The School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board represents an expansive network of more than 3,000 SPP alumni.
Through professional development events, community service programs, social activities and support of the School’s various academic initiatives, the alumni network plays an integral role in advancing our mission. Join us at an alumni event or contact us to learn more about getting involved.
Jessica Frech serves as president of the School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board, elected July 2019, for a two-year term. She graduated from the School of Public Policy in May 2019 with a focus on energy and environmental policy and holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Resource Economics. During her time in the program, Jessica served as the Policy Student Government Association’s Service Director from August 2018 - May 2019 and the Co-President of the SPP Environmental Council from August 2018 - May 2019. She also held a research assistant position with the Center for Global Sustainability. Before beginning the program, Jessica worked in the solar industry for three years as a market and pricing analyst. During her last semester in school and post graduation, Jessica worked as an energy management analyst for the City of Alexandria, VA. Currently, Jessica works for the United States Navy’s Resilient Energy Program Office as an energy program specialist.
Seanniece Bamiro serves on the SPP Steering and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committees. She is a policy advocate with a passion for equity and reforming the criminal/legal system. She is an alumnus of both UMBC and the University of Maryland, College Park. She graduated from SPP in 2015 with a specialization in Social Policy. During her time at SPP, Seanniece completed an independent study on racial bias in drug policies and how those policies created mass incarceration. She along with Dawy Rkasnuam, Amy Fischer, Jocelyn O’Rourke and Marcus Gaddy hosted the School of Public Policy’s first Policy Matters forum which addressed police accountability in the aftermath of the Mike Brown shooting. She completed her Capstone Project with Family League of Baltimore advocating for school-wide free breakfast and lunch in Maryland and specifically in Baltimore City Public Schools. The policy was later adopted as Maryland law. Following graduation, she went on to help build the policy department at Family League of Baltimore and increase their presence in advocating for policies that impact the education, health and overall well-being of young people. She is currently organizing around ending the school-to-prison pipeline in Prince George’s County Public Schools to ensure that there are adequate amounts of counselors in schools and students are taught in environments where they are given multiple chances to learn and grow. She enjoys hiking, practicing mindfulness and meditation, being a part of the Harry Potter and Marvel Cinematic Universe fandoms and listening to The Friendzone podcast.
Tom Jones serves as the Treasurer of the School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board and is a member of the Steering Committee. Tom graduated from the School of Public Policy with a Master of Public Policy, specializing in environmental policy, and holds a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science from Shepherd University. During his time at SPP, Tom served as both the Policy Student Government Association’s Vice President and the SPP Environmental Council’s President during the 2017-2018 school year, and held a graduate assistant position with the Center for Global Sustainability. He currently works for the State of Maryland at the Department of Budget and Management as a Budget Analyst helping develop the state’s annual operating budget. In his free time, Tom enjoys volunteering with the Annapolis Jaycees, playing Dungeons & Dragons, working out at the gym, and spending time with family and friends.
Sharice Davis serves as the Secretary of the School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board, elected July 2019, for a two-year term. She also serves on the SPP Steering and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committees. Sharice graduated with both an MPP and MBA from the University of Maryland in 2016 where she specialized in Social Policy and Entrepreneurship. During her time at SPP, she was on the planning committee for the third annual Saul I. Stern Symposium which highlighted issues of racial inequity in education, health, and economic outcomes and discussed policy solutions designed to mitigate injustice. In her current role, Sharice works as the Program Manager for the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at Prosperity Now where she provides technical assistance and best practice implementation to nonprofit leaders in four cities with the goal of eliminating economic disparities in communities of color. She also has experience working in both the private and public sector around issues of workforce development and higher education policy. Prior to her time at SPP, Sharice attended Georgetown University where she earned a B.S. in Finance and Management. Outside of work, Sharice enjoys baking, traveling, and going to concerts.
Immediate Past President
Policy Director, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services
Amy Fischer is immediate past president of the School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board and represents the School with the University of Maryland Alumni Association Board of Governors. She graduated from the School in May 2015 and specialized in social policy. While at Maryland, she served as co-president of the Policy Student Government Association. She graduated from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts in 2008 with a BA in sociology and international and global studies. Prior to her time at Maryland, Fischer spent five years in North Carolina working directly with youth at the intersection of juvenile and immigrant justice. Fischer now lives in Washington, DC and works on immigration and refugee justice issues as the policy director with RAICES.
