Because we know our alumnae are our fiercest champions, we knew we couldn't miss the opportunity to leverage their existing leadership and passion to enrich and advance our mission.

The Alumnae Council is a committee that reports to the BA Women's Alliance Board of Directors, and consults with staff to improve the alumnae experience, expand EmpowHER programming and recruitment, and advance the organization in a variety of other areas.

Alumnae serve three year terms and are selected based on their demonstrated service to the Alliance, experience in position portfolios (e.g. communications, fundraising, etc.), and overall diversity of the Council membership to reflect the populations we seek to serve.

Marie Vastola
Co-Chair and President

Marie Vastola is a clinical research coordinator at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston. She manages clinical trials and enjoys working with patients while conducting her research on barriers to clinical trial participation for minority patients.

Marie grew up in Northern California and considers herself a California girl through and through. She loves the beach and spends her free time running, mountain biking, and hiking with friends and family. Marie obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology and public health at Haverford College

Marie is a 2015 alumna of the BA Women’s Alliance, where she studied hematopoietic stem cells in Dr. Irving Weissman’s lab at Stanford University. She serves as the Co-Chair and President of the Alumnae Council.

Alejandra "Lexii" Carrillo
Co-Chair and Board Liaison

Alejandra "Lexii" Carrillo recently completed a Binational Business Fulbright Scholarship in Mexico City, where she interned at Ashoka, a global nonprofit organization that drives entrepreneurship and social innovation. Prior to her Fulbright experience, she completed internships at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Minnesota State Legislature, Center for Homicide Research, and the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit’s Immigration Legal Center. 

Lexii received a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College, where she majored in sociology and classics, and specialized in legal studies. Lexii also completed a master’s degree in global thought, specializing in economic development at Columbia University.

Lexii is a 2014 alumna of the BA Women’s Alliance, where she interned at the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division. She serves as Co-Chair and Board Liaison of the Alumnae Council.

Yeabsira Asrat
EmpowHER Recruitment

Yeabsira Asrat recently graduated from Barnard College with a degree in political science and Africana studies. During her time in college, she served as Vice President of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Students Association for two years, was a member of the Student Government Association’s inclusion and equity committee, and worked as a French peer tutor. 

While at Barnard, she studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco where she learned Arabic and worked at L’association Marocaine de Planification Familiale (AMPF), a nonprofit that advocates for women’s rights. Yeabsira spent a semester in a domestic exchange at Spelman College.

Yeabsira is a 2018 alumna of the BA Women’s Alliance, where she interned at Church World Service as their immigration and refugee policy intern. She serves as the EmpowHER Recruitment Chair of the Alumnae Council. 

Amber Bynum

Amber Bynum is a third-year law school student at Penn State Law with a strong interest in social justice, civil rights litigation, and employment discrimination. She is a firm supporter of equal and civil rights for women and people of color. 

Amber is also a student advocate in the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic at Penn State Law. She is passionate to serve her community and all those communities disenfranchised by social inequities. Prior to law school, she received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and business law, and minored in marketing from California State University-Northridge

Amber is a 2019 alumna of the BA Women's Alliance, where she interned at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. She serves as a Member-at-Large of the Alumnae Council.

Kelsie Cox

Kelsie Cox is a program evaluator working for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital with Methodist Le Bonheur Community Outreach in Memphis, TN. She works with hospital and community programs to develop metrics to assess their efficacy, improve their programming, and inform community stakeholders of their work. Kelsie has held this role since 2015 and enjoys helping to demonstrate the work Le Bonheur does in the community.

Kelsie received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a minor in gender and sexuality studies from Rhodes College, and a Master of Education in community development and action from Vanderbilt University

Kelsie is a 2012 alumna of the BA Women’s Alliance, where she interned at Rachel's Women's Center.  She serves as a Member-at-Large of the Alumnae Council.

Austyn Holleman
EmpowHER Programming

Austyn Holleman is a licensed graduate social worker and program manager at Mary’s Center, a federally qualified health center. In this role, she provides mental health clinical services and education to older adults.

She received a bachelor’s degree in global studies and a dual master’s degree in social work and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she focused her research on maternal and infant health. An advocate for reproductive justice, Austyn is a volunteer doula with the Community of Hope; empowering her clients to have the liberating, person-centered births that they deserve.  

Austyn is a 2018 alumna of the BA Women’s Alliance, where she interned as a maternal mental health fellow at Mary’s Center. She serves as the EmpowHER Programming Chair of the Alumnae Council.

Jessica McDonald
Alumnae Programming

Jessica McDonald is a senior manager with the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) International Programs department, where she is responsible for providing EEI’s international members with opportunities for industry dialogue, promotion, research and analysis. 

Prior to joining EEI, Jessica worked as a consultant for the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of Pittsburgh and her Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment.

Jessica is a 2016 alumna of the BA Women’s Alliance, where she interned at the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of International Climate and Clean Energy. She serves as the Alumnae Programming Chair of the Alumnae Council.

Casey Richards
EmpowHER Application Review

Casey Richards is a global operations manager for Tanium Inc., a revolutionary endpoint security and systems management company. Prior to Tanium, Casey worked as a project coordinator for Brit + Co, a female-owned digital media and commerce company. 

Before working in technology, Casey worked in the government sector. She has experience at the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands and in the office of U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey. Casey graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in global interdisciplinary studies from Villanova University.

Casey is a 2013 alumna of the BA Women’s Alliance, where she interned at Valente & Associates government relations. She serves as the EmpowHER Application Review Chair of the Alumnae Council.

Priya Shukla

Priya Shukla is currently working as a research technologist in the Division of Neuroimmunology at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Her research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of infectious and autoimmune encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).

Priya graduated from the University of Maryland with high honors in biology and a Bachelor of Science in physiology and neurobiology. She is passionate about "lifting as she climbs" by supporting other women in STEM. In the future, she plans to improve the health outcomes of veterans.

Priya is a 2017 alumna of the BA Women’s Alliance, where she interned with the Division of Neuroimmunology at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She serves as the Fundraising Chair of the Alumnae Council. 

Ella Vanderbilt-Fried

Ella Vanderbilt-Fried is currently completing her Master’s of Public Health at Boston University with concentrations in health communications and promotion and epidemiology/biostatistics. Before attending Boston University, she completed her B.A. in psychology at The Ohio State University

While at Boston University she worked as a prevention educator for the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Center, served as an epidemiology/ biostatistics student ambassador, and interned at Ovia Health and The Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence

Ella is a 2019 alumna of the BA Women's Alliance, where she completed her MPH practicum as a health communications fellow at Impact Marketing + Communications. She serves as the Communications Chair of the Alumnae Council. 

Michelle Walls

Michelle Walls is a first-year medical student at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine. She completed her Bachelor of Science in history, philosophy, and sociology of science at Michigan State University.  

Michelle is an advocate with the National Foster Youth Institute (NFYI), participating in their annual Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day Program and forming the NFYI Michigan Chapter. In addition to this leadership role, Michelle has served in various capacities with the Student National Medical Association.

Michelle is a 2018 alumna of the BA Women’s Alliance, where she interned at the Medical College of Wisconsin researching epigenetics for hypertension. She serves as a Member-at-Large of the Alumnae Council. 

Want to learn more about our leadership?

The Alumnae Council is a committee that reports to the Board of Directors. To meet these women, and learn about the work they do, follow the link below!