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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 2025, specializing in health and philanthropic law. 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

Emily Jordan is serving as DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice’s Policy Intern for Summer 2023. MJ is currently a rising senior at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public affairs where she is studying Policy Studies, Environment, Sustainability & Policy, and Geography. A DMV native, she is thrilled to be working on issues most important to DC as she prepares to return permanently after graduation.

Through her undergraduate career, MJ has developed policy interests in environmental justice, criminal justice reform, subsidized childcare services, sustainable development, and foster care reform. She is currently finishing her honors thesis, assessing the future of sustainable agriculture in Syracuse, NY to feed generations to come. MJ is also team captain and vice president of Syracuse Mock Trial, where she has found passion for litigation as a closing attorney. In addition, she serves on the Panhellenic Judicial Board and the Syracuse Coalition Against Sexual Assault. In her free time, you will likely find her exploring DC’s vintage stores, making playlists, and spending time with her cat, Rory.


Emily Jordan

Shayler R. Barnes Jr. joins DCA as a Legal and Policy Intern. He was born and raised in Michigan and moved to D.C. to study law and be immersed in public interest work. He received his bachelor’s in journalism and marketing, as well as a master’s in public administration. He applies his education and service through advocacy, direct action, and other work, to aid in eradicating systemic inequities and building equity. As a current law student and growing agent of change, he is gaining diverse experiences addressing public interest issues. 


Shayler R. Barnes Jr.

At DC Appleseed, Sara serves as the undergraduate intern, helping to research and support projects such as the restoration of the Anacostia River, equity issues with voting in the District of Columbia, and workforce development. Currently, Sara is pursuing a dual degree in Political Science and International Affairs and a law minor at the University of Georgia. In the future, she hopes to pursue law school.


Previously, Sara has worked at Griffin County’s District Attorney's Office and Fayette County’s Solicitor General's office in Georgia where she learned about criminal procedures and court proceedings. While there, she also conducted research on the effectiveness of the conditional discharge program for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Sara has also worked at Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government to analyze juvenile justice programs designed to help reduce delinquency and focus on family centric support.  Through her experiences, Sara has acquired valuable skills regarding program analysis and design. In her free time, Sara likes to visit DC museums, read books, and explore nature trails. 


Sara Ali 

Kristin is Policy Counsel for DC Appleseed, focusing on health equity and education issues. She is passionate about health equity and the broader social determinants of health that impact health, economic, and social disparities in the District. Her work often reminds her of this quote from FDR: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
Before joining DC Appleseed, Kristin was Legislative Counsel for DC Councilmember Brooke Pinto. She has also worked with the Addiction and Public Policy Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and the House Oversight Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Before becoming an attorney, Kristin lived in New York City, where she was a professional musical theater performer, performing in NYC and around the country. 
Kristin received her JD from Georgetown Law and BS from the University of Nebraska, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Education. Kristin also graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she studied Musical Theater. In her free time, Kristin enjoys traveling, theater, trivia, escape rooms, and exploring DC neighborhoods, including her neighborhood of Capitol Hill.


Kristin Ewing

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