News release: Riley Institute at Furman Announces 2020-21 Afterschool & Expanded Learning Policy Fellows

Katie Quine
Marketing and Communications Manager
The Riley Institute at Furman University


The White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship reaches a new milestone with fellows in every state.

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Leaders across all 50 states are working together to grow and strengthen afterschool and expanded learning programs as the country’s education gap widens due to the pandemic.

The Riley Institute at Furman University has selected 16 leaders in the field of afterschool and expanded learning to participate in the White-Riley-Peterson (WRP) Policy Fellowship. In its ninth year, the program gained a fellow from its 50th state, Delaware, and is now 137 fellows strong.

Due to COVID-19, the new class of WRP Fellows will participate in an entirely virtual program for the first time in the fellowship’s history. While the annual kickoff cannot be held in person this year, former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley says the value of afterschool and expanded learning programs is as clear as ever.

“Afterschool programs are critical partners toward gaining equity in education for all students, particularly in our current effort to overcome extreme learning loss resulting from COVID-19.  I am so proud to welcome 16 more policy leaders to this outstanding program,” Riley says.

Funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the WRP Fellowship is a 10-month program designed to equip graduates with a real-world understanding of policymaking for afterschool and expanded learning. Over the course of a year, WRP Fellows study an intensive policy curriculum, learn from policy experts, and benefit from national networking opportunities made possible by the Afterschool Alliance, a national advocacy organization, as well as the 50 State Afterschool Network supported by the Mott Foundation.

By putting new policy skills to use, WRP Fellows develop and implement afterschool-related policy projects in their home states that ultimately support expanded learning opportunities for children across the country. Projects completed by WRP Fellows have improved afterschool quality standards; led to the creation of afterschool caucuses; forged partnerships with workforce development entities; and led to increased capacity in programming in their home states.

“As afterschool programs offer more support to families than ever before, our bright and innovative policy fellows are well positioned to find solutions to the challenges that lie ahead,” says Cathy Stevens, director of the White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship.

The 2020-21 White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellows are:

  • Ryan Page (Clive, Iowa) Regulatory Program Manager: Policy Specialist, Iowa Department of Human Services
  • Ayana Diane Melvan (Westerly, Rhode Island) Senior Project Manager for Educational Initiatives and Lead for the Rhode Island Afterschool Network, United Way of Rhode Island
  • Edward Franklin (Dallas, Texas) President/CEO, Voice of Hope Ministries
  • Steven Williams (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) Leadership Research Analyst, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
  • Tom Haggard (Covington, Kentucky) Director, Kentucky Out of School Alliance
  • Emma Spencer (Chicago, Illinois) Youth Development Associate, Afterschool for Children and Teens Now Coalition
  • Natalie Hampton (Columbia, Missouri) Policy Coordinator, Missouri Afterschool Network
  • Regina Sidney-Brown (Wilmington, Delaware) Director, Delaware Afterschool Network
  • Jenn Masutani (Honolulu, Hawaii) Program Director, Hawaii Afterschool Alliance
  • Uzma Azhar (Atlanta, Georgia) Policy and Outreach Manager, Georgia Statewide Afterschool Network
  • Ryan D. Davis (Little Rock, Arkansas) Director, UA Little Rock Children International
  • John Unger II (Martinsburg, West Virginia) West Virginia Senate Member; President, GRaCE – Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment
  • Malia Villarreal (Fresno, California) Project Manager, California Teaching Fellows Foundation
  • Dawn Marie Johnson (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) CTE & Community Outreach Coordinator for Students, Joe Foss Alternative School
  • Erin Busk (Indianapolis, Indiana)  21st Century Community Learning Center Grant Specialist, Indiana Department of Education
  • Brent Holsinger (Harrisonburg, Virginia) President and Founder, On the Road Collaborative

The White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellowship is named for Secretary Riley; William S. White, the late chairman of the board of trustees of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; and Terry Peterson, national board chair of the Afterschool Alliance and senior fellow at the Riley Institute and the College of Charleston.

For more information, contact Katie Quine at 864.294.3368 or


About the Riley Institute at Furman University
Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute broadens student and community perspectives about issues critical to South Carolina’s progress. It builds and engages present and future leaders, creates and shares data-supported information about the state’s core challenges, and links the leadership body to sustainable solutions. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at

About the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in 1926 in Flint, Michigan, by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United States and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Education, Environment and Flint Area. In addition to Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg and London. With year-end assets of approximately $3.1 billion in 2019, the Foundation made 364 grants totaling more than $133 million. For more information, visit