Past Intern Bios

Matt BacaMatt Baca is a Santa Fe native who graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in Organizational Communication and a minor in Philosophy. Matt worked in business development and marketing before attending law school at the University of New Mexico. Matt has enjoyed volunteering in his community for many years. Most recently he has served at pro bono legal fairs, developing his interest in access to justice issues and helping provide legal services to under-served communities. Matt clerked for New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Barbara Vigil and now works in the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.
Seth BaranySeth Barany was born and raised in Las Cruces, NM. He is currently a senior at the University of New Mexico where he is pursuing degrees in Economics and Psychology. Seth has been heavily involved in the UNM Mock Trial Club where he serves as President and Attorney Captain. He is also a re-founding father of UNM’s chapter of Phi Delta Theta and currently serves as its Vice President. Seth spent the last year serving the students of UNM as an Associate Justice on the ASUNM Student Court. After graduating, he plans to earn a law degree and pursue a career in public policy with emphasis on campaign finance reform.
dianeDiane Alongi Berger is an Albuquerque native who earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of New Mexico. Her passion is strengthening families, particularly through parenting and relationship education and advocacy for policies that protect children from maltreatment and broken homes. She has extensive volunteer experience with family-focused nonprofit agencies and is now a PCI Certified Parent Coach. She has opened her own practice called Happy Family Parent Coaching that serves parents locally and long-distance via phone and Skype. In 2015, Diane produced the documentary “Everyone’s Business: Protecting Our Children,” which was broadcast on multiple local television stations.
anya2Anya Bershad was Santa Fe Prep’s 2005 valedictorian. In 2010, she graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and a B.S. in Biochemistry and Biophysics. Anya’s internship fostered her interest in social reform, specifically the issue of education for disadvantaged populations, and she has since become involved with a literacy project for recent parolees in San Francisco. In the fall of 2010, Anya entered an MD/PhD program in Neuroscience in which she is researching the molecular basis of cognition and working on developing cures for cognitive disorders.
Laura BreenLaura Breen is a native of Santa Fe, where she attended Monte Del Sol Charter School before leaving to study as a Davis Scholar at UWC Atlantic College in Wales, UK in 2010. Laura is currently a junior at Pomona College, where she is majoring in International Relations with a minor in Media Studies and holds leadership positions on several student government committees. She has previously served as a research fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, where she developed an interest in the power of civil society and social movements. Laura plans to attend graduate school and work in the nonprofit sector.
Jackson Holzberg BuckleyJackson Holzberg Buckley is a graduate of Santa Fe Prep and Colorado College, where he majored in English and minored in Philosophy. Jackson has previously interned with the Christian Science Monitor in Boston and Volunteers of America in Los Angeles. He has also worked as a writing tutor and his fiction and nonfiction writing has received several awards. Jackson has worked as a teaching assistant and substitute teacher at Santa Fe Prep, and plans to attend graduate school and one day teach high school English himself. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, writing, rock-climbing, tennis, and running.
Arik BurakovskyArik Burakovsky grew up in Los Alamos and graduated from Los Alamos High School in 2009. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in political science and international relations in 2013 from the University of California, San Diego, where he served in student government and wrote for the UCSD Guardian newspaper. He interned with Think New Mexico during the summers of 2010 and 2011. After graduating from UCSD, Arik was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English and research youth political attitudes in Russia. He spent a year studying abroad in Poland through the Boren Fellowship, and then received a Robertson Fellowship to earn a Master’s Degree at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He now serves as the Assistant Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Fletcher School.
Naftali BurakovskyNaftali Burakovsky grew up in Los Alamos and graduated from Los Alamos High School in 2013. His success in competitive high school Policy Debate sparked an interest in politics and policy research. He is currently a Junior at the University of California, San Diego, where he is pursuing a joint degree in Economics and Mathematics. Naftali has a passion for dance and film, and he serves as the captain and financial officer for the UC San Diego Dancesport Team, writes film reviews for the UCSD Guardian newspaper, and was the founder of the Triton Foreign Film Society. During the summer of 2015, Naftali was a Governor’s Fellow, interning in the Department of Finance and Administration. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a joint law and finance degree and work in the field of economic policy or finance.
