OUR FELLOWS

Summer Class of 2019

Dog Tag Fellows represent a sample of the talent and drive that exists in the military community. Our fellowship serves as an incubator for employment and small business development, giving our fellows the space and time to define what success means for them, and empowering them with tools and resources to achieve it for themselves.


Interested in our Fellowship Program?

Applications for our Winter 2020 Cohort are now open!


Ronald (Ronnie) Bates

Ronald Bates grew up in Danville, Illinois. After receiving his degree and commission from West Point, he served in the 101st Airborne and deployed to Iraq. After his time in the Army, he moved to Arlington, Virginia, where he lives with his wife Kate.

Through the Dog Tag Fellowship, Ronnie looks forward to learning from the experiences of the other Fellows and gaining new perspectives and insights through real world applications of the program’s curriculum. He is particularly looking forward to better understanding how to develop good ideas into functioning business initiatives. He was drawn to the program by the enthusiasm that Dog Tag program staff conveyed when he met them at a job fair. Ronnie’s favorite baked good is passion fruit cake.

 

David Bowerman

A Navy brat who was born in Maryland, David Bowerman has lived all over the country. He has a B.A. in English from Mars Hill College (now Mars Hill University) in North Carolina, and a Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He and his wife are both ordained ministers in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

David served as a chaplain in the Army, joining the reserves while in seminary; he later accessioned to active duty, serving for 27 years. While in the Army he deployed twice to Iraq and once to Kosovo, but also worked at Walter Reed and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

Seeking to learn how to run a small business and bake on a commercial scale, David hopes to gain the necessary knowledge and skills through the fellowship for he and his wife hope to open a pie shop.  David’s favorite baked good is apple pie—simple and classic.

 

Monifa Caines

Monifa Caines was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and received a B.S. in Nursing from Howard University.

Monifa was commissioned into the Air Force and proudly served 8.5 years on active duty. She was a registered nurse at Andrews AFB in Maryland and Aviano Air Base in Italy. She then cross-trained into personnel, serving as a section commander and a wing executive officer for the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellie Air Force Base in Nevada.

Monifa is excited about her journey into becoming a successful entrepreneur. Monifa plans on making new friends and absorbing the fellowship experience, so she can narrow down her future small business options that would lead to a future she always dreamed about. Monifa’s favorite baked good is vanilla cake with buttercream frosting.

 

Kristine (Kristy) Graham

Kristine Graham grew up in Newark, Delaware. She attended the University of Delaware, where she earned a B.S. in Agriculture (Pre-Veterinary Science) and was a distinguished graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).

A soon-to-be retired Air Force veteran of 22 years, Kristy’s experience traverses a diverse portfolio that includes expertise in information technology, public relations, human resources, and senior executive support. She was privileged to serve in overseas operations in the Middle East, Europe, and Central America, as well as domestic missions supporting Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ike, and interagency efforts with the Department of Homeland Security.

Kristy was introduced to Dog Tag while recovering from health issues at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and is thrilled to join such an exemplary team. Through the Dog Tag Fellowship, she hopes to gain a foundation in entrepreneurship, along with practical business knowledge, that will lead to an enterprise of positive change for people, animals, the environment. Kristy’s favorite baked good is pain au chocolat - because #bread+chocolate=love

 

Ann Johnson

Ann Johnson was born in Montana, grew up in South Dakota, and holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. She was an Air Force spouse and has lived in the Washington, DC area since 2006. Her original career objective was to be a philosophy professor, but her life took a different path and she worked happily as a nanny for many years before transitioning to non-profits, where she specialized in administration, operations, business analysis, and project management. Throughout this time, she retained her interest in philosophy, which led her to take a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class. The power of the tools she learned there prompted her to begin the teacher certification process in 2018. In addition to teaching MBSR, Ann wants to develop a business that brings in-home childcare and household chore assistance to veteran families. Her goal is to help build community and provide mindfulness training to those families she serves. She hopes her education at Dog Tag will give her the practical tools to launch her business. Her favorite baked good is a peanut butter cookie.

