Center Staff

Staff Directory

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. 

Patrick J Dunn, Executive Director – send e-mail

Juancarlos Soto, Director of Case Management & Support Services – send e-mail

Laura Boccadoro, Administrative Coordinator – send e-mail

Maia Leonardo, Marketing & Development Coordinator – send e-mail

Devanté Dodgens, Grants Manager – send e-mail

Vu Tran, CPA, Accountant


Program Officers

Max Cisneros, Latinx Program Officer – send e-mail

Miranda Rector, Women’s Program Officer – send e-mail

Ala Ochumare, Youth Program Officer – send e-mail

Elliot Olson, Transgender, Nonbinary and Intersex Program Officer – send e-mail


Centerline Magazine

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

Arianna Gonzolez, Case Management Intern

Kylee Herold, Youth Programming Intern

Alec Janis, Graphic Design Intern

Alicia Messina, Development Intern

Brianna Mejia, Marketing & Social Media Intern


Check out the opportunities section of our website to find out about internships and open staff positions.

Meet Our Staff

Laura Boccadoro, Administrative Coordinator

Laura (she/her or they/them) is honored to be able to help and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. The New Haven queer community is where she came out, figured out who she was, and found her purpose again. She moved to Hamden 5 years ago and has lived in New Haven for the past 2 years. She has also spent the last 6 years as an undergraduate student at Quinnipiac University and still attends as a part time Liberal Arts Major with a minor in Philosophy. During her time at Quinnipiac Laura advocated for Quuer Students through assisting an initiative for gender neutral bathrooms around the campus, as well as being a part of the Quinnipiac GSA. She is also the associate producer of PRIDE New Haven and the Dorothy Awards.
Laura’s past has shaped who she is today, through mental health challenges, addiction, and unemployment. They are an advocate for sobriety, gender diversity, homelessness, and providing a safe space for queer folks. She prides herself in her ability to connect to others, listen, and not judge. She wants to continue to build a space for queer folks to be able to obtain the resources they need to live a full life.

Max Cisneros, LGBTQ+ Latinx Program Officer

Max (he/him or they/them) 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.”

Devanté Dodgens, Grants Manager

Devanté (he/him) is a passionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized communities. Before joining the New Haven Pride Center, he worked for the Department of Human Services, volunteered for LGBTQIA+ organizations and campaigns in Detroit and Chicago, and served in various client-facing roles in the private sector. A New Orleans native, Devanté loves to travel and learn about different cultures and backgrounds. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Community Development and Public Relations from Central Michigan University.

Patrick J Dunn, Executive Director

Patrick (he/him) Patrick (he/him) moved to Connecticut in 2003 from Ankara, Turkey to attend the University of Hartford. He holds a bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management with additional studies in creative writing and theatre. His advocacy for the LGBTQ+ and HIV+ communities started while he was a student at UofH, serving on the Board of LGBTQ+ student-led organizations and getting involved with community groups such as Love Makes a Family, Connecticut AIDS Coalition (now Connecticut AIDS), and the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective.

Patrick has worked professionally in the nonprofit sector for over fifteen years, spending time at Hartford Stage, the National Steinbeck Museum, and the International Festival of Arts & Ideas before coming to the New Haven Pride Center in 2017. During this time, in addition to his professional work, Patrick has helped fundraise for many organizations including the Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut, the New Haven Free Public Library and Y2Y New Haven. Patrick has also helped organize and produce major public events including the Wooster Square Cherry Blossom Festival and Mayor Toni Harp’s Inaugural Ball.

Patrick currently sits on the board of directors for the New Haven Free Public Library Foundation and is Vice-President of the board of the Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut. He is also an appointed member of the LGBTQ+ Health and Human Services Network, a state subcommittee of the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children and Seniors.

In addition to his nonprofit work, Patrick spends part of his time as professional drag artist Kiki Lucia.

Maia Leonardo, Marketing & Development Coordinator

Maia (she/her or xe/xem) is a non-binary trans woman originally hailing from upstate New York who relocated to New Haven permanently in 2017. Previously, xe has worked in fine dining, development and information technology, most recently at the Help Desk at Central Connecticut State University, where xe fielded all manner of technical questions and challenges from the university community. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Trans Lifeline since summer 2018.

Xe has interests in graphic design, computer programming, writing, and music production, and released an album of instrumental electronic music in summer 2020. She wants to use her skills to make the world a more just and equitable place for all marginalized communities, especially her own LGBTQ+ community, and is active in progressive community organizing to help make the world of her dreams a reality.

Ala Ochumare, LGBTQ+ Youth Program Officer

Ala (she/her) 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.

Eliot Olson, Transgender, Nonbinary and Intersex Program Officer

Eliot (he/him) is a trans & queer New Haven based organizer with a background in journalism, trans peer support and direct service in marginalized communities. At Columbia University, where he is studying philosophy, he did development work with Community Impact and also helped run GendeRev, the school’s only trangender support group. He is now back in New Haven, working as the Director of Development for Life In My Days, an LGBTQ+ & BIPOC led non-profit, and also assists with communications work at Trans Lifeline. Eliot is also a professional photographer and artist, and in his free time enjoys rollerblading, gardening, writing and teaching tricks to his pet fish, HQ Junior.

Miranda Rector, LGBTQ+ Women’s Program Officer

Miranda (they/them) 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.

Juancarlos “JC” Soto, Director of Case Management & Support Services

Juancarlos (he/him or 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.

Vu Tran, CPA, Accountant

Vu (he/him) 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.

Photos curtesy Rahvisions.

Meet Our Interns

Arianna Gonzolez, Case Management Intern

Arianna (she/her) is a senior double majoring in Sociology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut. After she graduates this spring, she plans to continue her education to earn a Masters Degree in Social Work concentrating in policy practice. Currently, she is a Hermana of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority Inc., #6 of her line. She is a 4th year student athlete on the cheerleading team where she holds a leadership position as Team Academic Mentor.



Kylee Herold, Youth Programming Intern

Kylee (she/her) recently moved to the east coast from California, where she was deeply involved with the local LGBT+ community. She is a college student and future counselor with a passion for social justice and helping others. In her spare time Kylee enjoys being outside, hiking and exploring.

Alec Janis, Graphic Design Intern

Alec (He/Him) was raised in Southern Connecticut, but polished off in New Orleans. While studying public health at Tulane University, he volunteered with CrescentCare, a community health center focused on providing free or affordable healthcare to the LGBTQ+ Community of New Orleans. Having been trained in HIV Counseling, Testing and Referrals, he worked in data collection for the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance MSM 5 study helping to increase federal funding for LGBTQ+ healthcare in the Greater New Orleans Area. After graduation, Alec began following environmental pursuits working in sustainable farming and advocating for green infrastructure in the city. Having moved back to New Haven, he has joined the New Haven Pride Center to become a stronger part of New Haven’s queer community and assist its graphic design team.


Alicia Messina, Development Intern

Alicia (she/her) is excited to join the NHPC team and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. She is a third year public relations student at Quinnipiac University, and is eager to learn more about nonprofit communications and support the organization. She is looking to pursue her graduate degree in the 4+1 Master’s in public relations program at Quinnipiac in 2021. She is passionate about Environmental advocacy, women’s rights, and being a mother to her plants.


Brianna Mejia, Marketing & Social Media Intern

Brianna (she/her) is currently a student at Quinnipiac University studying advertising and political science. She is completing her undergraduate degree in May and is heading to grad school in fall to study Interactive Media. She has interests in graphic design, writing, and political advocacy. She is honored to be able to work with the New Haven Pride Center and support the LGBTQ Community.