Ashley Carrington is a member of the Board of Advisors and is a Information Technology Developer at KKR & Co. L.P. She received a dual bachelor's degree in Finance and Management Information Systems from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2015 where she also served as the Student Body President, '14 - '15. Ashley's passion for criminal justice reform led her to join Rikers Debate Project in August 2017.
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 and co-founder of the Connecticut chapter with Ann Manov. 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 to change people's lives. In October 2016, Alex 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. He can be reached at email@example.com or @alextt on Twitter.
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.
Angela Cai is co-director for the weekly class at the George R. Vierno Center, where she has volunteered since March 2017. She is committed to bringing debate education and a forum for civic engagement to incarcerated individuals. She is eager to share the lessons she learned from her eight years as a competitive debater, including as president of the Princeton Debate Panel. Angela is an attorney in private practice in New York City. She graduated from Yale Law School, where she spent three years advocating on behalf of low-income individuals for the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization.
Ann Manov is the Chair of the Connecticut Chapter of RDP: "Resolution," Chair of the York Debate Society, and a member of the Board of Advisors. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida with a triple major in English, French and Francophone Studies, and Spanish, with a minor in History. Ann is currently a JD/PhD student at Yale studying the history of anti-liberal and anti-radical thought in modern France. Ann first got involved in debate in high school, ranking as the top Student Congress debater on the national circuit. In college, she switched to policy, winning three national championship tournaments. Ann’s teaching experience includes founding the forensics program at the Oak Hall School in Gainesville, Florida; a Fulbright fellowship at France, where among other things she developed a debate program at a low-income high school on the outskirts of Strasbourg; and Spanish-language debate classes in Middlebury Interactive Languages’ summer immersion program.
Sam Dunkle is a member of the Board of Advisors. He currently teaches at the Rikers Debate Project class in the Washington, DC area; he previously taught at the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island. He graduated from Columbia University in 2015 with a degree in Economics and Political Science. This fall, Sam begins his first year of law school, and he plans to pursue a legal career advocating on behalf of the marginalized and most vulnerable in society. He most appreciates the opportunity to get to know and spend time with the many talented and engaging students in RDP classes.
Shawn Cook is a recent distinguished scholar graduate from Union County College in Cranford, NJ where he obtained his asscociates degree in education. Shawn's passion for educating at risk populations led him to join the Rikers Debate Project in April 2017 where he instantly found his calling. Shawn is currently pursing his Bachelors degree in philosophy and quantum mechanics. He plans on obtaining his Master's in education, and pursuing a teaching career in alternative education.
Ariela Silberstein is the co-director of the Spanish-language debate class at the Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center in the Bronx, and has been involved with the class since its launch in December 2017. She received her MSc from the London School of Economics and her BA from Bates College, and fostered her love of debate during her time at both schools. Ariela has moved back to her hometown of New York City after several years abroad.
Justin Roberts is a member of the Board of Advisors. He received a Master Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in Cities and Social Justice from The New School in 2017. During his M.A. studies he researched how large infrastructural developments such as the Olympic Games have the ability to change the social ethos of major cities leading to the expanded and long-term criminalization of urban populations. Justin earned his BA in Sociology from DePaul University in Chicago, where he also worked on youth and community development in high crime communities before moving to New York. He joined RDP in November 2017, and is currently a Data Associate for Friends of The Island Academy.
Alexander R. McHale is an Associate with Quantum Energy Partners, an energy-focused private equity firm in Houston. Alex’s primary responsibilities include financial modeling, due diligence, transaction execution and portfolio company monitoring. He also works closely with Quantum’s portfolio companies on such activities as raising and structuring debt or additional equity, providing merger, acquisition and divestiture advice and executing commodity hedges. Prior to joining Quantum Energy Partners, Alex was a Finance Associate with Permian Resources (f.k.a. American Energy Partners – Permian) in Oklahoma City, where he was responsible for transaction analysis, executing A&D opportunities and analyzing debt restructuring with creditors. Prior to joining Permian Resources, Alex was an Analyst with Evercore’s Chemicals & Energy Investment Banking Group in New York, where he was involved in a wide variety of mergers and acquisitions, and strategic advisory assignments for clients across the chemicals and energy sectors. Alex is also a member of the American Ballet Theatre Junior Council and the Frick Young Fellows. Alex graduated from Columbia University in 2013 with a B.A. in Financial Economics.
Radhe Patel is a member of the Board of Advisors. She was the Director of External Affairs and Personnel Management for RDP, and worked as a Policy Analyst at the New York City Mayor’s Office. She served 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, was 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.
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.