Past Intern Bios

Rohan Angadi grew up in Clovis, NM and graduated from Clovis High School, where he was Valedictorian and Student Body President. Rohan earned a BA in Economics and Mathematics from Yale University. During his time at college, Rohan focused on public service initiatives and improving public policy in rural communities. Through the Tobin Economics Research Fellowship, Rohan analyzed the effects of Act 10 (dismantling teacher unions) on Wisconsin Public School teacher retention and success. As Head Advising Fellow for Matriculate, a nonprofit helping rural low-income students get into the nation’s best colleges, he guided over 60 Yale advising fellows through their relationships with low-income high-achieving high school students. On campus, Rohan has also worked as Co-Head Coordinator of the Asian American Cultural Center at Yale and in his college buttery. He was a finalist for a 2021 Rhodes Scholarship. After graduation, Rohan plans to attend graduate school and work on public policy in rural communities.
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 went on to serve as Senior Counsel in the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. He is now General Counsel for Northern New Mexico College.
Seth BaranySeth Barany was born and raised in Las Cruces, NM and went on to earn degrees in Economics and Psychology from the University of New Mexico. Seth was heavily involved in the UNM Mock Trial Club where he served as President and Attorney Captain. He was also a re-founding father of UNM’s chapter of Phi Delta Theta and served as its Vice President. Seth was also an Associate Justice on the ASUNM Student Court. After graduating from NMSU, he earned his law degree from Ohio State University before returning to New Mexico. Seth is passionate about public policy, especially 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. In 2019 she published “Beyond Bootstraps: Pulling Children Up With Evidence-Based Interventions.”
Amelia Bierle is a native of Carlsbad, New Mexico. She earned a B.S. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry summa cum laude from the University of New Mexico, and she is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy from UNM. As an undergraduate student, Amelia played soccer for the Lobos, where she was a captain and All-Mountain West Scholar. She currently volunteers as a soccer coach for young New Mexicans. Amelia has always been passionate about improving lives and communities. She initially tackled this through biomedical research, but she shifted her focus when she realized that she could make a broader impact on her community through public policy. Amelia remains tightly connected to medical research as she is a founder of a biotech startup company, Thuvia Systems LLC. Thuvia’s aim is to create innovative solutions to medication adherence with a particular focus on asthma.
Malina BrannenMalina Brannen is a senior at Georgetown University where she is pursuing a B.A. in Government and a minor in Spanish. Originally from Santa Fe, Malina has worked on local political campaigns and in New Mexico legislative offices, including for Speaker Brian Egolf and Representative Matt McQueen, as well as in the D.C. office of Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez and the policy office of the U.S. Department of the Interior. She currently serves as the Chief Operations Officer for Leading Women of Tomorrow, a national organization working to encourage young women to pursue careers in public service. Malina’s primary interests include finding effective policy to combat the climate crisis, humanize the immigration process, and integrate equity and justice into our governmental systems.
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 graduated from Pomona College, where she majored in International Relations with a minor in Media Studies. While at Pomona, Laura held leadership positions on several student government committees. Before interning at Think New Mexico, she 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 is now earning her PhD in Political Science from the University of Southern California.
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 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 graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a joint degree in Economics and Mathematics. Naftali has a passion for dance and film, and he served as the captain and financial officer for the UC San Diego Dancesport Team, wrote 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 New Mexico Governor’s Fellow, interning in the Department of Finance and Administration. He plans 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 served until 2022, including as a member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Alyssa-Noelle CapuanoAlyssa-Noelle Capuano
graduated from La Cueva high school in Albuquerque in 2019. She is a senior at the University of New Mexico, majoring in Political Science, working on her MBA, and minoring in French. At UNM, she served as President of the Community Association, where she collaborated with other dorms to put on programs for hundreds of students living on campus. Alyssa-Noelle was also the treasurer of the Circle K Kiwanis club, a volunteer club where she volunteered at homeless shelters and Roadrunner food bank. In 2022, she received a Fred Harris internship and spent a semester interning in Senator Lujan’s office in Washington, DC. Alyssa-Noelle previously interned with state Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino. She is passionate about women’s rights and healthcare access and plans to pursue a career in politics after college.
