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Staff & Interns

Atlas: DIY, Powered by Immigrant Youth, is creating a world powered by the joy, freedom, and endless possibility of all youth everywhere. We do this by working with immigrant youth to unlock access to legal services, learning opportunities and leadership development, in a space owned run and governed by the youth themselves.

Each of our staff members has distinct skills that help us accomplish that goal. Explore below to learn more about our amazing staff.

Want to join the Atlas: DIY team? Check out these open job opportunities at Atlas DIY!

Atlas Co-Founders

Luthfun J. Nahar - Co-Founder
Luthfun J. Nahar is an Atlas co-founder and current member of the Atlas Board. She is a student in English and Secondary Education. She is originally from Bangladesh, enjoys hiking and writes short stories. In addition to providing diligent minutes and organization, Luthfun aspires to employ her personal experience as an immigrant and her training as a teacher to not only spread Atlas to more youth but also to help Atlas become part of a bigger force for the much-needed changes in the United States and worldwide.
Lauren Burke - Co-Founder
Lauren Burke is an attorney, one of the co-founders of Atlas: DIY, and an avid youtube video maker. She co-founded Atlas with three young people in 2012 when she realized that many youth empowerment organizations lacked a true youth voice and weren't fully inclusive of all-status youth. Now, Lauren oversees Atlas' day to day operations, runs IYPEP and Summer CAMP, directs our legal program, and is a leader of Happy Birthday renditions in the park. Lauren is an adjunct clinical professor at Brooklyn Law School, was named one of Forbes' top 30 lawyers under 30 in 2012, and has two cats named muffin and pumpkin.
Yari Rodriguez - Co-Founder
Yari Rodriguez is one of the four Atlas: DIY Co-founders, a fashion retail Supervisor, student, Creative Writing major and avid writer. She was born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn. She is excited to be on the Atlas: DIY Board so that she can use her Slam Poetry jams to speak about undocumented immigrant issues while reaching out to help any fellow immigrant youth in need.
Martina Carrillo - Co-Founder
Martina Carrillo is a co-founder of Atlas. Born in Mexico, she migrated to the US when she was 7 years old. She enjoys going for long walks around the city and learning new things from people's experience. At Atlas, she hopes to get more members involved in Atlas programming and to show the undocumented community that Atlas is a safe space in which they can share their experiences and ask for support in times of distress regardless of their immigration status.

Full Time Staff

David Aguilar - ActionNYC Community Organizer
David was born and raised in Sunset Park. After David attended Fort Hamilton High School from 2005-2009, he found helping the community and fellow students both rewarding and empowering. Now having attended both Brooklyn College and Kingsborough Community College, David hopes to further help the community, now working with Atlas: DIY  to help undocumented youth as an ActionNYC Community Organizer. David aims to be a positive influence for fellow Atlas members and strives to do many great things with the organization. In David's spare time, He enjoys playing guitar and other Instruments, as well as listening to many different types of music.
Melissa Escano - R.I.S.E! Coordinator
Melissa Escano, a social justice advocate and dancer, is a Colombian native who lives in the Bronx. A DACA recipient herself, she obtained her Bachelors in Social Work from Lehman College, where she also minored in Dance and Sociology. She graduated Summa Cum Laude. Throughout her undergraduate years, Melissa was a volunteer for the NYS Youth Leadership Council, an immigrant youth-led organization that advocates for immigrant rights and provides support through community organizing. The YLC introduced to the importance of community organizing and nourished her leadership and political skills. During her time with the YLC, Melissa was the Leadership Development Coordinator, facilitating and developing trainings focused on immigrant youth organizing. After graduation, Melissa continued her passion for immigrant rights and was selected as a Community Fellow with the prestigious fellowship program, Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC), the first of its kind in the country to provide free and high-quality immigration legal assistance. With IJC Melissa screened more than five hundred people and represented clients with USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), in cases varying from citizenship, DACA, to adjustment of status. Moreover, Melissa is a strong believer that the arts is another medium to bring about social change and justice. She has been utilizing dance and spoken word to share stories of migration, abuse, loss and resilience. Melissa looks forward to fighting for a stronger community while dancing for equality.
Michelina Ferrara- Deputy Director
3Michelina Ferrara is the daughter of immigrants who feels connected to legacies of immigration, cultural resistance, and community solidarity. She has been organizing in her community since the age of 14 and her fire has only grown since then! She believes we need to create the community we want to live in and has worked to activate revolutionary community as an organizer and youth worker for the last five years. Her work and activism spans from youth incarceration to immigrant justice to maternal health to building fierce spaces of sisterhood. As the Deputy Director of Atlas:DIY she is excited to build an immigrant justice movement that is led and fueled by youth voices and power! She currently lives, loves, and shouts from Brooklyn where she can be found rocking high top sneakers & big earrings."It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains."
Joselyn Guaman- ActionNYC Community Organizer
Joselyn Guaman was born and raised in Ecuador until she was 11 years old. She migrated to the United States so that she could be reunited with her parents and sister that she had not seen for eight years. In the United States, she learned the importance of education and made it her goal to attend higher education. However, there was an obstacle that made it difficult to achieve that goal, she was undocumented. Even then, she did not give up on her dream of graduating from college. Thanks to her academic achievements, the support and help of many people she was able to receive scholarships and grants to attend St. Joseph’s College. She is now in her second year of college where she is planning to major in Mathematics and Computer Science.She loves giving back to her community and learning new things, and Atlas DIY became the place where she was able to do so. She is now part an ActionNYC Community Organizer and is excited to continue to be an active member in her community and advocating for those in need.
Yin Sok- Development Associate

