2019 Truman Scholars

You are here

Congratulations to the 2019 Truman Scholars! In 2019, we selected 62 outstanding college students from 58 institutions as Truman Scholars. Read more about them in our Press Release.

The Foundation reviewed 840 files from 346 institutions. Students were nominated by their institution based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement. Our Finalist Selection Committee selected 199 students from 143 institutions to interview with the Foundation’s Regional Review Panels between March 1 and April 5. The 2019 Truman Scholarship Finalists can be found here.

 

Salma Abdelrahman
Florida
Harvard University

Salma is an Egyptian-American raised in Miami, FL. Currently, Salma has a concentration in sociology and African American studies at Harvard College. In her curricular and co-curricular work, Salma aims to reimagine the criminal legal system. Serving as Advocacy Director for the Harvard Organization for Prison Education and Advocacy, she has worked to activate student energy and power in partnership with communities in order to advance efforts to dismantle the prison industrial complex. Salma also currently serves as the Vice President of the Phillips Brooks House Association, a student-run, community-based non-profit that strives for social justice, where she manages 80+ public service programs throughout Boston and Cambridge. In the summer of 2018, she was a community organizer for the Chicago Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers, organizing 3 Chicago Neighborhoods to successfully campaign for the creation of a community mental health center. Salma also served as a member of the Undergraduate Council, Harvard College’s student government, for 3 semesters. In this role, she pushed for the creation of a multicultural center. Salma published two columns for the Harvard Crimson as a space for public reflection around public service. Salma hopes to pursue a JD in order to continue her commitment to social justice.

Nooran Alhamdan
New Hampshire
University of New Hampshire

Nooran is passionate about telling the human story of refugees, drawing on her own background as the daughter and granddaughter of Palestinian refugees. Driven by her family’s story, Nooran has volunteered in refugee camps in Jordan and has interned at the United Nations Population Fund Agency. As President of the UNH Middle Eastern Cultural Association, Nooran has emphasized introducing cultures of the Middle East to campus, as shown in hosting conversations and cultural celebrations. She is an analytical economics and political science double major. She has also been involved in pursuing accountability for racial injustice on campus, in her role as a staff member at the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and an associate Chaplain at the Waysmeet Center, a community-based grassroots organization that seeks to provide sanctuary for the Durham community. Nooran received a competitive university grant to conduct research on refugee identity in Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan for the summer of 2019 and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in international development or Middle Eastern studies.

Larissa Alire
Iowa
Coe College

Larrisa is a Horatio Alger Scholar and first-generation Latina college student, majoring in political science with an emphasis in pre-law and social and criminal justice. Her first year at Coe, Larrisa founded Latinx, her college's first Latino organization, after witnessing the need for advocacy for Latino students during a tense political climate. Yet her largest passion lies with helping women and children. After witnessing generational domestic violence in her family, she vowed to change the violent cycles into powerful survivorship. She is dedicated to pursuing a legal career that is focused on helping young women and children receive justice from violent crimes such as domestic violence and sex trafficking.
 

Daisy Almonte
North Carolina
Duke University

Daisy, daughter of Mexican immigrants, studies public policy and sociology. With roots in rural North Carolina, she has been involved in farm work and has worked with a nonprofit called Student Action with Farmworkers since high school. Now, as voting member of the board of directors, she oversees leadership development programs for farmworker youth. While interning with the National Immigration Law Center, Daisy worked on the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign, a national coalition working to counter proposed changes to the federal immigration public charge rule that would create barriers for immigrants accessing essential public services. She serves as Vice President of Equity and Outreach for the Duke Student Government, where she works closely with administrators to address issues affecting the student body.


Alyssa Ashcraft
Texas
University of Texas

Alyssa is pursuing majors in government and humanities with a minor in Arabic and a certificate in public policy. As the daughter of two public school educators, she is passionate about issues relating to educational access and economic equity as they relate to marginalized communities. To combat financial inequality and food insecurity at UT, Alyssa spearheaded the creation of the UT Outpost, a free clothing and food resource for low-income students. She is also a Rapoport Service Scholar and has served as the Academic Affairs Chair for the College of Liberal Arts. Off campus, she is the youngest member of the Neighborhood Longhorn Board, a city-sponsored education organization dedicated to providing tutoring to all Title I schools in Austin. Her professional positions include interning with the Department of Education in the Office of Civil Rights and working as a legislative aide for Texas State Representative Mary Gonzalez. After graduation, Alyssa plans to pursue a joint JD and master’s in education policy with aspirations for a career in education law and advocacy.

Evan Avila
Maryland
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Evan is a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar studying economics and political science. He is passionate about solving the structural disadvantages that marginalized populations face when trying to achieve long-term financial security. Evan won a national research competition, the 2018 iOme Challenge, with policy solutions for gig workers who lack access to qualified retirement plans. He has since been invited to speak on the subject at several policy conferences, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As President and Site Manager of UMBC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, Evan deters predatory tax preparers by training students to prepare free income taxes for over 500 low-income households in the Baltimore area. Evan is also an Honors College member, Financial Literacy Education Committee board member and has interned at the U.S. Census Bureau and Treasury Department. After graduation, Evan intends to earn a dual JD/LLM in Taxation and pursue a public service career in tax and social insurance policy. In his free time, Evan can be found cooking, volunteering as an ESOL tutor, or educating classmates on how to save for their retirement.

Conner Bender
Oklahoma
University of Tulsa

Conner is double majoring in computer science and mathematics, while earning his master’s degree in cyber operations. He serves as Student Body President, a Board of Trustees member, President of Future Alumni Council, and founding president of the Rotaract Club. He is a Presidential Scholar, Stanford University Innovation Fellow, orientation leader, tour guide, triathlete and marathon runner-up. He started a meal swipe donation program and was awarded the prestigious Medicine Wheel Award for Community Service. He is a two-time teaching assistant for the University President and one of 10 U.S. undergraduates selected for a Fulbright Summer Institute in Scotland. He was named Outstanding Greek Leader of 2018 and has held several internships and research positions with the U.S. Government. He created a free iPad app that enhances word association and motor skills for people with disabilities and at Harvard helped create an emotion-based text reading application for blind Android users. A local nonprofit board member, a cappella singer in Phi Mu Alpha, and Ministry Team member for Reformed University Fellowship, he was selected to lobby for the Fraternal Governmental Relations Coalition. He also serves as the Philanthropy Committee Undergraduate Representative and Ritual Peer for the Sigma Chi International Fraternity while Vice President of his chapter. He serves on the Diversity Action Committee, Foundation of Excellence Committee, University Council, and Student Conduct Board. He is a notary public and is in the process of obtaining his private pilot license.

