About
Staff

Darren Ankrom, Researcher
Sarah Blustain, Investigative Fund Deputy Editor
Kristine Bruch, Director of Development and Special Programs
Remy Cawley, Nation Books Assistant Editor
Kleaver Cruz, Nation Books Editorial Associate
Alissa Figueroa, Investigative Fund Senior Editor and Producer
Naomi Gordon-Loebl, Internship Director and Research Editor
Esther Kaplan, Investigative Fund Editor
Taya Kitman, Executive Director and CEO
Elena Mejia Lutz, Investigative Fund Assistant Editor
Katy O'Donnell, Nation Books Senior Editor
Ed Sermier, Chief Financial Officer
Jayati Vora, Investigative Fund Managing Editor
Annelise Whitley, Director of Outreach & Public Programs

Darren Ankrom, Researcher

Darren Ankrom is a researcher for The Nation Institute and a freelance environmental reporter. Before coming to the Institute he researched for Showtime's climate change series Years of Living Dangerously. He holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of Delaware and currently lives in Colorado.

 

 

Sarah Blustain, Investigative Fund Deputy Editor

Sarah Blustain is a former senior editor for Newsweek/Daily Beast and lives in Montclair, NJ. Previously she was a senior editor at the New Republic, deputy editor of the American Prospect, and senior editor for the feminist magazine Lilith. She has done two articles with Investigative Fund support: "The Mourning After," about the anti-abortion strategy focusing on men (The Nation, January 17, 2008); and "Life Sentence," investigating the roots of John McCain's hard-line stance against abortion (the New Republic, August 27, 2008). 

Kristine Bruch, Director of Development and Special Programs

Kristine Bruch is the the Director of Development and Special Programs for The Nation Institute. She most recently worked as a Project Manager at McEvoy & Associates and focused on fundraising events for non-profit groups in New York City. Her experience has allowed her to work closely with many non-profits, elected leaders, and political organizations across the country. She graduated from the George Washington University in Washington, DC with a degree in Business Administration. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

Remy Cawley, Nation Books Assistant Editor

Remy Cawley is an Assistant Editor at Nation Books. She previously worked at W. W. Norton and Company, where she acquired and assisted on a range of books by Lyz Lenz, Dan Kaufman, Donna Lucey, Dan Egan, Martin Doyle, and John Branch, among many others. She has worked in publishing since 2013, is a graduate of Wellesley College, and lives in NYC.

 

Kleaver Cruz, Nation Books Editorial Associate

Kleaver Cruz is an Editorial Associate at Nation Books. His work has been featured in La Galería and African Voices Magazine as well as on Vibe.com and the Huffington Post among others. He is an alum of the VONA and Kenyon Review Writers workshops where he studied essay and fiction writing respectively. Kleaver is the creator of The Black Joy Project, a digital and real-world movement to center Black joy as a form of resistance. Cruz is a born and bred New Yorker who currently resides in The Bronx.

Alissa Figueroa, Investigative Fund Senior Editor and Senior Producer

Alissa Figueroa is senior editor and senior producer at The Investigative Fund, where she oversees the Ida B. Wells Fellowship program and our broadcast partnerships. She was previously an investigative producer at Fusion and an associate producer at NBC News. Alissa's investigative and public service journalism has been recognized with a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, among others. Her 2015 feature-length documentary, Prison Kids: A Crime Against America’s Children, was nominated for an Emmy and selected as a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists. Before working in news she was a homeless outreach worker in New York City. Alissa is a graduate of the UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and Amherst College.

Naomi Gordon-Loebl, Internship Director and Research Editor

Naomi Gordon-Loebl is the Internship Director and Research Editor at The Nation Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, and a graduate certificate in Youth Studies from the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Before coming to the Institute, she was a teacher and youth development professional for five years, helping people who had left school to complete their high school equivalency diplomas. She lives in Brooklyn.

Esther Kaplan, Investigative Fund Editor

Esther Kaplan is a radio and print journalist who has written for Harper’s, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Nation, the American Prospect, the Village Voice, and other publications. She was previously a senior editor at The Nation, features editor at Poz, the award-winning national AIDS magazine, and communications director at Communications Workers of America Local 1180. She began her journalism career as an assistant editor at the Village Voice, where she became a regular contributor. She is the author of With God on Their Side: George W. Bush and the Christian Right, and was for many years co-host of Beyond the Pale, a weekly program covering Jewish culture and politics, on WBAI in New York City. She was a 2013 Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow and has received the Molly National Journalism Prize and the Sidney Award, among other journalism honors.

Taya Kitman, Executive Director and CEO

Taya Kitman is Executive Director and CEO of The Nation Institute. She has been with The Nation Institute since 1997 and has held a number of positions during her tenure. Over the years, she has managed the Ridenhour and Puffin Prizes, organized the Institute's Annual Gala Dinner, and supervised the Journalism Fellowships and Internships programs. Kitman, who previously was co-owner of graphic design agency, graduated from Kenyon College with a BA in History. She holds a master's degree in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University.

Elena Mejia Lutz, Investigative Fund Assistant Editor

Elena Mejia Lutz is assistant editor at The Investigative Fund. Elena has written stories on politics and public policy for the Texas Observer, the San Antonio Express-News, and The Texas Tribune, among others. Born and raised in Costa Rica, Elena graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a double major in journalism and international relations. She is mainly interested in investigative reporting focused on public health and immigration.

Katy O'Donnell, Nation Books Senior Editor

Katy O'Donnell is the Senior Editor at Nation Books, where she has worked with authors including National Book Award-winner Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times bestselling author Mychal Denzel Smith, Sarah Jaffe, Eileen Markey, John Merriman, Jaime Bartlett, Darnell L. Moore, Saadia Zahidi, and Vegas Tenold. She has worked in publishing since 2009, first at the Overlook Press and then at Basic Books. She graduated from the University of Chicago, where she studied English and Italian literature. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in Queens.

Ed Sermier, Chief Financial Officer

Ed Sermier most recently served as the Director of National Customized Services for the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF). In 2008, he retired from his position as Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, and Director of Program Evaluation at Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY). He also served as Chief Financial Officer of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra; Deputy Director in the Mayor's Office of Operations for Mayor David Dinkins; Director of Strategic Planning and Capital Budgeting for the New York City Transit Authority; Director of Special Education for the New York City Board of Education; and Budget Director for the New York City Board of Education. Sermier holds a Master's in Business Administration degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in mathematics from Manhattan College. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, City University of New York. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Sermier provides financial consulting services to a wide range of nonprofit organizations in the five boroughs of New York City.

Jayati Vora, Investigative Fund Managing Editor

Jayati Vora is Managing Editor at The Investigative Fund. Previously, she was features editor for Al Jazeera America, and during her time there led numerous longform and investigative projects. Stories she has edited have been recognized by the Data Journalism Awards, the Sidney Awards, and the Eppys. Many have been translated into other languages and featured on radio and TV. She moved to AJAM from The Nation Institute, where she was web and associate editor for five years. Before moving to the United States, she was theater section editor at TimeOut Mumbai and staff writer at a men's monthly feature magazine in India. She currently edits a weekly column about race and equity in education for The Hechinger Report.

Annelise Whitley, Director of Outreach and Public Programs

Annelise Whitley is an artist from Philadelphia currently residing in Brooklyn. She holds a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and is a founding editor and contributor to nascent grassroots literary and arts publication, One Off Magazine.