Biographies of Fellows

The Detroit Fellowship brings together a group of 22 university students and young professionals from Detroit, elsewhere in Michigan, the United States and Europe. Applicants to the Detroit Fellowship are currently enrolled undergraduate students (sophomores, juniors and seniors) or recent graduates with strong ties to Detroit or elsewhere in Michigan; or young professionals from Detroit and currently reside in Detroit or the state of Michigan. Students and recent graduates from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Ukraine are also eligible to apply. All applicants share a strong committment to contributing to Detroit's future, and are futhermore passionate about active and responsible citizenship, diversity and human rights. Learn more about how to become a Humanity in Action Fellow here.

LABIBA AHMED

Technical University of Hamburg | Mölln, Germany
Raised in a small town in Northern Germany, Labiba Ahmed is enrolled in the Chemical and Process Engineering course at the Technical University of Hamburg. Coming from youth participation and anti-racism projects, she is committed to university politics in order to speak out, and fight for the rights of students, and straightening the self-governing student body by empowering students, who are not yet ready to stand up for their rights. In her spare time, Labiba is active as a board member of an association, which organizes political-education-work in order to support participation (projects), and fight group-related misantrophy.

ALEXIS BROWN
Wayne State University | Auburn Hills, Michigan
Born in Detroit but eventually moving to Auburn Hills Alexis is a sophomore at Wayne State University with a double major in Sociology and Urban Studies. She graduated from Avondale High School, while there she was involved in many leadership building programs for young black males and disenfranchised youth. Some of those programs included Go a non-profit organization started up by her mentor and a book club for African American high school males. She also gave a TedXTalk at Oxford High School in 2016 that focused on empowering yourself and others. Following graduation she was involved with the XQ Super School project though Go. Her goal after college is to work with the youth of Detroit in a way that will empower them to believe in themselves by equipping them with the resources and skills needed to do so. She is also on the Track and Field team at WSU.

SOPHIA BURNS
Vassar College | Westville Grove, New Jersey
Sophia Burns holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies, with multidisciplinary concentrations in Political Science and Geography from Vassar College. As a member of the Young People For (YP4) 2017 fellowship cohort, she is developing the Resilient Youth Collaborative, a network of support and empowerment for children of incarcerated parents. She looks forward to beginning her term as a Partners for Justice Advocate at the Alameda County Office of the Public Defender in Oakland, California in September.

COLINE CONSTANTINE
University of Edinburgh | Lyon, France
Coline is a passionate French woman committed to address social and legal injustices which can affect migrants, refugees and detainees. She first completed a bachelor degree at the socially innovative 3A business school in Lyon, where she got the opportunity to study in Madagascar and intern in Central America and India. Two years ago, she moved to the University of Edinburgh to complete an MSc in International Development and an LLM in Human Rights. There, she organized events on immigration detention, penal reform in Scotland and a project to implement MUN programs in Scottish prisons to take the debate forward on these questions. After working voluntarily with Prison Insider at its creation, she is now a member of the board of directors and secretary of this association informing on prison conditions around the world. Her work ethics stem from her leisure-time activities such as playing rugby and gathering around food.

MARIE-LOUISE CLEMMENSEN
University of Copenhagen | Copenhagen, Denmark
Born and raised in Copenhagen, Malou Astrup Clemmensen just finished her undergraduate in History and Social Sciences from the University of Copenhagen. Malou's academic interest is the education and empowerment of communities and labor unions, wanting tot create a sustainable change in society. Her studies have also brought on an investigation of the Civil Rights Movement and the education of activists. Malou has been the president of the Student Union at UCPH during the last two years, committing her time to the fight for equality in education and the rights of all students. Just starting her Master of history, Malou hopes to keep working with and understanding the powers of change in the future.

