Ryan has been serving in leadership roles in Warrior-Scholar Project since 2013, channeling a deeply held conviction that enlisted veterans have unlimited potential to leverage military service into enormous impact in higher education and beyond.
At 17 years old, Ryan enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2005, culminating in two non-combat deployments to Iraq. Ryan then earned his BA from University of Michigan and JD from University of Virginia School of Law, leading Student Veterans of America chapters at both institutions. His teaching experience includes working as a Teach For America corps member at an inner-city Detroit high school and as an adjunct instructor at Virginia Military Institute. As an attorney, Ryan has worked for legal aid organizations and a national law firm, providing pro bono legal services to veterans throughout law school and his career.
In addition to his ongoing work at WSP, Ryan supports veterans by serving as a Working Group Lead of the Bush Institute’s Veteran Higher Education Task Force, Member of the Teach for America Military Veteran Council, and Service to School law school ambassador.
Ryan loves spending time with his beautiful wife and energetic sons. As a family, they enjoy escaping to the outdoors to conquer swing sets or climb mountains.
Chief of Staff
Robert Haywood is chief of staff for Warrior-Scholar Project. Robert retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Gunnery Sergeant in 2019, serving for 25 years. He began his career as an aircraft mechanic and finished as a Career Recruiter where he served at every level of command and held numerous billets from Canvassing Recruiter to Operations Chief for Marine Corps Recruiting Command. His career allowed him to enable thousands of Americans to begin their service to our country and gave him the opportunity to empower those around him to achieve their goals.
While on active duty, Robert earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Operations from Columbia Southern University and his Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Waldorf University. He is an advocate for veterans and is passionate about showcasing the value veterans add to organizations. In addition to his work supporting veterans with WSP, he is an adjunct faculty for the Marine Corp Enlisted College Distance Education Program where he facilitates 15-week seminars leading to the completion of formal professional military education for enlisted Marines.
Robert is married to Michelle and they have six children and a dog (that thinks he is a person). The family continually seeks out new adventures and loves to travel the world together.
Director of Operations
Jeremy Bradford is the director of operations for Warrior-Scholar Project. He is responsible for the management and direction of day-to-day operations and leading the operations team. Jeremy became involved with WSP in 2014 and he helped create the WSP STEM curriculum. He has worked full time for WSP since 2019.
Jeremy worked in IT until enrolling at Central Connecticut State University where he obtained bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics in 2012. After college, Jeremy obtained a Ph.D. in astronomy from Yale University in 2018.
After receiving his Ph.D., Jeremy joined the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning as the assistant STEM education program director. In his role, he helped manage the Summer Institutes on Scientific Teaching with STEM faculty across the country. During this time, he also helped found the Research Experience for Veteran Undergraduates (REVU) program with Prof. Marla Geha, which he still helps to direct.
In addition to his work supporting student veterans, Jeremy is an adjunct professor at Tunxis Community College where he teaches film appreciation. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, an English department chair, and daughter, a voracious reader. He loves video games, escape rooms, and electronics.
Director of Communications and Marketing
Whittney Gould serves as Warrior-Scholar Project’s director of communications and marketing.
Whittney is passionate about higher education and this drew her to her current role at WSP. Before joining WSP in 2019, Whittney’s work experience was in higher education communications and marketing. She has held roles at the University of New Hampshire in the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, and Pennsylvania State University, where she worked at the Penn State Press, the College of Agricultural Sciences, and the Eberly College of Science.
Whittney has a B.A. in English from Penn State and an MBA from the University of New Hampshire.
Director of Human Resources
Michelle serves as WSP’s director of human resources. She joined WSP in 2019 as human resources and operations coordinator. She has nine years of experience in human resources, payroll processing, and administering benefits. She previously worked for a global youth sporting logistics company where she served in a human resources capacity. Prior to that, she worked for Automatic Data Processing (ADP) where she was a payroll service representative with 142 base clients.
Michelle is originally from Massachusetts where she attended Bristol Community College and earned her associate’s degree in Deaf Studies. After graduation, she moved to New Hampshire and attended the University of New Hampshire at Manchester with a Sign Language Interpreter major. She graduated with a B.S. in Communications and started a company teaching American Sign Language to those that wanted to learn.
Michelle currently resides on the seacoast of New Hampshire. She enjoys participating in a variety of sports in an adult league. You can also find her working out at Pure Barre and may recognize her from the organization’s May 2018 national campaign.
Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations
Ariella Nasuti serves as Warrior-Scholar Project’s director of foundation and corporate relations.
