D. Colin is a poet, actor, and visual artist living in Troy, and originally from Bridgeport, CT. As a multidisciplinary artist, she aims to inspire, empower and educate through poetry, paint and performance and is passionate about cultivating space for stories, healing and community. She is the author of two poetry collections, Dreaming in Kreyol and Said the Swing to the Hoop. She is also a Cave Canem, VONA and New York State Writers Institute fellow with degrees in English and Africana Studies. Since 2016, D. Colin has been running Poetic Vibe, a weekly open mic voted best in the Capital Region in 2019. Also in 2019, D. was honored as Resourceful Woman of the Year in the Arts by YWCA-GCR and one of The Collaborative’s Creatives under 40. In her rare spare time, she likes to eat pistachio ice cream, visit used book stores and think of ways to change the world.
Kathy High (Co-founder and NATURE Lab Coordinator), Guggenheim Award winning bio-artist. High is acting department head and professor in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was awarded a lab in the Center for Biotech and Interdisciplinary Studies in collaboration with NATURE Lab. She teaches interdisciplinary arts and science courses including “Eco-Chic” and “Queer Ecologies.” High is an artist/educator who collaborates with scientists and others, and considers living systems, animal sentience, and ethical dilemmas of biotechnology and medical industries. She has had prestigious art/science residencies with SymbioticA (2009-10), Finnish Society of Bioart (2013), Coalesce (2016-17), Djerassi Scientific Delirium Madness (2019), DePaolo Lab/ Center for Microbiome Sciences & Therapeutics, UW, Seattle (ongoing). Professor High is the NATURE Lab Coordinator, connecting our local scientists and artists with an international network in the cutting edge field of “Bio-Arts.”
Aileen Javier is driven to help and care for people and volunteers as a Community Outreach Educator & Family Advocate in addition to her day job as a Territory Account Manager for a local company. Her previous work in hospice care, with the elderly, and with immigrants informs her approach as a founding member of the People’s Health Sanctuary. Aileen is also a long-time volunteer radio producer for the Hudson Mohawk Magazine, especially focused on themes of housing, immigration and social justice. She believes that the true heroes and the assets in the community are the local organizers working to create positive changes in our community. When she’s not at the Sanctuary you can find Aileen volunteering at organizations throughout the Capital Region, helping distribute educational resources for housing or healthcare, making deliveries for the food pantry (Oakwood Community Center), or advocating for clean air (Lights Out Norlite). Aileen is a Spanish speaker and is always eager to help translate and interpret for our immigrant community.
Dan Lyles, co-author of several books exploring the crossroads of mathematics and culture. Lyles is a lecturer in the School of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and received his Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies Program, which has an emphasis on environmental justice. He is a Co-founder and Vice President of CollectivEffort, a co-working space for creatives, artists, and entrepreneurs of color. In the business of community-building, their vision is to help cities revitalize themselves through the expansion of the creative economy, looking to address larger issues like gentrification, income inequality & the social determinants of health.
Branda Miller (Co-founder and Arts & Education Coordinator) is a media artist and educator, dedicated to art, ecology and community interdisciplinary arts. She is the Arts and Education Coordinator at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, where she has developed numerous media literacy/community arts/youth media and creative place-making projects. She is a Professor of Media Arts at Rensselaer, teaching courses in documentary, art, community and technology, and independent art production. Miller is an Emmy award-winning editor who worked in the media industry of L.A. and N.Y.C., and whose media art works have been screened, exhibited and broadcast nationally and internationally. Branda Miller has three decades of experience in participatory design and praxis, and a history of trans-disciplinary collaborations created to stimulate cultural animation, build community, and create dialogue around freedom of expression and environmental justice.
Daniel O. Mosquera is currently professor of Spanish, Hispanic Studies, and Latin American and Caribbean Studies and chair (2021-23) of the Modern Languages and Literatures department at Union College in Schenectady, NY. He has published on Latin American colonial historiography and transatlantic studies, popular culture and politics, film and cultural studies, the symbolic politics of waste, and cultural and race theory. He has also directed and co-produced two documentaries on Afro Colombian (chocoano) religious practices and popular culture. He is a former member of the editorial board in the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies and currently serves in the journal’s Advisory Board.
Elizabeth Press (E.P.) is a freelance media maker and lecturer in the Arts Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, teaching classes in digital filmmaking and studio production. Press cut their teeth in journalism as a producer for the independent TV/Radio program, Democracy Now!, and brings the radio expertise and organizing skills honed during that time to their work with Media Alliance. As a videographer, producer and editor, Press worked with BRIC Arts Media, The International Institute for Sustainable Development covering the UN climate negotiations, StreetFilms, GritTV with Laura Flanders and PBS. A Fulbright Scholar, Press has also taught classes at New York University, The New School, Fulton Montgomery Community College, and several after-school and community media centers including at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. E.P. helped bottom-line the launch of our low-power FM station and the daily local news show, The Hudson Mohawk Magazine.
Eleanor Stein teaches Law of Climate Change at Albany Law School and the State University of New York, with an emphasis on climate justice; she serves on the Advisory Board of Rocky Mountain Institute’s eLab and on the Board of EcoViva, a US-based project in solidarity with climate adaptation in rural El Salvador. As an administrative law judge at New York State’s Public Service Commission, she adjudicated most of New York State’s proceedings on renewable energy and energy efficiency, and mediated the post-Superstorm Sandy collaborative on climate resilience. From 2014-2015 she was project manager for the State’s Reforming the Energy Vision and in 2015 she received a Master of Laws degree with distinction in climate change law from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.
Susan Weinrich (Board Chair), Vice President of Organizational and Community Development at the New York Council of Nonprofits. Susan has 25+ years of experience working with nonprofits as an advisor, teacher and consultant and has been at New York Council of Non-Profits (NYCON) since 2003. NYCON´s members rely on Susan´s expertise to provide them with a wide range of training and technical assistance in areas such as organizational assessment and development, strategic planning, board development, and performance measurement, as well as community needs assessments and program development. Susan’s knowledge of the nonprofit sector comes from her hands-on experience with organizations that provide housing, emergency shelter, and domestic violence services as well as those that offer a range of community economic development programs, including arts organizations and museums.
Ariela Zamcheck is an osteopathic family medicine physician specializing in public health practice in New York State. Her work involves promoting an understanding of health disparities from within an intersectional context through teaching and research. Her interests include harm reduction practice, LGBTQIA + health, as well as sexual and reproductive health. She has lived in Troy since 2019 and is very honored to be a part of the Sanctuary’s Board and the Peoples Health Sanctuary.
Sina Basila Hickey, Programming Coordinator
Emily Curro , Development and Communications Director
Steve Pierce, Co-founder and Executive Director