University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at El Paso
Texas Woman's University
University of Texas at El Paso
University of Texas at El Paso
Texas A&M University - Galveston
Texas Wesleyan University
Texas A&M University
University of Texas at El Paso
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
Texas Tech University
Kerry O'Malley Gleim
University of Texas at Austin
Texas A&M International University
Texas Tech University
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at San Antonio
Serenity De Leon
Texas State University
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at San Antonio
St. Mary's University
Haley Abila is a political science major from Texas State University. She grew up in a small West Texas town and hopes to teach her community what she learns from Texas Civic Ambassadors. Haley plans to become more political involved in her life and believes this program is the step into the right direction. She recently interned at a law firm in her hometown and has goals of becoming an attorney. On her free time, Haley enjoys working out and doing her makeup. She is very excited to encourage other students to become more civically engaged in their campus and community
Aminat Adeyinka is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin. Aminat is a Government major, minoring in Philosophy of law. Aminat has always been interested in our government, the laws that govern us, and we the people that make up the community. Hobbies include reading, and binge watching shows.
Sebastian Velez is a first-generationHispanicundergraduatesenior at the University of Texas at San Antoniopursuinga Computer Engineering degree. He was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and comes from both Mexican and Puerto Rican origins. He enjoys playing basketball, soccer, and writing code. Sebastian currently serves as President for the College of Engineering and Integrated Design Student Council Organization, is a UTSA McNair Scholar, a research fellow in the UTSA IES pathways program,current HSF Scholar and conducts bioinformatics research on campus. He hopes to pursue a MD-PhD Program to become a physician scientist to help improve the lives of individuals with cancer. Sebastian not only has a passion for medicine, but also in helping and mentoring students in the STEM field. He is excited to serve as a TexasCivicAmbassador to be a part of a network of civic minded students and professionals who want to make an impact in the community.
Nina Habib is a senior International Relations and Plan II double major with a Global Management certificate at The University of Texas at Austin. She is Ethiopian-Yemeni American Muslim; as someone who considers herself a global citizen, she is always interested in learning about different cultures around the world. Whether it be studying abroad in South Africa, backpacking across Egypt, or seeing how business works in the United Arab Emirates, she is always looking for an opportunity to increase my worldly knowledge. Her interests include inclusivity in travel, especially within minorities, and she is very excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador.
Josue Rosa is a Sophomore at Texas A&M University majoring in Business Administration and hoping to minor in sociology. While at A&M, he serves as Marketing Director for the MOVE Texas at A&M chapter in hopes to get students and their surrounding College Station area to be civically active and empower them to create a community where they can advocate for issues affecting them. Josue is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and working with fellow student leaders from across the state to change the dynamics of civic life in Texas.
Kevin Barajas is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin. Kevin started being active in his communities early on in high school and have been keeping up the momentum ever since. Over the past five years, he has built a diverse background that cuts across multiple civicand politicalfields. Currently, He's a Development Coordinator for local queer nonprofit Embrace Austin and serve on the leadership board of the Austin Young Democrats. Kevin is originally from Brownsville and is a huge fan of all things sci-fi/fantasy.
Jordan Dominguez is a proud Miner at the University of Texas at El Paso. Jordan is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Biomedical Sciences and two minors, one in Applied Music and the other in Psychology. On campus, Jordan worked as the Inclusion and AdvocacyIntern with the Student Engagement and Leadership Center. He also volunteers as a peer leader for the second semester of general chemistry with UTEP’s Chemistry department. Jordan was the President of the Terry Scholar Student Organization which in being a part of the organization, Jordan grew passion for helping others and giving back to my community.
Sean Moothart is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Government and minoring in Sociology. Sean is currently an active member of the Episcopal Student Center near campus, serving on its vestry. Throughout high school, Sean was a member of The Collinwood Consortium in Plano, Texas, which was tasked with saving the oldest home in Plano. Sean’s involvement with the Consortium led him to become an active participant in Plano’s City Council and Heritage Commission meetings, which cemented his interest in Government. Sean’s experience with local government informs how he views civic engagementtoday. He knows that many are ready to make a difference but are largely unaware of the issues at stake due to a lackof messaging directed towards them. Amore engaged electorate would leadto legislative outcomes that better reflect the views of the whole community, as opposed to the views of a select few.
Paola Arrellano is an incoming senior at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. She is also proudly from El Paso, Texas making her Mexican roots a huge part of her identity. She enjoys public speaking, painting and dancing! Her main interest in the program is to help more people in my community understand politics and know that it pertains to them as well. The language barrier can really affect a great majority of the population in cities such as San Antonio, where the voter participation would be greatly increased if we could only provide the information about candidates or bills being passed in more languages than one.
Tanya Raghu is a senior at The University of Texas of Austin majoring in Plan II Honors, Middle Eastern Studies, and Arabic. She is currently a legislative intern in the Office of Congressman Hakeem Jeffries who represents the 8th Congressional District of New York and serves as the Democratic Caucus Chairman. A typical week in the office involves drafting letters to constituents, answering phones calls, writing policy memos, and running errands. In the past, she has held internships in World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and Texas State Capitol which have reaffirmed her commitment to a career in public service. In addition, on campus, she is involved with the Plan II Student Association Diversity Committee, Student Government, Clements Center for National Security, and the Strauss Center for International Security & Law. She looks forward to a career at the intersection of public policy, advocacy, and politics to elevate historically marginalized voices to the highest levels of government.She is thankful to be selected as a Texas Civic Ambassador and looks forward to connecting with like-minded peers to discuss international and domestic issues impacting the lives of Texans.
Yvette Mendoza is a sophomore at Sam Houston State University. Yvette is currently majoring in political science and have an aspiration to become an attorney. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling the world and trying new foods from different cultures.
José Pablo Rojas (JP) is a First Generation Mexican American Migrant Student Studying at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences with a certification in Medical Entomology and a minor in Political Science. Throughout his time at UTRGV, he has been advocating for the rights of many of the communities he is apart of. He is currently serving as the UTRGV Student President for the Student Government Association in representing one of the largest Latinx based institutions. He is also, a Student Leader at Texas Rising where he ensures advocacy of many marginalized communities through spreading awareness of important issues and speaking to local representatives to ensure a more inclusive environment. JP-has been able to address how the current political climate has affected POC and LGBTQIA+ communities in the valley through ‘Vice Media’ while also, ensuring a higher voter turnout in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). He hopes to one day intertwine his interests in medicine and politics to reform the health care system to ensure affordability for all. He hopes to apply to Medical School this upcoming application cycle while he completes his last year at university.
Joshua Fang is a sophomore at Rice University studying Social Policy Analysis with a minor in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. He is the Houston Engagement Committee Head of Civic Duty Rice; he is also an organizer of the 2021 Houston Youth Voters Conference. Joshua’s interests primarily lie in public health, social policy, and civic engagement because he aspires to promote health equity and social justice by influencing policy. Joshua also enjoys dancing, doing yoga, cooking, and baking/making desserts in his free time. Fun fact: he is an officer on the Rice Owls Dance Team! Having grown up in Greater Houston, Joshua is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he wants to grow as a civic leader and empower Houston-area youth via the 2021 Houston Youth Voters Conference to become active, engaged citizens.
Maria Cortes is an incoming sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin majoring in Political Communications with a Minor in Mandarin Chinese! She is a first-generation, low-income, Latina student from a majority minority community in Houston, TX. Maria is interested in activism, civic engagement, policymaking for underservedcommunities, and the connections between the public and private sector that can aid socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. During free time, she loves to watch Netflix, keep up with current events, volunteer, exercise, and take care of my plants!
Rachel Thompson is a Sophomore at Southwestern University studying Political Science and History. She is currently the President of the Coalition for Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ) Organization which works to create a safe community for the students of color on campus. Rachel is also a member of the Office of Diversity Education and is currently working to educate students about diversity and inclusion. As the President of CDSJ, she also serves as a member of the Diversity Enrichment Committee and hopes to help bring more POC professors to Southwestern University. Rachel is a representative of the Student Government Association and attends committee meetings to bring in the students’ point of view on campus issues. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Rachel plans to start a program where students will be able to get registered to vote on campus.
Cassidy Lee is a senior Political Science and Spanish dual degree student in the Honors College at the University of Houston. She also is pursuing a minor in Interpersonal Communication. Prior to being selected as a Texas Civic Ambassador, Cassidy gained government experience during Summer 2021 as a Communications Intern for the Office of Harris County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth as part of the Harris Fellows program and during Spring 2021 as the District Office Intern for State Representative Armando Walle throughthe Civic Houston Internship Program at the Hobby School of Public Affairs. She is very passionate about giving back to the Houston community, and she looks forward to continuing her advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community. Cassidy is also an Honors College Mentor; the Vice-President of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science National Honor Society at UH; the Secretary for Omicron Delta Kappa; and the Parliamentarian for the Model Arab League Delegation. She is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador to continue educating the Houston population on the roles of different elected officials and how their responsibilities impact Texans daily.
Diego Soto is a University of Texas at El Paso student. As a Mexican American individual born in Ciudad Juarez and raised in El Paso, Diego felt a pain in experiencing the stark disparities through the pandemic, especially between two sister cities divided by a mere river. The situation refocused his interests on equity and righteousness not only across the border, but within his country.
Aaron Gonzales is a 1st year master student in Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Before attending UT, Aaron studied Supply Chain Management at Texas A&M. His interests include history, art, storytelling, dancing, natural spaces, and sustainable policies.
Muneeb "Meebs" Aslam is a Texas-Ex with a background in organizing and non-profit consulting with organizations such as Organizing Empowerment Project, Human Rights Campaign, and Embrace Austin. As an immigrant from Saudi Arabia, Muneeb's work has surrounded adovacating for human rights, with a focus on LGBTQ+ rights and racial inequity. Muneeb will be starting his first semester at the LBJ School of Public Affairs as a graduate student. During free time, Meebs is found bothering Bubby, the cat, or going on nature hikes on the outskirts of Austin.
Xochitl Huerta-Garcia is currently a senior at Texas Woman’s University with a major in Political Science with an emphasis on Legal Studies and a minor in Sociology. Xochitl is a first generation American and college student. Interests include spending time with friends and being a good parent to my kitten, Bishop Alejandro. Xochitl believes that with the support, we can really help our communities through activism and solidarity.
Zoe Alvarez is a Laredo native and sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Government with a minor in Mexican American/Latino Studies. She has gained an acute interest in nonpartisanship in the media and its importance especially throughout the 2020 Presidential Election and Senate elections. In TX Votes CEA, she participated in the Nonpartisanship Committee reviewing content and acting as the organization's oversight to ensure it remains nonpartisan and non-advocacy. She is a member of Minority Women Pursuing law where she helps equip minority women to obtain their J.D. She is a part of Paso a Paso, an organization that strives to break the cycle of educational disparity that Latino high school students face. She is involved in Students Expanding Austin Literacy, where she works towards breaking educational disparities by reading to underprivileged children.As a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program, she mentors students on pre-law and navigating university life. Zoe plans to pursueher J.D. at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. She hopes to become an attorney specializing in educational law and serve her Hispanic/Latinx community. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, she is excited to apply what she has learned in her government curriculum and her time in TX Votes CEA to teach students the importance of nonpartisanship in the media sources and the critical role it plays in politics.
