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Learn About the Current Interns

Ashanté Farrior, SFP Campaigns and Communications Intern, (she/her/hers)

Ashanté is an intern with the State Fiscal Project (SFP)’s Comms and Campaigns teams. Ashanté, an HBCU student majoring in Mass Media Communications with a minor in Political Science, has established a robust presence in the Piedmont Triad area and Raleigh, NC, excelling in grassroots organizing, labor advocacy, and dynamic multimedia content creation. As a program leader for civic engagement in the Students for Justice Internship program, she streamlined data management procedures and supervised pivotal canvassing initiatives, significantly bolstering community outreach strategies. Her tenure at the New North Carolina Project involved extensive collaboration with various Piedmont Triad and statewide community organizations, amplifying outreach efforts and empowering volunteer teams. Particularly noteworthy is Ashanté's expertise in multimedia content creation, honed through pivotal roles with the Carolina Federation and the NC State AFL-CIO. She excels in crafting compelling narratives, employing diverse digital tools, and leveraging her writing and editing skills to drive effective advocacy campaigns. Committed to transcending societal divisions, Ashanté actively champions structural reforms and community action in the Piedmont Triad region, notably with Guilford for All, spearheading policy changes and fostering robust community relationships aimed at effecting tangible change within the local landscape.

Daniella Campos, SFP/SPI and Development Intern, (she/her/hers)


Daniella is a returning intern with the State Fiscal Project (SFP), Strategic Projects and Initiatives (SPI), and Development teams. She recently graduated from Saint Joseph's University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Public Policy. Before joining the Center, Daniella served as the Alliance & Advocacy Coordinator for Genocide Watch. Her role involved monitoring human rights situations and genocide concerns in various Latin American countries as well as supporting advocacy projects. Daniella is passionate about reducing gender, racial, and income inequality in the United States and worldwide. She is grateful for this opportunity and eager to learn from the SFP, SPI, and Development teams.

Ella Kopelman, SFP NOE and Events Intern, (she/her/hers)

Ella is an intern with the State Fiscal Project (SFP)’s Network Organizational Effectiveness (NOE) and Events teams. As Ella finishes up her last semester as an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan, she is thrilled to be joining the SFP team this spring. Her academic work has included studying organizations with a focus on education, diversity, equity, and inclusion. This past year, Ella worked on a research project aimed at understanding how an on-campus food pantry alleviates feelings of food insecurity among members of the university community. Ella is passionate about working against educational and economic inequality as well as ensuring that organizations maintain effective, inclusive strategies to accomplish their goals with a commitment to diversity at the forefront of their mission.

Evan Dymond, Government Affairs Intern, (he/him/his)


Evan is a returning intern with the Government Affairs team. He recently graduated from Occidental College with degrees in Diplomacy & World Affairs and Economics. Previously, Evan has worked for Congressman Jamie Raskin and the Better World Campaign at the United Nations Foundation. He is passionate about inequality issues and focused on income and wealth inequality throughout his undergraduate career.

Gabriella Alphonso, Food Assistance Intern, (she/her/hers)


Gabriella is a returning intern with the Food Assistance team. She has been a registered dietician for over eight years and has research, academic, and professional experience in a wide array of areas, including food insecurity, agricultural food recovery, food safety, physical activity in the preschool environment, and nutrition assessment and counseling. Her most recent accomplishments are policy research briefs she co-authored with faculty at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs on topics related to food insecurity among military service members, older adults, and children in economically disadvantaged households. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, she has collaborated with an inter-American technical agriculture agency to develop an educational and capacity-building platform to strengthen food safety practices among micro and small enterprises in the Caribbean. Gabriella recently graduated with a master’s degree in public administration from Syracuse University. She also holds a Master of Science in Food Technology–Quality Assurance from the University of Reading and a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and dietetics from the University of the West Indies.

Jake Chang, Outreach Intern, (he/they)

Jake is an intern with the Outreach team. Currently a student at Pomona College pursuing majors in Economics and History, he is interested in economic justice and public policy. Jake has previously worked in affordable housing advocacy in California and local campaigns for AANHPI and immigrants' rights. He is excited to aid the Get It Back Campaign in accessibility for underserved communities using his passions for journalism and outreach.

Jaxson Shealy, Federal Fiscal Intern, (he/him/his)

Jaxson is an intern with the Federal Fiscal Policy team. He is a senior at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studies Government, and he currently works in Washington, D.C., as part of the Archer Fellowship program. Before joining the Center, he was a board member for the affordable housing nonprofit College Houses, Inc., and the director for one of its student housing cooperatives. Additionally, he worked as an undergraduate research assistant for the IC2 Institute, where he researched the digital literacy offerings of libraries across Texas and helped administrate government contracting seminars for Historically Underutilized Businesses.

