Board Members

Lauren Cristella

President

lcristella@lwvphilly.org

It was Lauren’s passion for active citizenship, strong public leadership and practical policy-making that led her to Broad Street and the organization that shares her dedication. As the Chief of Staff & Chief Program Officer of the Committee of Seventy, Lauren is responsible for board development, external affairs, youth civic engagement, the election program, the Buchholz Fellowship Program, and events.

Prior to joining C70, Lauren was the Director of Student Affairs & Strategic Operations at Penn’s Fels Institute of Government. She spent seven years ensuring that students had excellent internships and job prospects in government, nonprofits, and private firms that serve the public interest. She also secured a number of record-breaking gifts to Fels, in addition to overseeing dozens of events each year and general operations.

Before joining Fels, Lauren spent five fun years at the National Constitution Center. During her tenure there, Lauren worked in the education department, where she first began to wish that people would celebrate Constitution Day (September 17th) without being legally obligated to do so. She later joined the Center’s senior management team as the Director of Special Projects for the CEO. In that position, Lauren led the team that created the Center’s blog, Constitution Daily, and facilitated the creation and adoption of a new five- year strategic plan. Lauren was also a member of the Center’s international team, which was responsible for the creation of the Being We the People exhibition and website, as well as a guide to voting in national elections for Afghan citizens, created in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme.

Lauren received her bachelor’s degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she majored in politics, and interned at the International Center for Terrorism Studies. She went on to receive her master’s degree from the University of Essex in Colchester, England in Ethics, Politics and Public Policy.

Lauren, her husband Doug, son Theo, foster child Penelope, and their dog, Utley, reside in South Philadelphia so they can easily feed their love of the Philly sports and good food.

Ashley Session

First Vice President

VicePresident@lwvphilly.org

Ashley Session is currently the Pennsylvania Program Director for America Votes a progressive coordination hub. Most recently she served as the Director of Civic Engagement and Partnerships at the Committee of Seventy, a 116-year-old nonpartisan nonprofit civic leadership organization. She is committed to breaking down barriers in communities of color and advocating for a fair and just society. Ashley has worked on a number of federal and state political elections and has a deep commitment to education, nonprofits, and advocacy. Prior to political campaigns, Ashley worked on Community School initiatives for Philadelphia’s  Mayor’s Office of Education, the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania, and other nonprofit organizations.

A product of the Philadelphia Public School System, Ashley understands first-hand the need for real and positive influences in the lives of children and young adults alike. She is involved extensively in and around the City of Philadelphia and is committed to the education – both formal and political – of marginalized communities. Ashley currently attends the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania and is pursuing an Executive Masters in Public Administration.

Melissa Wright

Second Vice President

2ndVicePresident@lwvphilly.org

Melissa works at Teach for America as a Director of Performance Measurement and Evaluation. Before joining TFA, she was Project Manager for the School District of Philadelphia in the Superintendent’s office focused on building a System of Great Schools for all children close to where they live. She is passionate about quality public education and advocating for marginalized groups. Melissa served in many roles in the District including as an Associate in the District Performance Office for her Education Pioneers Fellowship placement and Data Analyst for their Pregnant and Parenting Student Program, ELECT. Before joining the School District, she worked at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s PolicyLab as a Study Coordinator investigating programs designed to promote minority faculty persistence in academic medicine.

A strong proponent of democratic participation, Melissa has served the Philadelphia League as Treasurer since 2018. She also serves at the state level as Treasurer for the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. In her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, she is also an active member of the Connections Committee which works to promote sound public policy, voting rights, and social justice.

Melissa is a proud Fordham Ram, earning her Bachelors in Economics. She also holders a Master of Education from Penn’s Graduate School of Education in Education Policy and a Master of Public Administration from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. In her spare time, she is an avid reader, runner, and baker. She has one cat, named Cupcake, as an ode to her love of baking.

Jasmine Lamb

Treasurer

treasurer@lwvphilly.org

Jasmine earned her Master of Public Policy from Temple University, where she received the Academic Excellence Award. She completed her graduate capstone project for the Philadelphia City Council, assessing the impact of the Philadelphia Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement and evaluating the policy options available after the agreement’s expiration. While pursuing her studies, Jasmine served as a Legislative Fellow for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where she worked alongside the Finance Committee’s Minority Chairman, Representative Jake Wheatley, Jr. After serving her fellowship, Jasmine practiced local government management and budget consulting as an intern for Public Financial Management.

