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2015-2016 CHCI Fellows

CHCI welcomed the 2015-2016 CHCI Graduate (GFP) and Public Policy Fellows (PPF) on August 17 to Washington, D.C. The combined GFP and PPF classes represent seven different Hispanic heritages and come from 12 states. This diversity—and the combination of 14 different fields of study—makes the CHCI Fellowship Program an ideal environment for our participants to polish their leadership skills, learn about the world of public policy, and develop a solid network of peers through the CHCI Alumni Association.

Detailed Demographics:

2015-2016 Graduate Fellows

Randy Abreu

Sara Agate

Mateus Baptista

Heydi Correa-Encarnación

Sara Garcia

Arnold López

Alejandra Montoya-Boyer

Elisa Morales

Amber Seira

Gabriela Sosa

 

2015-2016 Public Policy Fellows

Jessica Barragan

Luis De Paz

Ernesto Espin

Elias Flamenco Rivera

Jazmin García

 Anabel Maldonado

Marlin Martes

Maria Moscoso

Guillermo Ortiz

Jessica Rodas

Matthew Rodriguez


2015-2016 Graduate Fellows 

Randy Abreu
CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Law Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Bronx, New York
School: Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Degree: Juris Doctor
Placement: U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary

Randy Abreu was born and raised in the Bronx, New York to parents from the Dominican Republic. Randy earned his Bachelor’s degree in history and Latin American studies from Skidmore College in 2011 and his J.D. in 2014 from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

While attending Thomas Jefferson, Randy was an honor roll student, director of academics for the Student Bar Association, and member of the Moot Court Honor Society competing in the Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition.  Following his second year of law school, Randy was selected as a Google Policy Fellow and worked as a law clerk for the National Hispanic Media Coalition on various policies, regulations, and legislative issues that would shape a modern digital culture.  Randy’s experiences here facilitated his passion to help develop legislation in favor of building the technological and digital capacity to improve society.  

As a CHCI Law Graduate Fellow, Randy seeks to build on his background in history, law, society, and the Internet, in order to write policies informed by the negative technological implications of the past in order to promote a progressive and sustainable future for all Americans.  He is grateful for the opportunity and will immerse himself in the everyday tasks of our present day lawmakers in hopes of one day becoming a legislator himself.
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Sara Agate
CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Preventative Health Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Degree: M.P.H. Health Policy and Administration
Placement: Office of Rep. Xavier Becerra

Sara Agate is a Mexican-Sicilian American and Illinois native. Sara graduated in 2011 on the Dean’s list from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with her B.A. in political science. She later returned to her alma mater and earned her M.P.H. in health policy and administration in 2014. Sara also completed academic programs in Argentina, and Kenya where she promoted the advancement of reproductive rights for women and children through the Federation of Woman Lawyers. More recently, Sara worked with ADVI, a boutique healthcare consulting firm in Washington, D.C.

While attending UIC, Sara served as a student senator and in leadership with the Health Oriented Latino Association, Minority Students for the Advancement of Public Health, and The Anhelo Project. Her involvement allowed her the opportunity to represent Latinos, other under-represented populations, and students. She later assisted in the development of healthy eating curricula and a state-wide action plan for Latinos through a research assistantship, and served as a Clinical Research Coordinator for a multi-site urban study focused on the biological and environmental factors associated with prostate cancer. Sara has been recognized for her service and leadership through UIC and the University of Illinois Alumni Association.

Since moving to D.C., Sara continues to mentor youth and joined the Service to Justice Movement 2016 conference planning efforts. As a CHCI Health Graduate Fellow, Sara is excited to build upon her advocacy and policy experience while on Capitol Hill. She hopes to expand her abilities to engage and empower policy makers and communities to promote the a socially just healthcare system.

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Mateus Baptista
CHCI-McDonald’s Higher Education Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Newark, New Jersey
School:Brown University
Degree: M.A. Urban Education Policy
Placement: Office of Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Mateus Baptista was born in Brazil and moved to Newark, New Jersey at the age of eight. A graduate of Brown University, Mateus graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in international relations in 2014 and recently attained his M.A. in urban education policy.

