Marlena has called Indiana home for the better part of the past thirteen years but is a native northwestern Pennsylvanian. She earned bachelor’s degrees in history and sociology from Anderson University and completed coursework within an American Studies master’s program at UMass Boston.
Marlena has experience working with multiple nonprofits in Indianapolis, including those focused on social work and public policy, but most recently managed federal Ryan White HIV/AIDS program grants at the Indiana Department of Health. It was there that she discovered both a love for crunching numbers and a passion for working with community-transforming grassroots organizations.
Marlena finds joy and delight in many places, things, people and activities, but the highlights are as follows: the Fall Creek trail at Fort Harrison, Thursday night trivia at Centerpoint Brewing, creative and decadent milkshakes at Heartbreaker, the weeklong festivities of the Historic Irvington Halloween Festival, the Keystone Art Cinema, her one-story Eastside (of Indy) home, women’s soccer, a crisp fall day, a good denim jacket, her beloved nieces and nephew, the breezy coast of New England, a Cape Cod sunset sail, her transcendent and deeply loving friends, an enthralling TV show, the Cheese Louise pizza at Jockamo’s, the hard-working HIV/AIDS service organizations statewide, Indy’s queer places and spaces, anti-racism work, a compelling story, the French film Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a cold beer on the Dorman Street patio and a warm afternoon nap.