John Blessing
Georgia
University of North Georgia

John is a first-generation college student double majoring in political science and history with long term plans to earn a JD. When he is not working on his research project on democratic consolidation or leading organizations like Students for a Progressive Society, he is coordinating voter registration drives on his campus and raising awareness of local Georgia political issues. Off campus, John works alongside the Young Democrats and the Democrats of Hall County on local political campaigns and attends social justice protests ensuring all voices are represented. After the 2018 tumultuous gubernatorial campaign in the state of Georgia, his recent advocacy centers on defending the right to free and fair elections.

Sinclair Blue
District of Columbia
Georgetown University

Sinclair studies international relations, with a global health concentration. They served as Political Action Chair of the Georgetown NAACP Chapter and Community Outreach Chair for Georgetown University Women of Color. They are an intern at ONE DC (Organizing for Neighborhood Equity), a community based organization that aims to restore social and economic justice to D.C.'s poor, black, immigrant, and otherwise marginalized communities. Their hobbies include reading, watercolor painting, and going to see live music. Sinclair will be spending their junior year abroad in Sao Paulo, Brazil. After obtaining their BS, Sinclair hopes to pursue a joint master's degree in public health and urban planning.
 

Eva Borgwardt
Missouri
Stanford University

As a junior studying history, Eva currently serves as the national president of J Street U, a pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace student organization, and last year helped lead its Stop Demolitions, Build Peace campaign, which urged the American Jewish community and Congress to advocate against demolitions in Palestinian villages. She interned for J Street U in Israel in the summer of 2017, where she worked with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, and is currently writing a thesis on generational shifts in Israeli peace movements. Closer to home, she organizes to push Bay Area Jewish organizations to stand against Islamophobia, leads Stanford’s Jewish Social Justice Collective, and works with the Handa Center for Human Rights. In her future career, Eva aspires to help shape a U.S. policy on Israel that is grounded in compassion for both Israelis and Palestinians. In the meantime, she enjoys working at a summer camp, dancing, and teaching theater workshops to kids.

Anthony Boutros
Texas
Johns Hopkins University

Lebanese born and Texan raised, Anthony is studying sociology, international studies, and public health studies. He interns at FreeState Justice, Maryland’s leading LGBTQ advocacy NGO, where he earned $85,000 from grants that financed the fight to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth in Maryland. He is passionate about empowering LGBTQ and other marginalized youth, so every child feels that they belong. As class president, he built infrastructure to help thousands of students register to vote so their voice can be heard, led a movement to increase accessibility and awareness for students with disabilities, organized a protest for gun safety in solidarity with Parkland student activists, and passed legislation to expand single occupancy restrooms for transgender and queer identifying students. To continue the fight for intersectional justice, Anthony hopes to earn a JD in public interest law and a PhD in sociology.

Alicia Brown
Mississippi
Mississippi State University

Alicia is majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in political science. She is passionate about evidence-based energy policy, and she hopes to leverage her technical background to facilitate communication between policymakers and the scientific community. In the spring of 2018, Alicia interned for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she contributed to discussion drafts for high-octane fuels legislation and advocated for the modernization of our energy infrastructure. Alicia is the Vice President of the MSU Speech and Debate Council, and in her spare time she enjoys reading, running, and spending time with her friends.

Tania Calle
New York
Williams College

Tania studies political science and public health. As the proud daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants, she has always been passionate about empowering immigrant communities and is particularly interested in reducing the barriers to reproductive healthcare faced by migrant women. Tania has conducted sexual health-related and health policy research at the New York Academy of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania. This summer, she will participate in an NIH-funded clinical research program in Quito, Ecuador to study the socio-cultural determinants of teen pregnancy. After finishing her undergraduate career, she plans on enrolling into a dual MPH/MD program that will prepare her to conduct public health research that informs national debates on the future of immigration reform and one day open a community clinic to serve undocumented patients.
 

Kenzie Campbell
Idaho
Westminster College of Salt Lake City

Kenzie is a member of the Honors College studying psychology and justice studies. She serves as the President of Events for the student government of her college, planning weekly programming to support LGBTQ+ and minority students on campus. Kenzie has shown a commitment to survivors of sexual violence by creating and serving as the Women’s Resource Coordinator providing resources and education for gender-based needs on campus in temporary fulfillment of a campus women’s resource center. She is certified as a sexual assault counselor who trains students and faculty in bystander intervention, healthy relationships, and Title IX reporting and policies. Kenzie plans to further this commitment by obtaining a MPA with a gender-based violence emphasis in order to lead a nonprofit advocating for sexual assault survivor resources and to influence survivor-related public policies. Kenzie’s belief in the nonprofit model for creating informed public change comes from 3 years of volunteer coordinating experience for her college’s Civic Engagement Center working closely with dozens of local nonprofits and one year working as a legislative and education intern for Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Catherine Cartier
Michigan
Davidson College

Catherine is a history and Arab studies major. On campus, Catherine coordinated a micro-finance project with recently resettled refugees in the Charlotte area and worked as an Arabic tutor. She has conducted independent research on oral storytelling within Syrian communities in Jordan and on the role of arts in conflict resolution in Tripoli, Lebanon. Her research and reporting have been published in the New Arab, Syria Untold, and Al Noor, among others. While studying at the American University of Beirut, she served as an intake volunteer at the International Refugee Assistance Project, where she carried out interviews with potential clients and researched scholarship opportunities for displaced students. Motivated by immersive experiences studying Arabic, Catherine is currently studying Persian in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and examining migration in a Central Asian context. She plans to pursue a PhD at Columbia University's Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. In her career, she is committed to forging a bridge between academic research about forced migration and those who are systematically left out of this discourse.
 

Shiloah Coley
Illinois
University of Wisconsin Madison

Shiloah is a Chicago Posse Scholar majoring in journalism with certificates in studio art and African American studies. She is from the south suburbs of Chicago and attributes her success to the values her Afro-Caribbean family endowed her with. As a visual artist who has worked on public projects and facilitated art programming in Johannesburg, South Africa, and New York City, she has seen firsthand how art can be used to educate, facilitate cross-cultural understanding, build community and offer marginalized communities an opportunity to reclaim agency. This fuels her desire to pursue her PhD in sociology, researching the impact art programming, access to arts education, and public art practices has on low income urban communities of color, specifically Black and Latino communities.
 

