Patty Machir Patty Machir

Executive Director

Email Patty

Patty was named Executive Director of Futures and Options in April 2007.  Patty's lifelong passion has been helping children and youth in her community. Whether in Dallas, Texas, Washington D.C. or her birthplace of New York City, she has found a way to help those youth who might not receive help otherwise.

Since becoming Executive Director of Futures and Options, Patty has worked tirelessly to improve the long-term sustainability of the organization through board development and strategic planning, as well as through organizational growth and development in the areas of program, fundraising and marketing. Patty's passion for the youth and the program's mission is coupled with commitment to excellence in all areas, which ensures continued improvements and growth in the program, infrastructure and sustainability.

Before coming to Futures and Options, Patty was Director of Volunteer Services at The Children's Aid Society, one of the oldest and largest children's welfare agencies in New York City, and was responsible for the oversight of the recruitment, training and management system for over 300 volunteers each year, as well as the corporate strategic partnership program and annual fundraising gala. From 2003 to 2005, Patty was Executive Director of Variety International – The Children's Charity, a multi-national, volunteer-driven organization aligned with the movie industry, which supports programs for children with special needs, children with serious medical concerns and children who live in the midst of poverty. In Dallas, Texas, Patty was president of the Board of Directors for Dallas for Children, a start-up, volunteer-run fundraising organization that supported selected intervention and prevention programs for needy children, from birth through six years old.

Patty has always been a strong advocate on behalf of children and youth, whether as a volunteer or paid employee. She served on the Dallas Commission for Children and Youth for three years, was a member of the Adolescent Pregnancy Board in Fort Worth, Texas for three years, and also served as director of Rockville Community Nursery School in Rockville, Maryland.  She is the mother of three sons and one daughter, all of whom are living in New York City. Patty received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Georgetown University, and her Masters of Arts in Education: Early Childhood/Special Education from George Washington University.


Catherine Dodge

Grants Manager

Email Cat

Catherine joined Futures and Options in November 2010, and became the Grants Manager in spring 2016. She is passionate about leveling the playing field for young people in New York City and empowering them to envision exciting futures and to achieve their goals.

Before New York, Cat lived in Iowa City, Iowa for two years.  There she worked at a social service nonprofit by day and stage managed for Riverside Theatre by night. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Literature from Bard College, where she mentored and tutored high school students through the college application process. In 2014, Catherine completed her Master of Public Administration in Urban and Social Policy from the School for International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She grew up in Lyme, Connecticut. 


Mallory Humphries

Development Assistant 

Email Mallory

Mallory joined the Futures and Options team in October 2017 as the Development Assistant after receiving her Masters in Nonprofit Management and Leadership with a certificate in Disability Studies from the University of Georgia. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Mallory worked at Extra Special People, Inc. in Athens, GA; an organization that provides programming for children and adults with developmental disabilities. She created content for their website, social media platforms, and marketing initiatives, and worked as a member of the development team. 

Mallory graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Science in 2016. During her time in college, she was an active member of many nonprofit and student organizations. She served on the executive board of UGA Miracle and was a part of their mission to raise money for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. She is passionate about serving others and creating equal opportunities for all. She is looking forward to supporting Futures and Options in expanding and growing their career development services to New York City youth. 

Kat Malek-Hood

Business Engagement Manager

Email Kat

Kat joined Futures and Options in February 2018. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she worked at NBCUniversal in Ad Sales and Corporate Social Responsibility.  During her time with the Corporate Social Responsibility team, Kat contributed to the development of the 'Erase the Hate' campaign that launched this year across all of NBCUniversal's cable networks, and focused on positively impacting the social issues in this country. Prior to NBCU, Kat worked for Senator Gillibrand, connecting constituents to critical government programs and services.

Kat earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from New York University with a focus in Anthropology.  Kat is very passionate about developing high-quality internship opportunities for our students and our supervisors, as well as providing businesses with a pipeline to NYC's ambitious young talent.


Gergana Trendafil

Business Engagement Coordinator 

Email Gergana

Gergana joined Futures and Options in March 2017. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she worked at Youth America Grand Prix where she contributed to the successful planning of the world's biggest student dance audition- a platform for children of all backgrounds to demonstrate their talent and receive professional contracts and scholarships to some of the most prestigious dance companies and schools in the world. Previously, she worked as a paralegal and interned at the startup nonprofit organization 100cameras. At 100cameras, Gergana worked as part of a small team on projects empowering underprivileged children to tell their stories through photography, getting a sense of agency and creating tangible change in their communities.

Gergana has a earned a Master of Science Degree in Law from Sofia University, Bulgaria and a Bachelor of the Arts in International Studies from City College New York. A big believer in the power of early work experiences, she is thrilled to be part of the Futures and Options team and to use her education and experience to advance F & O's mission of empowering NYC youth to reach their highest potential.  

