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The White House
For Immediate Release

Announcing the 2015-2016 National Finalists for the White House Fellows Program

WASHINGTON, DC — The President’s Commission on White House Fellowships announced today the National Finalists for the 2015-2016 White House Fellowship. This year’s class of Finalists represents an accomplished and diverse cross-section of professionals from the private sector, academia, medicine, and our armed services.

National Finalists for the nation’s premiere program for leadership and public service hail from across the United States, from Fayetteville to Indianola, Houston to Baltimore. They have demonstrated remarkable professional achievement early in their careers, a commitment to public service, and the leadership skills needed to succeed at the highest levels of the Federal government.

National Finalists have advanced through a highly competitive selection process, including a comprehensive written application and regional interviews with civic leaders at eight different cities across the country. The National Finalists will be evaluated by the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships in Washington, DC from June 11-14, 2015.

A complete list of National Finalists appears below.

2015 National Finalists

C. Spencer Abbot
Commander, United States Navy
Yorktown, VA

Teeb Al-Samarrai
Deputy Health Officer and Tuberculosis Controller, Santa Clara County Public Health Department
Oakland, CA

Andrew Anderson
Major, United States Air Force
Douglas, WY

Alexander Billioux
Assistant Chief of Service, Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Simpsonville, SC

Sara Bleich
Associate Professor, Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD

Naomi Dennis
Major, United States Air Force
Houston, TX

Ahmed El Nokali
Director, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Pittsburgh, PA

Brooke Ellison
Associate Professor, Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY

Shereef Elnahal
Resident Physician, Radiation Oncology, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, MD

September Hargrove
Chief Operating Officer, PowerMoves.NOLA Initiative, New Orleans Startup Fund
New Orleans, LA

Luxme Hariharan
Pediatric Cataract, Glaucoma, Cornea and International Health Fellow, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, University of Southern California Eye Institute
Madison, WI

Corey Harrison
Corporate Strategy Executive, iCIMS, Inc.
Browns Mills, NJ

La’Shanda Holmes
Lieutenant, United States Coast Guard
Fayetteville, NC

Kohar Jones
Family Physician, Chicago Family Health Center; Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of Community Health and Service Learning, University of Chicago Department of Family Medicine
Chicago, IL

Michael Kleiman
Documentary Filmmaker
Roslyn, NY

Rayden Llano
Program Director, Health Policy and Economics, LSE Enterprise
Miami, FL

Jennifer Macdonald
Family Medicine Physician, UCLA Department of Family Medicine
St. Cloud, MN

Erik Malmstrom
Business Development Manager, Cargill Incorporated
West Hartford, CT

Rei Onishi
Deputy Attorney General, California Department of Justice
Citrus Heights, CA

Payal Patel
Infectious Diseases Fellow, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School
Houston, TX

Elizabeth Pearson
Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
Indianola, IA

Neil Ruiz
Senior Policy Analyst and Associate Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Oxnard, CA

Thomas Smith
Chief Executive Officer, New Education Ventures LLC
San Diego, CA

David Sontag
Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Data Science, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University
New York, NY

Benjamin Taylor
Major, United States Army Special Forces
Fayetteville, NC

Maxeme Tuchman
Executive Director, Teach for America Miami-Dade
Miami, FL

Jason Wasfy
Cardiologist, Cardiac Unit Associates, Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA

Kamillah Wood
Associate Medical Director, Mobile Health Programs, Children’s National Health System
Washington, DC

Anil Yallapragada
Medical Director, South Carolina Stroke Institute, Grand Strand Medical Center
Myrtle Beach, SC

About the White House Fellows Program

Founded in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the White House Fellows Program offers exceptional Americans first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the Federal government. After a competitive application process, selected individuals spend a year in Washington, DC working full-time for Cabinet Secretaries, senior White House staff, and other top-ranking government officials. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors, including the President and Vice President. Fellowships are awarded on a strictly non-partisan basis.

Mary Zients, founder and Board Chair of the Urban Alliance Foundation is the chair of the Commission. Cheryl Dorsey, the President of Echoing Green, serves as Vice Chair. Other members of the Commission are: Katherine Archuleta (Ex-officio), Wesley Clark, Nelson Diaz, Matrice Ellis-Kirk, Helene Gayle, Alice T. Germond, Vartan Gregorian, Steve Gunderson, Cynthia Hale, Deborah Harmon, Christy Haubegger, Peter Blair Henry, Amanda Hesser, John Hockenberry, Lisa Ling, Shannon Price Minter, George Muñoz, Lloyd W. Newton, Theodore Olson, Roger Porter, Azita Raji, Rion Joaquin Ramirez, Teresa Schwartz (Ex-officio; President of the White House Fellows Foundation and Association), George Thibault, Eleanor Kaye Wilson, and Judy Wise.

There are more than 700 White House Fellow alumni, a distinguished group that includes former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Additional information about the White House Fellows Program can be found at