 

Brandi Lambert

Brandi Lambert was born and raised in Princeton, WV and recently graduated with an Associate degree in Medical Billing and Coding from Sullivan and Cogliano. Brandi is a Navy spouse of four years, and a mother of two adorable children. She has been a caregiver to her retired husband for the past three years and counting.

Brandi came to Dog Tag to expand her horizons, forge life-long relationships, learn new things, and most importantly to grow herself. She hopes to gain the knowledge to create and manage a meaningful nonprofit organization of her own. Brandi’s favorite baked good is a macaroon.

 

Sara Laszaic

Sara Laszaic was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. She enlisted in the Florida Army National Guard as a Military Police Officer and later received her B.A. in Criminology from the University of South Florida. Upon graduation, she served as a Police Officer where in her hometown of Orlando for several years.

Sara wanted to become an Army Officer and serve on active duty. She completed Officer Candidate School, where she commissioned as a Military Police Officer. After nine years in service, Sara received treatment for her PTSD and medically retired. 

Sara felt compelled to continue her service within the community. She wanted to utilize her experience as a first responder, veteran, and patient to raise awareness of the rising rates of first responders developing PTSD. Sara co-founded Badges United Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on improving the overall wellness of first responders. She looks forward to Dog Tag’s holistic teaching approach and expanding her network of fellow entrepreneurs. In Dog Tag Bakery, you can find Sara being fancy, as she enjoys the chocolate croissant and drinking a latte with her pinky up.

 

Katharine (Kate) Marsh Lord

Katharine (Kate) Marsh Lord was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She earned a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a J.D. from The Ohio State University. She currently lives with her husband and three kids in northern Virginia.

Kate met her Air Force husband while in law school and the trajectory of her career changed as she embarked on a new journey as a military spouse. Determined to find professional fulfillment, and in true military spouse fashion, Kate created work for herself through online entrepreneurship as her family moved around the world.

After discovering Dog Tag, Kate knew the fellowship presented the opportunity to reset and re-invigorate her professional career and personal goals. She hopes to leverage the education, experiential learning, and networking opportunities provided through the fellowship to develop an online retail business that marries casual style and gives back to the military community.  Katharine has never met a baked good she didn’t like but, if forced to pick a favorite, it has to be a cupcake with plenty of icing.

 

Jacqueline (Jackie) Melton

Jacqueline (Jackie) Melton was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. As a daughter of a United States Marine, she lived in many locations as a child but claims St. Louis, Missouri as home. Jackie received her BS in Business Administration, majoring in Finance, from the University of Missouri in Columbia. She also holds an MBA from Webster University.

Jackie was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps in 1988 and served 20 years on active duty. During her career Jackie served as a Disbursing Officer, Fiscal Officer, Executive Officer, Protocol Officer, Comptroller and Branch Head.

Jackie comes to Dog Tag eager to retool and learn new skills in technology and social media that will assist her in starting and maintaining a successful family business that could provide some vocational opportunities for her son and other people with special needs. Jackie’s favorite baked good is Lemon Bundt Cake.

 

Tikidanki (Tiki) Ntundi

Tikidanki (Tiki) Fatu Ntundi is originally from Cameroon, West Africa, but has lived in the US for almost 20 years. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and her M.S. in Human Services and Counseling Psychology from Capella University. Tiki’s passion is psychology and its application in daily living, particularly how it can shape/reshape an individual and their perspective on life. She has also completed over two years of coursework on a PhD in Performance Psychology, from which she is currently taking a sabbatical.

During her sophomore year of college, Tiki took a break from her studies to join the US Army. After serving almost three years as a specialist, she was directly commissioned as a second lieutenant. Tiki continued with the field of logistics and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, which she greatly enjoyed because it gave her the opportunity to interact with people from different backgrounds.

Upon her return from Afghanistan, she experienced the worsening condition of a service-related illness, which led to her medical retirement in 2015. Since then, Tiki has tried to regain control of her life, but experienced difficulty finding a suitable position during her post-military employment search. Tiki hopes to learn from all the Dog Tag Fellowship has to offer, including gaining insight on how to actualize her dream of starting her own business. Tiki loves to bake banana bread. However, she would like to someday soon bake one with actual bananas and not just from a pre-made mix.

