top of page

Who We Are


Zelda Roland

Founding Director, YPEI

Zelda is a Yale alumna (BA `08 PhD`16) who conceived of and created YPEI after working with students enrolled in Wesleyan's Center for Prison Education at Cheshire Correctional Institution.​ She coordinates YPEI's partnership with the Connecticut Department of Corrections and its facilities; relationships with other national and statewide prison education programs and criminal justice organizations; and a passionate and broad assembly of Yale faculty, administrators, staff, and students who believe that our program represents the best of Yale's values and visions for the future.

Tracy Westmoreland

Danbury Site Director / Transfer Counselor

Tracy Westmoreland is the Site Director for YPEI’s Danbury campus and also serves as the Reentry/Transfer coordinator for returning students. Tracy completed his Master’s in political science at the University of Connecticut, and is currently pursuing his EdD in Social Justice in Higher Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A long time resident of New Haven, Tracy saw first hand the effects of over policing in his community and is committed to providing a high quality, rigorous education to those who need it the most. Previously Tracy worked for the Missouri Department of Higher Education expanding prison education programming in the Midwest and was part of the Vera Correctional Education Leadership Academy’s 2022 Cohort.

Emme Magliato

Program Assistant, YPEI

Emme Magliato is the Program Assistant for the Yale Prison Education Initiative supported by a fellowship through Dwight Hall at Yale. They graduated from Yale in 2023 where she studied both the History of Science and Evolutionary Biology. Emme first started with YPEI as an Academic Strategies Mentor through the Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. Emme has also worked in harm reduction and community organizing for people who use drugs and unhoused people in New Haven. She is overjoyed to be a part of the YPEI team and continue to support incarcerated students pursuing and building college in prison in Connecticut.

Vanessa Estimé

Assistant Director, YPEI

Vanessa Estimé has served as Assistant Director for the Yale Prison Education Initiative at Dwight Hall at Yale since 2021. Her undergraduate studies were completed at the University of New Haven, and graduate studies at Simmons College School of Social Work. Vanessa is also a social worker and childbirth educator/birth doula. She is delighted to be a part of the Yale Prison Education Initiative and support the movement of expanding access to education to all people.

James Jeter

Founder, Dwight Hall Civic Allyship Initiative

James Jeter is a New Haven native and alum of the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education at Cheshire Correctional Institution, where he spent nearly 20 years incarcerated. With Wesleyan, he completed 20 credited college courses, and was a member of the Lifers Program, where he worked with at-risk youth, helped raise money for local food banks, and worked with the Hartford Police Chief to address gun violence in Hartford. Through this work, while still incarcerated, he fostered relationships with the Mayor of Hartford’s Chief of Staff, members of the Department of Justice’s Project Longevity Task Force, and the CEO of the Hartford Community Loan Fund, his employer post-release.

At the HCLF, James worked as a policy analyst, working on state and federal policy around banking and housing. In the time since his release, he has served on the board of Wesleyan’s Center for Prison Education, has been honored with the 100 Men of Color Distinction, led participatory budgeting with Hartford City Council, and has returned to Cheshire Correctional Institution to speak to residents of its TRUE Unit. James is dedicated to the cause of prison education and has sought opportunities to apply his own experience to benefit those still incarcerated or returning home.

Faculty Advisory Committee

Paul North

Chair, Faculty Advisory Committee (Spring 2023)

Elizabeth Hinton

Faculty Advisory Committee Member

Mira Debs

Faculty Advisory Committee Member

Roderick Ferguson

Chair, YPEI Faculty Advisory Committee

Caleb Smith

Faculty Advisory Committee Member

Paul Tipton

Faculty Advisory Committee Member

Sarah Mahurin

Faculty Advisory Committee Member

George Levesque

Faculty Advisory Committee Member


Alexandra Kleinman

Academic Strategies Mentor

Alexandra Kleinman, an undergraduate in Yale’s Eli Whitney Students Program for non-traditional students, partnered with YPEI students at the MacDougall-Walker CI in the summer of 2023 to establish a Math Club. This peer-led program is designed to prepare students for the academic challenges of college mathematics, while also exploring the practical applications of math in various personal interests. Alexandra received her associate degree from Norwalk Community College, where she was a peer tutor for Algebra I & II. At YPEI, she remains dedicated to the values of peer teaching and learning, and working with adults across the broader higher education community.

Hillary Warolin

Academic Strategies Mentor

Hillary Warolin (she/her) is an Eli Whitney student in Trumbull College majoring in English. Though her primary focus is English, she enjoys exploring a variety of areas of study. As a transfer student, she has found great value in resources like the Academic Strategies Program and is passionate about helping students find the tools they need to achieve their academic goals. She is thrilled to be part of the YPEI team as an Academic Strategies mentor.

Lisbette Acosta

Academic Strategies Mentor

Lisbette Acosta is a senior at Yale College studying Psychology and Education Studies. She is delighted to serve as a YPEI Academic Strategies Peer Mentor this year. Outside of YPEI, she conducts research on health equity outcomes in the Eastern Caribbean, volunteers at HAVEN Free Clinic, and co-organizes with The People’s PPE. Lisbette has supported people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to access educational resources through her tutoring, advocacy, and leadership. She is honored to join the YPEI team and support students in their journeys within education.

Zoe Hsu

2023-2025 Urban Fellow

Zoe Hsu is a Yale senior studying Political Science with a certificate in Computer Programming. She is involved in the Urban Fellows program as a fellow and student co-coordinator. As a FGLI student, Zoe is passionate about socioeconomic justice, particularly within the criminal legal system.

Ally Stapleton

Yale Divinity School Intern at YPEI

Ally Stapleton became involved with YPEI during the summer of 2022 as a President's Public Service Fellow. As she completes her second year at Yale Divinity School, she is excited to be returning as a tutor and YDS intern for YPEI. Ally studies Religion and Literature, and before coming to Yale, she worked in human services with individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Ally's work centers around questions of belonging, legibility, and space, and she is inspired each time she enters the classroom by the unique belonging-space of the college in prison.

Jenn Richburg

Dwight Hall Summer Fellow/Community Response Fellow

Jenn Richburg is a Dwight Hall Community Response Fellow who is a fourth year history major at Yale. She is a history buff and a prospective botanist. Hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she admires New England weather and pizza! Her work at YPEI encompasses a wide range of things, from math club to support for Criminal Justice Procedures. In her free time, Jenn loves to read, explore New Haven, and do arts and crafts!

Rudy Cordero

Academic Strategies Mentor

Rudy Cordero is an Academic Strategies Mentor for YPEI. He is a Senior in Trumbull majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science. On campus, Rudy has served as an Undergraduate Learning Assistant in the Math and CS department, an ONEXYS Supercoach, and was recently awarded the John Alan Lewis Summer Research Fellowship as a Mathematics and Computer Science major. He has supported YPEI initiatives since the 2022-2023 academic year and is excited to see the program grow.

bottom of page