Justice News

Department of Justice
Community Relations Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

CRS Presidential Management Fellow Spotlights

The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS) is proud to have several Presidential Management Fellows (PMFs) who bring a wealth of skills and experience to helping further the CRS mission. A prestigious and highly competitive two-year fellowship, the PMF program places recent graduate degree recipients into federal positions to develop their leadership skills and bring fresh ideas and talent to public service.

Meet the CRS Presidental Management Fellows

The Presidential Management Fellows (PMFs) supporting CRS are a diverse group of talented professionals committed to helping the agency achieve its goal of furthering peace in communities across the country. Read more below about each PMF’s unique experiences and interests as well as what brought them to CRS.

 

Photo of Sarah Conway, Presidential Management Fellow

Sarah Conway, Conciliation Specialist

Sarah Conway was appointed to CRS as a Conciliation Specialist in August 2017. Ms. Conway has a Juris Doctorate (JD) from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and holds two master’s degrees in jurisprudence and social work, both from Loyola University of Chicago. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Kent State University.

What do you enjoy most about working with CRS?

Helping leaders and community members identify and resolve their own issues and build community capacity. Our work is often in response to a hate crime or bias incident, and while the issues discussed are difficult, I enjoy seeing first-hand how community members come out in response to stand up against hate crimes and incidents.

Describe what a day of work looks like in your position.

Every day is different. One day may involve meeting with school administrators who are interested in programming or best practices to respond to a bias incident that occurred in their school community. Another day may be spent facilitating a community meeting to help a town develop an action plan to respond to a hate crime and prevent future hate crimes. I work out of the Region 5 (Midwest Region) office in Chicago. In one week, I could be in several different states, as the region covers Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

If you weren’t working for CRS, what would you be doing instead?

I would still be working in public service, most likely working as an attorney, either as a prosecutor, public defender, or public guardian representing children involved in child abuse and neglect cases.

What’s your favorite quote?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

What do you do when you are not working?

I like to spend time with friends and family, trying new restaurants, and seeing movies and orchestra concerts in the park in Chicago.

 

Photo of Bradyn Fairclough, Presidential Management Fellow

Bradyn Fairclough, Conciliation Specialist

Bradyn Fairclough was appointed to CRS as a Conciliation Specialist in August 2017. He received his JD from the University of Iowa College of Law and a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University.

Why did you choose CRS for your fellowship?

The work at CRS appeared to be the most meaningful and most exciting of all the options for my fellowship. CRS seemed like a great place to do what I set out to do when I applied to law school, which was to make a difference and help others. The people who work at CRS are phenomenal. They are all dedicated, friendly, smart, and accomplished. In the communities I work with, I have met some equally amazing people who are doing great work to strengthen their communities and resolve tensions.

 Describe what a day of work looks like in your position.

I spend a lot of time traveling across the six huge states I cover — Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas — to work on cases. Any extra time is spent talking on the phone with different stakeholders, monitoring the media for any potential cases, and doing outreach to communities, local governments, and police departments so that they know about CRS when tensions flare in their communities.

Tell us about your personal and professional influences or mentors.

One of my greatest and most reliable mentors was one of my church leaders while I was a volunteer missionary for two years in Virginia. He taught me how to lead, counsel with others, help those around me reach their full potential, and have vision.

If you weren’t working for CRS, what would you be doing instead?

My dream job is to coach college basketball, but that is slowly slipping away. If I wasn’t working for CRS, I would probably be an attorney working for the government trying to help people.

What do you do when you are not working?

I spend most of my free time with my wife and our two-year-old daughter. This usually involves my wife and me playing various roles in some sort of dinosaur-superhero crossover. We live in Denver, so we also take advantage of the outdoors, whether that is a day in the snow or hiking on one of Colorado’s beautiful trails. And I try and squeeze in some basketball here and there, especially during the magical month of March.

Favorite quote?

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Photo of Antonio Lee, Presidential Management Fellow

Antonio Lee, Equal Opportunity Specialist

Antonio Lee joined CRS in April 2018 on a rotation assignment from his PMF home agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. At HUD, Mr. Lee investigates and conciliates cases involving housing discrimination. He graduated cum laude from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Ball State University. Mr. Lee is a licensed attorney in the states of Georgia and Illinois.

What prompted you to work with CRS?

I was inspired to work with CRS because of my commitment to civil rights. CRS was created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The core function and values of CRS are similar to the goals of my home agency at HUD. Because I wanted to enhance my mediation skills and learn about the different approaches CRS uses to bring communities together, I chose CRS as my rotation to enrich my experiences as an investigator with HUD. 

What do you enjoy most about working with CRS?

