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Texas Civic Ambassadors Program 2017-2018

A year of service, education, and leadership supporting civic life in Texas.
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Cam Johnson is a junior studying Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Texas in Denton. Cam’s first interest in government resulted from working with the Youth Advisory Council of Kennedale as a high-school senior. There, Cam saw up-close how local government can work for the people. The YAC was tasked with representing the city’s youth, learning about local government, and making reports to the city council. Since then, he’s grown a love for government and politics, especially in Texas. Cam recently completed an internship for the Dallas County Democratic Party. His favorite president is Lyndon B. Johnson and he loves all things NPR, food, Six Flags, and pups. He’s most excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he gets to continue to learn about politics in the Lone State State.

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Brooke Lopez, a current student at the University of Texas at Dallas majoring in Public Affairs and Geography, first sparked a career in local politics and government by working with her local congresswoman to propose a state bill at age 15, founding the 501c(3) non-profit “Student of Change” at age 16, running for Wylie City Council at age 18, and holding appointed office for her hometown on the Wylie Public Arts Advisory Board by the age of 19 as the youngest member. She hopes to attend the University of Texas Law School after her graduation from UT Dallas in December of 2017. Brooke is the title holder of Miss Black & Gold 2017 at the University of Texas at Dallas. In her free time, she shows miniature donkeys in the ring for the NMDA, Donkey, and Mule Show at the State Fair of Texas. Lopez holds a part time job as a Facilitator for IGNITE National at the Brookhaven Early College High School as well as an internship with the World Affairs Council.

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Isaac Mallett is in his final year of school at the University of Texas School of Law. Isaac is the President of the Chicano-Hispanic Law Student Association and Co-Editor in Chief of the Texas Hispanic Journal of Law & Policy. Isaac has experience working with political campaigns and non-profits, such as Voto Latino.

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Ashley Salinas is currently a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in History with a certificate in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies. She previously interned at the office of State Representative Terry Canales and is also a peer tutor at the University Writing Center. She enjoys reading, writing, volunteering, and hanging out with her cat, Houdini. She is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and encourage others to make a positive difference in their communities.

Andrew Fuller

Jessica Frey is a senior at the University of North Texas with a major in Communication Studies and minors in Psychology and Social Science. She is a member of the Lambda Pi Eta and Psi Chi honor societies and is interested in policy that impacts gender equity, veterans, and education. She enjoys photography and reading about history. Jessica is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because her time as an ambassador will provide her with the opportunity to better understand civic apathy and how to combat it, as well as the time to develop her skills as a leader. She hopes to continue working towards a career in public service.

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Martin Martinez is a Senior at Southwestern University and is studying Psychology. During his undergraduate career, Martin has been an intercollegiate athlete competing on Southwestern’s Swimming and Diving team. Martin is passionate about politics and connecting with new people, which is evident through his participation in Student Government, Residence Life, and the Catalyst Leadership organization. Martin hopes to attend law school after graduating from Southwestern in the spring and hopes to pursue a career in politics. In his spare time, Martin enjoys reading, being active, binging Netflix shows, and cooking Buzzfeed Tasty videos with his friends and family.

Anilya Krishnan

Giovanni Escobedo, a native of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, moved to the United States at the age of 16 in search of a new beginning, opportunities, and a better education. Giovanni, like many immigrants, faced challenges upon his arrival to this country; however, he never forgot his childhood dreams of attaining a college degree. In 2013, Giovanni received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, which gave him access to many of the opportunities he was denied in the past. He was then able to take classes in the community college and transfer to a four-year university. Giovanni has been fully immersed at the local, state, and national levels of government, addressing the most pressing issues in education.Giovanni is a senior at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley pursuing a degree in political science and a minor in legal studies. Giovanni plans to pursue a JD/MPH to work in healthcare policy and law. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Giovanni hopes to gain the necessary leadership skills to advance, motivate, and represent his community around the Rio Grande Valley.