CELESTE GOEDERT

University of Edinburgh | Ferndale, Michigan
Celeste was born and raised in Southeast Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 with a degree in Social Theory & Practice and a minor in French Language & Literature. She also studied Japanese language and culture and spent her final semester studying abroad and farming in Japan. Her senior thesis focused on oral storytelling and feminist approaches to love. Celeste currently works as a nanny and intern at WDET Detroit public radio. She is a member of the Detroit chapter of the Japanese American Citizen's League. She is interested in the relationship between media, art, and social transformation. In her spare time she enjoys playing music and learning new instruments. She hopes to continue learning about love and social justice in her future academic endeavors.

MARK HAIDAR
University of Michigan | Northville, Michigan
A native of Metro Detroit, Mark Haidar graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy in 2016. While in college, Mark interned for the Chicago Housing Authority, the White House Domestic Policy Council, and Google. He also spent a semester at the National University of Singapore, as well as participated in the Summer Venture in Management Program at Harvard Business School. After graduation, Mark worked as an Associate at Wellspring Consulting in New York, a strategy consulting firm that advises organizations in the social sector. Mark has now moved back home to Michigan and seeks to give back to the communities that shaped him to who he is today. He hopes to work for the Mayor’s office following the Humanity in Action Detroit Fellowship and to later attend law school, before ultimately engaging in a career of public service in the Metro Detroit area.

ANTONELA KOTSONI
Aalborg University | Patras, Greece
Antonela likes to think she is a global citizen. With an MA in Migration and Ethnic Relations and undergraduate studies in Intercultural Education, she values tolerance, diversity management and intercultural communication. Over the last four years, she has been working with the NGO InterMediaKT in Greece on transnational projects, in a wide spectrum of topics varying from refugee integration and active citizenship to social entrepreneurship. One of her life passions is traveling and cultural exchange, as such she has lived in five different countries for studying, working, interning, and conducting academic research. She is a youth leader of a group of passionate Greek and international volunteers and she is dedicated to promoting human rights and equality.

HIRA MAJEED
Wayne State University | Saginaw, Michigan
Raised in Saginaw, Michigan, Hira Majeed is a rising junior at Wayne State University with a major in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a minor in Global Studies. As an intern at Detroit Equity Action Lab, Hira researches and advocates for issues facing Detroit residents such as water shutoffs, illegal tax foreclosures, and equitable development. Her other passions include sharing her Pakistani culture with others as well as raising awareness for the Syrian humanitarian crisis; she does this through her various executive roles at Wayne. After college, Hira aims to use her degree to provide sustainable infrastructure for communities in need. 

KATHRYN "KATJA" MOLINARO
University of Michigan | Dayton, Ohio
Kathryn (Katja) Molinaro graduated from the University of Michigan in 2017 with degrees in political science, French & Francophone studies, and a minor in urban & community studies. During her time at U of M, Katja spent a year studying at Sciences Po in Aix-en-Provence, France, as well as a semester in Detroit exploring the city and its history and interning for City Councilmember Raquel Castañeda-Lopez. After graduating, Katja made her way back to Detroit and now works as a youth specialist at the Ruth Ellis Center (a residential and mental health facility for LGBTQ+ youth), and coaches Detroit Cristo Rey High School's policy debate team. She's especially interested in the intersection of art and social change and enjoys all things creative. Katja ultimately hopes to pursue a career in education in some capacity.

JASMINE PAUL

The American University of Paris | Macomb Township, Michigan
Born and raised in Copenhagen, Malou Astrup Clemmensen just finished her undergraduate in History and Social Sciences from the University of Copenhagen. Malou's academic interest is the education and empowerment of communities and labor unions, wanting tot create a sustainable change in society. Her studies have also brought on an investigation of the Civil Rights Movement and the education of activists. Malou has been the president of the Student Union at UCPH during the last two years, committing her time to the fight for equality in education and the rights of all students. Just starting her Master of history, Malou hopes to keep working with and understanding the powers of change in the future.