LorraineLorraine DeCastro

Administrative Assistant 

Email Lorraine

Lorraine joined Futures and Options in September 2017, as an Administrative Assistant. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Lorraine spent four years at the Hewitt School serving as the Program Coordinator of their after-school program of girls ranging from grades K-5. There, she worked closely with the director to ensure all program functions ran smoothly while also fostering and maintaining relationships with the girls and their families. During the fall of 2016, Lorraine interned at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in the Education Department as their Educational Operations Intern.

Lorraine graduated from Hunter College in 2016 with a degree in Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology where she hopes to understand processes in human resources to ensure that equal opportunities are given to all recruits as well as employees. Her passion for youth development has Lorraine thrilled to be working for an organization that supports low-income minority students' career and educational growth. 


Program Team


Joanna Munoz 

Program Director

Email Joanna

After receiving her Master of Public Administration from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in May 2016, Joanna began as Futures and Options' Program Director.  As Program Director she works to enhance our program quality, effectiveness and impact. She works with our growing team to ensure success in achieving programmatic goals and grant objectives, as well as to collaborate on business engagement and strategic partnership initiatives.

Joanna graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations and then joined Teach For America, an organization that recruits college graduates to teach in under-resourced schools throughout the country. After completing her TFA commitment she became a Program Coordinator for Futures and Options, working with our youth across our key career development programs. Her main responsibilities included designing specialized programs, recruiting and interviewing students, facilitating career development workshops, and providing ongoing support for interns.

In 2013, Joanna was promoted to Strategic Partnership Manager, responsible for implementing a partnership strategy aligning with Futures and Options' mission and goals for program growth. She worked with our program coordinators to learn the strengths and needs of the students, and leveraged that insight to engage prospective business partners, facilitating internships, career exploration trips and access to resources.

Joanna is excited to be back at Futures and Options and will continue to expand and improve our unique career development services to NYC high school youth.


James Gurney

Program Manager

Email James

James Gurney joined the Futures and Options team in June 2015. Prior to joining Futures and Options, James taught an undergraduate course at the University of Georgia on diversity and multiculturalism in American schools, developed curriculum for an online textbook transformation grant, and worked as an academic mentor for student-athletes.

James graduated from the University of Georgia in 2015 with a Ph.D in Social Foundations of Education. His research investigated the implementation of educational policies and the realities of classroom practices in Togo, West Africa. He received his Bachelor's degree from the University of California—Santa Barbara in 2008, where he double majored in International Affairs and Black Studies.  After graduation, he spent two years in the Peace Corps working as a Girls' Education and Empowerment Volunteer in Togo. During his service, he taught Life Skills in the local middle school, organized microfinance organizations, and managed grant funding for Water, Sanitation and Health initiatives. He is excited to apply his experiences and skills to create new opportunities for students at Futures and Options.


Lily Downing

Assistant Program Coordinator

Email Lily

Lily joined the Futures and Options team in March 2016. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Lily was the Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive at Prep for Prep, a leadership development program that offers promising students of color access to a private school education. Before that, Lily spent two years working in Advertising Sales for Discovery Communications. There, she worked on the Hispanic Networks and Animal Planet as a Sales Assistant and on the Science Channel and the American Heroes Channel after her promotion to Sales Planner.

Lily graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2013 where she majored in Human and Organizational Development and minored in Child Development. She specialized her major by choosing a Health and Human Services track. She expanded upon her studies by interning at Deirdre's House, a center for sexually, physically, emotionally abused children and adolescents as well as with Women's World Banking, a Microfinance non-profit focused on educating women and children living in rural countries on the basics of money management and investing. Lily currently volunteers as a Writing Coach with the Posse Foundation where she helps students hone their writing and discussion skills in preparation for college. 


Devi Gopal

Program Coordinator

Email Devi

Devi joined Futures and Options in October 2017. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she spent 2 years in the Federated States of Micronesia on the island of Yap teaching Earth Science, Biology, and Physics at Yap Catholic High School. Before that, she held multiple roles over the course of 7 years at the New York Hall of Science as she climbed their career ladder from an Explainer Volunteer to a Research Resident.

Devi graduated from Fordham University in New York City in 2013 with a Bachelor's of Science in Environmental Science. She then moved to London to attend University College of London and obtained a Masters of Research in Biodiversity, Evolution, and Conservation Biology. Devi is excited to have a hand in providing opportunities for youth that she similarly received during her own teenage years.


