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

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.

Gabriel Chaparro
Stanford Site Director

Gabriel Chaparro was born in Sanger, CA and moved to the Bay Area when he was nine years old. Gabriel graduated from Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay) with a B.S. in Physics and after working in various fields, Gabriel followed his true calling and taught high school science at Hayward High. Gabe eventually left Hayward to pursue a Master’s Degree at the University of the Pacific. After earning his master’s in Educational Administration and Leadership, Gabe moved to Southern California to work on a PhD in Higher Education. Gabe is looking forward to starting his dissertation work and researching what support looks like for undocumented students at community colleges within the San Joaquin Valley.

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 Programs 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 and the Future Leaders Institute.

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.

Ashleigh Richelle
Communications Manager

Ashleigh Richelle shares a personal history with LPFI as a 2009 alumna of the SMASH Academy. After SMASH, Ashleigh attended the University of Chicago, where she graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Cinema & Media Studies and a minor in Human Rights. She has interned at CBS Interactive as a social media intern, and worked in University Recruiting at LinkedIn before joining the LPFI team in 2015. Outside of work, Ashleigh is passionate about documentary film and production, ballroom dancing and advancing opportunities for youth of color to succeed.

James Sarria
Alumni Programs and Partnerships Director

James is from Rochester, New York and has been working with youth empowerment, educational and environmental non-profit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2002. In 2009, James joined the Level Playing Field Institute and through his current role, he continues to work towards increasing the impact of the alumni programming and development of opportunities for alumni to persist in STEM fields. As a strong promoter of community engagement, James will continue to create and hold spaces for alumni to develop a strong network and supportive community in times of need, achievement and celebration.

James studied and experienced realities in rural Latin America & East Africa at Friends World College, and Conservation & Resource Studies with a Minor in Forestry at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also a member of the San Francisco Afro-Brazilian dance community, an avid world-traveler, a human rights advocate, and a promoter of global sustainable food systems.

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.