Ariella graduated with honors from Barnard College, Columbia University, with a B.A. in Political Science. She attended the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as a visiting scholar and holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School where her coursework focused on Trust & Estates and Tax. Admitted to the bars of New York and New Jersey, she has been privileged for 17 years to advocate on behalf of colleges, universities, and veterans–helping to secure and steward state, federal, corporate, and private foundation grant funds totaling $150 million.
Ariella makes her home on the coast of Maine.
Director of Finance
Yared joined Warrior-Scholar Project in October 2021 and serves as director of finance.
Yared comes to WSP with more than a decade of finance and accounting experience working with nonprofit organizations and state government. Originally from Ethiopia, he attended Addis Ababa University, majoring in English Literature before leaving to come to the US. He earned his BS in Business Administration from Washington Adventist University, and MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University.
In his spare time, he enjoys baking cakes, cooking, and gardening, and volunteers at Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program.
Yared lives in Alexandria, Virginia, outside of Washington, DC with his wife, four rescued cats and two dogs.
Director of Education
Cassie serves as the director of education for Warrior-Scholar Project. In this role, she oversees all of the organization’s curricular efforts, including developing, implementing, and evaluating the curricula, and training academic staff. Cassie helps to ensure that WSP’s academic programming provides participants with the skills and support necessary to successfully transition to college and the workforce.
Cassie first became involved with WSP as a writing instructor in 2017 while working as a senior associate at Amherst College’s writing center, a position she held for 10 years. In 2020, Cassie was invited to join WSP’s Academic Advisory and welcomed the opportunity to rethink and revise the humanities and writing curricula. She is deeply committed to WSP’s mission to support the transition to college and beyond for enlisted veterans and transitioning service members.
Cassie holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy, Research, and Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research focuses on higher education access and academic support for students from underrepresented groups and nontraditional backgrounds. In addition to teaching for WSP, Cassie’s work in this area includes teaching for Upward Bound and the Noonan Scholars program, as well as for Amherst College’s summer bridge program. Cassie also has decades of experience developing courses and academic support structures for students in transition, including community college transfer students and first-generation and low-income students. Throughout her graduate studies and professional career, Cassie has remained committed to learning about and supporting students from groups who have historically had barriers to accessing and succeeding in higher education. Cassie considers it a privilege to put her experience, interests, and skills in higher education, teaching and learning, and academic support to work for WSP.
Director of Outreach and Admissions
Lisa Stein is the Director of Outreach and Admissions for Warrior-Scholar Project. She started her career at Ft Myer, VA Military District of Washington as an MP. For the last 16 years, she has been part of the admissions process at Chadron State College, in the NW corner of Nebraska. While at Chadron State College, she was a non-traditional student who earned both her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Organizational Management. During her tenure as Director of Admissions, she was responsible for the Veterans Service Office and acted as the School Certifying Officer at different times. Military personnel and higher education are two of her biggest passions. Lisa looks forward to serving our veterans as they attain their college education dreams.
Although originally from Nebraska, Lisa spent 20 years in California. One of the best decisions was when she decided to return home. Reconnecting with her family, making new family, and marrying her best friend, Adam, made her decision to return home more impactful. Lisa has two adult daughters and three grandchildren. In her spare time, you can find her with her nose in a book, watching her brothers coach football, cheering on her nieces and nephews, and overall, enjoying life.
Director of Development
Gina L. Taglieri
Gina Taglieri serves as WSP’s director of development. She is deeply interested in promoting the goals of Warrior-Scholar Project, especially as they relate to creating opportunities in higher ed for talented and ambitious enlisted veterans and transitioning service members who are eager to shape a successful future!
A development professional with 20+ years’ experience, Gina Taglieri is responsible for raising over $75M – either as director of a team or frontline fundraiser – for nonprofits in human rights/ LGBTQ rights, higher education, medical research, youth services, and the performing arts. Working at institutions as varied as Columbia and Cornell Universities, Human Rights First, MADRE, the Astraea Justice Foundation, Manhattan School of Music, and the New School, Gina has successfully raised 6- and 7-figure gifts from individuals, foundations, and corporations, as well as from state and federal funding sources.
Prior to her work in development, Gina was an Associate Professor of English at the State University of NY (Fashion Institute of Technology). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English & German Literature from Stanford University and a Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy in English & Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She also studied German literature and Slavistics at the Freie Universität Berlin. She is a former Fellow for the New York State Council for the Humanities, a volunteer mentor for Women in Development, and recently presented on fundraising for the Association of Fundraising Professionals-NYC.
