Jillian is a second-year graduate student at the UConn School of Social Work, studying community organizing. Jillian is a prison abolitionist and is passionate about empowering and uplifting people who are involved in the justice system. As an intern, she is working on the #FreeThemNowCT and #CutShutInvestCT campaigns.
During her first year at UConn, Jillian interned at Amplify, the Regional Behavioral Health and Action Organization for north central Connecticut, coordinating and facilitating naloxone and suicide prevention training and naloxone distribution, and facilitating community member and stakeholder meetings to evaluate mental health and addiction needs and services.
Throughout 2022, Jillian was a LISC AmeriCorps member, serving as the community outreach coordinator for Hartford NEXT, where she worked with the city’s 13 Neighborhood Revitalization Zones (NRZs) to assess organizational and community needs, enhance collaboration across neighborhoods, and build community power by increasing resident engagement. Jillian’s passion to ensure that all city residents have a voice in their neighborhoods inspired her to design, secure grant money for, and launch a pilot program that involves Hartford youth in outreach and recruiting new community members to their NRZs.
In 2019, Jillian obtained her bachelor’s degree in human rights with a concentration in mass incarceration from Trinity College. During her studies, she worked alongside currently and formerly incarcerated people, learning about the racist and oppressive nature of the United States criminal legal system. After graduating, Jillian worked with system-involved people and children of incarcerated parents at the Judy Dworin Performance Project and also with the Permanent Commission on the Status of Hartford Women to organize an empowerment event for women who had recently returned to their community from jail or prison. She is a member of the Greater Hartford Reentry Coalition and was a Katal member before joining the organization as an intern. Jillian lives in Hartford with her very cute dog, Lulu, and enjoys walking and hiking with them in her free time.