Staff

Judi Alperin King, PhD

Founder, Executive Director

After more than 30 years of working with children who struggle with serious emotional and behavioral problems, Judi feels the strongest connection to children whose families are not able to support them. Through her career at Wediko Children’s Services, as a clinician, administrator, program director, and development officer, her dedication to these children never wavered. Judi has an optimistic outlook and driven desire to help these young students. She tirelessly prepares for them, anticipates their needs, listens to their stressors, and champions their successes. In sum, she meets these young adults where they are and serves as their safety net through college graduation. Judi earned her B.A. and Master’s degree in Psychology at Hamilton College and Boston College, respectively. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Judi has three daughters and lives in Needham, Massachusetts, with her husband.

 

Judi joined Wily in 2015.

 

Gabe Benson

Development/Program Operations Coordinator

Gabe was drawn to the Wily Network by the many ways in which the program works with students during what can be a stressful and overwhelming time in their lives. Originally from Oklahoma, Gabe spent several years volunteering at Infant Crisis Services in Oklahoma City, learning the ins and outs of how a successful non-profit operates and developing a dedication for helping others. Gabe graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2018 with a BA in psychology, a certificate in social welfare, and a double minor in sociology and education. She completed her MSW from Salem State University in May 2020. During graduate school, Gabe worked as a clinician at a group home for teen mothers and as a school social worker at Arlington High School. She enjoys working with adolescents and young adults as she appreciates their energy and the fresh perspective they bring to situations. Gabe lives in Arlington, Massachusetts with her fiancé. In her free time, she enjoys all things disco, lifting weights, spending time with family, and cooking. 

Gabe joined Wily in 2020.

Bianca Blakesley, LCSW

Clinical Scholar Coach

Bianca previously worked as a therapist in a college counseling center at a small liberal arts school in Boston. In that role, she provided individual counseling to students and coordinated mental health training and outreach for the greater campus community. Bianca’s work has included improving access to resources for students who face systemic disadvantages in higher education, including first-generation college students, students of color, LGBTQ students, and those without family support. She enjoys using a warm and collaborative approach to help young adults move towards academic success and emotional wellness, on their own terms. She feels fortunate to be able to work with Wily Scholars. Bianca received her B.S. from Tufts University and MSW from Smith College School for Social Work.

Bianca joined Wily in 2019.

Laura Broffman

Operations Coordinator

Laura received a BA in Sociology and Environmental Studies from Brandeis University. Her love for climate action and social justice led her to Better Future Project, where she worked on a team of climate organizers and gained valuable non-profit experience. Laura loves creating social change, and is excited to help the Wily Network continue to grow while helping students to accomplish their goals. When she’s not working, Laura loves cooking, practicing yoga, and spending time outside.

Laura joined Wily in 2019.

Katherine (Kat) Castañeda Macdonald, LICSW

Director of Coaching, Clinical Scholar Coach

Kat has over a decade of experience working with youth and families in the Boston area. She has worked in a variety of positions in residential, school, re-entry, home-based, and community settings as a clinical social worker and trainer. Her work has focused primarily on dynamics of trauma and attachment, post-traumatic growth, and social justice. She greatly enjoys working with Wily Scholars and supervising Wily coaches. She is inspired by the determination, resilience, grace and passion Wily Scholars exhibit and feels honored to be able to walk with them throughout their college experiences. Through this work, she has maintained that authentically supportive relationships have the capacity to transform lives, and she sees this transformational process at play on a daily basis at the Wily Network. Kat received her B.A. from Oberlin College and her M.A. in Social Work from Simmons School of Social Work.

 

Kat joined Wily in 2015.

Emma Chavenson

Financial Aid Coach

Emma has a strong background in financial aid, having worked at college access organization uAspire as a college affordability advisor. She earned a BA in Psychology from Lesley University in 2016. During her time at Lesley, she served as a community service ambassador, leading service trips to Roanoke, Virginia; Asheville, North Carolina; and all around New England. Right out of college, Emma served in Americorps as a Massachusetts Promise Fellow based at Northeastern University, with the goal of bridging the college affordability gap that many in the Greater Boston area experience. Emma is excited to empower Wily students with financial aid knowledge and make college graduation a reality. Emma resides in Medford with two of her college best friends.

