Click on the staff members name to read their bios. Click on the “send e-mail” link to access each staff member’s direct e-mail addresses. You can contact staff via phone using the Center’s main phone line 203.387.2252.
Vu Tran, CPA, Accountant
Joshua O’Connell, Editor-in-Chief – send e-mail
PRIDE New Haven
Our PRIDE New Haven Staff is currently off season.
Interns & Fellows
Melinda Wang, Dwight Hall Urban Fellow Programming
Charlotte Van Voorhis, Case Management Intern
Check out the opportunities section of our website to find out about internships and open staff positions.
Meet the Staff
Laura Boccadoro, Administrative Coordinator
Laura (she/her/hers, they/them/theirs) is honored to be able to help and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. The New Haven LGBTQ+ community is where she came out, figured out who she was, and found her purpose again. She moved to Hamden 4 years ago and moved to New Haven within the past year. She has also spent the last 5 years as an undergraduate student at Quinnipiac University and still attends as a part time, Political Science and Philosophy Major. She was the associate producer of PRIDE New Haven this year and loves creating social events for their community. Laura’s past has shaped who she is today, through mental health challenges, addiction, and unemployment. She prides herself in her ability to connect to others because of her past and her ability to listen and not judge. She wants to continue to build a space for queer individuals to be able to obtain the resources they need to live a full life.
Max Cisneros, LGBTQ+ Latinx Program Officer
Max (he/him/his, they/them/theirs) is a non-binary, Latinx, Queer, man and community organizer originally hailing from Stamford, CT. Although he was born in Mexico, Max and his family immigrated to Southwestern CT in 1987. That experience of learning a new culture while affirming your own is a core theme throughout Max’s career. At Stamford High School he helped found and served as Vice-President for H.U.G.S. Helping Unite Gays & Straights. Starting in 2015, Max worked at Mid Fairfield AIDS Project in Norwalk CT, as an administrative assistant and used that position to build a Social Media Marketing office, an HIV Testing Supervisor roll, a Volunteer Program and a newsletter. Since then he’s moved on to work on political campaigns for progressive candidates and works to organize small business owners, who happen to be undocumented. Currently, Max works at Open Doors Shelter in Norwalk where he brings that experience of learning new cultures while affirming his own.”
Patrick J Dunn, Executive Director
Patrick (he/him/his) first moved to Connecticut in 2003, when he relocated to Hartford from Ankara, Turkey to attend the University of Hartford. While at the University of Hartford, Patrick was an active member of the LGBTQ+ community on campus as a board member and 2-term president of the LGBTQ+ alliance which primarily worked to promote queer positive events on campus, create safe-spaces for LGBTQ+ students and allies, and raise money for community organizations such as the Connecticut AIDS Coalition (now Connecticut AIDS) and Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective. For his senior project, Patrick produced a 4-day Gay and Lesbian Theatre Festival at the University of Hartford that featured works that tackled queer issues from nature vs nurture theories, transgender rights, and queer history.
After completing his undergraduate degrees in Non-Profit Management and Creative Writing, Patrick has worked professionally as a fundraiser for almost 10 years for various non-profit arts organizations. During this time, in addition to his professional work, Patrick has volunteer fundraised for many organizations including the Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut, Love Makes a Family, and New Haven Free Public Library, and has helped organize and produce major events including the Wooster Square Cherry Blossom Festival and Mayor Toni Harp’s First Inaugural Ball.
Prior coming to the New Haven Pride Center, Patrick spent 7 years as one of the chief fundraisers for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. Before his time at Arts & Ideas he also worked for the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California and Hartford Stage Company in Hartford, Connecticut.
Read Lucy Gellman’s profile of Patrick that appeared in the New Haven Independent when he was appointed in 2017.