Nathan McCoslin is a rising senior at Rice University majoring in Political Science and Asian Studies.Being raised in a small town helped Nathan realize the importance of an active and involved community, and how the lack thereof can be serious hindrance to peoples’ livelihoods. Nathan became interested in the political aspect of civic engagement when I joined the high school’s speech and debate team and took my first step into the world of policy analysis At Rice, Nathan learned how to think more critically about politics and felt inspired to begin more actively sharing my voice with others. Nathan write's for the Rice Journal of Public Policy and my local newspaper, the Jewett Messenger. Splittingtime between Rice and their hometown has also made Nathan acutely aware of how toxically partisan our political landscape has becomeand furthered my commitment to civic engagement. Interests include international relations, particularly the way the U.S. can promote democracy, peace, and human rights abroad, andimproving our own governance through strengthening political institutions and increasing civic engagement.
Lexi Barlow is a senior at Texas Wesleyan University studying political science and mass communication. Lexi has held several leadership positions on campus, including Head Resident Assistant, Campus Tour Guide, New Student Mentor, and most recently served as President of the Student Government Associationduring the 2020-2021 academic year. Lexi is extremely passionate about leadership and helping others.
Marina Rodriguez is a junior at St. Mary’s University studying Political Science and Sociology. On-campus, Marina is an active member of the Marianist Leadership Program and the University Programming Council. After graduating she plans to attend law school and work in Immigration and Human Rights Law. Some of her passions include an appreciation for the fine arts, criminal justice reform, and cats. As a proud resident of the Rio Grande Valley, she has witnessed the impact of a close community and the shared power among its members. She hopes to continue carrying these learned values wherever she goes. Marina feels honored to have been selected as an ambassador for the 2021-2022 school year.
Osvaldo Grimaldo is a rising junior here at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Osvaldo is excited to serve as a TCA to serve as a voice for my campus and to develop new and fresh ideas to be civically engaged in my community. Osvaldo is currently serving as the President for UTRGV’s Civic Engagement Alliance, an organization led by students to increase voter registration, civic education, and community engagement. Furthermore, Osvaldo has been a mariachi musician all my life, through music Osvaldo has fostered the skills needed to lead responsibly, and lead with passion.
Ainsley Dorsey is a rising sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a government major and is considering law school postgraduate. She grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, where her passion for supporting her community began-- there she worked to solicit the donation of 3,000 diapers and 4,000 wipes for children in need. She is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because she believes that traditionally, many voices are left out of important conversations regarding public policy. In her free time, she loves playing with her dog, Scout, hiking, and cooking.
Anjitha Nair is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Computer Science with a certificate in Public Policy. Anjitha serves as TX Votes’s Senior Digital Committee Chair, Deputy Chief of Staff in Student Government, and a POD Mentor for the UT Computer Science Department. As a freshman in high school, she took an active role in her community by founding a non-profit organization called the Imagine Beyond Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for autism treatment. Anjitha’s interest in politics, government, and civics was sparked by her high school government class, and that interest transformed into a focus on civic engagement and voter education in college through her involvement in TX Votes and her internship at the Campus Vote Project. Anjitha believes that expanding civic engagement efforts on college campuses can positively influence an entire generation’s voice and participation in our democracy. Upon graduation, she hopes to use her technical skills for social good and pursue a career in civic technology and public policy. She is honored to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and build upon her knowledge and leadership experience in promoting and expanding civic engagement on her campus and in her community.
Arturo Canchola is a junior studying Political Science on a Pre-Medicine track at St. Mary’s University. He plans to become a physician and use his understanding of medicine and the political process to advocate for effective healthcare policy in the United States. Arturo strongly believes that more work must be done outside of the clinic to ensure the needs of his community are being met. On campus, he serves as a Senator in the St. Mary’s Student Government Association, and he is passionate about providing accessible information to students concerning politics and science alike. Arturo is excited to join the Texas Civic Ambassadors program and to further develop his leadership skills in promoting civic participation within his community.
Chanel VanHook is A Touchstone Scholar and Rising Junior at Texas Woman’s University. Chanel is a political science major concentrating in law while also completing a minor in Spanish. After leaving a decorated career in the US Navy in 2019, she is now dedicated to combatting gender and race inequalities in the Armed Forces by raising awareness about a lack of military veteran representation in Congress. Chanel is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because she believes college-aged students and military members can affect change when politically aware, civically engaged, and adequately equipped. Chanel is a PLEN Network Alumnae having attended their 2020 Women in Global Policy seminar and is a Denton County Election Judge. She has seen firsthand how low young adult turnout while managing a polling location and hopes her year of service can help fight that and put Texas on a path towards increasing voter turnout. In her free time, Chanel enjoys travelling, crafting, and cheering on Dallas professional sports teams.
Christine Davis is a senior marketing major at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas. When she's not doing homework or volunteering with student organizations on campus, she loves to camp, kayak, and spend time with her husband and their pug, Chaco. They love to adventure when they have free time and find a new restaurant or local coffee shop. Civic engagement is a passion of Christine's-- she has a heart to serve and help others. She can’t wait to get to work with the rest of the Texas Civic Ambassador team, making a difference on our campuses and our communities.
Christine Mompoint is in her last year as a government student at Houston Community College. Christine represents her college as one of the SGA Parliamentarians, the District Student Government President, and the Vice President of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association Region V Board. Christine is a proud member of the Young Invincibles Advocate Cohort and serves the City of Houston as the chair of the Mayor's Student Leadership Alliance Council. When she is not fully immersed in political discussions, Christine loves to sing around the house with her family and support the activities of the Houston Show Choir. Christine is excited to be a Texas Civic Ambassador to educate her constituency on the power of civic engagement in this online world.
Citlalli Rivera is a junior at St. Mary’s University studying Political Science with a minor in International and Global Studies. She is a proud first generation Mexican-American who values community and progress. Being born and raised in one of the most disadvantaged areas of San Antonio, Texas, she has experienced how underrepresentation, lack of resources, and other issues can impact individuals and communities. She has committed herself to becoming equipped with the tools of higher education, wisdom from mentors, and transformative experiences to become an asset and advocate to communities suffering from society’s negligence. On campus, Citlalli serves as a President’s Ambassador, a peer mentor, and the Vice President of Pi Sigma Alpha Political Honor Society. Citlalli is excited to learn from the TCA curriculum, from other ambassadors, and from the experience itself to cultivate her own education and the education of those around her. On her free time, Citlalli regularly engages in social activism, enjoys trying new restaurants and food spots, and enjoys skating with friends!
Delina Yosie is a senior pursuing a degree in Public Health and Political Science. Combining her passing for policy and health equity, she has conducted research for global organizations as well as local non-profits to improve health outcomes for those in vulnerable populations. She's originally from Houston, Texas and her favorite pastime is listening to podcasts and hiking!
Emily Gilby is a senior at Southwestern University studying Political Science, History, and Early Modern Studies. She is currently working on an honors thesis that analyzes youth voter turnout and voting behaviors. On campus, she strives to increase civic engagement as a student organizer with her university's Voter Friendly Campus Initiative, a Democracy Fellow with the Campus Vote Project, and a Poll Defender with MTV +1 the Polls. She is also the president of Southwestern’s College Democrats chapter and a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar. Previously, Emily has volunteered for numerous political campaigns and has served as a legislative aide for Texas State Representative John H. Bucy, III. She is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and is eager to apply the skills she will learn in this role to her work engaging voters on campus.
Fiama Villagrana-Ocasio is currently a junior Political Science major with an emphasis in Politics double minoring in Spanish and philosophy at Texas Woman’s University. She is originally from Houston, TX, and is the proud daughter of Mexican and Puerto Rican parents. She enjoys taking care of her plants, and listening to podcasts. She looking forward to networking and learning about how she can bring more civic engagement to her school and community.
Fox Walkers is a third year from Fort Worth studying Government and Arabic with the Liberal Arts Honors program at the University of Texas at Austin. Fox serves as the UT Student Government Co-Director of City Relations and the Vice President of Texas Beta Theta Pi. He is interested in American history, art history, and economic populism, and electoral politics. He cannot wait to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and looks forward to meeting students who seek to make a positive difference in their communities. Fox is especially looking forward to great conversations with speakers at the 2020 virtual Texas Tribune Festival.
Greg Phea is a junior at The University of Texas at Austin studying Corporate Communications and Plan II. His goal is to become a civil rights attorney and ensure fair legal representation for those suffering at the hands of systemic inequalities. He's excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he believes that it's essential that students pull together the necessary resources and support to enact meaningful change in their communities.
Hillary Shah is a rising senior at the University of North Texas where is pursuing double majors in Political Science and Economics, along with a certification in Legal Studies. She is passionate about alleviating social invisibility in marginalized communities by breaking down the political, economic, and social structures that prohibit such communities from reaching their full potential-whether that be through voter rights and mobilization work for historically disenfranchised groups as an organizer for Battleground Texas and Beto for Senate, founding her own successful civic empowerment organizations such as the Frisco Student Activist Union and the UNT Coalition for Civic Empowerment, or gun violence prevention work via the Frisco ISD National School Walkout. Additionally, shes advocated for education and resource distribution to first-generation students through her recent internship at the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Civil Rights, as well as women of color through her board position at the nonprofit Yes She Can Campaign, where she won prestigious Diana Award for her efforts. Her passion for advocacy led her to serve as the youngest Student Body Vice President at the University of North Texas, as well as earning her an internship at ACLU -National Political Advocacy Department. Hillary is particularly excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador to connect with civically-minded young campus leaders like her. Her hobbies include painting, trashy reality television, and watching the most obscene cooking videos she can find with no intention to make the food itself.
Isabelle Galko is a junior at Southern Methodist University studying Environmental Science with minors in Human Rights and Public Policy and International Affairs. On campus, she is a President’s Scholar, a member of the University Honors Program, and a student-athlete on the SMU women’s rowing team. Her interests include environmental policy, climate justice, and human rights. Isabelle is passionate about the social justice aspect of climate change, which she has explored throughout her time at SMU and during her year studying abroad at the University of Auckland. She hopes to amplify the voices of marginalized communities most impacted by climate change and educate others about the climate crisis. Isabelle is excited to learn more about civic engagement as a Texas Civic Ambassador, gain leadership skills, and empower her community to engage with issues that affect them.
Jeffrey Clemmons is a rising junior in Political Science at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. He is from Rockwall, Texas and previously attended the University of Texas at Arlington for a year in the Coordinated Admissions Program, which guaranteed admission into the University of Texas at Austin. He ultimately decided it was more important for him to regain connection with the community, especially when new applicants to HBCUs are at an all time low across the nation. Jeffery believes that it’s important to be in touch with the communities we’re from in any way we can in order to be better representatives for them going forward. His decision reinvigorated his passion for community-building and collective problem-solving. He's excited to be a Texas Civic Ambassador because he believes it will offer the opportunity work on some of the big issues of our time in a way that engages other young people and creates new space for civic engagement, so important when we’re dealing with intersectional challenges that will be with us for decades to come such as climate change, social injustice, and political polarization.
Jessica Martinez is proud student at the University of Texas at El Paso. She is a senior majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Law and Politics and a minor in Health Promotions. She is also serving her second term as the Student Government Association President. She is a sister of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Inc. where she serves as the chapter President. Jessica believes that purpose in life is to be an advocate for her peers. Through this program, she hopes to increase voter turnout in college-aged young adults. She states that she is a strong believer that the policies being enacted right now affect the future of her generation.
Joshua Chaj Ulloae is a sophomore Chemical Engineering major at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He serves as Secretary for the UTSA Biomedical Engineering Society Chapter, and is a UTSA ESTEEMED Pre-P.h.D Scholar, and Millennium Fellow. He states that the the importance of receiving an education has been instilled in him by my mother and father, who immigrated from Central America, not having the same opportunities to succeed as he now has. Joshua plans to work to help others gain access to the STEM field especially those in southwest/downtown San Antonio.