Emma joined Wily in 2018.

Korie Clegg

Clinical Scholar Coach

Originally from upstate New York, Korie moved to Boston to pursue a degree in Social Work. She received her BSW from Eastern Nazarene College in May 2017 and her MSW from Bridgewater State University in May 2020. Throughout graduate school, Korie worked as a Financial Aid Program Advisor. In this role, she developed a passion for working with college students to overcome the many barriers they face in higher education. During her specialty internship year, she worked as a clinician at a Boston middle school with students identified as high risk due to academic and mental health challenges. She provided clinical support to help foster student success within the traditional school community. 

Korie is excited to be part of the important work of the Wily Network. She lives in Lowell with her husband and enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with family.

Korie joined Wily in 2020.

Beth Franklin

Program Assistant

Beth is excited to be part of an organization with a meaningful mission, and to work with such driven staff and Scholars! Beth taught preschool for many years in Newton and Brookline, working with children ages 3 to 5. She has also worked with dogs as a physical therapy aide, which included both water- and land-based exercises such as swimming, stepping over obstacles, and using balance boards. Beth lives in Newton with her husband, David, twins Jake and Emma, and her yellow lab, Ace. When she isn’t busy working or being a Mom, she enjoys playing tennis and traveling.

Beth joined Wily in 2019.

Susan Goldscheid, MAT

Clinical Scholar Coach

Susan is an educator and a psychotherapist in private practice, and worked in the Academic Support for College and Life program with the Home for Little Wanderers. She was previously a biology teacher in both Newton high schools. She is dedicated to helping people learn skills and strategies to better navigate life’s challenges. She is currently training to teach courses in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, which she integrates into her work when possible, as well as into her daily life. Susan has a B.A. in Biology from SUNY Binghamton, and an MAT from Boston University. When she first learned about the Wily Network, she was immediately interested in being a part of it. She is excited about supporting young people, especially those who have had inadequate support in the past, in their efforts to get an education and lead fulfilling lives. She is deeply invested in building one-on-one relationships with students in the context of a larger community.

 

Susan joined Wily in 2017.

Ashley Linell

Director of Development and Communications

Ashley has spent most of her career working in development and event planning for educational institutions and programs. She joined Wily in 2017. Previously, she was Director of Events at Horizons for Homeless Children in Roxbury, Massachusetts. From 2006 to 2016, Ashley was Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Affairs and Director of Special Events at Dedham Country Day School. Prior to this, she served as Executive Education Renewal Program Director at Harvard Business School and Director of Special Events at the School of American Ballet in New York City. Ashley lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, with her husband and three children. Ashley has a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Vermont.

 

Ashley joined Wily in 2017.

Madjeen Lorthe, MEd

Clinical Scholar Coach

Madjeen is an experienced nonprofit leader with a heart for service, having spent more than a decade in the field, working with a wide range of clients, including families experiencing homelessness and adults with developmental disabilities. Madjeen creates an environment of compassion and support to help individuals overcome obstacles, move forward, and thrive. Madjeen received her B.S in Human Services and MEd in Psychological Studies from Cambridge College. She has a certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice. When she’s not working, Madjeen spends time with her teenage daughter, traveling, or at the beach.

 

Madjeen joined Wily in 2019.

Bonnie Yezukevich, LICSW

Director of Programming, Clinical Scholar Coach

Bonnie began her career nearly 20 years ago at Wediko Children’s Services and developed a passion for serving young people facing emotional and behavioral challenges. During her time at Wediko’s Summer Program, Year-Round Program and Boston School-Based Program, Bonnie enjoyed learning from mentors with diverse backgrounds, developing valuable skills in clinical care, programming and leadership. Bonnie is also committed to building connections in her community and spent the last ten years collaborating with local groups, including school parent organizations and her town’s Finance Committee. Bonnie brings skills and passion to the Wily Network, helping to empower Wily Scholars to push forward, find their greatness and reach their goals. Bonnie received her B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Mount Holyoke College and her M.S.W. with a concentration in Children & Families from Salem State University (formerly Salem State College). Bonnie enjoys running, spinning and volunteering. She lives with her husband and two sons in Norton, MA.

Bonnie joined Wily in 2018.