Texas Civic Ambassadors Program 2020-2021

TCA Website graphics

A year of service, education, and leadership supporting civic life in Texas.
Ainsley Dorsey

Ainsley Dorsey is a rising sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Government major and is considering law school postgraduate. She grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, where her passion for supporting her community began-- there she worked to solicit the donation of 3,000 diapers and 4,000 wipes for children in need. She is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because she believes that traditionally, many voices are left out of important conversations regarding public policy. In her free time, she loves playing with her dog, Scout, hiking, and cooking.

Anjitha Nair_Headshot.jpg

Anjitha Nair is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Computer Science with a certificate in Public Policy. Anjitha serves as TX Votes’s Senior Digital Committee Chair, Deputy Chief of Staff in Student Government, and a POD Mentor for the UT Computer Science Department. As a freshman in high school, she took an active role in her community by founding a non-profit organization called the Imagine Beyond Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for autism treatment. Anjitha’s interest in politics, government,and civics was sparked by her high school government class, and that interest transformed into a focus on civic engagement and voter education in college through her involvement in TX Votes and her internship at the Campus Vote Project. Anjitha believes that expanding civic engagement efforts on college campuses can positively influence an entire generation’s voice and participation in our democracy. Upon graduation, she hopes to use her technical skills for social good and pursue a career in civic technology and public policy. She is honored to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and build upon her knowledge and leadership experience in promoting and expanding civic engagement on her campus and in her community.

Arturo Canchola_Headshot.jpg

Arturo Canchola is a junior studying Political Science on a Pre-Medicine track at St. Mary’s University. He plans to become a physician and use his understanding of medicine and the political process to advocate for effective healthcare policy in the United States. Arturo strongly believes that more work must be done outside of the clinic to ensure the needs of his community are being met. On campus, he serves as a Senator in the St. Mary’s Student Government Association, and he is passionate about providing accessible information to students concerning politics and science alike. Arturo is excited to join the Texas Civic Ambassadors program and to further develop his leadership skills in promoting civic participation within his community.

Brandon Patterson_Headshot.jpg

Brandon Patterson is currently a senior at Houston Baptist University majoring in Political Science. He became interested in politics beginning in the 2016 election after studying the dynamics and the results of the race. Clubs that he is affiliated with include: Order of Omega (Greek Honor Society). Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity, Alpha Chi Honor Society, and being a leader within his HFBC Cypress college ministry community. He has worked on the Vote Texas PAC and was an intern for a congressional candidate in my community. He loves to study demographic trends, political realignment in election cycles, and studying presidential history including his favorite Calvin Coolidge. His interests include playing tennis, walking his pocket beagle, and cooking. He is excited to be a part of TCA because of the opportunity to interact with fellow college students engaged in politics and the chance to enhance his skills as a leader to engage within his community.

Chanel VanHook Headshot

Chanel VanHook is A Touchstone Scholar and Rising Junior at Texas Woman’s University, Chanel is a political science major concentrating in law while also completing a minor in Spanish. After leaving a decorated career in the US Navy in 2019, she is now dedicated to combatting gender and race inequalities in the Armed Forces by raising awareness about a lack of military veteran representation in Congress. Chanel is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because she believes college-aged students and military members can affect change when politically aware,civically engaged, and adequately equipped.Chanel is a PLEN Network Alumnae having attended their 2020 Women in Global Policy seminar and is a Denton County Election Judge. She has seen firsthand how low young adult turnout while managing a polling location and hopes her year of service can help fight that and put Texas on a path towards increasing voter turnout.In her free time, Chanel enjoys travelling, crafting, and cheering on Dallas professional sports teams.

Davis Headshot

Christine Davis is a senior marketing major at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas. When she's not doing homework or volunteering with student organizations on campus, she loves to camp, kayak, and spend time with her husband and their pug, Chaco. They love to adventure when they have free time and find a new restaurant or local coffee shop. Civic engagement is a passion of Christine's-- she has a heart to serve and help others. She can’t wait to get to work with the rest of the Texas Civic Ambassador team, making a difference on our campuses and our communities.

Christine Mompoin

Christine Mompoin is in her last year as a government student at Houston Community College. Christine represents her college as one of the SGA Parliamentarians, the District Student Government President, and the Vice President of the Texas Junior College Student Government Association Region V Board. Christine is a proud member of the Young Invincibles Advocate Cohort and serves the City of Houston as the chair of the Mayor's Student Leadership Alliance Council. When she is not fully immersed in political discussions, Christine loves to sing around the house with her family and support the activities of the Houston Show Choir. Christine is excited to be a Texas Civic Ambassador to educate her constituency on the power of civic engagement in this online world.

