students & families
Robyn Brady Ince
Robyn Brady Ince, Ed.M., is the Executive Director of the Newark City of Learning Collaborative and Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in the Department of Urban Education at Rutgers University–Newark.
Robyn joined the University from the National Urban League where, as vice president of education policy, advocacy, and engagement, she led the Equity and Excellence Project and the annual Youth Leadership Summit. She previously held posts at Youth About Business, the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, and Prep for Prep. She has also worked in higher education, serving as adjunct faculty at Hunter College and holding a progression of positions in admissions at Vassar College.
Robyn earned her B.A. in English at Spelman College and Ed.M. at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She has extensive experience in strategic program design, development, and implementation; youth leadership development; philanthropy; college access; higher education; and diversity recruiting. She served on the Council of Chief State School Officer 2018 National Teacher of the Year selection committee and has served as an expert reviewer and consultant for a number of education-related publications, projects, and initiatives.
Ashaki Larkins Betha
Ashaki Larkins is the Associate Director of the Newark City of Learning Collaborative.
Ashaki joined the University from Mayor Ras J. Baraka’s Office of Comprehensive Community Education, where as Policy Advisor, she led the identification and implementation of policy priorities for the office, including a city-wide Children’s Cabinet. Ashaki has extensive experience with improving social change and building citywide systems of opportunity for children.
Ashaki earned a dual degree in Communication Arts and Journalism from Caldwell University, as well as an English accreditation. She is certified through the New Jersey Department of Education as an Elementary School teacher, as well through NeighborWorks America for a variety of financial capability areas. She is a Fellow of Education Pioneers and a member of Rutgers University’s Institute for Ethical Leadership.
Strategic Partnerships Manager
Danielle Cohen is the Strategic Partnerships Manager for NCLC. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing relationships with NCLC’s vast network of partners, fostering engagement and collaboration, and coordinating related programming and special projects.
Prior to assuming her current role, Danielle was Coordinator of Public Programs & Special Projects at the Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She has extensive experience in program coordination in both the higher education and nonprofit sectors, having worked at Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Office of Summer and Winter Sessions, Princeton in Africa, and the International Rescue Committee.
Danielle holds a Master of Arts degree in United Nations and Global Policy studies and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish, both from Rutgers University-New Brunswick.
Bernie Lombardi is a Research Specialist at the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) and teaches in the Africana Studies Department at Rutgers University, Newark. His research at NCLC, which emphasizes storytelling, has focused on dual enrollment, high school FAFSA completion policies, youth self-determination, and state grant opportunities for college students from low-income families.
He recently co-authored a case study for the New Jersey State Policy Lab entitled “Perceptions of Financial Aid Options in Newark, NJ: Community College Opportunity Grant and Garden State Guarantee” with Elisabeth Kim (CSU-MB) and Robyn Ince (NCLC).
His other academic scholarship has appeared in Research in African Literatures, College Literature, The Black Scholar, and the edited collection Langston Hughes in Context (Cambridge UP). He also blogs about books and contemporary literary culture on Instagram: @bernie.lombardi Bernie holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Rutgers University, Newark, a MA in Liberal Studies from the Graduate Center, CUNY, and a BA in African American and African Studies and English from Fordham University.
Marketing & Communications Manager
Nya graduated from Boston University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and Public Health. She obtained her Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers-Newark in May of 2022.
Nya has worked with the youth population her entire life (beginning as a camp counselor at YMCA summer camps at age 14). Her passion for supporting opportunities to achieve one’s goals led Nya to found Pursue, a mentoring program providing college advice and guidance to high school students who could benefit from extra support.
Professionally, Nya has worked in the nonprofit, education, marketing, and legal sectors, always through the lens of supporting historically vulnerable populations. She has developed thoughtful and culturally responsive programs, marketing campaigns, strategies, and relationships that impact the mission of each entity she serves.
Driven by a passion for service to promote equity, especially in youth spaces, Nya believes that distributed equitably, education and access serve as the greatest tools to combat the impact of systemic injustice on the individual.