Radhe Patel is the Director of External Affairs and Personnel Management for RDP, and works as a Policy Analyst at the New York City Mayor’s Office. She serves on the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services’ team, focusing on the city’s public hospital system and public health programming more broadly. Previously, she was an Urban Fellow placed at the New York City Department of Education at the Division of Operations.
Pat Andriola, co-founder of the Rikers Debate Project, is a litigator at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, where he focuses his matters on civil litigation. He received his JD/MBA from New York University in 2015, specializing in Economics and Law & Business. His legal writings have been published in the Boston College Law Review, the Emory International Law Review, and the N.Y.U. Journal of Legislation & Public Policy, among others. Pat was formerly President of the Tufts Debate Team and Vice President – Finance of the American Parliamentary Debate Association (“APDA”), where he competed and won tournaments at Brandeis and Syracuse. He hopes to give a voice to as many incarcerated individuals as he can.
Mary Crippen is a board member of the Rikers Debate Project and a co-lead of the women’s facility program. She works for a healthcare data nonprofit, which focuses on improving quality of care for Bronx Medicaid patients. With a Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia that includes a certificate in Social Determinants, she is passionate about tackling the social causes of poor health, one of which is incarceration. Her Master’s thesis investigated the effect of incarceration on prenatal care initiation, and she was an author on a study investigating public opinion in the aftermath of Eric Garner’s death. She received her BA from New York University, where she competed in the American Parliamentary Debate Association and won an intra-university debate scholarship tournament.
Anna Kitsmarishvili is from Tbilisi, Georgia. She studied political science at Pepperdine University and is currently a New York City Urban Fellow. Her fellowship placement is at the Office of Collaborative Policing at the NYPD. Anna joined the Rikers Debate Project in October 2016. She is the Co-Chair of the Rose M. Singer Class for Women.
Josh Morrison was a corporate lawyer working in Boston (Columbia B.A. 2007, Harvard J.D. 2010) when he donated his kidney to a stranger in 2011. Deeply moved by the experience, he decided to join the transplant field and became General Counsel at the Alliance for Paired Donation, a leading innovator in living donor transplantation. In 2014, with a grant from the Open Philanthropy Project, he founded Waitlist Zero, an organization dedicated to representing live organ donors and supporting living donation. In 2016, Josh co-founded the Rikers Debate Project. Josh is also on the Board of Directors of Transplant Recipients International Organization.
Alex Taubes is a founding board member of the Rikers Debate Project. A college debate national champion and former president of the American Parliamentary Debate Association, Alex believes that competitive debate has the power to not only change people’s minds, but also change their lives. Invited to teach by co-founder and college debate mentor Josh Morrison, Alex was excited to share lessons learned through years of competitive debating with students on Rikers Island. In October 2016, he participated in one of the program’s first public debates, arguing with his partner Terrell Wigfall, a student of the program, that inmates in American jails and prisons should have the right to vote. Alex practices law in New Haven, Connecticut, where he is a Thomas Emerson Fellow at David Rosen & Associates, a law firm specializing in complex trials and appeals on behalf of individuals and in defense of human rights.
Caitlin Halpern co-leads a weekly class at the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island and runs the Rikers Debate Project reentry program. She is also involved in grassroots organizing with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and Just Leadership USA (JLUSA). By day, Caitlin represents low-income clients in criminal appeals as a Staff Attorney at Appellate Advocates. She is passionate about ending mass incarceration and hopes to empower her students to advocate for themselves.
Ben Solomon is the co-director for the class at the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island. He graduated from Columbia University and currently works as a consultant in the technology sector. His volunteering efforts led him to work with previously incarcerated individuals, and hearing their stories prompted him to join the Rikers Debate Project in November of 2016. He is passionate about students expressing their opinions and knowing they are heard.
Rocky Lotito is a founding board member of the Rikers Debate Project. He debated for four years at Boston University, finishing his senior year as a nationally-ranked debater. He went on to coach the Columbia University debate team for four years to a #2 national ranking. His works by day in sales, but his passion for public service extends beyond Rikers, as he also sits on the Champions Council of the Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation. In 2016, he donated his kidney to a stranger and began advocating for legislation to help more potential donors in New York do the same.