Citlalli Rivera

Citlalli Rivera is a junior at St. Mary’s University studying Political Science with a minor in International and Global Studies. She is a proud first generation Mexican-American who values community and progress. Being born and raised in one of the most disadvantaged areas of San Antonio, Texas, she has experienced how underrepresentation, lack of resources, and other issues can impact individuals and communities.She has committed herself to becoming equipped with the tools of higher education, wisdom from mentors, and transformative experiences to become an asset and advocate to communities suffering from society’s negligence. On campus, Citlalli serves as a President’s Ambassador, a peer mentor, and the Vice President of Pi Sigma Alpha Political Honor Society. Citlalli is excited to learn from the TCA curriculum, from other ambassadors, and from the experience itself to cultivate her own education and the education of those around her. On her free time, Citlalli regularly engages in social activism, enjoys trying new restaurants and food spots, and enjoys skating with friends!

Delina Yosief_

Delina Yosie is a senior pursuing a degree in Public Health and Political Science. Combining her passing for policy and health equity, she has conducted research for global organizations as well as local non-profits to improve health outcomes for those in vulnerable populations. She's originally from Houston, Texas and her favorite pastime is listening to podcasts and hiking!

Emily G. Headshot

Emily Gilby is a senior at Southwestern University studying Political Science, History, and Early Modern Studies. She is currently working on an honors thesis that analyzes youth voter turn out and voting behaviors. On campus, she strives to increase civic engagement as a student organizer with her university's Voter Friendly Campus Initiative, a Democracy Fellow with the Campus Vote Project, and a Poll Defender with MTV +1 the Polls.She is also the president of Southwestern’s College Democrats chapter and a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar.Previously, Emily has volunteered for numerous political campaigns and has served as a legislative aide for Texas State Representative John H. Bucy, III. She is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and is eager to apply the skills she will learn in this role to her work engaging voters on campus.

Fiama Villagrana-Ocasio

Fiama Villagrana-Ocasio is currently a junior Political Science major with an emphasis in Politics double minoring in Spanish and philosophy at Texas Woman’s University. She is originally from Houston, TX, and is the proud daughter of Mexican and Puerto Rican parents. She enjoys taking care of her plants, and listening to podcasts. She looking forward to networking and learning about how she can bring more civic engagement to her school and community.

Fox Walker

Fox Walkers is a third year from Fort Worth studying Government and Arabic with the Liberal Arts Honors program at the University of Texas at Austin. Fox serves as the UT Student Government Co-Director of City Relations and the Vice President of Texas Beta Theta Pi. He is interested in American history, art history, and economic populism, and electoral politics. He cannot wait to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador and looks forward to meeting students who seek to make a positive difference in their communities. Fox is especially looking forward to great conversations with speakers at the 2020 virtual Texas Tribune Festival.

Greg Phea Headshot

Greg Phea is a junior at The University of Texas at Austin studying Corporate Communications and Plan II. His goal is to become a civil rights attorney and ensure fair legal representation for those suffering at the hands of systemic inequalities. He's excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because he believes that it's essential that students pull together the necessary resources and support to enact meaningful change in their communities.

Hillary Shah_Headshot.j

Hillary Shah is a rising senior at the University of North Texas where is pursuing double majors in Political Science and Economics, along with a certification in Legal Studies. She is passionate about alleviating social invisibility in marginalized communities by breaking down the political, economic, and social structures that prohibit such communities from reaching their full potential-whether that be through voter rights and mobilization work for historically disenfranchised groups as an organizer for Battleground Texas and Beto for Senate, founding her own successful civic empowerment organizations such as the Frisco Student Activist Union and the UNT Coalition for Civic Empowerment, or gun violence prevention work via the Frisco ISD National School Walkout. Additionally, shes advocated for education and resource distribution to first-generation students through her recent internship at the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Civil Rights, as well as women of color through her board position at the nonprofit Yes She Can Campaign, where she won prestigious Diana Award for her efforts. Her passion for advocacy led her to serve as the youngest Student Body Vice President at the University of North Texas, as well as earning her an internship at ACLU -National Political Advocacy Department. Hillary is particularly excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador to connect with civically-minded young campus leaders like her. Her hobbies include painting, trashy reality television, and watching the most obscene cooking videos she can find with no intention to make the food itself.

