Founder & Chair, Dream Project
Dr. Emma Violand-Sánchez was a chair and member of the Arlington Public Schools Board from 2008 to 2016. Since 1998, Dr. Violand-Sánchez served as an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University in the Linguistics Department. She retired in July 2007 as the Supervisor of English for Speakers of Other Languages/High Intensity Language Training (ESOL/HILT) Office, PK-12, Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, VA. She received her B.S. and M.S. from Radford University and her doctorate in education from the George Washington University. Dr. Violand-Sánchez has expertise in education policy, curriculum development, family involvement, multicultural education, language minority education, and learning styles. She has authored several publications on these topics.
Dr. Violand-Sánchez is an active community member and civic leader. For eight years she served as a member of the Northern Virginia Community College Board representing Arlington County. Dr. Violand-Sánchez is founder and president of the Dream Project. She was responsible for initiating Project Family, the bilingual GED programs that benefit the Latino community. She received a senior scholar Fulbright Award as a consultant for educational reform in Bolivia. She is also the recipient of the James Hunter III Human Rights Award, Mexican American Legal Defense Fund -Community Service Award, Virginia Community College System Award for College Board Exemplary Service, Notable Woman of Arlington Award, and American Association of University Fellow Award. On January 2017, she was named Washingtonian of the Year.
Vice Chair, Dream Project
Jane has a long and committed interest in advocating for children and tackling issues that affect them. She has served on the boards of the Steven Greenwood Childhood Cancer Foundation, SOS Children’s Villages USA, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Washington DC Chapter, Educare DC, and the College of William and Mary Washington Council. Following a career in events management, she worked in secondary education for 10 years. In 2013, she received her master’s from the Counseling and Development Program at George Mason University, which focuses on multiculturalism, social justice, international advocacy, and leadership. During the course of her research and studies, Jane’s commitment to the educational, social, psychological, physical and spiritual needs of individuals, families and communities was strengthened.
Jane has served on the Board of the Dream Project for four years as the Board’s Vice Chair and chair of the Fundraising Committee for three years. During this time, she has helped the Dream Project increase its revenue by 225% and has facilitated the process of migrating the organization’s data from its old database system to Salesforce, which will help the Dream Project increase its fundraising capability as well as better serve its students and families. During the past year, Jane has overseen the Dream Project’s work with a fundraising consultant, which will help the organization bolster its fundraising strategy — developing a work plan, devising cultivation strategies, and identifying potential new foundation, corporate, and individual/major donor supporters. She has also worked closely with a consulting team to help the Dream Project write its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. In 2018, Jane received the Joan White Grassroots Volunteer Service Award from Volunteer Alexandria in recognition of the time, energy and skills she has committed to forward the mission of the Dream Project.
Treasurer, Dream Project
Julie Zalkind, PhD, is the daughter of immigrants who benefited from mentoring and financial aid in college. She is a mathematician by training, president of a commercial real estate investment company, and has served the community on the boards of the Donaldson Run Recreation Association, the Clarendon Alliance, the Mosaic Theater, and as president of Beth Chai Jewish Humanist Congregation. She lives in Arlington with her husband, a Wakefield grad, two dogs, and a cat. Her sons, both graduates of Arlington Public Schools, live across different oceans.
Secretary, Dream Project
William Mark Habeeb is Adjunct Professor of Global Politics and Security at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and president of Habeeb Associates, LLC, a consulting firm that provides analysis and advice on the U.S. foreign policy process, the bilateral and multilateral aid industry, and international trade policy. Since 2015, he has also served as US Editor of the London-based Arab Weekly. He is the author of several books– most recently, Middle East in Turmoil: Conflict, Revolution and Change (2013)- and numerous articles. He also authored a multi-volume social studies reference series on nations of the world targeted for middle grade and high school students. Earlier in his career, Mark was foreign policy assistant to former senator Gary Hart, director of research at a Washington think tank, consultant to the United Nations, and vice president of several Washington-based consulting firms. Mark was born and raised in Alabama as the son of a Lebanese immigrant and the grandson of a Cuban immigrant. He is a fellow of the Middle East Studies Association, a member of the Board of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and a member of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Authors Guild. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Mark received his BA from Georgetown University and his MA and PhD from Johns Hopkins University. He also studied at the University of Sussex and the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis. Mark and his wife, Wendy Mills, have lived in Arlington for over 25 years; their son, Noah, was educated in Arlington Public Schools and is a graduate of Tufts University.
Horatio Alger Association
Dawn received a Dual Master’s Degree from the University of Kent in Brussels in International Conflict and Security and Virginia Tech in Public and International Affairs. She also received a B.A. from Virginia Tech in Political Science. Throughout these studies and her time living, studying, and working in Brussels and Hong Kong, she gained a deep interest in immigration, refugees and education.
