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Our Staff

Melissa Murray, Executive Director

Pronouns: she/her

Melissa Murray is a queer mama and a social justice activist. She has worked in a variety of social justice movements, including anti-violence, racial justice, reproductive health, and queer rights. In Ohio, she worked with LGBTQ students at the Ohio State University, and provided sober support to queer women in recovery. Melissa holds a BA in Women’s Studies and a Masters in Social Work, both from the Ohio State University. Outside of work, Melissa is an avid hiker and climber and loves exploring Vermont. Melissa is excited to bring her talents to Outright Vermont to work with and on behalf of queer youth.

Five fun facts about Melissa:

  1. I have three hilarious children.
  2. I have climbed fifteen mountains in the last two years and look forward to more mountain climbing as often as possible.
  3. I am terrified of bees. Know what that phobia is called? Melissophobia.
  4. I can read a book in a day if I like it well enough (no matter how long it is). Favorite book? Probably Harry Potter (all of them).
  5. It would take me more than a month to listen to all the songs on my iPod. Best Album of all time? 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields.

Contact Melissa at ed@outrightvt.org


Micah Barritt, Director of Programs

Pronouns: he/him

After living outside of Vermont for 12 years, Micah moved back to his hometown and joined the Outright family. Micah grew up in Burlington and studied studio art at Smith College. He has spent the past four years working in elementary schools in Oakland, CA and Portland, OR. You can find Micah in the youth drop-in space, at Friday Night group, or working hard to plan next year’s Camp Outright with the Common Ground Center. When not at Outright, Micah is usually riding his bike (while wearing a helmet, of course!), playing sports, or reading a young adult novel.

Five Fun Facts  about Micah: 

  1. I play ice hockey.
  2. In the past 5 years I have ridden over 15,000 miles on my bicycle.
  3. I have a list of 40 things I want to do by the time I’m 40. Some are big, like: build a house. And some are silly, such as: wear a disguise so good it fools someone who knows me or touch the bottom of an elephant’s foot.
  4. If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I would choose sandwiches.
  5. I love to sew. Animal costumes are my specialty.

Micah can be reached at micah@outrightvt.org


Dana Kaplan, Director of Educationdana

Pronouns: he/him, they/them, or Dana!

As the Director of Education, I seem to wear many hats… which suits me well as a person who likes to have lots of options! I got my graduate degree in Mediation and Applied Conflict Studies, and that lens of question-asker and relationship-builder is definitely woven into how I approach the world.

Five Fun Facts about Dana:

  1. I have a twin brother (Yes, I am older. By 2.5 minutes. Yes, he is also queer)!
  2. I like to ferment foods. If I ever started a business, I decided I’d call it “pickled pink”
  3. I play in an indie pop band that’s toured internationally and released 4 albums, but I’ve never actually thought of myself as a musician.
  4. In my free time, I like to give hair cuts. I’m good at table tennis. I like to make my bed every morning. I’m told I’m a phenomenal driver… on both sides of the road! And, I can be a rule-follower, but I prefer to stretch them when I can.
  5. I’d rather go up a mountain than go down it.

Dana can be reached at dana@outrightvt.org


Emma Makdessi, Camp Outright Coordinator

Pronouns:  She/her

Emma loves traveling, adventure, working with youth, and the camp life. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in International Studies. After graduating from college, she served for 2 years with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, where she worked with numerous non-profits on the west coast. Emma has been doing diversity education and youth leadership development with Community Tampa Bay and their ANYTOWN™ program for 12 years; currently, she is their Outreach Coordinator. You can also find Emma climbing at the YMCA where she works as the Ropes Course Coordinator. Emma loves Camp Outright and is looking forward to joining the Outright team.

Five Fun Facts about Emma: 

1. You can always find me listening to music and sometimes it’s the same song on repeat.

2. I’ve been skydiving twice and want to eventually complete a solo jump.

3. I love the outdoors and the beach at night and laying in hammocks.

4. I have a puppy named Toby-he made me a dog/animal person.

5. I crave adventure and am always down to road trip or travel.

Emma can be reached at Emma@outrightvt.org


Amanda Rohdenburg, Director of Advocacy & Director of Events and Marketing

Pronouns: She/her

I am a rock-climbing, tarot-consulting gourmand on the search for delicious.  I earned a BA in Gender Studies and Political Science from Saint Michael’s College and have spent the past three years advocating for victims of sexual, domestic, and teen dating violence with Voices Against Violence in Franklin and Grand Isle counties.  Together with my stalwart canine side-kick Max and the magnanimous help of some other folks I know, we confront squirrels and injustice fearlessly.

5 Fun Facts About Amanda:

1. I can whistle with an acorn top!

2. I make a great Hollandaise

3. But ironically have some trouble poaching an egg

4. I always ask Max how his day was

5. The two of us would be serious contenders in a Treats and Snoozin’ Olympics”

Amanda can be reached at Amanda@outrightvt.org


Valerie Woodhouse, MSW Intern

Pronouns: She/her

Valerie gets to spend a year with Outright during her first year in the UVM masters of social work program. She moved to Vermont two years ago, after studying sociology and creative writing in Philadelphia. She is passionate about social justice and has worked as a community organizer for several groups and movements, including eco-justice, affordable housing, LGBTQA+ rights, and migrant justice. During her undergrad, she worked with Refuge, a student-run club that focused gender, education & advocacy, and support for the LGBTQA+ community. Aside from her studies, Valerie loves gardening, farm animals, hula hooping, and spending time outside. She’s excited to learn and grow over this year with youth and the team at Outright.

Five fun facts about Valerie:
1. I really love animals. I’ve had chicks, piglets, ducks, and baby goats living in my house before.
2. I enjoy (almost) every genre of music, especially live.
3. I can’t wink, but can wiggle my ears.
4. I eat chocolate everyday, very few exceptions.
5. My favorite group activity, any time of year, is sitting around a campfire.

Valerie can be reached at swintern@outrightvt.org