Isabelle Galko

Isabelle Galko is a junior at Southern Methodist University studying Environmental Science with minors in Human Rights and Public Policy and International Affairs. On campus, she is a President’s Scholar, a member of the University Honors Program, and a student-athlete on the SMU women’s rowing team. Her interests include environmental policy, climate justice, and human rights. Isabelle is passionate about the social justice aspect of climate change, which she has explored throughout her time at SMU and during her year studying abroad at the University of Auckland. She hopes to amplify the voices of marginalized communities most impacted by climate change and educate others about the climate crisis. Isabelle is excited to learn more about civic engagement as a Texas Civic Ambassador, gain leadership skills, and empower her community to engage with issues that affect them.

Jeffrey Clemmons

Jeffrey Clemmons is a rising junior in Political Science at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. He is from Rockwall, Texas and previously attended the University of Texas at Arlington for a year in the Coordinated Admissions Program, which guaranteed admission into the University of Texas at Austin. He ultimately decided it was more important for him to regain connection with the community, especially when new applicants to HBCUs are at an all time low across the nation. Jeffery believes that it’s important to be in touch with the communities we’re from in any way we can in order to be better representatives for them going forward. His decision reinvigorated his passion for community-building and collective problem-solving. He's excited to be a Texas Civic Ambassador because he believes it will offer the opportunity work on some of the big issues of our time in a way that engages other young people and creates new space for civic engagement, so important when we’re dealing with intersectional challenges that will be with us for decades to come such as climate change, social injustice, and political polarization.

Jessica Martinez_Headshot

Jessica Martinez is proud student at the University of Texas at El Paso. She is a senior majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Law and Politics and a minor in Health Promotions. She is also serving her second term as the Student Government Association President. She is a sister of Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Inc. where she serves as the chapter President. Jessica believes that purpose in life is to be an advocate for her peers. Through this program, she hopes to increase voter turnout in college-aged young adults. She states that she is a strong believer that the policies being enacted right now affect the future of her generation.

Joshua Chaj Ulloa

Joshua Chaj Ulloae is a sophomore Chemical Engineering major at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He serves as Secretary for the UTSA Biomedical Engineering Society Chapter, and is a UTSA ESTEEMED Pre-P.h.D Scholar, and Millennium Fellow. He states that the the importance of receiving an education has been instilled in him by my mother and father, who immigrated from Central America, not having the same opportunities to succeed as he now has. Joshua plans to work to help others gain access to the STEM field especially those in southwest/downtown San Antonio.

Katey McCall

Katey McCall is a senior political science major, legal studies minor at Lamar University. She grew up on a family farm in Orangefield, a small town in Southeast Texas right on the Louisiana border. From a young age, her parents taught her the value of service; and today, she enjoys much of her free time volunteering. She is a volunteer deputy registrar in Orange and Harris Counties, a member of a registered therapy dog team, and assists in the kennels at her local Humane Society and animal services. She is an educator at the Beaumont Children’s Museum, lead a volunteer-based organization at LU, and has had the privilege of serving as Student Regent for the Texas State University System last year. Katey believes that the best way to achieve a government that is representative of what the people want is to encourage all people from all backgrounds to become involved. She is excited to join the Texas Civic Ambassadors as she believes that the program provides students the opportunity to collaborate on ideas, assist one another, and engage their communities on a larger scale.

Kennedy Huerta Quintanilla

Kennedy Huerta Quintanilla is a native Texan born and raised in Corpus Christi. She is currently a fourth year student at The University of Texas at Austin majoring in Political Communication and minoring in Philosophy of Law. Besides her studies, she is involved on campus through student organizations Senate of College Councils and Communication Council, crafting legislation that impacts the Moody College of Communication and the UT student body as a whole. She also works for Teach For America as a campus ambassador, educating UT students about the impact of educational inequity and how students can help combat it. Outside of her work on campus, she works as the Higher Education Policy Fellow for Young Invincibles, a national, nonprofit organization committed to elevating the voices of young adults in the political process, and expanding economic opportunity for 18-34 year-olds. Her passion for civic advocacy stems from her involvement in local politics in her hometown at a young age. She worked on her mother’s judicial campaign at 14 years old, getting hands-on experience on the campaign trail and seeing how local civic engagement efforts lacked. She went on to serve her hometown in the office of Chairman Todd Hunter in the Texas House of Representatives, fighting for the betterment of District 32. Kennedy is extremely excited to continue her love of civic engagement as a Texas Civic Ambassador and hopes to better her community through the program.

