meet our team

We asked everyone: "What's your favorite way to unplug and recharge?”

Alison Malmon

Flying through the air with the greatest of ease, 23 feet in the air on the flying trapeze

Alison Malmon

Founder & Executive Director

Alison Malmon

Alison Malmon

Founder & Executive Director

Alison Malmon is the founder and Executive Director of Active Minds, and a sought after mental health expert. Alison formed the organization in 2003 as a 21-year-old, following the suicide of her brother and only sibling Brian. Wanting to end the silence that caused her brother to suffer alone and ultimately take his own life, Alison created a group on her campus at the University of Pennsylvania to promote open dialogue around mental health. Since then, Active Minds has grown into the country’s foremost mental health organization for students and young adults, with award-winning programs and a vibrant network of campus chapters located at more than 600 colleges, universities, and high schools nationwide.

Alison lives in Boulder, Colorado, and is the mother of three young girls. In her spare time, she loves flying 23 feet in the air at the Trapeze School in Washington, DC.

See Alison’s full bio »

Josh Babcock

Writing, hiking, cooking/eating, singing, and time with friends

Josh Babcock

Visual Brand Manager

Josh Babcock

Josh Babcock

Visual Brand Manager

Josh has 10 years of experience as a communications and visual design professional working with brands across the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and Southeast Asia. He recently completed a PhD in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology at the University of Chicago with a research focus on racial equity and linguistic human rights. When he’s not thinking about brands/designing things/teaching/leading workshops, Josh is probably writing, hiking, cooking, creating games, singing, producing events, or enjoying time with friends.

Maddie Baker

I love spending time with my family, trying new restaurants, and watching any kind of Bravo programming!

Maddie Baker

Program Associate, K-12 Initiatives

Maddie Baker

Maddie Baker

Program Associate, K-12 Initiatives

Maddie is a Texas native and 2019 graduate of the University of Virginia where she studied English and history. During her time at UVA, she worked at the University of Virginia Women’s Center and spent her summers interning in various service and youth development roles. After moving to DC, Maddie spent a year working as an AmeriCorps Member with City Year and volunteering with 826DC, a creative writing and literacy initiative for students in the DCPS system. Her passion for mental health stems from her work in education and youth advocacy. On the weekends you can find her enjoying a bagel on the Georgetown waterfront or taking one of her many family dogs for a walk through Rock Creek Park.

Maya Bobo

I love listening to music and baking!

Maya Bobo

Events Manager, Active Minds Speakers

Maya Bobo

Maya Bobo

Events Manager, Active Minds Speakers

Maya, a Maryland native, comes to Active Minds with over 5 years of meetings planning experience. The Johnson & Wales University alum earned a B.S. in Sports/Entertainment/Event Management in 2016 and is currently pursuing a Master’s at San Diego State University in Meetings and Events Management. Upon graduating from her undergrad, she landed an internship at The Mansion on O Street, a luxury boutique hotel in Dupont Circle. In 2017, she earned another internship at Walt Disney World in the Disney College Program. In her spare time, Maya enjoys cooking, baking, traveling, and attending concerts.

Krista Cantrell

Listening to music, watching film and tv (while cuddling with my cat, Bootsie), and cooking for loved ones

Krista Cantrell

Send Silence Packing Outreach Manager

Krista Cantrell

Krista Cantrell

Send Silence Packing Outreach Manager

Krista serves as the Send Silence Packing Outreach Manager at Active Minds and is based out of Philadelphia, PA, where she moved with her partner in the summer of 2019 after living in Burlington, VT for six years. She graduated from the University of Vermont in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Global Studies and considers Vermont her second home. Krista started her career in higher education at her alma mater where she co-founded the Citizen Scholar Award and continued her work in undergraduate admissions as an Assistant Director at Villanova University recruiting students domestically and internationally. She is currently completing her Master of Arts in Liberal Studies at Villanova with a concentration on peace and justice studies. Krista’s personal and professional passion focuses on addressing the inequities that underrepresented populations face in all aspects of life. As the daughter of a war refugee, Krista credits her Nicaraguan family for instilling a strong sense of love, justice, and rootedness in her identity. Krista herself is a native of the Washington, D.C. area and enjoys every opportunity she gets to reconnect with the community there. Her favorite spot is the Taco Bar in Gaithersburg, MD which was a family staple in her household growing up!

