Introducing the Cowen Scholars!

The Cowen Scholars Internship Program provides Tulane graduate students with a hands-on experience in public education, while increasing the capacity of local charter and traditional public schools.

A list of the cohorts of Cowen Scholars and their projects is below:


Brandon Darrington is a second year Master of Public Health student and will work at O. Perry Walker High School. He has been involved in public education since 2009 when he started working as an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) tutor in Austin, Texas. Since moving to New Orleans in August of 2010, he has been tutoring AP students at Edna Karr High School. His dedication to secondary education stems from a sense of responsibility to the community and his culture. This same motivation prompted him to create a seminar series promoting personal and professional development in connection with academic success at his undergraduate institution. Brandon completed his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at St. John’s University in New York City.

Samantha Hoyt is a Ph.D. candidate at the Payson Center for International Development and is placed at New Orleans Charter Science and Math Academy (“Sci Academy”).  Her area of interest is improving student access to quality education in Africa. Samantha holds a Masters in International Training and Education from American University and is a certified Teacher of English to Students of Other Languages instructor. She has extensive experience as a math and ESL tutor and teacher, as well as experience evaluating education programming in Bosnia and Mozambique. Samantha is excited to serve AdvanceNOLA as a resource for students in creating the futures they want for themselves.

Shaila Parker is a second-year Master of Public Health student who is studying maternal and child health and health education and communication. She will work at New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School (“Sci High”), building on her previous work with high school students in the Upward Bound Math and Science program at Delaware Technical and Community College where she served as an instructor, teaching assistant, academic tutor, and mentor. In the past, Shaila helped educate high school students about college degree programs and the financial aid process. She has a passion to support young people in reaching their educational and personal goals. As a peer mentoring program coordinator, she planned activities to help ease the transition to college for first-year students at the University of Delaware, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. Shaila aims to inspire high school students to believe that they can earn a college degree and to equip them with the resources they need for college success.

Erin Sapp will be located at Edna Karr High School and is an Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts Ph.D. student with a focus in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Humanities at Jacksonville University before earning a Masters in Art History from Tulane University. Having been in New Orleans a year before Hurricane Katrina, Erin developed a love for the city that fueled her determination to return and take an active role in the renewal process. Erin previously worked with Habitat for Humanity, Very Special Arts, and Upward Bound; she is currently involved in the New Orleans chapters of Girls on the Run and the League of Women Voters.

Meredith Beers is a PhD student at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine concentrating in Disaster Management through the Global Environmental Sciences department.  Her role as a Cowen Scholar is unique; she will be assessing and working with potential partner high schools to help expand and deepen the impact of AdvanceNOLA.  She holds a Masters of Public Health from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  Meredith also attended Tulane for her undergraduate years; Hurricane Katrina closed the University for the fall of her junior year.  Upon the reopening of Tulane, Meredith was eager to volunteer at a middle school to work with students who were also just returning to New Orleans.  Since that year, she has worked with struggling readers at the middle school and elementary levels.  Now, through the Cowen Scholars program, she is excited to work with high schools and students who are curious about continuing their educations.

Joshua Schoop, who is studying International Development at the Payson Center, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Samoa and taught English at an elementary school in Seoul, Korea. He is eager to continue his involvement in education and views the Cowen Scholars Internship as a viable option for furthering his interest as an educator and helping to build capacity within one of the Cowen Institute’s participating high schools.


Qi Li, doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology, has concentrated her studies in the areas of school and developmental psychology, with particular focus on counseling interventions as well as cognitive and social development during childhood and adolescence. After completing her undergraduate coursework at East China Normal University, Ms. Li began her career as a high school teacher and prepared students for college entrance examinations. Later, as an employee of Beijing New Oriental Foreign Language School Group, she counseled students on the admissions process for American colleges.

