Whitney Young Jr. Winner Profiles


Kaye Alese-Green
School of Study: School of Law

Program of Study: JD/MD

Kaye-Alese Green is dually enrolled in Boston University’s School of Law and School of Medicine as she pursues both her MD and JD degrees simultaneously. The interdisciplinary nature of her academic interests ties to her professional journey and future goals. Through her extensive training, she is determined to become an impactful advocate in the service of urban communities through her scholarly research and practical interventions.


Lacoy Brown

School of Study: School of Public Health

Program of Study: Master of Public Health

Lacoy earned her B.A. in Health Sciences with a concentration in Public Health and a minor in Sociology from Eastern Connecticut State University. After graduating in May 2020, she responded to the urgent call to volunteer for the COVID-19 Response Team as a COVID-19 Contact Tracer for the Connecticut Department of Public Health.  Shortly afterward, she was promoted to be a full-time member of the COVID-19 Response team as a COVID-19 Contact Tracing Supervisor. Lacoy also worked with United Way and the Connecticut Department of Public Health as a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Assistance Supervisor, where she oversees the appointment scheduling system used to help schedule Connecticut residents for their COVID-19 Vaccine appointments, eligibility requirements, coordinated with vaccination sites for medical assistance and transportation services to and from vaccination sites. With the Whitney M. Young fellowship, Lacoy will continue her efforts to alleviate human suffering among vulnerable populations and communities through services, programs, and educational opportunities.


Fernando Ona

School of Study: School of Theology

Program of Study: Transformational Leadership

In Fall 2020, Fernando will begin the Doctor of Ministry degree in Transformational Leadership at the School of Theology at Boston University. This past spring, he graduated with his MDiv, magna cum laude, with a concentration in Chaplaincy and a certificate in Religion and Conflict Transformation from Boston University School of Theology. Fernando’s research, teaching and service has been engaged in public health and social justice work with refugees, internally displaced populations, and asylum seekers who are survivors of torture. He also works with ultra-poor populations living in informal settlements. The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Fellowship will allow Fernando to focus his doctoral work on interrituality in the context of interreligious dialogue and trauma-responsive interventions within landscapes of complex humanitarian emergencies. For more about Fernando, please visit: www.ffona.com.


Luisa Godinez Puig

School of Study: Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Program of Study: Political Science

Luisa is a Ph.D.  student in the Political Science Department. She joined the program in the fall of 2016. She previously received her Master’s degree (LLM) at the University of Chicago in 2015 and her law degree from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 2011. For her Ph.D., Luisa is interested in urban politics, where she is exploring the influence of Federalism on urban governance and development in the United States. In particular, she studies the politics and causal effects of cities’ incorporations, as well as the fluctuation of state preemption laws. During the spring and summer of 2019, she was the Doctoral Fellow at the Initiative on Cities from Boston University, where she was able to do research on key urban issues. Among other things, she co-authored a report on Mayors’ perceptions on health. Luisa has also been published as a co-author in the Journal of Electoral Studies for a paper that studies the relationship between income and voting decisions, which proposes to incorporate a measure of one’s place in her ZIP code’s income distribution. The Whitney M. Young Jr. Fellowship has given her the opportunity to concentrate on own research. In particular, she is able to travel around the country to cities where she is doing her field work.


Jori Fortson

School of Study: School of Public Health

Program of Study: Master of Public Health

Jori obtained her B.A. in Strategic Communications from Howard University and is a former Graduate Student-at-Large at the University of Chicago. She is currently an MPH candidate at the School of Public Health completing certificates in Community Assessment, Program Design, Implementation, and Evaluation and Maternal and Child Health. Jori is broadly interested in the relationship between social forces and racial/ethnic health inequities. She is drawn to conducting participatory action research, creating community-based interventions, and communicating with diverse audiences about public health matters in order to influence policy. In her time at BU, she has been involved with Students of Color for Public Health, Maternal and Child Health in Action, and Public Health Post. The Whitney Young, Jr. Fellowship has allowed Jori to work on her own research on reproductive coercion and intimate partner violence. The Whitney Young, Jr. Fellowship has also has given Jori the opportunity to devote time to volunteer with an underserved, low-income, and minority population of pregnant and parenting teenagers and babies in a multi-disciplinary clinic at Boston Medical Center.