March of Dimes Welcomes New National Youth Council Members

White Plains, New York | Thursday, September 10, 2009

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A new chairperson and eight new members have been appointed to the March of Dimes National Youth Council, it was announced today.

National Youth Council members are college students selected for their scholarship, leadership abilities, and strong commitment to service on behalf of the moms and babies in their communities and nationwide. They work closely with other volunteers and professional staff at the March of Dimes at the national, regional, and chapter levels on program and advocacy initiatives and to develop collegiate programs.

The new members join 11 other youth leaders from around the country currently serving on the National Youth Council. “These young people have done extensive volunteer work for the March of Dimes, are active members of their communities, and will serve as exceptional leaders,” says Kathy Boggan, Senior Vice President, Volunteer Leadership Development at the March of Dimes.

Neha Deshpande, Chair
Neha Deshpande of New Jersey was named Chair of the March of Dimes National Youth Council. Serving as a member of the Youth Council and as a volunteer in her home communities in New Jersey and Maryland, Neha has demonstrated a passionate commitment to the health of moms and babies. She is a pre-med student at Johns Hopkins University majoring in Molecular & Cellular Biology, with a minor in French Cultural Studies. She serves as an intern at the Johns Hopkins Medical School newborn intensive care unit (NICU) and Labor and Delivery Unit, and is involved in a four-year Clinical Neonatology practicum. Neha was recently named a Johns Hopkins Woodrow Wilson Fellow for her research project, "An Epidemiological Assessment of Neonatal & Maternal Health and Mortality in Urban Slums in Belgaum City, India and Statistical Comparison to Baltimore, MD, USA," for which she traveled to India to conduct research last year. As a senior in high school, Neha helped organize a multicultural event in her community called “Rangeela” (Festival of Colors) that raised over $150,000 for March of Dimes programs.

The eight new members of the March of Dimes National Youth Council are:

  • Kelsey Berning, who will be a freshman at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in the fall and served as President of Key Club in her high school.
  • Rachel Bervell, the Lieutenant Governor of Division 21 of Kiwanis Club in Washington state, who will be attending Harvard University this fall as a freshman.
  • Emily Feinstein, from Las Vegas, Nevada, who will be a freshman at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, majoring in international business.
  • Hayley Henderson, who attends Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia and is majoring in communications. She was a member of Key Club along with being active in FBLA and was the local Chapter President in 2006-2007 and the State Reporter of Georgia in 2007-2008.
  • Grant Lin, who is currently a rising sophomore at Indiana University and served in officer positions at the club, local, and international level culminating in his year of service as the 2007-2008 Key Club International President. 
  • Brenda Luttrell, who is currently attending University of Oklahoma. She became affiliated with the March of Dimes through her work in Key Club as a Lieutenant Governor.
  • Joseph Schibi, who currently attends Arizona University and held the position of Key Club International Vice President as well as being awarded Key Club’s distinguished Lieutenant Governor Award.
  • Nikhita Thaper, who began volunteering as a freshman in high school in the Special Care Nursery at her local hospital and then later joined the March of Dimes Chain Reaction council and served as the Divisional Youth Ambassador for Central New Jersey. Nikhita will be attending Rutgers University in the fall.

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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