2015-2016 Executive Board
Executive Director: Michelle Cho
Michelle Cho is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. She received her Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in Media Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality from U.Va. in 2015, and is interested in how gender-inclusive policy can increase the effectiveness of foreign aid and international development.
Michelle has been active in advocacy work at both the local and national levels, interning at the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights to increase citywide awareness of civil rights protections, and increasing minority rights visibility nationally at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She has also interned at the U.S. Agency for International Development where she researched how the U.N. Millenium Development Goals can be improved by incorporating women, children and other vulnerable populations into policy interventions. For a year, Michelle was the In-House Blogger for the anti-trafficking non-profit organization End Slavery Now, where she produced a series of articles raising awareness of human trafficking both domestically and abroad. She has also worked for the digital media startup Hy.ly, where she co-authored and published an eBook on industry best practices for reaching audiences through thought leadership.
Michelle has proudly served as a Civic Fellow at the International Leadership Foundation (ILF) and an intern at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS).
Director of Finances: Heidi Wilder
Heidi Wilder is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. While her primary research interests are in the fields of national and international financial corruption and crime, she also enjoys volunteering her time locally at social justice organizations. In the past year, she has consulted both the University of Virginia’s Madison House and the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless. She has also spent time volunteering building roofs with Building Goodness Foundation and tutoring kids at Clark Elementary School.
Heidi is a native German speaker and holds an Abitur from the German School of Washington, DC. She received her Bachelors in Economics and Foreign Affairs in 2013 from the Univeristy of Virginia. Having served as a financial planner locally for a year with the Legacy Foundation she has experience giving financial advice with regard to pensions, life insurance, long-term care insurance, and estate plans. She is also a pro-bono notary.
Membership Chair: Mayura Iyer
Mayura is a passionate social justice advocate who uses her data analysis and research experience to tackle social policy issues impacting our community. She has conducted research on numerous policy topics, including on refugees in Nepal’s Beldangi refugee camps, early childhood education initiatives in Virginia and other U.S. states, and on conflict resolution in post-war Iraq. Her policy focus is examining how a dialogue on social justice and intersectionality can enhance and enrich policy analysis, particularly in the spheres of education policy and human rights.
Professionally, she has worked for D.C. Public Schools’ Central Office, analyzing the progress of low-performing schools across a variety of evaluation factors as well as working with DCPS towards improving and strengthening early career teacher retention and recognition. Additionally, she worked as a data analyst for Polaris, an anti-human trafficking non-profit, where she worked on developing strategic initiatives to combat complex human trafficking networks in the U.S. She is an intern for the Women’s Center at U.Va., for which she is researching trends and relationships between homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault, and access to resources in Charlottesville. Through a grant from the U.Va Center for Global Health, she and a team of students developed a comprehensive health curriculum for the Social Outreach Foundation, a school that serves underprivileged children in the slums of Noida, India.
Mayura received her B.A. in Foreign Affairs with Distinction from U.Va in May 2015, and will finish her Masters in Public Policy in May 2016.
Chair of Client Development and Outreach: Richard Hopkins
Richard Hopkins is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. He graduated magna cum laude from Furman University with a Bachelor of Arts as a double major in Spanish Literature and Philosophy.
Richard came to Virginia after serving as a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellow in Santiago, Chile. While in Chile he studied international relations as a full time student, engaged in public service activities, and acted as a cultural ambassador for the United States to local Rotary clubs and Chileans. While in Northern Virginia he worked at the National Credit Union Administration as a contractor supporting their workforce development initiatives, and saw first hand the vital (and frequently unnoticed) work our public servants perform to protect the public. He also worked at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville as a bilingual intake and support specialist, directly engaging with the underserved indigent community of Charlottesville to help them obtain the legal services they need.
Richard views policy as a tool that creates our environment, and effective policies create environments in which we thrive as a community. He also recognizes that the division between domestic and foreign policy is, in the modern era, largely imaginary. Therefore he is interested in the intersection of policy issues that resonate across borders, and has studied international security, foreign relations, technology, drones, and privacy. He also advocates for the widespread adoption of parental leave as a method of creating a more equal workforce, strengthening families, and achieving a stronger economy.
Richard has volunteered with Catholic Charities helping immigrants in our community to build their skills to contribute to our economy, Meals on Wheels, and Lab Rescue of the LRCP. He joined FCG Consulting in order to put the policy skills he is cultivating to work immediately, helping Charlottesville build a better community. This summer he will be a Summer Associate at Deloitte in Washington DC, where he will work with their federal human capital team to utilize private sector practices to add value to public sector services.
Alumni Relations and Special Events Chair: Corydon Baylor
Corydon Baylor is 2016 MPP candidate at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. In 2015, he graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and a Minor in Religious Studies. His primary policy interest is the intersection between government and businesses, specifically in how government intervention promotes or inhibits economic growth, and how government can provide economic opportunity to the disadvantaged. Corydon is also interested in issues such as environmental policy and trade policy.
Chief Information Officer: Natalie Geleta
Natalie Geleta is an Accelerated B.A./M.P.P. candidate at the University of Virginia. She graduated in May 2015 with a B.A. in Global Development Studies, and in May 2016 with a Master of Public Policy from the Batten School. She is passionate about international development, social justice and conservation policy, and is interested in the socioeconomic impacts of protected areas on local communities.
Through various involvements, Natalie has pursued her passion for public service in both the Charlottesville community and beyond. As an FCG Project Leader, she has consulted for the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless for the past year. She also works as a Sustainability Advocate at UVA, where she promotes, educates and staffs sustainable events on Grounds and Residence Areas. Additionally, she interned with C’Ville Central, a benefit corporation which functions as a link between Charlottesville’s anchor institutions and small, women, and minority-owned businesses. There, she developed a framework to assess the role of various factors in supporting the growth and success of micro enterprises and SWaM businesses. This past summer, she served as an AmeriCorps Volunteer with the Student Conservation Association.