Mateus’s interest in higher education access and education reform stems from the time he served as a member of the Newark Board of Education during his senior year of high school. While at Brown, Mateus consulted on a project to develop a college-going culture for a school district in California. Since too few students were attending four-year post-secondary institutions upon graduation, Mateus spoke with several stakeholders to identify challenges and opportunities as the district aimed to better support Latino students in the college-going process. As a result, the district has restructured its guidance staff and is reassessing its graduation requirements.

As a CHCI Higher Education Graduate Fellow, Mateus hopes to learn more about the national higher education policy landscape, paying particular attention to minority representation in the nation’s most selective universities. Mateus is committed to ensuring higher education is accessible as a fundamental right to all students.

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Heydi Correa-Encarnación
CHCI-DaVita Health Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Bloomington, Indiana
School: Indiana University School of Public Health
Degrees: M.P.H. Behavioral, Social and Community Health
Placement: Office of Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

Heydi Correa-Encarnación was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and moved to Bloomington, Indiana at the age of nine. Heydi graduated as a 21st Century Scholar from Indiana University (IU) in 2010 with a B.A. in sociology and Spanish, and minors in Latino studies and public health.  She returned to IU to complete her M.P.H. in behavioral, social, and community health, where she graduated in May 2015.

Raised in a home of health professionals, Heydi was exposed to various aspects of the health care industry from an early age. As a scholar and public health practitioner, she has focused her efforts on health prevention and promotion initiatives for underserved Latino communities in Indiana, particularly through state health care systems and grassroots organizations.

Heydi has worked to uplift community members and elevate cultural competency through her involvement with organizations such as La Casa, City of Bloomington, Monroe County Community School Corporation ESL programs, and El Centro Comunal Latino.  In 2012, Heydi became the only bilingual HIV health educator in Southern Indiana through the IU Health Bienestar Latino Project, serving a total of seven counties in providing HIV education, testing and counseling. Through Bienestar and several other subsequent opportunities, Heydi was able to develop a strong rapport with local Latino leaders and advocate for inclusive health care policies. Heydi has served on the advisory board of Bienestar, and was a board member for El Centro Comunal Latino and a health needs assessment researcher for Monroe County.

As a CHCI Health Graduate Fellow, Heydi looks forward to expanding her knowledge and professional experience within state and federal health regulations. Heydi plans to continue advocating for inclusive health care policies, while adopting multi-regional and international strategies proven effective for underrepresented communities.

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Sara Garcia
CHCI Higher Education Graduate Fellow
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
School: University of Texas at San Antonio
Degree: M.S. Experimental Psychology
Placement: U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions

Sara Garcia was born and raised in South Texas. She is the daughter of a migrant farm worker, and a rancher, both of whom are first-generation Americans and college graduates. Sara earned her B.A. in psychology from Boston University in 2012 and her M.S. in psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2014. Sara is currently pursuing her Ph.D. program in education policy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As an undergraduate, Sara served on the Boston University Admissions Student Diversity Board and assisted with research with the BU College of Education, where she worked to increase diversity on campus, facilitate minority outreach in South Texas, and build a capacity for educational research. In her master’s program, she focused on the influence of gender and culture on nutritional habits among Hispanic pre-adolescents. She also worked at a local youth alternative home, and as a caregiver and tutor, which fueled her passion to improve access to higher education for minority youth. As a Ph.D. student, Sara has worked as a graduate research assistant for the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL).

As a CHCI Higher Education Fellow, Sara seeks to enhance her knowledge of education policy and ways in which educational research can be utilized in the policy-making process to improve the success of Latinos at post-secondary institutions. Sara is determined to utilize the skills she gains through her time in Washington D.C. to aide in her efforts to promote degree attainment among Latinos.

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Arnold López
CHCI-Wells Fargo Housing Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Lennox, California
School: University of California, Los Angeles
Degree: M.A. Urban & Regional Planning
Placement: U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget

Arnold López is a Mexican-American from Lennox, California, located just a stone’s throw away from the Los Angeles International Airport. Arnold earned his B.A. in Latin American studies and mass communication from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2010. He returned to his alma mater to pursue his M.A. in urban and regional planning, with a concentration in transportation and housing, graduating in May 2015.

