Jake originally got involved with MERIT, in 2012, as a volunteer Saturday teacher, while teaching science full time at KIPP Academy in Baltimore. Jake came to teach in Baltimore through Teach for America, teaching at his placement school for three years before joining the MERIT team full-time. He received his Masters in the Science of Education from Johns Hopkins University in 2014.
Program Director - High School Success
Agzja Carey is a leadership and race equity professional with expertise in program design, strategic planning, community engagement and education leadership. Graduating from Howard University with a B.B.A. in Business Management, Agzja leveraged her training in business best practices and talent management to serve the youth of Baltimore. As a Teach For America alum, Agzja taught 3rd and 5th grade in Baltimore City Public Schools and went on to support countless scholars in her future roles within education policy, program management and student support. Most recently Agzja served as the External Opportunities Coordinator for SEED School of MD where she supported students applying to MERIT. Agzja is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and is excited to join the MERIT family.
Program Director - College Success
India Leach is a dedicated College Access and Retention Guru, born and nurtured in Baltimore City. As a student‐focused leader who seeks to drive results around college access, she began her college advising career with the College Bound Foundation. That work led to positions in student support and academic advising at Walden University, KIPP through College ‐ Baltimore, and Towson University. At Towson, India served as the Coordinator of Outreach and Retention for the last four years. On Towson’s campus, India also served as an advisor to several student organizations and a member of several committees who support diversity and inclusion work on campus. India graduated from MERVO High School and then obtained her Bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland, College Park. India has a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Towson University and is now working to finish up her PHD at Morgan State University.
College Success Manager
Cameron Martin has spent the past five years working as an English Teacher in Baltimore County Public Schools. In this capacity he worked closely with high school seniors as they applied to college and prepared for the transition. He graduated with honors from Buffalo State College with a degree in English Education. Currently, he attends American University where he is pursuing a Master’s in Public Administration with a focus in education policy. He is a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Dana Alserjani is a Palestinian-Muslim teacher, community organizer, advocate and dog mom from Phoenix, Arizona, where she received her Bachelor’s degree from the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. Being from the Valley of the Sun, she enjoys spending time outdoors in the sunshine, especially on mountains, and near cool waters. Dana has lived in Baltimore City for three years where she has worked closely with high school students who are eager to enhance their leadership skills as change agents in their local communities. During her time in Batltimore, Dana has worked with MERIT as both a Saturday and Summer Instructor. She is deeply passionate joining al communities in the fight for liberation in Turtle Island and around the world.
Alex received her Bacherlor's degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Johns Hopkins University in May 2020. While working as a Health Leads Advocate, she became passionate about working with underserved populations and empowering them through healthcare. Alex plans to attend medical school following her time with MERIT.
Program Coordinator - High School Success
Kahlid received a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Morehouse College in May of 2020. With being an Alum of MERIT, he is super excited to return to MERIT to serve as the Scholar Support Coordinator. Kahlid will soon be furthering his education by attending medical school. In addition, to continuously playing a part within the MERIT community.
Program Coordinator - College Success
Lidia Hernandez is a proud MERIT Alumna and graduate of Western High School. She received her Bachelor's degree in Community Health from the University of Maryland, College Park in August of 2021, after completing her capstone internship at MERIT that summer. Throughout her time at UMD, she was very involved in the community and served as a Peer Educator for the University Health Center, held positions on various executive boards and participated in an Alternative Breaks experience in Los Andes, Guatemala. Lidia is eager to join the team and work alongside staff members to support scholars in their journeys of becoming change agents.
MERIT Board of Directors
Dr. Sherita Golden
Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Staff Success Chair
Chitamawe Daka Mulwanda
Manager of Equity Programs
Baltimore City Public Schools
Strategic Growth Chair
Dr. John Kontor
Executive Vice President
Dr. David Hellmann
Johns Hopkins Center for Innovative Medicine
Dr. Ilana Mittman
Anne Arundel Medical Center
Dr. Krista Ratliff
Vice President of Business Development and Operations
Dr. Tyler Mains
Assistant Medical Officer
Jail Health Services at San Francisco Department of Health
Dr. Rudy Ruiz
Four Point Education Partners
Head of Global Citizenship
Kramon and Graham
Karen Dates Dunmore
Senior Director of Community Engagement and Workforce Development
University of Maryland Medical Center
Dr. Scott Wright
Director of the Division of General Internal Medicine
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Vice President of Programs