Katey McCall is a senior political science major, legal studies minor at Lamar University. She grew up on a family farm in Orangefield, a small town in Southeast Texas right on the Louisiana border. From a young age, her parents taught her the value of service; and today, she enjoys much of her free time volunteering. She is a volunteer deputy registrar in Orange and Harris Counties, a member of a registered therapy dog team, and assists in the kennels at her local Humane Society and animal services. She is an educator at the Beaumont Children’s Museum, lead a volunteer-based organization at LU, and has had the privilege of serving as Student Regent for the Texas State University System last year. Katey believes that the best way to achieve a government that is representative of what the people want is to encourage all people from all backgrounds to become involved. She is excited to join the Texas Civic Ambassadors as she believes that the program provides students the opportunity to collaborate on ideas, assist one another, and engage their communities on a larger scale.
Kennedy Huerta Quintanilla is a native Texan born and raised in Corpus Christi. She is currently a fourth year student at The University of Texas at Austin majoring in Political Communication and minoring in Philosophy of Law. Besides her studies, she is involved on campus through student organizations Senate of College Councils and Communication Council, crafting legislation that impacts the Moody College of Communication and the UT student body as a whole. She also works for Teach For America as a campus ambassador, educating UT students about the impact of educational inequity and how students can help combat it. Outside of her work on campus, she works as the Higher Education Policy Fellow for Young Invincibles, a national, nonprofit organization committed to elevating the voices of young adults in the political process, and expanding economic opportunity for 18-34 year-olds. Her passion for civic advocacy stems from her involvement in local politics in her hometown at a young age. She worked on her mother’s judicial campaign at 14 years old, getting hands-on experience on the campaign trail and seeing how local civic engagement efforts lacked. She went on to serve her hometown in the office of Chairman Todd Hunter in the Texas House of Representatives, fighting for the betterment of District 32. Kennedy is extremely excited to continue her love of civic engagement as a Texas Civic Ambassador and hopes to better her community through the program.
Kusha Gupta is a senior currently attending Rice University in pursuit of a degree in Political Science and a Certificate in Civic Leadership. Kusha focuses on interpersonal violence prevention and support at Rice, having served as a STRIVE liaison (Students Transforming Rice into a Violence-Free Environment), the Student Association Director of Interpersonal Violence Policy, and founder of the educational initiative, the STRIVE Supper Series. During her summers, Kusha has explored Colorado politics and health policy. Kusha is especially passionate about educational and non-profit community research and support in Houston, having worked with Workshop Houston and the Urban Enrichment Institute (UEI). Her current initiative is a civics after-school class for UEI in partnership with Civic Duty Rice. Kusha is excited to learn from her fellow Texas Civic Ambassadors, especially to strengthen her class and expand her understanding of what it means to be a civic leader in Texas. While unsure about her career, Kusha wishes to continue pursuing roles in the public sector after college.
Larry Rodriguez Shea saw firsthand the strength of diverse communities and the power they can have when they move together during tough times. He says that it left him with a sense of adventure that landed him at St. Mary’s University, where after a series of major changes, he settled on a double major in International and Global Studies and Management, as well as a minor in Psychology. During his first semester, his close friends and he founded the Hispanic Student Union on campus, with the intent to empower and educate the local community. Through working with faculty and students, he quickly put that to action organizing educational events about immigration law and developing a proposal to the administration for a Mexican American Studies program. Additionally, as sports editor of the school paper, he covered a multitude of stories committed to getting in touch with the humanity behind the story. he believes that the problems of the future will require a multifaceted approach and a strong diversity of thought and that any action will require solutions to keep that same humanity in mind. Larry spends his spare time at a basketball court, editing photos from a recent photoshoot, playing video games, or listening to one of his many Spotify playlists.
Mical Juliet is currently attending Texas State University, with a double major in Political Science and Criminal Justice. She is an Austin Community College Alumni with an Associates of Arts in Government. Where she served as Vice-President for the Student Government Association, Student Life Ambassador, and a member of the Public Policy Committee, Legislative Affairs Committee, and the Scholarship Committee. Mical Juliet established GENESIS, an Austin based organization to help inner city youth through transparency and inclusion, teaching leadership skills and giving resources to assist in their education. She also has been involved with the College Commission at City Hall, Brave Communities, Texas Youth Initiative, and the Austin Justice Coalition. I am excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador. I love to be engaged within my community on many platforms especially those pertaining to civic or political involvement, it has been a personal passion of mine since the age of 16. There is a deficiency within our government system: from lack of citizen involvement, diversity, awareness, inclusion, transparency, equality, and furthermore. And I feel, it is, the responsibility of my generation to assist in this necessary shift. And to do the work, to create the change that we so desperately need.
Neha Valmiki is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin earning a government and marketing major with a certificate in Ethics and Leadership in Law, Politics, and Government. She currently serves as the Co-Director for the Student Government Hook the Vote Agency and as the Communications Lead for the Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab. She's grown up in Austin most of her life, she's worked with Travis County Commissioner Shea’s. Since then, she's spent time at the Texas State Capitol, for the civic engagement non-profit Turnout, and worked for Deloitte’s Policy and Government Relations team. She's passionate about the importance of civic engagement on a community level and removing all barriers to voting.
Samah Rahalr is a sophomore at the University of North Texas double majoring in Political Science and International Studies with a concentration in International Development and Humanitarian Affairs. She is also currently working on a Women and Gender Studies minor and Legal Studies certificate. As a committee head for the City and State Relations Committee and the Women’s Resources Committee, Samah worked with my Student Government Association toward voter registration and participation and advocated for necessary resources for women on campus. She is proud to be an award-winning competitor on UNT’s Moot Court Team, wherein she's won advocacy accolades and become knowledgeable about constitutional amendments. As the 2020-21 school year approaches, she's excited to serving as the Chief of Operations for the UNT branch of the Coalition for Civic Empowerment developing and executing non-partisan voter registration through campus mobilization efforts and initiatives. Her interest areas include policy, advocacy, and research about international human rights, civil rights, and civil liberties. As a Palestinian-American and first-generation college student, her upbringing has brought forth a passion for issues both domestically and abroad.
Samantha Mosley is originally from Lake Charles, LA; but she’s called Houston her home for about 13 years. She is a senior at the University of Houston-Downtown, majoring in Criminal Justice, minoring in Communication Studies. Currently, at UHD, she is President for the Black Student Association as well as the Pre-Law Association, a Gator Peer Mentor, and a member of the Student Disciplinary Committee. Sam has also held a myriad of Student Government (SGA) positions and is a former Child Advocate for Harris County. Most recently, she has been accepted into the Texas Civic Ambassadors Program at the Moody College of Communication at UT Austin. After completing her undergraduate education, Sam hopes to pursue a JD degree to become an attorney. She enjoys spending time with family, learning new things, and helping others! She’s looking forward to a successful ambassadorship, as she believes civic engagement and knowledge is a paramount component to facilitating positive world change and impact.
Sarah Batson is a second-year government and political communications major at The University of Texas at Austin. Growing up in Belton, Texas, she first forayed into political action through volunteering during the 2018 midterms. She is interested in sustainability, public policy, and promoting student voting. When not organizing student voting efforts through her work with TX Votes, she volunteers for campaigns or with student groups focused on the environment. She is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador this year with the support of the outstanding team at the New Politics Forum and pursue new projects to increase student turnout and engage the UT Austin community in creative forms of political discourse.
Sophia Andritsos is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in Economics and minoring in Legal Reasoning. On campus she works with the Patti and Paul Yetter Law School Preparation Institute. She serves as Vice President of the Regional Economic Development Association and the Omicron Delta Epsilon Economics Honor Society. She worked on the Delegate Operations Team for Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign, where she learned about the importance of civic engagement through ballot access logistics and grassroots campaigning. She currently works as a legal intern at a local employment law firm in El Paso, Texas that represents workers who are victims of various forms of civil discrimination. Her interests include public sector economics, women’s rights, and civil rights,specifically in relation to public policy and social justice. Upon graduation, her plan is to attend law school and work to become a women’s rights attorney in her community.
Tristan Pepper is a thoroughly experienced undergraduate research fellow with a fierce passion for science policy. He is a rising sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Civic Engagement at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Beyond laboratory research, he is interested in various forms of STEM advocation including science outreach, political advising, and global perspectives of biomedical research. Tristan possesses a strong interest in current national and global issues and their relations to public policy. Likewise, he has a passion for service and enjoys giving back through his volunteerism with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas and his dedication to creating a well-rounded STEM education for people of all abilities and backgrounds. This June, Tristan was named as a participant in the Fulbright United Kingdom Summer Institute in Scotland for Summer 2021. In addition, he is also a Millennium fellow, a member of the Top Scholar program at UTSA, and a STEM advocate by way of his involvement with the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. He also hopes to one day pursue his goals of a PhD, appointment as a science policy advisor, and acceptance into the NASA astronaut program. Tristan is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador in order to develop a program that provides a future in STEM education accessible for all individuals regardless of socio-economic background, limits on physical and mental ability, or any other barrier.
Jacqueline Giang is a senior studying Government/Political Science at The University of Texas at Austin with a minor in business administration. She's currently on the Inaugural Student Advisory Board for Kendra Scott Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute, focus on empowering women in entrepreneurship and the workplace. In the past, she has worked with Representative Hubert Vo by creating reports with bills she liked to see pass during the 86th Legislative Session at the Texas Capitol. My internship is where I gained hands-on experience and learned about the issues facing citizens of the Lone Star State. Her work experiences have led her to understand the importance of political participation and advocating for underrepresented communities. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, she's excited about the opportunity to make meaningful change within her community. She is looking forward to connecting with students across Texas and learning more civic engagement.
Alberto Jimenez is a senior currently attending the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in pursuit of a double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Alberto has served as President of the UTEP Men's Soccer Club where he opened the club up for all genders, as well as, people with disabilities. He is a member of the Chicano Pre-Law Association and the chair for Liberal Arts for Vision Mexico. Alberto was also chair for an immigration non profit, Mano Amigo. Most recently, he has been accepted into the Texas Civic Ambassadors Program at the Moody College of Communication - UT Austin. Alberto wishes to peruse a JD in the University of Texas at Austin Law School and serve the community he loves through politics.
Alexandra Smith-Macias is originally from San Luis Potosi, Mexico but now she calls the Valley her home. She is a junior attending the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley pursuing a degree in Political Science. Besides her academics she is really involved in her university, she currently serve as the student body Vice-President, she works on campus in the office of Student Activities, and she is the president of the newly formed It Takes One Civic Engagement Alliance. She strives to help her university create the best college experience for her fellow vaqueros.
Alexis Tatum is a senior studying Journalism and Plan II Honors at the University of Texas at Austin. As a first generation college student from northeast Texas, she understands the importance of local media and community relationships to civic engagement and understanding. In the future, Alexis hopes to continue working in media and eventually obtain a legal degree. Alexis is excited to be a Texas Civic Ambassador because she believes the program is an enriching opportunity to take a deeper dive into what it means to represent and be engaged with one’s community.
Alexzandra Roman is a Sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin studying Government with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. On campus, She is a Terry Foundation Scholar, a Student Ambassador for the university, she advocates and provides resources for women/self-identifying women as a Women’s Resource Agency co-director, and she mentors students as a camp counselor. Originally from San Antonio, she first witnessed what civic engagement was my freshman year of high school. She has explored her interest for civic involvement by volunteering, interning and working on various local and statewide campaigns. She is deeply passionate about providing resources to marginalized and underserved communities while helping to propel all individuals to have the tools they need to engage in their communities and within themselves.
