University of California, Riverside

School of Public Policy



Student Ambassadors


Current Student Ambassadors

Dean's Student Ambassadors

The UCR School of Public Policy Dean's Student Ambassador Program features highly motivated public policy students who display academic excellence, leadership, and excellent communication skills. These future policy leaders serve as the student face of the SPP. They serve as role models and peer mentors for their classmates, and serve as professional representatives of the Dean at School of Public Policy events.

We invite public policy students to get in touch with ambassadors as secondary contacts after academic advisors in regards to questions about the UCR School of Public Policy and any of its programs. You may email the ambassadors via spp-ambassadors@ucr.edu.

2016-2017 Student Ambassador Leadership Team:

Joy ChenChief Ambassador: JOY CHEN

Joy Chen is currently a fourth year studying public policy with an emphasis in health/population and social/family policy. As a former biology major, she merged her passion for health and politics ultimately hoping to pursue a career in public health. After graduating with her BA, she aims to obtain her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in health stigmas. Using her degree, she intends to become active in women and minority health issues especially for undocumented immigrants. Along with her interest in women's health, she also hopes to work alongside the LGBTQI community and aspires to bridge the current stigma between the medical community and the homeless transgender youth. In the Summer of 2016, she was a part of the UCDC program interning at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance working on a host of projects involving civic engagement, racial justice, and mass criminalization affecting communities of color. In addition to being the Chief, she is a member of the Delta Gamma Fraternity on campus whose values emphasize sisterhood, expanding cultural interests, high ideals of friendship, and to ultimately do good in our community.

Ranika BaghoomianSocial Chair: RANIKA LEANNA BAGHOOMIAN

Ranika Leanna Baghoomian is a fourth-year public policy student from Glendale, California. Upon transferring to UCR in the fall quarter of 2015, she made the Dean’s Honor List for three consecutive quarters and joined Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society. As part of the SPP Internship Program, Ranika currently interns at the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Her emphasis is on health/population policies, along with policy institutions and processes. Being a first-generation college student, she is strongly passionate about pursuing a career in the health field where she can contribute to healthcare reform and health policies. Her main interests are to provide accessible healthcare to incarcerated individuals and impoverished communities. After earning her bachelor’s degree in 2017, she aspires to attend USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy and earn a Master of Health Administration. Her ultimate goal is to work in healthcare management and bring positive changes to her community.

Daniel CastanedaCommunity Service Chair: DANIEL CASTANEDA

Daniel Castaneda is a first-year public policy and history double major. Because of his background in multiple parks and recreation departments, he has developed a passion for affecting change through local government and community development. In the City of Riverside’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department, he is currently developing a volunteer program to allow local teenagers to gain professional, social, and life skills. Concentrating on the economic and urban studies policy tracks, he hopes to gain a wide array of knowledge regarding municipal matters and intends to apply it to city management in the future. Daniel’s goal is to be able to educate and encourage people about the benefits of community development and inspiring change at home to ultimately influence change beyond.


Victoria Ciudad-RealPeer Mentorship Chair: VICTORIA CIUDAD-REAL

Victoria Ciudad-Real is a fourth-year Global Studies and Public Policy double major with an emphasis on social/cultural policy and urban/environmental policy. She is interested in how the green economy can enhance sustainable practices and the quality of life within cities. As part of the SPP Internship Program, Victoria interned at the San Bernardino Associated Governments during winter quarter of 2016. During summer 2016, she was also an Alternative Transportation Intern at UCR's Transportation and Parking Services. Currently, Victoria works as a Peer Mentor for the Academic Resource Center and is undergoing UCR’s Leadership Pathway Program. In addition to being a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society, Victoria is a University Honors student conducting her own research on the relationship between transit travel patterns and UCR undergraduates. Victoria loves reading, eating donuts, people watching, and volunteering at her church. She hopes to one day work in local government to promote sustainable change through policy.

