About Us

Drawing inspiration from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, Freedom Summer Collegiate is working towards educational equity by collaborating with partner programs to bring the nation’s most promising future academics to students who face significant obstacles on the road to college. We recruit, train, and fund doctoral candidates to provide transformative summer seminars to college-bound high school students in underserved communities. Our teaching philosophy describes our teaching and learning.

Our Team

Andy Donnelly

Executive Director

Andy Donnelly is currently a doctoral candidate in the English Department at Harvard University. A Teach for America alum, Andy taught high school English at Lakeside High School in Chicot County, AR. He has also worked as a Culture Specialist at TFA's Delta Institute. He is an active member of the Harvard Graduate Student Union-UAW


Emily Gowen

Director of Development

Emily Gowen is currently working towards her Ph.D. in English at Boston University. She is an alumna of the Match Corps, a year-long urban education fellowship that trains recent college graduates to be high impact teachers. She has also taught English at St. Andrew's School, a small boarding school in rural Delaware. 



Alen Amini is currently a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the executive director of the Corps Member Education Foundation. A Teach for America alum, Alen taught high school math and served as the Dean of Students at Lakeside High School in Chicot County, Arkansas. He is the former executive director of one of our partner sites, the J. Austin White Cultural Center in Eudora, Arkansas. (alenamini@gmail.com)

Pat Gray was a founding staff member of The Food Project and its Executive Director through 2006.  The Food Project is a nationally recognized organization that places teens and young adults at the center of building healthy, sustainable food and agricultural systems in Boston and its surrounding communities. She was honored as a Barr Fellow in 2005 for her 15 years of work with the Food Project. Pat has also consulted for a number of other non-profit organizations including Natick Community Organic Farm, The Real Food Challenge, Land's Sake, and Hyde Square Task Force.  Currently she is consulting with Commonwealth Kitchen in Dorchester, Boston's only incubator kitchen. The kitchen works to strengthen the local economy, especially those impacted by racial, social and economic inequality. (patgray@oatbit.com)

Michael Mizzoni, Esq. is the Deputy General Counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education and a former legislative aide working at the Massachusetts State House. He is also a member of the School Committee of Littleton, MA and formerly represented 265,000 public higher education students on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. (mikermizz@gmail.com)

Vaish Shastry is currently an MBA candidate at the University of Michigan. A Teach For America alumna, Vaish taught middle school and high school math in Greenwood, Mississippi. She also has worked for KIPP: New Jersey in database management and data analytics. Vaish served as Executive Director of the Sunflower County Freedom Project for three years and serves on their board of directors. (vaish.shastry@gmail.com)

James M. Thomas (JT) is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Mississippi. He is the author of three books, and over a dozen articles and book chapters, most dealing with historical and contemporary practices of race and racism. He teaches courses at the university on social problems, social inequality, empire, and revolution. In addition to his scholarly and teaching activities, he serves on the executive committee of the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County as the Community Impact chair. He is also faculty adviser to the University of Mississippi N.A.A.C.P chapter, which was a recipient of the Chairman's Award at the 47th Annual Image Awards in February of 2016. (jmthoma4@olemiss.edu)

Omari Walker has more than 17 years of administrative experience in public schools. He has served as an Executive Director of the Resiliency for Life Program at Framingham High School, an Associate Principal of Durfee High School, and a Principal of Resiliency Prep School in Fall River. Walker is currently serving as the President of the Resiliency Foundation and Executive Director of the New Heights Charter School of Brockton. Walker earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Boston College. (omariwalker@gmail.com)

University Ambassadors

Boston University - Emily Gowen (egowen@bu.edu)

Dartmouth College - Mia Fry (Mia.A.Fry@dartmouth.edu)

Duke University - Isaac Weitzhandler (isaac.weitzhandler@duke.edu) & Ahnna Beruk (ahnna.henrene.beruk@duke.edu)

Harvard University - Naima Green (ngreen@g.harvard.edu)

Rutgers University - Pamela Walker (pamela.walker@rutgers.edu)

University of Mississippi - Professor James Thomas (jmthoma4@olemiss.edu)

University of Michigan - Vaish Shastry (vaish.shastry@gmail.com)

If you are interested in becoming an ambassador for a university that is not represented on this list, please send an email to info@freedomsummercollegiate.org. We would love to get you involved!

Community Ambassadors

Jeremiah Smith, Rosedale Freedom Project

Kate Gluckman, Sunflower County Freedom Project

Anna Stephenson, Meridian Freedom Project

Seth Paddock, J. Austin White Cultural Center