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Maria Vertkin (any pronouns)

Founder and Executive Director
[email protected]
Maria is a social worker, immigrant, formerly homeless, and Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur. She was born in Nizhniy Novgorod in a multi-ethnic Chăvash and Jewish family. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, she immigrated with her family first to Israel and then to the US. In addition to English, Maria speaks Russian, Hebrew, some Spanish and Portuguese, and is relearning and reclaiming her Chăvash mother tongue.

Prior to founding Found in Translation, Maria studied Social Work at Regis College, and worked with adolescents transitioning out of foster care and homeless unaccompanied youth at the nonprofit Rediscovery. She has also volunteered with survivors of domestic violence, as a mentor to pre-teen girls, a parents’ support group facilitator, crisis phone counselor, and translator for a grassroots media project. She is the recipient of the 2009 Veronica Award, 2010 Pearson Prize, 2011 Kip Tiernan Fellowship, 2013 Echoing Green Fellowship, 2015 Richard Cornuelle Award, 2015 Grinnell Prize, 2017 Jaffe Award, 2017 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, and 2018 WeWork Creator Award.
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Kelly Lynch (she/her)

Deputy Director
[email protected]
Kelly Lynch graduated from UMass Amherst, where she majored in Political Science and French & Francophone Studies, while completing a certificate program in Interpretation Studies. After teaching ESOL through the UMass Labor Management Workplace Education Program and supporting low-income individuals through the LIFT Cambridge-Somerville office, she went on to serve as an AmeriCorps Ambassador of Mentoring at On Common Ground.

Upon completing her year of service, she remained at On Common Ground as the first full-time program coordinator of the Mentor Center, which offers mentoring services to adults experiencing poverty through one-on-one support, guidance and resource referrals. Kelly joined Found in Translation in 2015 as a Career and Supportive Services Coordinator, while serving as the Outreach Coordinator at the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. She also holds a certificate from Wheelock College in Nonprofit Organization Leadership.

Karen Walker (she/her)

Program Director
[email protected]
Karen was born in Massachusetts and is the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica.  She studied psychology and Spanish at Oberlin College and later studied school psychology at Tufts University.  Karen has worked as a school psychologist in the public school system working with students from pre-school through high school.

She spent a number of years working with homeless youth providing academic and career development services first as a classroom instructor and later as an administrator.  Karen also spent four years working at a community college in Massachusetts overseeing a dual enrollment program for high school students with disabilities.
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Cristina Silva (she/her)

Data Manager
[email protected]
Cristina is originally from Chicago where she was raised by immigrant parents from Mexico and Cuba. Surrounded by diversity and social justice activism from a young age, she developed a lifelong appreciation for multiculturalism and community-focused work. In adulthood, Cristina worked hard to reclaim her first language that was all but lost as a little girl. Today, she speaks solely Spanish at home with her family.

Cristina holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She spent six years working in arts education to provide arts integration resources in public schools. After becoming increasingly concerned with Chicago’s underserved communities’ lack of quality of life amenities, she pursued a Master’s in urban planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Since 2012, she has served as project manager and researcher for various nonprofits and community development financial institutions. Her work has encompassed multi sector research in the areas of affordable housing, K-8 education, food access, sustainability and transit oriented development.
Beatriz Moreno

Beatriz Moreno (she/her)

Grants Manager
[email protected]
Beatriz was born in Honduras and grew up in both Southern California and her native country. She completed her undergraduate degree in Political Science at UCLA, with substantial additional coursework in accounting, business, and entrepreneurship. She joined Found in Translation in 2020 and served as a grant writer for two years, before transitioning into the role of Grants Manager. Beatriz brings with her an extensive professional background on both sides of the fundraising equation - setting up grantmaking programs for philanthropies and assisting organizations in securing funds. Her unique experience as a funder, alongside her commitment to seeing immigrant women succeed, makes her an asset to our team.

Outside of her work, Beatriz is passionate about entrepreneurship, travel, equity, and most importantly culture. 
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Denise Muro (she/her)

Interpreting and Translation Manager
[email protected]
Originally from Denver, Colorado, Denise has a background in nonprofit and higher education work in gender and racial justice and equity. She has several years of experience working, advocating, and conducting research with asylum seeker, refugee, and immigrant communities and currently leads a volunteer-based initiative to strengthen and connect services for these communities in the Boston area. Denise has also spent four years working with UMass Boston’s Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy on women’s leadership programming and bringing attention to social and political issues of importance for women, and especially women of color and low-income women.

Denise earned her master’s in International Studies with a graduate minor in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Wyoming and has bachelor's degrees in English and in International Affairs from the University of Northern Colorado. She is a doctoral candidate in the Global Governance and Human Security program at UMass Boston.
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Julia Hickey (she/her)

Grant Writer
[email protected]
Julia Peçanha Hickey was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is a dual citizen of Brazil and the U.S. Julia graduated from the State University of New York at New Paltz with a BA in Creative Writing in 2012. She began working in nonprofit development in 2014, and since then has worked with a range of organizations in the arts, education, social justice, and conservation. In her spare time, Julia writes poetry (her work can be found in Issue 38 of New American Writing and in the forthcoming Haunted issue of Hayden's Ferry Review) rides horses, and has adventures with her dog, Milo.
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Bethany Wagner (she/her)

Grant Writer
[email protected]
Originally from the Boston area, Bethany has spent most of her professional career working in the nonprofit world, after studying English and Communications at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She comes to Found in Translation by way of two national philanthropies: The Pew Charitable Trusts and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where her work in grantmaking focused on health and human services, as well as civic engagement. Having shifted her focus to grant writing for direct-service nonprofits, Bethany is passionate about helping organizations that work to advance structural equity in health, education, and the environment. She is currently working to rebuild and improve her Spanish-speaking skills, and outside of work finds joy and comfort in baking, art, and her family and their small flock of pets.