Learn About the Current Interns

Alison Trahan
SFP Network and Organizational Effectiveness Intern

Alison Trahan is an intern with the SFP Network and Organizational Effectiveness team. She is a rising sophomore at William & Mary double majoring in Government and Public Policy. On campus Alison holds the elected position of Secretary in her school’s Outer Limits Community Council, where she helps plan weekly community meetings and community outreach events. Outside of school, she volunteers with a variety of community organizations like Green Aquia and Aquia Harbour Events Committee. This summer, she is participating in William & Mary’s DC Summer Institute program on American politics.

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.

Arif Bokhari
Health Policy Intern

Arif Bokhari is an intern with the Health Policy team. He is a rising senior at Rutgers University-New Brunswick majoring in Political Science and double minoring in Public Policy and Health Administration with a concentration in Health Policy. His interest in health policy began during the spring of his freshman year of college when he enrolled in a course called U.S. Health and Social Policy. In the course, he learned about disparities and other problems that occur in U.S. health care. Since then, Arif has served as a Project Assistant at the New Jersey Innovation Institute’s health care division and as a Policy Advocate with the Rutgers University Office of Federal Relations. Arif hopes to pursue a career in health policy and develop effective policy solutions that improve the lives of patients, providers, and generations of future Americans.

Ben Leikind
Fundraising and Development Intern

Ben Leikind is an intern with the Fundraising and Development Team. He is a rising junior at Tufts University studying Philosophy. Last summer, he worked as an intern on the campaign of Congressman Jake Auchincloss where he supported "get out the vote" initiatives, political outreach, fundraising, and much more. He is thrilled to be joining the Center because he admires and wants to contribute to its mission of pursuing policies that will reduce poverty. He is looking to begin a career in nonprofit fundraising and development and is excited to learn from the fundraising team at the Center.

Brianna Guerrero
Housing Policy Intern

Brianna Guerrero is an intern with the Housing Policy team. She received her B.S. in Economics from Cal Poly Pomona. The Southern California native most recently completed a Housing Policy Fellowship with the Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley where she worked with Richard Rothstein, author of The Color of Law, on remedies to housing segregation. She has also worked as a Legislative Fellow for Congresswoman Norma J. Torres and as an Assistant Paralegal for an international business immigration law firm in Washington, D.C. Brianna’s previous experience as a JusticeCorps Member, Volunteer Instructor with the Prison Education Project, and Economic Analyst for her university’s Student Managed Investment Fund, fueled her interest in addressing the various economic barriers marginalized communities face in our society.

Christian Keith
Federal Fiscal Intern

Christian Keith is an intern with the Federal Fiscal Policy team. He is an incoming Master of Public Affairs student at Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs. He completed his undergraduate studies at Howard University and was born and raised in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He has conducted a multitude of research projects using databases from R, Stata, and Excel, including writing an independent senior thesis. He is also passionate about working in underserved communities. He has worked as a case manager with First African Community Development Corporation to provide rental and utility assistance to families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, he regularly volunteers at a food pantry to help reduce food insecurity in the Atlanta area. He is excited to bring his prior experience in research and nonprofit work to the Center.

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.

Cristina Toppin
Family Income Support Intern

Cristina Toppin is an intern with the Family Income Support team. She is a recent graduate of Rollins College and an incoming Master of Public Policy student at Rutgers University. As a sexual assault survivor, Cristina is deeply passionate about advancing racial and gender equity to prevent violence against women of color and to empower survivors. She is pursuing a career in research to examine social policy through an intersectional, anti-violence lens. Prior to joining the Center, Cristina strengthened her analysis and advocacy skills as a 2020 Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In her master's program and beyond, Cristina looks forward to building on her senior thesis, "IPV at the Margins: Conceptualizing Gaps in the Survivor Safety Net for Lower-Income Black Women" (now available online).

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.

Emma Carmody
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.

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.

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.

