Learn About the Current Interns
SFP Research Intern
Abigail Magnus is an intern with the SFP research team. Abby (she/hers and they/them) recently completed her Master's in Social Work and Economics, focusing her thesis on the long-term social and economic costs of poverty in the United States. She has experience in public health, housing, and economic research. She most recently worked at the State Innovation Exchange and previously worked for the Colorado Senate Majority Leader during the 2018 session. Abby lives in Denver, Colorado with her three roommates and a golden retriever named Olive. She is passionate about social and economic justice and is interested in a career in state fiscal policy.
Adam Schroeder is an intern with the Communications team. Adam is a recent graduate of Kent State University, where he double majored in Political Science and Media Studies. He worked in issue advocacy as a communications intern at a local refugee resettlement nonprofit organization and interned at the U.S. Census Bureau, where he helped draft public correspondence and ensure certain regulations were met. He has also volunteered as a community organizer on numerous political campaigns at the local, state, and federal level.
Aklesia Maereg is an intern with the Housing team. Aklesia is a recent graduate from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Public Policy. While at UNC, she served as a research assistant within the Public Policy department, focusing on gender and politics as well as reproductive health. Aklesia was also an Advocate Fellow with the Community Empowerment Fund, a non-profit organization based in Chapel Hill, where she worked with people in the community who were at risk of or experiencing homelessness to help them find affordable housing, sustainable employment, and build financial independence.
Health Policy Intern
Breanna Sharer is an intern with the Health Policy team. She studied Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Columbia University. She is passionate about health policy that promotes equitable access to effective health care.
Federal Fiscal Intern
Christian Keith is an intern with the Federal Fiscal Policy team. He is a recent graduate of Howard University who was born and raised in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He has experience in conducting a multitude of research projects using a variety of databases from R, Stata, and Excel including writing an independent senior thesis. He also has a passion for working in struggling communities. He has worked as a case manager with First African Community Development Corporation helping to provide rental and utility assistance to families struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, he regularly volunteers at a food pantry helping to reduce food insecurity in the Atlanta area. He is excited to bring his prior experience in research and nonprofit work to the Center.
Christine is an intern with the Outreach team. She is a recent UCLA graduate with a B.A. in International Development Studies and Asian American Studies and a Minor in Public Affairs. She has a strong interest in public policy, with an emphasis on creating and supporting policies that work to uplift marginalized communities. Christine is a former fellow of Los Angeles Councilwoman Nury Martinez's Ready for Women Fellowship, the youngest fellow the program has hired. She is also an alumna of the Center for Asian Americans United in Self Empowerment’s (CAUSE) Leadership Academy; during her internship at CAUSE, she worked as a campaign director for the Vote at 16-SGV Campaign, which seeks to lower the voting age for local school board elections to 16 years old. She is a Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) alumna, where she spent the summer at the Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy strengthening her public policy skills. Additionally, Christine has interned with Planned Parenthood and with Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Christine is a current Fulbright Scholar to Vietnam. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing and hiking, or spending time with her dog Benny.
Family Income Support Intern
Cristina Toppin is an intern with the Family Income Support team. She is a senior at Rollins College studying Political Science with a minor in Religion. As a sexual assault survivor, she is deeply passionate about advancing racial and gender equity to prevent violence against womxn of color and empower survivors. She is pursuing a career in policy analysis to highlight the social policy gaps that exacerbate factors of violence, most notably poverty. As an exchange student at Sydney University, she studied the relationship between violence against Indigenous women and Australian welfare policy. Her findings motivated her to examine U.S. welfare policy through a domestic violence lens for her senior thesis on violence against Black women from lower-income backgrounds. Cristina strengthened her analysis and advocacy skills as a 2020 Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is excited to contribute the insights that she learned through these experiences as a Family Income Support intern and member of the CBPP family at large. In her free time, she enjoys refining her at-home barista skills, banana bread recipe, and weightlifting form.
SFP Development Intern
Emma Carmody is a Development intern for the State Fiscal Policy team. She is from St. Paul, Minnesota and recently graduated from Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and International Business with a minor in Spanish. In her time at SLU, she served as Editor-in-Chief for the student newspaper. She was also president of “She’s the First” while serving as a Bilingual Outreach Intern at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She wants to apply the skills she developed through these experiences to a career that generates real and lasting progress by promoting policies that will create change for the people who need it most.
Grace Farley is an intern with the Development team. She is a third-year student at the University of Texas studying Social Work and Plan II Honors. As a first-generation college student, she is passionate about poverty reduction programs to increase social mobility and college access. She has interned at the University of Texas System Center for Enhancing Philanthropy, fundraising for student scholarships. She also serves as the Director of Fundraising for Socks for the Sole, a student run non-profit that assists those experiencing homelessness in Austin, Texas. She has most recently interned at Uplift Education, a charter school network where 80 percent of graduates go on to be first-generation college students, in its Road to College and Career Team.
SFP Outreach Intern
Hailey Joyce Padua is an intern with the State Fiscal Project campaigns team. She recently graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, earning her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Economic Policy in three years. She has conducted research projects in topics such as environmental degradation, which disproportionately affects low-income and racial minority communities.
