Founder and CEO
President, Board of Directors
Meaghan Davis is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BRAVE Girls Leadership Inc. She first established BRAVE in the Spring of 2013 while working as a social studies teacher at Conard High School in West Hartford, Connecticut. Her development of BRAVE was initially inspired by her work with students as a classroom teacher. She truly believes in the positive power of students and she is determined to help each student discover their best self and realize their own full potential. Meaghan’s initiative to found and expand BRAVE as a non-profit organization was triggered by the documentary film Girl Rising, which promotes awareness of the human right to education and the impact of empowering girls to create change in the world. She continues to be inspired everyday by the words, actions and stories of courageous people, especially girls, from around the world. Over the past three years Meaghan has worked to contribute to this special movement by improving and expanding BRAVE to different schools and communities.
SECRETARY, BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Areej Nitowski is Co-Advisor of the Sedgwick Middle School Program within BRAVE Girls Leadership Inc. Areej became more involved in the program in 2014. During this time, she has been amazed by the energy and positive influence BRAVE has given so many girls and young women. She has worked as a 7th grade science teacher 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. She is a strong believer that public education is the main way to influence young people. Areej is thrilled to see the enthusiasm that BRAVE has inspired within so many girls and young women, and is eagerly anticipating more success with the organization.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Adam is an Instructional Designer at Dartmouth College. At Dartmouth, Adam works with faculty on digital initiatives related to student learning. He has experience working in educational technology, instructional design and curriculum support, computer support, web design, and social media. Adam is a graduate from the Secondary Social Studies teaching program at the UConn Neag School of Education.
Board of Directors
Leslie Bruenn is the Advisor of the Sedgwick Middle School Program within BRAVE Girls Leadership Inc. She helped establish the program at Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford, CT, during the Spring of 2013. Over the past year she has built the program up along with the Founder Meaghan Davis. She has worked as a science teacher at Sedgwick since 2001. She received her bachelor’s degree in Zoology at Arizona State University and her masters at St Joseph’s. Leslie has been an ally to all of her students, a strong advocate for girls and to the BRAVE Leadership Program from the beginning. She continues to be inspired by the changes in the girls who have become leaders in their school and community, an opportunity they may never have had without this program.
Board of Directors
Cyndi works with BRAVE Girls Leadership Inc. as community advisor. She is married with two children, both of whom have gone through the West Hartford Public Schools. Her son is a freshman at Conard and her daughter graduated from Conard and is currently living in Madison, WI. She received her Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Western Illinois University. She has worked in the long-term care field as Alzheimer's Care Unit Director, Nursing Home Administrator, and Assisted Living Facility Executive Director. She is currently very active in her community serving as Co-President of the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools, Tutor Coordinator for Noah Webster School in Hartford, Chair of Education Task Force through the Christian Activities Council, Children's Charity Ball committee member, PTO board member for Conard High School, and she serves as a mentor in the West Hartford Public Schools. She is also an active member at Westminster Presbyterian Church and serves on various committees there.
Computer Science Intern
Brienna is a senior at Island Trees High School where she is class president and involved with their Key Club, orchestra, debate team, student council, and more. As a Girl Scout for eleven years, volunteer work and empowering girls has always been of importance in her life, a legacy that continues with her participation in BRAVE. Brienna is not only the Computer Science Intern for the organization but also the vice president of her school's BRAVE chapter. Similarly, she is the web development intern for her local National Organization for Women chapter. Brienna hopes to study computer science in college an pursue a career in cyber crimes.
Amanda is a senior at UConn studying Psychology and Neuroscience. After graduation, she hopes to continue her education and work towards a Doctorate in Psychology, with future hopes of working with students with special needs. Amanda continues to be a part of the BRAVE Team as a Communications Coordinator, and looks forward to another year with BRAVE. Her goal as a BRAVE intern is to expand knowledge about the program, and get more people involved!
Andrea McDermott is an AmeriCorps VISTA Connecticut Campus Compact member working to bring health education programming to the girls of BRAVE. In her free time, she likes to watch movies, practice yoga, and make music! Andrea believes that if we all use our talents to help our communities, the world would be a better place.
Elementary Programs coordinator
Mariel is a sophomore at the University of Saint Jospeh and is majoring in Child Studies. Although she has a few years to go before she graduates, Mariel hopes to find a career in which she can advocate for children, provide them a safe and nurturing environment, and of course empower them. Along with being an intern, Mariel is a member of her school's BRAVE chapter and this Fall she will be its vice president. She looks forward to all the great things BRAVE will accomplish this year and can't wait to meet with all the students she has mentored again.
BRAVE BLog Editor
Serena is a senior at UConn, where she studies English. She intends to use her time as a BRAVE intern to inspire women to be their best selves, as well as help create an online platform that can broadcast the messages that BRAVE embraces. Serena is a huge soccer fan, coffee lover, and sit-down comedian. After graduation, she plans to publish her writing and hopes to fulfill her childhood dream of adopting 101 dalmatians.
FARMINGTON HIGH SCHOOL INTERN
Hannah is a junior at the University of Connecticut, majoring in Political Science and Human Rights, and minoring in German. When she’s not studying or at work, Hannah enjoys reading, cooking and drinking coffee. After graduating, Hannah hopes to create positive change in the world by working as a foreign service officer or for a human rights organization. As a BRAVE intern, Hannah hopes to inspire girls and help make the world a better place!
