Meet the Class of 2018

Meet the Class of 2018


Anita A. Abraham, West Allis

Activist and Organizer, Mental Health Advocate, Given Mental Health Advocate of the Year Award from NAMI 2017, DemTeam 8 Graduate, Board of Trustee member of the Wisconsin Progressive Alliance and State Mobilizer and Representative for  Anita enjoys spending time with family which consists of her husband, dog Nemo, grandson, and two daughters, one being a Marine Veteran and the other studying to be a homeopathic Doctor. 

Support Anita's Emerge Training 

Richelle Andrae, Madison

Richelle currently lives in Madison, and believes that a leader's role is embodied in service. She was a proud AmeriCorps member working with migrant youth in the Bay Area, and later returned to Wisconsin, providing financial literacy and employment skills for underserved Madison teens. After returning to graduate school in public policy, Richelle is pivoting to look at more institutional issues - especially how community interacts with government and influences the policy-making process, with a special interest in both housing and health.

Support Richelle's Emerge Training


Kathleen Bobholz-Rewey, Verona 

"A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things" -Barack Obama.                                                                                                       Kathleen Bobholz-Rewey is perfectly ordinary. Kathleen’s extraordinariness lies in her understanding of all that she does not know and a strong sense of curiosity.  She believes these traits, along with empathy and strong listening skills will be crucial in working to solve community issues. We may not have all the answers but is convinced through working cooperatively, we can do extraordinary things. 


Support Kathleen's Emerge Training 

Shyla Deacon, Milwaukee

Shyla has been deeply involved in education for most of her adult life. She was a teacher early in her career and in 2017, was appointed to the Early Education Task Force for the City of Milwaukee. She is a proud DemTEAM8 graduate and is currently the Communications Secretary for the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County. What’s truly important to her is parents knowing and understanding that policy decisions made and enforced by those in power and in public office, can and be altered and changed by any of us that are willing to come together to make education in our community, better for us all. 

Support Shyla's Emerge Training 



Michelle Frazier, Shorewood

Michelle Frazier is an attorney and currently serves as the Chief Compliance Officer for Aurora Health Care. Michelle received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and her law degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Shorewood with her husband and three children and is excited learn more about the political process through Emerge.

Support Michelle's Emerge Training


Ann Freiwald, Madison 

Ann grew up in various communities along the shores of Lake Michigan. She has made her home in Madison since 1984 when she came here for school and stayed. She spends her free time outside when at all possible and shares a home on Madison’s Northside with her spouse, Angela and two lovely dogs. 

Support Ann's Emerge Training


Erin Gallagher, Darlington 

Erin Gallagher, promoter of civic engagement and proponent of government that works for the people, is an Alderwoman representing District 3 in the City of Darlington. Erin is a dedicated supporter of 4-H youth development and serves on the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation Board. A Coach at SSM Health Monroe Clinic Medical Group, Erin has formed a career in leadership roles in multiple industries. A graduate of Edgewood College, she holds a BS in Organizational Behavior and Leadership.

Support Erin's Emerge Training 


Jill Gaskell, Blanchardville

I am a member of the Pecatonica Area School Board and have worked on school funding issues for more than a decade. I recently retired from civil service, am married and have 3 grown children.

Support Jill's Emerge Training


Erin Hall-Reppen, Madison 

Erin has been working in advertising in Chicago for the past 5 years and recently moved to Madison to continue her career at a small local agency. She has degrees in both Political Science and Sports Management from Marquette University and Northern Illinois University, respectively. After being relocated due to Hurricane Katrina, she saw firsthand how important proper government preparation is. She has been working ever since to ensure help is there when people need it, whether rebuilding houses in New Orleans or volunteering on political campaigns that make real change in the world.

Support Erin's Emerge Training


Julie Henszey, Wauwatosa 

Julie Henszey wields a compass, both literally and figuratively. She is a corporate trainer, executive coach, and outdoor adventure guide who helps clients navigate over rough terrain. A former Iowa farm girl, Julie brought her young family to Wisconsin in 1995. She currently serves on leadership teams with Indivisible and Citizen Action. Julie is devoting herself full-time to her campaign for State Senate District 5.

Support Julie's Emerge Training



Stephanie Hilton, Madison 

Stephanie Hilton serves the people of Wisconsin as an Assistant District Attorney for Dane County where she where she prosecutes felonies focusing on domestic violence and sensitive crimes. She earned her BS from UW-Superior and her law degree from UW-Madison. Stephanie has spent her entire career, 15+ years, in advocacy and public service. She and her husband share their Madison home with three dogs.