Thomas KuhlmeierOutreach Chair: THOMAS KUHLMEIER

Thomas Kuhlmeier is a second-year public policy student, focusing on international/foreign policy and health/population policy at UCR. After leading a community-wide health project run by his high school, he seeks to further his research on dietary trends of the San Bernardino County community and compare it to his previous studies of the San Fernando Valley community. Within public policy, he is most interested in international policy and how it relates to foreign diplomacy. He believes that the key to understanding a foreign nation’s government is by acknowledging the communal issues addressed in their local government legislations. He strives to understand foreign affairs through the majors of public policy and history. Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree in June 2019, Thomas plans to pursue a dual master’s degree in international affairs and law. Thomas also plans to bring with him all the lessons learned at UCR through the School of Public Policy in his further education endeavors.

Ryan NatividadSecretary: RYAN NATIVIDAD

Ryan Natividad is a second-year, MPP student of the inaugural cohort and is well-versed in public health and health policy. As the former Health Policy Coordinator at the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families in New York City, he has firsthand experience of the impact of healthy eating, active living, and the built environment on individual and community health. He is a strong advocate of improved healthcare access, resources, and funding for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities on the national, state, and city levels. Ryan was involved in various community health research assessing hypertension and physical activity in the Filipino American community, and earlier in his public health career, he was involved in peer education and laboratory research related to HIV/AIDS. In addition to public health, Ryan is passionate about issues regarding civic engagement and the LGBT community. He is currently the Academic Affairs Officer for SPP in the Graduate Student Association. As a UC Global Food Initiative Fellow and a recipient of the One Health Graduate Research Grant, he is conducting research regarding food security on the UCR campus. He is also a Randall Lewis Health Policy Fellow with a placement in the City of Riverside’s Community and Economic Development Department, supporting the implementation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Invest Health initiative to foster healthier cities. Ryan has a BA in Anthropology from Columbia University and is an alumnus of leadership programs of Coro New York Leadership Center and the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum. In his spare time, he enjoys outdoor physical activity and catches up on leisurely reading.

2016-2017 Student Ambassadors:

Moureen AhmedMOUREEN AHMED

Moureen Ahmed is in her second year of the Master of Public Policy inaugural class. She graduated from UCR, with a B.A. in public policy in 2014. That is when she developed a passion to promote environmental and social justice in America, and around the world. She would like to work with a non-profit organization or the city to help mitigate climate change, and its effects on disadvantaged communities. The perspective of minorities is lacking in the public sector, but Moureen would like to be a voice that helps change that. Along with her role as a student ambassador, Moureen is involved with various organizations on campus, such as the Muslim Student Association. During her free time, especially to relieve stress, she weight-trains at the UCR Student Recreation Center.

Asim AkhterASIM AKHTER

Asim Akhter is currently a third-year public policy student focusing on the health/population as well as the social/cultural/family policy tracks. He is minoring in business administration. Prior to entering UCR, he accumulated hundreds of hours of service in health internships alone. His passion for health in deprived areas has led him to pursue a career in healthcare administration targeting problems such as unaffordable healthcare. Aside from health services, Asim had the privilege of working for councilmember Bob Blumenfield of the Los Angeles area assisting in events and campaigns which helped him become more active with his community. During the summer of 2015, Asim accepted a supervisor position for a massive housing project that was based in the San Fernando Valley. In addition to being a student ambassador, Asim is also the leader of the CNAS Transition Peer Mentor team which assists students struggling in some of UCR’s most competitive and demanding majors.

Ani DhruvaANIRUDHHA DHRUVA

Anirudhha Dhruva is currently a third-year public policy major with a focus on policy institutions and processes and international and foreign policy. Through his involvement in student advocacy his first two years, Ani has developed a passion to help educate and integrate his fellow peers within the campus community. This is highlighted by his time as an International Peer Advisor, his current Vice Presidency in the UCR Global Issues Forum, and his Vice Presidency in Omicron Delta Epsilon- the Honors Economic Society. Ani’s aims after earning his undergraduate degree lie in pursuing a JD with a concentration in health/international law and ultimately serving those who need help the most.

