Originally from Portland, Maine, Callen graduated from Columbia University in 2015 with a degree in political science and American studies. Callen has organized around issues of economic justice with ACLU, Lambda Legal, and Queers for Economic Justice. Callen served as a Victory Congressional Intern in Congressman Mike Michaud’s Office. At Columbia, Callen worked to improve identity-conscious mental health and sexual violence services for students with marginalized identities.
Field placement: 9to5 Colorado
Callen engaged new members and supported the community leadership within 9to5’s campaigns as members shared their stories, gave speeches, and wrote blog posts on issues including renters’ rights, labor rights for parents, and the Fair Chance Denver campaign. She organized focus groups for the Integrating Resources project, a project that consulted low-income parents about their experiences accessing public assistance—including SNAP, TANF, and affordable child care—to ensure that issues parents consider critical are central in shaping policy proposals on these issues. The report from the focus groups was used to replicate this project in Atlanta and Boston.
Policy placement: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Callen conducted research and developed tools to highlight best practices within states for providing ongoing employment supports for families that leave TANF through partnerships with other programs that support career pathways for low-income individuals, including SNAP Employment and Training. Her work strengthened federal cross-agency communication and collaboration to increase employment support for former TANF families. The information developed through this project was transmitted to state and local program administrators through publications, webinars, and meetings.
Hunger Free Community Report
Time for a Fair Chance: Stories from Coloradans on Why We Need to Ban the Box is a storybook and advocacy tool for the Fair Chance Denver campaign, a coalition that seeks to pass a local Fair Chance Ordinance to increase access to jobs and housing for people with criminal records. The toolkit, and the “Fair Chance Denver” social media campaign, features the stories of community members with records and describes how a Fair Chance Ordinance would increase their job and housing security, and would benefit the Denver community as a whole.