Dr. Danielle R. Moss Cox

(212) 430-5985

Dr. Danielle R. Moss Cox brings over 20 years of experience in college access and education to Oliver Scholars, a 40-year-old educational nonprofit that identifies high-achieving Black and Latinx students for admission to selective independent day and boarding schools and supports them through graduation from competitive colleges. A vocal proponent of expanded educational access and social justice for historically underserved communities, she previously served as the Inaugural Chief of Staff of the New York Civil Liberties Union, as the second Black woman to serve as President and CEO of the YWCA of the City of New York in its 150+ history, and as the award-winning CEO of Harlem Educational Activities Fund for ten years. In 2015, Dr. Cox was appointed by former Mayor DeBlasio to New York City’s Commission on Gender Equity and Co-Chaired the Young Women’s Initiative of the New York City Council – a citywide policy and advocacy effort aimed at improving the lives of girls of color in New York City. She currently chairs the Program Committee and sits on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of The New York Women’s Foundation. Her contributions to education and the social sector have been recognized by the New York State Education Department, The New York Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Council of Urban Professionals, and The New York City Comptroller’s Office, among others. In 2015 The Network Journal named her one of the 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business. In the summer of 2016, she was featured in The New York Times’ Corner Office column and in Crain’s New York. Dr. Moss Cox has contributed to The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Edutopia, The Amsterdam News, The Nonprofit Quarterly, and City Limits Magazine. Her 2018 TED Talk on harnessing student potential has garnered over 2M views and been translated into over 10 languages worldwide. In 2023, Crain’s NY named her one of 50 Notable Black Leaders. She holds M.A. and Ed.M. degrees from Teachers College Columbia University, where she also completed her Doctorate in Organization and Leadership with a focus on Education Administration. Dr. Cox received her B.A. from Swarthmore College with a degree in both English Literature and History with a concentration in Black Studies. She holds certificates in Nonprofit Business Management from Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford Business Schools. Dr. Cox received her Certificate in Fundraising Management from The Fundraising School at Indiana University.

Development Associate

A’nysha Aileen

A’nysha Aileen is a content strategist and artist born and raised in Texas. In 2015 she moved to Austin, Texas to obtain a B.S. in Advertising with a focus on Media & Analytics. She has over 5 years of nonprofit experience with missions ranging from supporting artists to mutual aid tool libraries. In her work, she values collaboration and learning new skills. When she’s not working on her MacBook, she loves to travel to national parks and paint.

Assistant Director of Admissions

Karla Castro

212.430.5980 (Ext. 1130)

Karla Castro joined Oliver Scholars in March 2019 as an Admissions and Placement Coordinator and has since assumed the role of Program Coordinator. Karla was born in Ecuador, and lived in Spain before moving to New York City. She is a recent graduate of Marymount Manhattan College where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in International Business and Marketing and was High Education Opportunity Program Scholar (HEOP). Her time being a HEOP student opened her eyes to the disparities facing students of color in higher education. She is thrilled that to be working in an organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for students from similar backgrounds.

Assistant Director, Placement

Diego Chavez

Diego is a Queens, NY native who attended Phillips Academy Andover and Boston College, where he earned his Bachelor’s in Applied Psychology and Human Development with a minor in Psychology.  During his time in college, he worked in the Office of Residential Life as both an Office Assistant and Resident Assistant, while also being a major contributor to the Latin community by raising awareness on issues faced by immigrants in the United States and abroad, all while celebrating the diverse Latin cultures. Through his experiences working in secondary and higher education settings, Diego has been and continues to be committed to helping students achieve their highest potential, both in and out of the classroom, especially those who live in underrepresented communities throughout the city. Outside of work, he loves to watch soccer, listen to music and try new foods from all around the world.

Director of Communications, Marketing and Special Events

Moshé Crone

212-430-5980 (Ext. 1112)

Moshé Crone has devoted her career to serving young people for more than 15 years. She currently runs one of largest S.T.E.M Expo’s in New York City annually for the Department of Education and partners with community based organizations to bring funding and programming to schools and students in need. Moshé joined the Oliver Scholars team in August of 2019 as the Interim Communications Director, and brings a wealth of experience in the corporate, private, and nonprofit sectors. Moshé holds a Communications Degree and carries extensive knowledge in the areas of education, production, marketing, event coordination and hi -level sales. She is eager to utilize her experience and knowledge to further the Oliver Scholars mission and unlock opportunity for future scholars.