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Nicole Wang is a senior majoring in Marketing at Baylor University. She is committed to representing the marginalized populations at Baylor. Nicole now serves in executive leadership roles for two student organizations. She has built connections with multiple student groups, organizations and programs on and off campus that can be her resource and starting point to deliver nonpartisan outreach messages, plans and activities. As part of her Texas Civic Ambassador project, Nicole is starting a college chapter of IGNITE, which will provide educational trainings for women from diverse backgrounds to become civic and political leaders. The mission of the chapter is to help Nicole’s peers carry on their passion and dedication to public service through facilitation of nonpartisan dialogues. Nicole can’t wait to embark on a journey that deepens her understanding of stories, cultural context, and historical inevitability attributed to a person's or a group's decision in community development. Her long-term plans are to pursue a career at United Nations starting as an intern or a volunteer working for the Political, Peace, Humanitarian and Human Rights category.

Ayanna Watkins

Adrianna Maberry has her bachelor’s degree in Geography and is currently a master’s student in Geospatial Information Sciences (GIS) attending the University of Texas at Dallas. She also has experience working in the public and private sector. Besides splitting her time between work and school, she enjoys being outdoors with her pup, Sequoia, dedicating time to political activism, and relaxing with her friends and family. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, Adrianna hopes to collaborate with citizens, especially millennials, to encourage political engagement and spur meaningful change in local communities.

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A Central Texas native, Julia O’Hanlon is studying political communication and humanities at the University of Texas at Austin. She is passionate about education policy, civic engagement, and good coffee. Julia is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because it provides her an opportunity to make government and the civic process more accessible and interesting to everyday Texans.

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Oscar Flores is from El Paso, Texas. He is attending the University of Texas at El Paso, majoring in Organizational and Corporate Communications. For the past few years, his interest in civic engagement has grown, starting off with an internship with our U.S. Congressman and other volunteer opportunities. He has a passion for economic development, as he has attended a Basic Economic Development Course through the Texas Economic Development Council and plans to further his education in this field. He loves to see his city and state progress civically, economically, and culturally, which is why he is excited and humbled to be able to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador, because it will expand his knowledge and skills so he can apply to and properly represent my community.

Courtney Broderick

Marcos Mullin is a sophomore undergraduate student at the University of Texas at San Antonio studying Public Administration and Economics. On campus, Marcos serves as the campus outreach director for Student Government and the Catholic Student Association, developing and building on his passion for civic engagement. During his time as an undergraduate, Marcos has interned in the District Office of Congressman Lamar Smith, the run-off Mayoral Campaign for Ron Nirenberg, and the office of San Antonio City Council District 5. Outside of school and work, Marcos plays rugby for the UTSA club rugby team, is an active Big Brother for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of South Texas, and enjoys the little things in life such as hammocking, reading, eating, and spending time with friends. Marcos is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador so that he can give back to his community by educating and motivating others about the importance of involvement in civic life.

Danyale Kellogg

Courtney Adamez is a senior at the University of Houston. She studies sociology and economics, and is the president of the sociology student association on campus. She spends her time volunteering with Elder Helpers as well as at St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston. In her free time, she likes to play billiards, go to concerts, and spend time with her three sisters.

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Preston Nieves is a Sophomore at Texas State University majoring in Political Science. With a lifelong interest in politics and public affairs, Preston has competed on the speech and debate team at both the High School and College levels, winning many accolades along the way. Having been elected to serve in the Texas State University Student Government Senate, Preston’s interest in the civic ambassador program comes from a strong drive to encourage citizen involvement in government and politics, fostering the awareness, dialogue, compromise, and cooperation necessary to address the greatest challenges of our day.

Kelsey Rodriguez

Kelsey Rodriguez is a sophomore political science major at Concordia University, Texas. She is a San Antonio native and has a twin brother whom she is older than by two minutes and thirty seconds. A few of her interests include playing the violin, performing with her university's instrumental ensemble, running her fashion blog, sewing, and reading. Kelsey is co-president of an all-girls bible study and volunteer work club, public relations manager of history club, and served as a member of MOAS (Mock Organization of the American States) representing the country of Panama with Concordia, as well as being involved in various other activities on campus. Kelsey feels extremely blessed to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador this year and is looking forward to learning how ambassadors can collectively better and shape the world around them while becoming emerging leaders.