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. After her internship, Liz went on to earn a PhD in ecology from Oregon State University. Liz’s interests include public health and water rights both in New Mexico and globally. She currently works as the Senior Policy Analyst for the Fish Conservation Program at the Ocean Conservancy.
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.

Salomon Moises Cordova
graduated from St. John’s College in Santa Fe with a B.A. in Liberal Arts, double majoring in the history of mathematics and science, and philosophy, and double minoring in classical studies and comparative literature. Born in Cedar Crest and raised throughout central New Mexico, Salomon is a Native New Mexican of Spanish, Genizaro, Apache, Cherokee, and Appalachian descent. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force directly after high school and served for six years on active duty as an Aerial-Logistician, where he worked on operations throughout the continental United States as well as locations across Europe, and Western and Central Asia. During his time at St. John’s, he served on the College History Task Force, the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, and the Student Advisory Committee, and also taught art classes at the local Boys & Girls Club.
Tiffany CoxTiffany Cox is from Artesia, NM and graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in Government and Economics. She previously 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 work in Southeast New Mexico as an advocate for her community, particularly its most vulnerable members. In 2020, Tiffany accepted a position as Policy Specialist at the Department of Interior in the Office of the Secretary, Office of Policy Analysis.
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. Teresa went on to earn a PhD from Princeton University, where she focused on US-Latin America relations. She completed a Fulbright grant in Argentina in 2014. Teresa is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Transnational Latin American History at Emory College.
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 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 Cogan 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 earned his Masters of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas Austin, where he served as 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. Marcos is interested in pursuing a career in local government, with a particular interest 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 was selected to participate in the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program at Duke University, where she continued her work on statewide policy initiatives. Maya was selected as Truman Scholar in 2017, and in 2020 she began a JD-PhD in economics at Stanford. 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 assumed a number of leadership roles on campus. He served as the Director of Production for Brown Student Television and oversaw 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.
Daniel A. Estupiñan is a native of Sunland Park who graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. While a student at NMSU, Daniel was elected to the Board of the Gadsden Independent School District, where he served as Board President. During that time, he advocated for initiatives to close the digital divide and for programs that expanded access to post-secondary education. Currently, Daniel is enrolled as a graduate student at Harvard University, where he studies Social and Urban Policy. In his spare time, Daniel also serves as the Co-Editor in Chief of the Harvard Kennedy School Journal of Hispanic Policy and serves as a research assistant in the Harvard Carr Center for Human Rights. As an advocate for greater equity in public education, Daniel aspires to pursue a Ph.D., where he plans to study the impact that local and state institutions have upon perpetuating disparities in public education.
Shea FallickShea Fallick is an Albuquerque native who earned his degree in Math and Economics from 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. Shea spent two summers 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 interning with Think New Mexico, Shea was selected as a 2018 Venture for America fellow, a highly selective fellowship that pairs recent college graduates with start-ups in underrepresented tech cities throughout the United States. As part of that fellowship, Shea worked in Baltimore at Alliance Data as a Data Scientist and pursued his love of urban policy through a fellowship with the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance. He is currently working in Atlanta as a Product Manager at PadSplit, an affordable housing start-up.
Elizabeth Farrington is an Albuquerque native who is currently studying Political Science at the University of Southern California. Elizabeth’s interest in politics began in 2018 after volunteering for Beto O’Rourke’s senate and presidential campaigns while attending Albuquerque High School. She also worked as an AVID Tutor in Albuquerque Public Schools. Before attending USC, Elizabeth served as a canvasser for the successful “Stop The Stadium” campaign in Albuquerque, as well as the 2021 Georgia Senate runoffs. While at USC, Elizabeth worked for the Karen Bass for Mayor campaign and completed a summer program in Washington D.C. with Dr. Frank Luntz, before interning with Adam Frisch’s congressional campaign in 2022. In the future, Elizabeth plans to continue working in policy and campaigns in the Southern and Southwestern United States, focusing on infrastructure and voter engagement in rural areas.