 

Teresa Shoals

Teresa Shoals-Green is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana. She earned her BA from Northwestern State University in Criminal Justice and her MBA from Touro University. She has taken a leave of absence from obtaining her Doctorate of Management Degree from the University of Phoenix, due to the untimely death of her husband.

Teresa has served over seven years in the Army reserves and over 19.5 years on active duty. She will retire in September 2019 as a Master Sergeant Senior Human Resource Manager. Since 2007, Teresa has worked various staff-level positions in the Pentagon where she provided staff coordination and management of over 2,300 military and civilian personnel; exercised quality control and independent review of actions; reviewed and packaged correspondence for the Secretary of the Army, Chief of Staff, Vice Chief of Staff, and the Joint Staff. In 2011 she was selected as the only non-commissioned officer on the Secretary of the Army’s Institutional Transformation Commission (IATC). During her time on the task force, she built networks across the Army staff, ensuring rapid and thorough staffing of eleven Secretary of the Army directives with annual projected savings of $10 billion.

In memory of her husband Robert, Teresa plans to start a nonprofit to promote diabetes information in rural areas in Northern Louisiana. She believes the Dog Tag Fellowship will give her the knowledge, skills, and resources she needs to assist with her plans to start her nonprofit. Teresa has a love for all sweets.

 

Kevin Willis

Kevin Willis is a native of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. He graduated high school in Alexandria, Virginia and is a diehard Redskins fan.  Kevin enlisted in the Air Force in 1996 as a Security Policeman and served 11 years until he was medically retired in 2007. While in the Air Force, Kevin was deployed multiple times, including to Afghanistan in direct support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His last assignment was in direct support of the President of the United States. He was permanently assigned to five different bases directly, and indirectly supported numerous military operations and humanitarian missions.

In September 2018, Kevin received a kidney transplant and feels extremely blessed and thankful for the second chance he’s been given. He discovered Dog Tag and believes this fellowship opportunity will provide him with invaluable knowledge, as he aspires to become an entrepreneur. He looks forward to not only the relationships he will gain through the program, but also the opportunity to be a part of DTI as it helps to change his life and the lives of other veterans and their families. His favorite baked good is brownies.

 

Adela Wilson

Adela Wilson is an Air Force spouse, caregiver and mom of three, who was born in New Jersey and grew up in Florida. She met her husband Rob in 2001, and married just weeks after their courtship began, before Rob deployed to the Middle East. Once he returned from deployment their adventure began, with a move to England where both their boys Jordan (15) and Sean (13) were born. After Rob’s medical discharge in 2007, the family relocated back to the United States and settled in Virginia. 

Currently, Adela and her husband are separated and are trying to rebuild their family. Adela applied to Dog Tag in her quest to better equip herself to face the challenges of being a single parent and re-entering the workforce. She is also in college working towards her goal of becoming an Occupational Therapist. She is hoping to gain the entrepreneurial skills needed through Dog Tag to one day achieve her dream of owning a therapy clinic helping children with special needs. Adela’s favorite sweet treat is a Cheese Danish.

 

Sara Yezefski

Sara Yezefski grew up in Southeastern Connecticut and earned her Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Connecticut. In support of her husband’s Coast Guard career, Sara has moved five times and has “stood the watch” at home as the primary caregiver of their son.

Sara has served on multiple executive boards: Vice President of Coast Guard Spouses’ Club of D.C.; President of Odyssey Academy-Bay Area Parent Teacher Organization; and Corresponding Secretary of the Hayfield Elementary School Parent Teacher Association. As a direct sales consultant and Leadership Team member of SimplyFun, Sara helped families and teachers select educational games that were appropriate for different learning styles and special needs.

With her family facing multiple transitions, including military retirement and her son entering middle school, Sara hopes that this opportunity will equip her to further a career in neurodiversity that will have a positive impact on other military families and the broader neurodivergent community. Sara’s favorite baked good is a gluten-free dark chocolate torte with coffee.


Interested in our Fellows? Learn more about our Alumni and Fellowship program.