Jean Appolon Expressions Board
Born in Haiti, Steve Desrosiers grew up in Mattapan and attended Boston College where he earned a BA in History, Boston University where he earned a Master’s in Arts Administration and Endicott College where he earned his M. Ed . The bulk of his professional career has been in educational administration; primarily with the Boston Public Schools and as a Director for the Sudbury Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO). As an artist, Steve has been a lead guitarist for Boston based Haitian roots groups like Batwel Rada and Tjovi Ginen. He co-led local Konpa-Zouk fusion group “The Nomads”, releasing two critically acclaimed releases. He was a member of the Boston based band Rock-by-Funk Tribe (Hip-Hop Funk) headed by Nigerian born spoken word artist and Ted Fellow Iyeoka Okoawo. Steve was a guitarist for the popular Haitian band CaRiMi, featuring prominently on their early popular releases.
Steve has also worked extensively with Berklee School of Music ensembles, Federator No.1 (Afro-pop), the school’s Bob Marley Ensemble (Reggae) and Matt Jenson’s Liquid Revolution (Jazz-Reggae fusion).
As a 12-year Contributing Editor to the Boston Haitian Reporter, Steve frequently wrote on Haitian arts, dance music and history. A long time fan of the work of JAE, Steve was part of the instrumental line up (Bass) for the debut of the company’s acclaimed, “Angaje”.
Born in Haïti and raised in the United States and Canada, Nadège V. White works in the non-profit healthcare sector, has a keen mind for numbers and finance, is an amateur photographer, and has dabbled as a performer of Caribbean and West African cultural dances. An avid explorer of beauty, diversity, and truth, Nadège has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Canada. Her self-expression is a blend of quirky sense of humor and imagination, a deep respect for the inherent “efficiency” within us all, and a penchant for hopefulness.
Raquel Cardoso is an art educator and artist who believes that we are most connected to ourselves and the world around us when we are creating, whether it be painting, dancing or making music. She has spent the last 16 years sharing this vision with her students with an emphasis on themes of social justice, honoring identity and each child's personal experience and voice. She immigrated to the U.S from Portugal when she was a child and has always felt connected to others who straddle two countries, cultures and families like herself. She is an avid traveler, taking full advantage of summers off, and has traveled to numerous countries, including southern Africa, Europe and South America. She was called to the strong sense of community and powerful and grounding movements of Jean's dance class 4 years ago and has never turned back.
Daniel Solomon Koff is a design consultant who creates shared social, cultural, and multi-sensory experiences. His work ranges from urban placemaking to interactive installations, from the downtowns of old industrial cities, to the galleries of contemporary art museums. Koff has a Masters in Design Studies with a concentration in Art, Design, and the Public Domain from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In college he earned a dual bachelor's degree in Social Design and History with a minor in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis.
STRATEGY AND DEVELOPMENT
For more than 15 years, Elizabeth has worked around the globe teaching organizations and executives how to pitch an idea, inspire a movement, and build a following. She began her career in domestic and international political campaign management, subsequently serving as Communications Director for an international development firm, where she worked through the U.S. State Department to foster civil society in the Middle East, North Africa, and the former Soviet Union. She then transitioned to public health communications, where she has held leadership roles in USAID’s infectious disease program in the Central Asian Republics, the Office of Director at the National Institutes of Health, and now for Primary Care Progress, a national nonprofit working to advance primary care reform. Elizabeth serves on the Advisory Board of McGill University’s Executive Institute in Montreal, Quebec, and on the Board of Directors of MassMouth, a non-profit organization that promotes the timeless art of storytelling in Massachusetts.
GRANTS AND DEVELOPMENT
An avid world traveler, Dana is passionate about advocating for public health nationally and internationally, as well as helping organizations achieve their missions. She is currently the Development Coordinator at Primary Care Progress (PCP), where she is responsible for growing PCP's fundraising and grant portfolio. She has worked with nonprofits that range in size, working on a wide variety of public health issues. These include assisting the business development team at the Union for International Cancer Control in Geneva, Switzerland, managing fundraising teams for a nationwide campaign to reduce the overuse of antibiotics on farms, and research on public policy at Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families in Washington, D.C. A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Dana recently graduated from Boston University, where she studied International Relations and Public Health, and was a member of the Division 1 Women's Rowing program.
Michel DeGraff, born in Haiti, is Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Michel dances as often as he can at JAE’s Afro-Haitian classes at the Dance Complex in Cambridge. On the scholarly and activist fronts, his interests concern the development and structures of Creole languages, with focus on his native Haitian Creole (“Kreyòl”) and on the uses of Kreyòl in research and education. Most recently, these interests have taken him to collaborate with MIT Sloan and Haitian colleagues. Two of Michelʼs recent projects in Haiti, both funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and with the support of Haitian leaders and educators, have explored some of the ways in which the strategic use of Kreyòl and educational technology improve Haitian students’ active learning. In the ongoing MIT-Haiti Initiative, Michel has enlisted the collaboration of colleagues at MIT and in Haiti to help make high-quality education accessible to the greatest numbers of Haitian students while strengthening the foundations of Haiti’s linguistic and cultural identity—in a spirit similar to JAE’s work in Haiti. A stronger and more vibrant Haiti must be rooted in the wealth of its linguistic and cultural soil, along the ideals embodied in JAE’s mission. Wi, se kon sa Ayiti ap djaye ak bèlte pou tout pitit li! For more information about Michel DeGraff’s projects, see http://mit.edu/degraff and http://haiti.mit.edu.
Francie Latour is a writer, educator and diversity/inclusion practitioner. Her writing on race, culture and identity has appeared in the Boston Globe, The Root, Essence and Ebony, among other publications. She has appeared as a guest on NBC’s Today and on National Public Radio. In 2000, Francie’s essay on Haitian-American identity was selected for the anthology The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States, edited by author Edwidge Danticat. After 17-year career in journalism, Francie now works in higher education, coordinating a diversity initiative for undergraduates at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, a leading center for biomedical research. Francie is also a co-founder of Wee The People, a new arts-based series for kids ages 3-12 exploring social justice and activism. Francie, who lives in Roslindale, is a mother of three and a daughter of Haitian heritage. Her mother was born in Les Cayes and her father was born in Petion-Ville.
JAE ADVISOR, COFOUNDER
Stephanie co-founded Jean Appolon Expressions with Jean Appolon in 2011 and served as Executive Director for the organization’s first five years. Stephanie is a non-profit professional with nearly twenty years of experience in arts management leadership. She has held recent leadership positions with Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium and El Sistema USA at New England Conservatory. From 2005-2008, she lived in Maputo, Mozambique where she was the Founder and Project Manager of a grassroots project called “Dance for Life,” done in partnership with a local dance company and funded by foreign embassies and corporations. From 2000-2005, she served as the Director of Outreach and Education at Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), one of Seattle’s largest arts organizations and one of the major ballet companies in the U.S. Currently a freelance consultant and writer, Stephanie received a B.A. in English Literature at the University of Virginia and an M.A. in English Literature at the University of Washington.
Administrative & Supporting Staff
Olivia is the designer of our website. Visit her website at oliviacarmstrong.com.