KRISTINA "STINA" PERKINS

University of Michigan | Ann Arbor, Michigan
Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Kristina (Stina) Perkins is a 2018 graduate from the University of Michigan with degrees in Women’s Studies, American Culture, and Writing. As an undergrad, Stina worked as a Publications Intern for the National Endowment for the Humanities, a docent at University of Michigan’s Natural History Museum, and an editor for What the F, a feminist literary magazine on campus. Interested in storytelling as a means of social protest, Stina researched slam poetry movements while studying human rights abroad in Nepal, Jordan, and Chile through the International Honors Program. Stina currently serves as an Engelhardt Social Justice Fellow for the Prison Creative Arts Project, where she facilitates theatre and creative writing workshops in Southeast Michigan correctional facilities and pursues her passion for arts-based restorative justice.

ADA RACHFALSKA

Warsaw University | Kozienice, Poland
Ada is a postgraduate at the Warsaw School of Economics (BA in Finance & Accountancy, MA in Management) and will soon graduate from Warsaw University, where she's doing her BA in cultural studies at the American Studies Center. While she started developing an interest in human rights at her second university, earlier she took part in the Chinese-Polish Partnership for Development and coordinated the Israeli-Polish Forum of Dialogue, both voluntary student exchange projects at her alma mater. She spent one semester studying in Germany at TU Dortmund. She also worked at the Google StreetView team for over a year. Ada's interests revolve around gender, racial and economic inequality. She is also a huge music fan, a regular attendee at various music shows, and a member of a small independent art collective based in Wroclaw (Poland) where she mostly writes and helps produce zines. She would like to do a Ph.D. in African American history of music.

AKASH RAJE

University of Virginia | Detroit, Michigan

Born and raised in Farmington Hills, MI and later Midlothian, Virginia, Akash Raje is a rising fourth year at the University of Virginia double majoring in African American & African Studies and Foreign Affairs. Influenced by his upbringing in Metro Detroit's vibrant cultural communities, Akash is interested in studying the Indian American identity and multiculturalism in the United States. He spent last summer in rural Maharashtra, India teaching math, reading, and writing to children at Snehalaya NGO.At the University of Virginia, Akash is active in music and community building, serving as the President of the Student Hip Hop Organization and as a DJ for WXTJ Student Radio. He also works with the Inter-Fraternity Council and UVA Multicultural Student Services to pursue opportunities for inclusion and empowerment of minority students. At his core, he is a lover of music and believes in the power of music to build compassionate communities.

ANTONIO REGULIER

State University of New York at Fredonia | Roosevelt, New York
Antonio Regulier is revered as a transformational leader by his family, peers and colleagues. He is leading Project M.O.V.E. (Mobilizing Opportunities for Volunteer Experience) Buffalo — an AmeriCorps program under Corporation for National and Community Service — in the Office of the Mayor, in the Division of Citizen Services. This anti-poverty initiative builds on neighborhood revitalization through beautification, outreach, and community development. Born in Haiti, Antonio was raised on Long Island, New York. He was conferred concurrent degrees in Social Work and English from the State University of New York at Fredonia. A Graduate Diversity Fellow at Buffalo State, he is a candidate for a Master of Public Administration degree and a senator in student government. Antonio has research interest in mental health, culture and identity, and arts integration for social change. A classically trained dancer and aspiring writer, he enjoys fitness, reading, and traveling. 

LUTALO SANIFU
University of Michigan | Detroit,  Michigan

Lutalo Sanifu is a native Detroiter, and Rackham Merit Fellow, who will be graduating from the University of Michigan with a Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning in December 2018. A recent graduate of Morehouse College (Urban Studies 2017), Lutalo provides stakeholders in neighborhood development a comprehensive understanding of how to create an inclusive process through his ability to communicate each individual neighborhood's context from his diverse experience in real estate (Amrock, TSI Appraisals), urban planning, and government (Wayne County Register of Deeds) in Detroit. His affiliations include the Osakwe Ndegwa Jahi Scholarship (founder and board member), the Black Slate (board member), Rackham, Planning For Inclusion Initiate (student recruitment coordinator) and Humanity in Action. He would like to study methods for creating inclusive development in Detroit through transportation, education and training. After graduation, Lutalo intends to return to Detroit to work in local government.