The amazing staff! CRS leadership has been instrumental during my rotation. I was offered an opportunity to take Advanced Mediation Training in Kansas City, Missouri. During the training, I connected with highly-skilled mediators who taught me the ethics and true art of successful mediation. Through this experience, I gained insight on the important work of CRS and strengthened my mediation skills.   

What has been your most memorable or inspiring experience while working with CRS?

There have been so many enjoyable experiences during my time at CRS. Particularly, I enjoyed attending the Senate and House appropriations hearings for Commerce, Justice, and Science on Capitol Hill. These experiences were memorable because it was my first time witnessing the Attorney General testify before Congress. I was able to hear the concerns of Congress, discover the salient issues regarding violent crimes and the opioid epidemic, and learn the future spending plans for the Department of Justice. Through this experience, I gained a better understanding of the issues in my country.  

Who is your role model?

One of the biggest influences in my life is Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Before Justice Thurgood Marshall became a Supreme Court Justice, he was known as “Mr. Civil Rights” because of his phenomenal legal advocacy against injustices to African Americans during the Jim Crow era. After reading his biography entitled “Thurgood Marshall: Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench,” I was inspired to continue my commitment to civil rights, just like Justice Thurgood Marshall.

What do you do when you are not working?

In my spare time, I enjoy community volunteer work, photography, teaching hip hop dance, and taking local dance classes in the Washington DC metro area. Most importantly, I love to read. Currently, I’m finishing a biography on Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr.  It is fascinating!

Favorite quote?

“Do the things you fear, and death to fear is certain.” -Unknown


Noal Roos, Conciliation Specialist

Photo of Noal Roos, Presidential Management Fellow

Noal Roos was appointed to CRS as a Conciliation Specialist in October 2017. He is a graduate of the American Military University with a master’s degree in Criminal Justice concentrating in rehabilitation and reintegration.

Describe what a day of work looks like in your position.

Currently, I spend most of my days working on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests or records management. When I have the documents that can be released, I go through them and redact any information that may be protected. Lastly, I send the documents to the CRS General Counsel for review.  Some requests are simple as they either don’t have any responsive documents or just a few pages, and others — like several I’m currently working on — are hundreds of pages and can take a long time.

Tell us about your personal and professional influences or mentors.

Most of my influences are historical figures. I am strongly influenced by Ronald Reagan, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. However, not all my influences are American politicians. I am also influenced by Sun Tzu - author of The Art of War, Lao Tzu - author of the Tao Te Ching and founder of Taoism, and Li Po – a Chinese poet.

What do you do when you are not working?

When I’m not working, I’m either playing with the kids or watching historical and documentary programming on television.

 If you weren’t working for CRS, what would you be doing instead?

If I was not working for CRS, I would still be working as a case manager at a Missouri prison.

Favorite quote?

 It is difficult to just choose one, so here are some of my favorites.

“If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.”  – Winston Churchill

“Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.”  – Edmund Burke

 “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”  – Benjamin Franklin

 

ShaMyra Sylvester, Communications Specialist

Photo of ShaMyra Sylvester, Presidential Management Fellow

ShaMyra Sylvester joined CRS in November 2017 as a Communications Specialist on a rotation from her home agency, the U.S. Department of Energy. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies from the University of Alabama and a Master of Science in Strategic Communications from Troy University, also in Alabama.

What brought you to CRS?

As a Presidential Management Fellow, I get to do a rotation at another federal agency. When I researched CRS, I was immediately drawn to its mission as I am very passionate about serving the community.

What is one of your most memorable experiences at CRS?

My most memorable moment with CRS was attending the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) 2017 National GALA. CRS works closely with the Sikh community, of whose culture and practices I was completely unaware before joining CRS. Attending the Gala exposed me to the Sikh community’s traditions and religious practices. I helped set up an information table at the event, and we talked to the attendees about CRS’s offerings and discussed ways to collaborate with the Sikh community.

What is your favorite quote?

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou

What have you enjoyed most about working with CRS?

I admire the effort that CRS puts into its mission to conciliate, mediate, facilitate, and educate communities in conflict. I also have enjoyed learning about CRS’s history and its many contributions to historical civil rights movements that have shaped our country.

What was the biggest lesson you learned while working with CRS?

My “aha” moment was realizing the significance of CRS’s work since its creation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before coming to CRS, I didn’t know the important role that the agency has played historically in advancing civil rights in communities across the country. It has been a pleasure to assist CRS in its unique mission.

What do you do when you are not working?

When I am not working, I am usually volunteering, updating my blog, or traveling the world. I enjoy experiencing and learning about other cultures and ways of life, so traveling is my means of getting authentic cultural experiences.

Updated July 3, 2018