Jessy Dickinson, Outreach Intern, (she/her/hers)


Jessy is a returning intern with the Outreach team. Jessy is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration from American University. A Philadelphia native, she attained bachelor’s degrees in Strategic Communications and Spanish from Temple University in 2021. After graduating, Jessy worked as a benefits outreach specialist at Benefits Data Trust for over two years. She focused on helping individuals obtain or maintain different public benefits such as SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, Medicare Savings Programs, housing assistance, and tax credit assistance through direct service. Jessy’s passion for contriving tangible change has driven her education and career. It will continue to do so as she pursues her master’s degree and delves into her work on the Get It Back campaign at the Center.

Kaylin Hewitt, Health Intern, (she/her/hers)

Kaylin is an intern with the Health team. She is a first-year Master of Public Policy student at American University. A Wisconsin native, Kaylin recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Global Health and certificates in Public and Health Policy. She is interested in improving equitable access to healthcare and public programs like SNAP and WIC. These interests stem from her previous work in a rural Wisconsin health department, constituent services experience in the Office of Governor Tony Evers, and health policy coursework surrounding these topics. Kaylin also has experience as a research assistant with the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative, where she worked on surveys and data visualization related to teacher and student educational outcomes. Before joining the Center, Kaylin interned with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where she contributed to an engagement focused on the processes for citizens and federal employees to change their names with various government agencies.

Loralei "Rory" Ho Jay, Housing Intern, (she/her/hers)

Rory is an intern on the Housing team. She was born and raised in New York City and moved to Washington, D.C., to complete a dual degree BA/MA program in political philosophy at George Washington University. Before joining the Center, Rory held positions at the National Women's Law Center, the ACLU, the Senate HELP Committee, and the White House, where she was primarily involved in policy research pertaining to housing, education, childcare, income security, privacy law, and reproductive justice. As the daughter of low-income immigrants, Rory is wholly committed to fostering equity in public policy and mitigating disparate outcomes for her communities. Rory is grateful to be a part of the Housing team and looks forward to learning from an organization that so staunchly believes in advocating for vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Megan Valmidiano, Equity and Inclusion Intern, (she/her/hers)


Megan is a returning intern with the Equity and Inclusion team. She is a trained dialogue facilitator and has led students through multiple dialogue sessions on topics such as gender identity, racial disparity on college campuses, and diversity in business. Currently in a dual degree program at the University of Maryland, she is working towards a Bachelor of Science in Government and Politics coupled with a Master of Science in Applied Political Analytics.

Obeid Amsa, IT Intern, (he/him/his)


Obeid is a returning intern with the Information Technology team. Obeid holds an Associate of Science in Information Technology from Northern Virginia Community College and makes significant contributions as a Lab Assistant at Critical Data Recovery. This pivotal experience equipped him to handle data recovery intricacies and excel in customer-focused roles. Obeid brings both education and experience to the table to provide fantastic service.

Sara Johanson, Human Resources Intern, (she/her/hers)

Sara is an intern with the Human Resources team. She is a recent graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in Learning and Education Studies, specializing in Workplace Training and Development. With a human resources background gained through previous work and internship experience, Sara is enthusiastic about applying her skills to make a positive impact at the Center. She has a deep passion for helping people and is particularly excited about this opportunity, where she looks forward to further contributing to the field of human resources.

Sonali Master, SFP Research Intern, (she/her/hers)


Sonali is a returning intern with the State Fiscal Policy team. Her passions include finding ways to improve the economy for women, children, and families everywhere. She recently graduated with a B.S. in Economics and International Affairs from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also spent time studying abroad at the University of Sussex. Earlier this year, she interned for the Ways & Means Committee in the Georgia House of Representatives. She has also worked on the communications team for the Democratic Party of Georgia and on the implementation of the Global Child Thrive Act at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Tomoki Otani, Communications Intern, (he/him/his)


Tomoki is a returning intern with the Communications team. Before joining the Center, he interned for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in Geneva. Some of his projects have included research on the impact of tourism on housing opportunities, presentations on the effects of global biodiversity loss, and providing support for the UNECE at COP27. Tomoki graduated with a bachelor's degree in Politics and International Relations and a master's in International Relations and Business Management from the University of Aberdeen.

Tonanziht Aguas, Income Security Intern, (she/her/hers)


Tonanziht is a returning intern with the Income Security team. She is an incoming MPP student at the Harris School of Public Policy and a Pearson Fellow. Her areas of interest include education, labor, and economic policy. Tonanziht currently serves as a Research Fellow for a guaranteed income pilot program in Newark, NJ. Before coming to the University of Chicago, Tonanziht worked at Cooperman College Scholars (CCS) in Newark. In this capacity, Tonanziht assisted CCS’ Director of College Success with outreach and support for college-bound Greater Newark youth. Previously, Tonanziht was a policy intern at the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education; a fellow at the Center for Security, Race, and Rights at Rutgers Law School; and a higher education policy intern at New America. Tonanziht earned her B.A. in economics and political science from Rutgers University–Newark. During her undergraduate years, Tonanziht was an Eagleton-Washington Award recipient, a research fellow for the Rutgers International Institute for Peace, and a scholar for the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice.