Vanessa Romo

Research and Data Analyst

Vanessa Romo (she/her/hers) is a Research and Data Analyst at EdTrust-West. She joins EdTrust-West with experience in research, education policy, data analysis, and non-profit alumni engagement. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Vanessa’s commitment to racial justice and educational equity is rooted in her experience navigating the educational system as a low-income, first-generation Mexican-American student.

From a young age, Vanessa was deeply called to the work of empowering low-income students and students of color with the resources and opportunities to learn and thrive. While in undergrad, she mentored other students of color in the transition from high school to college and supported low-income students of color in the college application process. After earning her bachelor’s, Vanessa served as the Alumni Coordinator for LA’s BEST Afterschool Enrichment Program through AmeriCorps VISTA. In this role, she led the LA’s BEST Alumni Network, connected alumni with resources and opportunities, managed the organization’s alumni scholarships, and supported local and state advocacy efforts. Most recently, before joining EdTrust-West, Vanessa completed her graduate studies in education policy, through which she focused many of her projects on advancing educational access and equity for students of color, immigrant students, and multilingual students. During her time in graduate school, she was also a Research Assistant at the Education Redesign Lab, where she conducted research on personalized learning and whole-child education, and drafted a resource guide on operationalizing racial, cultural, and linguistic equity in personalized learning.

As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Vanessa was raised to recognize the transformational power of education and experienced this in her own life. With the support of her family, friends, and mentors, Vanessa became the first in her family to graduate from college. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Government from Claremont McKenna College and an Ed.M. in Education Policy and Analysis from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


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  • Los Angeles, CA
Research & Data Analysis
Multilingual Learners / English Learners

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.