Shannon FonsecaShannon Fonseca grew up in Santa Fe and graduated first in her class from Albuquerque Academy in 2016. She now is studying Political Science at New York University Abu Dhabi. In 2018, Shannon took time off to complete a 6,000-mile bike tour of the United States and Canada, and then to intern with Think New Mexico before returning to school. She has volunteered with migrant communities in both Albuquerque and Abu Dhabi and has been heavily involved in NYUAD’s environmental club, Ecoherence. She also interned for Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and worked as a peer tutor in the university writing center. Long-term, Shannon hopes to attend law school and live and work in New Mexico.
Josue GandarillaJosue “Joshua” Gandarilla grew up in Sunland Park, NM and graduated from New Mexico State University as Outstanding Graduating Senior for the Government Department in May of 2019. During his time at NMSU, Joshua founded a nonpartisan voter registration and education organization, the NMSU Council of Collegiate Voters (NMSU CCV). Through the NMSU CCV, Joshua worked closely with the Doña Ana County Clerk’s Office and participated in multiple events as a student panelist alongside college professors and Senator Tom Udall. Joshua is also a certified legal and medical English/Spanish interpreter. He went on to earn his JD from the University of Oregon School of Law and plans to use his law degree to continue helping those in his community and state.
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 earned a degree in Political Science & History. Shane is currently teaching Social Studies at MESA Charter High School in Brooklyn.
Abigail Goldstein graduated from Harvard University in 2021 with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Spanish. She is pursuing a Master’s of Public Policy while running cross-country and track for the University of New Mexico. In college, Abbe was a member of Harvard’s track and cross-country teams, served as a freshman peer advisor, and was part of the Massachusetts Small Claims Advisory service. Abbe’s main interests include immigration and criminal justice reform, sparked in part by her time interning with an immigration nonprofit in her hometown of Philadelphia where she assisted clients in navigating the asylum process. Abbe aspires to have a career oriented towards implementing systemic and progressive change in domestic social policy.
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.
Rouzi GuoRouzi Guo grew up in Albuquerque and graduated from Cibola High School in 2017. She earned her B.A. from Georgetown University, majoring in Political Economy and minoring in Business. Rouzi spent her freshman year of college at the University of New Mexico where she was a Presidential Scholar. During her time at UNM, she conducted faculty-mentored research on lobbying expenditures, which developed her interest in politics and lobbying reform. Rouzi has previously interned for then-Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham, the campaign of Representative Xochitl Torres Small, and Senator Martin Heinrich. She was also a research intern for New Mexico Ethics Watch. After college, Rouzi plans to attend law school and pursue a career in public policy. She is currently working as a Healthcare Investment Banking Analyst.
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 went on to earn a law degree from UC Berkeley.
Jules Hanisee was born and raised in Albuquerque, and is a graduate of Bosque School. She is currently an undergraduate student at Tulane University majoring in Political Science and French, and minoring in Gender-based Violence. Jules was elected to Tulane’s student government as a Sustainability and Divestment delegate, she writes for the student newspaper, and she works at a New Orleans Law firm. They are also an editorial intern at Ms. Magazine. Throughout high school, they captained the Mock Trial team, taught tennis, and served as the president of Bosque’s Thespian Troupe and Gender and Sexuality Alliance. Jules is particularly passionate about voting rights and civic engagement, LGBTQ+ affairs, and sustainability initiatives. This year, Jules worked with Headcount, an organization that promotes voter registration at festivals and concerts, to expand voting access to college students in the southern United States. In her spare time, Jules enjoys writing, playing piano, and cooking. After graduation, they plan to attend law school and work in public policy.
