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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 Carillos - 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.
Penelope Ramirez - Program Coordinator
Penelope Ramirez is proud Black Dominican from The Bronx! She is a community organizer, youth educator and a lover of art produce by Black and Brown. As a daughter of Dominican immigrant she believes that community resistance is rooted in actions that elevate the voices of young folks and push for healing justice. In addition to this work Penelope organizes to expand the focus of what violence against all womxn looks like and how our communities can intentionally work to end these forms of violence. To do this work Penelope turns to storytelling practices and art/print making. She is super excited to dive into the role of program coordinator and to expand on the fierce work of the Atlas: DIY Community!
Ruben Rodas - ActionNYC Community Organizer

Ruben Rodas was born in the Republic of Honduras. He migrated to the United States with his mother at the age of five. For the past ten years, Ruben has lived in NYC as an undocumented immigrant. In 2012, he became a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, an executive order enacted by President Barack Obama. DACA opened opportunities for Ruben to access higher education and the opportunity to be employed in the United States. At the age of 18, he became one of the youngest employed individuals by New York State Legislature. During his time working for the state elected official, Ruben took the opportunity to connect with his community, local elected officials, state agencies, educational institutions and organizations.

Ruben is currently enrolled in New York City College of Technology pursuing a Bachelorette Degree is Paralegal Studies. Ruben determines to use his educational skills and working experience to stand up for members in his community. His motto is “the acknowledgement of obstacles leads to triumphant paths”. He currently lives in Brooklyn, dedicates his time to Atlas: DIY as an outreach organizer continuing to serve students and families in New York City. Ruben’s favorite color is Pale Blue, he enjoys long walks, enjoys different styles of music.

Sarika Saxena - Director of Legal Services
Sarika Saxena is a native New Yorker and a proud graduate of City University of New York School of Law. She has experienced the immigration system as an attorney and personally through family. Sarika is a Staff Attorney and Project Manager in the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a civil rights nonprofit organization, where she works to connect uninsured New Yorkers with health coverage. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the New York City Bar Association. She strongly believes in grassroots-led efforts for social change and is excited to support Atlas as a member of the IYA Board.   
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."
Angie Juarbe - Immigrant Justice Corps Justice Fellow
Originally from Puerto Rico, Angie spent most of her life growing up in a small town in Michigan. She developed her passion for working with immigrants as an advocate for Spanish-speaking domestic violence survivors during college and moved to New York to law school in order to help immigrant survivors of trauma. While in law school she had the opportunity to work with many young people to secure immigration relief and is eager to continue that work here at Atlas as an Immigrant Justice Corps fellow. She values working in environments that work to address the broader complex needs of immigrant communities. In her free time, Angie is an avid Michigan sports fan (Go Blue!), enjoys reading, and exploring new parts of New York City.
Becky McBride - Director of Legal Services
Becky McBride is Atlas: DIY's staff attorney who oversees the implementation, direction, and successful completion of Atlas' "Strengthening Nontraditional Immigrant Families" project.  Becky joined Atlas' staff after working as a staff attorney with The Door, a holistic center for at-risk youth, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working with young people in New York City.  Becky lived in Argentina and traveled around South America for two years before attending law school, and she continues to maintain her love for travel, the Spanish language, and empanadas.
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. 

Laura Wooley
Laura is a 2017 Immigrant Justice Corps fellow and a recent Fordham JD/MSW graduate. During law and social work school, she had opportunities to work alongside young immigrants at The Door and UnLocal, help develop policy impacting LGBTQ and disabled people at the National LGBTQ task, and learn trauma-informed counseling skills at Good Shepherd and the NYC Department of Education's CATCH program. Laura lives to DIY anything and everything that can be DIY'd and can be found training and playing with her Capoeira Brasil family most nights of the week.
Jason Yoon - Executive Director
Jason Yoon is a native New Yorker born and raised in Brooklyn and Queens and the child of Korean immigrants. With over 10 years of experience in nonprofit leadership in the arts, education and youth development Jason has devoted his career to cultivating communities that promote creativity and self-determination. Jason comes to Atlas from the Queens Museum (QM) where he was the Director of Education responsible for the museum's education programs for people across the lifespan both at the museum and in community settings around the borough of Queens. This includes Queens Teens, a White House award-winning youth leadership program, New New Yorkers, an arts, language and digital literacy initiative for and with adult immigrants, ArtAccess, nationally recognized model programs for children and adults with varying physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive abilities and work with over 30,000 K-12 students through museum visits and longer-term collaborations with over thirty NYC K-12 public schools. Prior to joining QM, Jason served for five years as the executive director of New Urban Arts, a nationally recognized non-profit art studio and gallery for high school students and emerging artists in Providence RI. In his time, New Urban Arts was named a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award winner by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, underwent a successful capital campaign to purchase and renovate a new building, and was selected for a national Ford Foundation initiative mapping examples of artistic and community excellence that reflect America’s changing demographics. Jason has also been a teaching artist and museum educator at the Brooklyn Museum; founded and directed his own youth arts mentoring program 7ARTS which was featured on NY1 News; and worked as a grant writer and Development Associate for the DreamYard project. Jason has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting with a concentration in art history from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters in Public Administration from New York University's Wagner School of Public Service where he was a Carl Long Dean’s Fellow and a Public Service scholarship awardee.

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

Pablo Galindo-Aragon - R.I.S.E!
Pablo Galindo-Aragon, a returning RISE paralegal, was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States at the age of 5. Pablo graduated High School in 2015. He graduated from Kingsborough Community College in 2017 and is furthering his education at the New York City College of Technology, where he is studying Communication Design. Pablo is a “DreamUS” Scholar Recipient. He enjoys to share his college experience as an undocumented student and hopes to encourages other dreamers like himself to pursue their education.
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.
Krissia Bonilla - R.I.S.E!
Krissia Bonilla is a RISE Paralegal and a proud immigrant from El Salvador. She migrated to America in 2001 when she was 2 years old with her family. She has always had a passion for academics and education which led her to proudly attend Brooklyn Technical High School. Currently DACA-mented, Krissia is a passionate activist for immigrants and social justice. She has always been interested in politics and started to get involved by campaigning at the age of 15. She is also a proud recipient of TheDream.US scholarship which allows her to attend Hunter College where she plans to double major in History and Political Science with a minor in Human Rights. Krissia wholeheartedly believes in the power of knowledge and giving back to her community which she has been able to do through Atlas DIY, specifically the RISE program which has allowed her the space to learn and grow.
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.
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.
Joselyn Guaman- IYPEP Coordinator
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 of DACA Squad and is excited to continue to be an active member in her community and advocating for those in need.

Atlas DIY

462 36th Street, #PH-B,
Brooklyn, NY 11232
©AtlasDIY 2016
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