Bernell Downer ’96

Bernell is an alumnus of the Oliver Scholars Program. He is grateful to Oliver for instilling in him the importance of education to empower imagination and creativity. He was born in Georgetown, Guyana; and grew up in Kingston, Jamaica; and Brooklyn, New York; before graduating from Phillips Academy Andover in 1996. He received his Biology B.A. from Cornell University in 2000 and completed Cornell’s Mandarin language program at Peking University in 2012. Prior to joining Oliver Scholars in June 2019, as Director of Academic Affairs, Bernell taught English, Biology, and Math for 10 years at schools in Korea and China. He recently completed his M.S. Private School Leadership at Columbia Teachers College and strives to increase education access for all.

Program Coordinator

Karina Eumana

Karina is a recent graduate of Baruch College where she majored in Operations Management and received a Bachelor of Business Administration. She volunteered at NYC Rescue Mission which is where she first became interested in the nonprofit sector. Her interest was further enhanced while visiting other countries where she witnessed the poverty and living conditions of the small-town residents. While at Baruch, she  continued supporting the NYC  and Veterans communities through donations provided by the school and by the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship club. Karina formerly worked at Oliver Scholars as an Intern, Scholar Immersion Program Administrative Assistant, and Administrative Assistant for Scholar Services. Her primary goal, in life, is to continue supporting underserved communities and instill her passion for community service, in others. She was born and raised in Williamsburg Brooklyn,  loves to travel, and spend time with her pet rabbit, Bunny.

Director of Placement

Leovanny Fernández ’10

(212) 430-5980 x1003

Leovanny is an Alumnus of Oliver Scholars, graduating from Brooklyn Friends School in 2010 and Bowdoin College in 2014, with a B.A. in Government and Legal Studies. He has demonstrated continuous involvement with Oliver after completing the program, including as a summer counselor and as a member of the Junior Board. His wide breadth of interests is not limited to social justice causes; you might find him rock climbing in the Gunks or at Brooklyn Boulders, building a website in a café, or even visiting Hong Kong. After working for over a year in administration at the Corlears School, Leovanny joined Oliver Scholars in 2016. Leovanny has now worked for Oliver Scholars for 5 years. During that time he has cultivated strong relationships with our nations top independent schools providing more educational access to the scholars and families that we serve.

Chief Program & Equity Officer

Dr. Deidre Franklin

(212) 430-5980 x1111

Dr. Franklin’s career has focused on inclusion, access, and the psychological well-being of historically marginalized groups. She has been an advocate and thought leader in social impact and educational spaces with 18 years of experience in mental-health awareness, racial and gender justice, and youth development. Dr. Franklin has extensive experience in both the creation and implementation of culturally responsive training institutes focusing on anti-racist practices, psychological well-being, and the social and emotional growth of young people. Prior to joining Oliver Scholars, Dr. Franklin was Chief Program Officer for the YWCA of the City of New York, where she managed social justice programs for young people across New York City, and Managing Director of Youth Development and Counseling at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund, for which she developed culturally responsive curricula and counseling services to support middle school and high school students along their college trajectory. A native New Yorker and graduate of Howard University, Dr. Franklin has a Master’s Degree from Harvard University and received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Teachers College Columbia University.

Director of College Bound Initiatives

Randy Frazer

212-430-5980 x1108

Randy has several years of experience working with youth in the non-profit sector. Prior to joining Oliver in 2019, Randy served as a 12th grade Humanities Teacher in Massachusetts, Program Director for the YWCA of the City of New York, Youth Development Coordinator and later, Manager of College Programs at the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF). Most recently, he was Senior Program Director for the Morningside Center after school programs. Randy is a proud Harlem native, avid dog lover, and a POSSE Foundation scholar that believes education is our most powerful tool. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College, MA and his Masters of Science degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from The State University at Albany New York. Randy serves on the Board of Director for the City of Restoration Ministries, Inc. church in Yonkers, NY. He has also served as a consultant for the Baruch College STEM Program and the Police Athletic League.

Chief Development Officer

Gabrielle Gilliam

212-430-5980 (Ext. 1107)

Gabrielle Gilliam is a fund development and non-profit management professional. She has over two consecutive decades of experience in fundraising and institutional advancement, and has served in leadership positions at organizations such as United Negro College Fund, Bottomless Closet, Poly Prep Country Day School, the French-American Foundation, and Opening Act.

Since 2014, Gabrielle has been working as an independent consultant, providing strategicplanning and fundraising support to NYC-based non-profit organizations. Her client list has included the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Fiver Children's Foundation, Brooklyn Children’s Theatre, and The Peter Westbrook Foundation. She is also a Lecturer at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Social Work. Gabrielle received her BA in Drama and Africana Studies from Vassar College and her MA in Performance Studies from New York University/Tisch School of the Arts.