Jessica Trowell
Government Affairs Intern

Jessica Trowell is an intern with the Government Affairs team. She is an honors graduate of Bethel University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she received a B..A in International Relations with a minor in Journalism. Her interest areas are immigration policy, human rights, racial equity, as well as poverty and economic inequality. Previously, she 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 helped advance pro-refugee policies at the national, state, and local level and supported 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.

Katie Schroeder
Food Assistance Intern

Katie Schroeder is an intern with the Food Assistance team. Katie is pursuing a master’s degree in Food and Nutrition Policy at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and she received her bachelor’s degree in Public Health from the University of Washington. Katie’s studies broadly cover federal nutrition policy, but she is also involved in research concerning farmworker justice and ethical labor standards for food system workers. Previously, Katie was an AmeriCorps service member with a farmer education nonprofit in western North Carolina, and she later worked with the region’s YMCA Community Nutrition team operating federal child nutrition programs. At the Center, Katie is excited to combine her passion for advocacy, research, and programs supporting essential workers in the food system.

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 Perez
SFP Research Intern

Maria Cecilia Perez is an intern with the State Fiscal Policy Research team. Most recently, Maria interned at the Berkeley Opportunity Lab where she worked with faculty and Ph.D. students who conduct research on economic and racial inequality. Maria helped translate academic research into accessible language and communicated the policy implications of their research. She is passionate about using tax policy to mitigate racial inequities and to invest in underserved communities. Maria has a B.S. in Business Administration and will be receiving her M.S. in Public Policy from UC Berkeley in 2022.

Max Pool
SFP Development Intern

Max Pool is an intern with the SFP Development team. He is a rising senior at the University of Georgia studying Economics and Romance Languages with a minor in International Affairs. Max spent his past school year as an intern for the Southern Economic Advancement Project researching Southern states’ progress toward decarbonization. He hopes to contribute to the development team to promote state policies that reduce poverty and serve communities most in need of support.

Miriam Pearsall
Health and Housing Integration Intern

Miriam Pearsall is an intern with the Health and Housing Integration team. She is a 2021 graduate of the Master of Public Health program at Emory University where she concentrated in Health Policy and completed a certificate in mental health. Before her time at Emory, Miriam graduated from Princeton University and worked for four years in her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. Her professional experience includes roles at the Arkansas Governor’s Office, Public Consulting Group, Inc., and AmeriCorps VISTA.

Sophie Shao
SFP Communications Intern

Sophie Shao is an intern with the SFP Communications team. She is a rising junior at the University of Michigan studying Economics and Applied Statistics and hopes to use her education to rethink conventional economic paradigms and advocate for racial and economic justice. At the University of Michigan, Sophie is involved in her research lab, Spatial Stereotypes and Racial Inequalities, where she works with her mentor to test the associations between race and space. She also works for the University of Michigan Library, where she is currently curating an online exhibit that highlights the history of discrimination in the private sector that has led to the urban crisis in Detroit.

Timothy Shyu
Government Affairs Intern

Timothy Shyu is an intern with the Government Affairs team. He first learned about the Center when writing a paper on economic factors that impact health, and he is passionate about improving the lives of local communities through well-researched, pragmatic policies. Timothy graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas in May and will attend the University of Texas School of Law this fall.

Veronica Carbonell
Communications Intern

Veronica Carbonell is an intern with the Communications team. She is a senior at Florida International University in Miami double majoring in International Relations and Political Science with a minor in International Communications. She spent the spring 2021 semester as an exchange student in Lyon, France, and despite COVID-19 restrictions she had a truly incredible experience. While in France, Veronica pursued a diploma of French and European Studies and tremendously improved her French language skills. She was born to Venezuelan parents and is a Jersey girl at heart as she was raised there until age15 but for the past five years has called South Florida home. She is incredibly excited about the opportunity to intern for the Center and cannot express her gratitude enough.