Hugo Cantu was elected to the Alumni Board in June 2020 for a two-year term. He graduated in May 2020 with a BA in Public Policy and a minor in Real Estate Development. After receiving his Associate Degree in Business Administration from Montgomery College, he transferred to the University of Maryland in 2017. In his time at the University of Maryland, Hugo has served as a Public Policy Ambassador, an Orientation Advisor, and an executive board member and co-founder of UMD’s Public Policy Professional Fraternity, Kappa Omega Alpha. He was recently selected to serve on the Presidential Transfer Committee for President Darryl Pines as a member of the University Relations and Communications, and Alumni Association subcommittee. Hugo is a Policy Analyst for Council Member Monique Anderson-Walker of the 8th District in Prince George’s County. In his free time, Hugo enjoys cooking, reading, and in addition to his Bilingualism with Spanish and English, he is learning Italian and Portuguese.
Matt Dernoga graduated from the School of Public Policy in 2013 with an environmental specialization. He currently works at the Maryland Sierra Club, advocating around transitioning Maryland off it’s 6 remaining coal-fired power plants. Previously, he worked for a Prince George’s County Councilmember on policy ranging from green stormwater programs, recycling and compost initiatives, affordable housing policy, and food equity legislation. In 2018, he was a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates. In his spare time, he likes to watch movies, try new restaurants, and run 5k races.
Foreign Service Officer, US Department of State
Whitney Dixon completed a Master of Public Policy degree in International Security and Economic Policy at the University of Maryland. She is completing her first assignment as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Whitney founded the Diversity and Inclusion Committee on the SPP Alumni Board and served as the Chairwoman for the first year of its implementation. She currently is the School of Public Policy's representative on the Alumni Association's Board of Governors and is a member of the SPP Alumni Board's Marketing Committee. Before joining the Department of State, she completed a Fulbright grant in Morocco and earned a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University. At the University of Maryland, she was on the Planning Committee for the Third Annual Saul I. Stern Symposium and was one of the founding members of the University of Maryland Public Policy Review. In addition to English, Whitney speaks Spanish, French, Haitian Creole, and Moroccan Arabic.
Joseph Drake serves on the School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board’s Marketing and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committees. He graduated with a Master of Public Policy in May 2019, with a focus on environmental topics such as climate change. During his time at SPP, Joseph served as Vice-President of Queer and Trans in Public Policy (Q.T.I.P.P.) and as Treasurer of the Environmental Council. He was a member of the Brody Student Advisory Council and a teaching assistant for PLCY/AGNR 301, a sustainability course. Between his first and second years in the MPP program, Joseph held an internship with the City of New Carrollton, working on sustainability projects as a Maryland Municipal League Fellow. Prior to achieving his MPP, Joseph attended SUNY Fredonia, where he obtained a B.S. in Video Production and a B.A. in Political Science. Joseph is currently working with the NDC Partnership as their Country Engagement Intern. In his spare time, Joseph enjoys drawing, jogging, and learning Spanish and French.
Research Specialist, US Department of the Treasury
Laura serves on the Engagement Committee and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the School of Public Policy Alumni Board. During her time at SPP, she specialized in International Security and Economic Policy and studied abroad in Jordan, Morocco, and Indonesia. Since graduation, Laura has worked at the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Treasury. Laura previously interned at the Middle East Institute, the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and the Office of Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger. Laura also completed START’s Graduate Certificate Program in Terrorism Analysis and studied Arabic at the University of Maryland. In her free time, Laura likes to run and works at the Pacers running stores in Washington, DC. Laura previously served as Vice President of the Alumni Board and Co-President of the Policy Student Government Association.
Delegate Jazz Lewis is a lifelong resident of Prince George’s County, Maryland and lives in the city of Glenarden with his wife, Aurin. Lewis is an alumnus of the University of Maryland, graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in government and politics and 2014 with a Master of Public Policy. He began his career as a community organizer in Baltimore, where he learned that quality jobs, which pay living wages, change communities.
