We would like to announce the 64th class of Coro Fellows in Public Affairs, one of the longest-running leadership development programs in the nation.
C. Rhys Chambers
University of California, Riverside
B.A. Political Science/International Affairs
C. Rhys Chambers graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. While in school they worked full time as a hiring and administrative manager where they developed and maintained two departments and worked to create a diverse and inclusive environment for their employees. They have interned with Representative Pete Aguilar at his DC office for UCDC where they attended meetings, created briefs, interacted directly with constituents, and helped maintain multiple databases. They have volunteered as a research assistant, collecting and synthesizing qualitative research regarding international labor movements. C. Rhys has also worked in multiple election campaigns at the state and national levels, assisting with both outreach and finance. They hope to use their experience at Coro to build a career in public service.
Tierra A. Christian
University of Michigan
B.A. Public Policy, Minor in Global Theatre and Ethnic Studies
Born and raised in Detroit and Southfield, MI, Tierra received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy at the University of Michigan in 2018. Through programs such as Gear Up, she provided academic mentorship to low-income youth of color from Metro Detroit. Combining her love for justice and performing arts, Tierra advocated for prison reform by leading theatre workshops at local prisons and youth detention centers. After graduating, she spent three years serving as the Program Coordinator of Youth Philanthropy at the Youth Leadership Institute equipping youth to empower their communities through social justice and grant giving. Through her work, Tierra has developed an unwavering desire to empower oppressed communities to create their own change. After Coro, Tierra hopes to receive her MPP and create policy education centers in low-income communities of color geared towards arming those communities with the tools to realize their own sustainable social justice change.
California State University, Channel Islands
B.A. Political Science
Josh is honored to be a Coro Fellow because today, democracy is being threatened and preserving it is crucial for the world. As an aspiring public servant, Josh became active in grassroot politics as a young teenager. He gave weekly presentations on the importance of democracy and civic participation, explaining how public policy impacts people’s lives. Working at local charities and Congressional and State Legislative Offices taught Josh how coordinated actions could solve systemic problems and create lasting change. When Josh went to College at CSU Channel Islands, he became president of the California College Democrats. During his tenure, he coordinated 40 college clubs to recruit volunteers, register voters, and elect honorable politicians. After graduating with honors, Josh studied historical biographies to better understand history and learn from the mistakes of the past. Josh hopes for a career in politics and public service to effectuate positive change and preserve democracy.
Jessica M. Hale
The George Washington University
B.A. International Affairs (Comparative Politics, Economics & Social Systems), Minor in History
Jessica Hale has always held the philosophy that in the greatest interest of our nation, public policy requires a global perspective. While attending The George Washington University, Jessica lived in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany to study Cold War history and the European Union’s political framework. Before becoming a Coro Fellow, Jessica served as an intern for Congresswoman Karen Bass and District Office Staff Assistant for Congressman Ted Lieu. Jessica has strong aspirations to work in the Office of the Legal Adviser to the Dept. of State and plans to attend law school after the completion of the Coro Fellows Program.
Loyola Marymount University
B.A. Political Science, Minor in Peace and Justice Studies
After growing up in Northern California, Peter moved to Los Angeles to pursue an education in Political Science and Peace and Justice Studies at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). It was while at LMU that he developed his respective passions for law, food justice, and environmental sustainability. Peter spent four years as a member and leader of LMU’s trial advocacy program, leading him to work for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He further spent his undergraduate career volunteering to combat food insecurity in Los Angeles, working with the local community to advocate for policy changes and serve those in need. Finally, Peter’s extensive involvement with the Green LMU Sustainability Program has instilled in him a dedication to green transportation initiatives and more sustainable infrastructure. Throughout Coro, Peter hopes to explore the intersections between these interest areas and better prepare himself for a career in public interest law.
Devina M. Ortega
University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. in Public Affairs
Devina was born and raised in Los Angeles County and discovered her passion for social justice and public service. Since the age of nine, she has found a business-oriented approach to solving local challenges and bringing authentic communities together. Through founding her own nonprofit, First Generation Scholars, Devina has supported others in pursuing their academic journeys. With her UCLA Bachelors degree in Public Affairs, it is Devina’s goal to increase the quality of life in others through various policy areas, including education, women’s rights, and religious liberty. Devina desires to continue her understanding of the systems change framework and transform future workspaces across all public service sectors. Through Coro, Devina hopes to foster relational skills with peers to spark change in Los Angeles and develop a forward-thinking network. Furthermore, Devina hopes the Fellows Program will allow her to identify tangible solutions to educational and political areas that will uplift others in their struggles.