Kassandra Colón
West Virginia
West Virginia University

Kassandra is a junior triple majoring in Latin American studies, women’s and gender studies, and geography. As a first-generation, low-income, Puertoriqueña and Mexicana, Kassandra is dedicated to advocacy, activism and believes that we embody the solutions to address the needs of our communities. Her passion for social justice in education inspired her to create Project La Resolana, an initiative that collects and distributes culturally representative literature to students of color in K-12 education. Funded entirely with donations from professors, students, and faculty, Project La Resolana is dedicated to revolutionizing classrooms with cultural literature that combats white privilege and centers narratives of people of color in K-12 education. While interning for WVU’s Office of Title IX Equity Assurance, she collaborated and implemented WVU’s first microaggression training for WVU's Office of Admissions, where she educated fellow New Student Orientation Leaders how to combat micropolitical violence at a predominately white institution. Following her undergraduate degree, Kassandra intends to pursue an M.A. in Latin American studies where she will investigate how socio-political movements and diasporic politics influence the Latin American identity.

Monica Dix
Wisconsin
Oberlin College

Monica is a proud Wisconsinite and third-year student studying geology and politics. She is passionate about working to create more resilient communities by improving watershed management in the Midwest. As a scientist, she has spent the past three years researching the impact of policy changes on water quality, agriculture, and erosion in the Midwestern US, Cuba, and New Zealand, and presented her work nationally and internationally. She is passionate about using her research to impact policy and inform local communities, doing this through writing about politics and environmental issues, serving in Oberlin's city government as a City Commissioner, peacebuilder and community organizer around environmental initiatives. On campus, she is a Cole Scholar, STRONG Scholar, and works to give students a stronger sense of place and civic empowerment through coordinating efforts to register thousands of students to vote and bringing state and federal politicians to campus. Monica plans to pursue an MS and Ph.D. in natural resources and strives to work in federal and Wisconsin state governments to create strong relationships between scientists, government officials, communities and their environment in the Great Lakes Region.

William Fleck
North Dakota
North Dakota State University Main Campus

William is studying computer science with a certificate in cybersecurity and pre-med coursework. Since high school, he has been advocating for equality in his state through protests, organizing, and leadership roles. Currently, William serves as the Council Chief for the North Dakota Student Association (NDSA), which advocates for all 45,000 students in North Dakota, the Chief Volunteer Officer for the Darcy Jeda Corbitt Foundation (DJCF), which is a nonprofit transgender advocacy organization, the Communications Director for the College Democrats of North Dakota, the student member for the Fargo Downtown Community Partnership Board of Directors, and the Vice President of Leadership for his service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. During his time in these roles, he has helped start College Democrat chapters across the state of North Dakota, created mental health and LGBTQ+ resources in his role as Council Chief for NDSA to better the student experience, and coordinated transgender advocacy efforts across North Dakota as Chief Volunteer Officer for DJCF. Upon graduation, William plans on pursuing a medical degree and one day working for Indian Health Service on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

Juan Gallego
Massachusetts
Northeastern University

Juan studies political science and minors in urban studies with a focus on American political institutions and public policy. For the past four years, he has envisioned a future with full participation and representation that can reinvigorate Massachusetts’ democratic institutions. He is committed to addressing the issues concerning the state’s 800,000 Hispanic residents—its largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority group—as they only see themselves reflected in five state legislators and no statewide elected officials, and have the highest rates of poverty and unemployment. His work has included policy research on topics ranging from the implications of the ridesharing industry in Salem, Massachusetts, to nuclear non-proliferation in North Korea; a co-op in constituent advocacy for U.S. Senator Edward Markey; and the management of multiple local campaigns’ get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts tailored specifically towards non-English speakers. Having worked closely with both the mayor of Salem and former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, Juan hopes to one day represent his community and all of the commonwealth by running for elected office. To deepen his analytic and management skills in preparation for this career, he plans to pursue joint graduate degrees in law and public policy.

Wanjiku Gatheru
Connecticut
University of Connecticut

Wanjiku is majoring in environmental studies with minors in global studies and urban and community studies. Through internships with the City of Hartford’s Office of Sustainability, CHISPA CT, and the Women's Earth and Climate Action Network, Wanjiku has worked to uplift the voices of those most adversely impacted by environmental inequities. A UCSC Doris Duke Conservation Scholar and Newman Civic Fellow, she is committed to connecting grassroots movements to institutions of power, as a lead organizer in CT’s first Youth Climate Lobby Day, founding member of the University President’s Council on Race and Diversity, and crucial leader in the successful implementation of an environmental literacy general education requirement. On campus, she promotes the collective wellbeing of students as the Vice President of the Undergraduate Student Government, co-chairs the University-wide Metanoia: Youth for Change, studies campus food insecurity as co-founder of the UConn Access to Food Effort (UCAFE), mentors students as a teacher’s assistant in the African American Cultural Center, and promotes sustainability as an intern at the Office of Environmental Policy. Wanjiku plans to pursue a joint JD/MEM, with the goal of empowering disenfranchised communities of color in the environmental decision-making process.

Karinna Gerhardt
Washington
Macalester College

Karinna studies political science with concentrations in legal studies, human rights and humanitarianism, and arabic. A community organizer at heart, Karinna has volunteered with Minnesota nonprofits and political campaigns since starting college. As a Chuck Green Civic Engagement Fellow, she launched a youth-centered political organizing campaign, recruiting and mentoring young activists on voter education. She worked with the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office to create an ongoing partnership of local nonprofits committed to voter equity. This partnership has resulted in Registering Riders to Vote Day, where volunteers from different organizations came together to register transit riders to vote. Karinna works at National Alliance for Mental Illness MN as a mental health advocate and raises awareness of how local politics can improve state mental health systems. On campus, she captains Macalester’s Ethics Bowl Debate team and believes in the practical application of ethical theory to public service work. In addition to volunteering as an EMT and co-chairing the Political Science Honors Society, Karinna works on equity and inclusion issues as a Student Government Representative. Post-graduation, she intends to earn a law degree and continue her pursuit of institutional justice. This semester, Karinna is studying regional politics and Arabic in Amman, Jordan, while interning at the International Red Crescent Society.