A seasoned fund development generalist, Gabrielle enjoys sharing and applying her professional expertise in strategic campaign planning, institutional giving, and board development. She is particularly committed to organizations that engage and empower youth who have been under-served or unsupported by systems and institutions. Gabrielle takes special pride in working on behalf of programs - like Oliver Scholars - that create a path for young people of color to pursue their dreams and find success in life.

Director of Development

Carinda Greene

212-430-5980 x1129

Carinda Greene has over ten years of experience in the nonprofit sector, developing strategies to enhance public awareness and revenue for educational institutions and nonprofit organizations. Most recently she served at the Harvard Business School Club of NY, which provides pro bono consulting services for clients such as The Central Park Conservancy, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Vera Institute of Justice, Girls Write Now, and NY Sun Works. In this role, Carinda provided procedural direction, campaign strategy development, and logistical support for consulting projects. In her fundraising role at Brooklyn Law School, she instituted a very successful individual giving campaign and in her other development roles she focused on events and stewardship. As a high school student she attended The Dwight School. Carinda holds a Bachelor’s Degree in African Studies with a minor in Media Studies from Hunter College and is an active volunteer for education-related causes, currently serving on the Young Professionals Committee for Figure Skating in Harlem.

Chief Enrollment and Academic Officer

Mark Hall

(212) 430-5980 x1104

Mark is driven by the belief that all children deserve access to a high-quality and culturally responsive education regardless of the color of their skin, their socioeconomic status, or their zip code. After receiving his degree in English and Spanish from Amherst College, Mark taught English and Spanish at Westminster School in Connecticut and Thayer Academy in Massachusetts, where he also coached varsity basketball and track. After leaving the classroom, Mark served as dean of students and then director of the PREP 9 program for a decade. Mark joins Oliver Scholars from Ascend Public Charter Schools, where, as Director of the Teaching Fellows Program, he launched a program to recruit and train the next generation of urban educators. Mark resides in Bedford-Stuyvesant with his wife Samantha and is the proud father of Stokely, three, and Evers, six months.

Administrative Assistant (Scholar Services)

Taliyah Holder

My name is Taliyah Holder and I am a Harlem native. After graduating from Beacon in 2017, I attended Syracuse University where I received my Bachelor's in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Sociology. I am currently studying to get my Master's Degree in Digital Media Design for Learning at NYU. When I'm not at school or work I like to spend my time watching and occasionally performing in musicals and plays.

Scholar Counselor

Alyssa Morales

Originally from Rockland County, New York Alyssa attended SUNY Geneseo where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. There, she began her passion for leadership, education, and career development through the Women's Leadership Institute. She continued her education at Fordham University's Graduate School of Education where she earned her Master's Degree in Education along with a NYS certification in school counseling. She continued to grow her expertise at Dominican Academy counseling 9th and 10th grade students. Most recently, she served as a Senior College Success Advisor with Bottom Line, advising low-income first generation students through their college career and to advance professionally and personally in their lives. Alyssa is an advocate for equity in education for students from underserved communities and is thrilled to continue to empower students through Oliver Scholars.

Executive Assistant

Linda Penceal

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Linda D. Penceal is the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer at the Oliver Scholars. She has more than 40 years of management and administrative experience in the nonprofit sector. Linda spent 29 years making extensive contributions to the Morningside Area Alliance, where she forged long-lasting community bonds with community partners, residents, Board members, and colleagues. During her tenure, she supported the implementation of numerous programs, including as Manager of Summer Youth Employment and other youth mentorship programs. She has played an important role in shaping the personal and professional lives of many of the community’s young adults.

Scholar Guidance Dean

Massiel Ramirez

212-430-5980 x1130

Massiel Ramirez joined Oliver Scholars in June 2019 as a Scholar Success Advisor. Massiel was born and raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, and attended Hunter College where she majored in Psychology with a minor in African, Puerto Rican and Latino Studies. Prior to college, Massiel traveled abroad to Italy, Thailand, South Africa and Chile through Global Teens and was an active participant at another college access organization. Through traveling and community service work, Massiel became passionate about community building, working with youth, and advocating for social justice and reform. Throughout college her passion for helping and educating others led her to work with the after school programs at the Westside YMCA and Hudson Guild where she worked with youth ages 4-16 as a Group Leader. Prior to joining Oliver Scholars, Massiel was a Therapeutic Case Manager at Graham Windham, a foster care agency dedicated to providing supportive services to families and children.

