This summer Darshi Ambani and Mary Katherine West join the DC Action team as Diane Bernstein Fellows in Child and Youth Advocacy. Darshi is working on a variety of data products that are critical to DC Actions advocacy and research. Currently she is building a comprehensive data base of OST providers in the District of Columbia, which will help us with our landscape and service gap analysis. She is also identifying administrative data for DC Action’s data catalog to help us monitor the well being of the District’s children and youth.
Mary Katherine is supporting DC Action’s home visiting work, specifically leading the research for raising compensation for home visitors, preparing materials for our early childhood advocacy work, and contributing to the Home Visiting Council's annual report process.
Darshi is currently a rising senior at American University majoring in psychology and double minoring in sociology and public health. Darshi is part of the university’s Community-Based Research Scholars program, where she has gained experience in action research, data analysis, and volunteering for the DC community. Through this program, they have had the opportunity to educate high school students and college freshmen on using community-based research, and served as co-author, editor, and lead designer of the Community-Based Action Research: College Curriculum. Through her classes at AU, Darshi has become interested in studying health inequalities and social determinants of health, and conducting research on social issues. Outside of school and work, Darshi enjoys doing various forms of art, such as henna, painting, and bullet journaling, as well as exploring DC and going to art museums.
Mary Katherine West graduated from the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Education and Human Development in May, where she majored in Youth and Social Innovations and African American Studies. She will return to UVA in the fall to complete the second year of her Accelerated Masters in Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. Outside of coursework, Mary Katherine was involved in activities centered around educating and advocating for bodily autonomy through body positivity, LGBTQ+ advocacy, sexual health and assault prevention, and mental health promotion. Through this advocacy, she is committed to combating structural forces of oppression that create barriers for marginalized groups and youth from positive developmental outcomes. In her free time, Mary Katherine enjoys painting, reading, taking her dog for walks, and caring for her pet betta fish.
Please join us in welcoming Darshi and Mary Katherine to the DC Action team!