NationSwell is thrilled to launch the second year of its fellowship, NationSwell Fellows, sponsored by Cerberus, Service Now, and American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. The NS Fellows program empowers young impact leaders to build and sharpen their skills, grow their network, and develop a project that meaningfully contributes to their social or environmental focus area.
This year’s young leaders are not only incredibly passionate about their work, but they are remarkably intentional about intersectionality, and have already made outstanding strides in their areas of focus. NationSwell is honored to announce the thirteen leaders who were chosen to be this year’s Fellows: Jorge Alvarez, Alex Ang, Srinithya Gillipelli, Maddox Guerilla, Charles Hua, Ericka Kamanoue-Tenta, Jennifer Lee, Katherine Owojori, Nitya Ravriprakash, Maya Salameh, Maya Siegel, Elizabeth Swanson-Andi, Guiying (Angel) Zhong. This extraordinary group of innovators focus their work on a wide variety of impact issues including mental health access & awareness, climate justice, tech and data for good, disability rights, racial justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, and more. We are eager to see what these groundbreakers are going to accomplish over the course of the Fellowship! Meet this year’s Fellows:
Mental Health Activist, Social Impact Strategist, & Creator
As a social impact strategist, Jorge takes a community-centered and intersectional approach to his work around youth mental health, ensuring solutions are culturally sensitive and acknowledge the ways in which mental health is connected to other social and health issues.
Content creator & mental health advocate
Her work focuses on making mental health awareness more accessible, particularly for BIPOC youth, through storytelling. She creates social media content that’s culturally inclusive and digestible, hosts her own podcast, “a is for anxious”, and sits on the youth advisory board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) where she helps create programming and advises on youth mental health initiatives.
Health equity advocate & medical student
Nithya is a medical student who is dedicated to understanding interventions that can be used to improve healthcare access and equity in resource-limited settings. She has years of experience working under experts on research within this realm, leading global health student groups, and studying language as a barrier to healthcare. She hopes to focus on mixed-methods studies and implementation science to address health equity on a global scale.
Visionary & advocate for trans & queer youth mental health & youth homelessness
A firm believer in protopia or the idea that we create the future we want a little at a time everyday, Maddox does just this through his work which has driven change for you experiencing homelessness in NYC. Currently, as a Senior Consultant for Point Source Youth, Maddox connects communities with Direct Cash Pilots.
Nationally recognized clean energy & environmental justice advocate
As a recent graduate of Harvard College, his work in sustainability spans back to high school where he organized a campaign that successfully petitioned his school district to become the largest district in the U.S. (at that time) to commit 100% to renewable energy. Since then, he has become a published thought leader on climate and energy issues and serves on the Board of Directors for several environmental nonprofits. For his work in climate and environmental justice, he has been selected by the White House as a 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar, by the Aspen Institute as a Future Climate Leader, by GreenBiz as an Emerging Leader, and as an Energy News Network 40 Under 40 honoree.
Social Entrepreneur & Pan-African Advocate
Ericka is determined to create a Pan-African movement to help African young adults, on the continent and in the Diaspora, see themselves as leaders and change-makers through entrepreneurship. As a graduating Senior at NYU, she is also the Co-Founder of the early-stage venture IVG Ghana which has a mission to decolonize minds and business models in Black communities.
Founder & disability rights activist
An incoming Juris Doctor candidate at Harvard Law and founder and executive director of the Asian Americans with Disabilities Initiative (AADI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit amplifying the voices of disabled Asian Americans nationwide, Jennifer is on a mission to center the disabled experience in order to forge change.
Anti-racist educator & community organizer
Katherine works to interrogate, challenge, and dismantle harmful systems and narratives that impact BIPOC communities. With a focus on anti-racist education, civil rights, intersectional movement building and more, she hopes to implement institutional change in policy, media, education and beyond.
Data Scientist for equitable opportunities
She is passionate about using data ethically to combat disparities, and currently works as a data science manager and her research focuses around how some AI models actually promote more equitable outcomes in hiring and credit lending for marginalized communities.
Arab American mental health advocate & data analyst
Maya Salameh works at the intersection of data analysis and social impact at VIVA Social Impact, where she leads data strategy for public agencies working to improve underserved Californians’ access to care services. She is particularly interested in Arab American mental health, and hopes to use the Fellowship to develop a project focused on queer Arab Americans’ experiences with mental health care.
Advocate for people & the planet
Maya’s work centers storytelling and aims to build a more sustainable equitable future. She is the Social Editor at Feminist, the largest (6M+ followers on Instagram) women-owned media platform for women, girls, and gender-expansive people and the co-founder of Stories of Consent, an organization devoted to community-based consent education that shares stories of affirmative consent.
Storyteller & Indigenous rights & climate justice advocate
She utilizes storytelling through social media and filmmaking to inspire hope in her community and drive changes that will protect her forest home and the planet as a whole. Elizabeth is of the Napu Kichwa People (Venecia Derecha community member) from the Ecuadorian Amazon, who are on the front lines of fighting food and water insecurity, land invasions/loss, deforestation, cultural loss, climate disaster, and contamination of rivers. Through experience within Indigenous territories in the Amazon, a vast international perspective, and intersectional lens she addresses socio-environmental challenges and builds solutions serving as President of Iyarina Center for Learning, Impact Storyteller at If Not Us Then Who?, and co-founder of the Youth Collective in Defense of the Amazon Rainforest.
GUIYING (ANGEL) ZHONG
Mental health equity scholar-activist
Angel is focused on decreasing racial and gender disparities in mental health access and care-seeking. Much of Angel’s research focuses on how intergenerational trauma affects the AAPI community when it comes to reaching out for mental health services, and she is currently a Research Analyst at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Health Disparities Research.