Raie Gessesse
Minnesota
Hamline University

Raie is a first-generation Ethiopian-American college student studying public health and public service. Raie is deeply committed to eliminating health disparities and achieving health equity through public policy and legal advocacy. As a dedicated health equity advocate, she has engaged in numerous leadership, internship, and public service opportunities such as serving as a community sexual health educator with Planned Parenthood, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Undergraduate Public Health Scholar (CUPS), Capitol Pathways Legislative Intern with the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, and student representative on the Minnesota Public Health Association's Health Equity Committee. In recognition of her community advocacy, she was appointed by former Governor Mark Dayton as a cabinet member on the Young Women's Initiative of Minnesota. She also received an honorable mention from the CDC for her research and work around health equity and plans to continue her commitment to equity, justice, and health in a lifelong career in public health. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to pursue graduate and doctoral level degrees in public health and public policy.

André Gonzales
New Mexico
George Washington University

André is studying political communication with a minor in music. André currently serves as a Undergraduate Senator for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and has interned for U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, as well as Representative Xochitl Torres Small (NM-2). André has been a vocal advocate for comprehensive education reform in his home state of New Mexico and continues to work with local policymakers to create student-led empowerment programs. In 2016, Gonzales was elected as one of the youngest Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where he worked with state and national party leadership to bring about major changes to the party’s platform, while also campaigning for candidates up and down the ballot.
 

Patrick Grady
Maine
George Mason University

Born and raised in Kennebunkport, Maine, Patrick is a junior studying government and international politics. On campus, he is Resident Advisor, a member of Student Government, and a campus tour guide. Passionate about the legislative process, Patrick has interned with Senators Angus King and Susan Collins. He hopes to use these experiences to address drug addiction in Maine. Patrick plans to pursue a JD/MPH.



Elissa Gray
Nevada
Northwestern University

Elissa is a junior in the Medill School of Journalism with a major in political science. She grew up in Las Vegas, discovering an interest in the law through work with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office and Decastroverde Law Group. Northwestern’s Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators and the Medill Justice Project fostered her commitment to the intersection of sexual violence advocacy and systemic criminal justice issues. Elissa edits two publications, North by Northwestern and Her Campus; volunteers through Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, and the Northwestern Campus Kitchen, which combats food insecurity and food waste in the community; and trains student advocates on community and political organizing as a student facilitator for Advocacy Corps. She plans to attend law school, with the goal of using her degree to better support sexual violence survivors through the American legal system.
 

Hope Hack
Ohio
United States Military Academy

Hope is an organizational psychology major. Her passion for sexual assault victim advocacy has inspired her to take leadership positions at the Academy as well as work with current policymakers to consider ways to better support victims and change the culture at West Point. Through sharing her personal story with others, Hope realized the overwhelming power that storytelling can have on building communities, empathy, and trust – all necessities for future army officers – so she developed Share Your Story, a storytelling forum for cadets and current army officers to come together to share and receive stories. Hope’s love for community building has led to her starting and facilitating other communities at West Point in other areas, such as fitness and religion. She has also served as a delegate from West Point to Israel through the Peace and Dialogue Leadership Initiative. Hope plans to continue her work in victim advocacy and eliminating sexual assault in the rest of her time at West Point as well as in her career as an army officer.

Praise Hall
Minnesota
Bowdoin College

Praise is a first-generation, low income resident of Minnesota passionate about increasing educational opportunities for marginalized populations, particularly low income students of color. Studying sociology and education, Praise is interested in the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, and social inequity as determining factors in the quality of one's education. Currently, Praise serves as a co-leader of College Students for College (CSFC), a club that teaches high schoolers about the college application process by hosting informal presentations and connecting with parents. Additionally, through work with Bowdoin Advising to Support academic Excellence (BASE), College Guild, Quest for Excellence, Residential Life, Volunteer Lawyers Project and more, Praise works to ensure institutional support of disadvantaged students and provide educational opportunities and resources for those who have none. Continuing on the path of educational justice, Praise plans to pursue a master's degree in education and social policy and PhD in public administration.

Samia Ismail
Arkansas
University of Arkansas

Samia is studying biomedical engineering. She currently balances a passion for genetic research with involvement in local and state politics. Through her involvement in the Associated Student Government, she serves as the Co-Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and has created platforms for minority student organizations to increase their visibility and address ongoing issues such as microaggressions and hate speech within campus institutions. As Vice Chair of the Distinguished Lectures Committee, she fought for the opportunity to host the committee’s first LGBTQ+ focused speaker, Laverne Cox. In response to legislation forcing public campuses to allow concealed carry, she successfully elected Democratic State Representatives Nicole Clowney, the founder of the Northwest Arkansas chapter of Mom’s Demand Action, and Denise Garner, who defeated the legislator championing the campus carry bill. Following the election, she has continued her work with the Washington County Democratic Party as the newly elected Vice Chair of Youth and Ally Engagement, where she is establishing connections with young democrats, people of color, and LGBTQ+ members in the community and expanding the potential of Southern Democrats. Additionally, Samia is a peer mentor in the College of Engineering and an Honors College Ambassador. After graduation, Samia plans to pursue an MD/MPP dual degree from the University of Michigan, and wants to create policy that ensures equitable access to healthcare.

Isaac James
Tennessee
Rollins College

Born in Ifo refugee camp in Kenya, Isaac is passionate about creating opportunities in higher education to strengthen migrants’ and refugees’ integration in their host communities. He typically spends his summers assisting refugees in English learning by volunteering at Refugee Empowerment Program in Memphis, TN. As a Millennium Fellow and Gilman Scholar, he studied at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Mococco, where he created the “Friends of Migrants and Refugees" program to expand social capital for migrants and refugees in Morocco. In Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda, Isaac partners with women entrepreneurs to assist them attain sustainable business practices, financial independence, and advocate for gender equality. Isaac plans to pursue a joint JD/MPP program in international law before continuing to work on refugee resettlement issues.

Augustine Jimenez
Georgia
Boston University

Augustine is a Posse Scholar studying international relations. Aspiring to a career in local politics, Augustine has interned for the City of Atlanta, the National League of Cities, and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. On campus, Augustine serves as Vice-President of External Affairs for Alianza Latina, and is currently running for Student Body President under a platform of supporting first-generation students and making mental health a campus priority. Augustine intends to pursue a law degree after graduation, and a career as a local policymaker fighting for working-class families’ access to quality education, healthcare, and workforce development.