After graduating with her second master’s, Dawn went to work for the Horatio Alger Association administering scholarships and supporting partnerships and scholar services. This gave her the skills and expertise she needed to join the Dream Project as a board member in July 2018, where she now assists with the scholarship program, annual Summit, and other events.
Dawn currently works at the National Association of Medicaid Directors managing their data systems, administering surveys, and assisting with the leadership program and events.
Vanessa Garcia immigrated to the U.S. from Bolivia when she was 13 years old. She received a scholarship to George Washington University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. She went on to have several professional finance-related roles while also maintaining strong ties to her community. She founded and currently manages the Ilumina Scholarship Program funded by the Pro-Bolivian Committee, which has awarded over $60,000 in scholarships over the past decade.
Vanessa also serves as the Finance Director for Amazon Conservation, a three-country non-profit organization. She has over 15 years of experience in the private and non-profit sectors building infrastructure and streamlining processes in financial reporting, budgeting, accounting, HR, and administration functions in multi-national settings.
League of Conservation Voters
Liz Jacob recently joined the Dream Project Board of Directors in August 2018 and is honored to co-chair the Outreach and Advocacy committee. Liz is deeply passionate about supporting students, especially those that face barriers to access due to their immigration status in their journey to pursue their educational dreams and to become stronger advocates for their communities.
Liz currently serves as the Digital Campaigns Manager for the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) where she manages the organization’s online advocacy program to build and engage a more racially diverse movement to protect our communities and planet. Liz is a graduate of the College of William and Mary with a bachelors degree in Environmental Science and Policy and Sustainability Marketing and a recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship.
Arlington Public Schools Teacher
Ann A. Kennedy, Ph.D., joined the Dream Project Board in 2016. She is a teacher at Arlington Community High School and an adjunct professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University. She has been GMU’s CEHD Alumnus of the Year, Greater Washington Reading Council’s Teacher of the Year, and a Fulbright Scholar. Her educational travels have taken her to Jamaica, Guatemala, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cuba; she is active in international organizations that encourage educational opportunities for women in Senegal and Liberia. Her current research focuses on the development and acceleration of academic skills for adolescent and young adult English learners to prepare them for post-secondary education.
Konstantin Lighting Design
Dave Konstantin is a 36-year resident of Arlington and a small business owner. He holds a BA in sociology from the University of Connecticut and an MS in justice from American University. He’s an active volunteer with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) and Share of McLean, and is a former precinct captain for the Arlington County Democratic Committee. Dave and his wife Mary Jane live in Leeway Heights. Their three children are all graduates of Arlington public schools. Dave’s parents immigrated to the United States from Russia and Sicily, respectively.
Former Graduate School Advisor
Jeff Miles served as the Director of Graduate Admissions at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs for 26 years (1987-2013), making final admission and financial aid/fellowship decisions on tens of thousands of applications. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at GW. Jeff played an important role in the growth and development of the Elliott School, where he helped build one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs. Jeff now works as a part-time admissions consultant advising students interested in pursuing graduate study in international and public affairs, MBA and other graduate business programs, global/public health, and other professionally-oriented master’s degree programs. He helps students identify their best-fit schools and scholarship opportunities, edit and strengthen their essays and resume, prepare for admissions interviews, and improve their overall chances of gaining admission to these programs. Jeff serves on the Board of the Dream Project and especially enjoys mentoring Dreamers who plan to attend college or grad school. He also serves on the George Washington University Fulbright Fellowship Selection Committee. Jeff is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara (M.A.) and Ithaca College (B.A.).
Development Without Limits
Belinda Passafaro recently joined the Dream Project Board of Directors in August 2016. Over the past 20 years, she has served in the educational field as a leader, social justice advocate, program director, and consultant. She is the vice president of Development Without Limits and specializes in professional development, curriculum development, program management, and leadership development for non-profit organizations in under-served communities in New York City and across the country.
Belinda is also the Co-Founder and Associate Executive Director of Hermanas SOL, which seeks to empower women of color to achieve personal, professional, and spiritual growth through educational achievement, financial literacy, and leadership development within a culturally relevant framework. As a marketplace minister, she also facilitates strategic planning retreats, mentoring opportunities, and serves as a conference presenter for faith-based entities.
Belinda is a graduate of Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and has a masters degree in Bilingual Education. She also completed Columbia University’s Middle Management Program at the Not-for-Profit Institute. In May 2013, Belinda graduated from Union Theological Seminary in New York City with a Master's of Divinity degree with a specialized focus in theology and psychology. She currently resides in Arlington, VA, with her husband, Benjamin.