Jerrine Morris is a second year student pursing her master’s in public health and desires to continue her studies in the field of medicine. Since arriving in New Orleans, Jerrine has been involved in the education sector as a tutor and substitute teacher. Her interest in supporting college readiness efforts is motivated by a personal conviction that students’ choices not be limited by lack of opportunity or lack of resources. She completed her B.S. in psychology and biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Tolulope Dawodu, also a second year MPH candidate, previously mentored high school students through the California State University East Bay Upward Bound Program and served as a math and science tutor. In her home country of Nigeria, she co-founded Building This Generation, an organization which seeks to reduce the educational achievement gap between public and private elementary schools by remodeling libraries and increasing access to educational materials.

Joshua Schoop, who is studying International Development at the Payson Center, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Samoa and taught English at an elementary school in Seoul, Korea. He is eager to continue his involvement in education and views the Cowen Scholars Internship as a viable option for furthering his interest as an educator and helping to build capacity within one of the Cowen Institute’s participating high schools.

Joyce Bennett, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, will serve as an intern with the Young Leadership Council’s College Admissions Project. The CAP project supports at-risk high school students in navigating the college admission and financial aid process and assisting students in gaining entry into the college of their choice. Ms. Bennett will assist the project in various aspects of organizational support, evaluation, and program implementation of project components serving both high school juniors and seniors. Recognizing the need and importance of education, Joyce will build on her previous work at the University of Richmond as well as that at Tulane “to connect university scholarship to the surrounding community.”

Gwendolyn Murray, who is also pursing her doctoral studies in Latin American Studies, will support The Urban League’s College Track. College Track is an after-school, college preparatory program that works to increase high school graduation, college eligibility and enrollment, and college graduation rates in under-resourced communities. A graduate of Smith College, Gwendolyn was drawn to New Orleans because of her desire to impact the city’s recovery in a meaningful way.  She has served as an academic tutor with College Track for the past year.

N. Joy Green will join the Cowen Scholars Internship for the spring 2011 semester, working at Sci Acaemy to support the school’s college and career readiness efforts. Ms. Green is a third year law student and former elementary school teacher. Prior to enrolling in law school, she taught in the Houston Independent School District as an ESL lead teacher as well as math and science educator. Her legal interests include juvenile and family law; she has served as staff attorney with Tulane’s Juvenile Law Clinic.

Spring 2010
Margeaux Randolph, a first year MBA with a concentration in finance and strategic management, will work with FirstLine Schools on development of its internship and Apprentice Teacher programs. Margeaux received her master’s in public policy from USC prior to enrolling in Tulane’s Freeman School of Business. She has worked with the California Charter Schools Association and as a former math teacher. She also completed a summer fellowship with Education Pioneers.

Ravi Prakash, also a first year MBA candidate, will intern with Lafayette Academy Charter School, supporting its data-driven decision-making and interim assessment project. Ravi possesses a background and experience in technology as well as data and statistical analysis. He previously served as a volunteer for adult education classes and also tutored school age children while attending college.

Fall 2009
Laura DeBoer, a Masters in Public Health student is working with Pride College Prep, a PreK-2 charter school on a data-driven decision-making and interim assessment. DeBoer will play a key role in the development and implementation of the data-driven culture at Pride College Prep. She holds a bachelor of arts in biology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa.

Bradley Hentschel is a PhD candidate in Latin American Studies and has previous degrees from Spring Hill College and Tulane University where he studied English and Hispanic Studies and Latin American Studies. Hentschel will be working with the Sci Academy Youth Internship/Employment Project this and the Spring 2010 semesters. The purpose of this project is to guide the scholars through the process of finding summer internships that will have positive effects on the community around them.

Savannah Solomon, a second year MBA candidate with the A.B. Freeman School of Business is working withthe Sci High Post-secondary College and Career Readiness Program during this and the Spring 2010 semesters. She will be developing and implementing the College Ed Program as a year-long college prep program for all grades. She’ll be working with the Academic Counselor to develop a comprehensive ACT and SAT prep program for grades 10 through 12. Her work will also support other high schools participating in the Cowen Institute’s AdvanceNOLA program. Solomon holds a bachelor of science degree in Economics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Amrita Datta, a second year PhD candidate in Pharmacology is working with the Young Leadership Council College Admissions Project on a data collection and program evaluation during this and the Spring 2010 semesters. Datta will work to create a system for effective data collection, storage, organization and program evaluation. She holds a bachelor of technology from the Jaypee Institute of Information Technology in India and studied school education as a science and math major at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya also in India.

