Serena joined the American Youth Policy Forum as Senior Director of Programs and Strategy in July 2021. She has internal and external facing responsibilities, ranging from organizational leadership and strategy, project management, team leadership, communications, finance, development and fundraising, and relationship-building.
Previously, Serena served as Senior Staff Attorney at the National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC). Her work primarily focused on outreach, training, and technical assistance to improve the provision and quality of post-disposition and reentry legal representation for delinquency court-involved youth. She developed training programs, publications, and policy strategies to address collateral consequences for youth involved in the legal system, reintegration of youth into their communities and schools, racial and ethnic disparities at the deep end of the system, and juvenile record clearance.
Prior to joining NJDC, Serena worked at the Center for Children & Youth Justice in Seattle, where she managed a civil legal services program to help youth surmount hurdles to their successful transition into adulthood. Serena also assisted in policy reform efforts to expand juvenile record clearance laws, broaden extended foster care, and create governmental supports for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Before moving to Seattle, she was an Assistant Public Defender in Baltimore City and a Staff Attorney at Maryland Legal Aid.
Serena earned her Juris Doctorate from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, graduating with magna cum laude honors. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.