Anahi Ponce is an El Paso native. She is a current senior at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) majoring in English and American Literature with a minor in Public Administration. After working as a congressional intern for Texas’ 16th Congressional District, she gained an interest in politics and government, as well as how the two coincide with civic engagement and activism within communities. Since then, Anahi has been involved in efforts to mobilize El Paso voters and has consequently been featured in online articles by both Remezcla and NPR’s Latino USA. Along with mobilizing voters, Anahi is the founder of Chicas De Chuco, a community organization dedicated to providing resources for El Paso womxn interested in careers in politics and activism. Through this organization, she has been able to host panel events with community leaders and create an online community of support for womxn in the Paso del Norte region. Anahi also serves as the Deputy Director of Marketing for the El Paso County Democratic Party, she is a precinct chair for the party, and serves as the Vice President for the Liberal Arts Honors Program at UTEP. Anahi plans to study Literature with a focus on Chicanx Literature and activism in her graduate studies, enter the professoriate, and eventually run for a public office. She is excited to apply what she will learn as a Texas Civic Ambassador in continuing to promote civic engagement in her community.
Angie Whistler is a Junior at the University of North Texas studying International Economic Development, History, Political Science, and Spanish. Currently, she serves the student body as the Honors College Senator in the Student Government Association where she advocates for Voter Rights Initiatives, mental health reform, and environmentally-conscious university policies. She additionally is a member of the North Texas Forty, a UNT organization that recognizes the top forty leaders on campus, participates on the UNT Moot Court team, where she qualified for Nationals in the American Moot Court Association during her first year, and is a founding member of Emerald Amicus, an Undergraduate Law Review. Recently, her law review regarding 2nd Amendment legislative history won first place in humanities research at UNT. Her passion lies in research and advocacy, where she hopes to focus on policy reform in areas concerning higher education, climate change, and LGBTQ+ rights. She’s excited to gain new skill sets in advocacy and communication while serving as a Texas Civic Ambassador for the purpose of propelling civic participation on campus and is looking forward to research opportunities concerning civic and voter participation on college campuses for the purpose of mobilizing local change and building youth coalitions in light of national policy issues. Angie intends to pursue both graduate law school in hopes of earning a J.D. and Ph.D. for a career in legal and policy research. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, watching soccer, photography, and looking at dogs on Instagram.
Arrian Ebrahimi, passionate about law and the legislative process, has taken initiative to create change in his community by working for Texas state Senator José Menéndez, U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), and California state Assembly member Evan Low, as well as several civil rights and business advocacy groups. He has served as an American Legion Boys’ State counselor and Senator on the St. Edward’s University Student Government Association, and he is a student-athlete on his school's cross-country team. Having advocated a major piece of legislation in California relating to judicial independence, Arrian hopes to serve his new state as a Texas Civic Ambassador to open nonpartisan dialogue about this critical issue.
Blanca Margarita Molina was born in San Pedro, Coahuila located in Mexico but was raised in Laredo, Texas in the U.S. she was brought at a young age without much political interest. Her interest in politics really spiked during Obama’s initial presidential campaign and how significant proper representation for diversity really needed to be demonstrated then and in present time. Now being a DACA recipient really adds to her eagerness for knowledge and passion in politics. She is currently an incoming sophomore at Texas A&M International University where she’s in the College of Arts & Sciences. She plan to complete a Double Bachelor of Arts degree with concentrations in Political Science & Communications. After completion here at TAMIU she plans to further her studies at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Law. She aspires to become an Immigration attorney, and help those in need, just like someone helped her.
Carlo Flores is from McAllen, Texas and is a senior at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley majoring in International Business with a minor in Legal Studies. He has previously served in his university’s student government as a Senator, Committee Chair, Chair of the Senate, and Vice President, where he was able to collaborate with students as their elected representatives and effect real change. This includes the establishment of a multicultural meditation room for students of various faiths, and the creation of a DREAM Resource Center, where DREAM students can go get more information and assistance regarding school life. He was also heavily involved in registering students on the two main campuses during the 2018 election cycle, leading to a remarkable increase in voter turnout at his on-campus polling locations. Outside of school, he has interned with two Members of Congress, assisting the constituents of TX-15 with concerns including Social Security, immigration, Veterans’ Affairs, etc. He has also worked with various community organizations that participate in volunteer activities within the community.
Carolyn Daly is a junior at Rice University from Rochester, New York. She is majoring in Social Policy Analysis and History and pursuing a Certificate in Spanish and a Certificate in Civic Leadership. Her longstanding interest in civic engagement was inspired by her mom, who brought her to the polling stations as a young kid and emphasized how lucky Americans are to be able to vote. In college, Carolyn became passionate about helping to empower people who traditionally face barriers to becoming civically engaged. Through Civic Duty Rice, a nonpartisan civic engagement club, she has learned from the community and nonprofits while helping to empower other students to become civically engaged. Carolyn loves learning about social justice causes, especially related to housing, education, and healthcare policy, both inside and outside of the classroom. She feels very lucky to have had a number of civic engagement opportunities, including serving as an Alternative Spring Break Site Leader & Participant, a Center for Civic Leadership Ambassador & Student Worker, a McMurtry Diversity Council Co-Chair, a Houston Youth Voters Conference Co-Founder, and interning at two nonprofits conducting policy research. Carolyn is excited to build upon her current experience in civic engagement and leadership skills through the TCA program, and to learn from student leaders and speakers from both sides of the aisle. Ultimately, she hopes learning from people with different backgrounds and political viewpoints will help her to create a more inclusive, nonpartisan dialogue during the 2nd Annual Houston Youth Voters Conference, an event that celebrates youths’ right and privilege to participate in democracy and effect change in our communities.
Christina Ciaburri is a current senior at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Communication and Leadership, and Psychology with a public policy certificate. She currently serves and leads within the Leadership and Ethics Institute as a mentor for students that want to further develop their leadership skills on campus. She also works within the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement to promote their programs focused on service and volunteering. For over a year, she has prepared and conducted research in Mexico over low-income, informal settlements as a part of a President’s Global Learning team. Outside of academics, she loves volunteering and watching baking competitions. Christina is passionate about leadership, education, and simply helping others. She is beyond excited to be a Texas Civic Ambassador, as it will be a great resource to help expand her knowledge about civic engagement and mobilizing others in her community.
Daphne Flores is junior at Rice University studying Political Science and Linguistics. Even though she is originally from West New York, NJ, she has become invested in Texas civic life and politics. She is currently working on youth empowerment and engagement with Mi Familia Vota and on child health policy with the Baker Institute for Public Policy. She is also involved in Civic Duty Rice, Pi Sigma Alpha and HACER (Hispanic Association for Cultural Enrichment at Rice). In the past, Daphne has worked in the Press and Communications Office of the French Embassy in the U.S. With English, Spanish, French, German, and soon Arabic, she hopes to gain access to the international platform and work for a refugee agency. She wants to influence policy, engage communities worldwide, create and organize events, and ensure that the voices and capacities of refugees are incorporated into all facets of protection work. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Daphne is excited to work with equally civically minded people.
David Amaya is a senior studying Political Science and History at Texas Wesleyan University. He interned for State Representative Ramon Romero, where he managed his local office and listened and spoke with his constituents directly to work on solutions to address their issues. Shortly thereafter, he became the Volunteer Coordinator for El Voto Es Latino, a 501 c4 that works to bridge the gap between the more than 27 million eligible latinx voters and the ballot box. He is now the Executive Director of El Voto Es Latino and is working on voter registration and providing key information on local government. It is his personal mission to promote civic engagement in the latinx community, whether it be voting or learning the skills to become an activist. As a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, Honor student at his institution, and recipient of Outstanding Delegate for Model United Nations and Model Arab League, he is excited to improve his ability to promote his interest and improve his community by learning the skills taught by the Texas Civic Ambassadorship program.
Dianna Starr is an incoming Junior at Southwestern University and intends to graduate in 2021. While working towards a double major in Political Science and History, she currently serves as the Treasurer for the Southwestern University History Union and acts as a liaison between alumni and students through Southwestern University’s Student Foundation. Prior to attending Southwestern University, Dianna was an active Girl Scout for 13 years and volunteered extensively with non-profit organizations –earning the Presidential Volunteer Service Award in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 and her Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. Of the various volunteer opportunities, her Gold Award was the most impactful and acted as the introduction to Dianna’s intrigue and investment in politics. For her Gold Award, Dianna developed an Interfaith Resource Guide to educate children between the ages of Kindergarten to 2nd Grade about eight religious’ beliefs through kinesthetic, visual, and auditory elements. The Interfaith Resource Guide is currently in use in seven religious’ establishments in three different states and the message continues to spread to a variety of diverse organizations and religious facilities. Through her primary interests are in acknowledging gaps in religious impartiality, the repercussions of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, and the contemporary effects of the dissolution of the U.S.S.R, Dianna Starr is thrilled to work with the Texas Civic Ambassador Program to expand civic engagement on a local level and to encourage multicultural awareness.
Gisela Argote is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso pursuing a double major in Political Science and History. She was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and hopes to raise civic engagement and health in the city. Gisela belongs to the Liberal Arts Honors Program, serves as President of the Brazilian Culture Center, Secretary of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, and is an Andrew W. Mellon HSI Pathway to the Professoriate Fellow. Her academic interests include Western political theory, political behavior, civic health and participation, fascism, and studying modern Europe in transnational and global perspectives, specifically with Latin America. Gisela is a huge soccer and basketball fan, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, attending concerts, reading, trying new coffee shops, and is a proud dog and cat mom. Gisela believes that a democracy cannot fully function without civic life and thus, is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador to strengthen her leadership skills to promote civic engagement, health and participation in El Paso and hopefully, all over Texas. After graduation, she plans on earning a PhD and seeing advancement in El Paso’s voter turnout.
Greg Norwood is a Political Science Major at Houston Community College where he currently serve as Student Government Association’s President- Elect, United Student Council’s Central Senator, and Board Member of HCC’s Student Fees Advisory Committee. He also serve as a Young Advocate for Young Invincible, and as an Advisory Board Member for Volunteer Houston’s Volunteer Corp. He is extremely honored to be a Texas Civic Ambassador. He is ready to get boots to the ground to begin implementing programs and events that educate the community on pertinent issues they are facing. In his free time he enjoys reading, frequenting museums, and eating delicious food.
Jackson Freeman is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Government and Security Studies. He’s explored political advocacy and research throughout his years at UT, and he is very passionate about applying that experience towards climate policy and environmental adjustments that are desperately necessary for our changing climate. He is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and represent a non-partisan approach to civic action and community development that will give me experience and skills for my future goals!
Kerry Mackenzie is a sophomore Forty Acres Scholar studying Government and Plan II Honors at The University of Texas at Austin. Kerry fell in love with reading the news and debating politics as a kid and now strives to share that enthusiasm with others. She believes increasing civic engagement is the key to addressing problems in her community and building empathy between different groups. She has promoted this goal by serving as an intern for Senator Jane Nelson, as a Legislative Assistant at Texas Girls State, and working for a local non-profit as a Bank of America Student Leader. At the University of Texas, Kerry enjoys serving as a University- Wide representative in Student Government and interning for the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life. Kerry is ecstatic to join the Texas Civic Ambassador community and learn how to best promote civil discourse and civic engagement on her campus.
Marce Fuentes is a junior undergraduate student pursuing a double major in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations, and Organizational and Corporate Communication at the University of Texas at El Paso. After graduation, she expects to attend law school and become an immigration attorney. During her time as an undergraduate student she served as Campus Representative for the Student Body at El Paso Community College, she was treasurer for “Soñar Despierto Juarez - El Paso” a non-profit organization for the 2018-2019 term, and she is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha the political Science Honor Society at UTEP. She is honored to serve as Texas Civic Ambassador, knowing that this program is an exceptional opportunity to learn and share ideas on how to improve the civic life in Texas and her community.
Miriam Laeky is a first-generation from Allen, TX, a north suburb of Dallas. She is a senior at Baylor University in the BIC honors program studying Political Science and Spanish on the pre-law track. She first became interested in politics after 2016, and this led her to working as a Student Fellow for the Beto for Senate 2018 and inspired her mom to vote for the very first time since immigrated to the U.S almost 30 years ago. Since then, she has been inspired to focus her advocacy on mobilizing civic engagement, representation, and equity in our Texas communities. As Shirley Chisolm once said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Recently, she has served as Legislative Aide to Rep. Chris Turner at the Texas State Capitol, a Campaign & Policy Intern for the Texas Democratic Party, and Political Affairs Intern for the Borgen Project. She is very engaged with Multicultural Affairs and have proudly served as Secretary and President of the Ethiopian & Eritrean Student Association at Baylor. She has also used my 8 years of language studies and volunteered as an ESL teacher and translator in the Waco community for immigrants. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, she is excited to build bridges in her community and facilitate necessary discussions and initiatives on her campus and in her community.
Nicholas Davis, a native of Texas, Mr. Nicholas Davis is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Texas Wesleyan University. Mr. Davis has received various awards and honors, the pinnacle of these being named a Texas Civic Ambassador for the 2019-2020 year and receiving the prestigious Hatton W. Sumner’s Scholarship in the Spring of 2017. Mr. Davis aspires to promote civic duty through constituent service to the campus and Greater Fort Worth community. Besides his community service, Mr. Davis is also an active student on campus participating in various interscholastic Texas Wesleyan teams and on-campus organizations. Following his undergraduate studies, Mr. Davis aspires to study public policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin and work and advocated for Texas public education policy in and around the State Capitol.
Nick Eastwood is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, double majoring in International Relations and Russian Eastern European and Eurasian Studies with a certificate in global business management. Upon graduation, he hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in litigation. During his time as an undergraduate, Nick has interned with State Representative Lyle Larson, served on the UT election supervisory board, and currently works at Humanities Texas, the state affiliate for the National Endowment of the Humanities. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Nick is excited to have the opportunity to encourage and educate his peers on the importance of political engagement and work to expand voter registration access in Texas.
Tammy Chang is currently a senior at the University of Houston, studying Marketing at the C.T. Bauer College of Business. Previously, she served as a senator in Student Government and worked on initiatives to increase campus participation during the 2018 midterm elections. She is also a member of the Honors College, a Ted Bauer Undergraduate Business Scholar, and a Model Arab League delegate. She works on campus as a REACH Diversity Peer Educator at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and as a research assistant for the SURE™ Program. In her free time, Tammy participates in Club Theater shows, cheers on the Cougars as a Bleacher Creature, and registers her friends to vote. She is honored to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and looks forward to developing her leadership skills and continuing her advocacy in encouraging students to foster a lifelong habit of civic participation.
Tasnim Islam is an incoming sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin, studying Plan II Honors, Women & Gender Studies, and Pre-Med. Her favorite organizations she's involved with are Student Government and Queer Trans People of Color Agency. She's worked as a field organizer on multiple campaigns and loves other types of policy work, trying to change the lives of marginalized groups. Additionally, she spends all of her free time dancing to Bollywood music, swimming at Barton Springs, and cooking tasty dishes! She's thrilled to take her civic engagement to the next level while educating as many people as she can on POC and LGBTQIA+ justice.
Tegan Debrock is a sophomore at Texas State University studying Political Science. He has always lived in San Marcos, Texas and is proud to stay and attend college here. He is passionate about uniting the student and local community in the city; it is strengthened by his university while being so much more than “just” a college town. Additionally, he is a transgender man who has been active in LGBT advocacy, and an Air Force ROTC cadet preparing to become a military officer after college. He’s excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because civic engagement plays such a critical role in our communities. He strives to be part of the effort to support Texans becoming active and engaged in issues that affect their daily lives.
Teresa Cropper is a senior at Southwestern University, pursuing a double major in Political Science and History with a minor in Environmental Studies. Throughout her undergraduate career, Teresa has interned for State Representative Diego Bernal, Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Georgetown Law’s Continuing Legal Education Department. On Southwestern’s campus, Teresa has been actively involved in cultivating a campus environment where students are encouraged to be civically engaged. She is currently a student organizer for the SU Voter Friendly Committee and an intern for Southwestern’s Project for Free Speech and Civil Discourse. She previously served as a Community Engaged Learning Teacher Assistant for American Politics and as College Democrats president. Teresa is also a student-athlete on the Southwestern women’s swim team and works as a lifeguard at the campus pool. Teresa is very excited to be a Texas Civic Ambassador to learn more about civic engagement and to have the opportunity to continue working towards having a more civically active campus.
Zack Magallanez is currently a graduate student in the Master’s of Public Administration program at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Public Policy. Born and raised in San Antonio, Zack has a deep commitment to create a lasting impact in his community through civic activation and participation. He is inspired by community leaders and activists who came before him to stand up against social inequalities and injustices. Zack is passionate about equitable access to quality educational opportunities, housing, and community engagement. He currently works for Cafè College, a college-access center located in the downtown area of San Antonio, providing students from across the city with opportunities and resources in their pursuit of higher education. Outside of full-time work and school, he enjoys learning about global issues, exploring the outdoors, running and cycling, and all things coffee and hip-hop. Zack is honored to have been selected to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador. He hopes to gain the necessary insight and leadership skills to help advance his community forward.
Alesondra Cruz is a current senior at St. Edward’s University studying Political Science with concentrations in international relations and pre-law studies. She first became interested in politics in the 5th grade when her class held their very own McCain versus Obama debate. In the years since, she has served in Congressman Pete Olson’s youth council, interned at the Texas Capitol, and worked in political fundraising. She helped found the St. Edward’s chapter of Generation Citizen which works to ensure that every student in Austin receives effective action civics education, providing them with the skills and knowledge necessary to be active citizens. She is eager to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador to promote political education and to encourage civility amongst diversity of thought. When not obsessing over the latest news cycle, you can probably find her listening to podcasts, going to mass, or watching documentaries about The Beach Boys.
Alyssa Guajardo is a junior studying Exercise Science with a concentration in Physical Therapy, and a minor in Statistics and Spanish at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Alyssa serves as a Senator for The College of Health Affairs and Chair for Campus Life and Community Affairs Committee for her University's Student Government Association. She works on campus as a student mentor and helps motivate, guide, and support first year students. She has a lifelong passion of helping others and enjoys being surrounded with people who share the same goals as her. She began her interest in politics after being inspired by one of her college professors. She is always looking for ways to grow. She believed the Texas Civic Ambassador program was the right first step to grow her capabilities as a leader and be an agent of change wherever she goes. She's excited to make a lot of changes and is determined to make this year a great one!
Alyssa Hiarker was born and raised in Houston, Texas and is a second-year student studying Government and Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She currently serves on the Leadership Team of the Liberal Arts Council as the College Ambassadors committee co-chair. She also serves as a First Year Interest Group (FIG) Mentor to help incoming freshmen get acclimated to life on campus. Previously, she has been a part of the Longhorn Advocacy Mentorship Program, where she worked with UT alumni and state senators on higher education reform; has served as Publicity Chair of Texas THON’s ENACT program, the largest student run philanthropy organization in the state of Texas; served as a member of the College Ambassador committee within LAC; and served as an intern for the lobbyist organization the League of Women Voters of Texas. She is excited to expand her previous civic and political work by serving as an Ambassador and hopes to work to combat apathy and encourage political participation across campus.
Andrew Fuller is a Junior Tarleton State University majoring in Agricultural Economics. He is currently serving as the Vice President of Judicial Affairs for Tarleton’s Interfraternity Council and on his second term as president of his fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho. In his free time, he enjoys working with rescue dogs, traveling to new places, cooking, going to concerts, and hanging out with friends. Andrew hopes to attend law school at the University of Texas after earning his undergraduate degree. In the political world, Andrew is particularly passionate about economic development, educational policy, civil rights, and agricultural policy; but he is excited to learn about, and find ways to solve, the problems that his fellow Texans are facing and he knows that the Texas Civic Ambassador program will be an amazing resource for him to achieve that goal.
Angelica Ramirez is a native Houstonian and senior at The University of Houston studying Political Science. Outside of school, she spends her time working for her city’s Parks and Recreation Department and for IGNITE National. IGNITE is a non-profit organization that focuses on engaging young women to become the next generation of civic leaders. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend law school and further her education. Beyond academia and work, she enjoys researching education policy, science fiction movies, and breakfast food. Angelica is honored to have been selected as a Texas Civic Ambassador and is most excited to gain skills necessary to advance, motivate, and better represent the city of Houston.
Anilya Krishnan is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring Government and History with a certificate in Public Policy. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in human and civil rights law. During her time as an undergraduate, Anilya has interned with Austin City Council Member Ora Houston, State Representative Celia Israel, and U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Anilya hopes to make civic life in Texas more accessible to underrepresented groups within our local communities.
Ashley Hicks is a mother of a hilarious three-year-old and a wife of nearly five years. As the oldest of five children, she started considering what responsibilities she owed to herself, and others, at an early age. This eagerness to be a moral individual and a contributing member in society drove her to consider the study of collective peoples. From there, she quickly recognized the barriers and opportunities afforded by the governing laws and institutions. Hence, she chose to pursue a degree that would enrich her understanding of how these factors work with the people beholden to them. Her educational background includes undergraduate studies at Texas Wesleyan University, concentrating on Pre-Law, Political Science, and Sociology. She is in in her final year of this degree, set to graduate May 19, 2019 with her Bachelors of Science. Jurisprudence is the next stop, commencing in August of 2020. As she moves forward from law school into her prospective career, she feels confident that her experiences as a Texas Civic Ambassador will have enhanced her foundational understanding of empowering others to act on behalf of themselves and their society. She is excited and humbled by her acceptance to this program, which formally declares her as an advocate of nonpartisan civic engagement. In a speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, he asserted, "A time comes when silence is betrayal." He addressed the one of mankind’s greatest responsibilities: Our duty to perceive, analyze, and respond to the needs of our society. Her great passion is empowering others to act. This ideal has pressed her to aspire servant-leadership, which is a key component in her upcoming role as a Texas Civic Ambassador.
Ayanna Watkins is a rising sophomore at Paul Quinn College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts of Arts degree in Legal Studies. Upon graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and to pursue a double Master’s in Public and Education Policy, with the eventual goal of becoming a Texas Legislator. Ayanna serves as a Presidential Scholar, Student Ambassador, Student Activity Council Member, and is now a JP Morgan Chase intern for the 2018-19 academic year. With these positions, she plans on creating a bigger impact for those around her on or off her institution’s campus. Ayanna was also selected as the chapter President for Texas Rising on her campus. Through the chapter, she works tirelessly to get students on her college campus registered and pledged to vote for the general election. Overall, Ayanna anticipates participating as a Texas Civic Ambassador to encourage the civic participation in the Dallas area for the 2018-19 academic year.
Bryan Mena is a first-generation American from El Paso, Texas and he is currently studying economics at El Paso Community College. After community college, he hopes to transfer to either the University of Texas at Austin or Texas A&M University to complete his undergraduate studies. In May 2018, Bryan was elected Student Body President and will be representing over 28,000 students. He also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Tejano Tribune student newspaper. Outside of school, he has interned for two Texas legislators, worked on two campaigns, and worked as a Field Fellow for Voto Latino. He firmly believes that civic participation, whether it is campaigning or simply voting, is crucial for a society to move forward. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Bryan is excited to implement an initiative that will engage his community. In his free time, he enjoys reading about leadership, going to the gym, and watching horror movies. He also loves to travel!
Chidozie Nwaneri is a senior at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. Chidozie grew up in Minnesota but now lives in Houston, Texas. He is a member of Trinity University's Black Student Union and is the acting Service Chair of the Chi Delta Tau fraternity. With a relentless drive for creating opportunities and improving his community, Chidozie is proud to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and put his knowledge, efforts, and passion to work.
Courtney Broderick is entering her third year in the History Ph.D. program at The University of Texas at Austin. Originally from Arlington, Texas, Courtney first delved into civic engagement in her senior year of high school where she was involved in an internship, called the Richard Greene Scholars Program, that rotated around local government entities. Since then, Courtney has served as a Summer Fellow for the Dallas County Democratic Party. She has interned, then subsequently worked for, Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) through the Texas Legislative Internship Program (TLIP). Courtney also worked in the Texas Senate as a Legislative Aide in education and finance policy for State Senator Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) through the Senator Gregory Luna Scholars and Fellows Program. This summer, Courtney served as a Fellow with the Kirk Watson Campaign Academy, where she learned a great deal about progressive political campaigning. Courtney is excited to participate in TCA to further her knowledge about civic engagement and hopes to help Texas, and her hometown, become more politically active.
Danyale Kellogg is a senior history major at Southwestern University. During her time in college, she has interned with the US House of Representatives, the Texas Legislature, a defense and security consulting firm, and was a member of the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Honors Program, through which she interned with SAC El Paso Intelligence. On campus, she has been Secretary and President of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, a Representative in Student Government, a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar, and a member of the Honor Code Council, among other things. She spent the fall of 2017 in Seoul, South Korea studying international security and relations in addition to public international law and Korean. She spent the summer of 2018 with The Fund for American Studies’ Institute on Economics and International Affairs in Washington D.C. while also completing research with Southwestern regarding German foreign policy expressions through multilateral international organizations and missions post-9/11, such as NATO/ISAF and the EU/ESDP. Though her interests are primarily related to national security and defense, she is a proud lifelong Texan that is eager to work to improve avenues for student education and engagement on campus. Her goal after graduation is to pursue a Master of Science in Intelligence and National Security Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso.
David Bomar is a junior at Concordia University Texas, and is a double major in Political Science and History. He is the vice president of a Student Advocacy organization on campus, called CTX ALIVE, where he helps host events that focus on issues that affect college students. He has also competed at MOAS Moot Court his freshman and sophomore year. He plans on going to Law School once he finishes his undergrad. Environmentalism is a subject that David feels passionate about, and is excited to be part of the TCA Program to further the conversation of environmentalism. He also competed on campus in a persuasive speech competition where he advocated that students become more involved around campus to build the skills they need to be more civically engaged later in their lives. David believes that TCA is the perfect opportunity to further political discussions and to get more students to be more civically engaged.
Elena Ivanova is a junior studying Government, Public Health, and Plan II Honors at The University of Texas at Austin. Elena first became interested in politics by closely following the 2016 national election and volunteering with the Bernie Sanders campaign while in high school. During her freshman and sophomore years at UT, Elena interned as a Legislative Aide in the Office of Eddie Lucio III at the Texas State Capitol. While Elena loves learning about politics and government at all levels, she is particularly passionate about foreign diplomacy and the role of government in providing aid during environmental crises. Elena spends most of her free time following basketball, reading, hiking around Austin, training for a half-marathon, listening to podcasts, and volunteering.
Elijah Miller is a Senior at Texas State University studying Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. Working on local, state, and federal campaigns upon entering college was the beginning of his civic involvement, and he hasn't looked back since. Elijah currently serves on the executive board for the Black Student Alliance on campus. He looks forward to joining the TCA 2018-2019 cohort, and not only learning how to be a more effective leader, but also helping young people across the state understand the importance of community involvement.
Grant E. Loveless is a current sophomore at Austin Community College pursuing a marketing certification and finishing his prerequisites; planning to transfer to the University of Texas in San Antonio, double majoring in Political Science and Psychology. Since his junior year at Manor High School, Grant has always been a tenacious and ambitious leader who has committed himself to serving others and being of use to the community and their needs. During his years in high school, Grant created, served, and assisted nine extracurricular clubs, such as the LGBTQIA+ organization, UNITY, and the HBCU Committee, that focused on social and educational change. As an Austinite, he is currently committed to representing African-American, Afro-Queer, human / civil rights, and the importance of education in Austin, Texas and at his community college. Grant is the Assistant of Student Services / Student Ambassador at Austin Community College, providing students the resources and opportunities needed to be successful personally, professionally, and academically. He loves and enjoys writing, dancing, volunteering, swimming, and, of course, hanging out with his close friends having fun. As a writer, poet, and social activist in his community he serves to promote equality, equity, and awareness and solutions on the issues of self-love / identity, racism, discrimination, colorism, inequality, and the disparities that minorities face in educational facilities that lead to failure. At Austin Community College, Grant serves as the Director of Communications for the student-lead organization, Austin Community Corps of Engineers, while being an active member of the Male Leadership Program, Black Student Success Committee, and Black Student Association. Grant is overjoyed and excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador as he now has a platform to outreach, guide, and help to his community.
Jada Fraser Jada is a third year student at the University of Texas studying International Relations and Global Studies with a focus on International Security and is in the Bridging Disciplines Program for Human Rights and Social Justice. Her academic interests lie at the crossroads of the effects of globalization on international order, human rights, and civic participation. You are most likely to find Jada at a coffee shop, farmer’s market, new restaurant, or book store. She is a self-proclaimed, self-acclaimed food critic and spending copious amounts of money on food and drink is her greatest vice. Jada grew up all over Texas— from San Antonio, to Weatherford, to Conroe and a couple stops in between. It is because of this background, living in a diverse array of communities throughout the state, that her interest in the civic health of Texas was spiked. Jada is excited to be a Texas Civic Ambassador because of the unique opportunity it presents to gain the skills and experience to help improve civic participation in both her generation and in historically marginalized communities. She hopes to work towards bridging the divide between apathy and engagement by framing electoral politics in a way that connects with and amplifies the dreams, determination, and drive of all Texans.
Jakob Andrew Lucas is a rising sophomore and Government major at the University of Texas at Austin. He is from the Galveston area and became involved with politics the moment he realized that government is the institution most effective at helping people. Jakob proudly represents the College of Liberal Arts in Student Government. He's excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador to fight incivility, apathy, and disengagement.
Johnathan Cereceres will be an Undergraduate Senior attending the University of Texas at El Paso focusing on a double major in Political Science and Chicano Studies. He is a native of El Paso striving to work on improving upward mobility within the borderland region. He has a strong compassion for helping the El Paso Del Norte region and all of his future plans include public service aiming to help El Paso. He serves as the Chief of Staff for the Texas State Board of Education District 1 Office under Georgina Perez, who is also his mentor. He has experience in the Student Government Association as an executive officer and different committees across UTEP. He also serves as the President of Pi Sigma Alpha which is the Political Science Honor Society on campus. Thankfully, he was also appointed to serve as the Student Representative for the Financial Aid Advisory Committee apart of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. His hobbies include photography and riding motorcycles. He is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he believes this program will strengthen and improve his skillset raising involvement within his community addressing collective needs. He looks forward to collaborating with other high caliber student leaders aiming to address civic engagement here in Texas in which they can holistically raise participation across the state.
Katya Ehresman is an Austin native and sophomore sociology and government major at the University of Texas at Austin who is dedicated to improve the civic health and equity in her city, state and nation. Between classes and on the weekends, Katya coaches debate at local high schools to state and national success while diligently working to cultivate research and personal advocacy skills with her students. Additionally, Katya spent her summer recruited to work at colleges from California to D.C. to teach students and address gender inequity in the national debate community as diversity coordinator of a national debate organization. When she isn't coaching debate, Katya also has a job as a student intern at the University Interscholastic League as an intern under the Forensics Director and additionally volunteers multiple nights a week at a local non-profit dedicated to helping single mother families escape the cycle of poverty and their children's learning curve before entering kindergarten. Katya is thrilled and honored to be a Texas Civic Ambassador because it will help provide her a platform to foster more community engagement and civic awareness in her community.
Kiyanoush Forough is an incoming sophomore at The University of Texas at Dallas. He's currently studying Economics and Finance with a minor in Political Science. He was born in Austin, Texas and has lived here his entire life. Years from now, he wants to find himself graduating from law school and beginning a career in law and government. He is passionate about the institutions that govern our society which is why he is so excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador. He believes that the chance to create an impact and become involved in civic life is the opportunity of a lifetime, especially so early in his career.
Krista Gehlhausen is currently a junior at Concordia University Texas majoring in Political Science with minors in Legal Studies and Behavioral Sciences. In the past, she has worked for State Representative Drew Springer as a Legislative Aide during the 85th legislative and special sessions, as well as interning in the Research Department at Texas Public Policy Foundation. She is also a College Student Commissioner for the City of Austin. At Concordia, Krista is President of a peer education student organization (CTX Alive) as well as Vice President for the Student Government and Leadership Association. She works as a peer tutor, service-learning leader, and behavioral science assistant on campus. Upon graduation, Krista aspires to work in policy analysis or attain a Juris Doctorate in legislative/Constitutional law. In her free time, she enjoys reading pretty much anything. Civic engagement is her greatest passion in life, and she hopes to implement more projects onto her campus with the help of the TCA program.
Lawson Sadler is a junior at Baylor University studying Political Science and Spanish through the University Scholars program. Combining her passions for international politics and diplomacy, Lawson is President of the regional Eugene Scassa Model Organization of American States (MOAS). She has also worked in education as President of the Baylor High School Project in Waco, Texas and a Shepherd Scholars intern at the Sacred Heart Center in Richmond, Virginia. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Lawson is eager to encounter new ways of using education policy to encourage activism and civic engagement among high school and college students.
Lily Trieu is currently an MBA student at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in Public and Governmental Affairs. She is focused on the intersection of public, private, and non-profit sectors with an interest in education and education policy. This past summer, Lily represented the University of Texas system in Washington, D.C. as a Graduate Public Policy Fellow with The Archer Center. Originally from Houston, TX, Lily completed her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. Following her undergraduate studies, Lily spent more than nine years working in the private sector in roles like operations, data analytics, and account management in the consumer packaged goods industry. She is an active volunteer with children focused non-profits like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Junior Achievement and is a student board member of the Texas Tribune. In her free time, she enjoys community organizing and efforts to increase civic engagement, travel, and cooking.
Luke Alexander is a junior majoring in Political Science at Concordia University. Last summer, Luke had the privilege to intern under the honorable Judge Donna King at the Williamson County Justice Center. This internship introduced Luke to the legal process and caused him to develop an interest in issues that plague low-income communities such as food insecurity and homelessness. Luke is an aspiring documentary filmmaker and hopes to create films that both educate and inspire civic engagement. In his free time, Luke enjoys watching Scorsese films, reading about the Roman Empire, and attempting to make kombucha. Luke is honored to be a part of the Texas Civic Ambassadors Program and looks forward to using the program to kickstart a lifetime career of civil service.