A New England native and unrepentant Red Sox fan, Gina lives in Westchester County, NY, with her husband and dog.
Alumni Engagement and Outreach Fellow
Derek is WSP’s alumni engagement and outreach fellow. In this role, Derek is responsible for outreach to prospective applicants, coordination with program participants, and the development of alumni engagement activities.
Derek joined the U.S. Army in 2004 and served for 11 years. His first assignment took him to Germany with the 1st Armored Division, and he deployed with 1AD to Iraq in 2007. His next assignment was with Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH), in Homestead, Fla. While with SOCSOUTH, he deployed in support of Operation Unified Response, a humanitarian operation to help the citizens of Haiti after the massive earthquake in 2010. Derek separated from the Army in 2015 and earned his associate degree in International Relations from Miami Dade College. In May 2020, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami in Political Science. Derek is an alumnus of Warrior-Scholar Project, having attended the Humanities Academic Boot Camp at Harvard University in 2019, and in 2020 returned as a Virtual Training Team fellow.
Derek is married and has two children. He still remains active in the veteran and Miami Dade community by participating in a number of volunteer projects. He enjoys playing golf and riding his motorcycle when the southern Florida weather cooperates.
Admissions and Student Veteran Recruitment Manager
Cassie Elder serves as Warrior-Scholar Project’s admissions and student veteran recruitment manager. Cassie served four years in the Marine Corps as a Combat Engineer from 2006-2010. She deployed twice to Iraq and spent some time on Team Lioness, a female engagement team. It was during this time that she was able to interact with many Iraqi locals and when she first decided she wanted to focus on social justice.
Cassie graduated with a BA in English from the University of Michigan in 2013. She spent the next five years raising her two children and working for different social justice initiatives. She helped organize and execute the Warrior-Scholar Project pilot program at the University of Michigan in 2014 and continued in this endeavor for the next five years. Cassie also functioned as a fellow for The Mission Continues and extended her services at an organization called Focus: HOPE in Detroit, MI. There, she empowered young children to read and helped instill in them a love of literacy. In 2021, Cassie graduated with a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan. Cassie hopes to continue her service to others in any capacity and she especially loves working with and alongside veterans, helping them in their transitions as they reintegrate back into society. She hopes to empower veterans to realize their potential and understand that they are capable beyond what they ever could have imagined.
Cassie lives in Chelsea, MI, with her two children, four cats, and dog. She loves reading, playing board games, and crafting of all kinds. She also enjoys spending time outside and playing with her kids and teaching them about the world around them.
Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Camilla Hill, M.Ed. serves as Warrior-Scholar Project’s manager of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Camilla’s career has focused on her passion for transforming colleges into safer spaces for traditionally underserved students. Prior to joining Warrior-Scholar Project, Camilla was an assistant director in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Va. While at VCU, Camilla created the Pathways to Womanhood leadership program; the weekly Queer Coffee Hour program for students, faculty, and staff; a Diversity and Inclusion in Intercollegiate Athletics class; two social-justice themed living-learning communities; and taught several classes. Before her time at VCU, Camilla was a field hockey coach for three seasons at the College of William and Mary.
Camilla received a B.A. in Sociology from The College of William and Mary, where she was a member of the varsity field hockey team for five years. She received a Masters of Education in College Student Development and Higher Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Camilla is an alumnae member of Phi Mu fraternity.
Since 2000, she has been involved in and frequently travels to Kenya with the NGO MAO Kenya, an organization that both funds and performs service projects in Kenya, focusing on community health and development and women’s and children’s education projects.
In addition to her professional and philanthropic interests, Camilla lives in Richmond, Va. with her wife, Samantha; daughter, Millie; son, Oliver; and her dog and cat. She uses the pronouns she, her, and hers.
STEM Education Coordinator
Daniel is WSP’s STEM education coordinator. He supports efforts to design and improve program curricula, collect and report program evaluation data, recruit and coordinate campus academic staff, as well as coordinate, train, and mentor Mobile Training Team fellows.
Daniel served in the Air Force as an AC-130H aerial gunner with the 16th Special Operations Squadron from 2007 to 2013. He completed six deployments to Afghanistan where he amassed more than 1,200 flight hours and flew over 200 combat sorties, providing close air support and armed reconnaissance to coalition forces. Daniel earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Rutgers University in 2019. In addition to being an alumnus of the 2013 Warrior-Scholar Project at Yale, Daniel assisted with the development of the WSP STEM program and has been conducting WSP STEM courses since 2015, first as a Mobile Training Team fellow before transitioning to his role as education fellow.
