth Service Day (N&GYSD). The goals of National & Global Youth Service Day are to mobilize youth to identify and address the needs of their communities through service, support youth on a life-long path of service and civic engagement, and educate the public, the media, and elected officials about the year-round contributions of youth as community leaders.

As the Field Manager, Cassandra is responsible for mobilizing organizations at the local and state level to serve as Lead Agencies for National & Global Youth Service Day. She recruits, trains and supports local/state non-profits, school districts, faith-based organizations, and other organizations to assemble coalitions of agencies and individuals to plan and coordinate large-scale N&GYSD events, engaging anywhere from several hundred to 50,000 volunteers per Lead Agency.

After attending Indiana University, she served two years as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Washington, DC. As a first year corps member Cassandra was the Research and Systematic Learning/Service Director for the AOL Civic Engagement Team. As a member of the team she planned and implemented monthly service projects that united community volunteers to paint, clean, and revitalize DC schools, parks, and community centers. In her first year Cassandra also served as an Executive Director of Camp City Year, a week long camp that provides a safe, fun, and enriching environment for 1st through 5th grade students in the Washington metro area.

In her second year Cassandra served as the Civic Leadership and Program Senior Corps member. In this position Cassandra was responsible for creating and overseeing bi-weekly leadership development days that promoted civic knowledge and responsibility. Since she was a child Cassandra has been involved in service in one way or another and her passion for volunteerism continues at YSA.

Associate National Director, Professional Development, Boy Scouts of America

In this position, De serves as a member of the Center for Professional Development faculty. He is a cross-trained/certified facilitator for a wide variety of training courses and seminars conducted by Center for Professional Development: Professional Development Levels 1, 2 & 3; People Management Levels 1, 2 &3; Total Quality Management Levels 1 & 2; Cultural Diversity; Customer Service; Time Management; Team Development and Train-the-Trainer courses.

De gives leadership to Professional Development-Level 3, Learning for Life-Level 3, Council Properties and Program Administration, Field Operations in A Digital Age, Situational Leadership, and Total Quality Management.

De began his professional Scouting career in June 1984 as a district executive in Van Nuys, California. In February 1987 he was promoted to senior district executive of the South Florida Council, Miami Lakes, Florida. In January 1990 he became district director and later the director of camping for the Orange County council in Costa Mesa, California. He joined the National staff in December 1994 and served successfully as Associate Director, Urban Emphasis/Scoutreach Division until he assumed his present position in June 2002.

De is an Eagle Scout and has received the Vigil Honor in the Order of the Arrow. He also served as a Wood Badge course director for the 21st Century Wood Badge course in 2001, and is a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association.

He is a graduate of the Human Development Degree from Salem College, West Virginia.

President, National Congress of Vietnamese Americans

Hung Nguyen is a community organizer and activist. He holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts and working on his M.A. thesis “Jungian Psychology and the Masculine Spirituality.” He is the President of the National Congress of Vietnamese Americans, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes culture, education and civic involvement. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) as the Chair of the Washington Leadership Program, the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia, the Executive Committee of the NAACP – San José Chapter and the Advisory Committee of the Vietnamese American Professionals Alliance (VAPA). Previously, Hung Nguyen served as Director of Public Relations for the Vietnamese Nationalist Community of Austin, recipient of the National Society of Fund Raiser Executives’ 1999 Philanthropic Organization of the Year Award and the Executive Committee of the California State Conference of the NAACP.

Hung Nguyen has worked on issues affecting the community, including capacity building, economic self-sufficiency, redistricting, human rights, and voter education and empowerment. In addition to being quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San José Mercury News, Associated Press, Fairfax Times and many other community newspapers, he has appeared on television and radio programs to inform and educate the public on hot issues affecting the communities of interest. He is focused in educating the public and working on projects in which the community can increase its effectiveness, capacity/infrastructure and empowerment capabilities. Hung Nguyen currently lives and works in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

AAPI/NAAN Program Manager, Federal Aviation Administration

Mai Nguyen is currently working as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) program manager for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Native American/Alaska Native, and People with Disabilities. She joined the FAA in 1991 after spending six years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Peace Corps.

Mrs. Nguyen returned to the Federal Service after spending a decade in the private sector working as management consultant for Space America, DC Associates, Academy of Educational Development, and other International Corporations. She was also a director of personnel for Marriott, Ramada, and the Holiday Crowne Plaza in the Washington Metropolitan.

Mrs. Nguyen received a BA in political science and languages from Wayne State College and did her graduate studies at Ohio University.

Director of Government Affairs, Republican National Committee (RNC)

Mina T. Nguyen joined the Republican National Committee as Director of Government Affairs where she is responsible for coordinating efforts with the U.S. Congress and managing activities with business and trade organizations. She previously served as the National Business Coalition Director and the Northeast Regional Coalitions Director for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign. In this role, she was responsible for developing and executing the campaign’s winning business coalition strategy which included building grassroots support among business leaders and communicating the President’s economic policies to small businesses.

From 2001-2003, Nguyen served as Director of Public Liaison and Special Assistant to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor. Serving in the Senior Executive Service of the Bush Administration, Nguyen was responsible for advancing the Department’s 21st Century Workforce agenda by working with federal agencies, business organizations, and community groups. From 1998-2001, she was a Management Consultant in Accenture’s Strategy practice, working with Fortune 100 companies in the hi-tech and communication industries.

Nguyen received her B.S. in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley, Walter A. Haas School of Business.

Consultant, Spectrum Knowledge, Inc.

