Priscylla Bento | UT Arlington
Representative Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Priscylla Bento is a graduate student pursuing a PhD in Urban Planning and Public Policy at The University of Texas at Arlington. Her academic focus is urban revitalization and economic development. Priscylla has three Bachelors degrees in History Pre-Law, Political Science and French and a Masters of Public Administration also from The University of Texas at Arlington. She currently works as an Adjunct Professor in Federal Government at Eastfield College, a Dallas County Community College District school. In her spare time, Priscylla enjoys cooking, traveling, and mixed martial arts.
Kathleen Bierschenk | UT Dallas
Corporation for Enterprise Development
Kathleen Bierschenk is pursuing a Master's degree in Political Science from The University of Texas at Dallas. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Political Science Honors and Collegium V Honors from The University of Texas at Dallas. Her professional experience includes an internship at the Office of the Dallas Mayor which solidified her decision to focus on the research side of policy creation. Kathleen is interested in policy analysis and research in the environment and social issues, as well as economic policies that are integrally connected to the two. Ultimately she wants to work towards decreasing congressional polarization by helping in the creation of more moderate policies that can address the important and relevant issues today while incorporating and reflecting the American people as a whole.
Crystal Brumfield | UT Austin
The Education Trust
Crystal Brumfield is an Education Policy and Planning Master's candidate at The University of Texas at Austin. Crystal's primary research interest include equity in education for minorities and economically disadvantaged students along with the efficacy of the use of high stakes testing in relation to accountability systems. She has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Houston where she studied Early Childhood Education. Her professional background includes teaching in Houston's urban education system along with legislative experience obtained from her current job at the Texas Legislative Council. Crystal hopes to pursue a career in Education Policy analyzing and advocating for legislative efforts around equity and accountability systems.
Brett Cease | UT Dallas
Brett Cease is pursuing his doctorate in Public Policy & Political Economy with a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate at The University of Texas at Dallas. He is originally from Bemidji, Minnesota, headwaters of the Mississippi. Brett received his Bachelor's in Psychology from Augsburg College and his Master's in Education at Bemidji State University. Brett has taught high school social studies, served as associate director for an outdoor wilderness center, lead expeditions as an instructor for Outward Bound, and volunteered with AmeriCorps for the MN GreenCorps. Passionate about civic engagement around environmental policy-making, Brett is part of the UTD Sustainability Club and next year will serve as a graduate student senator. Currently, he works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with Environmental Economics. He looks forward to working with government and non-profit agencies connecting with existing stakeholders in finding common solutions to the intersection of environmental and economic issues.
Bola Fenny | UT Dallas
University of Texas System Office of Federal Relations
Born and raised in Nigeria, Bola Fenny is a Ph.D. criminology student at The University of Texas at Dallas with research interests in juvenile, gender and women issues. She is a 1988 graduate of the University of Benin where she earned a bachelors in Law. Bola served as Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1989 and practiced law for several years. Her love and passion for children led her to establish and privately run a pre-school for young children in 1996. Bola relocated to the United States in 2002. She obtained a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2011 and taught as an instructor at Miles College until she got admitted into the Ph.D. program. She was admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 2010 and has been a volunteer family attorney with the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Program, where she represents and advocates for the vulnerable population of women and children. Bola’s long-term goal is to influence policy on juvenile, gender and women’s issues especially on the African continent.
Tarsha Hardy | UT Arlington
International Conservation Caucus Foundation
Tarsha Hardy is pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Public Policy from The University of Texas at Arlington. Tarsha has served as Vice Chair of the Texas Democratic Party, a member of the Democratic National Committee and is a contributor on WFAA Channel 8’s Inside Texas Politics Show. She holds a masters degree in Public Law and Policy from the University of Saint Thomas and dual bachelors degrees in Political Science and Speech Communications from Sam Houston State University. Tarsha aspires to study infrastructure, trade and investment policy as a 2015 Liebenow Fellow with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Aseante Hylick | UT Austin
Institute for Policy Studies
Aseante Hylick is a dual degree graduate student in the Social Work Program at The University of Texas at Austin and Masters of Divinity Program at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Her focus is leveraging the influence of faith based organizations and community leadership to address issues of mental health, restorative reform, and social justice in vulnerable populations. She has over twelve years of experience in creating or implementing civic platforms such as summer mentoring programs, non-profit social media campaigns, program fundraising, and citywide health awareness events. Aseante is currently a director of programing for a local non-profit that services four high-needs zip codes in the area.
