After receiving her B.A. from George Washington University, Elena worked as a health outreach worker on a mobile medical bus throughout Washington, DC administering HIV and pregnancy testing and counseling in under-served communities. She also worked at Casa de Maryland fighting for Immigrant Rights and at XM Satellite Radio as an on air traffic, weather, and emergency alert reporter and producer. She later moved to the political world of campaigns which brought her to Ohio for the Barack Obama Campaign for President in 2008, then South Dakota where she worked on a clean energy campaign, Repower America, and ran Mayor Mike Huether’s successful mayoral run. After time in the Midwest, Elena missed the big city life and moved to New York where she worked for Council Member Daniel Garodnick for three years.
Hailey Arroyo is a native resident of The Bronx and recent graduate of Hunter College where she earned a B.A. in English Language Arts. During her time at Hunter College, Hailey volunteered at the nonprofit LHNH doing intakes for Spanish-speaking clients as part of their healthcare enrollment initiative.Most recently, prior to joining The Bronx Defenders, she interned with Quill Shift Literary Agency working to make children’s literature more representative and inclusive. Hailey is fluent in Spanish.
Olga graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in Government. While at Skidmore, Olga minored in Italian and complemented her experience with a study abroad in Florence, Italy. In Florence, Olga immersed herself in the Italian culture by doing a homestay program and taking intensive language classes at the University of Florence. After graduation from Skidmore, Olga worked as an Intake Specialist for a legal service provider in NYC called Her Justice. At Her Justice, Olga assisted abused women in family, immigration and divorce matters. She later worked as a Court Assistant for the Second Circuit Court of New Hampshire. Prior to joining The Bronx Defenders, Olga worked at the New York Legal Assistance Group advocating for disabled clients at local and state social security offices and representing them at disability hearings. Olga is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Italian.
Kohler graduated from Yale College in 2016 with a degree in history. His senior thesis, which focused on sex discrimination in the airline industry, won Yale’s John Addison Porter Prize for excellence in American history. While in college, Kohler served as the editor in chief of the Yale Herald, Yale’s weekly newspaper, and as the managing editor of the Yale Politic, the undergraduate political journal. Before joining the Bronx Defenders, Kohler interned at the Yale Alumni Magazine and ABC News. Kohler grew up in Brooklyn, New York and is proficient in Italian.
Jeremy grew up in New York City and graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University with a degree in psychology. While in college he conducted research on implicit racial bias and its effect on court decisions, directed a Food Rescue program in the surrounding community of Somerville, and did analysis and research for the Somerville Homeless Coalition. Prior to joining the Bronx Defenders, he spent two years in Madrid, Spain, working as an English teacher. He is fluent in Spanish.
Lily graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a B.A. in Political Science. She served as Editor-in-Chief of the Brown Journal of World Affairs, the only internationally distributed academic journal produced entirely by undergraduates. During her time on the Journal, she brainstormed and led a section on capital punishment. While in Providence, Lily also volunteered with the community organization Direct Action for Rights and Equality, conducting research on evictions resulting from foreclosure and assisting families whose homes were at risk of being foreclosed upon access resources and navigate the legal process. Prior to that, she served as a Peer Educator for HiTOPS, a nonprofit health education and advocacy organization, facilitating workshops in juvenile detention centers on issues related to sexual health, including homophobia reduction, HIV/AIDS, pregnancy prevention, and sexual assault.
Joel graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. in Sociology. While at Skidmore, Joel immersed himself in criminal justice by doing a summer long internship with Sienna College leading a literature discussion course for incarcerated men at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility. After graduation from Skidmore, Joel volunteered with the Children’s Aid Society and worked as an after-school academic facilitator for P.S. 152 in Washington Heights. Prior to joining The Bronx Defenders, Joel worked as an Associate Teacher at Harlem Academy where he taught 5th grade science and vocabulary and lead athletic electives. Joel is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French.
Tess graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in History and Race & Ethnicity Studies. At Columbia, Tess was a core organizer with Columbia Prison Divest, a student campaign that successfully pushed the university to divest its endowment from the private prison industry. While in college, Tess also conducted research on policing and gentrification at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Before joining The Bronx Defenders, Tess interned as an investigative assistant at Brooklyn Defender Services. Prior to her work in public defense, Tess interned at the Vera Institute’s Family Justice Program through the Guggenheim Fellowship in Criminal Justice, where she supported the administration of the NYCHA Family Reentry Pilot, a program that connects formerly incarcerated individuals to NYCHA public housing. Tess also worked for Gale Brewer as a legislative aide in her City Council Office and as a policy intern in her Manhattan Borough President Office.
Luis Angel is a recent graduate of Columbia University, where he received degrees in Political Science and Race and Ethnic Studies. While in college, he conducted extensive research on congressional reentry initiatives. Luis Angel is originally from Chicago and is fluent in Spanish.
John is a graduate of Mercy College, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies. He is a proud Bronx native and die hard NY Knicks Fan. His professional background includes experience as a Paralegal at Legal Aid Society, where he developed a passion for public service and justice for all. His investigative roots also developed there. John also enjoyed a brief but meaningful stint working for Bronx Community Solutions in the AP10 Court Part, advocating for alternative sentences to incarceration. John now comes to The Bronx Defenders from the NYC Department of Corrections, where he worked as an Investigator.