Sophie Hare is a native New Mexican and merit scholarship recipient at the University of Chicago, where she majored in Public Policy, with a dual concentration in healthcare and immigration studies, and minoring in Spanish. At UChicago, Sophie tutored immigrants studying for the US citizenship exam and served on the Student Advisory Boards of both David Axelrod’s Institute of Politics and the College’s Public Policy Department. Sophie has previously interned with the political consulting firm Seven Letter Strategies in Washington, DC, and with KJD Strategies in Chicago. She has volunteered on many New Mexico campaigns, including that of Senator Ben Ray Luján. Prior to college, Sophie spent a year working in Madrid to improve her Spanish. She hopes to pursue a career in public policy and work for institutional change on the state and federal level. Sophie is currently working as a Staff Assistant with Senator Luján in his DC office.
Maggie Honeyfield was born and raised in Raton, NM and graduated from New Mexico Tech with a B.S. in Technical Communication. While in college, she founded “Techies Stand Up: Educate, Empower, Advocate” to advocate for better Title IX implementation and advance campus awareness regarding the prevalence of sexual violence. Maggie is passionate about advocating for those who are underrepresented. She is currently a third-year law student at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota and has interned with the Southwest Women’s Law Center. She is currently an Assistant Trial Attorney with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in New Mexico.
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. 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. Alexi is currently a currently a Producer for NPR’s Planet Money in New York City.
Martha HughesMartha Hughes was born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico. She graduated cum laude from Coe College (’12) with a Bachelor’s in English and German, taught in Germany with the Fulbright ETA program, and earned a Master’s degree in Intercultural Education, Migration, and Multilingualism from the Karlsruhe University of Education (’16). She returned to Dinétah from 2017-2020 to teach college and career readiness courses with the non-profit organization Reader to Reader, Inc. Martha is currently the Adults in Education Manager at United Way of Central New Mexico, facilitating collective impact projects that engage local community and higher education partners in creating support systems for and reducing barriers to post-secondary enrollment, persistence, and success.
Pooja Kumar grew up in Clovis, NM and graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 2018. She is currently a junior at Lafayette College studying Economics and Philosophy. Pooja discovered her interest in policy when she joined her high school’s speech and debate team. She interned for state Representative Natalie Figueroa’s campaigns in 2016 and 2018, and she is serving as Representative Figueroa’s legislative intern during the 2021 session. Pooja has also worked as a student researcher analyzing the welfare effects of state-administered IRA programs for low-income individuals. At college, Pooja volunteers as a tutor in the economics and math programs, as well as a mentor to other first-generation college students like herself. After graduation, Pooja plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career shaping policies that help rural New Mexicans.
Chloe Larkin lives in Albuquerque and graduated from United World College-USA in Montezuma, New Mexico. Throughout high school, Chloe was an active participant in the New Mexico Youth and Government program, and was elected Youth Governor. Chloe is now a rising junior at Wellesley College studying Sociology and Philosophy. At Wellesley, Chloe serves as a House President, working to provide guidance and create inclusivity within residential communities on campus. Chloe is also very involved with Wellesley’s Mock Trial Organization, and will serve as the team’s Vice President next season. Academically, Chloe is focused on the interplay between urban and social policy, and is currently working on research regarding the biases found within the cognitive mapping of urban spaces. During the past two summers, Chloe interned at the Office of the New Mexico Secretary of State. Chloe plans to attend either law or graduate school, and then return home to New Mexico to pursue a career within the fields of public policy or social work.
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.
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. After his internship with Think New Mexico, Mitchel was hired as a Program Evaluator at the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee.
Peyton LawrenzPeyton Lawrenz grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe Prep in 2015. She earned a BA from Princeton University with a concentration in Politics (Political Theory) and certificates in Hellenic Studies and Diplomacy. 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. In the long-term, Peyton plans to earn a J.D. and pursue a career in international service. She is currently working as an analyst at Ergo, a global intelligence and advisory firm.
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 earned her BA from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Geography. While at college, she served 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.