KWABENA "KOBI" SARFO-PANIN

Union Theological Seminary | Accra, Ghana
Kobi is a student at Union Theological Seminary, where he explores how religion can be used as instrument to achieve social and economic justice in Ghana in particular, and more generally in Sub-Saharan Africa. He also loves to play soccer.

ANASTASIA SIAPKA

King's College London | Kilkis, Greece
Anastasia Siapka is the co-founder of “Code it Like a Girl" and “Geek Islands,” both awarded initiatives that bridge the digital divide in Greece among women and residents of remote areas, respectively. For her social impact, she has been awarded the Angelopoulos-Clinton Fellowship and has served as an International Exchange Alumna of the US State Department as well as a Women’s Entrepreneurship Day UN Student Ambassador. She has interned at the TechConnect Department of the New York Public Library and at the Press and Communications Office of the Embassy of Greece in London, while she has previously worked with the Eugenides Foundation, Microsoft Hellas, The Huffington Post, etc. Anastasia has studied Law at undergraduate and Public Administration at postgraduate level and is currently pursuing an MA Philosophy at King’s College London. Her academic and professional interests lie at the intersection of ethics, technology and digital policy.

JACQUELINE TIZORA
University of Amsterdam | Mutare, Zimbabwe

Jacqueline is Zimbabwean born and South African bred Black radical feminist with a keen interest in African feminist thought and affairs. Currently studying Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam, Jacqueline is also a part-time consultant at Recipes for Self Love as well as a freelance journalist. She is also a member of the University of Colour, an Amsterdam-based collective that aims to decolonise institutions, and as member has been invited to give speeches at events like the Dutch Premiere of the Winnie Documentary and participates in regular public panel discussions and debates on various issues. Being passionate about African affairs and well-versed in world politics has inspired her to make plans to pursue a Master's degree in Public Policy or International Relations in 2019, a practical way to marry the two passions.

ALMA TUTIC
University of Sarajevo | Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Alma was born in 1991, just one year before her hometown of Bihac fell under a 3-year-long siege during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She graduated from University of Sarajevo with a BA in English Language and Literature and Sociology, and she is currently pursuing an MA in Translation Studies and Sociology. Her areas of interest are gender equality, gender-based violence and wartime sexual violence related to Bosnian society and the country's turbulent history.

SHARON VILLAGRAN
Princeton University | Los Angeles, California
Sharon is a Senior Fellow at Humanity in Action, having participated in the 2015 John Lewis fellowship. She is a first year graduate student at Princeton University. She is pursuing her doctorate in the department of sociology and is broadly interested in international migration, urban sociology, and ethnography. As an undergraduate student at UCLA, Sharon conducted an ethnography of bus riding in Los Angeles. In doing her fieldwork, Sharon focused on dependency on public transportation as a potential measure of quality of life. Within this discussion, job equity, bus equity, and public harassment were all salient concerns in exploring how the mobility of residents within communities like South Central Los Angeles experience limited mobility. Sharon is originally from South Central Los Angeles, and has volunteered extensively with organizations in her community. This has largely been with a focus on immigrant rights, as well as outreach programs for youth within the area.

EMMA YIP
University of California, Berkeley | Napa, California

Emma grew up in California and went to community college in Seattle, Washington. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Society and Environment at the end of 2016. While there she worked at the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, founded Students with Standing Rock at Berkeley, and wrote a thesis on land grabs in the cacao sector of Indonesia. Upon graduation, Emma was awarded a grant to pursue a social-justice project to foster environmental awareness in predominantly conservative states in America. Today, she continues to work on that project, Delta Collaborative, with a traveling environmental museum based out of New Orleans. Emma intends to pursue a masters in political ecology and social change-making in the near future, after-which she will continue her career in environmental pedagogy. Emma is a 2017 Humanity in Action Senior Fellow.