Meet our 2015-2016 Red Shirts

Nikki Harper

Smith College

Study of Women and Gender

"It is what it is, but it will be

what you make of it."

Nikki grew up in Columbia, Maryland. As an undergrad, she played soccer at Smith for three years and spent one year studying abroad in Geneva, Switzerland. Since graduating in 2010, Nikki has worked with youth in various camps, in outdoor and experiential education, and at the Pathways after-school program. She also worked as a lifeguard and swim lesson instructor at the YMCA, where she also worked before- and after-school programs. This past year, Nikki became a Reiki Master, and also worked at the Smith College Campus School as a teacher’s aide and as the Sports and Activities after-school teacher. Working with youth over the years and getting classroom experience at the Campus School inspired her to become an elementary school teacher, which is her current path. Nikki looks forward to sharing her knowledge and easy-going nature with the youth in Project Coach, and inspiring them to be the best they can be so they can help change the world. Nikki loves the outdoors, and her passions include rock climbing, hiking mountains and streams, playing the ukulele, yoga, collecting heart-shaped rocks, going on adventures, and photography. One of her favorite philosophies: “There’s a sunrise and a sunset every day, and you can choose to be there for it--you can put yourself in the way of beauty.”

Mel Sharick

Wheaton College (MA)


"There are no shortcuts

to any place worth going."

Melanie (Mel) Sharick grew up nearby in Amherst, MA. She recently graduated from Wheaton College (MA) in the class of 2015. At Wheaton she majored in sociology and minored in general education. She was also a four year member of the women's lacrosse team and a team captain during her senior year. In addition to lacrosse, Mel enjoys eating ice cream, running, hiking, and traveling. During her junior year, Mel spent a semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she studied public health and also had the opportunity to travel around other parts of Europe! She is excited to be in the M.A.T. program at Smith and a part of the Project Coach team this year.

Andrew Cooke

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History and Afro-American Studies

"Imagine others complexly."

Andrew Cooke grew up in Franklin, MA and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015 with two degrees in History and Afro-American Studies. While at UMass, he was on the Ballroom Dance Team and fell in love with teaching. He has a plethora of interests, including skateboarding, dancing, reading, writing, soccer, juggling, snowboarding, running, cooking, composing, and playing violin and mandolin. Andrew is overjoyed to join Project Coach while studying to become a middle school social studies and science teacher.

Angela Regan

Smith College

Education and Child Study

"Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Angela has been living in the Pioneer Valley for 10 years. She graduated from Smith College in 2010, where she earned a Bachelor’s in Education and Child Study. Since then she has been teaching second grade and is currently on leave from the Leverett Elementary School in Leverett, Massachusetts in order to pursue a Master’s in Education. Her biggest job is raising her two children. Together they enjoy hiking local trails, biking and playing Ultimate Frisbee. Angela is a community-minded individual, and is passionate about education and youth development. She is excited to be a part of the Project Coach community and looks forward to becoming a mentor to the youth in the program.

Vic D'Elia

Hampshire College

Urban Youth Empowerment & Community Development

“Live for moments that last forever.”

Vic grew up in Chelsea, MA and graduated from Hampshire College in 2012 with a concentration in Urban Youth Leadership and Community Development. In 2001, she began playing for MetroLacrosse, an urban lacrosse program that uses sports culture to foster positive character development. As a teenager, Vic began coaching for MetroLacrosse and learned how to serve the youth of her community from the same coaches who impacted her as an adolescent. For the past three years, Vic has been a line cook but has continued to coach at MetroLacrosse's summer camps with other alums. She decided to go back to school for teaching after hearing about the Project Coach Fellowship offered through Smith College. Vic is looking forward to getting to know the community in the North End of Springfield, learning from the Blue Shirts, and thinking about urban youth development and the mutual benefits of collaboration through the Project Coach model.

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