CBRS Ambassadors

CBRS Ambassadors are current students in the program who are available to answer any questions from prospective or newly admitted students. Please feel free to contact them directly to learn more about the program.

Nicole Barnes ('19)

Nicole Barnes Photo
Hometown: Latham, NY
Major: Biochemistry & Psychology
Email: nb2141a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: CBRS has positively impacted every aspect of my life here at AU. It has given me the opportunity to conduct research as a freshman and sophomore, connected me to amazing volunteer/internship opportunities, taught me about the many wonderful things that D.C. has to offer way beyond the National Mall, and introduced me to my many of my best friends and favorite professors.

Jason Breeding (‘19)

Jason Breeding Photo
Hometown: New Castle, DE 
Major: International Relations 
Email: jb5898a@american.edu  

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: My favorite thing about CBRS is that it makes freshman think about issues like race, class, and privilege through a critical lens that they most likely have never used. Then, they get to combine these new perspectives with their research, and explore all these parts of DC that the vast majority of students will never see. These experiences in the city really bring these issues of social justice and community to life for students.

Gabriella Folsom (‘20)

Gabriella Folsom Photo
Hometown: Buffalo, NY  
Major: Political Science, History and Russian  
Email: gf1549a@american.edu  

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: The people in it. We live together, learn together, and go through our lives at AU together. We are all bound by a similar love for giving back to the community that makes our group that much more tight knit. This community I can always count on, and that's what has allowed me to thrive at college so far. I couldn't be more grateful for the amazing people this program has allowed me to know.

Ariel Gomez (‘19)

Ariel Gomez
Hometown: Silver Spring, MD 
Major: Journalism 
Email: ariel.gomez@american.edu  

What is your favorite thing about CBRS? CBRS program is a great community to be a part of for first-year students. It provides a space for high level learning, access to fantastic faculty members and the opportunity to see and get to know D.C. through a lens that most students don't experience till later in their college careers. Plus, it gives first-years a chance to gain valuable research experience starting during their first semester of college.

Alyssa Harvie (‘19)

Alyssa Harvie
Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Major: International Studies/French

Email: alyssa.harvie@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: I think the philosophy behind community-based research has really impacted my life and the way I see research and service. Even though I love everything else about CBRS, I know that new way of seeing things will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Katie Kerekes (‘20)

Katie Kerekes

Hometown: Pittsford, NY

Major: International Studies/History

Email: kk4909a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: Although it is extremely difficult to pick one, I would say that my favorite part of CBRS has been putting into practice what we have learned in the classroom. After spending time learning about homelessness in DC and research ethics, we now actually get to implement these ideas in our project with Thrive DC.

Marissa Leonard (‘20)

Marissa Leonard

Hometown: Wexford, PA

Major: International Studies; Minors: Arabic, Religion

Email: ml1839b@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: I love the living-learning community.


Graciela Lopez (‘20)

Graciela Lopez Photo

Hometown: Floral Park, New York (Long Island)

Major: Justice & Law and Political Science

Email: gl7405a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: My favorite thing is definitely conducting research. Working with Thrive DC and actually conducting interviews with people experiencing homelessness has taught me real-life skills. I feel confident about my purpose as a researcher and feel even better knowing that I am doing hands-on work to help Thrive DC. I never conducted research before, so the program has allowed me to grow in that area. I have a great passion for community-based research and I hope to continue with the program for as long as I am here at AU.


Maya Pollack (‘20)

Maya Pollack Photo

Hometown: Monterey, CA

Major: International Studies

Email: mp2513a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: My favorite thing about CBRS is the confidence and responsibility that is automatically given to you. Just a couple weeks after coming to AU, you are already working with an organization that truly needs your help and you are learning about how to create a research project! Those are two things that first semester freshmen do not normally get to do. After just the first semester, I was able to present my own research project to a group of judges down on Capitol Hill, and was able to say that I am an important asset to the organization that I am working with.

Katie Ruff (‘20)

Katie Ruff Photo

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Major: International Relations and Economics

Email: kr8099a@student.american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: Picking just one is hard: I think I am between two things. I both love the community sense I have with my peers and don't know any other LLC that has the close sense of community that ours does. I also love the fact that it encouraged me to get involved in a city that is far from home, and has a number of resources available when becoming involved with the community.