Arnold has managed anti-violence programming in Los Angeles, assisted with outreach strategies to minority populations – including women, non-English speakers, and persons with disabilities – and consulted on transportation planning initiative for low-income communities. Arnold’s professional and academic experience has provided him with an eclectic background in community development and driven his motivation to continue pursuing solutions to issues of urban planning.

Also having worked with the AFL-CIO, Arnold has strengthened his research and advocacy experience around immigrant labor rights and protections, particularly under executive orders Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and, prospectively, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA).

As a CHCI Housing Graduate Fellow, Arnold hopes to utilize both his didactic training and his set of tools learned from his professional experiences to advance national legislation on affordable housing and economic development for low-income communities.

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Alejandra Montoya-Boyer
CHCI Secondary Education Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Schools/Degrees: M.A. Teaching in Bilingual Education. Universidad de Alcalá, Instituto Franklin; M.A. Instructional Technology and Media, Columbia University
Placement: Office of Rep. Ben Ray Luján

Alejandra Montoya-Boyer is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She attended New York University (NYU), where she obtained her B.A. in politics and Latino studies, with a minor in mathematics.

At NYU, Alejandra was involved with the L.U.C.H.A. student organization and the Latino Studies student executive board. In college and graduate school, Alejandra worked as a math and science tutor for Mexican-American ESL students through the Mexican-American Students’ Alliance in New York City. She also spent seven years working in the technology sector at Apple Inc. and the Guggenheim Museum’s IT department in Manhattan.

Her commitment to social justice led her to pursue her studies in education, particularly focused on creating opportunities for Latino students interested in STEM fields. While working at the Guggenheim Museum, she also attended Teachers College at Columbia University, where she earned her M.A. in educational technology and media. While at Columbia, Alejandra was involved with the Coalition of Latino/a Scholars. She also helped produce “The Conversation,” a student-led web series dedicated to discussing social issues within education pertaining to race, gender, undocumented students, and homophobia.  Alejandra also worked with the Critical Race Studies in Education Association as a Graduate Student Program Chair and web designer.

Alejandra has spent the past year in Madrid, Spain teaching English and earning her M.A. in teaching in bilingual education from the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. As a CHCI Graduate Fellow, Alejandra hopes to gain insight into policy making and the legislative process so she can work effectively for Latinos in Washington, D.C. and for her community back home.

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Elisa Morales
CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Nutritional Health Graduate Fellow
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
School: Texas A&M University – San Antonio
Degree: Master of Business Administration
Placement: Office of Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Elisa has spent her career serving Latino communities in the areas of health and education, with a strong background in direct patient care and a robust understanding of the effect of policy on communities. Elisa earned her B.A. in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2007 and later her M.B.A from Texas A&M University – San Antonio in 2012. Between completing her B.A. and beginning her M.B.A., Elisa completed an internship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and participated in a mentorship project for low-income students through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.

Elisa held a five-year research position at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), where she worked on various community based projects and studies. She worked with a project focused on providing expert health care access via tele-medicine to pre-diabetic youth in Starr County, one of the poorest counties in the country at the time. Elisa later worked on a project through the National Institute of Health, which funded the Treatment Options for type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents & Youth (TODAY) study. The largest longitudinal study of its kind, the TODAY study sought to evaluate the efficacy of different medical interventions for youth with Type II Diabetes Mellitus. Elisa continued navigating the health care industry and moved on to the private sector, where she worked to educate local San Antonio patients on end-of-life care. Most recently, she has served as a community liaison to El Paso law enforcement, school districts, hospitals, and other health care providers.

Elisa was also selected as part of the Emerging Leadership Institute through the National Latina Health Network, through which her team placed twice (3rd and 2nd) in the Free Trade Alliance International Business Plan Competition in Washington, D.C., where her team created business plans for a medical start-up pioneering non-invasive breast cancer imaging and a Latino-owned company that does quality assurance for photovoltaic panels.

Elisa looks forward to the CHCI Health Graduate Fellowship as an avenue to becoming an active participant in health policy-making and to better understand the systemic mechanisms that affect health care providers.