Meredith McCain is a junior at Rice University majoring in political science and French. She first became interested in civic engagement and the political process in seventh grade when her mom ran for and was elected to her local school board. From there, her interest has grown into a passion for increasing youth civic engagement in order to strengthen grassroots democracy. After starting a national nonprofit called Civic Duty with a few friends focused on this same goal, she started a chapter of the organization at Rice. Over the past year, the club has already had notable successes in increasing student voter registration, voter turnout, and connecting students to Houston politics. Now, Civic Duty Rice is working to bring together universities throughout Houston this fall for a Youth Voters' Summit that will inform and energize students to get-out-the-vote. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Meredith looks forward to connecting with students from across Texas and gaining leadership and communication skills to more effectively engage peers on her campus and in Houston. In the future, she hopes to work both internationally and stateside to understand and facilitate citizen engagement and grassroots advocacy as fundamental elements of strong democracies.
P. Antoinette White grew up both in Mexico and in the US, and is currently working towards her MS in International Political Economy at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is interested in breaking down cultural barriers and working towards bettering the welfare of society, whilst creating a more inclusive world both socially and economically. To accomplish such objectives, Antoinette hopes to grow as an advocate for social engagement through the Texas Civic Ambassadors Program by strengthening her leadership skills and learning how to better reach others.
Rosaleen Mao Xiong is a sophomore Computer Science major at UT Austin. She is from State College, PA, and moved to Texas to serve as an AmeriCorps member with City Year San Antonio for the 2016-2017 school year. On campus, she is a part of Student Government, the Asian Desi Pacific Islander American Collective, and Texas Code Orange. During her year as a TCA, she wants to increase access for people who are historically underrepresented in civic life.
Ryan Hurt is currently a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin. He is majoring in Government and Plan II Honors, with a certificate in Human Rights and Social Justice and a minor in Philosophy. He has worked on a couple local and state campaigns, but has personally found a preference in the judiciary. He currently works for the Tarrant County courts as a Criminal Courts Administrator, where he prepares and organizes criminal information for all the locally elected judges. He always does his best to ensure that all criminal defendants are given an equal hearing, no matter race, religion, or sexual orientation. He firmly believes in the intersection of politics and optimism and he enjoys helping people figure out how they can get involved in government. He CANNOT wait to see what the future of politics looks like because he is confident that his generation will be leading the torch with many needed changes. He is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because the 2018-2019 school year could be one of the most important of the century. With the midterms in the fall, and the legislative session in the spring, they have the power to write the next couple of chapters of Texas history. How exciting!
Shoumik Dabir is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Plan II Honors and Business, and pursuing certificates in public policy and computing. He is interested in civic engagement amongst minority communities in America, foreign policy, and bridging political divides. Having previously worked on two US Congressional campaigns from Texas, he relishes the opportunity to organize, engage, and knock on doors. He is also a board member of The Texas Orator, UT Austin’s first student-led political review and is extensively involved in Student Government, serving as the Federal Relations Agency Co-Director for 2018-2019. Shoumik is thrilled to be a Texas Civic Ambassador and looks forward to helping create a more civically-minded society and in the process, develop as a leader. He hopes to attend law school and ultimately pursue a career in public service.
Sierra Clark is a junior studying Political Science and Public Administration at Texas State University. She has previously worked on local campaigns and is currently planning to develop a mobile system that will yield greater efficiency amongst city maintenance projects and subsequently increase civic engagement. She is passionate about international education and currently serves as an online ESL teacher to students in Beijing. Sierra hopes to work with others to decrease the gender disparity amongst government officials and encourage more young women to get involved in politics. Her research interests center around inner city school districts and political behavior in the black electorate. She is most excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and spark change in voter engagement in the South. In her free time, she enjoys hiking the greenbelt, reading, playing her ukelele, and being a cat mom.
Sierra Salser is currently a Junior at Austin College majoring in Political Science with a minor in Nonprofit Organization. She is a Hatton Sumners Scholar and Vice President of Share: Taking it to the Streets, a local outreach 501c(3), catering to those experiencing homelessness in Grayson County. Sierra is passionate about politics and policy that impact minority equity and education. While balancing her time between work, service and school, she enjoys sports and the arts. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Sierra hopes to acquire the skills to encourage and educate her peers on the importance of political engagement, as she believes that millennial involvement in politics is imperative to the future of our nation.
Sonia Torres, a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, immigrated to the United States at the age of 10 in search of the American Dream. Despite the social and cultural challenges, Sonia has not given up on her dream of attending university and of dedicating her life to champion economic opportunity for marginalized communities via data analysis and civic mobilization. To this end, she is a proud graduate of Barbers Hill High School, and currently a senior at Rice University pursing a degree in Mathematical Economic Analysis and a Certificate with the Center for Civic Leadership. She has had the privilege of working with local non-profits such as Mi Familia Vota and Baker Ripley to promote local youth civic participation, conducting grant sustainability research at a Research Triangle Institute project in Kampala, Uganda, working with the US State Department on a youth-targeted data mobilization project, and studied the economics of Latin American Migration at the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington D.C. Her on-campus extracurricular involvements have included being co-captain of the Rice Speech and Debate team; an Ambassador for the Center for Civic Leadership; the Outreach Head for the Rice Student Volunteer Program; and former president of Rice Mariachi Luna Llena. Most recently, she co-founded Civic Duty Rice and started the first policy podcast on campus, “In the Loop.” Ultimately, she is excited to promote healthy and democratic non-partisan discourse across Houston with her Texas Civic Ambassador Project, the first annual Houston Youth Voters’ Conference.
Taylor Helmcamp is a sophomore Top Scholar at the University of Texas at San Antonio studying Global Affairs, Russian Language & Culture, and Linguistics. She is involved in several organizations on campus and holds office in the Russian Communication Club, the UTSA Model United Nations chapter, and Young Americans for Freedom. During her time as an undergraduate student, Taylor has also served as an intern for the LIBRE Initiative, Republican candidate Chris Fails during a state representative election cycle, and the Honorable Judge Randy Crane in South Texas Federal District 5. Taylor enjoys learning languages in her free time, as well as reading philosophical and dystopian novels. She believes civic engagement is the life force of successful communities and is excited to impact her collegiate community as a Texas Civic Ambassador.
Cam Johnson is a junior studying Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Texas in Denton. Cam’s first interest in government resulted from working with the Youth Advisory Council of Kennedale as a high-school senior. There, Cam saw up-close how local government can work for the people. The YAC was tasked with representing the city’s youth, learning about local government, and making reports to the city council. Since then, he’s grown a love for government and politics, especially in Texas. Cam recently completed an internship for the Dallas County Democratic Party. His favorite president is Lyndon B. Johnson and he loves all things NPR, food, Six Flags, and pups. He’s most excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he gets to continue to learn about politics in the Lone State State.
Brooke Lopez, a current student at the University of Texas at Dallas majoring in Public Affairs and Geography, first sparked a career in local politics and government by working with her local congresswoman to propose a state bill at age 15, founding the 501c(3) non-profit “Student of Change” at age 16, running for Wylie City Council at age 18, and holding appointed office for her hometown on the Wylie Public Arts Advisory Board by the age of 19 as the youngest member. She hopes to attend the University of Texas Law School after her graduation from UT Dallas in December of 2017. Brooke is the title holder of Miss Black & Gold 2017 at the University of Texas at Dallas. In her free time, she shows miniature donkeys in the ring for the NMDA, Donkey, and Mule Show at the State Fair of Texas. Lopez holds a part time job as a Facilitator for IGNITE National at the Brookhaven Early College High School as well as an internship with the World Affairs Council.
Isaac Mallett is in his final year of school at the University of Texas School of Law. Isaac is the President of the Chicano-Hispanic Law Student Association and Co-Editor in Chief of the Texas Hispanic Journal of Law & Policy. Isaac has experience working with political campaigns and non-profits, such as Voto Latino.
Ashley Salinas is currently a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in History with a certificate in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies. She previously interned at the office of State Representative Terry Canales and is also a peer tutor at the University Writing Center. She enjoys reading, writing, volunteering, and hanging out with her cat, Houdini. She is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and encourage others to make a positive difference in their communities.
Jessica Frey is a senior at the University of North Texas with a major in Communication Studies and minors in Psychology and Social Science. She is a member of the Lambda Pi Eta and Psi Chi honor societies and is interested in policy that impacts gender equity, veterans, and education. She enjoys photography and reading about history. Jessica is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because her time as an ambassador will provide her with the opportunity to better understand civic apathy and how to combat it, as well as the time to develop her skills as a leader. She hopes to continue working towards a career in public service.
Martin Martinez is a Senior at Southwestern University and is studying Psychology. During his undergraduate career, Martin has been an intercollegiate athlete competing on Southwestern’s Swimming and Diving team. Martin is passionate about politics and connecting with new people, which is evident through his participation in Student Government, Residence Life, and the Catalyst Leadership organization. Martin hopes to attend law school after graduating from Southwestern in the spring and hopes to pursue a career in politics. In his spare time, Martin enjoys reading, being active, binging Netflix shows, and cooking Buzzfeed Tasty videos with his friends and family.
Giovanni Escobedo, a native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, moved to the United States at the age of 16 in search of a new beginning, opportunities, and a better education. Giovanni, like many immigrants, faced challenges upon his arrival to this country; however, he never forgot his childhood dreams of attaining a college degree. In 2013, Giovanni received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, which gave him access to many of the opportunities he was denied in the past. He was then able to take classes in the community college and transfer to a four-year university. Giovanni has been fully immersed at the local, state, and national levels of government, addressing the most pressing issues in education.Giovanni is a senior at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley pursuing a degree in political science and a minor in legal studies. Giovanni plans to pursue a JD/MPH to work in healthcare policy and law. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Giovanni hopes to gain the necessary leadership skills to advance, motivate, and represent his community around the Rio Grande Valley.
Nicole Wang is a senior majoring in Marketing at Baylor University. She is committed to representing the marginalized populations at Baylor. Nicole now serves in executive leadership roles for two student organizations. She has built connections with multiple student groups, organizations and programs on and off campus that can be her resource and starting point to deliver nonpartisan outreach messages, plans and activities. As part of her Texas Civic Ambassador project, Nicole is starting a college chapter of IGNITE, which will provide educational trainings for women from diverse backgrounds to become civic and political leaders. The mission of the chapter is to help Nicole’s peers carry on their passion and dedication to public service through facilitation of nonpartisan dialogues. Nicole can’t wait to embark on a journey that deepens her understanding of stories, cultural context, and historical inevitability attributed to a person's or a group's decision in community development. Her long-term plans are to pursue a career at United Nations starting as an intern or a volunteer working for the Political, Peace, Humanitarian and Human Rights category.
Adrianna Maberry has her bachelor’s degree in Geography and is currently a master’s student in Geospatial Information Sciences (GIS) attending the University of Texas at Dallas. She also has experience working in the public and private sector. Besides splitting her time between work and school, she enjoys being outdoors with her pup, Sequoia, dedicating time to political activism, and relaxing with her friends and family. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Adrianna hopes to collaborate with citizens, especially millennials, to encourage political engagement and spur meaningful change in local communities.
A Central Texas native, Julia O’Hanlon is studying political communication and humanities at the University of Texas at Austin. She is passionate about education policy, civic engagement, and good coffee. Julia is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because it provides her an opportunity to make government and the civic process more accessible and interesting to everyday Texans.