Gupta

Kusha Gupta is a senior currently attending Rice University in pursuit of a degree in Political Science and a Certificate in Civic Leadership. Kusha focuses on interpersonal violence prevention and support at Rice, having served as a STRIVE liaison (Students Transforming Rice into a Violence-Free Environment), the Student Association Director of Interpersonal Violence Policy, and founder of the educational initiative, the STRIVE Supper Series. During her summers, Kusha has explored Colorado politics and health policy. Kusha is especially passionate about educational and non-profit community research and support in Houston, having worked with Workshop Houston and the Urban Enrichment Institute (UEI). Her current initiative is a civics after-school class for UEI in partnership with Civic Duty Rice. Kusha is excited to learn from her fellow Texas Civic Ambassadors, especially to strengthen her class and expand her understanding of what it means to be a civic leader in Texas. While unsure about her career, Kusha wishes to continue pursuing roles in the public sector after college.

Larry Rodriguez Shea

Larry Rodriguez Shea saw firsthand the strength of diverse communities and the power they can have when they move together during tough times. He says that it left him with a sense of adventure that landed him at St. Mary’s University, where after a series of major changes, he settled on a double major in International and Global Studies and Management, as well as a minor in Psychology. During his first semester, his close friends and he founded the Hispanic Student Union on campus, with the intent to empower and educate the local community. Through working with faculty and students, he quickly put that to action organizing educational events about immigration law and developing a proposal to the administration for a Mexican American Studies program. Additionally, as sports editor of the school paper, he covered a multitude of stories committed to getting in touch with the humanity behind the story. he believes that the problems of the future will require a multifaceted approach and a strong diversity of thought and that any action will require solutions to keep that same humanity in mind. Larry spends his spare time at a basketball court, editing photos from a recent photoshoot, playing video games, or listening to one of his many Spotify playlists.

MJD

Mical Juliet is currently attending Texas State University, with a double major in Political Science and Criminal Justice. She is anAustin Community College Alumni with an Associates of Arts in Government.Where she served asVice-President for the Student Government Association, Student Life Ambassador, and a member of the Public Policy Committee, Legislative Affairs Committee, and the Scholarship Committee. Mical Juliet established GENESIS,an Austin based organization to help inner city youth through transparency and inclusion, teaching leadership skills and giving resources to assist in their education.She also has been involved with the College Commission atCity Hall, Brave Communities, Texas Youth Initiative, and the Austin Justice Coalition. I am excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador.I love to be engaged within my community on many platforms especially those pertaining to civic or political involvement, it has been a personal passion of mine since the age of 16. There is a deficiency within our government system: from lack of citizen involvement, diversity, awareness, inclusion, transparency, equality, and furthermore. And I feel, it is, the responsibility of my generation to assist in this necessary shift. And to do the work, to create the change that we so desperately need.

Neha Valmiki

Neha Valmiki is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin earning a government and marketing major with a certificate in Ethics and Leadership in Law, Politics, and Government. She currently serves as the Co-Director for the Student Government Hook the Vote Agency and as the Communications Lead for the Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab. She's grown up in Austin most of her life, she's worked with Travis County Commissioner Shea’s. Since then, she's spent time at the Texas State Capitol, for the civic engagement non-profit Turnout, and worked for Deloitte’s Policy and Government Relations team. She's passionate about the importance of civic engagement on a community level and removing all barriers to voting.

Ric Galvan

Ric Galvan is a third-year student at the University of Texas at Austin currently majoring in History with a minor in Latino Studies. Ric was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and he plans on returning to San Antonio after earning his degree to become a high school history teacher. His love for education and teaching however has not stopped his efforts in political organizing both in San Antonio and in Austin with groups like Texas Rising, local political campaigns, and on his own. Ric is incredibly excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador because there is no better way to combine his passion for teaching and politics than to be an ambassador of civic education.