AV LeClair | UT Austin
U.S. Department of Education
Anthony Vincent “AV” LeClair is a third year Education Policy PhD student at The University of Texas at Austin. He completed his undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Classical Studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio. After five years of teaching high school English and coaching varsity baseball in Texas public schools, he decided to explore the policy making landscape. He worked at the Texas Senate Higher Education Committee and at The Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP), and is now looking forward to his internship in the summer with the U.S. Department of Education.
Lora Martinez | UT Pan American
Achieving the Dream
Lora Martinez is a graduate student at The University of Texas – Pan American (UTPA) pursuing a Public Administration degree with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management. She has a Nonprofit minor from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. Lora has interned at several youth development nonprofit organizations in San Antonio, Dallas, and in her hometown of Edinburg, Texas and is currently working as a Graduate Assistant for the UTPA Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), an Army leadership training program for university students. Her interest in youth development stems from her background growing up with foster children and hopes to one day contribute to aiding youth in need. Before graduate school, Lora traveled extensively in South East Asia where she taught English for a year at a rural elementary school in South Korea.
Sima Namin | UT Arlington
Representative Joaquin Castro (TX-20)
Sima Namin is a doctoral student majoring in Urban Planning and Public Policy at The University of Texas at Arlington and currently serves as a Teaching Assistant with the School of Urban and Public Affairs. Originally from Tehran, Iran, she developed a passion for human rights and community health. She holds an MA in Urban and Regional Planning from Tehran University. Her research is focused on the interrelations between community health and environmental inequalities and potentials for community development and advocacy. She is particularly interested in public policy and finding ways to channel and translate the scientific language of environmental and ecological research into something comprehensible for the public and reflect it sufficiently to decision makers.
Kyle Price | UT Tyler
Representative Jeb Hensarling (TX-5)
Kyle Price is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in English at The University of Texas at Tyler, where he previously earned his Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Asian Studies. From a young age, community involvement has served as one of Kyle’s key interests. Kyle achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and has been active in the organization for the majority of his life. Kyle volunteered at his local library as a teen, founding the library’s first Teen Board of Directors. He currently serves as the library’s Technical Services Librarian.
UT School of Public Health
Office of the First Lady
Camille Range is a second generation University of Illinois graduate where she earned her bachelor's degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition Dietetics. Fostering a successful and healthy community is a priority for this Oak Park, IL native. Following her admission to The University of Texas School of Public Health and dietetic internship, Camille moved to Houston, Texas to pursue a Master in Public Health, which will allow her to accomplish her personal and professional goals to enhance the quality of life through nutrition education and policy. Her current internship includes responsibilities creating, modifying, and teaching nutrition education lessons to mothers and daughters in underrepresented communities.
Fatima Rasul | UT Dallas
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Fatima Rasul is pursuing a Master's degree in Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Management at The University of Texas at Dallas. She holds a strong interest in refugee rights, which she has developed over time while working with local community members in the Dallas area. Fatima has spent a semester serving her time as an intern in the Texas House of Representatives during the legislative session where she established her passion for public service and was able to gain insight into the legislative process. Fatima earned her bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in Public Affairs, also from The University of Texas at Dallas. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, volunteering, and spending time with friends and family. She is looking forward to spending a summer working in and exploring in D.C.!
Alessandra Rios | UT Pan American
Embassy of Peru
Alessandra Rios is pursuing a Master's in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance at The University of Texas-Pan American. She is from Lima, Peru and received her Bachelor’s in Business Administration from The University of Texas-Pan American (2013) Summa Cum Laude in Finance and Economics. As an undergraduate, Alessandra was active in different student organizations and helped organize the Border Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Symposium and The Finance Insurance Real Estate (FIRE) Symposium. She received the Dean’s Scholars Award consecutively from 2011 to 2013 and the VIP Economics Award in 2013 for her work and leadership. She was also named to the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. She also works as a Graduate Assistant for the Dean of the Economics and Finance Department. Alessandra is interested in finding solutions for the banking industry preventing fraudulent activities and reducing the illegal outflow and inflow of money around the world.