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Amber Seira
CHCI-Motorola STEM Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Santa Rosa, California
School: Indiana University
Degree: M.P.A. Information Systems and Non-Profit Management
Placement: Office of Rep. Cedric Richmond

Amber Seira’s passions include leveraging technology policy to advance access and attainment opportunities for Hispanic and low-income communities.  Amber earned her B.A. in public affairs from The Ohio State University and her M.P.A. from Indiana University, where she focused on information systems and non-profit management.

Amber began writing computer codes as a hobby at age 14 and enjoys graphic design. The daughter of a Mexican immigrant, Amber’s bicultural heritage and experiences as a first-generation college student solidified her dedication to advocacy. While at Ohio State, Amber was committed to improving the post-secondary education experience for Latino students, which led her to co-found the Latino Student Association. Her subsequent involvement in other campus groups would eventually lead to her recognition by the university as an Outstanding Senior, a select distinction for graduating seniors.

Amber has held fellowships with the Columbus Foundation and the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division at the U.S. Department of Education. Amber has also completed Americorps service at the Bloomington Boys and Girls Club, and later worked with the Latino Economic Development Center, where she individually built a database for the Minneapolis nonprofit to efficiently measure client services and monitor program retention.

As a CHCI STEM Graduate Fellow, Amber will be eager to apply public management and data systems principles while learning more about the legislative process that influences information security. She aspires to bridge the technological policy gaps between private citizens, community nonprofits, and government agencies.

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Gabriela Sosa
CHCI-API Energy Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Brownsville, Texas
School: Texas A&M University
Degrees: Ph.D. Candidate in Ecosystem Science and Management, M.S. Rangeland Ecology and Management
Placement: U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources

Gabriela Sosa is committed to promoting sustainable land management practices and conservation. Gabriela was born and raised in South Texas. She earned her B.S. in environmental science from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her M.S. in rangeland ecology and management from Texas A&M University. Gabriela is currently a Ph.D. candidate completing her doctoral dissertation in ecosystem science and management from Texas A&M University.

While in graduate school, Gabriela served as president of the Hispanic/Latino Graduate Student Association and as the departmental representative in the Graduate Student Council. She also established the Society for Ecological Restoration Student Guild at Texas A&M University, whose mission is to engage students, professors, and scientists in the practice and science of the repair and management of ecological systems. In addition, Gabriela has interned with the U.S. Forest Service, which exposed her to policy issues related to grazing management, landscape ecology, restoration, watershed management, and climate change.  

Gabriela was awarded a doctoral scholarship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and she was selected as a doctoral fellow in the Hispanic Leaders in Agriculture and the Environment Program. Gabriela was also selected as the Master’s Student of the Year by the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University, an award presented to the student who has demonstrated outstanding research in ecosystem management. As an undergraduate, Gabriela was awarded the College of Science Presidential Scholarship at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has also been a National Science Foundation international research fellow at the National University of Singapore.

Gabriela realizes that a multidisciplinary approach is needed to solve today’s environmental issues. As a CHCI Energy Graduate Fellow, she aspires to gain valuable insight on federal policies related to energy and natural resources. With her continued active involvement in the field of ecology, she also hopes to promote greater environmental awareness among Hispanics in America’s border regions and throughout our nation.

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  2015-2016 Public Policy Fellows

Jessica Barragan
CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Pre-Law Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Stratford, Connecticut
School: Cornell University
Degree:
B.A. Government and Sociology
Placement: Office of Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Jessica Barragan was born in a small town in Connecticut and raised by Ecuadorian immigrant parents. She recently graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with a B.A. in government and sociology and with minors in law and society, inequality studies, and Spanish. With the goal of completing research under sociology of law and contributing to socio-legal studies, her honors thesis focused on how juror bias negatively impacts Hispanic defendants in criminal jury trials in four urban counties.

During her time at Cornell, Jessica was heavily involved in the Latino community in various capacities. She served two years as the co-president of La Asociación Latina, which is the umbrella organization for Latino organizations on campus. She was also the captain of the Spanish Debate team, program assistant for the Committee on U.S.-Latin American relations, English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor through the Friends of Farmworkers program, and member of the Cornell Latino Ivy League delegation. She also traveled with the Global Law and Human Rights Brigade to help provide legal assistance to members of an impoverished community in Darién, Panama.