Emily Johnson
Nebraska
University of Nebraska

Emily is a junior majoring in political science, Spanish, and global studies. As student body Internal Vice President, Emily advocates for university, state, and federal policies protecting student well-being. She has worked to expand student access to counseling and psychological services, lobbied in favor of Nebraska’s Mental Amnesty statute, and promoted expanded DACA protections at the Federal level. Off campus, Emily stays busy preparing recently-settled refugees for the U.S. Citizenship Exam. Her experiences interning with local lobbyists and attorneys, volunteering on a U.S. Senate campaign, and working as a political science research assistant have influenced her desire to pursue a JD with an emphasis in immigration law after graduation.

Prathm Juneja
Indiana
University of Notre Dame

Prathm is studying political science and computer science. As a dual degree student with interests in programming and policy, Prathm has spent much of his time leveraging technology for the public good. He has worked as a software developer for the City of South Bend and as a Civic Technology Fellow for MicrosoftNY, where he used open data to offer pathways for more accessible city services. On campus, Prathm is a member of NDVotes, Notre Dame’s non-partisan voter registration and voter information association. He previously served as the Student Government Chief of Staff where he focused on furthering community relationships with South Bend, increasing access to health and wellness resources, and making Notre Dame a more inclusive place. Currently, Prathm is active in local South Bend politics and is a voting rights activist in Indiana and nationwide. He also serves on the team for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Presidential Exploratory Committee.

Rose Lang-Maso
Rhode Island
Brown University

Rose is studying history and public policy, with a particular interest in the intersection between social justice and politics from a historical perspective. As President of the Brown College Democrats, she seeks to make politics and government more accessible by helping students find internships, leading campus-wide voter registration initiatives, and co-sponsoring advocacy events within the broader Providence community. She pursues similar work at the state-level as the Membership Director of the College Democrats of Rhode Island. Rose believes that the political process should be accessible to everyone, and intends to pursue a JD in Civil Rights Law in order to defend fundamental rights and broaden access to government institutions to those that have been excluded or left voiceless, particularly in traditional political spaces. Aside from political work, Rose also serves as a Senior Editor for the Brown Journal of History, an academic peer advisor, and is currently working on a research project concerning the ethical implications of recusals of Rhode Island State Legislators over the past ten years.

Louis Lin
Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania

Louis is the proud son of immigrants and a first-generation, low-income student, majoring in health and societies and political science and minoring in Asian American studies, education policy, and environmental studies. He is also in the BA/Master of Public Health program. His experiences have fostered a passion for health and education policy specifically as it pertains to equity, access, and quality for low income, immigrant communities. In 2017, Louis was elected to a 4-year term as Judge of Election on his precinct’s Election Board in Philadelphia (Ward 27-Div 20), and in 2018 to a 4-year term as Committeeperson on the 27th Ward Democratic Executive Committee. He also works as a Management and Program Analyst for the Office of the Chief Counsel, DOT Federal Aviation Administration. He plans to pursue a JD focusing on health law and an MSEd in education policy, with the hopes of addressing disparities in children’s health and education.

Bennett Lunn
South Carolina
University of South Carolina Columbia

Bennett is a junior at the Honors College studying jurisprudence and education policy. While at the university, he has worked as an advocate for students through his roles as a Resident Mentor and as the Secretary of Student Academics, developing new programs to complement the student advising process. He is also a President Emeritus of the Euphradian Society, South Carolina’s oldest oratorical society. Beyond his campus, Bennett has worked with the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee, the South Carolina State Grand Jury, and the Rule of Law Collaborative, where he has researched and supported various justice sector initiatives. Currently, Bennett is studying in Washington, D.C., interning in Majority Whip James E. Clyburn’s office. After graduating, he intends to pursue a joint Juris Doctorate and Master’s degree in education policy in order to employ his passion for the law towards addressing inequity in public schools.

Thomas Manglona II
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
University of California- Berkeley

Thomas is a native Chamorro, born and raised on the island of Rota, Northern Mariana Islands. He is a Gates Millennium Scholar and undergraduate at UC Berkeley majoring in media studies. In middle school, Thomas started writing news reports on his blog for his island. Since then, his passion for journalism has flourished, leading him to work for several print publications and the regional Pacific News Center as an on-camera correspondent covering government, education, and community. Thomas is the executive director of Berkeley’s CalTV and a former news intern at ABC7 News in SF. He is passionate about diversity and representation in the media.
 

Debora Menieur-Nuñez
Puerto Rico
Inter American University of Puerto Rico Arecibo Campus

Debora, an author and a self-made entrepreneur, is passionate about student mobility and wants to share with others the impact of international education. Currently pursuing a BBA in Entrepreneurial and Managerial Development, with minors in Psychology and Human Resources Management, she plans to complete a Master of Public Administration degree and develop a career in public service. She has been a leader and advocate for internationalization in her home institution and has proven her leadership through volunteer work with disadvantaged communities and her fellow students.

Menatalla Mohamed
Virginia
Georgetown University

Mena is a proud Egyptian-American student from Alexandria, Virginia. Mena is pursuing a bachelor’s in foreign service with a major in science, technology, and international affairs and a certificate in Arab studies at Georgetown University. She is focused on studying the intersections of displacement, urbanization, and international development in the Arab world. On campus, she researches youth development and education at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and works at the President’s Office. She is also a research lead at the Georgetown Social Enterprise Initiative, a Carroll Fellow, a Patrick Healy Fellow, and a Paul Pelosi Scholar. Mena has assisted with research at the Library of Congress, led advocacy projects at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, and volunteered with refugee students in Virginia. Driven by a passion for refugee and immigration advocacy, she hopes to combine her interests in migration and urbanization to improve the municipal response to displacement in the U.S. and abroad.