Vu H. Pham is the founder and head of Spectrum Knowledge, Inc., a research, consulting and training organization. He currently serves as a Researcher in the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, as well as the Asian American Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, he held a Research Fellow position through the University of California Office of the President. He has taught courses at major institutions, including: UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Davis, the Claremont Colleges and Loyola Marymount University. Having completed his doctoral degree from Cornell University, Dr. Pham’s specialties include the areas of culture, organizational development and leadership.

He combines data-driven research with his background in these three fields to assist clients with identifying and assessing organizational challenges, as well as providing effective solutions. His experience includes having worked with companies as large as those from the Fortune 500 to those in governmental and non-profit sectors. Dr. Pham’s clients range in industries that include: Aerospace and Defense, Technology, Advertising, Healthcare, Retail as well as Museums and Cultural Organizations. He has also worked with individual clients to optimize their career success. He has presented at numerous workshops, conferences and retreats across the country and has published in both academic and mainstream publications. Beyond his consulting, research and training work, Dr. Pham has participated in generating over one-half a million dollars for non-profit groups and donates countless hours to them.

His other honors include being selected as a Role Model for KSCI Television’s “Our Role Models” series, as well as being a Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) Fellow, an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) award recipient, a Chancellor’s Scholar at UC Irvine and an Honoree at UCLA’s “The Future of Asian American History” Conference.

Spectrum Knowledge consists of diverse cultural, organizational development and leadership experts who have backgrounds in research, education and training related to these areas. We provide solutions to clients that enhance and grow organizations, particularly through the investment in human capital. These data-driven solutions include: team-building, skill development, strategic planning, conflict resolution, motivation, leadership and communication flow. The organization provides both customized and ready-to-go services.

Specialist, Corporate Relations & Housing Outreach, Freddie Mac

Maheen Qureshi currently serves as Specialist, Corporate Relations and Housing Outreach at Freddie Mac. She is responsible for managing relationships with Latino groups on CreditSmart® Español/ financial literacy initiatives. Maheen joined Freddie Mac in May 2004 as a Business Analyst in the Mission Oversight and Development Division. Prior to joining Freddie Mac, Maheen was Program Coordinator for the Center for Innovative Conservation Finance at The Nature Conservancy, an international non-profit organization headquartered in Arlington, VA. Maheen holds a Masters in Business Administration from American University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and International Studies from Indiana University.

Outreach Liaison, Representative Jim Moran (D-VA)

Originally from Falls Church, Virginia Bryan works to build and maintain community relationships throughout the 8th Congressional District for Congressman Moran.

Before working for the Congressman, Bryan was a political consultant at Field Works where he organized a successful statewide campaign for Virginia tax fairness, lobbied to extend metro rail in Northern Virginia and worked on other campaigns locally and nationally.

Bryan is currently the City / County Caucus Chair for the Virginia Young Democrats. It is his responsibility to give the tools necessary to build organizations throughout the state that can effectively lobby, campaign and build leadership skills.

When he is not working for the Congressman or the Democratic Party, Bryan is a High School track coach and volunteer ESL teacher.

Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Transportation Policy, U.S. Department of Transportation

Joel Szabat is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy in the Department of Transportation. His portfolio includes Transportation, Energy and the Environment, and the responsibility to coordinate the Department’s implementation of President Bush’s Executive Order on Stewardship and Project Streamlining.

From 1993 through 2001, Joel was the Principal Consultant for Transportation for Republicans in the California State Assembly.

From 1990 to 1993 Joel served in President Bush’s administration, first as the Executive Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency, then as EPA’s liaison to California’s environmental and resource agencies. Before joining EPA, Joel was a management consultant in the private sector specializing in transportation issues.

Joel received a B.A. in economics and government from Georgetown University in 1981, and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1988. Between Georgetown and Harvard, Joel served as a Captain in the United States Army during the Cold War, commanding tank units patrolling the East-West German border.

Joel is from Sacramento, California. He is the founder of the International Leadership Foundation, a non-profit organization providing scholarships for Asian American college students to serve public affairs internships. Joel is also a director of Pacific Housing and the Eskaton Foundation, non-profit organizations providing affordable housing and senior care. His wife, Chiling Tong, is a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia and the Pacific in the Commerce Department.

Outreach Director, Youth Service America

Meghan Young is the Manager of Outreach for Youth Service America (YSA). In this role Meghan is responsible for supporting YSA’s outreach activities, helping to manage existing partnerships, and seeking out new partnerships. She is also responsible for managing YSA’s Youth Voice Initiative, which includes managing YSA’s National Youth Council, bringing the Youth Voice Initiative to scale, and initiating and supporting efforts to make Youth Voice a community principle.

Prior to Joining Youth Service America, Meghan served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member with Youth Venture. As the Youth Venture-Youth Service America Partnership Associate Meghan’s responsibilities included developing a partnership with YSA, creating and implementing the YSA Youth Venture program, and guiding youth through the creation of social entrepreneurships.

Passionate about working with youth, Meghan’s past experience in the youth field includes creating and facilitating programs for urban youth. Most recently she worked as a collaborator with K-Dig Studio utilizing design and writing to empower youth to participate in self-discovery and address community issues. In addition Meghan created, directed, and taught a children and youth ministries program for grades K-10th in Pittsburgh, PA. She also brings to YSA a background in both public relations and communication design from the corporate and non-profit sectors.

Meghan has a Bachelor of Humanities and Arts degree in Design and Professional Writing, with a minor in Religious studies from Carnegie Mellon University.