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Jessica aims to gain firsthand experience in understanding the role of the federal government in delivering critical services to Latinos across the country. She also hopes to develop the skills necessary to become an effective advocate for social change. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in law and further empower the next generation of Latinos.

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Luis De Paz
CHCI-Altria Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: San Francisco, California
School:
San Francisco State University
Degree:
B.A. Latin American Studies
Placement:
Office of Rep. Raúl Grijalva

Luis Alberto De Paz was born in Mexico City and arrived at the young age of 11 to South San Francisco. The son of Mexican immigrants, Luis grew up looking after his two younger sisters while working and pursuing his goal of being the first in his family to earn a college degree.

Luis grew up in a close-knit community which facilitated his passion for helping the community. As an undergraduate student, Luis was involved in many student organizations, including student government, where he served as Vice President of Finance. Luis enjoyed being involved, because it gave him the opportunity to advocate for his peers and make a difference. He was also part of the A.B. 540/Undocumented Task Force and has been active in advocating for the creation of a Student Resource Center for DREAMERS on campus.

Luis hopes to learn more about the policy-making process during his time as a CHCI Public Policy Fellow. He also hopes to build a strong network and grow as a professional Latino in order to empower future generations and fight the injustices that many communities face in today’s world.

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Ernesto Espin
CHCI-AARP Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Nutley, New Jersey
School: New Jersey City University
Degree: B.S. International Business
Placement: Office of Sen. Cory Booker

Ernesto Alejandro Espin was born in Quito, Ecuador and came to the United States at the age of 15. As a scholarship recipient from the Juventud Ecuatoriana Scholarship Fund, the New Jersey City University Foundation, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, he completed his B.S. in international business with a minor in political science from New Jersey City University in 2014.

Ernesto’s commitment to public policy and international affairs stems from his youth, when he witnessed his parents and sister’s involvement – empowering, educating, and caring for those who needed the most in rural and indigenous areas in his native Ecuador. His family planted a seed of service in his heart and a spirit of commitment for global responsiveness through the rest of his life.

During his time at New Jersey City University, Ernesto became involved as a student senator, a student ambassador, a peer mentor, and President of the National Society of Leadership and Success. He has remained involved in his community as a New Jersey Governor’s Hispanic Fellow and the Institute of Latin American Art & Culture. Ernesto has also interned with the Ecuadorian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, where he became passionate about peacekeeping operations, humanitarian and development programs in the United Nations, and the role of a civil society in the world. Ernesto was also selected to be part of the 2014 New American Leaders Project, which was key in establishing his interest in public policy and public service.

As a CHCI Fellow, he plans to enhance his understanding of social responsibility, sustainable policy-making, and human rights advocacy. He looks forward to contributing to a more cognizant political and global community, and inspiring others to be catalysts of change.

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Elias Flamenco Rivera
CHCI-NY Life Foundation Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
School: Towson University
Degree: B.A. International Studies
Placement: U.S. House Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Elias was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. As a teenager, he permanently immigrated to Silver Spring, MD to reunite with his parents.  Coming from a low-income working family facing day-to-day challenges, he learned English and was the first in his family to earn a college degree. Elias is a 2013 graduate of Towson University, where he studies international studies and anthropology.

During his undergraduate career, he gained great insight of critical issues affecting historically marginalized communities.  His humble upbringing did not only provide him with first-hand experience on these issues, but it also gave him an incentive to advocate on campus for ideals close to home, such as immigration reform and creating awareness around human-induced environmental degradation.

Elias has worked for the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), a constituency group of the AFL-CIO, which represents the interests of approximately two million Latino trade unionists in the United States and Puerto Rico. Through his work at LCLAA, he has gained extensive experience within the labor movement and a strong understanding of the role of unions, community education, and issue-based engagement for working Latino families. His work at LCLAA has helped him learn the importance of civic participation on the local, state, and federal levels for the social, political, and economic advancement of low-income and racial/ethnic minorities.

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, he hopes to gain a greater understanding of the legislative process and its impact on the Latino community, as well as ways in which to encourage Latino families to be proactive in human rights discourse at a domestic and global scale.