Samah Rahhal

Samah Rahalr is a sophomore at the University of North Texas double majoring in Political Science and International Studies with a concentration in International Development and Humanitarian Affairs. She is also currently working on a Women and Gender Studies minor and Legal Studies certificate. As a committee head for the City and State Relations Committee and the Women’s Resources Committee, Samah worked with my Student Government Association toward voter registration and participation and advocated for necessary resources for women on campus. She is proud to be an award-winning competitor on UNT’s Moot Court Team, wherein she's won advocacy accolades and become knowledgeable about constitutional amendments. As the 2020-21 school year approaches, she's excited to serving as the Chief of Operations for the UNT branch of the Coalition for Civic Empowerment developing and executing non-partisan voter registration through campus mobilization efforts and initiatives. Her interest areas include policy, advocacy, and research about international human rights, civil rights, and civil liberties. As a Palestinian-American and first-generation college student, her upbringing has brought forth a passion for issues both domestically and abroad.

S. Mosley

Samantha Mosley is originally from Lake Charles, LA; but she’s called Houston her home for about 13 years. She is a senior at the University of Houston-Downtown, majoring in Criminal Justice, minoring in Communication Studies. Currently, at UHD, she is President for the Black Student Association as well as the Pre-Law Association, a Gator Peer Mentor, and a member of the Student Disciplinary Committee. Sam has also held a myriad of Student Government (SGA) positions and is a former Child Advocate for Harris County. Most recently, she has been accepted into the Texas Civic Ambassadors Program at the Moody College of Communication at UT Austin. After completing her undergraduate education, Sam hopes to pursue a JD degree to become an attorney. She enjoys spending time with family, learning new things, and helping others! She’s looking forward to a successful ambassadorship, as she believes civic engagement and knowledge is a paramount component to facilitating positive world change and impact.

Sarah batson

Sarah Batson is a second-year government and political communications major at The University of Texas at Austin. Growing up in Belton, Texas, she first forayed into political action through volunteering during the 2018 midterms. She is interested in sustainability, public policy, and promoting student voting. When not organizing student voting efforts through her work with TX Votes, she volunteers for campaigns or with student groups focused on the environment. She is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador this year with the support of the outstanding team at the New Politics Forum and pursue new projects to increase student turnout and engage the UT Austin community in creative forms of political discourse.

Sophia Andritsos

Sophia Andritsos is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in Economics and minoring in Legal Reasoning. On campus she works with the Patti and Paul Yetter Law School Preparation Institute. She serves as Vice President of the Regional Economic Development Association and the Omicron Delta Epsilon Economics Honor Society. She worked on the Delegate Operations Team for Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign, where she learned about the importance of civic engagement through ballot access logistics and grassroots campaigning. She currently works as a legal intern at a local employment law firm in El Paso, Texas that represents workers who are victims of various forms of civil discrimination. Her interests include public sector economics, women’s rights, and civil rights,specifically in relation to public policy and social justice. Upon graduation, her plan is to attend law school and work to become a women’s rights attorney in her community.

Tristan Pepper_Headshot.jpeg

Tristan Pepper is a thoroughly experienced undergraduate research fellow with a fierce passion for science policy. He is a rising sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Civic Engagement at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Beyond laboratory research, he is interested in various forms of STEM advocation including science outreach, political advising, and global perspectives of biomedical research. Tristan possesses a strong interest in current national and global issues and their relations to public policy. Likewise, he has a passion for service and enjoys giving back through his volunteerism with Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas and his dedication to creating a well-rounded STEM education for people of all abilities and backgrounds. This June, Tristan was named as a participant in the Fulbright United Kingdom Summer Institute in Scotland for Summer 2021. In addition, he is also a Millennium fellow, a member of the Top Scholar program at UTSA, and a STEM advocate by way of his involvement with the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. He also hopes to one day pursue his goals of a PhD, appointment as a science policy advisor, and acceptance into the NASA astronaut program. Tristan is excited to serve as a Texas Civic Ambassador in order to develop a program that provides a future in STEM education accessible for all individuals regardless of socio-economic background, limits on physical and mental ability, or any other barrier.

Jacqueline Giang Headshot

Jacqueline Giang is a senior studying Government/Political Science at The University of Texas at Austin with a minor in business administration. She's currently on the Inaugural Student Advisory Board for Kendra Scott Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute, focus on empowering women in entrepreneurship and the workplace. In the past, she has worked with Representative Hubert Vo by creating reports with bills she liked to see pass during the 86th Legislative Session at the Texas Capitol. My internship is where I gained hands-on experience and learned about the issues facing citizens of the Lone Star State. Her work experiences have led her to understand the importance of political participation and advocating for underrepresented communities. As a Texas Civic Ambassador, she's excited about the opportunity to make meaningful change within her community. She is looking forward to connecting with students across Texas and learning more civic engagement.