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DC Appleseed Center

For Law and Justice

DC Appleseed Staff

Vanessa Batters-Thompson joined DC Appleseed as its executive director in May 2022. Vanessa brings to her role nearly twenty years of litigation, policy, and advocacy experience, as well as a passion for serving the District community.

Prior to joining DC Appleseed, Vanessa worked at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center as their Associate Director of Legal Services for Individuals and Families. In this role, Vanessa spearheaded the launch and directed the Family Law Assistance Network, a joint endeavor of several legal service providers to offer parents and caregivers family law services through a single, accessible, intake point. As co-manager of the Pro Bono Center’s Advocacy & Justice Clinic, Vanessa oversaw the intake and matching of up to 300 clients per year with pro bono attorneys from private law firms and the public sector. Vanessa additionally supervised and provided substantive guidance to the Pro Bono Center’s individual representation training program, which won the D.C. Bar’s 2022 Frederick B. Abramson Award.

Prior to joining the Pro Bono Center, Vanessa worked for an anti-poverty organization, Bread for the City, providing direct representation to clients and engaging in systematic advocacy regarding child support issues. From 2009 through 2011, Vanessa served as a Friedman Fellow for the George Washington University Law School, teaching and supervising students handling domestic violence and family law cases through the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics. While in law school, Vanessa clerked for the Mental Health Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, as well as the Humane Society of the United States.

Vanessa obtained her J.D. from the George Washington University Law School and her B.A. from American University with a certificate in Women, Policy, and Political Leadership.  She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and dog.  During her downtime, Vanessa likes camping, reading, and growing flowers.




Neil directs DC Appleseed's work on child support, special education, workforce development, and children’s health. Before joining DC Appleseed in 2019, Neil worked with the University of the District of Columbia where he was part of the founding team that launched the UDC Community College.  He created the Continuing Education program at the university and was also responsible for Advancement and Partnerships.

Previously, Neil worked with the Executive Office of the Mayor for Mayors Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty. He has also worked across the United States and in Ghana while working with The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Illinois State League of Women Voters.  Neil has a Master’s degree from Georgetown University with a concentration in democratic theory and an undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida where he attended on an athletic scholarship. Neil is a regular practitioner of meditation and loves poetry, soccer, travel and especially his son Kai.


Neil Richardson

Muhammad Ali once said that “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth,” and that principle could not be truer for this Carolina native. Erin Calloway holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from the University of South Carolina, a Master of Health Administration degree from Louisiana State University- Shreveport, and will obtain her Juris Doctor in Business Law in 2025. For over 8 years, Erin has been a noteworthy leader in the nonprofit sector where she has been at the forefront of facilitating strategic partnerships, fundraising development, and stakeholder engagement.   


Erin’s passion for health disparity research has been reflected in her grant work with the SC Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, HIV Ryan White Programs, and the South Carolina Public Health Association. As a huge proponent of health education and promotion, Erin has spearheaded numerous public health initiatives with local hospitals and agencies while managing a diverse portfolio of major and corporate donors. Erin encourages collaboration as a keen connector of people and mission-oriented leader. In her free time, Erin enjoys mentoring young professionals, hosting dinner parties, and traveling. She is a member of Children’s National Hospital Clinical Ethics Committee, the American College of Healthcare Executives, Association of Fundraising Professionals, American Public Health Association, American Health Law Association, and is a Certified Institutional Review Board Administrator. 


Erin jointly serves as the President and CEO of Calloway & Company, LLC, a nonprofit consulting firm.


Erin M. Calloway

Scout contributes policy research, data analysis, and technical assistance to a number of DC Appleseed’s projects. She received a BA in Foreign Affairs and Criminology with a Pre-Law Studies focus from the Pennsylvania State University and recently received her Master's degree from Carnegie Mellon's Public Policy and Management program. 


Scout has held a variety of diverse research positions including an internship with UNESCO on educational policy and using quantitative analysis to evaluate the impact of taxes and subsidies administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She is the founder of a nonprofit organization based out of Pittsburgh, PA, Green Grass Dakota,  which aims to promote social equity while reducing the negative effects of environmental hazards in low-income, communities of color. Before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Scout was serving as a Fulbright Scholar to Bahia, Brazil. She is a lover of languages, animals, fitness, and nature. In her free time, you may find her playing rugby within the US Women's Olympic Development pathway or riding around the city on her motorcycle. 



Scout Cheeks

At DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Noah Lee-Shapiro currently serves as Administrative Coordinator, managing the organization's daily administrative and financial operations.  Noah obtained his bachelor's degree in Chinese from the University of Maryland, College Park and has also spent significant time studying in China through various exchange and educational programs. 


Prior to joining DC Appleseed, Noah worked as a phone banking officer at Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance, where he helped marginalized members of the community in Pennsylvania and Georgia with voter registration while providing outreach for Asian Americans in the area. With this, Noah has also gained valuable administrative experience during his time as an Operations Intern at the United States Department of Health and Human Services IDEA Lab, in addition to providing operations support for a family-owned funeral home and volunteering with the American Red Cross at Walter Reed Medical Center. When he is not working, Noah enjoys going on walks, trying new foods, and playing with his cat, Baby. 


Noah Lee-Shapiro

Jessica is serving as a Summer 2023 Law Clerk at DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. In June of 2022, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles’s (UCLA) Honors College with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in Education Studies and Community Engagement & Social Change. Currently, Jessica is a rising 2L at Harvard Law School.


During her undergraduate career, Jessica spearheaded federal advocacy initiatives related to college affordability, basic needs, and LGBTQ+ rights in UCLA’s Office of the External Vice President and on the board of the largest student advocacy organization in the country, the University of California Student Association. In addition, she was active in community-centered work with JusticeCorps and United Nations Women USA Los Angeles. At Harvard, Jessica is the Co-Chair of the Women Law Association’s Women in Washington Committee and a member of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Outside of work, Jessica enjoys listening to Crime Junkie podcasts, hiking California’s National Parks, and wandering the halls of DC’s art museums.


Jessica Bushman

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