Support Stephanie's Emerge Training


Ashley Hoeft, Lake Geneva

 My name is Ashley Hoeft, I have my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from UW-Whitewater and recently graduated with my Master’s degree in Social Work from UW-Milwaukee. I worked as an intern in Madison, WI at the National Association of Social Workers, Wisconsin Chapter, and also worked as an intern in Milwaukee, WI in community outreach and ran a program for youth focused on healthy relationships. 

Support Ashley's Emerge Training


Bryn Horton, Sun Prairie

Bryn is excited to be channeling her passion for public schools into running for school board in Sun Prairie. She has been involved in her children's schools since moving to Wisconsin in 2010. She can't wait to learn the ins and outs of running for public office and getting to know more women who want to serve the residents of this state.

 Support Bryn's Emerge Training 


Ronisha Howard, Oshkosh

Ronisha (Roni) Howard is a 4th year undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, with double major in Women and Gender Studies and Political Science. Roni's short term goals are to continue her education by pursuing her master’s degree in Social Work, Public Administration, or Politics. Roni's, long term goals are to give back to her hometown, Milwaukee. Through helping at risk families and one day eventually developing her own private practices where she can provide services within poverty line areas of Wisconsin. Currently, she gives back to her campus and community through her advocacy and involvement. She's part of several student organizations on her campus such as Oshkosh Student Association as a senator, Black Student Union, Social Work Association, and the Multicultural Education Coalition. While having a part time job at La Quinta Inns and Suites and being a part of various pre-college organizations in Milwaukee, such as the Rotary Club and the Boys and Girls Club Stein Scholar Program. Roni's always had a passion for helping and advocating for others for issues on topics dealing with classicism, racism, and gender roles. Which is why she joined the emerge program, due to their aligning values and mission for progressing women into office to advocacy for some of the same issues Roni is compassionate about. 

 Support Roni's Emerge Training


Pamela Klein, Madison

 My name is Pamela Klein and I have been teaching MS & HS Health and Physical Education for 21 years.  I grew up in Janesville, WI and come from a strong union family.  From the age of 8, I was walking in women's marches, holding picket signs during political rally's and doing campaign literature drops for candidates.  These early experiences served as a catalyst to becoming a Union Representative and Board Member for my Professional Organization where I've had the opportunity to advocate, support, and stand up for the rights of others. I enjoy living in downtown Madison, and all that the Capital Square offers,playing racketball, pickleball, golf, giving back to the community, and spending time with my husband Andrew along with family and friends.  

Support Pamela's Emerge Training


Paige Knipfer, Brooklyn

Paige graduated from Edgewood College with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science. She circumnavigated the world visiting over 12 countries with Semester at Sea. Paige works in training for Credit Union National Association (CUNA). She is a mom, wife, an avid volunteer in the community, a mentor, writer, photographer, adoption advocate, and a congenital heart disease warrior. 

Support Paige's Emerge Training


Dominique Lee, Sheboygan

 Dominique Lee was born and raised in Sheboygan, WI. She is currently a freshman at Lakeland University and is serving as Chair of the newly chartered College Democrats chapter. At the moment she is excited to be pursuing a degree in business administration and volunteering with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin as a fellow.

Support Dominique's Emerge Training


Jennifer Levie, Racine

I am a proud teacher union member and public school educator. I have served in several capacities in my union- executive committee member, vice president and president during a very tough and transitional post Act 10 period. I currently serve on the Voces De La Frontera statewide board. I believe positive change can happen when we organize for social justice.

Support Jennifer's Emerge Training


Kristen Luppino Witzling, Madison

 Kristen Luppino Witzling is a program support teacher for special education in the Madison Metropolitan School District.  She moved to Wisconsin two years ago from Washington, DC where she worked in the public school district, and is originally from South Carolina.  She enjoys exploring the physical and political landscapes of Wisconsin with her husband, Sean, and their dog, Max.

Support Kristen's Emerge Training


Teresa Radermacher, Monona 

Teresa grew up on a small family farm in rural Wisconsin, and has also lived and worked abroad. After graduating from UW-Whitewater she moved to Madison and since 2007 she and her daughter have lived in Monona. Teresa is a senior business analyst with the Wisconsin District Attorney IT program, an active community volunteer, a citizen member of the Monona Sustainability Committee; she’s passionate about natural resource stewardship, and building strong and equitable communities.