Prior to moving to Philadelphia, Jasmine served three terms as a JusticeCorps-AmeriCorps public servant for the Los Angeles County Superior Courts of California. During her tenure, she ensured every litigant received equal access to the justice system, regardless of their income, ability or language. Jasmine received her bachelor’s degree in economics from California State University of Long Beach. Jasmine lives in West Philadelphia with her two cats, Snot and Gritty. 

Samantha Apgar

Secretary

secretary@lwvphilly.org

Samantha Apgar currently works as the Assistant Director of Temple University’s Public Policy program. Her responsibilities include recruitment, academic advising, internship placements, and professional development. Samantha holds a Master in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, where she received the Institutional Service Award, was a Program Evaluation Fellow with ImpactED and served as the Finance Chair for Women of Fels. She completed her graduate capstone project for the US Office of Personnel Management, comparing OPM’s approach to assessing quality in federal employee health benefits plans with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s methodology for assessing the quality of Medicare Advantage health plans. She has also received a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Bryn Mawr College’s Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute.

Samantha is a current board member of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, League of Women Voters of Philadelphia and the University Community Collaborative. She is also a member of the Temple Singing Owls Community Choir. Before joining Temple, Samantha served as the Managing Director for Project 440, a nonprofit organization that provides leadership, college readiness, and life skills training to creative youth in Philadelphia. She completed her undergraduate studies in 2010 at Westminster Choir College, receiving a BA in Music with minors in Musical Theater and American Studies.

Samantha lives with her husband (Aaron – who designed this website!), cat Maxine and dog Hazel.

Shannon Connell-Robichaud

Communications Chair

communications@lwvphilly.org

Shannon moves to Philadelphia shortly after graduating from Chestnut Hill College in 2011 with.BA in political science. While she attended Chestnut Hill she was an intern for former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz and the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition.

After graduating Shannon worked as a paralegal in the office of Children and Youth in Montgomery County. She currently works at White and Williams and is attending Temple University and is expected to graduate with a Masters in Public Policy in the Fall of 2020. While at Temple, Shannon served as a Research Assistant for the Alliance of Philadelphia Public Schools. Shannon maintains an interest in child welfare and immigration policy.

Cori Daggett

Voter Services Chair

voterservices@lwvphilly.org

Cori is a practicing lawyer in the financial services industry, and has worked at law firms and in house in New York City and Philadelphia. She graduated from Colgate University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and received her law degree from Fordham University Law School.

 As a member of the League of Women Voters of Philadelphia, Cori has actively supported the League’s voter registration, education and engagement efforts, managing GOTV projects for the region and serving as a liaison with elected officials and the community. She also served on the Election Protection team of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights in the 2020 general election.

 Cori is a director on the board of the Pennsylvania SPCA, a 150 year-old animal welfare organization based in Pennsylvania.  She chairs the board’s Finance Committee, and is a member of the Executive Committee and Nominating and Governance Committee.

 Cori lives in Philadelphia with her husband Jon and their rescue dog Dottie

Keshema Davidson

Programming Chair

programming@lwvphilly.org

Keshema is the Manager of Community Affairs at Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. Cristo Rey combines a rigorous college prep curriculum with an innovative Work-Study model to serve students and families from under-resourced neighborhoods all across the Philadelphia region. She manages special projects for the school and works closely with the neighborhood, the Tioga section of North Philadelphia, to ensure that Cristo Rey serves not only its students but also its community. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs from Drexel University and holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Temple University. Previous to Cristo Rey, she was the Program Director for a legal education company based in Philadelphia called LawMeets. She has also worked at Drexel Law School, the National Education Association, and Street Law Inc. Keshema was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Beltsville, Maryland in high school before making her way to Philadelphia. She serves on the board of Neighbors Investing in Childs Elementary (NICE), a volunteer led effort to support the GW Childs Elementary School in Point Breeze. Keshema is also a current Buchholz Fellow with the Committee of Seventy. 

Abigail Dym

Policy Committee Chair

policy@lwvphilly.org

Abigail is a PhD student in political science and education policy at the University of Pennsylvania, where she researches political participation and civic education. She serves as the Graduate Coordinator for Penn Leads the Vote, a non-partisan student-run organization that seeks to increase voter engagement and education, the co-chair of the political science Graduate Student Organization, and as a Provost’s Graduate Academic Engagement Fellow at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. 

