Meet our Staff

Get to know the Action for Education team

Michael Mastroianni, Founder & President

Michael is currently a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). Michael previously majored in Biology with a Biological Psychology concentration at the College of the Holy Cross and then went on to earn his master's in Biomedical Sciences from TUSM. There, he was inducted into the Honos Civicus Honors Society for academic excellence and his commitment to community service. He looks forward to a lifetime of serving others and giving back to the Hondurans who touched his heart!

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Jorge Encalada, President of JOH & Director of Operations in Honduras

Jorge joined AcE after serving as the Director of Operations for 12 years with Medical Ministry International (MMI), another nonprofit organization. Jorge received his Nurse Practitioner's degree from the Instituto Hondureño de Seguridad Social (IHSS) and his Master's Degree in Divinity from Seminario Teológico Centroamericano (SETECA). Jorge is committed to bringing healthcare and education to his beloved country of Honduras. 

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Marianna Marques, Co-Chief Operating Officer

Marianna is a JD candidate at Harvard Law School and holds a BA summa cum laude from Tufts University. She spent 2017-18 as a Fulbright Scholar in Madrid. Committed to affecting social change, she plans to continue partnering with underserved communities to increase access to education, health care, and job opportunities. She joined AcE after assembling a team at Tufts University to establish the Trinidad School of Nursing.

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Michael Ciaramella, Co-Chief Operating Officer

Michael is a co-founder of Action for Education. He graduated summa cum laude, Class of 2017 from College of the Holy Cross, as a member of the College Honors program with a double major in chemistry and music. Michael is also a member of the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. He is now pursuing a medical degree at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where he was selected as the Dean’s Scholar for the Class of 2022. 

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Mia Ellis, Project Director for Trinidad School of Nursing

Mia graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University with a B.S. in quantitative economics and math and a minor in Arabic. She is now a research assistant in the Development and Governance Strategy Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). In the past, she worked for the Humane Society of the United States, United States Public Interest Research Group, the Mo Dewji Foundation, the Tufts Economic Department, and IFPRI.


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Jocelyn O'Kane, Director of Service Trips

Jocelyn was born in Santiago, Chile where she lived until the age of 15, when she moved to Pennsylvania. In addition to nursing, she plans to pursue a career in the public health field, advocating and advancing patients' rights. Jocelyn is a Class of 2018 graduate from the College of the Holy Cross, where she majored in chemistry and followed the Pre-Health track. She now works with the Bon Secours Volunteer Health Ministry to provide healthcare to underprivileged individuals in Pittsburgh. 

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Lauren McCormick, Director of Student Relations

Lauren graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2017 where she majored in biology. Lauren will be attending medical school at Des Moines University in 2018 with the dream of becoming a pediatrician in the future. As a physician, Lauren plans to advocate for populations that lack sufficient healthcare in both Honduras and her home town of Hartford, Connecticut. 

Alexander Huther, Co-Director of Advancement

Native to Germany, Alexander completed his bachelor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and continued pursing his interest in the research field of nanoparticles and biochemical engineering, both in San Antonio, Texas as well as Monterrey, Mexico. Before becoming a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine, he worked as a clinical research coordinator in a retina clinic in California, working on a multitude of industry-sponsored clinical trials. In his free time, Alexander manages a student-run ophthalmology clinic in the greater Boston area to provide services to an underserved community. 

Justin Soffer, Co-Director of Advancement

Justin is a second-year medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) who finished his B.S in Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2017. He then went on to work as an EMT for a Los Angeles 911 ambulance service before matriculating at TUSM. Justin currently provides logistical support to expand research and innovation for AcE medical service trips. Justin plans to devote much of his future clinical practice to providing care to underprivileged patients in lower and middle-income countries of Latin America. 

Stefania Khoda, Director of Educational Research

Stefania graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2016, majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Biological Psychology. Stefania is a member of Psi Chi Honors Society and the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. Currently, Stefania is a master's student at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Stefania's main area of focus is on improving access to high-quality education in underserved communities. At AcE, Stefania is responsible for designing and implementing upcoming educational service trips.

Carolyn Waite, Secretary

Carolyn "Cally" Waite is a Class of 2018 graduate at the College of the Holy Cross. She majored in chemistry and plans to further her education in medicine after graduation, with the hopes of becoming a physician’s assistant in the future. She uses her interests in the medical field to volunteer at UMass Medical Center in the surgical waiting room. At AcE, Cally is responsible for coordinating various nonprofit documents and forms related to the operations of AcE.

Barbara Batista, Director of Special Education

Barbara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a major in Biomedical sciences. She was born in Brazil and is also fluent in Portuguese. With an interest in genetics and global health, she hopes to become a genetic counselor in the future and bring this set of skills to Honduras. At AcE, she is responsible for developing programs designed to help children who suffer from developmental disabilities and their families connect to services such as physical therapy and professional counseling. Barbara also serves as our social media coordinator.

Kevin Marzotto, Fundraising Coordinator

Kevin Marzotto is a Class of 2018 graduate from the College of the Holy Cross, where he majored in Chemistry. After college, Kevin plans to go to medical school to become a surgeon and hopes to join Doctors without Boarders after he graduates. He currently volunteers at UMass Memorial Hospital and the American Cancer Society's Hope lodge where he comforts patients with cancer. At AcE, Kevin organizes events to help fundraise for our Public School in San Pedro Sula so we can offer scholarships and English classes to our students there.

Nicole Parentela, Outreach Coordinator

Nicole graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2016, where she majored in Psychology (concentration in Biological Psychology). Nicole is now a medical student at University of New England where she was inducted into both Sigma Sigma Phi and the Gold Humanism Honor Society. She previously worked at the Patient Simulation Lab Technician for Baystate Health and volunteered in Baystate’s Neonatal ICU. Her commitment to service and compassion for the underserved populations of Central America has led her to both Guatemala and Honduras with mission teams in the past, and she looks forward to service in her future as a osteopathic physician.

Vincent Martello, Outreach Coordinator

Vincent graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2016, with a major in Biology concentrated in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a minor in Philosophy.  Vincent is attending medical school at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. He previously worked as a Research Assistant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, managing the recruitment, enrollment, and oversight for several social-behavioral research projects.  He looks forward to helping AcE grow in its size, mission, and impact as we continue to serve the deserving people of Honduras!

Brian Carvalho, Outreach Coordinator

Brian graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2020, majoring in Chemistry with a Biochemistry concentration. He is planning on attending medical school, and continues to work as an EMT and perform research at Hartford Hospital in his gap year. Brian seeks to use his fluency in Portuguese and Spanish to connect with and care for underserved communities.

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Action for Education Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.