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Meet the Fellows

Leading the change since 2006

From first-year Fellows just getting started to alumni Fellows engaged in leading the change, FAO Schwarz Fellows are drawn to critical social challenges and intent on increasing equity and social justice.

We’re proud of their accomplishments and can’t wait to see what they will do next.

Kayla Johnson Headshot

Kayla Johnson, 2024 
The Clay Studio

"The Clay Studio’s mission involves using art as a force for good, and this resonates with my personal philosophy as well. The ability to engage with the community and create hands-on, intersectional arts programming for children appeals to both my past experience and future goals."

Charlotte Blackman

Charlotte Blackman, 2022 
Museum of the City of New York

"I have witnessed firsthand how social inequities impact communities. Coming from a low-income background and having attended private schools, I strongly believe in the transformative power of education."

Juan Mojica, 2024 

"I was drawn to Breakthrough because it is an organization that almost directly tied to what I had been studying and researching as an undergrad. It is also an organization with a mission that resonates with me and my life experience."

The Fellow, Jasmin Norford smiling in front of a leafy background

Jasmin Norford, 2023 

"I'm hoping to gain direct service experience before pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Sociology. The Fellowship stands out through its combination of direct service engagements and continuous/project-based impact, and aligns with my goal of attacking inequality at its root."

Jesse McLaughlin, 2024 
NYC Audubon

"The Fellowship’s commitment to providing a launch pad for careers in social impact work seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to access the mentorship, professional development, and leadership training necessary to forge the path I see for myself in conservation advocacy and environmental education."

Kira Azulay

Kira Azulay, 2023 
Museum of Science

"The FAO Schwarz Fellowship is a great opportunity to prioritize social justice and community engagement in the museum space. Museums can serve as incredible educational institutions, even helping to alleviate some of the problems facing our education system."

Serena Salgado

Serena Salgado, 2022 

"This Fellowship stood out to me because of its commitment to addressing social inequities and prioritization of community-based work, and its mission to facilitate educational opportunities for young people."

Abi Mlo

Abi Mlo, 2022 
The Trust for Public Land

"My personal and professional values led me to my goal to pursue a career in the social impact sector. Working with the Fellowship and The Trust serves as the perfect next step in my holistic path. I look forward to promoting wellness and self-sufficiency across communities."

Vanessa Barragán, 2024 
The Food Project

"In searching for a career opportunity that reflected my passion for improving accessibility to the high-quality lifestyle every person deserves, I found that the missions of the FAO Schwarz Fellowship and The Food Project perfectly intersected with my personal aspirations and career goals."

Lauren Hurly

Lauren Hurley, 2020 

“I taught at Breakthrough during college, and was invigorated by students’ motivation to learn. As middle-schoolers, these students were already working toward their goal of attending college. I am so excited to support them and help them succeed.”

Sophie Becker-Klein

Sophie Becker-Klein, 2024 
Audubon Mid-Atlantic

"I have always known about the important work that Audubon does in the environmental sector. When I saw that there was an opportunity to work with Audubon and join a cohort of young professionals working in nonprofits, I was hooked!"

Natalia Wang, 2024 
Museum of the City of New York

"When I found the Fellowship, I was looking for a structured program that would get me involved in social justice work and help me navigate the larger field of nonprofits. I was immediately interested in MCNY's community-based efforts."

Nicholas Mitch, 2020

"Thriving ecosystems and thriving communities go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other. I wanted the chance to live out this understanding, supporting both urban and rural communities as they connect with and protect the Hudson River watershed."

Clara Monk

Clara Monk, 2022 
Reading Partners

"The Fellowship is an incredible opportunity to learn and grow while serving the community and getting hands-on experience in education and in a non-profit. I am so excited to work with Reading Partners and get to be a part of the amazing work that they are doing.”


Joe Rosales, 2016 

"I met incredible people through the fellowship, and these connections have guided me through work and life. When I started at Breakthrough, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and now I spend nearly every waking moment thinking about education, education reform, and student advovcacy.

Jahmali Matthews, 2024 

"I identified with the Fellowship's call for bold thinkers who want to make a difference. My sociology major, specifically my interest in dismantling classroom inequality, motivated me to be a resource for my caseload of Breakthrough high school graduates transitioning into higher education."

Ryan Telingator

Ryan Telingator, 2023 

"My interest in working for Jumpstart stems from my desire to dedicate my professional life to addressing the inequities in access to high-quality early education and care and focusing on the socioeconomic and racial factors that lead to discrepancies in access."

Nia Atkins smiles for photo

Nia Atkins, 2023 
Year Up

"I'm inspired by Year Up’s dedication to educational equity and mission to close the Opportunity Divide. I hope to dedicate my career to using the opportunities that I have had to close that gap and help young people achieve their academic and career goals.”

Joyce Kim

Joyce Kim, 2020 

"The financial aid process can be extremely complex and confusing, but I believe it shouldn’t deter students from pursuing educational opportunities. I want to support students through these barriers and strive for systems-wide changes for greater equity in education."

Louis Berman

Louis Berman, 2013

"The Fellowship gave me a comprehensive view of how a nonprofit organization works on both the site and office level, while also fostering within me skills and confidence as a leader."