Courtney Ball, a DC native, attended Brainfood's After school program & Summer Institute. Seven years later, she is back as a Social Media and Communications Intern. Currently a senior year at Marymount University, Courtney is studying graphic design. As an intern, she will use these skills to connect Brainfood participants and alumni from all over the country. Her passions are computers, martial arts, traveling abroad, and of course cooking! She is also a self proclaimed “foodie”, and is always trying foods from around the world. Courtney is very excited to be back on the Brainfood team again.
Casey Brand is currently a senior at American University, where she majors in Print Journalism and minors in Studio Art and French. Since childhood, she has wanted to pursue a career as a chef, leading to a job in catering at Design Cuisine in Arlington, Virginia last year. For the past two summers, she has worked at an academic summer camp for students ages 13-16, where she discovered her love of working with youth. Through Brainfood, she hopes to combine these passions and contribute to the growth and success of this wonderful organization.
Nina Bryce graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in American Studies, Women’s Studies, and Sustainability Studies. Her interest in connecting young people with food developed during high school, when she was involved with youth programming at an inner city community garden in her hometown. Throughout college, she pursued food studies through her coursework and became involved in food-related organizations on campus and in the community, most extensively focusing on sustainable sourcing in campus dining halls, local children’s hunger relief, and farmer’s market food outreach initiatives. Nina has experience teaching and mentoring in a variety of settings, and she thinks food is a particularly powerful tool for empowerment and growth. Nina is so excited to join the Brainfood team and thankful to be part of an organization that combines her interests in food and youth development in such a wonderful way.
Paul Dahm, Brainfood's executive director, has more than ten years of nonprofit fund-raising and management experience. Prior to joining Brainfood in 2003, Dahm spent two years as a director at Orr Associates, a consulting firm serving the nonprofit community, where he advised a range of organizations such as The National Mentoring Partnership, Gallaudet University, The U.S. Navy Memorial, Youth I.N.C. and the American Bar Association. Previous to Orr Associates, Dahm worked for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as the Community Relations Director for the Washington Metro Area and the Associate Director with overall responsibility for fundraising, community relations, and program services in the Baltimore Metro Area.
Luisa graduated from Clark University with a Bachelors in Race and Ethnic Studies. Before beginning college, she spent a year living, exploring, and working in Israel, teaching English at a local elementary school. Luisa has many years of experience working creatively with youth, including working at a fiber arts school, a teen enirchment program, and creating and running photography workshops for children in Argentina.
Originally from Philadelphia, she moved to D.C to incorporate her passions for cooking, eating, and youth into her work at Brainfood.
Carina Gervacio, Program Director, graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Comparative Literature and Environmental Thought and Practice. Prior to joining Brainfood in 2005, Carina worked with several environmental non-profit organizations, including the Southern Environmental Law Center and, most recently, the League of Conservation Voters. Carina first gained experience with youth development as a volunteer for Migrant Aid, an English tutoring program for migrant youth and adults in central Virginia. Brainfood brings together two of her favorite things: food and working with high school youth.
Carolyn Panzarella, Program Associate, graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Human Development. After graduation Carolyn spent much of her time living and working in Costa Rica at a sustainable living and education center, Rancho Mastatal. In Costa Rica she studied the principles of Permaculture, taught English in the local elementary school and learned about the local cuisine. She grew up just south of Syracuse, NY where she spent her time gardening, cooking, working in a restaurant and volunteering with a local group, Syracuse Grows, to build gardens for Syracuse city schools. She is excited to have found an organization that pairs her love of food and cooking with working with youth in an educational setting.
Maeve is thrilled to join the Brainfood team as the Community MVPs Program Coordinator. After graduating from James Madison University, she moved to New Haven, Connecticut to serve as the AmeriCorps VISTA for CitySeed. Her energy was spent managing volunteers, creating new programs and supporting those already in place to increase the community’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables. It was there that her love and appreciation for farmers’ market developed and a desire to experience farming firsthand. After CitySeed, Maeve travelled to Nicaragua to learn about sustainable agriculture methods in a developing country and complete a Permaculture Design Course. Maeve is so thankful that these opportunities led her here, closer to home, and with an organization that empowers youth to recognize their incredible potential. She loves spending time outdoors, thinks coffee tastes best over conversation, and believes something powerful happens when we grow, prepare, and enjoy food together.
Chelsea Samms is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health. During her time spent at the University of Maryland, Chelsea made it her goal to explore all aspects of the Public Health field by gaining Administrative Intern experience at a nursing home, volunteering for the New York Blood Donor Center, becoming a Teaching Assistant and tutor for Anatomy and Physiology, and had the privilege of being a Health Promotion Intern with the Recreation and Welfare Association at the National Institutes of Health. As a firm believer in the idea that quality education expands beyond the classroom setting, gaining a full-time, hands on experience at Brainfood is something Chelsea is looking forward to! As a Community MVPs Program Intern, she is excited to utilize her previous experiences to contribute to the youth development and empowerment of the Community MVP students, while expanding her own knowledge about healthy eating as well.