Meet Our Board

Scolastica is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a board of directors and an advisory board.  Unlike larger organizations with employees and administrative costs, we are proud of the fact that we are run entirely by a volunteer board.  This means that every donation goes directly to the girls it the form of school tuition, uniforms, school supplies, and health care.

A big THANK YOU to the following people that have generously volunteered to spend their time and efforts helping Scolastica by serving on our board:

Board of Directors:

Gwyneth Hesser, Founder and President

It was in 2013, while working as the director of a girls’ education NGO in Arusha, Tanzania, that Gwyneth met Scolastica, Rabia, Rahma and Nureen. After obtaining her B.A. in education and English literature, Gwyneth taught secondary school English and implemented gender development projects in Benin, West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer.  Upon returning to the US, she taught fifth grade in an inner-city public school and worked as a case manager for HIV positive adults in Boston. Gwyneth was a Public Interest/Public Service scholarship recipient at American University where she earned her law degree with a focus on international human rights and a M.A. in international affairs. She clerked for the ACLU’s capital punishment project, Amnesty International’s United Nations office, and volunteered with an NGO in Rwanda (which prompted her first visit to Arusha). For the four years prior to moving to Tanzania, Gwyneth was a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society of New York where she represented children in abuse and neglect proceedings in New York City courts.  Gwyneth is currently the director of Inherit Your Rights, a non-profit organization in Arusha that aims to protect women’s land and property rights.

Lauren Teichner, Treasurer

Lauren lives in Brooklyn, NY and is a staff attorney in the Family Defense Practice at the Bronx Defenders, a holistic public defender organization located in the South Bronx.  At the Bronx Defenders, Lauren serves on a team of attorneys working in many different areas of public interest law – including criminal, family, immigration, housing, public benefits, and civil rights – as well as with parent advocates and social workers, in order to provide comprehensive defense services to families from the surrounding community.  In particular, Lauren represents low-income parents who have been accused of abuse or neglect in an effort t to return children home to their families, keep children home safely, prevent terminations of parental rights, and ultimately hold families together.  Prior to joining the Bronx Defenders, Lauren was a litigation associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Manhattan.  She graduated magna cum laude from American University Washington College of Law, where she participated in the Criminal Defense Clinic and was awarded the Dean’s Award for Professional Responsibility as an Outstanding Student in the Clinical Program.  Lauren also holds a Masters degree in Gender and Social Policy from the London School of Economics, and an A.B. degree in Religion and Gender Studies from Princeton University.  She is so happy to join Scolastica’s efforts.

Jessica Le, Secretary

Jessica was born and raised in Kansas City to immigrant parents from Vietnam. From an early age, Jessica’s parents reinforced the importance and value of a good education in order to be successful in the world. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Jessica was honored to be named a Gates Millennium Scholar in the program’s inaugural year which assisted greatly in funding her education. Without needing to take on a job, it enabled her to focus on her studies and activities and truly get the most out of her college education and experience. She graduated at the top of her class with a Bachelors in Science in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Building Science. While at USC, Jessica volunteered with elementary school youth in Los Angeles’ Chinatown through the Asian American Tutorial Project (AATP) . She also volunteered at the Family Education Camp at USC’s Wrigley Institute on Catalina Island and taught English and life skills to the girls at Casa Hogar Orphanage in Venezuela. Education, community building and volunteerism are core values that Jessica stands by. She is thrilled at the opportunity to be on the board for Scolastica and looks forward to assisting the program’s scholars acquire the same educational opportunities she was so generously afforded.

 

Advisory Board:

Chai Park

Chai is the Director of Research & Analysis at the New York City Board of Correction, the agency that establishes and ensures compliance with regulations concerning the conditions of confinement and correctional health and mental health care in all city-operated jails, including those at Rikers Island.  She received her undergraduate degree in biology from Smith College, Master of Public Health from Yale University, and law degree from the University of Notre Dame.  In the past, she has worked as an attorney with the Legal Aid Society and NYPD, and as an analyst with Aetna, Inc.  She has lived on four continents and volunteered in two.  She is excited to be part of Scolastica and help make this world a better place for future generations.

