María Morales si UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Initiative’s Policy Manager and a previous 2020 Policy Fellow who studied Public Policy at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. As a Latina immigrant and first-generation student, María is interested in Latino politics and Mexico-U.S. migration, as well as the intersection of youth leadership development and civic engagement in communities of color. She believes being a catalyst of change means taking up space in spaces not designed for folks like her, thus opening the door for the up and coming leaders.
Since Spring 2019, María has been with LPPI and worked on various projects including the Juvenile Justice report, the health portfolio, and engaged with our partner, NALEO Education Foundation, in providing technical guidance to elected officials. María engaged in several one-on-one conversations with State Representatives from California, Arizona, and Texas about the importance of evidence-based policies and equitable representation. She has also partaken in dialogue and community building organizations advocating for a sound and just criminal and juvenile justice system. She has learned several new skills including project management and triaging both information and responsibilities. Upon graduation, María will return to Texas, where she will continue to work with young catalysts of change and advocate for her community.