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Jazmin García
CHCI-SEIU Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: San Diego, California
School: University of San Diego
Degree: B.A. Political Science
Placement: Office of Rep. Juan Vargas

Born in San Diego, Jazmin Garcia was raised with a strong connection to her community across borders. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, she is a first-generation college graduate, earning her B.A. in political science from the University of San Diego. Raised in a working- class environment, by strong, independent women— her upbringing serves as a foundation for her diligent character and her passion for equality in all forms.

Jazmin’s first exposure to politics was with her high school’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, where she served as executive officer and volunteered her time at local American Legion Posts. She would go on to become an active student leader at the University of San Diego, where she participated in international programs and leadership workshops that worked towards collaboration and catalyzing global change. Through one program in particular, The Equalizers, Jazmin engaged with high school students in Makuleke, South Africa to develop their leadership skills and aid their efforts to promote equal education in South Africa. Jazmin also worked closely with the United Front Multicultural Center and Sigma Theta Psi Multicultural Sorority to promote a diverse and inclusive environment, where students and student leaders could feel empowered to become change agents for social justice.

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Jazmin hopes to understand ways in which efficient policy is crafted, and how foreign affairs and diplomacy serves as a driver for becoming a public servant.

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Anabel Maldonado
CHCI-Chevron Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
School: Arizona State University
Degree: B.A. Political Science
Placement: Office of Rep. Ruben Gallego

Anabel Maldonado is first-generation Mexican born in Phoenix, where she finished her B.A. in political science at Arizona State University (ASU) in 2013.

Her education at ASU and her close proximity to the border made her aware of a much larger human rights crisis at a young age.  As an undergraduate student, Anabel’s work near the Arizona-Mexico border led her to conduct comparative research on borders around the world.  Immediately after graduating, she joined the American University in Cairo as a research assistant, which opened her eyes to an even larger international migration crisis. Since her time in Egypt, Anabel has become a powerful voice in Arizona, where she has advocated for workers’ rights, equal wages, and a civic-minded community as an organizer for a grassroots organization.  

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Anabel hopes to learn and maneuver through bureaucracies in order to be the strong voice her community needs.

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Marlin Martes
CHCI-BP STEM Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Bronx, New York
School: Fordham University
Degree: B.A. Environmental Science
Placement: U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

Marlin Martes was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Growing up in New York City, she developed a profound interest in the social and environmental issues impacting urban areas. A Higher Education Opportunity Program Scholar, Marlin graduated from Fordham University with her B.A. in environmental policy, with a concentration in sustainable business and environmental design.

During her undergraduate career, Marlin became involved as a mentor for Club Amigas, a Bronx-based program which aims to address the needs of underprivileged Latina youth inside and outside the classroom. Her love for the Hispanic community and environmental awareness also led her to intern for agencies like WXTV 41 Univision and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). She aided the DEP’s “Water on the Go” campaign, educating New York City residents and tourists on the city’s water resources and preventative habits they could adopt to avoid water resource pollution.

Academically, she enrolled in environmental courses allowing her to research and help develop solutions for distressed coral reef ecosystems. Marlin also helped develop a site plan to improve storm water runoff management using green infrastructure on Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus.

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Marlin hopes to witness firsthand how different levels of government collaborate to solve and prevent environmental issues, particularly in low-income urban communities. Her desire is to aid in crafting greener cities for the generations of today and securing non-renewable resources for the generations of tomorrow.
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Maria Moscoso
CHCI-Coca-Cola Foundation Public Policy Fellow
Hometown:
Miami, Florida
School:
Smith College
Degree:
B.A. Economics
Placement:
Office of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Maria Moscoso was born in Ecuador and immigrated to Miami, Florida at the age of six. As an immigrant and former potential DREAMer, Maria had advocated for immigration and social justice. She graduated cum laude from Smith College in 2015, where she earned her B.A. in economics after transferring from the Honors College at Miami-Dade College in 2013.

Maria’s interest in immigration and social justice prompted her to fight for undocumented students’ rights both in Miami, Florida and Northampton, Massachusetts. Maria learned the value of activism and organized grassroots campaigns through her involvement in student-led social justice organizations focused on undocumented students’ rights, like Students Working for Equal Rights and Organizing for Undocumented Students’ Rights.