Abhijay Murugesan
Arizona
University of Arizona

Abhijay is majoring in public health with a concentration in health systems theory and practice. His second major in molecular & cellular biology. After obtaining EMT national certification and state licensure, Abhijay joined the University of Arizona Emergency Medical Services where he currently serves as Chief of EMS and Executive Director. Abhijay also gained experience at the state level during service as a Professional-Leadership Intern at the Bureau of EMS & Trauma System within the Arizona Department of Health Services. He has also joined the Medical Reserve Corps of Southern Arizona and the Southern Arizona Interagency Peer Support Team. In addition to his EMT certification, Abhijay has been certified by the American Heart Association as a CPR Instructor and has been certified by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians as a provider of Tactical Emergency Casualty Care. He has also been trained in individual crisis assistance and public safety integration/rescue task force operations. Apart from EMS, Abhijay is an Honors College Ambassador and has assisted research in the Department of Neuroscience, College of Science and Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine. He has co-authored research that was presented at the National Association of EMS Physicians. Abhijay is a Flinn Scholar, a National Merit Scholar, and a National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholar. He was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior and was selected as the Honors College Outstanding Sophomore of the Year and the Honors College Outstanding Junior of the Year. Abhijay plans to study for an MD/MPH dual degree and pursue a career in emergency medicine and emergency management/preparedness as an EMS physician and medical director.

Robert Norwood
Arkansas
United States Military Academy

Robert is majoring in computer science with a minor in Latin America regional studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is the cadet in charge of the Cadet Media Group and spends much of his free time working to end the problem of sexual harassment and assault at West Point. He is also on the West Point Cyber Policy team and enjoys applying concepts from cyber and information war to find new ways to solve old problems. He is also a Stamps Scholar. After graduation, Robert hopes to continue reducing gender inequality as an officer in the newly gender-integrated armor branch of the United States Army. Robert gives all the credit to anything he has accomplished to Jesus Christ. His goal is to help others to learn to use their actions to value others.

Juliet O'Brien
California
United States Naval Academy

Juliet O’Brien is a midshipman majoring in political science and pursuing a double minor in French and Arabic. She recently returned from a semester abroad in Meknes, Morocco, where she continued her language studies and studied public policy at a local university. She is a member of the Navy Dance Team, tutors in the Naval Academy Writing Center, and has held several leadership roles on campus, including Platoon Commander for PROTRAMID (a US Navy summer training event for midshipmen), French Club President, and Squad Leader in 25th Company. Juliet would like to study international development and modern Middle Eastern studies in graduate school. She will serve in the United States Navy for at least five years and subsequently hopes to join the Foreign Service to live and work in the Middle East and North Africa.

Ángel Ortiz-Siberón
Puerto Rico
University of Pennsylvania

Ángel, a native of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, currently studies sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is devoted to increasing access to education and empowering low-income Puerto Rican communities across the U.S. As a Mellon Mays Fellow, Ángel’s research aims to create a comprehensive profile of the socioeconomic position of Puerto Ricans in the U.S., with a focus on poverty and social mobility. He is a leading member of Puerto Rican Institute of Music and has been an active participant in local relief efforts for those affected by hurricanes Irma and María in Puerto Rico. Ángel has tutored and mentored low-income Latinx students in Philadelphia, PA and Waltham, MA. He has also served as Loan Director for the Bentley University Microfinance Group, working to increase access to financing for small business owners. His work has been presented at the Society for the Study of Social Problems and published in El Nuevo Día, one of the major newspapers in Puerto Rico. Ángel intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy and become a professor and voice of change for low-income Puerto Ricans in the U.S.

Christina Pao
Oregon
Yale University

Christina is currently pursuing a BA in classics (Ancient Greek and Latin) and a joint BA/MA in politcal science, focusing both on the socio-historical development of "citizenship" and the politics of migration. Having now lived in four states across the U.S., Christina is always eager to engage in the new communities she calls home—whether it be through campaigning for grass-roots politicians, teaching new-arrival refugee children, working as a subsidized housing caseworker for migrants, or producing know-your-rights literature for sex workers. She attempts to ground her work in empirical evidence and academic literature, and she herself has published a piece on comparative refugee integration with Social Science Works in Berlin. Because of these attachments to community-based and evidence-based solutions, she hopes to one day develop more sustainable frameworks for worldwide refugee integration. Christina will pursue a PhD in demography in order to better advocate for the internally and externally displaced.

Nathan Poland
Maryland
Princeton University

Proudly claiming Rockville, Maryland, as home after living in Mexico for the first eight years of his life, Nathan currently is majoring in African American Studies with minors in Spanish & Portuguese and statistics and machine learning. Social justice impels Nathan to use the law as a tool for combatting systemic injustice and institutionalized racism within the criminal legal system, as he did by interning for the Bronx (Public) Defenders office in 2017. To effect positive change (t)here and now, he volunteers for two in-prison tutoring programs, works for Princeton’s Abolish the Box campaign, serves as a fellow for the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, and co-leads the Princeton Reparations Project. In the future, he intends to pursue a JD in order to serve as a public defender, and eventually create a community-centered justice organization to support Black and Brown communities in empowering and defending themselves.

Vivek Ramakrishnan
Illinois
University of Chicago

Vivek is passionate about creating data-driven policy to help serve the most vulnerable communities. He is a third-year at the University of Chicago studying public policy.  Vivek previously worked for the Philadelphia Department of Human Services Data Analytics Division, leading a project involving identifying predictors for children at risk of aging-out of the foster care system and creating a report articulating best practices for mitigating risk. He currently serves as president of UAID, an organization that runs annual initiatives addressing social determinants of health on the South Side of Chicago. With UAID, he developed a Community Healths Needs Assessment in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood of Chicago, the basis for a year long, multi-disciplinary wellness and chronic disease training program. His work analyzing segregation patterns and effects in Chicago has been published in the Metropolitan Planning Council's Cost of Segregation Phase II report. Vivek hopes to pursue a PhD in economics to continue developing data-driven tools to actively inform social policy.

Jake Reagan
Colorado
University of Colorado

Jake Reagan is a third-year undergraduate studying political science and Spanish and he currently serves as the Student Body President. He has served in multiple levels of government, having worked in the Colorado House of Representatives and the United States Senate. In his role as the Chief Executive of CU Student Government, Jake presides over a $24 million annual budget and is pursuing a high-impact civic engagement initiative across the CU Boulder campus. Jake is committed to improving the political tone of the United States and, in particular, cultivating a new, less polarized political environment in which major reform can be achieved.
 

Jillian Scannell
Vermont
University of Vermont

Jillian currently serves as the Speaker of the Student Government Association at the University of Vermont, where she is majoring in environmental studies. While at UVM she has served on SGA’s Committee on the Environment and was an Eco-Rep Change Agent, advocating for sustainability on-campus. Her passion for the environment began at a young age, and after attending Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Training in 2017, she committed to working on climate change. Jillian is a strong believer in the power of youth and organized the Vermont Youth Climate Summit and UVM’s Rally for Climate Action. In addition to her work on environmental issues, Jillian is committed to the health and safety of UVM students, serving on the Presidents Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs and the UVM Food Insecurity Working Group. Jillian hopes to receive a Master’s of Public Administration from UVM and go on to work in Vermont fostering sustainable and resilient communities through climate policy.