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Joshua Wheatley is currently a sophomore at Concordia University Texas, dual majoring in Environmental Science and Political Science. Joshua grew up on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, where he developed a love for the outdoors and animals. This past legislative session, Joshua started his work with Texas politics as a legislative aide at the State Capitol. Serving as a Texas Civic Ambassador in the coming year will allow Joshua to continue to serve and reach out to his community, to help people understand what an important role they play in the political process. When he is not working, Joshua enjoys spending time outdoors, taking in the arts of Austin, having good conversations, and spending time with his two Jack Russell terriers, Jarhead and Moxie.

Mackenize

MacKenzie Briana Jenkins is a senior at Southern Methodist University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Rights and International Studies, with a minor in Arabic and Public Policy. Upon graduation, she plans to attend law school and to pursue a JD in Human Rights and Education Policy, with the eventual goal of becoming a human and civil rights lawyer. MacKenzie served as President of the Association of Black Students for the 2016-17 academic year; Marketing Coordinator for the Crain Leadership Summit; and Peer Academic Leader for Ware Residential Commons. MacKenzie was also selected for the prestigious Highland Capital Management Tower Scholars program, where she will receive a specialized minor in Public Policy and International Affairs and complete research on K-12 education in the South. Currently, MacKenzie serves as the Southwest Regional Representative for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She looks forward to opportunity to serve as Texas Civic Ambassador and promote civic participation in the Dallas area.

Allison

Allison Teng is pursuing a master’s degree in Public Health at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. She is passionate about public health, social justice, and policy. Allison hopes to integrate these fields into her work as a physician. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, she hopes to explore her interest in public policy while serving her local underprivileged community.

Jakob Lucas

Chiara Pride is a rising sophomore and honors student at Trinity University with plans to double major in Anthropology and Political Science. During the year, Chiara is the PRIDE activism chair at Trinity, a staff member with MOVE San Antonio, and participates in several academic and progressive organizations around town and on campus. When Chiara isn’t working, studying, or drinking coffee, she’s probably confusing someone with stories about art, music, anthropology, municipal government, or her latest podcast obsession. Hopefully, with help from the TCA program, she can put her love of government and storytelling to good use.

Johnathan Cereceres

Haley Entrop is a junior at Concordia University Texas, pursuing a bachelor’s in Political Science. Haley serves as her Student Government and Leadership Association Vice President, as well as the Head Delegate of the Concordia Model Organization of American States Team. Off campus, she has served the surrounding Austin community through work at the Austin Homeless Shelter and has served the state of Texas through an internship at the Texas State Capitol. Haley believes in civic engagement as the cornerstone of a successful community, and is deeply passionate about engaging the students on her campus with the world around them.

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Aisleen Menezes is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin. She is majoring in Communication Studies, with a focus in the Political Communication track. Aisleen is excited to be a part of the Texas Civic Ambassadors Program because she loves being a witness to the political processes in the United states. She’s especially interested in voting rights and making the civic process more accessible to all communities. In her free time, Aisleen can be found at a local coffee shop in Austin or playing with dogs at Zilker Park.

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Jonathan Picado is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso studying Political Science with a concentration in judicial politics. He is involved in several organizations on campus, such as Pi Sigma Alpha, the University Honors Program, and the chicano/a Legal Leadership Institute. Jonathan is also serving as Co-President of the HeforShe chapter at UTEP, as a Liberal Arts Ambassador, and as a Supreme Court Justice for the Student Government Association. He enjoys playing classical music in his free time, as well as reading historical novels and memoirs. Jonathan’s parents are immigrants from Mexico and Cuba, so being a first-generation American has greatly influenced Jonathan’s appreciation of civic life and our democracy. Jonathan believes our country’s politics have become dangerously partisan, so he is excited to collaborate with other Texas Civic Ambassadors from across the state to promote nonpartisan education and outreach in Texas and within their respective communities.

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Aden Muhammad is a sophomore studying Computer Science at Texas A&M University. He enjoys rowing, eating great food, hanging out with friends, and reading about technology, policy, and finance. He’s excited about serving as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he firmly believes policy impacts every aspect of our lives. He is a staunch advocate for civic participation and the TCA program gives him a platform from which he can share his ideas and passion with his peers and community.

