Board of Directors


PC Zai - Secretary

Zai has been involved with Hands on DC since 2008, working on everything from fundraising to special events, and currently is Secretary of the Board of Directors. Before joining the Board, she was the Co-Director for the FY 2012 events. Zai’s deep-seated desire to be involved in her local community stems from her background as a social justice community organizer in Los Angeles and studies in city management at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School. Additionally, she is also the outreach coordinator for the UCLA Alumni Network of Washington DC and is a skater for the DC Rollergirls. For fun, Zai enjoys travelling, yoga, and exploring various cuisines of the world. In everyday life, she works as an analyst at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in civil rights enforcement.

Kristen Powers - President

Kristen first volunteered for Hands on DC with her DC Kickball team in 2011. She enjoyed working with the organization and was impressed with the mission, and got more involved, serving as a Site Coordinator and Volunteer Management Co-Chair. After hearing powerful stories from the founders during the 20th anniversary celebration, Kristen was inspired to lead the organization as Co-Director in 2015 and 2016; and now as the President. She is a native Northern Virginian and enjoys staying active by running, hiking and traveling as much as possible. During the day, Kristen supports the FAA's Corporate Communication office.

Shawn Bucholtz - Treasurer

Shawn has been involved in Hands on DC since 2003. He is the co-chair of the logistics committee, responsible for estimating project needs and ordering supplies. Shawn is the Director of Housing and Demographic Analysis at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he oversees HUD's major housing market surveys.

Board Members

Chris Fernando

Chris has been involved with Hands on DC, since 2007 when he began volunteering by driving a supply delivery truck for the annual Work-a-thon. Since then, his involvement has grown serving as Sites Co-Chair, Co-Director and most recently as President of the Board. His support in educating a number of children in his native land of Sri Lanka since 2004 has inspired him to continue supporting education in his adopted country through his work with Hands on DC. In his day job, Chris is an aviation environmental specialist at Booz Allen Hamilton. He has 10+ years of aviation and related environmental experience and currently supports the NextGen Initiatives of the Office of Environment and Energy at the Federal Aviation Administration. In his spare time, Chris enjoys travelling, is an avid runner, an aviation enthusiast and has recently taken up triathlons with a goal of completing an Ironman in the near future.

Noelle Ellerson

Noli has been involved with Hands on DC since 2009, when she began volunteering with the annual Work-a-thon. Since then, her involvement has grown to include serving as a site coordinate, on the Executive Committee, on the Public Relations Committee, and in her newest role, as a Board member. Noli was attracted to Hands on DC for the ease of volunteering, the deep and immediate impact it has on DC schools, and the fact that it closely matches her deep belief in public schools and the role schools play in improving educational and life outcomes. In her day job, Noli is the Associate Executive Director, Policy & Advocacy for AASA: The School Superintendents Association. She leads AASA’s efforts to advocate and represent public school superintendents, their schools and the students they serve on Capitol Hill, to the administration and in federal education policy.

Stephanie Murdoch

Stephanie has been volunteering with Hands on DC since 2010. Her first project was helping to build display cases and shelves at Payne Elementary School…on crutches, no less. Not even that could stop her from helping to make schools a better and brighter place for DC’s students. She’s nothing if not dedicated. Her enthusiasm for Hands on DC has transpired into serving as the Sites Co-Chair for the last two years. Monday to Friday, Stephanie works as a Marketing and Business Development professional for Fentress Architects. She is also a proud University of Florida alumna (“Go Gators!”), so expect her to bring Florida’s “In All Kinds of Weather” mentality to Hands on DC.

Priya Bapat

Priya first joined Hands on DC in 2009 as a Site Coordinator and Fundraising Committee member. After a few years away, she rejoined Hands on DC as the Volunteer Chair and co-directed the organization for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 event years. Outside of Hands on DC, Priya is a global development consultant and exploring her newfound hobbies of beekeeping and drumming.

Michael Mitchell

Michael works as an environmental consultant for the Federal Aviation Administration, primarily working in environmental health and safety, as well as regulatory compliance. He first joined Hands on DC in 2014 as a logistics co-chair, helping to organize the delivery of supplies to Hands on DC events. He tehn served as the organization’s 2016-12017 and 2017-2018 Co-Director, driving the organizations volunteer efforts and events. Michael is an avid football fan and spends much of his free time reading and re-reading his favorite novels.