Aasha Shaik
New Jersey
Rutgers University

Aasha majors in political science and Middle Eastern studies at Rutgers University, where she is in the Honors College and women’s Douglass Residential College. After her sophomore year of high school, Aasha began working at the United Nations doing gender equity advocacy work, her passion for which stems from a year she spent living in India, and the realities that she has been forced to confront since her time there and since returning to the U.S. At Rutgers, Aasha has continued pursuing her social activism interests as a captain of the Rutgers Mock Trial team, President of Rutgers Petey Greene (which brings volunteers into prisons to tutor people who are incarcerated), President of the Women’s Political Caucus, and beyond. She worked at Microsoft as its youngest-ever Civic Tech Fellow after her first year to explore how the private sector can partner in promoting equality, and spent the following summer on intensive Arabic study and cultural immersion in Amman, Jordan on a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship. Aasha plans to pursue a JD/MPP, with which she hopes to continue uplifting marginalized voices, and ultimately aspires to a diplomatic position in which she can fight for the human rights of all.

Kritika Singh
Virginia
Northeastern University

Kritika is studying bioengineering, global health, and chemistry at Northeastern University (NU) with a focus on emerging and neglected diseases. Her work combines the tools of biomedical research, clinical practice, and global health policy. A recipient of both the Thermo Fisher Scientific Antibody Scholarship and the Goldwater Scholarship, Kritika spent a year as a research assistant in a malaria immunology lab at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and, with the support of the Summer Scholars Independent Research Fellowship, has worked for over two years on epigenetics and malaria in the Mazitschek Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. But Kritika, who is a member of the University Scholars and Honors Programs at NU, understands that science alone will not eradicate disease, and in parallel with her research, she has also developed skills in policy and advocacy to amplify her impact. She founded and directs a nonprofit organization, Malaria Free World, which engages in peer-to-peer education, fundraising, and political lobbying, and she has worked to empower others through the NU Global Health Initiative (NUGHI), which she also founded. Kritika and the NUGHI team earned a Service/Research Project Award to produce one of the largest student-led undergraduate global health conferences in the nation, bringing together a broad interdisciplinary range of students, practitioners, and experts who embodied Kritika’s collaborative vision for making change. Kritika plans to earn a master’s degree in global health science and epidemiology or medical anthropology before pursuing an MD/PhD to prepare her for a career at the intersection of cutting-edge bioscience, translational care, and public health advocacy. This summer, she is looking forward to studying abroad in Italy, developing a senior year capstone, and planning for NUGHI 2020. Kritika is also an avid tennis player and enjoys hiking, crafting, traveling, and culinary adventures with her friends.

Josh Sorbe
South Dakota
University of South Dakota

Josh is a junior studying economics and political science at the University of South Dakota. Born and raised in South Dakota, he has always believed in the power of human connection and empathy - even as he grew up an LGBTQ+ male in a place of limited diversity. From serving as National President of the career and technical education student nonprofit Family, Career and Community Leaders of America as a high school senior to Student Body President at USD as a college junior, he has known schools as a catalyst for growth in a child’s life and important to fight inequities. He seeks to make a difference by pursuing a career in teaching and education policy, inspired by internships at Ramsey County in Saint Paul, Minnesota and for teacher-turned-US Congressman Tim Walz in DC. Currently, he is writing a thesis and law review on NCAA gender equity and compliance with Title IX, a passion ignited through his role as a student athlete for the Division 1 South Dakota Coyotes. Upon graduation, Josh plans to pursue both a master's degree in education and JD to go on to teach and eventually become an education policymaker.

Kayla Soren
Kentucky
University of Southern California

Kayla is a Kentucky native committed to pushing for energy transitions that protect the environment, local economies, and communities. She is a Mork Scholar at the University of Southern California studying international relations and environmental studies. Kayla founded and is the Executive Director of the International Student Environmental Coalition, a non-profit in over 30 countries, engaging over 18,000 students, that provides the resources and organizational power to help students anywhere in the world lead grassroots climate justice projects. She has also conducted research on bipartisan climate solutions and federal energy transitions with the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center and, with Barefoot College, created a coffee farming empowerment program for Guatemalan women. She was named a Global Champion for Change by UN Women and a Local Pathways Fellow by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a dual degree Masters in public affairs and environmental science.

Sam Steuart
Kansas
Kansas University

Sam is a student at the University of Kansas studying American studies, biochemistry and Spanish. He is happily from Topeka, Kansas and the son of Renae and Jim Steuart. Sam has served as a program coordinator and now development director for KU's Center for Community Outreach, where he has expanded a number of health-related community initiatives. He assisted the Topeka Public Schools district in the development of a school-based health center, a resource that provides affordable primary, psychological and preventive care for students and their community. Sam hopes to earn an M.D. and M.P.H. to have advanced training addressing the social determinants of health and ensuring all populations, especially low-income and at-risk children, have equitable access to health care and an education. Throughout his career, he wants to advocate for impoverished communities and implement health promotion programs that improve these outcomes.

Rana Thabata
Louisiana
Loyola University New Orleans

Rana is a junior studying political science and economics. Rana serves as Chief Justice for her university’s student government. She was also a founding member and past president of the Multicultural Leadership Council, a council that serves as a backbone of support for diverse organizations on campus, and she is an Ignacio volunteer, where she explores inequality through the Jesuit lense of social justice by being exposed to the nuanced layers of privilege and oppression in the city of New Orleans. Additionally, she completed the Essentials Fellowship at 4.0 Schools where she co-founded an after-school community that combines guidance and mentorship to help low-income students gain successful admission and scholarships to the university of their choice. She hopes to use her past internship experiences at 4.0 Schools, and the Orleans Parish School Board to foster positive growth in the public education system. Rana is a Horatio Alger National Scholar, a Dell Scholar, and a BA Rudolph Undergraduate Public Service Scholar. This summer she will be interning at the United States Department of State in their Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau. Rana hopes to one day write education policy.