Barbara Leppala grew up in Albuquerque and is now a junior at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, where she studies philosophy and the history of math and science. Barbara is a National Hispanic Merit Recognition Scholar. She first became interested in New Mexico politics through youth environmental advocacy and an internship with the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in 2018. Barbara then discovered her passion for policy through an internship with then-state Representative Melanie Stansbury, where she managed capital outlay requests and constituent communications. She went on to intern in Congresswoman Stansbury’s Washington, D.C. office during the summer of 2022. Barbara believes in the power of public policy to shape lives for the better, and she hopes to devote her career to crafting the policies that create a more just New Mexico.
Cina LittlebirdSarracina Littlebird is a native Santa Fean who was selected as a 2008 Truman Scholar. She 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 earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School and is currently a Fellow in the Native American Unit at the Northwest Justice Project.
Natalie Longmire-KulisNatalie Longmire-Kulis grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from Desert Academy in 2018. During high school, she served as the youth head of both Santa Fe Teen Court and the Assistance Dogs of the West Youth Board, and she founded the Teen Court Canine Program to provide trained emotional support dogs for teen defendants during court proceedings. Natalie is now a rising sophomore at Stanford University, where she is majoring in International Relations with a specialization in Comparative Governance. She spent her freshman year as an elected representative on the Freshman Council and will continue this work on Sophomore Cabinet. She is served as the head of community outreach and networking for Stanford Women in Law, and as a policy event organizer for Stanford in Government. Natalie is passionate about public service and hopes to further her community impact by earning a law degree after she graduates from Stanford. She is currently a Program Manager for the
Ciara “Key” Macfarland was born and raised in Albuquerque and graduated from the Albuquerque Academy in 2018. Key is currently a rising senior at Colorado College, where she is pursuing a major in Political Science with a special interest in law and a minor in English. At Colorado College, Key is a member of the swim team, where she became the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference champion in the 400 IM and the recipient of the Rookie of the Year award as a freshman. She is currently an officer for the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, focusing on diversity and inclusion in the athletic department. Key previously interned for Collins and Collins, P.C., where she researched inequities in the New Mexico private prisons. Key plans to attend law school and pursue a career in criminal justice reform and civil rights law. She hopes to return to New Mexico to tackle the injustices in the correctional facilities across the state.
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 served as President of the UNM chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success, the largest Leadership Honor Society in the US. He 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 was a student panelist for the 2016 Domenici Public Policy Conference and he interned with the New Mexico State Legislature in 2017. Jay has since earned an M.B.A. degree from the Anderson School of Management at UNM, with a dual concentration in Finance and Strategic Management and Policy. During his time as a project assistant at the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), Jay worked on a wide range of projects including addressing the retirement savings crisis for private sector workers in New Mexico. Jay is currently working as an Economist in the Income and Value Added Branch of the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Carlie MaloneCarlie Malone grew up in Taos and graduated from Taos High School in 2010. She graduated from Scripps College in California with a dual major in Politics and Economics. 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 went on to work as a Fiscal Analyst with the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee.
EmmaLia MarinerEmmaLia Mariner earned her BA from Oberlin College in Ohio, with 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. She is currently working as an Onboarding Specialist at Reconnect, Inc, which works to build technology to fight incarceration, recidivism, and addiction.
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. He went on to earn a PhD in Economic Development from NMSU. Noel’s 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. Noel went on to work as a Fiscal Analyst for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee.
Maggie Mazer is a native of Albuquerque who graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 2020. Maggie first discovered her interest in public service and policy while interning for Michelle Lujan Grisham’s congressional reelection campaign in 2016, and she pursued this interest throughout high school, interning with Albuquerque City Councilor Isaac Benton’s campaign and serving as a U.S. Senate Page for Senator Tom Udall. Maggie is an active community service leader who has led a tutoring program for refugee children, partnered with the Immigrant Refuge Village of Albuquerque, advised Project Heart Start’s student CPR and life-saving skills initiative, and served as a member of the Community Service Executive Board. She will be attending Macalester College in the fall of 2021, and in the meantime she is working as a COVID-19 Contact Tracer for the Navajo Nation running a childcare program at Albuquerque Academy. In the long term, Maggie hopes to bring her professional degree back to New Mexico and serve her community.
