This year brings an impressive group of new members to American University’s Alumni Board. Their diverse perspectives and insights will strengthen our already-dynamic alumni leadership. With a history dating back to the 1950s, the Alumni Board leads AU’s alumni association, providing perspective and insight to professional staff in outreach to alumni an improving student experience. On the board myriad AU experiences, professional industries, backgrounds, and generations are represented.
New members include:
John Antokas, Kogod/BSBA ’12, Astoria, NY
Founder, President/CEO, Metro Transportation Management & Design, Inc.
John has served on the board of the New York Young Alumni Chapter since 2013. He was president from 2020-2022 and vice president from 2019-2020. He is also an Alumni Admissions Volunteer.
Corey Atkins, SPA/BA ’05, Asheville, NC
Government Relations Manager, Mission Health/HCA Healthcare
Since graduation, Corey has maintained and engaged with a broad network of friends and colleagues from his time at AU. He served as an ambassador of the university by promoting games, events, and programs and interviewing prospective students.
Yasmine Djellal, SIS/BA ’09, Annandale, VA
Director of Communications, Nathan Associates, Inc.
Since joining AU as an international student, Yasmine has been serving as an ambassador for the university by promoting AU overseas among prospective students and seasoned professionals seeking exceptional academic offerings and an unparalleled experience.
Hina Gir, SPA/BA ’12, SPA/MA ’14, Washington, DC
Project Director for Foreign Policy, Special Competitive Studies Project
Hina maintains her connection to AU in numerous capacities. She has recruited volunteers and provided counsel on engaging alumni. In addition, she has mentored graduate students and helped them with job searches. She is also a member of the Dinner with Alumni series.
Brandi Howard, CAS/BA ’09, Washington, DC
Partner, McGuireWoods LLP
Brandi’s involvement with AU since graduation has been multifaceted. She works closely with the admissions office and helped current and prospective students review their resumes and cover letters for job placement. She attends many AU events and is a member of the President’s Circle.
Nile Johnson, SIS/MA ’11, Washington, DC
Regulatory Transparency for Content Moderation, U.S. – Trust & Safety, Google Inc.
During her tenure at AU SIS, Nile was a Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellow with the Department of State and graduated with an MA in International Affairs. Since graduating, Nile has served as an SIS Alumni and Friends Committee member and has actively participated in other alumni engagement events, including the AUAA Shaping the Future reception with President Burwell in San Francisco, CA.
Chris Kalna, Kogod / BSBA ’08, Kogod/ MBA ’19; Washington, DC (returning for a second term)
Director-Information Management & Technology, MorganFranklin Consulting
Chris is returning to the alumni board and serving a second two-year term. Since graduating from AU in 2008, Chris has been active with the University and AU community. Chris has participated in our Alumni in the Classroom program and regularly speaks to students in the Kogod Business 101 and Consulting courses.
Daniel Alejandro Leon-Davis, SIS/BA ’13, Miami, FL (returning for a second term)
Senior Media Fellow, USC Annenberg
Outside of board membership, Daniel maintains his connection to AU by speaking with students to give career advice. He has attended many AU events and served as a member of the Latino Alumni Alliance and a social media ambassador. Daniel uses his resources and connections to help students—particularly undocumented student.
Don Mike Mendoza, SOC / BA ’10, SOC/MA ’17; Pittsburgh, PA (returning for a second term)
Executive Artistic Director, La Ti Do Productions
Don Mike is a returning member of the AU Alumni Board. During his tenure, he has helped support our current students by identifying ways alums can offer career support and guidance during their time at AU. He also served as the chair for the Asian Pacific Islander Alumni Network. During his tenure, he worked on expanding the API-identifying alum community at AU through active outreach and events. He also focused inward to strengthen the group’s connections with current students.
Andrea Moore, CAS/BA ’88, Columbia, MD
Management Analyst, Social Security Administration
Andrea attends AU events and works closely with the university to recruit students for The Frederick Douglass program. She also has spoken to graduating students about her experiences in the program. Currently Andrea is the President of the Pearl Foundation, Inc. of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.® Iota Lambda Omega Chapter of Howard County.
Ashley Poletto, Kogod/BSBA ’14, Kogod/ MBA ’21; Delray Beach, FL
Acquisitions Analyst, Sylvan Road Capital
Ashley aspires to engage young alumni. Her goal is to help build a campaign focused on inspiring alumni aged 25-40 to be more engaged in the Change Can’t Wait Campaign. She is also interested in engaging with other alumni and prospective members.
Steven Saferin, SOC/BA ’70, Miramar Beach, FL
Managing Director, Entertainment & Sports Gaming Network, Inc.
Steve Saferin has remained connected to AU in many capacities since his graduation. He serves on the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the School of Communication and has helped plan ZBT reunion events on campus, one of which received significant coverage in the Washington Post. He also served as a co-chair for 2022 Golden Eagles Reunion events.
Rachel Tabakman-Plancher, SPA/BA ’03, West Long Branch, NJ (returning for a second term)
Board Affairs Manager, Girl Scouts of the USA
Rachel has served on the AUAB’s awards and scholarship committee and looks forward to diversifying her experiences in the coming term.
Emily Tillett, SOC/BA ’12, Arlington, VA
Director of Broadcast Media, Subject Matter
Since graduation, Emily has worked with admissions as an ambassador by helping prospective students learn more about the School of Communication and AU at large. She has also served as an Alumni Mentor with SOC, offering career advice to rising seniors and graduate students.
These members join the following current board members:
• LaTanya Sothern, SOC/BA ’92, President
Principal, Prince George’s County Public Schools, EXCEL Academy Public Charter School
• Brett Zongker, SOC/BA ’03, SOC/MA ’04, Vice President for External Relations
Chief of Media Relations, Library of Congress
• Patty Caballero, SOC/BA ’91, Kogod/MBA ’00, Vice President for Operations
Founder/CEO, PSC Consulting, LLC
• Bradley White, SPA/BA ’99, WCL/JD ’07, Secretary
• Jonathan Mathis, PhD; Kogod/BSBA ’04, Immediate Past President
Chief Executive Officer, Center for Supportive Schools
• Chad Appel, SPA/BA ’03
Director, Public Policy & Healthcare Economics, American Academy of Dermatology
• Alycia Bennett, CAS/BA ’14
Policy Enforcement Manager, Google
• Pamela Higgins Harris, CAS/BA ’72, CAS/MEd ’73
Senior Consultant, Center for Education Equity
• Meghann McLouth, Kogod/BSBA ’00
Senior Professional Relations Manager, Medtronic
• Cheryl Parker, SOC-CAS/BA ’05
President and Founder, Spotlight Media Booking
• Bill Ruvo, Kogod/BS ’82
Senior Partner Account Manager - AT&T Federal Channel, Juniper Networks
• Darlene Slaughter, SPA/MS ’93
Vice President and Chief Diversity and Engagement Officer, March of Dimes
• Kelly Wilson, Kogod/BSBA ’84,
Head of Proposition - US Business Banking, North America Wealth and Personal Banking, HSBC