Meet the Team

Mitch Kapor
Mitchell Kapor
Interim President

Mitch is a pioneer of the personal computing industry, long-time seed investor and activist philanthropist. He founded Lotus Development Corporation and designed Lotus 1-2-3, the “killer application” which made the personal computer ubiquitous in the business world in the 1980s. He is the co-founder of The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which protects freedom and privacy on the Internet and was the founding chair of the Mozilla Foundation, creator of the open source web browser Firefox. Mitch’s current investments include Twilio, Uber, Clever and Class Dojo. Currently he also serves as Partner at Kapor Capital and co-Chair of the Kapor Center for Social Impact

Danielle Rose
Director of Programs

An experienced leader in strategy and operations, Danielle Rose is deeply committed to providing underrepresented youth of color with the educational experiences and rigor needed to fulfill their greatest potential.

Danielle’s foray into the education space began in 2010 with Rocket Learning – USA, after working in a diverse set of engineering and business roles in the energy sector for BP America, Inc. over the span of eight years. Danielle joined LPFI in 2015 as Director of Programs where she is responsible for organization wide program development, operations and expansion. Just prior to joining LPFI, Danielle successfully built and managed the operations for Redbird Advanced Learning.

Danielle holds a B.S. from Spelman College in Mathematics and a B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her own lived experience – academic and professional – has well equipped her to help further fulfill the LPFI mission.

Alexis Martin, Ph.D.
Director of Research and Evaluation

Alexis Martin joined LPFI in 2011. Alexis received her Ph.D. and M.A. in Education (Social and Cultural Studies program) at UC Berkeley and her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from the University of Redlands. Prior to LPFI she taught education courses at UC Berkeley & Sonoma State University, and worked with teachers in professional development inquiry groups examining equity in their classrooms. She has also taught high school social studies and has done outreach with students who were the first in their families to attend college.

Catherine Douglas
Catherine Douglas
SMASH: UCLA Site Director

Cathy is the Site Coordinator SMASH: UCLA. Additionally, she works as a the Associate Director, Pre-College Programs for the Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED) in the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science (HSSEAS). In this capacity, she is responsible for the academic year coordination of Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) preliminary and regional competitions for middle school and high schools, professional development activities for teachers, and college planning workshops.

Janessa Harmon
Development Associate

Janessa Harmon joined LPFI in 2015 as the Development Associate. Janessa earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of San Francisco in 2013. Janessa’s passions include education, art, business development, team building, and fitness. Prior to joining LPFI, Janessa worked at Kaiser Permanente IT in Oakland where she provided logistics support for Kaiser’s partnership with organizational consulting company, The Energy Project. Janessa is excited to be a part of an organization that is committed to the advancement of youth.

Laura Hinton
Education Program Associate

Laura Hinton grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Prior to joining LPFI, Laura worked as a college counselor in the Bay Area and as a high school teacher in Detroit, Michigan, where she taught reading and teen leadership. She has also worked and interned for several education nonprofits in the United States and abroad, including Breakthrough Collaborative, the Future Leaders Institute, and Mamre School in South Africa.

Shatina Jackson
Shantina Jackson, Ph.D.
Director of Alumni Relations

Shantina initially joined LPFI as a SMASH instructor in 2006 and, since that time, has worked toward the achievement of LPFI’s mission within numerous roles, including Residential Director at SMASH: Berkeley, Operations Director and the 2012 SMASH: USC Site Director. Shantina was instrumental in launching SMASH programs at UCLA and USC and in implementing the College Success curriculum across all SMASH sites. Shantina is a native of Richmond, CA.

Frieda McAlear, M.Res.
Research Associate

Frieda brings her skills as a social science researcher and her passion for working with and for underserved and indigenous communities to her research associate role at Level Playing Field Institute. She has nearly a decade of experience managing projects, developing evaluation and research methodology and building nonprofit technology capacity with socially progressive organizations in the Bay Area, Europe and Southern Africa.

Damali Robertson
Damali Robertson
Institutional Grants Manager

Damali Robertson joined LPFI’s Development Team as a Grant Writer in 2011 and advanced to Institutional Grants Manager in 2014. Prior to LPFI, she worked in Development at Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service. With more than nine years fundraising experience, she remains motivated and driven to secure funding for high-quality social justice programs that serve underrepresented communities and individuals. Damali graduated from Pitzer College with a double major in Political Science and Literature from Africa and the Diaspora, and earned an MA in Communications for Social and Behavior Change from the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica. Damali is a proud mother of two and life-long creative who writes poetry in her downtime.

James Sarria
SMASH: Stanford Site Director

In 2009 James joined the Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI). He started in the residential program, and is currently the Site Director at Stanford University, managing the partnership with the University and running the Summer Math & Science Honors Academy(SMASH). James spends his summer managing SMASH Academy, and the academic year supporting his scholars with events to develop a strong community and continue with STEM exposure programming.

Sumaiya Talukdar
Sumaiya Talukdar, J.D.
Director of Strategic Growth

Sumaiya works on new program initiatives and scaling the impact of the Level Playing Field Institute with a focus on computer science.

Sumaiya was born in Bangladesh and her passions include education & equity, international development, traveling, and biking. She has studied, volunteered and/or worked in Europe, South and Southeast Asia and Latin America. She graduated with honors from Georgetown University and attended the Emory University School of Law where she served as the President of the International Law Society and an editor of the Emory International Law Review. Her medical database compilation and research has been published in the major cardiology journal Circulation. Prior to joining LPFI, Sumaiya served as a law clerk at Coan & Lyons LLP and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta where she worked to create and preserve the housing rights of marginalized members of our society.