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 graduated from New Mexico State University, where she majored in Government and History. At NMSU, Joli was a member of the Model United Nations team for several years, including a stint as the organization’s President. Joli was also involved in student government, serving as Vice President of the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences Council, and she was 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. She went on to work as a Press Assistant for the U.S. Senate.
Rise Miller is a fourth generation New Mexican who earned degrees in Public Policy and History from Duke University. At Duke, Rise was Programming Director for the university’s radio station, WXDU, and an officer for the Duke History Union. He also qualified for the University National Championships in Olympic Weightlifting and helped found the Duke Barbell Club. Rise previously interned with Senator Ben Ray Luján and the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. Rise will begin work at the Boston Consulting Group in January 2022, and he ultimately hopes to return to New Mexico and pursue a career in public policy.
Kate Monahan is a native of Santa Fe who graduated as Valedictorian of St. Michael’s High School in 2016. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Anthropology and Law, History, and Culture from the University of Southern California, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. While in Los Angeles, she was an active member of the USC College Democrats and the Joint Educational Project, a service learning organization which connects USC students with elementary school students in the area to foster mentorship and a love of learning. In 2018, Kate interned with Fix It America, researching election reform and gerrymandering, and she spent the summer of 2019 interning with Sen. Tom Udall’s office. In the fall of 2020, Kate will pursue her Master’s in Public Administration as a City/County Management Fellow at USC. Since graduating, she has been working Auditor Evaluator in the California State Auditor’s Office.
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 graduated from Williams College, where he studied history, international relations, and political science.
Raffaele Moore was born and raised in Albuquerque and graduated from Albuquerque Academy in 2017. He is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree from Brown University in International and Public Affairs as well as History, with a focus on revolutionary violence. Following his first year at Brown, Raffaele took a gap year back home in Albuquerque, during which time he served as an intern in the Office of Mayor Tim Keller. The following summer, he interned for Senator Martin Heinrich. Raffaele currently serves as a member of the Executive Board of Brown’s Mock Trial program, is a member of the Brown University College Democrats, and has served in community service roles as a Victims’ Advocate with the Office of the Bernalillo County District Attorney and as a student mentor working with underserved students in the Providence public elementary school system. In the future, he plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Affairs and to continue serving New Mexicans at the state and federal level.
Jackie Munro-Vahey is a second-year student at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she is a staff member of the New Mexico Law Review and the co-president of the student Association of Public Interest Law. She holds a BFA in Photography from New York University and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Prior to law school, Jackie worked in public health and as a documentary filmmaker. She engaged communities, including immigrant farmers and young mothers in recovery from substance use disorder, in media trainings, resulting in multi-platform campaigns that promoted community health programs and exposed the root causes of health disparities. Simultaneously, Jackie directed the award-winning documentary film Una Nueva Tierra (A New Land), tracing the struggles of three families living on the Pajarito Mesa outside of Albuquerque. Wanting to be more directly involved in making the structural changes to improve the day-to-day lives of the communities she served, Jackie decided to attend law school. She is specifically interested in pursuing policy change as a tool to increase equity in New Mexico.
Arielle Nathan grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe Prep in 2019. She currently attends Williams College, where she is a Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies and Psychology double major. Arielle also works for a reading tutoring nonprofit, Reading Quest, and is an ambassador for Schefs, an online platform to promote meaningful conversation and community building among college students. Arielle is passionate about building a more loving and sustainable world. In the long term, she intends to return to New Mexico and pursue a career in teaching or advocacy.
Elena PurcellElena Purcell is an Albuquerque native and a graduate of Wellesley College, where she majored in Economics and Latin American Studies. At Wellesley, she was actively involved with Wellesley College Television, the college’s satirical news channel, where she 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. Elena earned a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Texas LBJ School and is currently working in the Austin City Auditor’s Office. She hopes to return to her home state and work on local initiatives advocating for social welfare, immigrant rights, and economic mobility.
