Fellows profiles

Current Community Fellows and Projects - 2019-2020

Connor Burbridge

Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem/St. Luke's University Hospital Network's Department of Community Health and Preventative Medicine
Connor is the lead organizer of the Southside Garden Alliance, a group he created in collaboration with the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem. This year he has founded a Seed Library and Tool Library at the South Bethlehem Public Library, organized community garden programming, led a workshop series on organic gardening, and supported Farm to School programming in South Bethlehem schools. He has also partnered with St. Luke’s University Health Network to help build a strategic plan for their Adopt-a-School Garden program and will be working with Broughal Middle School on their greenhouse curriculum. His work is at the intersection of community health and environmental sustainability, and involves forging diverse partnerships to solve complex challenges. Connor is an M.A. candidate in the Environmental Policy Program, with a concentrations in Environmental Health and Sustainable Agriculture.

Reilly Callahan

Bradbury Sullivan LGBT Community Center
Reilly is a Community Fellow at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in Allentown, PA. The Center provides life-enriching arts and culture events, fundamental youth programming, critical health services, vibrant pride events, and essential supportive services to the LGBT community of eastern Pennsylvania. Reilly’s role at this non-profit is in the development office where she writes grants, manages donor relations, coordinates fundraising events. Her efforts are crucial for the financial stability and longevity of the Center and its programs. Reilly’s focus is grant writing, and one of the most notable grants Reilly has secured is from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and supports one of the Center’s health screening campaigns. Reilly is and M.A. candidate in Sociology.

Leah Charash

City of Bethlehem, Department of Community and Economic Development, PA Municipal League Community Fellow
Leah is a Community Fellow with the City of Bethlehem’s Department of Community and Economic Development, working to help implement some of the City’s major objectives including Northside 2027, blight remediation, climate action planning, and establishment of proposed student housing policy. Leah is utilizing ArcGIS as a mapping tool to provide visuals that reveal the story behind numerical data to better inform policy decisions made by the city. She has also assisted in the completion of several grant applications including the 2019 PA Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE) and PennDOT Multimodal Transportation Fund (MTF) Grants. Leah is an M.A. Candidate in the Environmental Policy Program, with a concentration in Urban Policy and Planning.

Chloe Goldstein

Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, Allentown
As a Community Fellow, Chloe Goldstein serves as the Business Relationship Manager for the Downtown Allentown Business Alliance (DABA), a program of the Allentown Chamber of Commerce. Chloe has conducted personal interviews with over 30 small businesses within the Hamilton District and developed a survey to track mutual needs in the business community. Survey data will help to facilitate future business development workshops and seminars and help to create more connectivity to the City of Allentown and DABA. The end goal of the program is to develop an ecosystem in support of the businesses, inclusive of marketing, accounting, business financial planning, legal, etc.  Chloe functions as an adjunct staff member of the DABA and the Allentown Chamber of Commerce and attends board of directors meetings for both organizations. She also serves on the DABA Retail Committee reporting on her progress to the business owners and helping to plan innovative small business events. Chloe is an M.A. candidate in Political Science.

Kirsten Hernandez

Valley Against Sex Trafficking (VAST)
Kirsten is a Community Fellow with the Valley Against Sex Trafficking engaging in program evaluation and policy analysis. In the fall she focused her efforts on evaluating the effectiveness of the first annual Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Week, which was comprised of documentary showings, coffeeshop conversations, and art installations, all with the purpose of highlighting the stories of trafficking survivors and raising awareness about human trafficking in the Lehigh Valley. This semester, she is focusing her efforts on expanding the advocacy and action of VAST in the Lehigh Valley by strengthening the bonds with local government and expanding the organization’s trafficking awareness training. Kirsten is an M.A. candidate in Political Science.

Mahdis Modaresi

Lehigh Valley Planning Commission
Mahdis is a Community Fellow at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC). As a Community Fellow she is assisting with a major 2019-2020 LVPC initiative, helping 30 municipalities plan for growth and development in their communities. Mahdis has been mapping data by GIS, researching zoning ordinances, contributing to transportation studies, and helping to modernize the content, structure and layout of plans. These updates support communities with implementation of their visions, which Mahdis will help to bring from broad goals to implementable policies through community engagement and working with LVPC staff. She also will be picking up additional tasks within the plans in spring and summer. Mahdis is an M.A. candidate in the Environmental Policy Program, with a concentration in Urban Policy and Planning.

Hayden O'Rourke

Bethlehem Area School District
Hayden is a Community Fellow with the Early Learning department in the Bethlehem Area School District (BASD).  He is working on aligning preschool and childcare centers with BASDs kindergarten standards, and has performed site visits, and leads focus groups with various stakeholders surrounding PreK and preparing children for Kindergarten. His goal is to create a preschool task force on the Southside.  He is active on the United Way’s Talk-Read-Sing Committee, PBS 39 Ready to Learn committee, and Lehigh Valley Reads programming.  Hayden is an M.A. student in Political Science with an interest in educational policy.  

Marilyn Perez-Mendoza

St. Luke's University Hospital Network's Department of Community Health and Preventative Medicine/Hispanic Center of the Lehigh Valley
As mandated by the Affordable Care Act and as part of the 2022 St. Luke's University Health Network’s Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), Marilyn is tasked with building a new template for the network's 11-campus CHNAs. Combining epidemiological data analysis with user-friendly design, her template will ensure a public health resource for both hospital professionals and community members. At the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley (HCLV), Marilyn supports grant writing and development where she was instrumental to securing $60,000+ in grant funds within the first 60 days of her fellowship. Joint HCLV-SLUHN projects focus on Marilyn's passion for health equity, including conducting background research for SLUHN diversity models, and program evaluation of SLUHN healthcare pipeline programs. Marilyn is an M.A. candidate in Political Science.

Danielle Sato

Valley Youth House
Danielle is a Community Fellow with Valley Youth House. She works closely with Project Silk, a youth drop-in center in Allentown that provides sexual health programming for LGBTQ+ youth of color. She aids in the development and delivery of Project Silk programming by collecting participants’ feedback through surveys and focus groups. Additionally, Danielle does agency-wide data analysis of client, parent/guardian, and customer satisfaction surveys, working to improve data collection methods and data analysis reporting. This work on quality assurance aims to directly benefit Valley Youth House staff in program improvement as well as create a more streamlined process for survey analysis in the future. Danielle is an M.A. candidate in Sociology.

Past Community Fellows Profiles

Community Fellows Profiles 2018-2019

Community Fellows Profiles 2017-2018

Community Fellows Profiles 2016-2017

Community Fellows Profiles 2015-2016

Community Fellows Profiles 2014-2015

Community Fellows Profiles 2013-2014

Community Fellows Profiles 2012-2013

Community Fellows Profiles 2011-2012

Community Fellows Profiles 2010-2011