Learn About the Current Interns

Ainsley Dorsey
SFP Strategic Projects and Initiatives Intern

Ainsley Dorsey is an intern with the SFP Strategic Projects and Initiatives team. She is a third-year studying government and business Spanish at The University of Texas at Austin. On campus, she was Student Government Hook the Vote Co-Director, Vice President of External Communication for Not on My Campus, and a Texas Civic Ambassador.

Off campus, Ainsley has interned for a law firm in Dallas, Texas. Now, she is a Fall 2021 Archer Fellow, a University of Texas System program to connect Texans to D.C. After graduation, she plans to earn a Master’s in Public Policy and a Law degree.​

Amira Chowdhury
SFP Campaigns Intern

Amira Chowdhury is an intern with the SFP Campaigns team. Amira is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Urban Studies and Political Science and pursuing her Master’s in Social Policy from the School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a Bangladeshi immigrant and deeply passionate about grassroots political activism and electoral organizing. A fierce advocate for holistic and universal social policies, Amira looks forward to a career in public service advancing social policy reforms through the legal field.

Andres De La Torre
Health Policy Intern

Andres De La Torre is an intern with the Health Policy Team. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy at the George Washington University, with a specialization in health care policy. He had previously received his Bachelor’s degree in psychology at Florida International University. Andres has been studying primarily state and federal health programs as well as policies that serve to expand health insurance coverage across the United States and assist our country’s most vulnerable populations.

Previously, Andres was an intern for the City of Hollywood, FL in their Pension office, a South Florida Congressional Representative, a Democratic texting campaign, and a progressive-based media organization. Andres is excited to bring a passion for advocacy and health care policy to the team to ensure that all people have adequate access to healthcare services.

Anu Thomas
Federal Fiscal Intern

Anu Thomas is an intern with the Federal Fiscal team. She is recent graduate of the University of Houston where she obtained a B.S. in Economics and a B.S. in Political Science with a minor in Law, Value, and Policy.

Her previous internships include the Mayor's Office of Economic Development in Houston, Neighborhood Rescue of America—a non-profit dedicated to revitalizing low-income, high-crime neighborhoods, and Project Protect Our Children—a non-profit with the mission of reducing the onslaught of human trafficking in Texas.

Through her studies and internships, she's cultivated a deep interest in the intersection between economic policy and its effects on vulnerable communities. She is excited to work with the Federal Fiscal Policy team and the Center at large to advance policies that promote racial equity and the success of underserved communities.

Blaise Knueppel
Government Affairs Intern

Blaise Knueppel is an intern with the Government Affairs team. He will be going into his senior year studying Economics and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previously, he worked at Schreiber GR Group advocating for the Potawatomi Tribe in the Wisconsin legislature. His time in state politics has been invaluable, but he is ecstatic to contribute to a team working to pass policy that will affect the whole union.

Blaise is fascinated by the ways wealth inequality inhibits economic mobility. Economic models are beneficial tools, but he finds that the word exploitation is often missing in standard economic textbooks. He believes in a market economy that rewards innovation and not deception, one that provides opportunities to all its children. He has followed the Center’s thorough research on policies for a couple of years now and could not be more excited to get to work.

Christine Tran
Outreach Intern

Christine is an intern with the Outreach team. She is a UCLA graduate with a B.A. in International Development Studies and Asian American Studies and a minor in Public Affairs. Christine is a current Fulbright Scholar to Vietnam. She hopes to receive a master’s degree in Public Policy in the future.

Cindy Reyes
Family Income Support Intern

Cindy Reyes is an intern with the Family Income Support team. She is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice where she is pursuing a Master of Science in Social Policy. Previously, she dedicated her research and policy skills to the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights in D.C., where she cultivated a passion for social policy at the intersection of racial and economic justice. As an undergraduate, she studied Political Science and Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Eileen Pomeroy
Communications Intern

Eileen Pomeroy is an intern with the Communications team. She is a sophomore at the University of Richmond majoring in Journalism and Leadership with a minor in Health Care. Her studies have focused on issues of inequality and poverty, and she is excited to combine this interest with the communications skills she will learn this summer at the Center. On campus, she is an editor, writer, and member of the podcast team for her school newspaper.

Ekta Suri
Health and Housing Integration Intern

Ekta Suri is an intern with the Health and Housing Integration team. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in History & Philosophy of Medicine through the Humanities Honors program. She looks forward to pursuing a career in medicine and using her position as a patient advocate to inform social policies that improve health outcomes for underserved communities.

Iris Hinh
SFP Research Intern

Iris Hinh is an intern with the SFP Research team. She is a graduate student in the M.A. Politics and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She completed her B.A. in Political Science with minors in Education Studies and Asian American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2020. She has actively worked with pre-K to postsecondary students, specifically with low-income, first-generation college students. She also enjoys making connections with community members outside of her academic studies and exploring housing rights and opportunities to foster civic engagement. Most recently, Iris interned with the Learning Policy Institute (LPI). Her projects at LPI focused on early education, child care, and holistic models of support for students and families.

Jack Nicholson
SFP Communications Intern

Jack Nicholson is an intern with the SFP Communications team. He is a Master of Public Policy candidate at George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School. In addition to his coursework, Jack serves as editor-in-chief of Policy Perspectives, the Trachtenberg School’s student policy journal. He earned his undergraduate degree from University of Richmond with degrees in Leadership Studies and Journalism.

After graduating from Richmond, Jack joined Teach for America’s Nashville corps, where he taught middle school literacy and composition for four years. While living in Nashville, he also earned a Master’s of Education from Lipscomb University and interned for the Nashville Mayors Office.

