Robert Baran | Assistant Director
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A graduate of Rutgers University, Robert began his career providing direct client services in the behavioral healthcare setting. During his 10 years working with clients in this capacity, Robert witnessed the impact of trauma experienced by survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. In 2010, Robert joined Women Aware, Inc., Middlesex County’s lead domestic violence agency. For five years, Robert has been committed to enhancing safety for those impacted by domestic violence through coordination and supervision of services for both survivors and perpetrators. Robert is committed to continuing efforts to improve the systemic and societal response to sexual assault to ensure survivors are supported and perpetrators are held accountable.

Sarah Bear | Community Engagement Specialist
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Sarah Bear is responsible for engaging NJ communities as partners and allies to prevent sexual violence. This includes providing presentations to allied professionals and developing educational materials accessible for the general public. Additionally, she manages NJCASA’s Social Media Ambassador volunteer program, a group of passionate online activists who promote constructive conversations about sexual violence and rape culture. Sarah began her journey in the anti-sexual violence movement during her undergrad years at Albright College in Reading, PA. She continued her work in a professional capacity at CONTACT of Burlington County where she gained experience in both direct service and prevention. Sarah is committed to the belief that ending sexual violence requires community-level change and, since joining the NJCASA team in 2015, has embraced the knowledge that prevention is possible.

Alix Mammina | Communications & Research Associate
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Alix Mammina is responsible for supporting NJCASA’s research, communications, and development work. In her role, Alix works across the Coalition to coordinate strategic communications, conduct research for grant projects, and develop outreach and educational materials. As an undergraduate at American University in Washington, D.C., she supported equity and justice reform initiatives while interning at Child Trends and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. Her experience working in campus sexual assault prevention as an undergraduate sparked her interest in the movement, and she is committed to finding evidence-based and equity-driven methods of ending sexual violence.

Marissa Marzano | Communications Manager
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Marissa has spent her career in nonprofit communications. In her role, she amplifies NJCASA’s work through digital and traditional outlets, coordinates design and production of Coalition materials, and helps execute the organization’s communications strategy. Marissa is passionate about sexual violence prevention, and began her career doing development and communications work for the Clery Center for Security On Campus, where she supported their work to prevent campus violence. She later worked at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, coordinating communications and media opportunities for the Center’s democracy and voting rights work. She holds a B.A. in English and Communications Studies from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

Aaron Potenza | Program Manager
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Aaron is an educator and historian by training and has taught courses on the histories of gender and sexuality at Yale University and Trinity College Hartford. He did his undergraduate work in History and Gender Studies at the University of Rhode Island and his graduate work in American Studies at Yale University. Aaron has a background in nonprofit management and is passionate about legislative and electoral politics, public policy, and civil rights. He comes to NJCASA from Garden State Equality, where he managed the legislative and policy agenda of the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization. He has been privileged to work collaboratively with other NJ advocates to score a number of recent legislative wins, including the expansion of health insurance coverage for transition-related care for transgender New Jerseyans; the mandating of statewide guidelines on transgender students from the NJ Department of Education; the mandating of LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum in NJ public schools; and a modernized birth and death certificate process allowing transgender and non-binary people to access accurate identity documents. [Click here for Aaron’s full bio.]

Denise Rodriguez | Resource Development Director
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Denise Rodriguez has a Ph.D. in English from the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York and a BA in English from Wagner College. She began her career as a college professor, first at the City College of New York and then at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Her research was primarily in the area of multicultural fiction, and the courses she taught reflect her interest in marginal voices, feminist issues, and intersectionality.  Denise left teaching and began her nonprofit career as the Grants Manager and Community Liaison at Hope Academy Charter School, where she helped build community partnerships and launched new educational initiatives.  From there, she went on to work as a Grants Manager for eight municipal clients at Millennium Strategies, New Jersey’s largest grant writing firm, where she focused on a range of community development projects and secured millions of dollars for her clients. Denise expanded her development background as the Director of Development at Garden State Equality, overseeing all fundraising activities, including special events, grants, and donor engagement.

Devin O. Rojas | Training and Outreach Coordinator
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Devin is responsible for supporting NJCASA’s training and outreach initiatives. Devin has spent her career as an advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  She has experience working in different systems that respond to survivors, including the San Antonio Police Department, the US Army, and the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency. Before joining NJCASA, Devin focused on supporting systemic responses to survivors and developing the ability of allied professionals to respond to the needs of survivors. Devin believes all people have the power to support and advocate for survivors and the power to change rape culture. She holds a BA in Criminal Justice and an MS in Organizational Leadership from Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio TX. She is currently pursuing her MSW from Boston University, with a concentration in administrative social work.

Patricia Teffenhart | Executive Director
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Patricia Teffenhart is a graduate of Douglass College, the women’s college of Rutgers University. She began her career with the New Jersey Women and AIDS Network, where she utilized her passion for female-focused programming to provide critical health information to New Jersey women living with HIV/AIDS. Following her time at NJWAN, Patricia was the Director of Regional Programs for the National Latina Health Network for seven years, where she advanced the national health promotion infrastructure in support of Latinas and their families. Prior to joining NJCASA, she served as the Assistant Executive Director of Woman Aware, the state-designated domestic violence organization serving Middlesex County. Patricia has a Masters in Public Administration and was a 2013 Alice Paul Equality Award recipient. Patricia has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to improving the treatment and status of women, and works diligently with NJCASA’s stakeholders to elevate New Jersey’s public discourse on sexual violence.

Anyenise M. Vilches | Program Coordinator
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Anyenise is responsible for creating, supporting, and managing NJCASA’s programs and initiatives, and providing resources and information at a statewide and community level. Her interest in, and exposure to, humanitarian and social justice efforts at a young age led to a specific interest in the sexual violence prevention movement. Having an eclectic set of interests has afforded her an equally-eclectic professional experience. She has worked in the television and film industry, where she was able to see the impact media has on our society’s beliefs, particularly power-based violence, firsthand. Anyenise has also worked with the Center For Family Services’ Services Empowering Rights of Victims (SERV) program, both as a Residential Advocate directly serving survivors of sexual and domestic violence, and as a Prevention Coordinator providing educational resources to the broader community. She then moved on to work with the Pine Hill Borough Police Department, where she continued supporting survivors as a member of the Camden County Violence Prevention Coalition. She has also worked as the Lead Prevention Coordinator at CONTACT of Burlington County.

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