Lauren Cikara

Backyard hangouts with my partner and friends, hiking in the Colorado mountains, and trying to master new baking recipes

Lauren Cikara

Director, K-12 Initiatives

Lauren Cikara

Lauren Cikara

Director, K-12 Initiatives

Lauren has spent her entire career advocating for youth and young adult programming in K-12 education, higher education, and community spaces. Most recently, she worked for the Colorado School of Public Health School recruiting schools to participate in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS), Colorado’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), and Smart Source. In this role, Lauren supported schools in administering the surveys and provided technical support to schools and community partners as they navigated using results to inform school and adolescent health work across Colorado. She is a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ inclusive school board policies and ensures the work she is a part of has an equitable and intersectional lens. Lauren’s background is in student leadership, health education and equity, policy and advocacy, and equity and inclusion. She enjoys hiking, baking, and exploring the Denver art and music scene.

Margo J. Collins

Sitting poolside, lakeside, on a beach or on a boat

Margo J. Collins

Chief Development & Marketing Officer

Margo J. Collins

Margo J. Collins

Chief Development & Marketing Officer

Margo has spent her 16-year career helping worthy causes realize the resources needed to continue their important work. With Active Minds Margo leads the organization’s brand awareness and resource development. Most recently, Margo served as the Vice President, Development & Communications for Grameen Foundation. Prior to that role she served as Director of Development, Campaigns for the United Nations Foundation, guiding the fundraising and donor communication programs of the Shot@Life, Girl Up, and Nothing But Nets campaigns of the UN Foundation, which cumulatively represent more than 1 million supporters and advocates of global development. The first half of Margo’s career was spent as a Vice President at CCS, one of the largest strategic development consulting firms in the industry, where she directed multi-million dollar campaigns and assisted clients in enhancing their fundraising program efficiency. Originally a Midwesterner, Margo has lived in 13 cities across 9 states, and has toured 6 continents since graduating from Lehigh University. She and her family now happily reside in Washington, DC.

Caitlin DeLaurentis

Reading, taking a long walk, and doing a SoulCycle ride

Caitlin DeLaurentis

Special Projects & Operations Manager

Caitlin DeLaurentis

Caitlin DeLaurentis

Special Projects & Operations Manager

Caitlin serves as the Special Projects and Operations Manager at Active Minds where she helps to project manage organization-wide strategic initiatives and evolve operations. She has a background in education, having worked at organizations dedicated to ensuring equity in educational access and opportunity. Most recently, Caitlin worked at the Washington Jesuit Academy where she helped drive impact through institutional fundraising, strategic project management, and communications. Prior to that she held various positions in development, operations, and student life at Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School, first as an AmeriCorps volunteer and then a full-time staff member. A Kensington, MD native, Caitlin earned a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Georgetown University and a Master of Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame.  
Rami El Gharib

Exploring a new city/having dessert

Rami El Gharib

Manager, Chapter Partnerships

Rami El Gharib

Rami El Gharib

Manager, Chapter Partnerships

Rami, a native of Lebanon, comes to Active Minds with a background in Conflict Resolution and Organizational Development. Rami earned his BA from the American University of Beirut in Psychology and pursued an MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of New Haven in 2018. Since then, he has worked in the field of Restorative Justice in different states and has established an LGBTQ+ youth safe space in Colorado. He is also one of the founders of the Restorative Rainbow Alliance, the first alliance in the field of Restorative Justice that introduces an LGBTQ+ inclusive lens.

Rami and his husband currently live in Atlanta, GA with their cat, Santino.

Francis Escaler

Music! Finding, listening, or sharing music always puts me in a good mood.