Yin Sok is excited to join Atlas: DIY as a Development Associate. Prior to joining Atlas: DIY, Yin was an AmeriCorps*VISTA Development and Communications Coordinator at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, where she assisted the development director with fundraising, marketing, and public relations. Her work including coordinating the annual gala and special events, assisting with the production and implementation of appeal campaign, providing support with grant writing, researching grant prospects, managing donor database, communicating with the offices of elected officials, and assisting with event and program marketing materials. She was previously a program coordinator as part of Civic Corps at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She has interned at several places, including the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, and the New York Public Interest Group. She is fluent in Khmer and Mandarin Chinese. She earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science from CUNY City College of New York. Yin likes to walk, read and learn about new culture. She hopes to learn other languages and travel. 

Arlette Herrera-J.D.
Arlette Herrera is a staff attorney (pending bar admission) at Atlas DIY and a May 2018 graduate of Hofstra Law School. Prior to law school, Arlette worked for five years as a paralegal in private immigration practice while concurrently working towards her college degree. As a law student, she was accepted into the school’s asylum clinic and worked with eight clients over three semesters. Arlette also served as the President of the Hofstra Immigration Law Students Association and in 2017, in response to the student cancellation of the DACA program, Arlette organized a DACA clinic with faculty, students, and community volunteers. Deeply passionate about immigrant rights and access to education and a first-generation immigrant herself, Arlette works closely with Atlas members and our staff towards our mission.

Part Time Staff

Cristina Chua- Social Worker
Cristina is Atlas: DIY’s social worker, providing individual counseling and group support for Atlas members in English and Spanish. An LCSW, Cristina developed her passion for social work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica. Cristina then worked for 10 years as a Bilingual Social Worker for Good Shepherd Services providing counseling, case management and crisis intervention support to undocumented families in Brooklyn. Most recently, Cristina worked as a trauma therapist, supporting children, adolescents and young adults impacted by abuse, neglect or traumatic grief. Cristina is thrilled to return to her youth development roots and join such an inspiring organization. In her free time, Cristina loves to dance, meditate, and run workshops.

Youth Staff

Jazmin Perez - R.I.S.E!
Jazmin was born in Puebla, Mexico. Jazmin is a junior at Brooklyn College where she is majoring in Health and Nutrition Sciences. Due to the lack of resources and support to her community, it inspired her to work with organizations that support and improve the lives of young undocumented people in NYC. Prior to being part of RISE, Jazmin facilitated a program at Atlas DIY called “Wall of Hope” that sought on the empowerment of stories, struggles and sacrifices of immigrant youth as a foundation to continue a powerful legacy. She was part of the Immigrant Youth Peer Education Program (IYPEP) 2016-17 cohort, and a proud CUNY Becas recipient from The Jaime Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at CUNY. Jazmin hopes to graduate and keep working with her community and keep encouraging young people to continue their education because she strongly believes that the key to better support our communities is through education.
Luis Linares - R.I.S.E!
Luis was born and raised in the Dominican Republic until the age of twelve. In 2009, he migrated to the U.S. and enrolled at LaGuardia Community College where he completed his associate’s degree in accounting. Now, he is currently a senior at Baruch College. At Baruch he is majoring in accounting, and hopes to complete the requirements to become a CPA. He also has an interest in intellectual property and immigration law. Luis has been a member of Atlas since October 2015. At Atlas he was selected to participate on the Immigrant Youth Peer Educator Program (IYPEP) where he learned a variety of immigration laws that sparkled his interest in the legal waters. Now, he is currently a member of the Youth Board and RISE, and he hopes to become a voice for other members and the unrepresented communities.
Yenifer Soriano- R.I.S.E.!
Yenifer Soriano is a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is 18 years old. She is a first-generation college student. She is a proud Latina. Her ultimate goal is to become an immigration lawyer. Yenifer wants to let everyone know that although undocumented people don't have a status, it doesn't mean that they should be treated differently. She hopes that someday all people from any nation would have the human right to live a life without fear or doubt themselves. Throughout her eighteen years of life, she has learned that she should never give up on her dreams. If you really want something, you'll try your hardest to achieve your goals.
Jose N Velazquez Sanchez - R.I.S.E!
Jose N Velazquez Sanchez  migrated from Mexico when he was 8 years old. He has been an Atlas member for one and a half year. He has been part of the College Access program, including CAMP (College Access for Migrant People).He recently joined the RISE team as a Paralegal. Jose is 20 years old. Jose would describe himself as a happy and an outgoing person.

Atlas DIY

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