Elana Mintz Elana is the founder of Urban Adventure Squad and executive director of Urban Learning and Teaching Center, a D.C.-based, nonprofit organization that provides education support to working families on days when schools are closed, and which seeks to integrate community-based, experiential learning programs in the K-12 curriculum. Elana spent over 20 years in editorial and communications positions at CNA, the Brookings Institution, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Congressional Quarterly. Her two older children were founding members of Urban Adventure Squad. Elana is certified in First Aid, CPR, and EpiPen administration, and has completed her DC Mandated Reporter training.
Christy Brock is director of programming for UAS. She researches, develops curricula for, and leads UAS programs. She has been with the Squad from the start and is the best resource for magical, not-to-be-missed, family-friendly places in D.C., but she won't divulge all Squad secrets! Christy graduated from American University in 2008 with a literature degree, and has cared for and taught children since then. Before becoming UAS director of programming, she was a nanny and taught preschool at Washington Hebrew Congregation's Early Childhood Center. Christy is certified in First Aid, CPR, and EpiPen administration. She has completed her DC Mandated Reporter training and her Safe Shores Stewards of Children certificate. Christy is a certified Freedom Barre Instructor and loves staying active in her free time. She's looking forward to a summer exploring new places in D.C. and revisiting some old favorites.
Brielle Brookins is working on her Ph.D. in developmental psychology at Howard University, where she earned her undergraduate degrees in psychology and sociology. She has been a counselor in the aftercare program at Janney Elementary, a mentor with Big Brother Big Sister, a tutor at For the Love of Children, and a summer camp counselor for the YMCA. Brielle is certified in First Aid, CPR, and EpiPen administration. She has completed her DC Mandated Reporter training and her Safe Shores Stewards of Children certificate.
Laurel Clark is a rising senior at American University pursuing degrees in environmental studies and public relations. Prior to UAS, Laurel worked as an environmental educator intern for American University’s Office of Sustainability. Laurel also volunteered as an assistant teacher at Dumbarton Oaks Parks Conservancy, working with students on environmental education. She acted as the Vice President of Recognition for her 1,200-person dormitory through American University’s Residence Hall Association and served as the National Communications Coordinator on the Executive Board for the Residence Hall Association. This year, Laurel will return for a third semester as a Freshman Resident Assistant at American University. She loves running by the water and spending time exploring new places in Washington, D.C. with friends. Laurel is certified in First Aid, CPR, and EpiPen administration. She has completed her DC Mandated Reporter training and her Safe Shores Stewards of Children certificate. Laurel is very excited for summer with the Squad and can’t wait for all the great adventures we will go on!
Gowri Manohari is currently working at the National Institutes of Health and is hoping to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. She moved to D.C. in 2016 from India with her husband, who is also employed at NIH. Gowri worked with underprivileged children in shelter homes in Bangalore, India, to provide afterschool support and mentoring in their academic pursuits. She has also worked with Avalokitesvara Trust to help set up libraries in remote, unequipped regions of India and conducted workshops and activities to encourage reading habits in children. Gowri is excited about integrating her passion for science with education and outreach to children and to communities.
Ebony McCovery, a new team member, is joining Urban Adventure Squad this year as a Squad Leader. Ebony has a heart and passion for people and the world around her. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master of Social Work degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA. She has worked as an elementary school teacher and a social work professional prior to relocating to Washington, D.C. in 2017. Ebony is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Work at Howard University. She hopes to positively impact and transform the lives of everyone she encounters. She hopes her experience with Urban Adventure Squad allows her to do just that! She’s excited for what will be an amazing and exciting summer with Urban Adventure Squad and its members! Ebony is certified in First Aid, CPR, and EpiPen administration. She has completed her DC Mandated Reporter training and her Safe Shores Stewards of Children certificate.
Anjali Wells received her Bachelor's in Fine Arts and Masters of Art Education from the University of Maryland, College Park and has a Post Graduate Certificate in Equity and Excellence in Education from McDaniel College. She has been a Highly Qualified Art Educator for Montgomery County Public Schools since 2013. In 2013, she developed an arts-based mindfulness program for at-risk elementary students which proved to reduce the number of office infractions of participants. Anjali was the site coordinator and lead teaching artist for Explore, Create, Connect at Briggs Chaney Middle School, a program made possible by a Trawick Foundation Grant that collaborated with Arts on the Block, Impact Silver Spring, and Clancyworks Dance company to provide struggling students with arts-based community engagement. The program proved to improve participant’s self-esteem, sense of belonging in the school community, and ultimately their attendance and GPA. In 2018, Anjali contributed to the MCPS art curriculum as a curriculum writer where she focused on Social Justice topics and culturally responsive methods.