Support Teresa's Emerge Training


Melissa Ratcliff, Cottage Grove 

Melissa Ratcliff has been a Paralegal with Eisenberg Law Offices for 17 years. She is currently the editor for the Madison Area Paralegal Association newsletter and serves on the Monona Grove School Board Committee for Community Engagement, Communications, and Government Relations. Melissa seeks to set an example of service and activism for her daughters. 

Support Melissa's Emerge Training


Elisha A. Santiago-Barudin, Beaver Dam

 Elisha is honored to join Emerge, especially during this tumultuous time in our history when women's rights are being challenged. As a Wellesley College Alumnae, Elisha learned the importance of women working together towards making effective change.  Elisha's 20-year career in Human Resources provided opportunities to hire, train, and develop women and people of color in the workforce. Nowadays, Elisha is raising 3 daughters, is an avid community volunteer and you can also find Elisha teaching yoga to children, pregnant women or trauma victims. Elisha is excited to begin a new journey with Emerge which will hopefully make a positive impact in our community. 

Support Elisha's Emerge Training


Lena  Scheibengraber, Milwaukee 

Being born and raised in Milwaukee has given Lena first-hand experience igniting change in her community through volunteer service, focusing on homelessness, food security, and housing development. She graduated from Alverno College in 2013 with a B.S. in Global Studies & Mathematics and has since worked in Financial Aid with a focus on Veteran Educational Benefits. She looks forward to working hard to enact positive change for the citizens of Milwaukee. 

Support Lena's Emerge Training


Robin Schmidt, Manitowoc 

I am a Desert Storm Veteran, mother, and sister who fights for equality for all Americans because it is the fundamental truth of what we as people deserve. We deserve freedom from oppression, access to healthcare, equal and quality pay, freedom from prejudice, a healthy environment and an ethical government. Ethics and truth are the core of my drive for this fight.

Support Robin's Emerge Training


Cassie Steiner, Madison 

Cassie is the Public Relations and Outreach Associate at the Sierra Club-John Muir. While she works on a range of environmental issues, her passions are working with young people and advocating for better transit access. She has a degree in International Studies with an emphasis in Public Diplomacy and Social Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Support Cassie's Emerge Training


Natalia Taft, Racine

Natalia is a university professor at a small public university and mom of two small kids in public schools. As a biologist and educator, she has a passion for working with undergraduate students in the sciences. She is also active in her church and on the board of her local democratic party. 

Support Natalia's Emerge Training


Nicki Vander Meulen, Madison

Growing up with Asperger’s, Nicki Vander Meulen learned that not every public school student is treated the same. These obstacles are what motivated her to achieve her life-long goal of becoming a successful attorney. Nicki has spent over a decade in juvenile law, advocating on behalf of all children for a more inclusive school system. Nicki drafted the first version of legislation aimed at reducing the physical restraint and seclusion of students, which formed the basis of Act 125. Nicki’s efforts are why she was presented with the Diehard Self-Advocacy Award by the Board of People with Developmental Disabilities.

Support Nicki's Emerge Training


Danielle Williams, Milwaukee

Danielle Williams is originally from Gary, Indiana. Devoted to helping others traumatized by the results of systematic problems. She's concerned with the lack of resources to address the issues many families face. She builds lasting relationships with a diverse group of individuals promoting safety, prosperity, growth, entrepreneurship, empowerment, and academic achievement. Danielle is a college graduate who is determined to raise children who are assets to the community and not liabilities.

 Support Danielle's Emerge Training


Wenona Wolf, Madison

Wenona Wolf grew up on the St. Croix Chippewa Indian Reservation in northwest Wisconsin and is an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Through her professional career and volunteer efforts, Wenona works to improve the well-being of communities in Wisconsin—particularly Wisconsin’s Native American communities. Wenona currently serves as Communication and Development Manager for Kids Forward, a non-profit advocacy organization based in Madison. 

Support Wenona's Emerge Training



Eileen Zeiger, Madison 

Eileen gets up in the morning for social justice. Over the years, her education at George Washington University and UW-Madison, her volunteerism, and her work at nonprofits has addressed a range of issues—from literacy to reproductive rights to anti-violence. She looks forward to bringing her knowledge and experience from this work to policies that empower people and remove barriers. 

Support Eileen's Emerge Training



Put Yourself On The Ballot

Learn about the Emerge program, how to apply and get connected to our Council of Allies

Join Our Movement

Stay informed about the Emerge program and upcoming events!

Support Our Work

Emerge Wisconsin needs your help to expand our training.