FARMINGTON HIGH SCHOOL INTERN
Ariana is a junior at UConn, majoring in Pre-Pharmacy. She hopes to obtain her doctorate in Pharmacy, become a pharmacist, and take part in respiratory care pharmaceutical drug research. She enjoys running, playing field hockey, and watching hours of Law and Order SVU when she's not studying. Ariana is hoping to encourage girls to believe in themselves, be confident, and be BRAVE.
Smith and duffy elementary INTERN
Inna is a freshman in the UConn Honors Program majoring in Allied Health on the Pre-Dietetics track. Her passions include reading, figure skating, and baking desserts. In the future, she hopes to work with athletes as a Registered Dietician to help them perform to the best of their ability. Inna is a member of the UConn BRAVE chapter along with being an elementary school BRAVE intern. She is excited to interact with the young students and hopes to positively impact their lives.
King Philip Middle School Intern
Natasha is a senior at UConn studying Women Gender and Sexuality Studies and Biology. Throughout the UConn community she serves in a bunch of organizations which helps her give back to not only the UConn community but the greater Hartford area as well. She is the President of the Nu Mu Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated where their focus is the advancement of women and children which has provided her the fuel to want to give back to the community. After graduation, she hopes to continue her education and work towards a medical degree in pediatrics. This is Natasha's first year as a mentor for the BRAVE Team, and looks forward to connecting with the students. Her goal as a BRAVE intern is to provide support for her students and get their minds flowing about programs to change their world!
Conard and sedgwick INTERN
Heather Norris is a senior at UConn, double majoring in English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her passions include athletics, feminism, learning, and teaching. Upon graduating, Heather hopes to obtain her teaching certification prior to her Master’s degree in Education to then teach high school English. As a BRAVE intern participant, she is elated to teach young minds ways in which they can change the world for the better, but to also find out what she can learn from them.
Wolcott AND SEDGWICK INTERN
Merilee is a senior at UConn, studying Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies. Her love for teaching and empowering the youth of our communities lead her to BRAVE. She is incredibly excited for this opportunity to empower young girls, and to learn a thing or two from them as well. Merilee enjoys reading, and loves to use music and singing as a means of uplifting and empowering. She hopes to inspire the girls she works with to be the best version of themselves that they can be!
Duffy and Smith Intern
Emma is a a junior at University of Connecticut and studies Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies with a studio art minor. After graduation she hopes to go to graduate school to become a licensed marriage and family therapist! In her free time she likes to hike, create art, read, and cook.She loves working with children and loves to help them grow to their fullest potential. She is excited to work with and inspire my students to help them be BRAVE!
sedgwick and wolcott INTERN
Olivia is a senior at UConn studying Communications and English. After graduation she plans on pursuing a career in production hoping to help create positive content for women. Olivia also works as a fitness instructor teaching Spin, Zumba and Pilates classes where she loves to promote positive body image and healthy living. In her free time she likes to read, write, paint, and run. As a new BRAVE intern she is excited to encourage young girls to find their voice and never be afraid to speak up.
event planner INTERN
Lucia is a senior at UConn majoring in Journalism and Spanish. She aspires to work with students and create programs that will assist in personal development. When
she isn’t hitting the books, she’s performing (acting, singing or dancing!), writing, or spending time with friends. Outside of campus, she works at a Women’s Medical Center and a Spiritual Healing Center. She hopes to incorporate the values she’s acquired from these spaces to her everyday work. As a BRAVE intern, she hopes to instill girls with confidence to follow their passions and to provide them with the tools they need to bring their ideas to fruition. She can’t wait to learn from all of them and watch them flourish!
Social Media INTERN
Jamiah is freshman at UConn as an undecided major and an International Studies minor. Though she is undecided as to what major she wants to pursue, she knows she would like to work with an international nonprofit organization for girls. She loves participating in programs which allow her to empower other girls. She recently graduated from an all female school, started the Connecticut chapter of the Curvy Girls Scoliosis Support Group, and is involved with the UConn chapter of BRAVE. She is excited to continue to advocate for the empowerment of females as a BRAVE intern through various social media platforms and hopes to inspire girls to be comfortable fully expressing themselves.
public relations INTERN
Isabella is a freshman at the University of Connecticut Honors Program majoring in Marketing with a minor in Communications. While she won’t be graduating for a while, Bella hopes to eventually pursue a career in nonprofit marketing. Isabella is a member of the UConn BRAVE chapter along with being the Marketing and Public Relations intern. As an intern, she is looking forward to promoting the positivity of BRAVE’s message, as well as increase awareness about all of the amazing work that the BRAVE team does in the community!
Duffy and Smith Intern
Sierra Pettway is currently a freshman at the University of Connecticut and is undeclared for her major. She enjoys experiencing different opportunities that come her way that could possible spark an interest in a career path. She is very passionate about working with children so to the have the opportunity to work with younger girls will be a great experience. She is also looking forward to being a role model to these young girls and watching them grow during this journey.
King Philip Middle School Intern
Christine Gagnon is graduating this May from UConn with her masters in school counseling. Christine joined the BRAVE team this past August. During her time with BRAVE Christine has established a new BRAVE chapter at King Philip Middle School where she is completing her school counseling internship. Christine is passionate about changing students lives for the better so they can accomplish their life goals. Christine will act as the advisor to the BRAVE program at King Philip for the remainder of the 2016/2017 school year.