Prior to graduate school, Abigail was a public school teacher and AmeriCorps volunteer in Hartford, CT, where she served as the Education Committee Chair for her neighborhood civic group. She is passionate about equitable access and creative approaches to learning and political engagement and is proud to have been a teacher in some capacity for over a decade. In her spare time, Abigail loves to bake bread, hike, and volunteer. She is a new cat mama to Bagel and Babka and is thrilled to be living in Philadelphia. 

Clarissa Griebel

Budget Chair

cgriebel@lwvphilly.org

Clarissa F. Griebel is Director of the Governor’s Woods Foundation and Managing Editor of DelanceyPlace.com a project of The Governor’s Woods Foundation. She has experience in public policy research, advocacy, and fundraising. And works closely with the Foundation’s Chairman, Richard Vague, the current Secretary of Banking and Securities of PA, on his political and charitable giving. She is also a contributing writer for Root Quarterly. Clarissa holds a degree in American and Comparative Politics from Bryn Mawr College.

Emily Schulman

Membership Chair

membership@lwvphilly.org

I am thrilled to be considered for the role of Membership Chair Position with the League of Women Voters Philadelphia. I am currently a resident of the Bella Vista neighborhood where I am on the neighborhood association board. I work as a management consultant for North Highland where I support state and city agencies, primarily in the transportation and HHS space. I moved to Philadelphia four years ago to pursue a Masters in Public Administration and Masters in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to moving to Philadelphia, I lived in D.C. where I served a year with AmeriCorps at DC SCORES, and worked for three years doing family engagement work with DC Public Schools at the Flamboyan Foundation. I grew up in NY and attended the College of William and Mary as an undergraduate. I am a civic engagement, Philly and food enthusiast. 

Cassie Tomkins

Board Member

nominating@lwvphilly.org

Cassie is currently an Associate Director of Penn’s Office of Government and Community Affairs. Her responsibilities include implementing communication strategies, evaluating initiatives, and managing special projects. She previously worked at the Fels Institute of Government at Penn where she oversaw the Fels Lab, an initiative to connect non-profit organizations in need of program support with graduate students from Fels.

Before working at Penn, Cassie completed a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Chicago. She served as an After-School Specialist for Girls in the Game, a nonprofit providing holistic health programming for underserved girls. She managed after-school programming sites, coordinated volunteers and MSW interns, and worked directly with both school faculty and program participants. 

Cassie is passionate about equitable community growth and ensuring equal access to education, healthcare, and resources for children and families regardless of their zip codes. Cassie is a deacon at Arch Street Presbyterian Church and volunteers with Guadalupe Family Services in Camden. Cassie is an alumna of Saint Joseph’s University and has her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.  

Sara Strickland

Board Member At-Large 

sstrickland@lwvphilly.org

Sara is a Senior Officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts. There she is focused on strategic planning, budget management, and  event logistics for the Pew Biomedical Programs, which are dedicated to supporting early career faculty in sciences relevant to the advancement of human health. 

A native of Ohio, Sara fell in love with Philadelphia during her undergraduate education. She started her career at the Free Library of Philadelphia, developing teen- and adult-focused literacy events as a part of the One Book, One Philadelphia program. For the next five years she applied her program development skills in the world of STEM academia, where she supported over 100 faculty in the development of collaborative research proposals to public and private funders, science curriculum for high school students, and educational events aimed at the general public.  

Sara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and is an alumni of AmeriCorps VISTA (Philly Fellows) and the Committee of Seventy’s Buchholz Fellowship. She also enjoys spending time mentoring undergraduates as they make the transition from the classroom to the professional world.

Samantha Jean

Board Member At-Large

skelly@lwvphilly.org

Samantha is currently a project manager overseeing three grants at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital. Samantha’s professional interests involve measurably improving health outcomes, creating exceptional experiences of care, and decreasing patient costs. She is particularly focused on improving outcomes and decreasing disparities for traditionally underserved populations.

She has a background in project management and coordinating curriculum development and implementation. She develops transformation strategies across the full continuum of primary care education: from medical and physician assistant students to primary care residents, practitioners, and faculty.

Samantha has language proficiency in Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Italian, French, and Tibetan. She is an alumna of Michigan State University and has a Master’s in East Asian Languages & Civilizations from the University of Pennsylvania.