Maia Leonardo, Marketing & Development Coordinator
Maia (she/her/hers) is a non-binary trans woman and community organizer originally hailing from Cooperstown, NY who relocated to New Haven permanently in 2017. Previously, she worked in fine dining, development and information technology, in Connecticut at the Neighborhood Music School and Central Connecticut State University. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Trans Lifeline since summer 2018 and is an avid electronic musician. She has interests in graphic design, computer programming, and media production, and wants to use her skills to make the world a better place for all marginalized communities, especially her own LGBTQ community.
Alison Lopez, Food Program Coordinator
Alison (she/her/hers) attends the Cooperative Arts and Humanities, where she is an up incoming 12th grader. Her long-term goal is to get accepted into the Naval Academy and study Aerospace Engineering for NASA. When she’s not working, she likes to play volleyball, paint, tutor or help her mom at her job in a laundromat. “One Piece” is the best anime ever!
Ala Ochumare, LGBTQ+ Youth Program Officer
Ala (she/her/hers) has spent that past thirteen years working for a variety of organizations and advocating for various minority communities and systematically oppressed groups.
Ala is one of the founding members of #BlackLivesMatter New Haven and one of the facilitators of the Marsha P. Johnson Summer Camp for LGBTQ+ Black and Brown Youth organized by a group of community organizations including City Wide Youth Coalition. In addition to her work at the New Haven Pride Center, Ala works as a Community Recovery Assistant in Crisis and Respite and Long-Term Services programs for Continuum of Care INC. in New Haven. Ala recently completed a year-long fellowship for community organizers through CEIO, is a CT Core Organize Now! New Haven Chapter leader, and was recently accepted to the Yale University and Southern Connecticut State University CARE New Haven Health Leader program.
Miranda Rector, LGBTQ+ Women’s Program Officer
Miranda (they/them/theirs) is excited to develop programming for LGBTQ+ women and femmes in New Haven and hopes to build an inclusive, lasting community. They are passionate about advocacy, health, art, and community.
They moved to New Haven in 2016 to attend Yale University and have been involved in a variety of activist and community activities. They’ve worked for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and Planned Parenthood Votes! CT, recruiting and training volunteers for the Health Center Advocacy Program, organizing voter mobilization, fighting for progressive state and federal policy, and more. As a student at Yale, they’ve worked in the Office of LGBTQ+ Resources as a staffer where they’ve planned guest speaker events and workshops on LGBTQ+ health, including programming for National Youth HIV/AIDs Awareness Day, and served as Social Chair & Treasurer for the spoken word group Voke. Most recently, they interned for Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in DC and graduated from the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.
In addition to their work at the Pride Center, they’ll continue to work on HCAP, storytelling, and advocacy with Planned Parenthood and pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at Yale. They also hope to keep up their creative writing and expand on their drag king persona Mr. Clean.
Vu Tran, CPA, Accountant
Vu (he/him/his) graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelors and Masters in Accounting in 2010. While at the University of Connecticut, Vu also worked at the Rainbow Center as the educational outreach coordinator. Since graduating, he has worked professionally at Ernst & Young and is currently employed as a contract auditor with the federal government. Vu has also remained active in the LGBTQ+ community. He has served on the Board of True Colors, the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition, and the Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut. In addition, Vu teaches Zumba at various gyms and community events.
Juancarlos “JC” Soto, Director of Case Management & Support Services
Juancarlos (He/him/His/El) has spent the last ten years organizing in the Latinx, LGBTQ+ and Immigrant communities, having previously worked at JUNTA for Progressive Action and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Juancarlos moved to New Haven with his family – city with which he instantly fell in love with. Juancarlos is eager to bring support, advocacy, and growth to our vibrant LGBTQ+ community and the New Haven Pride Center where he hopes to help build an inclusive, thriving community for all of Connecticut’s LGBTQ+ people.
Juancarlos is a founding member of the Black and Brown Queer Camp, a Summer Camp for LGBTQ+ Black and Brown Youth. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Dorothy Award in 2019. He is also an artist who uses his art as a tool for activism.