Inspired by her participation in the Salzburg Global Citizenship Seminar and the Dubai Women’s Leadership Seminar, Maria has developed an interest in international affairs and human rights. Her recent position as a Parliamentary Intern with the National Assembly of Ecuador has also informed her on how mediation can resolve issues of regional security and foreign policy.

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Maria hopes to increase minority representation in public policy spaces, particularly among Latinas, while learning how policy impacts marginalized communities on a global scale.

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Guillermo Ortiz
CHCI-Shell STEM Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: South Orange, New Jersey
School: Johns Hopkins University
Degree: B.A. Global Environmental Change & Sustainability
Placement: Office of Sen. Robert Menendez

Guillermo Ortiz was born and raised in New Jersey, and is an avid supporter of his home state. Growing up in South Orange, he developed a profound interest in the energy sector and environmental issues. Guillermo earned his B.A. in global environmental change and sustainability from Johns Hopkins University in 2014, where his capstone paper highlighted the impacts of climate change and implications for the New Jersey coastline.

After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, Guillermo interned with the Office of Congressman Jim Costa, where he focused his passion for environmental policy. More recently, Guillermo worked with a private sustainability consulting firm – Third Partners, LLC – where he worked with high-growth commercial and nonprofit clients to implement innovative sustainability programs.

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Guillermo wants to learn how to better engage the Latino community to collaborate to solve and prevent environmental issues. Guillermo’s ultimate goal is to bring people together to develop sustainable solutions to the complex environmental, social, and economic issues facing the world today.
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Jessica Rodas
CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Health Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas
School: University of Missouri-Kansas City
Degree: B.A. Health Science
Placement: Office of Rep. Raul Ruiz

As a first-generation college student, Jessica graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a B.A. in health science and a minor in political science.  Immigrants from El Salvador, her parents instilled in her a passion for hard work, community service, and diversity.

Jessica is interested in the intersection of public health and policy implications for community-based organizations. She is also passionate about empowering communities through education and civic engagement.  Jessica’s interest in promoting public health and civil liberties among Latinos has fueled her academic and research interests, particularly in evaluating how public health organizations engage with their Latino constituency. In addition, she has served as an instructor and counselor for the University of Kansas School of Medicine’s K-12 Initiative, promoting academic enrichment among inner-city students from Kansas City.  Jessica later interned with the Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) Clinic at the University of Kansas School of Law, where she experienced the inner workings of the MLP response in the integration of healthcare, public health, and civil legal aid to treat and prevent health-harming legal needs for communities.

Jessica is also interested in promoting digital literacy, having participated in a corporate community leadership program, which allowed her to empower Kansas City’s diverse population by connecting individuals and organizations to local libraries and other resources.

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Jessica looks forward to learning more about the policy-making process and its impact on health policy and community empowerment. She also hopes to continue developing as a leader and learn how to promote civic engagement and accessibility of education across diverse communities.

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Matthew Rodriguez
CHCI-Google Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
School:
The University of Texas at Austin
Degree:
B.A. English
Placement:
 U.S. House Democratic Caucus, Chairman Xavier Becerra

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Matthew graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2015 with a B.A. in English. Throughout college, he accumulated a wealth of professional experience that taught him invaluable lessons about the workplace beyond his education at the university.

Matthew is interested in learning how he can work through public policy and the law to champion meaningful change in education, voter protection, LGBTQ equality and immigration. Through the pursuit of law school and ultimately public office, Matthew hopes to learn ways in which to advocate for positive change for the Latino and LGBTQ communities and their allies.

Matthew has conducted research specific to teenage pregnancy for former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative and helped organize then-State Representative Joaquín Castro’s Literacy Fair for the inner city’s west side. At present, he continues his volunteerism as an invested advocate for the LGBTQ community, through Equality Texas and the Human Rights Campaign, and as an aid to lawful permanent residents who pursue citizenship through workshops by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund.

As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Matthew hopes to become more familiar with public policy at the national level, develop a greater sense of social responsibility, and reinforce his identity as a Latino in order to become a more impactful leader.

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