Lewis is focused on criminal justice reform and economic development to ensure our justice system is fair and that all citizens share in the growth in our economy. He has successfully campaigned and supported the efforts of hard-working Democrats in the state of Maryland and beyond. He currently works as executive director of Hoyer for Congress, the Maryland political organization representing Majority Leader Congressman Steny Hoyer. During this past Presidential cycle, Lewis also served as the Maryland political director for Secretary Hillary Clinton’s campaign, where he was responsible for organizing the various party constituencies to support the Stronger Together platform for the country.
Raymond was elected to the Alumni Board in June 2020 for a two-year term. He graduated in May 2020 with a B.A. in Public Policy. During his time at UMD, he served as the Public Policy representative in the University Senate, President of the SPP Social Policy Council, and original member of the Diversity Inclusion Belonging (DIB) Taskforce where he continues to serve. Raymond firmly believes that everyone has a right to live in affordable and healthy housing and currently works as the State Policy and Equity Advocate at the National Housing Trust (NHT) in Washington, DC. In his position he leads the Energy Efficiency For All (EEFA) program in Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as the Equity Working Group for all 12 EEFA states. Additionally, he was recently selected to serve on the Advisory Council of the Network for Energy, Water, and Health in Affordable Buildings (NEWHAB). In his spare time, Raymond is a flying trapeze artist and instructor at Trapeze School New York, located in Southeast Washington, DC.
Evan Matthew Papp is the founder of Empathy Media Lab, which is a publishing house, production studio, and event space promoting solidarity around labor rights, new deal political economy demands, and social justice. He has over a decade of experience in brand strategy, political organizing, and media relations through numerous political campaigns, and he has worked for an energy tech startup, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Peace Corps.
Ashton Raffety serves on the Engagement Committee for the School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board. He graduated from the SPP Master of Public Policy program in 2017, concentrating on energy policy. Since graduation, Ashton has been working with the Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, where he manages partnerships between the Department of Energy and the private sector. During his time at SPP, Ashton served as a Graduate Senator on the Graduate Student Government and worked as a GA within SPP Admissions. Past internships include the Missouri House of Representatives, US House of Representatives, US Department of State, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Outside of work, Ashton enjoys cycling, knitting scarves and reading about presidential history.
Esther Rodriguez serves as a program coordinator for Undergraduate Studies at the School of Public Policy. She is a proud alumna of its first class of BAPP students. At the School, Esther supports recruitment, retention efforts and co-curricular programs. She also serves on the Engagement and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committees of the Alumni Board.
Prior to earning her degrees, Rodriguez worked more than a decade in the private sector but decided that she wanted to work on behalf of her community. She has also worked at a nonprofit in Washington, DC that provided academic and athletic programs to children in Ward 5. Esther is a native of Washington, DC, and speaks fluent Spanish. She also holds an MEd in education policy and leadership from American University.
Princeton in Asia Fellow
University Professor, Donghai University, Taichung, Taiwan
Delisha Thompson completed the MPP degree in Spring 2018 with no concentration, and her B.A. in Government and Politics with a concentration in East Asian Studies at the University of Maryland in Spring 14. Delisha serves on the School of Public Policy Alumni Chapter Board’s Marketing and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committees. During her time at the School of Public Policy, she was the lead Graduate Assistant for the College Park Scholars Public Leadership Program. She taught undergraduate capstone courses and collaborated with students to create social advocacy projects. She also mentored and supervised five capstone teams of 28 students. One of her student groups, Kicks 4 Kids, won $1,000 prize for their project. Delisha also worked with SPARC on their #30DaysTooLate campaign, which aimed to shine a light on inadequacies in mental health care on UMD’s campus. SPARC won 2nd place in the Do Good Challenge in Spring 18 with research provided by Ms. Thompson’s capstone project. Delisha’s master's capstone focused on improving mental health policy at the University of Maryland; she worked with Resident Life and the University Health Center to provide policy recommendations to College Park Scholars for how to improve mental health resiliency in their students. Currently, Ms.Thompson is working as a Princeton in Asia fellow at Donghai University. She functions as both a cultural ambassador and an English/history teacher.