Joanna Sanchez | UT Austin
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Joanna Sánchez is a doctoral student in the Educational Policy and Planning Program at The University of Texas at Austin. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geosciences from Trinity University in San Antonio and a Master’s in Geographic Information Science (GIS) from the University of Denver. Joanna is a Rio Grande Valley native, and her research interests are college access, minority first-generation college students and school/family/community partnerships. A first generation student herself and a Gates Millennium Scholar Alumna, Joanna is passionate about giving back and looks forward to returning to the Valley after graduation.
Cody Summerville | UT Austin
U.S. Department of Education
Cody Summerville is pursuing a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction within the Early Childhood Program area at The University of Texas at Austin. Cody earned his bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Oklahoma Christian University. His research focuses on the interplay between education policy and curriculum, with a particular emphasis on how state standards are reducing the amount of play in kindergarten. Currently, he is a Graduate Assistant at the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory, where he teaches in the five-year-old class. He will intern in the Office of Early Learning at the U.S. Department of Education.
Melody Timinsky | UT Dallas
The Population Institute
Melody Timinsky is a Public Affairs doctoral student at The University of Texas at Dallas. She has extensive strategic operations and leadership experience in both for-profit and nonprofit environments. An MBA graduate from The University of Dallas, she has worked across diverse industries including high tech, consumer package goods, air transportation, education, the arts and human services. Most recently, she held leadership positions in the nonprofit sector, including as President/CEO of Volunteers of America Texas and Chief Operating Officer of Big Thought. Currently, she serves on the boards of the Nonprofit CEO Council and Dallas Afterschool. Melody served nine years on the Plano ISD School Board and was honored by the Texas Legislature for her service and commitment to high-quality public education. Through her volunteer experiences, including mission trips to India, Nicaragua and Mexico, she has cultivated a passion for creating education and empowerment opportunities for women and children. After graduation, Melody looks forward to applying the advocacy and policy development skills learned in the Graduate Program in Public Policy to a continued career in creating positive social impact.
Reginald Warren | UT Health Science Center
The March of Dimes
Reginald Warren is a graduate student at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, pursuing a Master of Public Health in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, with an emphasis in Maternal and Child Health. He is a proud graduate of The University of Florida, where he earned a Bachelor of Health Science, with a focus in Public Health. Reginald is passionate about maternal and child health issues, in particular those related to pregnancy, infant health, and childhood obesity. He hopes to one day utilize both community-level health infrastructure and public policy to help improve related health outcomes in underserved communities. Reginald currently works as a Graduate Assistant in the Prevention Research Center at the School of Public Health. This summer he will be interning with the March of Dimes Government Affairs Office.
Lorin Washington | UT Arlington
Greater Washington Region Clean Cities Coalition
Lorin Washington is a graduate student at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Public Policy. Lorin's belief that an interdisciplinary approach fosters the most successful solutions to environmental problems is evidenced by her diverse professional and educational backgrounds. She earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Civil Engineering from Jackson State University and her Juris Doctorate with a focus on Environmental Law from Mississippi College School of Law. Lorin is a licensed Engineering Intern (E.I.) and Attorney (Esq.) in the State of Mississippi, and has worked in the public sector as an engineer, legislative liaison, and attorney, and in the private sector as an attorney. Her interests include using policy to protect the environment and vulnerable populations, improving existing environmental laws and regulatory programs, and improving the design and land use of current and future urban environments. Her long term goals are to write and effectuate positive change in environmental legislation, regulation, and application, and also to share her knowledge with the next generation as a college professor.
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Bailey Weiner is currently pursuing a Master’s of Clinical Nutrition and completing her dietetic internship at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She earned two Bachelor’s degrees from The University of Texas at Austin in Biology and History. As part of her dietetic internship, Bailey has interned in worksite wellness, surgical intensive care unit, UT Athletics, and WIC clinics. She volunteers with America Scores and with the Dallas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Executive Board. She is interested in nutrition and exercise public policy in relation to chronic disease prevention and healthcare savings.
Emily Worland | UT Arlington
National Archives and Records Administration
Emily Worland is a Masters of Urban and Affairs and Policy student in the School of Urban and Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Arlington. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2010 with a Bachelors of Science in Economics and a Bachelors of Arts in Public Policy in addition to earning her Texas Teaching Certificate. Emily currently teaches Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics and Advanced Placement Psychology at Edward S. Marcus High School in the Lewisville Independent School District. Named the 2015 Marcus Teacher of The Year, Emily is passionate about educational equality and reform.