Coco Culhane is the founder and director of the Veteran Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center. She is an adjunct professor of clinical law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches the Veterans' Rights Clinic. Culhane sits on Senator Gillibrand's Service Academy Selection Committee, a panel that makes recommendations for the senator's academy nominations, and she is also a founding advisor to the NYC Veterans Alliance. From 2011-2013 she was an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the CIGNA Foundation and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. She was formerly on the Steering Committee of the Veterans' Mental Health Coalition and chaired the Communications Committee in New York City for two years. She has presented on veterans' legal issues and conducted trainings for attorneys, social workers, and students at conferences across the country. Culhane received a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, where she was the symposium editor of the Brooklyn Law Review and president of the student health law association. Prior to law school she was an editor at The New Republic for six years. She received a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University.
Oheneba Amponsah is the intake advocate at the Veteran Advocacy Project. He served in the United States Navy from 2006 to 2011, during which he deployed multiple times. Before joining VAP, Amponsah was an intake paralegal for the Legal Services NYC Access Line. He used the Post-9/11 GI Bill at CUNY Hunter College, where he received his B.A. in Special Honors and Political Science.
Art C. Cody is the director of criminal law at Veteran Advocacy Project. Captain Cody, USN (Retired), is a graduate of West Point, has a Master’s Degree from the University of Southern California, and graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame Law School. Cody first served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, followed by similar service in the Navy Reserve. Most recently, he was mobilized for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2011, serving for one year at the United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, as Staff Director of the Interagency Rule of Law Section. For his Afghan service, he received the Bronze Star Medal and the State Department Meritorious Service Award. He retired from the Navy in 2012 after 30 years of service. As a civilian lawyer, he has represented criminal defendants for over 15 years. He is a recipient of the Thurgood Marshall Award for Capital Representation from the New York City Bar Association.
Shakil M. Khan is the fiscal director of the Veteran Advocacy Project and a Senior Accounting Manager at Rising Ground. Shakil grew up in the vibrant cultures of both Bangladesh and New York. He completed his Bachelor of Business Administration at Pace University, Lubin School of Business, finished his Masters at Brooklyn College’s Murray Kopelman School of Business, and is working on his CPA license. Shakil’s passion resides in working with underserved communities to reduce socioeconomic and cultural barriers, leading to fuller lives.
Curreen Luongo is the justice outreach advocate at the Veteran Advocacy Project. Luongo started as the intake advocate at VAP before transitioning to working with justice-involved veterans at Rikers and in Veteran Treatment Courts around New York City. Prior to VAP she was a research assistant at the Center for Psychological Services in Fairfax, Virginia. Luongo spent a summer fellowship at National Defense University’s Military Fitness Lab at Fort McNair. There she aided research studies that examined mental health, quality of life, and resilience in servicemembers. Curreen has a B.A. in Psychology from George Mason University and is currently working on her masters at Columbia University.
Melissa A. Molfetas is the supervising attorney of the Veteran Advocacy Project. She is an adjunct professor in the Veterans Justice Clinic at New York Law School and a member of the NYC Bar Association’s Military Affairs & Justice Committee. Before joining VAP, Melissa was the coordinating attorney of the Veteran’s Practice at the New York Legal Assistance Group where she trained staff and pro bono volunteers and represented veterans in benefits and housing matters. From 2014 – 2016 Melissa served as an Equal Justice Works Americorps Legal Fellow at Legal Assistance of Western New York. From 2008 – 2016, Melissa played saxophone in the 42nd Infantry Division Band of the NY Army National Guard. She was a Filene Music Scholar at Skidmore College and received her B.A. in Government & Dance in 2008. She received her J.D. from CUNY School of Law in 2014, where she was a member of the Trial Team and Moot Court.