The BRAVE Team




Meaghan is a human, leader, activist and educator. As the founder of The BRAVE Institute, she works in solidarity to inspire and challenge herself and others to live as brave and self-empowered contributors to a better world. In addition, Meaghan was recently selected to serve as the United State of Women Ambassador for New York for the 2019-2020 year.

In tandem with her development of BRAVE, Meaghan has worked as an educator in high school and higher education spaces. Currently, she is transitioning to an exciting new role in the Center for Student Success at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY. 

Meaghan attended the University of Connecticut for both her undergraduate and graduate studies, earning degrees in History, Education, Women, Gender and Sexuality, and Nonprofit Management. She has also engaged in Peace Studies and the study of Human Rights, specifically the Human Right to Education. Meaghan is a proud UConn Husky, passionate sports fan and travel enthusiast.




Andrea McDermott has been with BRAVE since 2016, when she was an AmeriCorps VISTA CTCC Member with the organization. In 2017, she became a Board Director and the Treasurer, where she led the Development and Advancement Committee. As a feminist and believer in social justice, Andrea connects deeply with BRAVE's mission. She believes that if everyone tried to be their best selves every day, we could all make a difference in our communities and the world.

Andrea currently works for PeoplesBank in the Human Resources Department. She enjoys singing, cooking, and spending time in nature.




Mar is a senior Human Development and Family Science major at the University of Connecticut. On campus, they participate in student organizations focused on LGBTQIA+ issues, poetry, and the dramatic arts. Mar has been a part of the BRAVE team since 2014 participate, serving as an intern and student leader. They have helped mentor and organize the Elementary Program. They hope to utilize their skills and passions to advocate for children in the future and inspire others to be their authentic selves. They look forward to what the future of the BRAVE Institute has in store!

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Michelle is a graduate student at UConn working towards a Masters in Computer Science and Engineering. She  joined the BRAVE team in Fall 2017. During this time, she has helped develop and rebrand the website as well as present at BRAVE’s annual conference on Combating Human Trafficking with Artificial Intelligence. Michelle is interested in how technology can be used for social good and change. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career combining her computer science skills and desire to promote and protect human rights. In her free time, Michelle enjoys reading, taking care of her houseplants, and riding her bike!


BRAVE Advisors


Areej Nitowski


Areej Nitowski has been affiliated with BRAVE since 2013, when she was a teacher advisor at Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford. Areej became a Board Director and Secretary in 2014. Areej has been teaching 7th Grade Science at Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford, CT since 2010. Prior to teaching, Areej spent 20 years as a life scientist in academia, biotech and pharma research. She received her BS in Biochemistry and MS in Toxicology at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. Areej is a proud SU Orange basketball fan, even while living in Connecticut. Areej strongly believes that at the core of every person there is strength and goodness. She knows that a little fostering and a great deal of love is what can make dramatic changes in a person’s life. Areej knows the power of BRAVE, and has seen it be a positive influence time and again across all ages and genders.

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Adam Nemeroff is a former board director for BRAVE Inc. Adam works at Dartmouth College as a Learning Designer, where he helps faculty with teaching strategies and instructional technologies. Adam works on a cross campus team to promote faculty development for inclusive and accessible teaching practices. Adam is also a board member on the Lebanon School Board. Adam did his undergraduate and graduate coursework in History and teaching at the University of Connecticut.

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Krystin Hernandez is a newer addition to the BRAVE team, joining the BRAVE Advisory Board in 2019. Born and raised in the Bronx, Krystin’s passion for social justice through education and the law is inspired by her upbringing in an area in which the leadership potential of youth often went/goes unrecognized. She aims to change this by working to create a more equitable world, in which all persons, irrespective of their relationship to and within the nexus of ability, class, ethnicity, gender identity, race, religion, and sexuality, should be able to realize their potential and achieve success. She believes that the work of leadership development, enshrined in BRAVE’s mission, is integral to this work of self-actualization and communal change! 

Krystin currently works as a College Access Counselor at an NYC nonprofit, and will complete her law degree in 2023, when she graduates from the CUNY School of Law. You can often catch her lounging in Fort Tryon Park in the NYC neighborhood of Washington Heights, or on her couch, cuddled next to two meowing fur babies.