Associate Director of Higher Education Policy
Denise Luna (she/her/hers) is the Associate Director of Higher Education Policy at The Education Trust—West. As a daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico and the first in her family to graduate college, Denise is passionate about educational equity and racial justice. Denise brings a decade of experience in higher education policy advocacy, teaching, research, data analysis, and community organizing. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Denise was the Program Coordinator/Interim Director for Students Making A Change (SMAC). She 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. Before that, Denise worked for the University of California, Merced, where she taught undergraduate Sociology 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. From an early age, Denise knew her calling was to mentor youth of color and first-generation college students while working for Mission Graduates and Mission Girls. Denise holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Merced.