Grant Manager

Cavell Stephenson

212-430-5980 (Ext 1137)

Cavell Stephenson is a strategic thinker with an unrelenting work ethic, and a deep-rooted commitment to social justice, equity, inclusion, and access. Her social impact portfolio includes child and elder care, youth; education; and grassroots organizing. Her work has focused on program management, communications, grants management, and project coordination in family caregiving; interior design; graduate, and career and technical education; and historic preservation, architectural and cultural legacy in membership, national, local, and community organizations. A graduate of Hunter College, CUNY, Cavell earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, specialty in Creative Writing, with a minor in Communications. She earned a Master of Public Administration -- specialty in Public and Nonprofit Management - from Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, where she was a Public Service Scholar.

Chief Operations Officer

Sharon Sturrup

(212) 430-5980 x1105

Sharon has more than 20 years senior HR experience. Prior to joining Oliver, Sharon served as Human Resources Manager for HSBC, Assistant Director of Human Resources for Mitchell Titus LLP (formerly a member firm of Ernst & Young), and Talent Manager for Exchange for International Studies in Washington D.C. Most recently, she was a Human Resources Business Partner at Black Forest Acres in Hamilton, N.J. Sharon holds a B.S. from Lehman College in Management Information Systems and an M.S. in Human Resource Management from The New School. She has served as a guest lecturer at New York University on corporate HR communications. She is also a keen volunteer with other education-related causes, including serving as a College Success Coach for Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF).

Human Resource / Operations Manager

Cherice Toney

212-430-5980 (Ext. 1110)

Cherice O. Toney has 17 years of experience as a Human Resource Professional. After several years of working in the financial services industry in investment banking and private wealth management; Cherice began her career in the nonprofit sector in 2008 and hasn't looked back since. Cherice has 10 years under her belt from New York-based nonprofits, Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center and Children of Promise.

Cherice holds a Bachelors of Science in Human Resource Management & International Business from the University of Vermont and Masters in Human Resource Management from Long Island University.


Cherice looks forward to sharing her years of experience in as the new Human Resource/ Operations Manager here at Oliver Scholars. 

Scholar Counselor

Laury Veudna

Laury joined the Oliver Scholars team in December 2019 as a Scholars Counselor. She graduated from SUNY New Paltz with her BA in African Studies with a minor in Geology. While in college, Laury joined the SUNY service learning program in Jamaica at the University of the West Indies-Mona Campus, and was an active member at Alpha-Boys school, a community service program. Through community engagement and traveling, Laury continues to take a keen interest in servicing the diverse youth of color and their families of New York City. Her enthusiasm for developing youth leaders through active global education and leadership development is what led her to Oliver Scholars. Laury received her MSW degree from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College is an active volunteer for educational and social related causes, currently serving as campaign treasurer for Brooklyn’s 57th Assembly District. Laury resides in Brooklyn and loves to cook, read, and tackle DIY projects in her free time.

Director of Admissions

Aneesa Sarah Yadali

Sarah is a New York City native who has spent the last 13 years working in education. She recently returned to the United States from Spain, where she was working as an English Teaching Assistant. After graduating from Occidental College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Sarah began her career as a Special Education teacher with the New York City Department of Education. She continued her DOE career by working as a Teacher Assigned A in one of the many central offices before moving to Spain. Sarah is an alum of Prep for Prep. She attended the Emma Willard School. Sarah also holds a Master of Science in Students with Disabilities from Long Island University, and a Master of Science in Leadership for Educational Change from Bank Street College of Education.

In her free time, Sarah reads, writes, dabbles in the arts, visits new restaurants, spends time with her dog, and travels. “Where in the world is Sarah?” is a fair question. She has been to over 40 states and 35 countries.

Senior Accountant

Yolanda McCullough

Yolanda Mccullough has worked her way up from an Accounts Payable Bookkeeper to Senior Accountant gaining 8 years of experience in Accounting for Not for Profits.   Prior to joining Oliver Scholars, Yolanda was the Senior Accountant at The Center for Jewish History, there, Yolanda maintained the financials, assisted the Development  department with all donations and handled some HR responsibilities.   Yolanda also served as a Financial Consultant at CSBM, helping NYC Charter Schools practice and gain financial knowledge to help them continue to grow and maintain sustainability in the charter sector.    Yolanda holds a B.A in Accounting from Monroe College and is excited to share her experience in Accounting at Oliver Scholars.