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Adriana Cortes is a senior at L.E.E High School in the STEM Academy. She has been studying engineering and science since eighth grade and will be the only female student in the STEM Academy graduating in May 2022 with an engineering endorsement. Outside of Adriana’s academic work, she remains active as the treasurer of STEM Ambassadors, vice president of the ROSBOTS Robotics Club, and lead violinist of Mariachi Unido. After high school, Adriana plans on continuing her education and pursuing her degree in biomedical or chemical engineering.
Mia Covarrubias is a graduate student at Our Lady of the Lake University pursuing a master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in school psychology. She graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2020 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. She is the education and social media board member for the PFLAG (Parents Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays) San Antonio chapter. As well as volunteers for the Trevor Project. Her goal after graduation is to create a space where LGBTQ+ youth are safe and affirmed.
Lauren Fontaine, a fifth grade ELARSS-ESL teacher with Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, has had the privilege of teaching and learning alongside brilliant Texas youth in Title I schools for seven years. A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with their M.A.E in disability studies/special education and two bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and philosophy, Lauren is delighted to support the IDRA EAC-South in expanding their technical assistance to be inclusive and affirming of LGBTQ+ youth, educators and communities. Lauren works with the ultimate goal of education, liberation, always on their heart and mind.
Alejandra graduated from Yale University in May 2021, where she majored in ethics, politics and economics with a concentration in issues of educational inequity. During her time as a student, she conducted policy research on various education equity issues as an intern for the Public Interest Law Center, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. As a community engagement intern at IDRA, she hopes to user her experience advocating for increased educational access to continue making the promise of a high-quality public education a reality for fellow youth in families with low incomes.
Monica Obregon is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin in the master’s of education policy and planning program. She currently works as a graduate assistant for the Transfer Year Experience program that creates transfer-specific academic spaces, connects students to experienced mentors and builds avenues to establish peer networks. She earned her bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio in May 2021. Her interests include school finance, Texas legislation budgets as it pertains to the education system, and long-term impacts of inequitable funding in school districts across the state.
Darlissa Villanueva is a Rio Grande Valley native from Santa Rosa, Texas. She is currently a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy with a concentration in educational policy and planning. Darlissa graduated from Texas A&M University in 2018 with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. Prior to graduate school, Darlissa worked with Texas A&M’s AdviseTX chapter, which is a non-profit organization that places recent college graduates in Texas high schools to help increase college enrollment for first-generation students and students in families with low incomes. Darlissa served as an advisor at John F. Kennedy High School in Edgewood ISD and Navasota High School in Navasota ISD. Her focus is centered on ethnic studies, accountability, school censorship issues and access to higher education, particularly for students from low-income communities.
Cappella Santos-Brown is a senior at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in December 2021. Her previous endeavors include interning at New Frontiers Public Schools and SAPD Blue Santa, where she had the honor of serving underprivileged youth. Within her personal life, Cappella considers herself an avid reader and a strong romantic comedy fanatic. Born and raised in San Antonio and a proud Chicana, she hopes to pursue her passions of student advocacy and international marketing, with the anticipation of working closely with students and education organizations.
Amanda Alvarez is a senior at Texas State University studying mass communication with a minor in Spanish. She previously served as an intern with the National Hispanic Institute focusing on social media and international admissions. This summer, she focused on social media planning and materials packaging. A Venezuela native, Amanda plans to pursue a master’s in public relations.
Samantha Boiser is a master’s degree student in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin. Raised in Arlington, Ms. Boiser studied child learning and development with a minor in public policy for her bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Dallas. This summer, she supported legislative wrap-up and policy updates and student engagement efforts.
Alejandra Caballero is a rising sophomore at Trinity University earning a double major in economics and communications. She is from Dallas and has worked with non-profit organizations such as NHI and Big Thought. This summer, her work included writing, research, design, and collaboration. Her focus is driven by her desire to continue learning about the policies promoting equity that are being created to combat disparities within education.
Samuel Cervantes is a policy researcher pursuing a master’s in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Shaped by his immigrant background, he began his policy career in his home state of Texas, where he worked to protect in-state tuition for undocumented students. Samuel earned a bachelor of science in communications studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He previously served as a public policy intern at MALDEF. This summer at IDRA, he focused on policy communications.
Alicia DeHoyos will be a ninth-grader at South San Antonio High School in its early college program. She served as an intern with IDRA through a partnership with the Family Services Association in San Antonio. She assisted with developing the Texas Chief Science Officers (CSO) program. As a fourth-year CSO and Texas CSO leadership council member, she offered a strong student perspective to help improve our future programming activities and special project developments. Currently, she is a Level 3 CSO with CSO International and serves on its equity for everyone committee. After she receives her high school diploma, she aims to attend the University of Texas at Austin and later transfer to Harvard Law to pursue a degree in criminal justice.
Melivia Mujica is a queer first-generation Chicana from the south side of San Antonio and a junior at Texas A&M Kingsville where she is pursuing her double major in law and environmental science. Since her sophomore year in high school, she has been a student advocate at her Title I high school, at which time she was able to push her school toward greater structural equity through her leadership as a student organizer.
Michelle Nguyen earned a bachelor’s degree in youth advocacy and educational studies with a minor in comparative race and ethnic studies from Texas Christian University. She then taught English in Salatiga, Indonesia for eight months through a Fulbright grant. After this summer internship with IDRA, Michelle will start her first year of law school at the University of Texas at Austin.
Rahi Patel is earning a double master’s and MBA studying information technology and management at the University of Texas at Dallas. As an undergrad, she helped conduct research designed to foster strong parent-child relationships and children’s healthy development through semi-structured play sessions. This summer, she worked with the research and evaluations team to identify patterns and trends in data sets.
Savina Tapia is a rising second-year law student at St. Mary’s University School of Law. A native of Boston, Savina received her bachelor’s degree in law and society with minors in psychology and educational studies from American University in Washington, D.C. Her policy and research interests include dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, implementing culturally responsive curricula, and student advocacy.
Lola Solís is a master’s of public policy student at U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and women’s studies and her background is primarily in community organizing at the city, state, and campus level. After finishing graduate school, she hopes to work in a nonprofit in Texas as a policy analyst or researcher in hopes of creating more equitable public education policy. This summer, she conducted data analysis.