Byron Hughes is currently studying with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and is working with Lusher High School on the Higher Education Community Partnership (HECP). The HECP would be a partnership between local universities/colleges and members of the Lusher community. In recognizing the limited exposure students, their families, and secondary educators have to various aspects involving higher education and being aware of the great potential of all students in New Orleans, Lusher Charter School has designed the HCEP for the purpose of leading the way for greater exposure of what higher education has to offer the children of New Orleans and what is expected of college-bound students.

Amy Brumfield, an MBA candidate with the A.B. Freeman School of Business is working with the Foundation for Science & Mathematics Education, Inc. on its Business Industry Partnerships during this and the Spring 2010 semesters. The mission of the Foundation for Science & Mathematics Education, Inc., a Louisiana nonprofit organization, is to foster financial and community support for two open admission high schools in New Orleans — New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics High School (Sci High) and New Orleans Charter Science and Math Academy (Sci Academy). Brumfield will play a major role in assisting the Foundation’s Industry Partnership task force to develop a program establishing industry-school partnerships. Brumfield holds a Bachlor of Science from the University of New Orleans.

Spring 2009
Nicole Lee, then a fourth-year medical and Master of Public Health student, and David Durand, then a third year law student, worked with the Parents Energizing Parents Inc. Community Outreach Program with two charter schools in Algiers, O. Perry Walker Senior High and John McDonogh #32 Elementary. The project aimed to create a Community Outreach and Resource Center where local schools can serve as centralized facilities in their communities enabling parents, students, and the community to receive resources and needed services.

Edward Crawford, then a joint degree candidate in Business Administration and Latin American Studies, and Justin Val Alstyne, then a third year law student and a former Teach for America corps member, worked with Green Charter School’s Library Project where they worked with teachers to develop a resource library that will help raise student achievement and provide students with life-long reading habits.

Fall 2008
Ian Furman, then a joint JD and MBA candidate, worked with the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans in an evaluation of its Grief & Trauma Group Intervention project.

Brigham Hall, then a finance student at the Freeman School of Business, assisted The International School of Louisiana in developing a business plan for program expansion and replication.

Diana Marker, then a School of Public Health student, was assigned to Akili Academy to help this new charter school develop Akili Ascends, a literacy and numeracy tutoring intervention program.

Courtney Massaro, then a second year Master of Public Health student, worked with Harriett Tubman Charter School evaluating reading and math strategies to improve students’ academic performance and developing a resource library for teachers.

Jacquelyn Vasquez, also from the School of Public Health, supported Laurel Academy in the development of its Parent-Teacher Organization and also worked to identify community partnerships and volunteers.

Spring 2008
Olurotimi Adeola, in the Freeman School of Business, worked with NOLA 180°/Langston Hughes Academy Charter School, on issues relevant to human resources development and training.

Nana Hanson-Hall, a former student in the School of Public Health, was assigned to the International School of Louisiana, a charter school in New Orleans. Nana worked in the area of donor/volunteer relations, enhancing the School’s community and external affairs.

Roberta Horth, then a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Public Health, worked with Audubon Charter Care, a before/aftercare program of Audubon Charter School. She researched and developed a policies and procedures handbook for staff and parents based on review of best practices, as well as operational, organizational, and programming assessment.

James Lukens, also in the School of Public Health, was assigned to Warren Easton Charter High School. His project included grant writing, along with researching best practices for development of an online training module for new teachers in the areas of classroom management, parental involvement, and effective instructional delivery.

Lisa Deininger, from the Department of Neuroscience, focused on program evaluation for Tulane University’s Upward Bound Program. She also provided assistance in the area of student interventions that promote academic success and retention.

Sylvia Vellino, then a second year law student, worked with New Orleans Outreach developed an organizational and business plan for the nonprofit organization as it considered expansion.

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