Maya Valree

Policy Analyst - Parenting Students

Maya Valree (she/her(s)) joins The Education Trust–West as a Policy Analyst (Parenting Students). Before joining the Education Trust–West, Maya was the graduate student coordinator for the Students with Dependents program at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she engaged campus and community stakeholders to increase programming and institutional support for pregnant and parenting students. As the graduate student coordinator, Maya expanded the children’s center community garden, which enhanced access to fresh produce and reintroduced garden-based learning for the youngest learners on Cal Poly’s campus. Maya also strategized ways to leverage low-cost and high-impact campus resources to strengthen the children’s center curriculum, including advocating for opportunities for children to practice Cal Poly’s learn-by-doing motto. During her graduate studies, Maya also worked as a research assistant on Dr. Tina Cheuk’s #StudentParentJoy campaign, a media and policy research program redefining what it means to be a pregnant and/or parenting student within the California State University system. In addition to personal experience as a parenting student of color, Maya comes to the Education Trust–West grounded in knowing that women of color and those with multiple marginalized identities often parent while in school, an essential reminder that the work is racialized and gendered.

Maya is a proud product of three of California’s higher education systems. She earned an A.A. in Public Policy from Santa Monica College, a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine, and a M.S. in Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

 

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  • Los Angeles, CA
Parenting Students
Higher Ed
College Access
Policy Analysis & Development

Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.