We would like to introduce the 2022 KIPP Federal Policy Fellows! This summer, 20 KIPP alumni will be heading to Washington, DC, where they will gain paid hands-on work experience in our nation’s capital.
The KIPP Federal Policy Fellowship is a selective 7-month program for college-aged KIPP alumni aspiring to careers in policy, advocacy, or public service. Created in response to the inequity of unpaid Congressional internships, this fellowship offers a chance to work with Congressional offices, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy groups. This is our 8th annual cohort of KIPP Federal Policy Fellows and marks a return to in-person collaboration after virtual fellowships in 2020 and 2021. This program is at the core of what we hope to accomplish by having 1,000 alumni in positions of power, which is to have a more just world.
Check out a few of our 2022 Fellows sharing their future aspirations and their hopes for the summer:
Please join us in congratulating our 2022 KIPP Federal Policy Fellows! Among these incredible alumni are future members of congress, the next Health and Human Services Secretary, an inspiring community leader, the next political correspondent and policy makers who will ensure the rights of BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women are protected for years to come. We can’t wait to see these alumni soar this summer and beyond as they use their voice to make a better world for all of us. Get to know these 20 remarkable young people by reading their bios below:
Ashley Álvarez is a member of the class of 2024 at Harvard University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Educational Studies. She is passionate about educational justice and transformation within the early-childhood and TK-12 public-education system. On campus, Ashley sits on the student advisory councils for the Sociology Department and the Educational Studies Program. Outside of the classroom, Ashley has a growing professional background in the education field, with a number of internships in a variety of organizations including Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation and EducationSuperHighway. After graduating, she hopes to continue her higher education and, eventually, return to her native Los Angeles to pursue a career focused on ensuring Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students from low-income households receive just, accessible public education.
Kourtney Buckner is a junior at George Washington University, where she is majoring in American Studies. Kourtney is vice president of the Mu Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., where she currently serves as chair of the Program Planning and Development committee, and coordinates service projects and all program committees including national initiatives. Upon graduation, Kourtney plans to attend law school to study education law and the criminal legal system. After law school, Kourtney aspires to advocate for juvenile justice by becoming a juvenile court judge.
Fatou is a senior at Hunter College where she is majoring in Psychology. When not in the classroom, she serves as a full-spectrum doula offering pro bono services for families in her community, as well as volunteering at a local soup kitchen. She is extremely passionate about reproductive justice, environmental policy, and supporting maternal health through policy change. After graduating, Fatou plans to pursue a master’s degree in midwifery and nursing, as she aspires to advocate for and create policies that empower women to have safe and memorable birth experiences. She loves to do community work and hopes to create lasting change in her neighborhood in New York City.
Gabriel is in their third year at Dartmouth College, majoring in Sociology modified with Education and minoring in Spanish. They hope to go on to start teaching after graduating, and eventually mature into an educational policy position. They believe that education is the future, and that informed, open-minded education can help to build a more caring and critical society. They have interned for Massachusetts legislators Rep. Dan Cahill and Sen. Brendan Crighton, where they spoke to constituents and learned about state politics. They also serve on the executive board of the Alpha Thetian gender-inclusive Greek house, which fosters community and acceptance through acts of service and comradery.
Nicole Franco is a Sophomore at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where they are majoring in Sociology with specialization in Inequality & Social Justice and a minor in Law. They are currently pursuing a career in higher education, bioethics, or science policy. They hope to provide BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community members with accessibility to proper and affordable medical resources and information, especially in low-income communities. On campus, Nicole has been involved as a college-wide representative for the student council. When not in the classroom, Nicole is an executive youth board member for the Graybridge Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit that offers a breakthrough platform for individuals, schools, businesses, and organizations to stand together and take action against racism through a series of activities and modules. Aside from their nonprofit experience, Nicole has been a guest speaker for multiple groups including The Presidential Leadership Scholars and The Global Good Fund, encouraging youth to utilize their passions for change.
Alyssa Gaderon is a rising senior at The George Washington University, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Communications. Alyssa is interested in effectively using her areas of study to build bridges between institutions and their communities. She is currently exploring the fields of government, nonprofits, and social research. On campus, Alyssa serves as vice president of The Black Girl Mentorship Program, a student organization focused on providing supportive resources for Black women. She is also a National Institute of Health Center for AIDS Research trainee, where she engages in HIV research to end the HIV epidemic in Washington, DC, and fosters community relations.
