Learn About the Current Interns

Ainsley Dorsey – SFP Strategic Projects and Initiatives Intern (she/her/hers)

Ainsley Dorsey is an intern with the SFP Strategic Projects and Initiatives team. She is a third-year student at the University of Texas at Austin studying government, economics, and business Spanish. 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. In the fall of 2021, she was an Archer Fellow, a University of Texas System program to connect Texans to Washington, D.C. After graduation, she plans to earn a master’s degree in Public Policy and a law degree.​ Her policy interests are in reproductive justice, survivor advocacy, civic engagement, and proactive, antiracist tax and budget policies.

Andres De La Torre – Health Policy Intern (he/him/his)

Andres De La Torre is an intern with the Health Policy Team. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Policy at George Washington University, with a specialization in health care policy. He received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Florida International University. Andres has been primarily studying state and federal health programs as well as policies to expand health insurance coverage across the U.S. and assist the country’s most vulnerable populations.

Previously, Andres was an intern for the City of Hollywood pension office in Florida, a South Florida congressional representative, a Democratic texting campaign, and a progressive media organization. Andres is excited to bring his passion for advocacy and health care policy to the team to ensure that all people have adequate access to health care services.

Ayisat Odeyale – Communications Intern (she/her/hers)

Ayisat Odeyale is an intern with the Communications team. She is a current student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Psychology. At the Center, she will be applying her research skills, effective communication, and the ability to work independently or in teams, to aid the team with projects and tasks.

Ayisat received her associate degree at Prince George's Community College (PGCC) through a Middle College program as part of the Academy of Health Sciences at PGCC. Ayisat is a first-generation Nigerian American. Her interests are reading books on race and gender and watching cooking videos on recipes that have the tendency to not get recreated.

Cindy Reyes – Family Income Support Intern (she/her)

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 Washington, 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.

Coty Novak – SFP Research Intern (he/him/his)

Nicholas "Coty" Novak is an intern with the State Fiscal Policy Research team. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from New York University and is currently finishing a master's degree in Democracy and Governance at Georgetown University. Before joining CBPP, he interned for the World Movement for Democracy, as well as the business development team at Democracy International. From 2018 to 2020, Coty was the Development & Events Coordinator at PEN America. Coty has also interned for Democracy Fund, the Prospect Hill Foundation, the Human Rights Foundation, and for the U.S. House of Representatives. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 2018. When not working or studying, Coty enjoys creative writing and hiking with his partner.

Ekta Suri – Health and Housing Integration Intern (she/her)

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

Jack Nicholson – SFP Communications Intern (he/him)

Jack Nicholson is an intern with the State Fiscal Policy 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 of Education from Lipscomb University and interned for the Nashville Mayor’s Office.

Janelle Ariota – Communications Intern (she/her/hers)

Janelle Ariota is an intern with the Communications team. She is a recent graduate of the University of Puget Sound with a B.A. in English and a minor in Economics; in 2022, she will pursue a J.D. She previously worked as a supervisor in the peer writing and tutoring center at her alma mater, which involved coordinating programs that supported BIPOC students, neurodiverse students, and multilingual students. She is deeply interested in the role that communication plays in shaping public policy. In her future legal career, she hopes to serve underrepresented communities by advocating for legislation reform that mitigates the cycle of poverty and combats inequality.

Jessica Hilton – Human Resources Intern (she/her/hers)

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. She 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, where her research focuses 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!

Katya Juarez – SFP Campaigns Intern (she/her/hers)

Katya Dyanna Juarez is an intern with the State Fiscal Policy Campaigns team. She was born in Guatemala and immigrated to the U.S. when she was 4 years old. She is from Bedford, New York. She is a current sophomore at Middlebury College majoring in International Politics and Economics with a minor in Arabic.

Lauren Nip – Family Income Support Intern (she/her/hers)

Lauren Nip is an intern with the Family Income Support team. She is a fourth-year student at UCLA majoring in Global Studies and minoring in Music Industry. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and likes to travel often to visit her family in Hong Kong. She is interested in policy research and legislation advocating for affordable housing, environmental justice, and socioeconomic equity. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, producing music, and practicing tai chi. Lauren is excited and grateful to join the Center as a part of the Family Income Support team!

Leonard Ayala – Housing Intern (he/him/his)

Leonard Ayala is an intern with the Housing team. He is currently a graduate student pursuing a M.S. in Economics at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he also obtained a B.S. in Economics. He hopes to one day obtain a career that champions inclusive and fair housing policy.