Jaylen Darling
SFP Development Intern

Jaylen Darling is an intern with the SFP Development team. He is an undergraduate senior studying Public Policy and Social Entrepreneurship at Florida State University. He advocates for local and statewide reforms on higher education and criminal justice issues. Previously, he worked at the Florida Policy Institute as a criminal justice policy intern and completed a PPIA fellowship at the University of Michigan’s Ford School.

After leading the strategic development of a student-led policy think tank at his university, Jaylen is interested in gaining more experience in development and fundraising for nonprofit organizations. In addition to his internship with the Center this Fall, Jaylen helps social impact organizations expand their capabilities and advocates for policies and initiatives that increase access to higher education and post-graduation employment.

Jessica Hilton
Human Resources Intern

Jessica Hilton is an intern with the Human Resources team. She is a recent graduate of Indiana University Bloomington’s O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs with a B.S. in Public Affairs in HR Management and is currently pursuing her Master of Public Affairs with a concentration in Nonprofit Management. Jessica works as a graduate research assistant during the school year for the Indiana Nonprofit Project focusing her research on employment data for the state. After completing her master’s program, she hopes to work at a nonprofit that shares her passion for creating lasting impact on the lives of diverse communities in the U.S.

Kate Karustis
Fundraising and Development Intern

Kate Karustis is an intern with the Development and Fundraising team. She is a senior at Fordham University majoring in Political Science and Philosophy. She is also on the Varsity Women's Rowing Team and competes during the fall and spring seasons. She is looking forward to learning from the Development and Fundraising Team and contributing to the Center's mission!

Lori Zakalik
Data Analysis Intern

Lori Zakalik is an intern with the Data Analysis team. She has a decade of experience developing data-driven marketing and communications strategies for nonprofit organizations, with a focus on serving underrepresented communities and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. Lori is pursuing a master's degree in Public Policy and Management-Data Analytics from Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, and she received her bachelor's degree in Psychology and Spanish from Boston University.

Maria Garcia
Food Assistance Intern

Maria Garcia is an intern with the Food Assistance team. She is from Sylmar, California and is a recent graduate of The University of California, Irvine. She graduated with a B.A. in Public Health Policy as well as Business Administration with emphasis' in Healthcare Management and Marketing. She also earned a certificate in Medical Anthropology with UCI's School of Social Sciences.

Prior to graduating, Maria worked as a Lead Administrative Assistant with the UCI School of Social Ecology Undergraduate Advising Department, Research Assistant under the Rendon Urban Research Lab, and as an intern with the Center for Student Wellness and the Sustainability Resource Center. She also participated in other activities, such as mentoring, learning assistance, and leading discussions for underclassmen at UCI.

Maria enjoys educating about healthy practices that promote wellness, brainstorming and leading strategies to improve the lives of individuals and communities alike, working in a collaborative team setting, developing meaningful relationships, and supporting the promotion of equity and justice to the public. She desires to continue learning from others and to utilize her skills in helping educate, empower, and facilitate attainment of resources for low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Maya El Jawhari
SFP Research Intern

Maya El Jawhari is an intern with the SFP Research team. She is a first-generation college graduate from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Public Affairs. She is passionate about fiscal policy research surrounding education, childcare, and healthcare expansion. Through her community work with organizations like the NALEO Educational Fund, where she helped to increase Latino participation in the 2020 Census, Maya worked alongside community leaders and members to help make every voice count. Last summer, Maya became a Junior Summer Institute Fellow through the Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) program where she spent 8 weeks taking graduate-level classes on poverty and social policy at Carnegie Mellon University, researching anti-poverty measures like block grants and cash assistance policies. In the Spring of 2021, Maya worked with the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project in Los Angeles County as a Public Affairs Intern to support sexual and reproductive healthcare laws and resources. She is extremely excited to work for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on the State Fiscal Policy’s Research Team because of its focus on expanding low-income programs on a statewide level through research and data work and can’t wait to learn more about state tax programs.

Naomi Freel
Government Affairs Intern

Naomi Freel is an intern with the Government Affairs team. She is a senior at Indiana University where she is majoring in Law and Public Policy and minoring in Spanish. Her interest in fiscal policy began while studying welfare programs through a qualitative research lens at IU.

Inspired by her studies, she began working as a research assistant during the Spring 2021 semester, conducting literature reviews and qualitative data analyses for studies involving workforce development and healthcare for women in rural America. She also has experience volunteering as a legal advocate intern for a domestic violence shelter in Bloomington, IN.

Salsa Mazlan
Communications Intern

Salsa Mazlan is an intern with the Communications team. She is a recent UCLA graduate with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Global Studies. Her interest areas are in immigration policy, gender equality, and infrastructure policy.

She is from Brunei Darussalam, where she co-founded the Brunei chapter of ASEAN Youth Advocates Network, an organization established to pave the way for ASEAN youth to become more involved in their localities through a series of advocacy-based initiatives. She is excited to be interning at the Center and hopes to contribute to the Communications team by spotlighting key policies and debates that assist those most in need.

Tatiana Johnson
SFP Network and Organizational Effectiveness Intern

Tatiana is an intern with the SFP Network and Organizational Effectiveness team. She is a senior at the University of Maryland studying Public Policy, with a focus area in Social Policy and Non-Profit Management. Hailing from Washington, D.C., Tatiana has a passion for giving back to her local community through the non-profit sector. She looks forward to supporting the efforts of SPP staff.

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