Brigid QuinnBrigid Quinn graduated from Bates College, where she majored 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 was a member of the varsity soccer team and club hockey team. Brigid is strongly committed to community service and volunteered with an elementary school reading program. In the long term, Brigid 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 went on to serve for several years as a fiscal analyst for the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee.
Julisa RodriguezJulisa Rodriguez earned her B.A. from the University of New Mexico, where she majored in 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 was 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. Julisa is currently working as the Manager of Operations for Solare Collegiate Charter School in Albuquerque.
Abel RomeroAbel Romero is a native of Belen, New Mexico, and a graduate of Amy Biehl High School. He earned a degree in American Studies and Political Science at Williams College. Abel was an elected representative on the Williams College Council, serving on the Committee on Community and Diversity, and was also 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. In the long term, 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 earned a degree in mathematical economics from Texas Tech University. At Texas Tech, he founded a service organization that provides academic support to children in the most impoverished areas of Lubbock, TX. He was also involved 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 also interned at Senator Tom Udall’s Albuquerque office. After graduating from Texas Tech, Neel accepted a job as a Health Policy Research Associate in the Office of the New Mexico Secretary of Health. In 2020, Neel was selected as Fulbright Scholar and earned an M.S. in Economics and Econometrics from the University of Kent while conducting research on the dynamics of migrant health. Neel is now a David M. Rubenstein Scholar earning his J.D. from the University of Chicago.
Tanya Ruiz was born and raised in Santa Fe. She is currently a junior at the University of Denver pursuing two bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Psychology, along with a minor in Socio-legal Studies. In high school, Tanya interned with Santa Fe Dreamers Project, which sparked her passion for serving the immigrant community in New Mexico. She also volunteered with New Era Colorado during the 2022 midterm elections to help increase voter turnout among college students. At college, Tanya is a member and secretary of DU’s Ignite chapter, a nationwide organization that provides support for women in politics. In her free time, Tanya enjoys reading, painting, and spending time outdoors. After graduation, she plans to attend law school and continue working with the immigrant community in New Mexico and the southern United States.
Jesús Eduardo Sánchez grew up in Rio Rancho and is currently enrolled in a BA/MA program through the University of New Mexico’s Political Science department, where he has also been recognized as an honors student. Jesús is also pursuing a BA in Honors Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts, with his capstone project being a student-led conference about student wellness on college campuses. On campus, Jesús has been involved in ASUNM Senate, UNM College Democrats, the Agora Crisis Center, and the student publication Scribendi. Jesús is passionate about reducing economic inequality, and he has received a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship to research the question of which government programs are most effective at reducing inequality. Jesús has previously interned with Representative Melanie Stansbury and the New Mexico Legislative Education Study Committee. After graduation, Jesús plans to pursue a career in policy analysis so that he can continue to shape public policy in ways that improve people’s lives. 
Ceryn SchoelCeryn Schoel grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from Desert Academy in 2015. During high school, she served as the captain of both the Model United Nations team and the Debate team. She continued her public speaking at Middlebury College in Vermont where she became captain of the Middlebury Debate Society, as well as working as a leadership coach for “Oratory Now!” and serving in the student government. Ceryn is now a rising senior at The University of New Mexico, where she is double majoring in Political Science and Economics. She spent her Junior year as lobbyist for The Friends Committee on National Legislation and lead a delegation of seven students to Washington DC for the 2019 Spring Lobby weekend to advocate for more compassionate immigration policy. She has previously interned for Senator Tom Udall, and she spent the summer of 2019 at Yale teaching Debate at ISSOS international summer school. Ceryn is passionate about policy and legislation and she hopes to make a difference in her community by earning a law degree and working in local government.
Connor SchultzCharlotte Schultz was raised in Los Alamos and graduated from New Mexico State University with a major in Government. At NMSU, she was a member of the Model United Nations team for three years, helping the team earn numerous awards. She also volunteered as a judge in Speech and Debate tournaments. In 2016, Charlotte served as a student panelist for the Domenici Public Policy conference, and later conducted research on US-China relations as a Domenici Student Scholar. She later worked for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Albuquerque office. With a passion for public policy, Charlotte earned a law degree from Georgetown and is now a Justice Fellow at the Georgetown Institute for Technology Law & Policy.