Dayna Antonio

Dayna lives in Media, PA and is currently a manager for a global cosmetics brand. She received her undergraduate in psychology and M.S. in forensic psychology.  She is an active panel member with the local Youth Aid Panel in her area; an organization that serves to provide juvenile first time offenders with alternatives in lieu of the justice system. She also actively participates in raising funds for men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS.  Dayna has also resided in California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.  In her free time, she loves to spend time with family and friends, cook, read, attend concerts and shows, and try new restaurants.

Jeremy Steckel

Jeremy is a Clinic Fellow and Supervising Attorney at New York University law school’s Business Law Transactions Clinic which serves non-profits and social enterprises.  Prior to joining NYU, Jeremy was an associate at the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, where he focused on corporate matters and securities transactions. After studying economics and music in New Orleans, Jeremy packed up his guitar and headed to American University where he received his J.D. in 2008.  While at American University, he received the Robert Woldow Scholarship for corporate and securities law and served as a student attorney in the Immigrant Justice Clinic.  Jeremy has received multiple pro-bono achievement awards from The Legal Aid Society and from Milbank.  He recently returned from a two week trip in Sulawesi, Indonesia where he helped to set up medical clinics in three remote villages.  He is thrilled to be a part of Scolastica.

Meggie Sramek

Meggie is an attorney editor for Practical Law at Thomson Reuters in New York City.  Previously, she was a litigation associate in the New York offices of Mayer Brown, LLP and Cahill Gordon & Reindel, LLP. While an associate, Meggie participated in approximately 100 hours of pro bono service per year, including successfully obtaining social security disability benefits for a client and serving as the lead associate on a high-profile murder defense trial team in partnership with The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem. Meggie received her J.D. in 2008, cum laude, from American University Washington College of Law, where she participated in the General Practice Clinic. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and French Studies from Duke University.

Michael Jenkins

Michael Jenkins is an environmental consultant working in Princeton, New Jersey.  He was born and raised in New Jersey and earned an undergraduate degree in English from Princeton University.  Originally setting his sights on work in the publishing industry, Michael’s curiosity and love of learning brought him into environmental consulting, a world that was entirely new to him.  In his work at Kleinfelder, Michael has learned a great deal about water quality and wastewater engineering, and continues to learn more as time goes on.  His passion for learning and belief in education often finds itself expressed through the younger generation, sharing curious bits of knowledge with his nephew and six nieces, helping them with their homework, watching them as they take in a whole world of knowledge that is ages old and yet somehow entirely new.  Michael was immediately moved upon hearing of the plight of the girls who are being helped through Scolastica and many other girls like them.  He is happy, humbled and appreciative to have the chance to make a difference for these young ladies.

Monique Tuyisenge Onyegbula

Monique Tuyisenge-Onyegbula, originally from Rwanda, is an adjunct Professor at APUS in the School of Security and Global Studies, in the International Studies Department where she teaches Conflict Resolutions and International Relations. She also works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Public Health Analyst. Monique is a US Navy Veteran, where she served in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. She holds a Masters in International Security Policy from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. She is a wife and mother of three boys.

Solomon Shinerock

Solomon is a NYC-based attorney representing a range of clients that include global investment banks, investment advisors, public pension funds, and energy development corporations. He has an active pro-bono practice, and has successfully petitioned for asylum on behalf of a political refugee and sought appellate relief in connection with a capital case in Texas. From 2010-2011 Solomon served as a law clerk to Judge Harold Baer, Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He graduated magna cum laude and Order of the Coif from American University Washington College of Law, where he was a Mussey-Gillett Fellow recognized for academic excellence and service to the community. He completed an undergraduate degree in English, Rhetoric and Composition at Oberlin College, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with High Honors.