Alec Mendoza is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin. He is majoring in Government and minoring in Business. Texas politics is his bread and butter and something that he lives, eats and breathes. He worked for a state senator during the 85th legislature and since then has kept up with everything going on in state politics. During the legislature, he worked on healthcare issues and other policy areas. Tribune fest is the biggest political event in Texas and speakers come from across the country to come here. He is excited to learn more about the political sphere and issues that are impacting his state on every level.
Celeste Garcia is a broadcast journalism student at the University of North Texas. She wants to report on national politics because she believes the most important decisions affecting this country happen at that level. She is excited to join this year's fest to surround herself with great journalists who are just as passionate about truthful storytelling.
Dana is a PhD student studying healthcare and social policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Her research primarily examines reproductive healthcare policy and access to care. She is also a former field organizer, and has additional interests in electoral politics, political engagement, and activism.
Alyse Gray Parker is a PhD student at University of Texas San Antonio in Education Leadership and Policy. She is passionate about higher education policy, and the intersection of higher education, politics and policy. As an advocate for equity and access in higher education, she is excited to get involved with this year's Fest to learn more about current issues for today's college students!
Kenia is a UTEP graduate with a bachelor's degree in Multimedia Journalism. She recently started a masters degree in public administration, because of her passion for effective and accurate communication, especially when it comes to the politics. During her undergraduate career, she had various internships with media, the non-profit sector and government. A couple of those internships were with Congressman O'Rourke congressional and campaign offices. She was one of two interns who, along with the campaign manager, started his senatorial campaign.
She is currently working as a communications specialist for the Communications Shop in Virginia and the business magazine MexicoNow. With Communications Shop, she works with a variety of organizations that promote social justice, women empowerment and immigrant advocacy. At MexicoNow, she is in charge of events promotions and social media strategy.
She has experience managing accounts for organizations in multiple social media outlets and this opportunity to be a social media ambassador for the Texas Trib Fest feels like the perfect fit to her.
Laura is a master's student the the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
Maria is a journalism and sociology senior at UT-Austin. She has worked at The Daily Texan, The Austin Chronicle, and is now at the Austin American-Statesman.
Maya Patel is a student at the University of Texas at Austin (class of 2020) pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science and Arts (BSA) degree in chemistry with a public policy certificate. Maya serves as the Interim President for TX Votes, a non-partisan civic engagement organization at UT and also works on LGBTQ+ equality, reproductive justice, and voting rights as the co-President of Texas Rising. Maya also takes her civic engagement work to a national level by serving as a member of the Campus Vote Project Student Advisory Board. Maya also welcomes new students onto the Forty Acres as a Camp Texas Counselor and is a peer mentor in her organic chemistry lab where she helps students master chemistry lab techniques. Maya hopes to help bridge the gap between science and policy in the future after pursuing a joint MPP/JD degree. She is also interested in researching and creating programs to increase civic participation of STEM students as they are the least civically engaged students on college campuses.
Nicholas is a biology major concerned with agricultural and public policy. He worked with Americorps on Public Health and Nutrition looking at food systems in central Texas, TexPIRG on CFPB and economic policy, and Un Techo Para mi Pais in Argentina on sanitation systems and access to food. He found volunteering the past two Festivals thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding. He hopes to continue the tradition and to help advance the spirit of the festival and the ideals of the Tribune.
Nick Romanow is currently an International Relations student at the University of Texas at Austin. He is looking forward to hearing from American public servants on their careers and gaining insight into the critical problems facing American security and foreign policy. Additionally, he is looking forward to hearing from many differing viewpoints, and hopes to acquire a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a public servant in the United States.
Usman Mahmood is a second-year Government major at the University of Texas at Austin from Houston, Texas. Ever since middle school, he has been driven to pursue a career in politics because it is the one thing that always kept him interested and passionate about many different issues that his generation will face in the future. His goals after college are to attend Law School and then pursue work in the realm of public policy and policy-making. The Tribune Festival is one of the best opportunities for him to learn from major politicians and public figures on the inner workings of politics. It will provide him invaluable insight on different political perspectives, networking opportunities, and engagements in open-minded conversations.
Giovanni Escobedo is a Political Science student at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is passionate about civic engagement and connecting people across the state to create the civic engagement change that he believes we need.
Gabrielle Harris is a sophomore Political Science major at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. She would self define what she does as a political strategy, having worked on several campaigns and still representing a number of progressive organizations. She's excited to hear the different perspectives about this years election, and our current political climate at this years TribFest!
Fawaz is a senior studying Political Science at UT Dallas; he wants to attend law school in the near future. He is *very* passionate about politics and history, and has been following them since he was 11! He was a national delegate for Bernie Sanders to the 2016 Democratic National Convention; nowadays, he is a board member of Texas Young Democrats. He worked for UTD for two years until July and is now a member of the field team for Julie Johnson, a Democrat running for TX House District 115 (Carrollton, Irving). As for the TribFest, he is a huge fan of it. He has been going every year since 2016. He loves how the Texas Tribune is able to get all these policymakers and journalists together to discuss some of the most important issues, and get some incredibly high profile stuff- last year, he got to talk to the Governor of Montana one-on-one after his keynote, and he met Gary Johnson in 2016! Fawaz thinks the lineup looks incredible, and he is excited about the new locations and venues.
Danielle is a Trinity University senior double majoring in Communication and Studio Art. She has experience in television, radio, graphic design, photography, and journalism. She is passionate about making news accessible to the general public in innovative ways, and she hopes to bring people together through creative mediums. After spending her summer interning at Texas Public Radio, she is eager to learn more about and meet the political figures that will be at TribFest.
Andrea Guzman studies digital media and journalism at St. Edward's University. She just started a fall internship with the Texas Observer, so she is excited to hear about the top issues on the minds of Texans at this year's Trib Fest. Her reporting career began at the student newspaper, Hilltop Views, and springboarded her into an internship at the Colorado Springs Gazette. She has covered an array of stories, including marijuana and the primary election, so she is looking forward to the panels "Yes, We Cannabis" as well as the One on One with John Hickenlooper.