Nina Haynie is a senior at St. Lawrence University. She has a major in Government, with a focus on international security and foreign policy in the Middle East and East Asia, and a minor in Peace Studies. Nina hopes to pursue a career in foreign policy that would allow her to analyze and strategize how to improve human rights laws in the Middle East and East Asia. She would also love to work with US Military Services to effectively implement strategies that would improve military relations between these regions and the US. Outside of the classroom, Nina serves as a St. Lawrence Admissions Ambassador and climbing wall supervisor. As an ambassador, Nina works with the team to introduce strategies to make St. Lawrence interesting to prospective students. As a climbing wall supervisor, Nina provides both mental and physical support to encourage participants to reach their climbing goals and face their fears. After graduating, she hopes to gain professional experience in foreign policy and human rights advocacy while finding opportunities to travel the world.
Donzhei Green is a sophomore at Bucknell University, planning on declaring a double major in Political Science and Psychology, with a minor in Legal Studies. On-campus, she is a member of the Black Student Union, which advocates for awareness, community, and administrative action for Black students. She also currently holds a fellowship with the Braven Program, which works to develop leadership and professional career skills in undergraduates. Donzhei enjoys spending her free time immersed in the arts and dancing as a member of the Bucknell Bisonettes Dance Team. After undergrad, Donzhei aspires to gain admission to a law school or enter law enforcement where she can contribute towards shaping the fields of bioethics, criminology, and psychiatry.
Isaiah Griffith is a KIPP Amplify Scholar and a sophomore at the University of Maryland College Park, where he is majoring in Public Health Science and pursuing a certificate in African American Studies. After graduating, Isaiah aspires to attend graduate school and obtain his Master’s of Public Health. With an MPH, Isaiah wishes to pursue a career as a public health policy analyst in service of eliminating health disparities in underserved communities. Outside of the classroom, Isaiah works as the office assistant to the African American Studies Department at UMD, supporting faculty research and serving as an ambassador to students pursuing a degree from the department.
Taylor Hogan is a junior at Howard University, where she is a Health Management major and a Political Science minor. Taylor has worked with the Equality Outreach Campaign in their communication outreach to inform the public about the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. Pursuing a career in public health, Taylor aspires to run a nonprofit organization that provides healthcare services to underserved communities, and to one day become the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Jalen Jones is a junior at the University of Richmond, where he is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law (PPEL) and minoring in Rhetoric and Communication. On campus, Jalen is involved with the Richmond College Student Government Association, where he currently serves as the vice president for external affairs and a senator for the class of 2023. He also enjoys being a new student orientation advisor in the summer. He interned with Mark Levine’s campaign for Lt. Governor of Virginia and Virginia State Representative, where he conducted research and reached out to voters. Jalen is passionate about healthcare policy and making sure that everyone has affordable access to good healthcare. Voting rights policy, and making sure that elections are fair, is another important area to Jalen. After college, Jalen plans to pursue a master’s in public policy to further his career working in federal politics and policy to affect positive change in society.
Stephanie Medina is a senior at the University of California, Merced where she is majoring in Political Science and is pursuing a career in public policy or management. Her policy areas of interest include education, health care, and housing. She hopes to earn a Master’s in Business Administration or Public Policy. Her goal is to uplift her community through the creation of policy that meets the needs of those who are marginalized. She currently serves as a community health worker at The Wellness Center, where she connects residents and patients to culturally sensitive preservation services and resources that aim to improve health outcomes and overall well-being. She is also the treasurer for the Rotaract Club where she’s involved in volunteering initiatives across multiple community organizations in the city of Merced, CA.
Olamide Olayinka is a junior at Syracuse University, where she is majoring in Policy Studies and Public Relations, in both the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She has interned at the Oneida Public Defender’s Office, assisting in client interviews and researching statutes, decisions, and legal documents. She is the founder and co-host of the America, Make it Make Sense! Podcast, a weekly show to help college students make sense of current world issues. She aspires to obtain a JD degree after graduating from undergrad and pursue a career as an attorney and political correspondent. Ultimately, she is looking forward to applying the skills and knowledge she has acquired in school to encourage transformative dialogue and change in her community.