Luis Nuñez – Data Intern (he/him/his)

Luis Nuñez is an intern with the Data team. He is a public policy graduate student at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His personal experiences using the social safety net drives his passion for data-driven policy solutions for an inclusive economy. His master's thesis reflects this passion – a state-level quantitative analysis of unionization rates and social safety net program usage. He spends much of his free time learning about and tasting different types of coffee. He looks forward to working and growing with CBPP's Data team.

Maha Butt – SFP Development Intern

Maha Butt is an intern with the SFP Development team. She is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill majoring in Political Science with minors in Statistics, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. She has previously interned at the United Nations, EducationUSA, U.S Department of Commerce, and Attorney General Josh Stein's office. On campus, Maha is involved with Student Government, Institute of Politics, and the Daily Tar Heel. Maha hopes to use the platform CBPP provides to work on projects that contribute to the wellness of marginalized and underrepresented communities. She is excited for this opportunity and looks forward to working with the CBPP community.

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 and Business Administration with an emphasis in Health Care 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.

Mariana Beltran Hernandez – SFP Campaigns Intern (she/her/hers)

Mariana Beltran Hernandez is an intern with the State Fiscal Policy Campaigns team. She is a current senior at Fordham University pursuing her bachelor's in International Political Economy and Humanitarian Studies with a minor in French. Her experience as a Mexican immigrant has driven her interest in working with underserved communities, particularly with immigrants and BIPOC women. Previously, she interned with the Center for Reproductive Rights, the International Rescue Committee, the Office of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Let's Get Ready. She's excited to learn more about fiscal policy and campaign advocacy during her time as a SFP Campaigns Intern, and upon graduation in May, hopes to continue working in progressive policy advocacy.

Maya El Jawhari – SFP Research Intern (she/her)

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, child care, and health care expansion. Through her community work with organizations such as 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 program where she spent eight weeks taking graduate-level classes on poverty and social policy at Carnegie Mellon University, researching anti-poverty measures including 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 health care laws and resources. She is extremely excited to work for CBPP on the State Fiscal Policy Research team because of its focus on expanding low-income programs at a statewide level through research and data work and can’t wait to learn more about state tax programs.

Nicholas Chin – Government Affairs (he/him/his)

Nicholas Chin is as an intern with the Government Affairs team. He is a senior at the University at Albany, SUNY majoring in Political Science with a minor in History. He is currently in the BA/MA program on track to obtain his master’s degree in May 2023. He is originally from Staten Island, New York, but his family comes from the twin isle republic of Trinidad and Tobago. At SUNY Albany, he is currently serving in his second term as the Chairman of the Student Association Senate, where he leads the legislative branch of the student government. Nicholas also previously served as a legislative aide to New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney, where he worked on issues related to child poverty and marijuana legalization. Previously, Nick worked for the Staten Island Youth Justice Center, where he collaborated on shared initiatives for restorative justice measures to help at-risk youth. He is looking forward to joining CBPP.

Sarah Tolchin – Government Affairs Intern (she/her/hers)

Sarah Tolchin is an intern with the Government Affairs team. She is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently a senior at the University of Michigan with a double major in Political Science and History and a minor in Law, Justice, and Social Change. On campus, she volunteers at the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center and is a copy editor for the university’s Undergraduate Research Journal. Off campus, she has been a Policy and Research Intern for Georgia State Representative Shea Roberts, as well as a Research Intern at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. She is so grateful for the opportunity to work with the Government Affairs team.

Simran Kalkat – Federal Fiscal Intern (she/her)

Simran Kaur Kalkat is an intern with the Federal Fiscal team. She is a fourth-year student at the University of California, Davis majoring in Economics with a minor in History. Previously, she interned at the Center for Economic and Policy Research as the Domestic Program Intern and at the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience as a Solutions Writing Intern. She is also a staff writer at The California Aggie, the UC Davis campus newspaper, covering campus activities, organizations, and research.

Through her past academic, research, and internship experiences, she has developed an interest in topics related to public economics and policy, particularly the role of public spending and public assistance programs in supporting and fostering an inclusive economy.

Tatiana Johnson – SFP Network and Organizational Effectiveness Intern

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

Tim Solanki – Outreach Intern (he/him/his)

Tim Solanki is an intern with the Outreach team. He is currently a senior at Emory University majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Korean.

In the summer of 2019, he interned at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the Outreach and Training Division. This past summer, he worked as an intern at Centre O Hong Kong Resource Centre in the compliance division. He developed a passion for public policy and international affairs while he was a fellow at Emory University’s Center for Law and Social Sciences. As fellow, he was French Team Leader for a political science research project titled “America’s Image: Trump’s First Two Years.”