Meet The Fellows


Top Row: Naresh Poonia, Monique Riley, Nicole Fillion; Bottom Row: Colleen Shipley, Aurin Lewis, Stephanie Areizaga, Mah Afroze

Aurin Lewis, Greater Washington Community Foundation

Aurin Lewis was born and raised in New York City and is of Dominican descent. She is a first-generation college graduate and is pursuing both an MPP and MBA at the University of Maryland. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College where she studied Educational Studies and Spanish Literature. Aurin has extensive experience working at nonprofit organizations that provide educational opportunities for low-wealth minority communities. While at UMD, Aurin has developed an interest in strategic resource allocation and program evaluation for social services in low-wealth areas. Since starting graduate school, she interned in the City of Baltimore’s Bureau of the Budget and Management Research(BBMR) and at the Reinvestment Fund, a community development financial institution(CDFI)investing in low-income areas. As a Philanthropy Fellow at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, Aurin will work closely with the Foundation’s Senior Philanthropic Services Officer to provide support for the Safety Net Initiative and Philanthropic Services grantmaking programs.

Colleen Shipley, Greater Washington Community Foundation

Colleen Shipley is a MPP student specializing in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, expecting to graduate in May 2018. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science & Policy and a minor in Sustainability Studies. While her undergraduate career was focused on urban sustainability, she hopes to use her graduate degree to work more specifically in local community development and strategic philanthropy. For her fellowship at the Greater Washington Community Foundation, Colleen will assist with development and donor engagement initiatives.

Mah Afroze, Kaiser Permanente

Mah Afroze’s research interest is institutional development. She is originally from Pakistan and immigrated to the US in 2016. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Public Policy from University of Maryland. Previously she completed her MSc and BSc (Hons) in Economics from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). At LUMS she worked as a Research Assistant on the book “Candles in the dark successful organizations in Pakistan’s weak institutional environment” published by the Oxford University Press. Later, she was hired as a Research Associate by Center for Economic Research Pakistan to work on the Building Capacity to Use Research Evidence (BCURE) Program being implemented by Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). During her tenure she assessed and trained more than 1500 civil servants across Pakistan. She also aided in content generation for the Regional Centers for Learning and Evaluation of Results (CLEAR) for trainings conducted in Pakistan, which is an initiative o fthe Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (JPAL) based out of MIT. After immigrating to the States, she started working for Rediscover as a Research Associate. Rediscover is a non-profit community behavioral health agency in the Kansas City area. She participated in the accreditation process, coordinated process and outcome assessments of clinical programs to improve care delivery, reviewed policy and conducted fidelity reviews of clinical programming. She is excited to start working as a WRAG Philanthropy Fellow at Kaiser Permanente’s Community Benefit department. Her role will involve supporting her team to increase access to health care and evaluate social returns on Kaiser’s non-health sector investments that are part of broader preventative healthcare initiatives.

Monique Riley, Community Foundation in Prince George’s County

Monique is new to the UMD family. She is a Maryland native, but attended Norfolk State University for undergrad where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is currently studying as a Master of Public Policy student with the hope of analyzing social policy structures and the influence of philanthropy on public welfare. She is a former educator of both Louisiana and Prince George’s County school districts. Given her background, she also seeks to integrate philosophies in education with social justice initiatives to strengthen the lives of youth and families of marginalized communities. She is excited to now be a fellow at the Community Foundation in Prince George’s County where she is learning the art of developing strong stakeholder relationships, fundamental in supporting non-profits throughout the county.

Naresh Poonia, Greater Washington Community Foundation

Naresh is a second year MBA student at University of Maryland. He is focused on finance and analytics in his MBA. A software engineer who started his career with IBM, he brings nine years of corporate experience in banking with such banks as Citibank, where he managed client portfolios worth several millions of dollars and critical client relationships. Originally from India, Naresh has established and has run for ten years a non-profit that provides quality education to out-of-school children from poor neighborhoods in the country. He plans to expand his non-profit internationally and educate a million children across the world. He interned with a tech startup in DC during the summer and is currently interning with the Greater Washington Community Foundation in DC as Development and Philanthropic Engagement fellow. Naresh loves to travel and has visited ten countries so far. He is a sports enthusiast and loves playing cricket, ping-pong and volleyball. He has played cricket at state-level and represented India in throw-ball. He is now developing his interest in American football and golf. 

Nicole Fillion, Community Foundation in Montgomery County

Nicole is a second year Masters of Public Health student in the Health Equity program. She is originally from West Chester, PA and holds a BS in Health Behavior Science from the University of Delaware. She currently works as a graduate research assistant as part of the Delaware Contraceptive Access Now Process Evaluation Team. Her research interests include health disparities, specifically around the issues of food access, childhood obesity, food insecurity, and nutrition assistance programs. As a fellow, Nicole works with the Community Foundation of Montgomery County with their Sharing Montgomery and Children’s Opportunity Fund initiatives.

Stephanie Areizaga, Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth & Families

Stephanie Areizaga is a native Marylander beginning the second year of her Master’s of Public Policy program. She graduated from Towson University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Over her life, Stephanie has had a long relationship with nonprofits as a volunteer, a donor, an intern, and a client of their services. Through her specialization in nonprofit management and leadership, Stephanie hopes to gain the skill base to one day help nonprofits make the most societal impact within their resource constraints. Stephanie is excited to begin her fellowship appointment with social justice-focused programming at Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth, & Families.