Stephanie Ortiz is a Latina DREAMer majoring in political science at the University of California, Riverside. Her career goals are to become a district representative and advocate for the development of resources and opportunities for undocumented and low-income individuals in education. Coming from a low-income community and immigrant background, she noticed the challenges people in her community faced and became involved in leadership organizations that helped develop her advocacy skills. She was a delegate in California’s Model Legislation and Court Program, where she was able to campaign for leadership positions and learn diverse cultures through bill writing. She was also a Lundquist fellow and was selected to advocate for a more accessible federal financial aid process to state and district representatives in Washington D.C. While navigating college as a first-generation student in a pandemic has been challenging, she continues to pursue opportunities that will enhance her experience in policymaking and advocacy.
Jose Ortuno Jr.
Jose Ortuno Jr. is a senior graduating from the University of Houston, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy. His goal is to enroll in law school and earn a JD to specialize in corporate law. Jose hopes to become a familiar face for the Hispanic community as he wishes to become a political leader who advocates on their behalf for reforms in policies around immigration and education. He currently serves as an office assistant in the University of Houston’s English Department. In this role, he assists his fellow students by making sure the classrooms they attend lectures in are maintained to standard. During his time at Houston Community College, he held the role of financial aid peer mentor, where he helped his peers in completing their FAFSA applications. He has also previously served in leadership roles in student government as a secretary in SGA and as a senator on the United Student Council. In his spare time, Jose, a conversationalist, loves connecting with his friends and trying new foods from various cultures in the city of Houston.
ShaLisa Peterson is a senior at The College of New Jersey where she is majoring in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and a minoring in Psychology. ShaLisa is passionate about women’s research and working with her professors on the Women Gender Sexuality Studies Archive. She is passionate about social justice and urban policies and wants to make a change within her hometown, as well as other marginalized communities.
Tammy Pham is a senior at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs, focusing on Conflict and Security Studies with certificates in East Asian Language and Culture, as well as History and Practice of Diplomacy. She is passionate about human rights, political economy, and international cooperation, and aspires to pursue a diplomatic career working towards sustainable peace in conflict regions, building on her experiences effecting change locally. When her hometown in California was devastated by wildfires, Tammy leveraged connections with the Red Cross, the city council, and her former manager at a local restaurant to provide food for firefighters and those displaced from their homes. Both her academic focus and her leadership experiences have taught her to analyze crises and design solutions through a diversity of perspectives. After graduating in 2022, she plans on working within the federal government before getting a Master’s in International Relations or attending law school.
Joseph (JJ) Swenson is a first-generation college student and senior at Lehigh University, where he is a recipient of the Posse Full-Tuition Scholarship award. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a minor in Religion, and a certificate in Population Health. At Lehigh, JJ has served on the Council for Equity and Community as a first-year representative and vice president, and currently serves as president of the Men of Color Alliance and as a mentor to many underclassmen on campus. During election season, he advocates for the importance of voting in local, state, and federal elections to his peers on campus to his peers on campus through voter registration drives and discussion expos. During his free time, he is passionate about cooking, because “love goes through the stomach.” As a person who grew up in the inner cities of San Francisco, he hopes to be an advocate and leader for underserved youth from low-income communities, so they are prepared to become future leaders of tomorrow.
Ximena Tobon is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is majoring in Health and Society and minoring in Social Change and Communication. Ximena is a Dave Goldberg and University Leadership Network Scholar. She is passionate about helping others and after graduating she hopes to have a career in the nonprofit sector helping the immigrant community. Ximena’s goal is to use her knowledge in public health to raise awareness of the struggles of vulnerable groups.
Detario Yancey is an undergraduate student at Middle Tennessee State University, pursuing a degree in Social Work. He is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. Detario interns at United Way of Murfreesboro and Cannon County. He contributes to the social work field by serving as the vice president of the MTSU NABSW. Also, he is a member of Phi Alpha Honor Society where he served as the Social Media Chair. Detario is a volunteer case manager for the American Red Cross. Upon graduation, he plans to complete his Master’s of Social Work and work in macro practice advocating for DEI issues, Black mental health, and children.