Native American Alumni of Harvard University Board of Directors
Officers and Directors 2020-2022
President: Emily R. Van Dyke, AB '03, MPH '09
Vice President: Tobias J. Vanderhoop, MPA '08
Treasurer: Chad Desharnais, MEd '13
Secretary: Maggie Spivey-Faulkner, AB '08
Cesar Alvarez, AB '13
Noah Diver Cominsky, AB '20
Chad Ajig, M. Ed. '13
John P. LaVelle, AB '87
Kelsey T. Leonard, AB '10
Tiffany Smalley, AB '11
Maggie Spivey-Faulkner, AB '08
Tobias Vanderhoop, MPA '08
Emily Van Dyke, AB '03, MPH '09
Cesar Alvarez (AB ‘13)
Cesar Alvarez is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation (MHA Nation). He graduated from Harvard College in 2013 with a degree in government. His professional experiences include working for the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, DC, and currently works for his tribal government in New Town, ND, as an intergovernmental affairs liaison. Cesar stays civically, politically, and professionally active in his community through the following: U.S. Civil Rights Commission ND State Advisory Committee member, ND PBS Board of Directors, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College Board of Directors, Bush Foundation ND Advisory Committee member, Native Governance Center’s Native Nation Rebuilders Cohort 9 member, ND Native Vote Political Committee member, and the ND District 4 Democratic-NPL Party Vice-Chairman. Cesar has served on NAAHU’s Board of Directors since 2013 including as Board president in 2015-2016.
Noah Diver Cominsky (AB ‘20)
Noah Cominsky is an enrolled member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and he is currently based in Chicago, IL. While a student at Harvard, he studied a joint-concentration of Government and the Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality and served as President of Native Americans at Harvard College (NAHC), along with working with the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program (UMRP) in the Admissions Office. As a recent graduate, he is eager to serve on NAAHU's Board, hoping to strengthen NAAHU's relationship with current Indigenous students on campus.
Chad Desharnais (M. Ed. ‘13)
Chad is an enrolled member of the Mi’kmaq Nation. He graduated from the Harvard Graduate of School of Education in 2013 and is currently an Education Administrator with a commitment to providing college & career access and success resources to underserved populations in preschool through adulthood. Through his professional experiences, he developed skills in Organizational Development; Admissions; Teaching & Learning; Counseling; Curriculum Development; Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Implementation; Communications; Advancement; and Cognitive Neuroscience. He holds a Master of Education degree focused in the Mind, Brain, and Education, and during his time at Harvard, he fine-tuned his career direction with the support of the Harvard University Native American Program. He looks forward to supporting indigenous students at Harvard through the exciting and crucial work of the NAAHU Board!
John P. LaVelle (AB ‘87)
John P. LaVelle is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Nation and a Professor of Law and Regents’ Lecturer at the University of New Mexico School of Law. He currently serves as Director of the UNM Law and Indigenous Peoples Program and Co-Chair of the UNM Native American Faculty Council. He received his college degree from Harvard University in 1987 and his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1990. Professor LaVelle served on the executive editorial board for the 2005 and 2012 editions of Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law, the comprehensive treatise in the field of Indian law. He chaired the Association of American Law Schools Section on Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples during 2018-2019, and continues to serve as a member of the section’s executive committee. Professor LaVelle also is an Associate Justice of the Santee Sioux Nation Supreme Court, his tribe’s highest judicial tribunal. He resides in Albuquerque with his husband Monte Deer Carden, an artist, actor, and enrolled citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
Kelsey Leonard (AB ’10)
Dr. Kelsey Leonard is a citizen of the Shinnecock Indian Nation of Long Island, New York. As a water scientist, Dr. Leonard seeks to establish Indigenous traditions of water conservation as the foundation for international water policy-making. She has been recognized as a 30 under 30 world environmental leader by the North American Association for Environmental Education and a “Native American 40 Under 40” award recipient by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. Additionally, her work with Indigenous Nations to protect the Ocean received a Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Policy Solutions. Dr. Leonard has been instrumental in safeguarding the interests of Indigenous Nations for environmental planning, and builds Indigenous science and knowledge into new solutions for water governance and sustainable oceans. She is a former President of Native American Alumni of Harvard University and would be honored to continue to serve the Harvard Native alumni community.
Tiffany Smalley (AB ‘11)
My name is Tiffany Smalley, member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe and 2011 graduate of Harvard College. I am from Aquinnah. I currently live in the Bay Area and work for Kaiser Permanente as an IT Strategy Consultant. I have served on the NAAHU board in the past and would enjoy the opportunity to once again support and serve our alumni community.
Maggie Spivey-Faulkner (AB ‘08)
Dr. Maggie Spivey-Faulkner will conclude three years as a Junior Fellow with the Harvard Society of Fellows in Spring 2020. She is Assistant Chief of the Upper Georgia Tribal Town of the Pee Dee Indian Nation of Beaver Creek. In Summer 2020, she will begin as an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alberta, working as an indigenous anthropological archaeologist. While at Harvard College, she was a member of NAHC, HIIDT, and was a Native recruiter for UMRP at Harvard Admissions. She has been thrilled to serve on the NAAHU Board for the last several years.
Tobias J. Vanderhoop (MPA ’08)
Tobias J. Vanderhoop, M.P.A., is an enrolled member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) in Massachusetts. He has over 20 years of experience working with tribal governments including service as a Tribal Council member, Tribal Administrator and Tribal Chairman, and has previously served as a member of the Self Governance Advisory Committee for BIA and IHS. Mr. Vanderhoop has expertise in strategic and community planning, tribal program and policy development, education and political advocacy and youth leadership development. He has focused on incorporating tribal culture and traditional values into all aspects of his professional career. Mr. Vanderhoop earned a Bachelor of Arts – Community Planning and Management from University of Massachusetts Boston and a Master of Public Administration from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Emily R. Van Dyke (AB ’03, MPH ’09)
Dr. Emily Van Dyke has served on the NAAHU Board since NAAHU became one of the first officially recognized SIGs in February 2007. She has served as NAAHU President since 2016, and she is eager to work with the incoming 2020-2022 Board to nominate a President-Elect, a Secretary, and a Treasurer for the upcoming term. Emily is Siksika (Blackfoot). She obtained her MD from the University of Washington, where she spent as much time as possible in Indian Country: on the Blackfeet, Swinomish, Quinault Reservations, at Alaska Native Medical Center, Seattle Indian Health Board, and at Alaska Psychiatric Institute working with teens facing toxic situations. While at Harvard College, she helped revive NAHC with distinguished fellow alumni including Erica Scott-Pacheco and Duane Clarence Meat. As a MPH student, she performed with HIIDT at Cultural Rhythms 2008 and at Harvard School of Public Health. She eagerly anticipates launching NAAHU's Mentoring Program in late 2020 in partnership with HUNAP, NAHC, and any other Harvard Native organizations who wish to work with us in this endeavor.