Lawson Sadler

Natalie Sos is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin and is originally from Houston. She is honored to be chosen as a Texas Civic Ambassador this fall. On the UT Austin campus, Natalie is actively involved in student government and her sorority, Delta Gamma. She loves to run and play tennis and in her free time, follows politics and current events.

Lily Trieu

Pablo Pratt is as incoming sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, and he will be majoring in International Relations & Global Studies with a minor in Accounting. As a transfer student, he is excited to begin his education on the 40 acres and take full advantage of the opportunities provided to him. Pablo is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he knows that he will be better prepared to foster excitement and increased engagement in civic duties. Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, he never felt like he had opportunities to communicate with my city’s leaders or become civically engaged. With the opportunities, knowledge, and skills provided by the city of Austin, UT, and the Texas Civic Ambassador program, he know that he will be better able to tackle the problems that mean the most to him.

Luke Alexander

Luke Hernandez is a proud student of the University of Texas at Austin. He is a sophomore majoring in Government and Mexican American and Latino/a studies; he is also pursuing a certificate in computer science. He was born and raised in San Antonio and graduated from Business Careers High School. Luke has always been interested in politics, activism, and academia. Luke’s personal passion is learning and relearning about the world. He wants to commit to positive reform for the country and reach out to all the communities that are responsible for his personal growth and development. He achieves this by engaging in civic engagement, political discourse, and community service. He knows the Civic Ambassadors Program will help facilitate interaction and sponsor dynamics for the community and he’s excited to be a part of that foundation.

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Levi Mulloy is a Fourth-Year student at The University of Texas at Austin studying Government and Middle Eastern Studies. Levi is also an active member of the Liberal Arts Honors College and the Arabic Flagship Program. Outside of class, Levi is involved in Kappa Alpha Order, where he is currently serving as the Philanthropy and Community Outreach Chair, and Innovations for Peace and Development, a research group dedicated to finding sustainable solutions in the realm of international development. Levi’s interest in government began in 2013 when he spent a summer working in the Office of Congressman Ted Poe (TX-2). More recently, Levi interned in the Office of State Representative Dan Huberty for the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature. He hopes to continue his career in politics and government after graduation. In his free time, Levi enjoys traveling, learning languages, spending time with friends and family, and playing jazz piano.

P. Antoinette White

Cody Johnson is an east Texas native, born in Tyler and raised in Lindale. He’s a recent graduate of Tarleton State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Business. During his time at Tarleton, Cody was involved in student government, serving two terms in the Student Senate and one term as Student Body Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as participating in a number of student groups. As an aspiring attorney, Cody is particularly interested in the actions of the judiciary and in criminal justice policy, but he is passionate about American public policy in general and enjoys following world affairs. Cody is an avid reader and a lover of history, as well as a long-suffering Houston sports fan. He is honored to be a part of this organization and cannot wait to do his part in improving our level of civic awareness and discourse in the great state of Texas.

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Tori Zander is a sophomore at Texas A&M University double majoring in Telecommunication Media Studies and Political Science. She is a founding member of RSET, a group of students advocating for a more factually-based sex-ed curriculum within the TEKS. After attending Campaign Bootcamp in 2017, she became extremely interested in field work and returned to College Station to work on a local campaign. Tori is excited to be starting an organization at Texas A&M that brings attention to the benefits of high speed rail in the fall. When she's not in class or busy with organization events, she’s probably filming or photographing others - she started Tall Z Media as a way to capture people's favorite moments and make them last a lifetime. Tori is very excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and can’t wait share the benefits of being involved.

Ryan Hurt

Matt Maldonado is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin. Matt is pursuing a degree in Government and Russian Language. Prior to serving as a Texas Civic Ambassador, he served as a legislative intern for the Texas Senate Committee on Finance. Matt also spent the 2016-2017 school year as a member of the URHA Residential Judicial Board, a peer review committee that deals with policy infractions that occur in the on-campus residency halls at UT Austin. Matt is excited to meet with and learn from civically engaged students from across the state of Texas and go on to share his new findings with fellow young people on his campus and in his community in a positive and constructive manner.