The CAG’s Steering Committee guides the coalition’s activities and objectives.  Each member donates their time and expertise in an effort to build a safer, healthier world for adolescent girls.

Rachel Clement, Co-Chair

Rachel Clement is a Policy Advocate at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). In this role, she implements ICRW’s advocacy strategy and monitors relevant policy developments within the U.S.  Government and among select international policy making arenas, including the UN. Ms. Clement has over 5 years of professional experience at organizations as respected and diverse as the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Plan International, and has worked in contexts such as Ecuador, Vietnam, Russia and the Philippines on youth and gender issues. Since joining ICRW in 2015, Ms. Clement has written for the Hill, Ms. magazine, Girls Globe and ICRW’s own blog on the topics of economic empowerment, child marriage and adolescent girl’s agency. She has also spoken on panels and to university classes on the topics of adolescent girls and child marriage. Ms. Clement is the co-author on a chapter of the forthcoming UFNPA The State of World Population report on challenges facing girls in early adolescence. Ms. Clement’s ICRW portfolio includes gender-based violence, youth and girls, HIV/AIDS, LGBTI and aging populations, and urbanization in development. She earned her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish and her M.A. in International Development Studies from the George Washington University, with a concentration in youth and gender. Ms. Clement is fluent in Spanish and conversant in German.

Jessica DeMulder, Co-Chair

Jessica is the Program Manager to the Population Council’s Poverty, Gender, & Youth Program. This Program develops and tests innovative solutions, scales up successful strategies to improve the well-being of adolescents, particularly adolescent girls, accelerates positive demographic trends, and strengthens the resilience of vulnerable populations to adapt to environmental shocks and stressors. Jessica is a public health professional, passionate expert, and advocate for adolescent girls, with a focus  on adolescent mental health.  Prior to joining the Council, Jessica was based full-time in sub-Saharan Africa for 6 years, implementing impact evaluations on adolescent mental health and maternal health, working with the Applied Mental Health Research Group at Johns Hopkins University, the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at UCSF, and the World Bank. She also worked with Innovations for Poverty Action as the Africa Regional Programs Manager in New York.  Jessica holds an MPH in forced migration and health, and an MA in human rights, both from Columbia University. Jessica is based in the Council’s New York office.

Karen Austrian, Research Lead

Karen Austrian is a Senior Associate with the Population Council’s Poverty, Gender and Youth program.  She has been based in Nairobi, Kenya for over 12 years and leads Population Council projects designed to generate and promote evidence that can be used to empower girls in east and southern Africa. She develops, implements, and evaluates programs that build girls’ protective assets, such as financial literacy, social safety nets and access to education. Austrian is the principal investigator of two large, longitudinal, randomized trials evaluating the impact of multi-sectoral programs for adolescent girls – the Adolescent Girls Initiative – Kenya and the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Program in Zambia.  Karen has provided technical assistance on girls’ programs and policies to the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Girl Hub, the Nike Foundation, and international, national, and community organizations. Before joining the Council in 2007, she co-founded and directed the Binti Pamoja Center, a program to empower adolescent girls in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya.  She is committed to using research and evidence as a tool to improve programs and policies for adolescent girls around the world.

Karen has an MPH from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she was a Sharp Scholar and specialized in reproductive and adolescent health. She has a PhD in public health and epidemiology from Ben Gurion University in Israel. She speaks English, Hebrew, and Swahili and is based in the Council’s Nairobi office.

Kirsten Foster, Policy Lead 

Kirsten Foster is the Women and Girls Officer at the United Nations Foundation and Advocacy Officer for Girl Up. Through her work, she strives to empower young female leaders to become advocates for change – by giving them the tools and skills they need to advocate in their community and to their members of Congress. She has also helped develop the international advocacy program for Girl Up, so all girls can be change-makers in their countries and communities.

In 2017, Kirsten led efforts to pass H.R. 2408, ‘Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act’ in the U.S. House of Representatives and is working to ensure it’s signed into law. She believes that educating members of Congress and their staff is key to sound policy-making. Kirsten has a proven track record of unifying diverse, bipartisan groups toward the common goal of advancing girls’ and women’s rights.

Before joining the U.N. Foundation, Kirsten worked at the National Republican Congressional Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Alyssa Newlon, Networking Lead

With years of experience working internationally to empower girls and create grassroots change agents in Thailand and India, Alyssa is also the Co-founder of Girl Icons. Girl Icons, an initiative of Milaan Foundation, is an international non-profit that works to nurture, inspire and amplify the voices of adolescent girl leaders.

Alyssa is also the founder of the Stigma Collective which collects, catalogs and examines stigma internationally and dismantle the barriers created by stigma and bias within communities big and small. Alyssa is based out of New Delhi, India and continues to work towards a more equal and empowered society through her work with the Coalition for Adolescent Girls.

Meridith Gould, Program Lead

Dr. Meridith Gould has 20 years of experience working as an educator, youth development worker, technical advisor, professor and researcher focusing on the social and emotional well-being girls and adolescents both domestically and internationally. She has a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution with a concentration on under-served at-risk adolescent girls.   She currently works as in an independent consultant with numerous NGO’s including (UNICEF, World Bank, World Vision, Room to Read, FHI-360, RTI, USAID, Population Council etc.) advising them on how to design, implement and measure gender, education and psychosocial based interventions. Some of her past roles include, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) technical advisor for IRC, Director of Youth Violence Prevention for AJC, Senior Advisor for Cool Girls and Director of Diversity Education and Training for the College of Charleston. She also serves as faculty at Trinity-DC teaching a graduate course in the School of Education. Dr. Gould is a founding member of the Social and Emotional Learning Community of Practice and participates as a member in various expert reference groups on SRGBV, peace education, girls education, (EIE) education in emergencies and (LSE) life skills education.