Yesenia Ayala, from Panorama City, California, will be pursuing an MA in policy, organization, and leadership studies at Stanford Graduate School of Education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and Spanish with a concentration in Latin American studies at Grinnell College. Yesenia aspires to influence education policy, ensuring underrepresented voices are heard and that public policy benefits all students in our nation. Yesenia works for the Postsecondary National Policy Institute and served as a Public Policy Fellow for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute where she worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. She also founded First Cafecito, a project intended to support the professional development of first-generation college students and professionals. Yesenia was recognized as a 2015 White House Champion of Change under former President Obama and is the recipient of the Posse Scholarship, Grinnell College’s 2018 President’s Medalist, and Harry S. Truman Scholarship.