Sarah Kaufmann

Program Coordinator

Email Sarah

Sarah joined the Futures and Options team in February 2015.  Prior to joining Futures and Options she was the Social Media Manager at Women's Education Project, a non-profit focused on educating young women in southern India.  As a member of the WEP Headquarters staff she also assisted with developing and writing the core curriculum for WEP students, which was implemented in Spring 2014.  While passionate about her work at WEP, Sarah is thrilled to be a part of Futures and Options.  She is eager to work with New York City students and be more involved in a direct role with students.  She strongly believes in Futures and Options mission, and is honored to be a part of this organization.

A New York City native, Sarah attended McGill University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2009.  Her areas of focus were International Development Studies and Middle East Studies. 


Anthony Kuzma

Program Coordinator

Email Anthony

Anthony joined the Futures and Options team in October 2016 as a Program Coordinator. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Anthony worked at the Allegheny County Bar Foundation focusing on increasing legal representation and resources for underserved immigrants. Previously, he spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Ruse, Bulgaria, teaching English language and college readiness courses to high school students.

Anthony graduated from Boston College in 2014 where he majored in Perspectives of Western Cultures with a minor in International Studies. He also volunteered as a teacher with Generation Citizen and World Teach to garner experience in a classroom setting. Anthony looks forward to using his education and experience to help students build the professional network they need to be successful.  


AmandaAmanda Cotchen

Assistant Program Coordinator

Email Amanda

Amanda joined the Futures and Options team in March 2017.  She is also working towards her M.Ed. in School Counseling at Hunter College, which prepares aspiring school counselors to support and address the academic and social/emotional needs of students, and to promote a college and career-readiness environment.  She completed her practicum at The Beacon School, a selective college-preparatory public high school in Hell's Kitchen, and returned to Beacon to complete her internship during the 2017-2018 school year. She previously taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Study Skills to middle and high school aged students at Salisbury Summer School, and also served as an advisor there.

Amanda graduated from the University of Dayton in 2012 with a B.A. in Communications, and a minor in psychology. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she was an Account Executive at Double E Communications, a NYC-based B2B public relations agency.  Amanda looks forward to pursuing her passion for youth development and helping students realize and reach their potential. She's honored to be a part of the organization as she takes the next steps towards a new career.


ShameccaShamecca Harris

Assistant Program Coordinator

Email Shamecca

Shamecca joined the Futures and Options team in April 2017. She is passionate about educational equity and closing the achievement gap for urban youth. She hopes to inspire students to not only survive their academic endeavors but to thrive.

Shamecca is a creative writer and activist with a diverse background in digital media. She has a BA in English from Georgetown University and has written and edited content for both print and online publishers including XXL Magazine, ABC News and The Huffington Post. In addition, she has worked as an editorial liaison to various brands including Victoria's Secret, Macy's and General Mills to help develop and execute their content marketing strategies. Inspired by her multifarious experiences, Shamecca has since committed herself to work that not only nurtures her voice as a writer, but also aligns with her passion for social justice. Prior to joining Futures and Options, she provided key editorial and administrative support to grassroots organizing efforts including the Black Women's Blueprint Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the NYC Campaign for an Elected Civilian Review Board. In addition to managing her personal blog, Shamecca currently tutors undergraduate students in literature and composition as part of the Percy E. Sutton SEEK Program at New York City College of Technology. She is also pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at the City College of New York.


ArisArisdehilys Reyes

Assistant Program Coordinator

Email Aris

Aris joined the Futures and Options team in April 2017, as an Assistant Program Coordinator. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Aris worked with pre-kindergarten students as a Teaching Assistant at Mt. Carmel Holy Rosary School in East Harlem. She began her work in early childhood as a Group Leader in an afterschool program at Mt. Carmel in 2015, while also serving as an undergraduate Teaching Assistant at Hunter College, for a Statistical Psychology course.

Aris graduated from Hunter in 2016 where she majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. She also interned at NYU's playLab, a social justice research lab measuring the efficacy of home visitation programs on school readiness outcomes for under-resourced students. Aris' Latina background and interest in serving underrepresented communities have inspired her to pursue her Master's degree in School Counseling with a Bilingual Extension at Lehman College, in hopes to positively impact the lives of students and their families.   

 Genesis Nunez

Program Assistant

Email Genesis

Genesis joined the Futures and Options team in September 2016 as the Program Assistant. Prior to joining Futures and Options, Genesis interned with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C. and the Drug Policy Alliance in New York City.

Genesis graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 where she majored in sociology with a concentration in families and populations. She also completed a joint history and legal studies minor. Genesis looks forward to applying her studies and skills to increase career accessibility to students and is excited to be part of the organization.


© 2017 Futures and Options. All Rights Reserved.
Futures and Options is a nonprofit career development and paid internship program for New York City youth.

120 Broadway, Suite 1019. New York, NY 10271. 212-601-0002.