Denise Castro is a Policy Analyst at The Education Trust—West. Denise joins The Education Trust—West with experience in policy advocacy, community organizing, research, data analysis, and teaching. Before joining The Education Trust—West, Denise was the Program Coordinator for Students Making A Change (SMAC). Denise supervised SMAC’s fellowship program, developed the leadership of students of color, managed policy and advocacy efforts, and monitored campaign goals to institutionalize equity in California Community Colleges. Prior to that, Denise worked for the University of California, Merced where she taught undergraduate Sociology discussion courses. Denise also carried out quantitative research and co-conducted research on racial health disparities, racism, and social movements as a graduate research assistant at the University of California, Merced. Since an early age, Denise has mentored youth of color and first-generation college students while working for Mission Graduates and Mission Girls. As a daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico and being the first in her family to graduate college, Denise is passionate about educational equity and racial justice. Denise holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Merced.