Andrew Schumann grew up in Rio Rancho and is New Mexico’s 2023 Truman Scholar. He served as Student Body President of College and Career High School, which he graduated from in 2020. Andrew also attended Central New Mexico Community College as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, earning six associate degrees by the time he graduated from high school. While pursuing dual bachelor’s degrees in History and Political Science at the University of New Mexico, Andrew served as President of the UNM College Democrats, Chief Justice of the ASUNM Student Court, and worked as a Fred Harris Congressional Intern for U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernandez. He is currently completing his Master’s degree in History at UNM, with plans to pursue a Ph.D. in History or Social Policy. As the child of union organizers, Andrew hopes to bridge historical understanding and policymaking in order to advance economic justice and worker’s rights.
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 earned an M.P.A. with a focus on urban and social policy. Michael is currently the Deputy Chief Of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives in New York City.
Lia StefanovichLia Stefanovich grew up in Albuquerque and earned her BA from the University of New Mexico, where she majored in Political Science and International Studies and served as Secretary of the executive board of the UNM College Democrats. Lia discovered her passion for politics and public policy through an internship with Martin Heinrich’s Senate campaign, which led her to volunteer as a researcher and canvasser on other local campaigns during the 2018 midterm election. She worked as the Youth Outreach Director for state Representative Melanie Stansbury’s campaign in 2020. In her free time, she enjoys participating in community volunteer projects, distance running, and tutoring. Lia is currently earning an MSc in International Politics Student from Trinity College in Dublin.
Rylee StenbergRylee Stenberg grew up in Las Cruces and Tucumcari, NM. She earned a degree in Government and Law & Society at New Mexico State University, and was 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 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 went on to earn her pilot’s license and she is now a certified flight instructor (CFI/CFII/MEI) and a First Officer at Air Wisconsin Airlines.
Ellie StevensEllie Stevens is a former valedictorian of Santa Fe Waldorf High School who went on to major 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.
Ariane Talou grew up in Santa Fe and graduated from Santa Fe Prep in 2018. Ariane then attended UCLA, where she double majored in Economics and Public Affairs. At UCLA, Ariane volunteered through the Bruin Partners Service Organization, tutoring students in the LA Unified School District, and was the Vice President of the United Nations Association at UCLA. She also interned for the Los Angeles Community Investment for Families Department doing research on child and youth poverty rates during the COVID-19 Pandemic. After graduating, Ariane completed yoga teacher training and spent 6 months backpacking through Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. She now lives in Boston, where she is supporting startups and the innovation economy as an Associate at Silicon Valley Bank.
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. Devan tutored Greek at St. John’s and Latin at Santa Fe Prep. 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. Jake is now a senior economist at Vivid Economics in Washington, DC, where he advises governments, companies and international organizations on sustainable economic development strategies worldwide.
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 educated kids about food and health. Sydney moved to Missoula, Montana in 2015 to pursue her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. She is currently working as Operations Manager for the Blackfoot Challenge in Missoula, MT, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving and enhancing the natural resources and rural way of life in the Blackfoot watershed for present and future generations.
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 read for an MPhil degree in History at Cambridge University. He went on to earn a law degree from Stanford University and work for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Complex & Affirmative Litigation Team, where he served on on the opioid trial team that found Walgreens liable for fueling the opioid epidemic under California’s public nuisance laws and won major settlements from other pharmaceutical companies. He went on to clerk for Judge Rodolfo A. Ruiz II on the Southern District of Florida, followed by Chief Judge Mary Murguia on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
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. After her internship with Think New Mexico, Faye earned a law degree from the University of Virginia, focusing on the economic incentives and impacts of public policies, particularly those relating to labor and employment. After law school, she spent four years practicing Technology and Intellectual Property law at Sidley Austin LLP. Faye now works for Disney in their Consumer Products legal group, focusing on video game and connected experiences licensing.
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