George Washington University
Marie Price is a Professor of Geography and International Affairs at George Washington University where she has taught since 1990. In 2016 she became the President of the American Geographical Society, the oldest geographical society in the U.S. In 2012 she joined the Board of the Dream Project. A Latin American and migration specialist, Marie has conducted research on migration within Latin America and Latino migration to the United States. Most recently her work has focused on the impact of forced return due to U.S. deportation policies. On a global scale, she has investigated immigrant settlement in global cities developing a longitudinal data set. She is also a non-resident fellow of the Migration Policy Institute, a think tank that focuses on immigration. Her publications include the following books: Migrants to the Metropolis: The Rise of Immigrant Gateway Cities (2008), Migrants’ Inclusion in Cities (2013), Diversity Amid Globalization: World Regions, Environment and Development, 7thed. (2017) and Globalization and Diversity: Geography of a Changing World, 5thed. (2016).
Carliner & Remes, P.C.
Robert A. Remes has been an immigration lawyer since 1977. He has helped thousands of people receive immigration status through family relationships, employment, asylum, DACA, special immigrant juvenile status, and cancellation of removal and has represented people in immigration courts against allegations that could result in their removal. His clients come from many different countries including Pakistan, Iran, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and he appears before immigration courts and CIS offices throughout the United States.
Bob graduated from Cornell University and received his law degree from Boston University. He is a former president of the Washington, DC chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Bob has been on the Dream Project Board since 2017. He is on the scholarship and mentoring committees and is chair of the Molly & Joseph Herman Foundation Dream Scholar Loan Fund Committee. Bob also provides pro bono immigration advice upon request to members of the Dream Project community and mentees and has made immigration law and policy presentations at many Dream Project events.
Giancarla Rojas immigrated to the U.S. from Bolivia a decade ago to reunite with her parents, who she had not seen for seven years. Giancarla graduated from high school in 2012, the same year that President Obama announced DACA. After she graduated from Northern Virginia Community College she became the first Dreamer to be accepted at Radford University with a full scholarship. Finishing college was a struggle but with the help of her mentors, who helped her apply to over 60 scholarships, and working long summers, she graduated with a Bachelors of Science in International Economics in May 2016. Giancarla’s experience as an undocumented immigrant has built her determination, confidence, and commitment to serve her community.
Haynes Novick Immigration
David's law practice is devoted exclusively to immigration law. He has 36 years of experience in a wide range of immigration cases including immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications, family visa applications, deportation defense, and political asylum. He has a large practice that includes representing many people from Latin America and has prepared and filed more than 40 DACA cases.
He was the lead attorney in Perez v. Vargas, a case in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in which the court interpreted a section of the Immigration & Nationality Act to successfully support certain immigrants’ applications who had to change their employer during the process. He has gained relief for persons who have suffered persecution due to their political or religious beliefs or sexual orientation, including persons who have suffered female genital mutilation before arriving in the U.S. and have the same fear for their daughters. He represents many families who are legally in the U.S. but are facing the separation of one member who does not have status here.
He has appeared on behalf of clients in immigration courts and at agency hearings in over a dozen cities in the U.S. and at consulates outside the U.S. and has also been an invited speaker on immigration matters at conferences and seminars.
American Institutes for Research, P.C.
Francesco is a young professional pursuing a career in mental health. He has worked in classrooms, psychiatric hospitals, and research laboratories. He is currently a Psychometric Support Assistant at AIR. As an alum of the Dream Project, he established the Scholars & Alumni committee to respond to the growing needs of the students. He has provided various new services for Dream Project students such as the Alas Support Group for Dreamers and is in charge of organizing the annual Summit. In his spare time, Francesco likes to create art in the kitchen and on canvas.
Robert G. Smith
Associate Professor, George Mason University
Robert G. Smith has been an associate professor in the Education Leadership Program of the College of Education and Human Development of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, since 2009. Prior to joining the faculty at Mason, he served 44 years in a variety of positions in K-12 education, the last 12 of which were spent as Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools in Virginia. He served the previous 16 years as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Services for the Spring Independent School District in the Houston, TX area and the first 16 years of his career in the Frederick County, Maryland Public Schools. In Frederick, he held a variety of roles, including teaching high school social studies, heading an adult evening high school and junior high school, supervising federal and adult education programs, serving as the superintendent’s assistant for planning and evaluation, and directing K-12 curriculum and staff development.
He is the author or co-author of a number of journal articles and book chapters and is the co-author of two books: Striving for Equity: District Leadership for Narrowing Opportunity and Achievement Gaps, and Gaining on the Gap: Changing Hearts, Minds and Practice.
Rob and his wife Sandy live in Arlington. They are the parents of two adult children and grandparents of five youngsters.