In his spare time, Daniel is an amateur astronomer and avid astrophotographer. He also thoroughly enjoys sharing his love of mathematics with anyone who will listen.
Military and Veteran Organization Recruitment Manager
Mike Lanpolsaen is the Military and Veteran Organization Recruitment Manager. Mike joined Warrior-Scholar Project after retiring from the United States Marine Corps. During his 30 years of service, he held several positions from squad leader to recruiter, instructor at Marine Corps Engineer School, Company First Sergeant, and most recently as the Sergeant Major for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command. He had the honor of deploying twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan.
Mike earned his Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (Summa Cum Laude) from American Military University. He is an advocate for veterans and is passionate about higher education and training. Mike is married to Kham, and they have three children. The family loves to travel, enjoys the outdoors, and continually seeks new adventures.
Robert (Bob) Saitta is Warrior-Scholar Project’s accounting specialist. He was raised in New York and attended the State University of New York at Oneonta. While attending, he was accepted into an exchange program in Japan for a one-year overseas study program at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan. Upon returning, he completed at Oneonta, graduating with a B.S. in Comparative Literature and a minor in Japanese.
In 1983 he was accepted into a two-year YMCA teaching program in Kitakysuhu, Japan where he taught English and literature while continuing to work on becoming fluent in Japanese. He again returned to Japan from 1987-1992, teaching English and literature at a variety of schools, ranging from kindergarten through university. He also worked as a business manager at Win Corporation in Fukuoka, Japan, running the company’s language and translation department.
From 1985-1987 and from 1992-2013, Bob owned and managed a family business, El Sol Cigars, in Tampa, Fla. He sold the business in 2013 and then went to work for a friend from his days as an exchange student in Japan, Robert Haupt of Haupt Law. From 2014-2017, Bob helped Mr. Haupt build up National Litigation Law Group (NLLG) as the director of finance; the company generated $25 million in revenue in 2017. Mr. Haupt sold NLLG in 2017, and Bob returned to Florida in 2018 — where he presently resides outside of Tampa with his two children, Marty and Carol.
Patrick Trujillo serves as Warrior-Scholar Project’s marketing coordinator.
Before joining WSP full-time, Patrick served in the United States Marine Corps, where he deployed five times, two in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After departing the military, Patrick attended WSP as a participant in 2017. He also interned at the organization where he worked on the marketing and communications team. Patrick believes strongly in the mission and appreciates the opportunity to give back to other veterans. Patrick earned his BS in business management from San Diego State University in 2021 and credits much of his academic success to Warrior-Scholar Project.
Patrick enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, and woodworking in his free time. He is especially passionate about health and wellness, as he enjoys working out, meditating, and eating healthy.
Morgan Varty is the program coordinator at Warrior-Scholar Project.
Morgan joined the United States Marine Corps in 2009. As a Military Police Officer, she was assigned to Presidential Helicopter Squadron One, HMX-1. Morgan finished her enlistment at Camp Fuji on mainland Japan.
Following her active duty service, Morgan earned her B.A. in Political Science from Penn State University. While at Penn State, Morgan joined the Office of Veteran Programs where she served as a student veteran sponsor, helping new student veterans adjust to and succeed in higher education.
Morgan continued her education at Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law in Orlando, Fla. While in law school, Morgan was selected to participate in the White House Internship Program where she interned in the Office of Counsel to the Vice President. She graduated with her J.D. in 2019. Shortly thereafter, Morgan was barred in Maryland. Prior to joining Warrior-Scholar Project, Morgan was the law clerk to the Honorable Ashely Harad in Billings, Mont.
Morgan is thrilled to serve and support her fellow veterans as part of the WSP team.
Special Projects Coordinator
Lillian Wilkins serves as Warrior-Scholar Project’s system administrator. She is responsible for configuring and managing Warrior-Scholar Project’s system infrastructure, including all of the hardware, software, and operating systems that are necessary to support the organization’s productivity. She began her professional career as an elementary teacher through Teach For America. She was committed to having a direct impact as an educator, inspiring future generations in the classroom, and empowering students with the tools, resources, and knowledge to become successful. After four years of teaching, Lillian transitioned into a recruiting capacity at Teach For America, followed by Success Academy Charter Schools, helping to find and cultivate other passionate educators. She credits her commitment to educational equity and social justice to her roots growing up in the Chicago area where she observed the staggering disparities between resources, facilities, and opportunity within education.
Lillian is a first-generation college student and holds a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Notre Dame. She is a loving wife to her husband, Mark, and a doting mother to their children, Zai, Zayn, and Zeik.