Samantha Thorne
Utah
University of Utah

Samantha studies economics and international studies at the University of Utah and is passionate about political communications and electoral processes. In addition to serving as a communications intern in senatorial and gubernatorial offices, Samantha worked as a D.C. and international correspondent for Diplomatic Courier—a global affairs publication and analysis magazine. Samantha has volunteered in election night war rooms, at Republican state conventions, and on a U.S. Senate campaign. She helped facilitate an on-campus polling site at the University of Utah during the 2016 elections and represented the University of Utah at Harvard’s Political & Civic Engagement Conference. Samantha has also served as an Honors College representative at the Oxford Consortium on Human Rights, a trade service intern at World Trade Center Utah, a forum host for the Hinckley Institute of Politics, and a government relations advisor for Telstra in Melbourne, Australia.

Emma Tobin
California
Seton Hall University

Emma is from Half Moon Bay, California and is a junior honors student majoring in diplomacy, international relations and philosophy, with minors in Arabic and women and gender studies. She spent her childhood living in Indiana, California, The Netherlands and Switzerland before embarking on a gap year in Southeast Asia and Morocco, where she worked with street children, genocide survivors, and sexually-trafficked women. While in Morocco interning for the High Atlas Foundation, Emma worked on counter-terrorism, interfaith and women’s empowerment initiatives, and published articles on those topics. Following her freshman year of college, Emma was chosen for a very selective internship with the World Food Prize and has since completed two internships with the Department of State (with the Dubai Consulate in the United Arab Emirates and in New York City at the United States Mission to the United Nations). Additionally, Emma has served in a variety of leadership positions at Seton Hall and is incredibly proud of her work with the sexual assault prevention organization, Know More. Emma is passionate about women’s issues and conflict resolution and intends to pursue a MA in international development with an eye towards working on humanitarian development projects aimed at eliminating gender inequality.

Zariah Tolman
Wyoming
Montana State University Bozeman

Zariah is pursuing dual degrees in neuroscience and biochemistry with minors in biomedical engineering and global health. She works as a researcher in the Lefcort lab studying mouse models of Familial Dysautonomia, focusing on visualizing and quantifying the dysfunctional development and progressive degeneration of the vagus nerve. She has also conducted research and is in the process of publishing data on compassion fatigue and burnout of Ugandan health care workers, having spent six weeks volunteering in Ugandan clinics. Zariah founded a non-profit called the Positively Project to increase community service opportunities in rural communities like her hometown. She plans to pursue an MD/PhD in global health to work for non-profits as a physician-scientist in underserved communities both local and abroad. Zariah hopes to provide medical care and conduct research to influence health policy, with the goals of increasing access to and quality of emergency medical services and mental health services. A former Division I athlete, she also coaches pole vault at local high schools.

Natalie Walton
Delaware
University of Delaware

Natalie is a sociology and criminal justice double major with an interest predominately in sex, gender and sexuality. She volunteers with Planned Parenthood and on UD’s hotline for survivors of sexual offenses. She also founded It’s On Us at UD, a student organization combatting sexual misconduct. While interning with the Office of the Child Advocate, Natalie discovered her fascination with public health through the lens of sex and has been unable to stop talking about sex education ever since. Outside of class, Natalie writes fiction and, in 2018, completed the first draft of her novel, which she hopes to eventually get published.

Valerie Weisler
New York
Muhlenberg College

As a Civic Fellow at Muhlenberg College, Valerie studies a self-design major in education advocacy and a minor in Spanish on the pre-law track. She is the founder and CEO of The Validation Project, a global youth empowerment organization working with more than 6,000 K-12 students in 105 countries to provide mentoring, career field trips, resources for students to lead social action projects, and in-school programming. Valerie's kindness curriculum is taught in nearly 1,000 K-12 schools, teaching educators how to work with their students to instill self-confidence and design creative solutions for issues in the community. To date, Valerie has led more than 350 social justice workshops for students and educators around the world. Most recently, she has launched Trailblazers, a new Validation Project campaign that provides high school women from marginalized communities with career field trips, women-led workshops, female mentors, and resources to navigate the college process. Trailblazers has been led at Facebook, Harvard University, L'Oreal Paris and EF Education First. Valerie has been featured in CNN, Oprah Magazine, Inc., Entrepreneur, and more. She is a 2017 L'Oreal Paris Woman of Worth, a Point Foundation Scholar, a recipient of the National Jefferson Award for Peace and Justice, and the Princess Diana Award from former Prime Minister David Cameron. Valerie has also served as a youth ambassador for the Human Rights Campaign, a Speaking Ambassador for the U.S Department of State, and as a member of the Harvard Graduate School of Education youth advisory board.

Clara Wicoff
Kansas
Kansas State University

As a junior at Kansas State University, Clara majors in agricultural economics with a secondary major in global food systems leadership and a minor in entomology. Clara developed a passion for food security and childhood nutrition while working with her local summer food service program for three summers. To gain food and agricultural policy experience, she completed internships with the United States Senate Agriculture Committee and the Kansas State Legislature. As a member of the Riley County and City of Manhattan Food and Farm Council, Clara is actively engaged with efforts to promote food security in her community. Clara plans to further develop her research and analysis skills by earning a MPP. She ultimately aspires to exercise leadership regarding food security by conducting policy research and working as a food policy advisor.

Zooey Wilkinson
Montana
Tufts University

Zooey grew up in Bozeman, Montana. He prides himself on his array of professional skills, having worked as an academic researcher, community organizer, electoral political campaign organizer, construction laborer, farmer, and cook. He currently studies American Studies, Colonialism Studies, and English Literature at Tufts University. His focus is specifically on institutions of power, race, class, and gender in America. He is currently writing a Senior Honors Thesis in American Studies about race, whiteness, and addiction, and a Senior Capstone in Colonialism Studies about gentrification, unaffordability, displacement, settler-colonialism, and demographic change in Bozeman, Montana. He is an alumni of Deep Springs College. He is also developing his first poetry manuscript and works on issues related to mass incarceration in Massachusetts.

Karlee Xander
Pennsylvania
United States Air Force Academy

Karlee was born in Corry, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in English with a minor in Japanese language studies. While balancing academic, military, and physical training, Karlee traveled to Japan to study abroad for six months, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, organized community outreach events, and now serves as the 2019 Basic Cadet Training Deputy Commander. In her free time, she enjoys running, cooking, reading, and instructing cycling classes. Karlee hopes to pursue a master’s in public policy where she can further research her interests in childhood development, identity, politics, and rhetoric.



#####