Francis Escaler

Salesforce Manager

Francis Escaler

Francis Escaler

Salesforce Manager

Francis was born and raised in the Philippines and has been a DC resident since 2012. Previously working at the Capital Area Food Bank whose mission was to solve hunger where he learned all about Salesforce and the power of data and automation. He jumped at the opportunity to work at Active Minds understanding that people need to take care of their minds just as much as their physical body. Outside of work, Francis loves to travel to new places and enjoys going to music events. He’s also a DJ who likes to mix deep and melodic tracks together for anyone who will listen.

Becky Fein

Hiking in the redwoods with my favorite four-legged friend, Daisy

Becky Fein

VP, Community Initiatives

Becky Fein

Becky Fein

VP, Community Initiatives

Becky oversees and leads the Active Minds California Mental Health Services Act (CalMHSA) funded initiative. She has been supporting the creation of peer-powered student advocacy programs, under CalMHSA contracts, for five years, beginning in 2012 at Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University. Becky served as Adjunct Faculty at Santa Rosa Junior College, where she taught a course on personal health and issues at the forefront of public health. She has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from University of California, Davis, and a Master’s of Public Health from Columbia University. Becky also co-founded the Powerful Voices Project, a documentary film series highlighting the stories of resilience and recovery from people who have experienced sexual assault. In her spare time, you can find Becky hiking among the oak trees and redwoods of Northern California.

Amy Gatto

Spending time on the boat or taking a long walk

Amy Gatto

Director, Research & Evaluation

Amy Gatto

Amy Gatto

Director, Research & Evaluation

Amy is interested in the relationship between health and education. Blending together her experiences as a former high school teacher, higher education health educator, and young adult health researcher, she has found a niche in working to improve adolescent and young adult mental health. Amy is a doctoral candidate at the University of South Florida in the College of Public Health, holds a Master in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Elon University. To find balance, Amy seeks out new adventures, teaches and practices yoga, and is usually working through a new DIY home project.

Hayley Harnicher

Doing crafts that don’t necessarily require artistic ability (because I lack it entirely)

Hayley Harnicher

Send Silence Packing Manager

Hayley Harnicher

Hayley Harnicher

Send Silence Packing Manager

Hayley, having spent most of her childhood in Salt Lake City, UT, and high school years in Houston, TX, considers both places to be home. She graduated from the University of Rochester in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and was immersed in Active Minds throughout her undergraduate career. Joining at the beginning of her freshman year and serving as Co-President for her junior and senior years, Hayley considers Active Minds to be a pivotal part of her college experience. In addition, Hayley served as a member of the Active Minds Student Advisory Committee, an intern at the national office, and as a Spring 2016 Send Silence Packing Tour Coordinator. With friends and family spread out over the country, you’re likely to find Hayley traveling in her free time (or catching up on sleep). Her favorite DC spot is District Doughnut in Georgetown!

Amanda Horn

Taking my dog, Blu, on a walk and binge watching trash TV

Amanda Horn

Senior Manager of Marketing & PR

Amanda Horn

Amanda Horn

Senior Manager of Marketing & PR

Laura Horne

Read, run (either on the treadmill or after my girls), and disconnect from social media

Laura Horne

Chief Program Officer

Laura Horne

Laura Horne

Chief Program Officer

Laura develops innovative strategies and unique partnerships to empower students to help schools and society embrace a comprehensive, public health approach to mental health. Prior to Active Minds, Laura led public health initiatives at the National Association of County and City Health Officials and Tulane University. Laura earned her Master of Public Health degree in community health sciences from Tulane University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Loyola University New Orleans. She enjoys running, reading, finding adventure with her husband and three girls, and following the Washington Nationals and New Orleans Saints. Laura works from Philadelphia.

See Laura’s full bio »

Chloe Isaac

Taking as long a walk as possible around my neighborhood

Chloe Isaac

Social Media Manager

Chloe Isaac

Chloe Isaac

Social Media Manager

For as long as she can remember, Chloe has loved to connect with others on a personal level and find connections among the things that make us all unique. This interest led her to pursue degrees in Communication Studies and Graphic Design while at the University of Maryland and inspired her to pursue a career in social media, a field she doesn’t think she’ll ever get bored of. Chloe believes good content is made with integrity, good humor, and honesty, and she’s thrilled that this aligns with the work Active Minds does through their online presence.