SFP Outreach Intern
Heather Weigel is a campaigns outreach intern on the State Fiscal Policy team. Prior to CBPP, she worked as an intern for Michigan State Senator Jeff Irwin and as the opinions editor for Eastern Michigan University's student newspaper, The Eastern Echo. She recently graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in Political Science.
SFP Communications Intern
Isaac Hernández is an intern with the SFP communications team. He is a recent graduate of the University of Buffalo with a degree in Political Science. He is interested in becoming a U.S. diplomat. He enjoys studying issues on economic development, transparency, and diversity in U.S. leadership and policy. In this position, he is excited to build his skills in communication and community outreach, a building block he feels is essential to his success in politics and in any field.
Government Affairs Intern
Jessica Trowell is an intern with the Government Affairs team. She is a recent honors graduate of Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with a minor in Journalism. Her interests are in immigration policy, human rights, racial equity, as well as poverty and economic inequality. Previously, she has completed legislative internships at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. As a former research intern at Voice for Refuge Action Fund, she has helped advance pro-refugee policies at the national, state, and local level and support the election of immigrants and refugees to political offices. Most recently, Jessica served as a Walmart Congressional Fellow with Running Start where she interned for Ohio State Rep. Stephanie Howse, deepening her passion for political leadership and community development. At the Center, she is looking forward to applying her legislative skills to advocate for marginalized communities.
SFP Research Intern
Michael Johnson is an intern with the SFP research team. He is a 2nd Year Master of Public Policy Candidate at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Originally from Ashland, Virginia, Michael has served as a civic fellow in the Office of the Virginia Governor, a policy researcher at the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, and most recently as a policy and evaluation intern at Bellwether Education Partners. He hopes to use his policy background to advocate for marginalized groups and address inequities, particularly in education and labor.
Data Analysis Intern
Polina Polskaia is an intern with the Data Analysis team. She is a recent graduate with a Master's degree in Public Administration from Pace University. She enjoys learning programming and statistics and is passionate about the ways we apply data science to solve public policy and social challenges. Polina worked as a Data Analyst Intern at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Pure Earth, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, where she analyzed global pollution and economic trends. While there she learned how data-driven stories could effectively motivate policy change, and is looking forward to applying her research skills to CBPP projects.
Raquel de la Huerga
Health and Housing Integration Intern
Raquel de la Huerga is an intern with the Health and Housing Integration team. She is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a senior at American University, where she is majoring in Public Health and minoring in Education. This past spring she studied abroad in Nairobi, Kenya, where she studied infectious disease epidemiology and community health. During her undergraduate career she has worked with a variety of non-profits that focused in disability and housing services.
Rawan Abbasi is an intern with the Communications team. She is a senior majoring in Public Policy and minoring in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is producing a case study for the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association that connects local government entities to North Carolina farm councils. As a Communications Intern at UNC Global, Rawan was Managing Editor and Writer for the 2020 edition of Carolina Passport Magazine, a student-led publication. She has also served as Publicity Chair for UNC-Chapel Hill’s Muslim Student Association. Rawan is joining the Center virtually from Charlotte, NC.
Human Resources Intern
Saron is an intern with the Human Resources team. She is currently a student at Towson University studying Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources and a minor in Information Technology. She is also currently the president of her business organization, Alpha Kappa Psi.
Food Assistance Intern
Tessa Coughtrey is an intern with the Food Assistance team. She is a recent graduate from the George Washington University with a Master of Public Health in Nutrition. For her thesis, she conducted a secondary data analysis on the Farm to School Census, identifying socioeconomic, school administration, and agricultural characteristics that predict participation in the Farm to School Program to better understand school nutrition disparities. In the School of Public Health, she served as a Teaching Assistant for the Introduction to Biostatistics course. She has also volunteered with DC Greens’ Produce Plus and the FRESHFARM FoodPrints programs during her time in Washington, D.C. Originally from a rural community in northeastern North Carolina, she is passionate about strengthening food assistance programs, and looks forward to joining the Center in this work.
Government Affairs Intern
Timothy Shyu is an intern with the Government Affairs team. He is a senior at the University of Texas at Dallas, studying health care management with a minor in political science. During the spring semester, he is studying in Washington as part of the Archer Fellowship Program in Public Policy. He first learned about CBPP when writing a paper on economic factors that impact health, and he is passionate about improving health through well-researched, pragmatic policies. On campus, Timothy competed with moot court and did research in organic chemistry. He plans to attend law school after graduation. In his free time, Timothy reads, writes haikus, and pretends he can cook.
SFP Network and Organizational Effectiveness Intern
Vaish Menon is an intern with the SFP Network and Organizational Effectiveness team. She is a second-year International Studies student with a minor in Computer Science at American University. She is pursuing an accelerated three-year B.A. degree and is a Presidential Scholar at the university. When not in class, Vaish does socioeconomic inequality research, conducts event planning for the Kennedy Political Union and her local congressional office, and builds partnerships on behalf of the university. She loves hands-on experiences, learning new things, and connecting with communities to reach a common goal. Vaish is dedicated to the CBPP's mission and is eager to help underprivileged communities around our nation.