Catharine Bitner ('20)

Catharine Bitner Photo
Hometown: West Chester, PA  
Major: International Relations & Public Health  
Email: cb4966a@american.edu  

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: Seeing and learning about the sides of D.C. normally hidden from student view has been incredible. The volunteer work we do provides a reason to leave campus and opportunities to explore neighborhoods I might not have otherwise. Knowing the history and meaning and importance of different neighborhoods, and being able to interact with people other than students or professors through volunteering has made me appreciate D.C. more.

Alyson Chocianowski (‘20)

Alyson Chocianowski Photo
Hometown: LaGrange, NY 
Major: Political Science 
Email: ac6693a@american.edu  

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: My favorite part of CBRS is getting to know the city on a deeper level. Through volunteering and working with non-profits I have been able to expand my knowledge of DC and the issues that affect it. This is something that I might not have been able to do without CBRS, but which has had a significant impact on my college experience.

Nate Glass (‘18)

Nate Glass
Hometown: San Diego, CA 
Major: CLEG/Finance 
Email: ng0673a@american.edu 

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: It was very rewarding to live and go to class with such a passionate group of peers, and I was able to develop strong bonds that made the transition to college much smoother. With the experience I gained from CBRS, I was able to pursue a job as a research assistant, as well as stand out as a qualified applicant for the SPA Honors Program.

Saagar Gupta (‘18)

Saagar Gupta
Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL

Major: MPA/CLEG

Email: sg7384a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: It's a very rare opportunity to get purposeful research experience early on in college. You get to do something meaningful with it by working with nonprofits. It’s a great program that's constantly improving. The community you build with the friends on your floor will always have a strong bond.

Allison Johntry (‘20)

Allison Johntry
Hometown: Long Island, New York

Major: Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Email: aj6908a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: My favorite thing about CBRS is learning about what meaningful service is, and being able to put it into action. This program has truly changed my perspective about service and it has allowed me to do meaningful service with people who share that passion with me.

Evelyn Krippner (‘20)

Evelyn Krippner

Hometown: Kinnelon, NJ

Major: Elementary Education

Email: ek3113a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: I love going to my community partner. Tutoring at LSF is the absolute highlight of my week. I adore my student, and I have learned so much from her constant inquisition and stubbornness. Somehow, waking up early on a Saturday morning has become what I look forward to most, and I am just so grateful.


Andrew Litzenberg (‘19)

Andrew Litzenberg

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI

Major: Philosophy

Email: al8065a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: The sense of community one can find in CBRS has always been appealing to me. Living with other CBR scholars helped with my transition to college, and has provided lasting friendships.


Brandan Persaud (‘19)

Brandan Persaud

Hometown: Long Island, NY

Major: CLEG

Email: bp2659a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS? My favorite thing about CBRS is the people! Whether it be students or program staff, everyone supports one another. There is a huge sense of community from the beginning and it is super helpful to know there is a whole support system wherever you go at AU.

Estevan Reta ('20)

Estevan Reta

Hometown: El Paso, TX

Major: International Studies

Email: er0569a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: I enjoy being able to learn about a community that I've never experienced before and being able to help in any way possible. I find that with CBRS I am able to do these things and create long lasting relationships with the individuals I help.

Julia Snegg (‘19)

Julia Snegg Photo

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Major: Public Health/Spanish

Email: julia.snegg@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: My favorite thing about CBRS is the tools that it has given me to work in the nonprofit sector. I have learned how to effectively collaborate with community leaders while simultaneously producing a successful research project. In my other classes at AU I have learned that I now have a leg-up due to the skills that I have developed through the program.

Alyson Woolley (‘20)

Alyson Woolley Photo

Hometown: Portland, OR

Major: International Studies/Spanish

Email: aw5132a@american.edu

What is your favorite thing about CBRS?: My favorite part of CBRS is definitely the community aspect of the program. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to live on Hughes 3 with my CBRS peers. My experience at AU would be nothing without the strong friendships I've made along the way which have all been a result of my living community. I also really enjoy the volunteering I do through CBRS at The Family Place.