Chloe makes sure she spends a good amount of time offline as well, usually via a walk to the local gelato shop or a movie night with friends.

Julia Klipp

Coloring with scented markers

Julia Klipp

Send Silence Packing BOLD Fellow

Julia Klipp

Julia Klipp

Send Silence Packing BOLD Fellow

Julia (they/she) graduated from Ithaca College in May 2021 with a major in sociology and minors in art, education studies, and counseling. While at IC, Julia was awarded the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network scholarship, which allowed for Julia and their cohort of fellow scholars to create and fund a project for change on IC’s campus. Through BOLD, Julia has also been given the opportunity to pursue a postgraduate fellowship with Active Minds, where they now work closely with Send Silence Packing. Julia has been passionate about combating the stigma around mental health challenges and suicide since middle school, so in many ways, working with Active Minds is something that Julia’s younger self would be proud of. Outside of work, Julia can be found exploring small towns to find their best local restaurant, adding even more books to their TBR (to-be-read), or snuggling their cat, Theo.

Carin Levine

Talking on the phone and hosting friends and family for meals

Carin Levine

Chief Operating Officer

Carin Levine

Carin Levine

Chief Operating Officer

Carin, a Bethesda, MD native and resident, comes to Active Minds with a background in entrepreneurship, business development, and management. She owned Hitched, a bridal boutique in Georgetown, for almost ten years and is also the co-founder and owner of the start-up, FONBOOTH. Prior to starting her own businesses, she worked as a consultant and large scale event producer for non-profits and national corporations. Carin received a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University and an MBA from Yale School of Management. Carin loves spending time with her husband and two elementary school age children and hosting friends.

Huyen Mac

Traveling and taking photos

Huyen Mac

Graphic Designer

Huyen Mac

Huyen Mac

Graphic Designer

Kelly Madden

Reading a book with my cats on my lap

Kelly Madden

Manager, Chapter Mobilization

Kelly Madden

Kelly Madden

Manager, Chapter Mobilization

As the manager of chapter mobilization at Active Minds, Kelly works to mobilize thousands of diverse students (including chapters and student networks) to respond to calls to action for mental health. As a former Active Minds chapter leader, she brings her lived experience expertise to the team. Daily, she works with young people from varied backgrounds and experience levels to grow as leaders, advocates, and young professionals and elevate their voices, as well as the voices of their communities. Kelly received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ithaca College and is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work at the University at Buffalo. Kelly enjoys reading, walking her dog, and tending to her plants. Kelly uses she/her pronouns.

 

Emily Meeks

Working out or playing the trumpet

Emily Meeks

Program Associate, Evaluation

Emily Meeks

Emily Meeks

Program Associate, Evaluation

Emily supports the evaluation of Active Minds’ programs. Emily was a member of an Active Minds chapter as a college student, and her involvement in Active Minds led to a passion for student mental health. She has a background in public health programming and has supported health education initiatives related to stress management, chronic disease treatment, overdose prevention, and more in higher education and nonprofit settings. A Rocky Mount, Virginia native, Emily graduated from Virginia Tech with B.S. degrees in biology and psychology and a Master of Public Health. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, hiking, playing the trumpet, and spending quality time with her cats and family.

Randy Moore

YouTube videos on social and political history, stargazing, and playing the dulcimer or harmonica

Randy Moore

Policy Manager

Randy Moore

Randy Moore

Policy Manager

Randy is a proud macro social worker. Following his time at the University of South Carolina, he has worked as a community organizer, policy and advocacy director, researcher, event planner, and program manager. Randy comes to Active Minds from the office of US Senator Mark Warner, where he served as Outreach Representative for the Richmond Regional Office—organizing the senior Virginia senator’s regional outreach and engagements, while also standing in as a representative for the senator where needed. An active music lover, Randy spends much of his free time writing, producing, and performing music as a vocalist, guitarist, pianist, and harpist. He originally hails from rural South Carolina but maintains his identity as a son of Southwest Virginia by frequently spending time unwinding with his family there in the Cumberland Mountains. Randy brings to Active Minds a unique personal story of his own journey seeking emotional wellness which very much informs his work with the organization. In his free time, you can find him with his Springer Spaniel Boyd, who enjoys water, squirrels, and donuts.

Emelyne Ndikumasabo

Cooking from scratch and without recipes

Emelyne Ndikumasabo

Office Manager

Emelyne Ndikumasabo

Emelyne Ndikumasabo

Office Manager

Emelyne comes to Active minds with a background in international programs and operations, and has worked in conflict zones for the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Previous to Active Minds, Emelyne served as the Procurement staff at the United Nations office in Ivory Coast. She has over 10 years providing operational support and program/project management support in the nonprofit realm. In her spare time, Emelyne enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, and being outdoors with her daughter.

Markie Pasternak

Skating some laps at my local ice rink

Markie Pasternak

Senior Manager, Higher Education

Markie Pasternak

Markie Pasternak

Senior Manager, Higher Education

Markie oversees Active Minds’ work in higher education, focusing on mental health support for college and university students, staff, and faculty. Markie is originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and received her bachelor’s in psychology from Marquette University. During her time at Marquette, Markie served as the Active Minds’ chapter president and was the president of the Student Advisory Committee from 2015 to 2016. Markie received her Master’s of Science in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University-Bloomington. Before joining the Active Minds Staff, Markie worked at Auburn University focusing on mental health programming and peer health education, and was the co-advisor for the campus’s Active Minds chapter. In her spare time, you can find Markie coaching figure skating at her local ice rink, cheering on her hometown team, the Green Bay Packers, or playing with her dog, Brooks. Markie works remotely from both Georgia and Alabama.

Sam Piraneo

Riding my bike around the district

Sam Piraneo

Development Associate, Community Fundraising

Sam Piraneo

Sam Piraneo

Development Associate, Community Fundraising

Originally from New Jersey, Sam studied psychology at Ithaca College and was involved in IC’s Active Minds chapter. During his time at IC, Sam interned with the local Department of Social Services and worked at a summer camp for youth experiencing mental health struggles. Since moving to D.C., Sam worked as a barista and local LGBTQ event producer before joining the Active Minds team. Outside of work, you can find Sam riding his bike, exploring new coffee shops, or eating ice cream with his boyfriend.

Luis Ramirez

Getting my hands dirty and working in the garden

Luis Ramirez

Senior Development Manager

Luis Ramirez

Luis Ramirez

Senior Development Manager

After interning with Active Minds in his college days, Luis was thrilled to return initially as Active Minds’ Development Manager, and to now work as the Senior Development Manager as he continues to help change the conversation about mental health. Previously, Luis has had the opportunity to work for two incredible organizations: Food & Friends, a DC based nonprofit providing medically tailored meals to people living with serious illnesses, and Rebuilding Together, a leading home repair nonprofit focused on revitalizing communities and rebuilding lives across the country. Luis is a firm believer that donors should be celebrated at every opportunity and works to build relationships based on trust, transparency and a culture of philanthropy.

Luis holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Health from the University of Maryland. He and his partner live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with their cat and two dogs.

Mark Travis Rivera

My favorite way to unplug is binge-watching some TV and eating a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Mark Travis Rivera

Manager, Next Gen Communications & Storytelling

Mark Travis Rivera

Mark Travis Rivera

Manager, Next Gen Communications & Storytelling

Mark Travis Rivera (he/him) is an award-winning professional storyteller. Telling stories is at the core of Mark’s purpose in life. A graduate of William Paterson University, Rivera earned a bachelor’s in women’s & gender studies with a minor in public relations. As a communications professional, he has worked across industries in higher education, the DEI-private sector, and non-profits. In addition, he is a sought-after speaker on topics of inclusion, mental health, leadership, sexuality, gender, and disability.

Maribeth Savoie

Yoga or traveling to the ocean

Maribeth Savoie

Senior Manager, Workplace Mental Health

Maribeth Savoie

Maribeth Savoie

Senior Manager, Workplace Mental Health

Maribeth’s work focuses on promoting comprehensive, interactive, and inspirational speaking events with schools and professional groups that focus on mental health education and personal stories. She enjoys working with clients and speakers to help create tailored event experiences through a health promotion lens. Maribeth studied Psychology and Human Development at the University of Maryland for her undergraduate career. She has a graduate certificate in Business Marketing from Liberty University and is currently completing two Master of Science degrees in Health Promotion and Nutrition at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. Outside the office, you can find Maribeth soaking up the sun, finding the closest beach, doing yoga, running, or hiking with her husband and their two dogs. Maribeth is originally from Annapolis, MD, and currently works from Reno, NV.

Joy Sheppard

Traveling to a beach, experiencing new foods and culture, and going to live concerts

Joy Sheppard

Senior Manager, Active Minds Speakers

Joy Sheppard

Joy Sheppard

Senior Manager, Active Minds Speakers

Joy Sheppard, a Maryland resident and Pennsylvania native, joins Active Minds with a background in live entertainment, event production, and sponsorship sales. Joy has over ten years of specialized experience in building relationships and has spent much of her professional career managing high profile people and events with a wide range of corporate, government and non-profit clientele. She received her Bachelors of Science degree from George Mason University and enjoys traveling, tasting new cuisines, and living up to her name.

Hannah Williams

Watching a comfort movie or sitting outside and reading

Hannah Williams

Communications Associate

Hannah Williams

Hannah Williams

Communications Associate

Hannah is originally from Chesapeake, Virginia, and loved growing up at the beach, going camping, and spending time outside. She then decided to trade the ocean for mountains, and attended college in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the University of Virginia, where she received a degree in politics with a minor in public policy and leadership. Throughout her time in college, she developed a passion for communications, through various internships in marketing, public relations, and social media. Mental health has always been a part of her and her loved ones’ stories, so when Active Minds presented a chance to combine her love of advocacy and communications, she was all-in. In her spare time, she enjoys enthusiastically cheering on her favorite sports teams, adding to her “Best Movies Ever” list, and reading new books.

Karim Williams

Listening to music, maintaining self care through fitness, and creating art

Karim Williams

Web & Digital Content Associate

Karim Williams

Karim Williams

Web & Digital Content Associate

Karim is a Washington D.C. native with over 5 years of creative engagement experience. While pursuing his B.S. in economics at St. John’s University’s Tobin School in 2016, Karim remained active throughout organizational life on-campus. For professional collaborations, Karim helped to developed brands along creative projects off-campus. In 2016, he co-founded TEDx St. John’s University, the first student and faculty-led TED platform for continuing conversations around local and global community issues. Developed during his entrepreneurship starting at the beginning of the global pandemic in 2019, he continues to study applied concepts for optimized user experiences. In his free time, Karim can be found cooking, playing video games, or out hiking Maryland’s mountains and parks.

Chad Pendleton

Favorite way to unplug is to listen to music or podcasts while chilling with my cats, walking outside while meditating, or creating something

Chad Pendleton

Marketing Manager

Chad Pendleton

Chad Pendleton

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit and educational fields, Chad is honored to serve the Active Minds team as Marketing Manager. He finds nothing more fulfilling than to put his skill set and background towards an impactful cause, like mental health awareness and suicide prevention. He graduated from Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma City with a B.A. in Communications. Chad has a passion for all things creative like film, writing, theatre, music, etc. – even once serving as a freelance culture critic and commentator better known as “Pompous Geek”. He also loves to travel and cheer for his favorite sports teams like the Jayhawks, Royals, and Chiefs from Kansas City and the Bruins and Celtics from Boston. He has also jumped on the bandwagon of American fans obsessed with Formula 1.
Chad lives in the Kansas City Area with his two cats, Beaker and Bergy. He is also close with and spends time with his family, especially his nephews Charlie, Bryce, Spencer, and Levi.

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