Elena Vanko

As program associate for Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections, Elena works primarily on the Safe Alternatives to Segregation Initiative, and previously completed a project supporting the Governor of Tennessee’s Task Force on Sentencing and Recidivism. Before coming to Vera, she worked as a part-time research associate for the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, examining the effects of national and international drug control policies on human rights. Elena also spent three years with the US Program of Human Rights Watch, supporting their research and advocacy on abuses in the United States—including in criminal and juvenile justice systems and immigration enforcement. For three years, Elena was a corps member with Jumpstart, an AmeriCorps program that trains college students to help underserved preschoolers develop the language and literacy skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond. She has also volunteered with Homeless Children’s Playtime Project in Washington, DC. Elena holds a BA in international relations from Tufts University and a MA with distinction in human rights from the University of Essex.