LGBT University Graduates

The alumni of LGBT University come from across the country and a wide variety of employment fields; however, all share the same goal: to learn how to build and execute campaigns for comprehensive non-discrimination protections. From field work and finance to volunteer building and media training, our alumni come away with the tools needed to build the future generation of leaders in the non-discrimination movement. You’ll likely see our graduates on the front lines of any number of non-discrimination campaigns nationwide, whether city, county, state, or federal.

So far, LGBT-U has graduated three cohorts of apprentices. Take a look at their profiles below, and feel free to contact them with any questions about the program, or, if you happen to be in their area, ask about programs or campaigns you can get involved in.

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Kip Carlson

Hollywood, CA • Graduated 08/04/2017

Kip Carlson is part of the 2nd cohort from LGBT-U and is now a part of the LGBT-U alumni program. He is a transgender man from Boise, Idaho who applied to LGBT-U with little to no experience in politics because he wanted to help make a difference in the lives of the LGBT community.

Kip has worked with Boise Pridefest, putting together Boise Pride and Pride events. He was a DJ at the local gay club where he would provide lighting and sound for Drag shows and live mixing for dancing.

He has the greatest appreciation for LGBT-U. He learned from the best in the business. Acquiring the skills, knowledge and confidence for public speaking, fundraising, campaigning, and educating. Also, friendships and great connections were built.

In summer of 2017, he moved to California and with the skills learned through the LGBT-U program, he had the opportunity to volunteer with Equality California at Visalia’s first ever Pride.

Kip is now living in Hollywood, CA attending college for musical arts. He has always had a passion for helping others and feels that music can bring people together. The love for his 4 year old little girl and attending LGBT-U gave him a renewed commitment to inclusive nondiscrimination work and he plans to continue staying engaged. Kip can be reached at: beatsoncarlson@gmail.com

Michele Castro

Beaverton, OR • Graduated 08/04/2017

Michele Castro is a 27 year young organizer at heart and policy analyst by day. She began LGBT-U after a few years of field organizing on different campaigns for marriage and for LGBT candidates in Oregon. Movement leaders in particular have inspired Michele to keep going and specifically, have driven her toward the life-long mission of electing more members of the LGBT community to public offices. Which has been why nondiscrimination is such an important topic. LGBT-University and its second cohort has helped to recommit Michele to the work she does today. She is currently in Governor Kate Brown's administration and finding more ways to include transgender Oregonians in the important work the executive branch does. Michele lives in Beaverton, Oregon with her fiancé, Rachel, and their collection of sunglasses. You can contact Michele at: Micheletinacastro@gmail.com

Jenn Curtin

Denver, CO • Graduated 08/04/2017

Jenn Curtin, a 2017 graduate of the second LGBT University program, has worked in the LGBT movement for over 4 years. She started her career at the Equality Federation, the movement builder and strategic partner to state-based LGBT organizations. She currently works for the Gill Foundation, one of the nation’s largest funders for LGBT issues, as a program associate. In this role, Jenn leads the foundation’s digital media efforts and assists in strengthening the messaging and communications strategies deployed to achieve state and national policy goals. LGBT University has given her new skills, from fundraising to field, to take back to her work to secure equal treatment for all LGBT people. Jenn lives in Denver, CO and can be contacted at curtin.jenniferL@gmail.com.

Glenna DeJong, Ph.D.

Saugatuck, MI • Graduated 08/04/2017

Glenna DeJong, PhD, is a proud graduate of LGBT-U Cohort 2. Her volunteer involvement in the marriage equality movement in Michigan was deeply fulfilling and sparked a passion to continue the fight for full LGBT equality. Glenna and her wife have been together for 30 years and were the first same-sex couple to marry in Michigan on March 22, 2014. They were lead plaintiffs in the Caspar v Snyder lawsuit, suing the Governor and Attorney General of Michigan when the State refused to recognize the 323 marriages that took place that day. They prevailed in January of 2015, even though the point was moot just five months later due to the SCOTUS decision in support of marriage equality.

With her new skills learned at LGBT-U, Glenna advocates for LGBT anti-discrimination policies at the local, state and federal level. She also chairs the LGBT committee of the Indivisible Group in Saugatuck, MI where she lives with her wife. She can be contacted at Glenna@gkdenterprise.com.

Albert Eisenberg

Philadelphia, PA • Graduated 08/04/2017

Albert Eisenberg is a Philadelphia-based communications consultant who works mostly in politics. He was honored and excited to be included in his LGBTU cohort after working from the Republican side on gay and transgender issues in his home state of Pennsylvania, and then in Indiana. During the program, Albert improved his skills particularly on the communications front. One session that stands out is the day-long rapid response comms training. He also learned about group dynamics and increased his empathy for those on the progressive side of the aisle, and hopes he was a messenger for goodhearted conservatives as well! Albert firmly believes that there is grassroots support and plenty of opportunity on the right to secure long-lasting protections for gay and trans Americans -- but it involves the right approach and a strategy that invites rather than alienates those who aren't already onboard. He can be reached at albert.eisenberg@gmail.com.