Jacob CandelariaJacob Candelaria, a native of Albuquerque, interned at Think New Mexico the summer before his senior year at Princeton University, where he earned a degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Jacob served as an elected student representative on the Princeton University Governing Council and as an undergraduate fellow with the Princeton Institute for International & Regional Studies and the Princeton Research Institute for the Tri-State Region. Since graduating, he has served as a Program Evaluator for New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee, a Leadership Analyst for former House Speaker Ben Lujan, and President and CEO of Equality New Mexico. In 2012, Jacob was elected to the state Senate, where he is currently the Senate Majority Caucus Chairman.
Liz CernyElizabeth Cerny-Chipman is a Santa Fe native who graduated from Pomona College in 2009 with a B.A. in Biology. At Pomona she was a four-year member of the student Judiciary Council. Liz is now enrolled in the PhD program in ecology at Oregon State University. In the long term, she hopes to work in environmental consulting, conducting biological research, and developing public policy. Liz’s interests include public health and water rights both in New Mexico and globally.
Lucca CiroliaLucca Cirolia graduated with honors from Santa Fe Secondary School and earned a B.A. from Lewis & Clark College, majoring in Political Philosophy with concentrations in International Affairs and English Literature. Since interning with Think New Mexico, Lucca has held positions as the Deputy Program Director of Leadership Santa Fe and as a Development Associate at the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, gaining experience in nonprofit management and development, as well as lobbying. She is currently the Account Coordinator at Cisneros Design, Inc. Lucca has spent time volunteering, working, and studying abroad in Central America and Turkey, and she remains committed to supporting local nonprofits in the Santa Fe area.
Tiffany CoxTiffany Cox is from Artesia, NM and graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in Government and Economics. She has interned for Senator Tom Udall in both his Carlsbad, NM and Washington, DC offices. Tiffany served as the Vice President of the NMSU College Democrats and received the Border Patrol Foundation scholarship award and the Chase Foundation scholarship award for her dedication to leadership and service. She has studied abroad in both England and South Korea, focusing her studies on political and economic development. After earning her undergraduate degree from NMSU, Tiffany accepted a position as Staff Assistant in Senator Tom Udall’s Las Cruces Office. In 2017, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in South Korea and study the effectiveness of Korea’s Autism Spectrum Disorder policy initiatives. In the long term, Tiffany plans to attend law school and work in Southeast New Mexico as an advocate for her community, particularly its most vulnerable members.
Teresa DavisTeresa Davis grew up in Santa Fe and Asturias, Spain. She graduated from the University of Chicago with B.A.’s in History and Political Science, focusing on legal theory and the history of law. In 2010, Teresa entered the political science PhD program at Princeton University, where she is studying the historical development and legal effectiveness of theories of human rights. Teresa is an avid dancer and has performed with Mosaic Dance Company in Santa Fe.
Annie DearAnnie Dear is a graduate of Williams College, where she majored in Political Science with a concentration in Leadership Studies. She grew up in Olympia, WA, where she learned to appreciate the outdoors, the rain, and state government, where her parents have worked for many years. She is also an avid runner, and competes in both cross country and track and field. Annie is extremely interested in state public policy reform, and she successfully applied for a grant to spend the summer before her senior year of college learning more about it at Think New Mexico. In 2013, Annie was selected as a Coro Fellow. In the long term, she plans to pursue a career in policy in the West, hopefully New Mexico.
Prasamsa DhakalPrasamsa Dhakal is a second year graduate student at New Mexico State University, earning a Master’s in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance and a minor in Applied Statistics. In 2014, she earned a B.A. in Business Administration from NMSU, majoring in International Business. Prasamsa was born and raised in Thailand and is a native of Nepal. During her time at NMSU, she has held multiple leadership roles with the NMSU Model U.N. team, where she currently serves as President. She also represents graduate students on campus through her role as a Student Senator in the Associated Students of NMSU. These experiences have sparked her interest in public policy, and after graduating, Prasamsa plans to serve and advocate for the people of New Mexico through a career in state government.
Julia DownsJulia Downs was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. Her participation in high school team policy debate initiated an interest in politics and research, and she went on to major in Government at New Mexico State University. Julia was a delegate on NMSU’s Model United Nations team two years in a row, representing Argentina and Morocco, and she also participated in student government, serving as treasurer of the College of Arts and Sciences Council. Her interest in international relations and law led her to study abroad in Ireland. Julia worked as the director of fundraising for Jeff Byrd’s 2014 congressional campaign, and she hopes to pursue a law degree and participate in the law-making process at either the state, national, or international level. After interning with Think New Mexico, Julia went to work as an analyst with the Legislative Finance Committee.
Marcos DuranMarcos Duran is a graduate student earning a Masters of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas Austin. He is currently a co-editor of The Baines Report, a student policy blog. Marcos was raised in Hatch, New Mexico, where his grandparents were farmworkers. After receiving a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from Southwestern University, Marcos worked as a counselor for at-risk youth in Dallas county. Following this, he became a Juvenile Probation Officer in Austin, Texas. Upon completing graduate school, Marcos is interested in pursuing a career in transportation and infrastructure policy.
Maya DurvasulaMaya Durvasula completed high school at Albuquerque Academy in 2013 and captained the school’s mock trial team to two national championships. Maya co-founded an organization that works on women’s rights and has advocated for legislation to address human trafficking in New Mexico. She worked as a 2014 legislative analyst in the Senate Majority Whip’s Office and as a policy analyst and field coordinator for a 2014 statewide political campaign. She currently sits on the board of the Immigrant and Refugee Resource Village of Albuquerque. Maya is currently in the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program at Duke University, where she plans to continue working on statewide policy initiatives. In the long term, she hopes to return to New Mexico to pursue a career in public service.
Josh EspinozaJosh Espinoza was born and raised in Albuquerque and graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 2010. While pursuing a degree in Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, Josh has assumed a number of leadership roles on campus. He previously served as the Director of Production for Brown Student Television and currently oversees food services as the General Manager of Brown Student Dining. Josh is an avid outdoorsman, writer, and photographer, often contributing photographs to Brown’s only student-run fashion magazine. In the long term, Josh plans to attend law school and pursue a career in public service in New Mexico.
Shea FallickShea Fallick is an Albuquerque native and a senior studying Math and Economics at Emory University. His interest in government began in high school with his tenure as a councilman on the Albuquerque Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, where he worked to strengthen the youth voice in city politics and increase youth engagement in civic service. The past two summers, Shea served as a State Intern at Senator Tom Udall’s Albuquerque office, where he conducted policy research, relayed community feedback and insights to the Senator’s staff, and helped constituents navigate federal programs. After his internship with Think New Mexico, Shea will be working as the Campus Affairs Intern at the Anti-Defamation League’s national office in New York City.
Shane GilbertShane Gilbert grew up in Albuquerque and graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 2012. As a freshman at the University of New Mexico, Shane coached the Albuquerque Academy debate team and interned with the coordinated campaign of Michelle Lujan Grisham for Congress and Martin Heinrich for Senate. He later worked for Emerge New Mexico, which seeks to address the underrepresentation of women in state politics. After his freshman year, Shane transferred to Davidson College, where he is majoring in Political Science & History. He plans to attend graduate school and continue his work in the political arena.
Greg GonzalesGregorio Gonzales, a native New Mexican and member of the Genízaro community Los Comanches de la Serna from Ranchos de Taos, was recognized as the Outstanding Senior in the New Mexico State University College of Arts and Sciences, where he graduated in 2010 with a B.A. in Government and Spanish. Greg’s unique cultural heritage and experiences in public service have made him passionate about being involved in public policymaking in New Mexico. Greg went on to earn a Masters Degree from the University of New Mexico and a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. He spent a year as a Resident Scholar at the School for American Research in Santa Fe and he is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Emma HamiltonEmma Hamilton is a Santa Fe native and fifth generation New Mexican. She graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in Government and Spanish with a particular focus on immigration and gender issues in U.S.-Mexico border communities. She served as Vice President of the NMSU chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha Government Honors Society, as well as Treasurer for both the Associated Students of NMSU Arts and Science Council and her chapter of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women. After college, Emma accepted a position as Staff Assistant in Senator Tom Udall’s Las Cruces Office. She is now attending law school at UC Berkeley.
Alexi HorowitzAlexi Horowitz-Ghazi was born and raised in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe Prep in 2008. He is a former staff writer for the Santa Fe New Mexican, where his work earned honors from the Newspaper Association of America Foundation. Alexi studied History at Reed College and wrote his senior thesis on environmental history in New Mexico. Alexi was a member of Reed’s student Judicial Board, a regular contributor to the student newspaper, and a student Admission Intern. Alexi is currently a Production Assistant at NPR’s All Things Considered in Washington DC. He is an avid fencer, bicycle tourist, writer, and traveler, and in the long term, he is interested in working on education and environmental issues in New Mexico.
Martha HughesMartha Hughes was born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico. She is a graduate of Albuquerque Academy (’08) and Coe College (’12). After spending a year teaching English in Germany with the Fulbright Program, Martha pursued a Master’s degree in Intercultural Education, Migration, and Multilingualism from the Karlsruhe University of Education (’16). Desiring to serve the community she grew up in, she returned to the rez and is currently teaching ACT and College Prep courses at Ft. Wingate High School, sponsored by the non-profit organization Reader to Reader, Inc., a program that has helped raise ACT scores by 30% over the past few years and provides students with individual support while applying to colleges.
Stephanie LashwayStephanie Lashway grew up in Albuquerque and graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 2008. She received her B.A. in Biology and International Studies from Knox College in Illinois, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with Honors in Biology. In 2010, Stephanie was a New Mexico Fellow in the Radiation Science Education Program of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Department. Following her internship with Think New Mexico, Stephanie earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of Arizona, where she is currently pursuing a PhD in Epidemiology. Stephanie plans to return to New Mexico to pursue a career in public health after her studies are complete.
Mitchel LatimerMitchel Latimer was born and raised in Roswell where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, was a member of the National Honor Society, and graduated from Roswell High School in 2015. Mitchel is currently a senior at the University of Denver, where he is double majoring in International Studies and Economics. He became interested in international affairs after spending two weeks studying international human rights law in Poland. Previously, he spent a summer interning for Representative Steve Pearce in Washington, D.C., and he has been active in a number of political and international clubs on campus. In the future, Mitchel hopes to pursue a career in international policy.
Peyton LawrenzPeyton Lawrenz grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe Prep in 2015. She is currently a Junior pursuing a concentration in Politics (Political Theory) and certificates in Hellenic Studies and Diplomacy at Princeton University. Growing up in Santa Fe, Peyton worked with Head Start and Breakthrough, which helps students in grades 7-12 from underserved public schools become the first in their families to attend college. She has continued to pursue her commitment to service at Princeton, volunteering as an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor for adult students in Trenton, NJ and co-leading the service committee for a fundraising initiative for Eden Autism Services. Brimming with school spirit, Peyton is a campus tour guide and is passionate about art, working in the University Art Museum. After college, Peyton plans to earn a J.D. and pursue a career in international service.
Alicia LegerAlicia Leger was born and raised in Las Vegas, New Mexico. She graduated from the United World College of Southeast Asia in Singapore in May 2010. Alicia is currently majoring in Psychology and minoring in Geography at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where she serves as an unofficial ambassador for the unique culture of northern New Mexico. Alicia’s diverse educational experiences have inspired her to work to improve the public education system for New Mexico’s students. Her long-term goal is to attend law school and work in the legal field in New Mexico.
Cina LittlebirdSarracina Littlebird is a native Santa Fean who was selected as a 2008 Truman Scholar and graduated from Columbia University in 2009 with a B.A. in Environmental Biology and Dance. Cina spent a year working as a professional modern dancer based out of New York City and she remains a member of Dancing Earth, an all-indigenous contemporary dance company. In 2011, Cina received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach in Thailand. Concerned with protecting the rights and cultures of Native American peoples living in the U.S., the sustainable management of natural resources, and the legal frameworks that support such endeavors, Cina plans to work as a representative of tribal interests in New Mexico. She is currently earning her J.D. at Stanford Law School.
Jay MaharathJay Maharath is an Albuquerque native who graduated from the University of New Mexico with  a degree in Economics with a minor in Peace & Justice Studies and Political Science. A UNM Presidential Scholar, Jay has recently served as President of the UNM chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success, the largest Leadership Honor Society in the US. He has also served as the President of Students Organizing Actions for Peace (SOAP), a student organization that seeks to enlighten and engage the college community about social justice issues. Jay plans to attend graduate school and work in public policy, particularly with election reform and the establishment of open primary systems. Jay is currently working as a Program Assistant with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) at the University of New Mexico.
Carlie MaloneCarlie Malone grew up in Taos and graduated from Taos High School in 2010. She is pursuing a dual major in Politics and Economics at Scripps College in California. Carlie previously interned in Senator Tom Udall’s Washington, D.C. office, which spurred her interest in state-level public policy reform. She interned with Think New Mexico in the summer of 2012 and then spent her junior year as a visiting student at one of the Oxford colleges. Carlie is now working as a Fiscal Analyst with the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee.
EmmaLia MarinerEmmaLia Mariner is a fourth-year student at Oberlin College in Ohio. She is pursuing honors in Politics and a minor in Law & Society. EmmaLia grew up in Albuquerque, and graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 2015. She discovered her interest in research and policy through Public Forum Debate in high school, successfully competing on the state and national circuits. Following her interest in law and policy, she has interned in the District Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office of Bernalillo County, engaged in political work at Oberlin College, and in the summer of 2017 she completed a placement on the Mark Herring Campaign for Attorney General in Richmond, Virginia. EmmaLia plans to attend law school and pursue a career in law, research, and electoral politics in New Mexico.
Noel MartinezNoel Martinez is a Las Cruces native who earned his Master of Arts in Economics with an emphasis in Policy Analysis from New Mexico State University in 2014. Currently, Noel is enrolled in the Economic Development doctoral program at NMSU. His passion for public policy began in 2010 when he interned in Congressman Teague’s Las Cruces office and continued to grow when he was selected as a New Mexico Governor’s Fellow for the Aging and Long-Term Service Department. Noel’s areas of interests include human capital development, health care reform, and poverty reduction. After graduation, Noel hopes to work with a state agency that develops, analyzes, and implements economic development policies in New Mexico.
Lucy McDowellLucy McDermott is a native of Albuquerque, where she graduated from the Bosque School. Lucy earned degrees in environmental studies and environmental geology with honors from Northeastern University and spent six months working at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which included a month-long offshore research expedition. Lucy has researched sustainable agriculture in El Salvador and has worked an environmental educator at the Field Institute of Taos. She plans to use her passion for public policy and the natural world to advocate for New Mexicans and New Mexico’s environment. Lucy is currently a program specialist with the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, downhill skiing, and rock climbing.
Joli McSherryJoli McSherry was born and raised in Deming, New Mexico. She is currently a senior majoring in Government and History at New Mexico State University. At NMSU, Joli has been a member of the Model United Nations team for several years, and she now serves as the organization’s President. Joli is also involved in student government, serving as Vice President of the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences Council, and she has been a student panelist for the statewide Domenici Public Policy Conference. Joli is passionate about writing and scholarship, and she looks forward to furthering her academic research by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs.
Seth MontgomerySeth Montgomery is a fifth generation New Mexican who graduated from Santa Fe Prep in 2012. Seth spent two summers volunteering at Think New Mexico, and in the spring of 2012 he designed a Senior Internship Project focused on increasing Think New Mexico’s youth outreach. Seth has participated in many community service activities, as well as Model UN and swimming, where he placed second in the state in backstroke and butterfly and was named a Scholastic All American by USA Swimming. Seth is attending Williams College, where he is studying history, international relations, and political science.
Elena PurcellElena Purcell is an Albuquerque native and a rising senior at Wellesley College, majoring in Economics and Latin American Studies. On campus, she is actively involved with Wellesley College Television, the college’s satirical news channel, where she has previously acted as treasurer and head writer. Elena’s interest in serving New Mexico has been fostered by previous internships in Senator Martin Heinrich’s D.C. office and the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty; both experiences gave her the opportunity to hear from fellow New Mexicans about the issues that matter most to them, and inspired her to work towards solutions. After graduation, Elena hopes to return to her home state and work on local initiatives advocating for social welfare, immigrant rights, and economic mobility.
Brigid QuinnBrigid Quinn is a rising junior at Bates College, where she is majoring in Sociology with a minor in Education. Brigid was born and raised in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe Prep. She has previously volunteered at United Way of Santa Fe County, focusing on early education policy. At Bates, Brigid is a member of the varsity soccer team and club hockey team. Brigid is strongly committed to community service and currently helps with a reading program in one of the local elementary schools. After completing college, she plans to attend graduate school and work in public policy with a specific focus on reforming the education system.
Maclovia QuintanaMaclovia Quintana is a native New Mexican with roots in the Santa Fe area dating back to the 1700s. A 2006 salutatorian of Santa Fe Prep, she earned a degree in Environmental Studies from Yale University. Maclovia’s keen interest in local agriculture led her to work at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market, and she went on to earn a Masters Degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In the long term, Maclovia plans to return to New Mexico and work on issues of sustainable food and agriculture.
Ellen RabinEllen Rabin was raised in Los Alamos, NM, where she developed an early interest in politics and public policy, especially as it relates to education and scientific research in New Mexico. In June 2015, she graduated from a dual-degree program at the University of Chicago, earning Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Fundamentals: Issues and Texts (a ‘Great Books’ program) and a Master’s degree in Humanities. Ellen has previously interned at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Family Defense Center, a nonprofit that works with children and families in the child welfare system in Chicago. She also participated in the Hertog Foundation’s Political Studies and War Studies programs, which aim to better understand and resolve practical issues in areas of domestic and foreign policy. After interning with Think New Mexico, Ellen went on to work on projects for the New Mexico Department of Information Technology and the New Mexico Environment Department. She is currently a fiscal analyst focusing on capital outlay for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee.
Julisa RodriguezJulisa Rodriguez is a third-year student at the University of New Mexico studying Political Science and International Studies. She recently served as a policy intern with the National Education Association (NEA-NM), and is on the board of UNM College Democrats. Julisa is currently being funded by the National Security Studies Program to research the institutional blocks preventing the recall process in Bogota’s mayoral election. She discovered her passion for comprehensive policy research during her time conducting field research programs in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. After graduating, Julisa plans to pursue a master’s degree in Latin American studies, focusing on Colombia’s political and economic processes.
Abel RomeroAbel Romero is a native of Belen, New Mexico, and a graduate of Amy Biehl High School. He is currently pursuing a degree in American Studies and Political Science at Williams College. Abel is an elected representative on the Williams College Council, serves on the Committee on Community and Diversity, and is on the board of the Williams College Law Society. At home, he is involved in local community organizations including Respect Albuquerque Women and the Valencia Community Action Network, which seeks to increase community engagement and connection in Valencia County. He also actively volunteers in local politics. After graduating from college, Abel plans to earn a J.D. and pursue a career in law in New Mexico, with a focus on civil rights and social justice.
Neel RoyNeel Roy grew up in Albuquerque and graduated from Bosque School in 2015. He is now a rising senior at Texas Tech University where he is majoring in mathematical economics. At Texas Tech, he founded a service organization that provides academic support to children in the most impoverished areas of Lubbock, TX. He has also involved himself in a number of research projects as an undergraduate, including a study of Alzheimer’s pathology in a biology lab, an investigation of state-level minimum wage hikes with an economics professor, and a project concerning physician-patient interactions with the English department. Neel is also interning at Senator Tom Udall’s Albuquerque office this summer. After completing his bachelor’s degree, Neel intends to attend medical school and ultimately work at the intersection of healthcare and public policy.
Michael SedilloMichael Sedillo has deep roots in New Mexico, where his grandfather Pablo Sedillo worked as a Field Representative for U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman and his mother worked in Governor Bill Richardson’s office. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Political Communication, Michael moved to San Jose, CA to teach first grade as a Teach For America corps member. He then moved to Brooklyn, NY to serve low-income families as a community organizer, and he later interned with Wendy Davis’ gubernatorial campaign, designing trainings for the campaign’s field staff. Michael’s passion for political reform led him to Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where he is currently pursuing an M.P.A. with a focus on urban and social policy. He hopes to continue to use public policy as a tool for advocacy.
Rylee StenbergRylee Stenberg grew up in both Las Cruces and Tucumcari, NM. She is a senior studying Government and Law & Society at New Mexico State University, and is a senator in the Associated Students of NMSU. She has interned with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, focusing on marriage equality and immigration policy, and has served as President of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars of NMSU for two years. Rylee is an award-winning delegate of NMSU’s Model United Nations team and will be serving as Vice President. In 2014, she was elected Treasurer of the statewide New Mexico Federation of College Republicans and profiled as a promising young leader on MSNBC. Rylee plans to obtain a law degree and pursue a career in public policy advocacy in New Mexico.
Ellie StevensEllie Stevens is a former valedictorian of Santa Fe Waldorf High School who is now majoring in Spanish at Grinnell College. Ellie previously served as an intern in Senator Tom Udall’s Santa Fe office and volunteered with the immigrant rights organization Somos Un Pueblo Unido. Her work there, as well as the semester she spent studying abroad in Mexico, have convinced Ellie that she wants to spend her career making the United States a more welcoming place for Latino immigrants and a more positive figure in international affairs.
Katie ValentineKatherine Valentine grew up in Silver City, New Mexico, where she was valedictorian of her Silver High School class. She graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Public Policy Analysis with a concentration in Sociology. As the daughter of two New Mexico public school teachers, Katie has a keen interest in education policy, and her desire to work in this field was strengthened after she spent a summer living and teaching in an inner-city Los Angeles neighborhood. Katie is currently an Americorps volunteer with the Schuler Scholar Program in Chicago, which works to improve college access and success for vulnerable students. In the long term, Katie hopes to work in on public policy that serves the children and families of New Mexico.
Devan VidrineDevan Vidrine graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a B.A. in Ancient Greek and Philosophy. He moved from the swampy bayous of New Orleans to the high desert of northern New Mexico to pursue a degree with the Graduate Institute at St. John’s College. When he isn’t studying or interning with Think New Mexico, Devan can be found tutoring Greek at St. John’s, Latin at Santa Fe Prep, and training for a marathon. His long-term goal is to bring classical education and civic engagement to the middle and high schools of northern New Mexico, creating a new generation of socially and politically aware critical thinkers.
Jake WellmanJake Wellman is a 2011 Truman Scholar who graduated from Cibola High School in Albuquerque in 2008 and went on to study Political Science and Sustainability Studies at the University of New Mexico. He was an active student leader on campus, representing undergraduates on the President’s Strategic Advisory Team and on various student government committees. In 2011, Jake was nominated by Governor Martinez and confirmed by the New Mexico Senate as a Student Regent of UNM. After graduating from college, he earned a Marshall Scholarship to study Environmental Economics and Climate Change and International Political Economy at the London School of Economics.
Sydney WeydemeyerSydney Weydemeyer, a third generation Santa Fean, is a 2007 graduate of Santa Fe High School. Sydney received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2011 in Environmental Studies, focusing on food and agriculture. She also served as a member of the college’s Environmental Advisory Committee. After graduating, Sydney worked for two years with an AmeriCorps program in Chicago where she directed a nonprofit project called Truck Farm Chicago, a farm on wheels that educates kids about food and health. She is currently pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. After graduation, she hopes to direct health and place-based education programs in underserved communities in the western U.S.
Phil WilkinsonPhil Wilkinson grew up in Albuquerque and graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 2012. He earned his Bachelor’s degree with honors in Global Affairs and History from Yale University in 2017. In high school, Phil studied abroad in Mexico, Spain, and Nicaragua. During college, he was awarded fellowships to pursue linguistic training in China and academic research in Italy, England, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Phil is particularly interested in the interplay between domestic politics and foreign policy. In the international realm, he served as President of Global China Connection, an organization of over 60 university chapters working to improve understanding between Chinese and non-Chinese student leaders. He spent the following summer interning in Washington, DC at the Council of the Americas think tank. In the realm of domestic politics, Phil took a leave of absence from Yale in 2016 to work on the Latino Vote Team at Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. An avid cellist and singer, Phil has performed concerts on all six inhabited continents with the Yale Spizzwinks a cappella group. After interning at Think New Mexico, Phil will read for an MPhil degree in History at Cambridge University.
Sarah ZagerSarah Zager was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 2009 and was the 2013 Valedictorian of Williams College, where she studied Comparative Literature and competed on the debate team. In 2011-2012, Sarah studied abroad in England through the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford. In addition to her work at Think New Mexico, Sarah has also interned at New Mexico Legal Aid and the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.
Faye ZhaoFaye Zhao grew up in Santa Fe and Little Rock, Arkansas, where she was the state’s 2006 female Presidential scholar. Faye graduated from Yale University in 2010 with a B.A. in Applied Mathematics. Following graduation she worked first in electrical engineering at Yale researching artificial vision and then in New York in financial technology before enrolling in law school. Faye is interested in focusing her legal education on the economic incentives and impacts of public policies, particularly those relating to labor and employment.
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