At Brown University, Veronica Rigobon combined her passion for building relationships and mental health advocacy to work towards fostering a more accessible and welcoming community for students. As an active leadership member in Project LETS, she organized and facilitated over 20 mental health training workshops for students on campus. In this role, Veronica partnered with a number of student organizations to create educational programs specific to their needs. Veronica is particularly interested in the intersections of mental health, immigration, and education. To develop these interests, she has worked for both for-profit and non-profit education institutions along with local immigrant communities. She hopes to continue to collaborate with communities to bolster and establish mental health programs focused on community care after Coro.
University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. Political Science and African-American Studies
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Vivica Rush has dedicated her studies and advocacy to the pursuit of social equity. While attending UCLA, Vivica spent years researching the educational cultures of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as a Ralph J. Bunche Fellow and completed her Political Science thesis studying the relevance of race and state political culture in death penalty discourse as an Undergraduate Research Scholar. In the last four years, Vivica has worked with student government to foster a campus culture of equity and inclusion, with Americorps to provide legal access to families in Los Angeles, and with grassroots organizations to support the human rights of those incarcerated. Following graduation, Vivica spent her summer addressing private sector discrimination and empowering the communities of Los Angeles with the LA Civil Rights Department. After Coro, Vivica ultimately plans to attend law school and to craft a legal career that utilizes the law as a tool for equity.
Marco Antonio Sanchez
B.A. Environmental Studies and History
Born and raised in Southern California, Marco Antonio Sanchez has dedicated himself to public service, working with low-income and immigrant communities across Los Angeles County. Marco interned with Neighborhood Legal Services and Kids in Need of Defense where he worked closely with attorneys to provide free housing and immigration legal services. Marco’s fluency in Spanish enabled him to connect with clients when language was a barrier. During his internship with First Republic’s Trust and Compliance Department, Marco developed and presented a workshop on the importance of financial literacy for underserved communities. Marco graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College, majoring in both Environmental Studies and History, receiving cum laude honors for his history thesis. As a member of the Amherst College Student Affairs Advisory Board, Marco focused on integrating and supporting all students by working with Amherst faculty to improve policies and practices to aid alienated students. Through the Latino affinity group La Causa, Marco also organized networking and educational events for students and alumni. Upon completing his Coro Fellowship, Marco plans to attend law school to gain additional knowledge, skills, and tools to empower underrepresented communities to effect systemic change.
B.A. Political Science
After growing up in Maryland, France, and Southern California, Hira studied Political Science as an Angier B. Duke Scholar at Duke University. While at Duke, she served as the Housing Coordinator at the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF), a non-profit supporting community members experiencing financial insecurity. At CEF, she worked with individuals and families to resolve employment, child care, housing, and savings challenges through relationships with local landlords, businesses, non-profits, credit unions, and the city government. She spent a summer working as an economic and environmental policy legislative intern at the Office of Senator Kamala Harris. Throughout college, Hira worked in life enrichment at Croasdaile Village Senior Living. During the coronavirus pandemic, she created two accessible virtual programs connecting Duke first-years with elders through creative writing and music. As a Coro fellow, she hopes to discover the organizations engaging in cross-sector innovation in social impact in Los Angeles, her home city.
B.A. Political Science
During his time at Seattle University, Aryon Shahidzadeh developed intersectional community programs with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Campus Ministry in order to create a more inclusive campus environment for marginalized students. Through student organizing and various government roles, Aryon contributed to equity-centered programs in global climate resilience, national immigration advocacy, and local public education. Most recently, Aryon was the Operations Manager at the Washington Bus, a youth-led movement-building nonprofit, where he deepened his knowledge of coalition building and methods to strengthen democratic systems. After Coro, Aryon aims to help build a more equitable Southern California by contributing to innovative and sustainable policy.
University of California, Los Angeles
B.A. International Development Studies
Jonathan Wisner centers community and social progress through his involvements and career trajectory. At the University of California, Los Angeles, his research into financialization, philanthrocapitalism, and social finance has been underpinned by his education and belief in sustainable, community-led development across the globe. As the twice-elected Community Service Commissioner on UCLA’s Undergraduate Students Association Council, Jonathan headed the largest student-led, student-initiated collegiate service organization and gained deep experience leading dozens of staff members and working with 30+ community-based organizations to streamline the operations of social good provision within Los Angeles and ensure the longevity of service organizations. Throughout his time at UCLA, he dedicated himself to creating inclusive environments as a Lead Resident Assistant and advancing global community development through homelessness and HIV/AIDS prevention programs. Jonathan hopes to continue his education and work in advancing broader social goods as he progresses in his professional career.