Oscar Flores is from El Paso, Texas. He is attending the University of Texas at El Paso, majoring in Organizational and Corporate Communications. For the past few years, his interest in civic engagement has grown, starting off with an internship with our U.S. Congressman and other volunteer opportunities. He has a passion for economic development, as he has attended a Basic Economic Development Course through the Texas Economic Development Council and plans to further his education in this field. He loves to see his city and state progress civically, economically, and culturally, which is why he is excited and humbled to be able to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador, because it will expand his knowledge and skills so he can apply to and properly represent my community.
Marcos Mullin is a sophomore undergraduate student at the University of Texas at San Antonio studying Public Administration and Economics. On campus, Marcos serves as the campus outreach director for Student Government and the Catholic Student Association, developing and building on his passion for civic engagement. During his time as an undergraduate, Marcos has interned in the District Office of Congressman Lamar Smith, the run-off Mayoral Campaign for Ron Nirenberg, and the office of San Antonio City Council District 5. Outside of school and work, Marcos plays rugby for the UTSA club rugby team, is an active Big Brother for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of South Texas, and enjoys the little things in life such as hammocking, reading, eating, and spending time with friends. Marcos is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador so that he can give back to his community by educating and motivating others about the importance of involvement in civic life.
Courtney Adamez is a senior at the University of Houston. She studies sociology and economics, and is the president of the sociology student association on campus. She spends her time volunteering with Elder Helpers as well as at St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston. In her free time, she likes to play billiards, go to concerts, and spend time with her three sisters.
Preston Nieves is a Sophomore at Texas State University majoring in Political Science. With a lifelong interest in politics and public affairs, Preston has competed on the speech and debate team at both the High School and College levels, winning many accolades along the way. Having been elected to serve in the Texas State University Student Government Senate, Preston’s interest in the civic ambassador program comes from a strong drive to encourage citizen involvement in government and politics, fostering the awareness, dialogue, compromise, and cooperation necessary to address the greatest challenges of our day.
Kelsey Rodriguez is a sophomore political science major at Concordia University, Texas. She is a San Antonio native and has a twin brother whom she is older than by two minutes and thirty seconds. A few of her interests include playing the violin, performing with her university's instrumental ensemble, running her fashion blog, sewing, and reading. Kelsey is co-president of an all-girls bible study and volunteer work club, public relations manager of history club, and served as a member of MOAS (Mock Organization of the American States) representing the country of Panama with Concordia, as well as being involved in various other activities on campus. Kelsey feels extremely blessed to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador this year and is looking forward to learning how ambassadors can collectively better and shape the world around them while becoming emerging leaders.
Joshua Wheatley is currently a sophomore at Concordia University Texas, dual majoring in Environmental Science and Political Science. Joshua grew up on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where he developed a love for the outdoors and animals. This past legislative session, Joshua started his work with Texas politics as a legislative aide at the State Capitol. Serving as a Texas Civic Ambassador in the coming year will allow Joshua to continue to serve and reach out to his community, to help people understand what an important role they play in the political process. When he is not working, Joshua enjoys spending time outdoors, taking in the arts of Austin, having good conversations, and spending time with his two Jack Russell terriers, Jarhead and Moxie.
MacKenzie Briana Jenkins is a senior at Southern Methodist University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Rights and International Studies, with a minor in Arabic and Public Policy. Upon graduation, she plans to attend law school and to pursue a JD in Human Rights and Education Policy, with the eventual goal of becoming a human and civil rights lawyer. MacKenzie served as President of the Association of Black Students for the 2016-17 academic year; Marketing Coordinator for the Crain Leadership Summit; and Peer Academic Leader for Ware Residential Commons. MacKenzie was also selected for the prestigious Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars program, where she will receive a specialized minor in Public Policy and International Affairs and complete research on K-12 education in the South. Currently, MacKenzie serves as the Southwest Regional Representative for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She looks forward to opportunity to serve as Texas Civic Ambassador and promote civic participation in the Dallas area.
Allison Teng is pursuing a master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. She is passionate about public health, social justice, and policy. Allison hopes to integrate these fields into her work as a physician. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, she hopes to explore her interest in public policy while serving her local underprivileged community.
Chiara Pride is a rising sophomore and honors student at Trinity University with plans to double major in Anthropology and Political Science. During the year, Chiara is the PRIDE activism chair at Trinity, a staff member with MOVE San Antonio, and participates in several academic and progressive organizations around town and on campus. When Chiara isn’t working, studying, or drinking coffee, she’s probably confusing someone with stories about art, music, anthropology, municipal government, or her latest podcast obsession. Hopefully, with help from the TCA program, she can put her love of government and storytelling to good use.
Haley Entrop is a junior at Concordia University Texas, pursuing a bachelor’s in Political Science. Haley serves as her Student Government and Leadership Association Vice President, as well as the Head Delegate of the Concordia Model Organization of American States Team. Off campus, she has served the surrounding Austin community through work at the Austin Homeless Shelter and has served the state of Texas through an internship at the Texas State Capitol. Haley believes in civic engagement as the cornerstone of a successful community, and is deeply passionate about engaging the students on her campus with the world around them.
Aisleen Menezes is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin. She is majoring in Communication Studies, with a focus in the Political Communication track. Aisleen is excited to be a part of the Texas Civic Ambassadors Program because she loves being a witness to the political processes in the United states. She’s especially interested in voting rights and making the civic process more accessible to all communities. In her free time, Aisleen can be found at a local coffee shop in Austin or playing with dogs at Zilker Park.
Jonathan Picado is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso studying Political Science with a concentration in judicial politics. He is involved in several organizations on campus, such as Pi Sigma Alpha, the University Honors Program, and the chicano/a Legal Leadership Institute. Jonathan is also serving as Co-President of the HeforShe chapter at UTEP, as a Liberal Arts Ambassador, and as a Supreme Court Justice for the Student Government Association. He enjoys playing classical music in his free time, as well as reading historical novels and memoirs. Jonathan’s parents are immigrants from Mexico and Cuba, so being a first-generation American has greatly influenced Jonathan’s appreciation of civic life and our democracy. Jonathan believes our country’s politics have become dangerously partisan, so he is excited to collaborate with other Texas Civic Ambassadors from across the state to promote nonpartisan education and outreach in Texas and within their respective communities.
Aden Muhammad is a sophomore studying Computer Science at Texas A&M University. He enjoys rowing, eating great food, hanging out with friends, and reading about technology, policy, and finance. He’s excited about serving as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he firmly believes policy impacts every aspect of our lives. He is a staunch advocate for civic participation and the TCA program gives him a platform from which he can share his ideas and passion with his peers and community.
Natalie Sos is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin and is originally from Houston. She is honored to be chosen as a Texas Civic Ambassador this fall. On the UT Austin campus, Natalie is actively involved in student government and her sorority, Delta Gamma. She loves to run and play tennis and in her free time, follows politics and current events.
Pablo Pratt is as incoming sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, and he will be majoring in International Relations & Global Studies with a minor in Accounting. As a transfer student, he is excited to begin his education on the 40 acres and take full advantage of the opportunities provided to him. Pablo is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he knows that he will be better prepared to foster excitement and increased engagement in civic duties. Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, he never felt like he had opportunities to communicate with my city’s leaders or become civically engaged. With the opportunities, knowledge, and skills provided by the city of Austin, UT, and the Texas Civic Ambassador program, he know that he will be better able to tackle the problems that mean the most to him.
Luke Hernandez is a proud student of the University of Texas at Austin. He is a sophomore majoring in Government and Mexican American and Latino/a studies; he is also pursuing a certificate in computer science. He was born and raised in San Antonio and graduated from Business Careers High School. Luke has always been interested in politics, activism, and academia. Luke’s personal passion is learning and relearning about the world. He wants to commit to positive reform for the country and reach out to all the communities that are responsible for his personal growth and development. He achieves this by engaging in civic engagement, political discourse, and community service. He knows the Civic Ambassadors Program will help facilitate interaction and sponsor dynamics for the community and he’s excited to be a part of that foundation.
Levi Mulloy is a Fourth-Year student at The University of Texas at Austin studying Government and Middle Eastern Studies. Levi is also an active member of the Liberal Arts Honors College and the Arabic Flagship Program. Outside of class, Levi is involved in Kappa Alpha Order, where he is currently serving as the Philanthropy and Community Outreach Chair, and Innovations for Peace and Development, a research group dedicated to finding sustainable solutions in the realm of international development. Levi’s interest in government began in 2013 when he spent a summer working in the Office of Congressman Ted Poe (TX-2). More recently, Levi interned in the Office of State Representative Dan Huberty for the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature. He hopes to continue his career in politics and government after graduation. In his free time, Levi enjoys traveling, learning languages, spending time with friends and family, and playing jazz piano.
Cody Johnson is an east Texas native, born in Tyler and raised in Lindale. He’s a recent graduate of Tarleton State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Business. During his time at Tarleton, Cody was involved in student government, serving two terms in the Student Senate and one term as Student Body Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as participating in a number of student groups. As an aspiring attorney, Cody is particularly interested in the actions of the judiciary and in criminal justice policy, but he is passionate about American public policy in general and enjoys following world affairs. Cody is an avid reader and a lover of history, as well as a long-suffering Houston sports fan. He is honored to be a part of this organization and cannot wait to do his part in improving our level of civic awareness and discourse in the great state of Texas.
Tori Zander is a sophomore at Texas A&M University double majoring in Telecommunication Media Studies and Political Science. She is a founding member of RSET, a group of students advocating for a more factually-based sex-ed curriculum within the TEKS. After attending Campaign Bootcamp in 2017, she became extremely interested in field work and returned to College Station to work on a local campaign. Tori is excited to be starting an organization at Texas A&M that brings attention to the benefits of high speed rail in the fall. When she's not in class or busy with organization events, she’s probably filming or photographing others - she started Tall Z Media as a way to capture people's favorite moments and make them last a lifetime. Tori is very excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and can’t wait share the benefits of being involved.
Matt Maldonado is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin. Matt is pursuing a degree in Government and Russian Language. Prior to serving as a Texas Civic Ambassador, he served as a legislative intern for the Texas Senate Committee on Finance. Matt also spent the 2016-2017 school year as a member of the URHA Residential Judicial Board, a peer review committee that deals with policy infractions that occur in the on-campus residency halls at UT Austin. Matt is excited to meet with and learn from civically engaged students from across the state of Texas and go on to share his new findings with fellow young people on his campus and in his community in a positive and constructive manner.
Ryan Bullard - Ryan interned in Governor Greg Abbots office. Ryan is also working with ASI Associate Director Sharon Jarvis to explore the politics of outrage and its subsequent effects.
Andrea Cavazcos - Andrea completed a literature review on deliberative democracy and its impact on voter participation. She also created "The Citizen League" a student organization dedicated to discussing relevant civic issues in Houston.
Natalie DeCesare - Natalie planned a public "graffiti wall", posing civics 101 course partnering with the city of Georgetown, multiple screenings of American history documentaries at the intercultural office, and an elected officials speakers series.
Alejandra Galvan - Alejandra worked with 23 Stewart Elementary teachers. Alex created abbreviated civics lessons for the students at Stewart Elementary. Joined by other LEAP Ambassadors. Alex covered the voting process, the electoral process, and presidential elections.
Cameron Lang - During her ambassadorship, Cameron will be working with the Engaging News Project and conducting research on media coverage of the presidential debates, how people consume this media, and how it affects their level of civic engagement.