Hannah Jeffrey

Philadelphia, PA • Graduated 08/04/2017

Hannah Jeffrey, a political operative with over 7 years of experience, often had to learn how to run campaigns on the fly, figuring things out as she went along. LGBT-University took her skills to the next level, teaching her how to effectively implement digital media, messaging, and data-driven field tactics, while also seeing the big picture. The campaign simulation training LGBT-U offers is hands on, experiential, and took Hannah’s leadership abilities to the next level.

There are so few affordable opportunities for professional development in progressive social justice work. We are at a point in our country's history where we need the best and brightest in campaigns to put themselves forward, and LGBT-U gives people the skills and network necessary to win. You can contact Hannah at: hannah.h.jeffrey@gmail.com

Jennie Reiken

Folsom, CA • Graduated 08/04/2017

Jennie Reiken, a 2017 graduate of the second LGBT-University Program with Freedom for All American’s, has worked in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement for over eight years.

Jennie’s work ranges from helping secure marriage equality nationwide, ensuring pro-equality candidates are elected to office, stopping harmful legislation from passing, and ensuring important protections are passed and implemented for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families. The LGBT-University program has allowed her to work with the best of the best in areas such as fundraising, development, messaging, and field. This program allowed Jennie to polish up on old skills such as field strategy and media messaging and gave her the opportunity to really dive into areas of the work that she hadn’t been as hands on in; budget and fundraising.

Jennie is still involved with LGBT-U and is thrilled to be a coach for the 2017 cohort and loves being able to represent her cohort as a chair on the alumni committee! Jennie currently lives in Folsom, CA and can be contacted at jreiken79@gmail.com. She’d love to hear from you and get you connected to what is going on in the Sacramento region! Onward!

Jacquelyn Ryan

Southbridge, MA • Graduated 08/04/2017

Jacquelyn Ryan is a 2017 graduate of the Second LGBT-University cohort. Before coming to LGBT-U she was the first openly Transgender person to hold elected Office in Massachusetts and worked with Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for President in the development and launch her campaign's LGBT rights platform.

The LGBT-U Program helped Mx. Ryan grasp just how complex and detailed campaign plans are and provided more proof that budgets are a statement of an organization's values.

Mx. Ryan lives in Southbridge and currently serves on the Southbridge School Committee, on the AIDS Project Worcester Board of directors and is also a chair on the alumni committee representing her cohort in LGBT-U.

You can reach her by emailing her at jackie@jacquelynmryan.com with any questions or comments you may have.

Robert Salcido

San Antonio, TX • Graduated 08/04/2017

Robert Salcido, a 2017 LGBT-U graduate of cohort 2, currently works as the Statewide Field Coordinator for Equality Texas. He has worked in the equality space full-time since 2014 but has been a staunch advocate for over 10 years. With the ever changing landscape this program has enhanced his field skills as well as adding additional skill-sets to the arsenal of tools that he uses to advance the fair and equal treatment of LGBTQ+ folks. Robert lives in San Antonio, TX and travels the state meeting new folks everyday and would love to be a resource. He can be reached at robert.salcido@equalitytexas.org.

Daniel Shad

Washington, D.C. • Graduated 20/11/2016

Daniel Shad enrolled in the first cohort of LGBT-University in September 2015. Although he has had over 8 years of work experience within the broader LGBTQ equality movement – primarily through his work on state marriage campaigns and with pride organizations – nondiscrimination campaigns were a completely new territory for him. While enrolled in LGBT-University, Daniel learned a lot about the national fight for nondiscrimination including effective messaging, the importance of forming strategic partnerships, and tactics used by the opposition and how we can attempt to combat them. Thanks to many of the lessons learned and connections made through LGBT-University, Daniel is excited to be joining the staff of the National Center for Transgender Equality as their Development Manager this fall. He is also a fundraising coach to the third cohort of LGBT-University and is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to be involved with the amazing work that FFAA is doing. Daniel lives it Washington DC and would love to hear from you if you want to know more about his experience with FFAA. He can be reached at daniel.shad@nyu.edu.

Matthew (Matty) Zaradich

Chicago, IL • Graduated 08/04/2017

Matthew (Matty) Zaradich is an alumnus of Cohort II of Freedom for All Americans' LGBT University. Matty lives in Chicago, where he is Assistant Director of Distance Learning and Continuing Education for Erikson Institute, a graduate school in child development. Matty's work in activism and advocacy for the LGBT community focuses mostly in two areas: faith communities and his hometown of Hobart, Indiana. As founder of Hobart: Open for All, Matty is working with a small coalition of local business, faith, and community leaders to pass a non-discrimination ordinance in Hobart, a small city about 45 minutes from Chicago. Matty also works with faith communities to ensure the full inclusion of LGBT people, with his parish All Saints' Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

LGBT University provided Matty with exceptional training in managing a campaign. He is already using what's he's learned and applying the knowledge in real time in his advocacy work.

Feel free to contact me at: matthewzaradich@gmail.com.