Samantha FongSAMANTHA FONG

Samantha Fong is a first-year public policy major and a native of San Francisco, California. Her study interests lie in the urban/environmental policy track as well as the health track spurring from two summer internships she held in the summer of 2015. Through the San Francisco Police Department and Project Pull (a program of the City and Council of San Francisco), she gained insight on the functionalities of city government and policy-writing, motivating her to pursue a public policy education. In addition to Samantha’s public policy aspirations is her passion for music; she intends to minor in music alongside her major requirements. After her time at UCR, Samantha plans to obtain a master's degree and eventually return to San Francisco as a public sector employee; she hopes to address the environmental and subsequent health issues in her city. In the meantime, Samantha prides herself in her commitment to her YouTube channel, the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society, and the National Residence Hall Honorary.

Andrew HaddadANDREW HADDAD

Andrew Haddad is a first-year MPP student focusing on health policy. He is a recent graduate from UCR’s undergraduate public policy program. In Fall 2014, he participated in the SPP Internship Program, interning at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. He conducted research on the difference in healthcare between incarcerated and non-incarcerated people. Taking all the prerequisites for medicine during his undergraduate years and interning with several doctors and nurses, his background in health is versatile. Andrew’s goals are to aid on implementing policies in order create more accessible healthcare in hospitals.

Marai Jimenez-OrtizMARAI JIMENEZ-ORTIZ

Marai Jimenez-Ortiz is a fourth-year public policy student with an emphasis on health/population and social/family policies. Prior to transferring to UCR in the fall of 2015, she earned her associate of arts degree in social and behavioral science from Santa Monica College. Throughout her time at Santa Monica College, she was involved with various groups and organizations that provided undocumented students assistance in their pursuit of higher education. As an advocate for undocumented students and educational equality for all, regardless of background—Marai strives for equal representation in the disadvantaged population. Her policy interests lie in immigration and educational issues. In addition, Marai is part of the 2016 UCR Leadership Pathway Program and currently is an intern at the Western Riverside Council of Governments.

Sarah KimSARAH HEAJIN KIM

Sarah Heajin Kim is a first-year MPP student focusing on social policy and international policy. She was born in Busan, South Korea and grew up in Riverside. Her experience as a 1.5 generation immigrant has influenced her interests in international relations and has led to opportunities to work, study, and travel in South Korea, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, and Costa Rica. She interned in Washington D.C. through the UCDC program and has volunteered in various non-profits serving the Korean Adoptee community. Within public policy, she is particularly interested in social policy and the effect of certain policies on different cultures. After receiving her MPP degree in June 2017, she plans to pursue a doctorate degree in policy while participating in advocacy work. In the meantime, she loves being a teaching assistant and connecting with the undergraduate community.

Doris ParedesDORIS ALEXA PAREDES

Doris Alexa Paredes is currently a third-year public policy student, with an emphasis in social/cultural/family policy and policy institutions and processes. An Inland Empire native, she has been actively involved within her community of Corona and has grown a passion for working and helping with low-income families. After interning with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in Winter 2016, she gained experience and inspiration for what her passion in public policy is. Being quite unaware of the social, political, and economical disparities of the prison industrial complex system, she is now devoting her time to understand and analyze several State of California mandated policies and suggest reforms for them. Doris currently is interning with the City of Highland in the Records Retention Division where she overlooks the processes of public works as well as the city conducts with several departments. Doris is also planning to earn her Master’s Degree of Public Policy from Pepperdine University or the University of Southern California after earning her B.A. in Public Policy in June 2017.

Muhammad SohailMUHAMMAD SOHAIL

Muhammad Sohail has held internships and collaborated with various non-profits throughout the Southern California area and has a passion for serving others. He has received scholarships from his Rotary district and the Southern California Association of Governments totaling $5,000. Muhammad was also able to intern at the Riverside County Department of Public Health in the fall, where he worked on a variety of issues linking a community's built environment to the health of its residents. He is currently conducting research and writing a paper on youth engagement in Riverside County. Apart from working and studying, he enjoys running, art and a good book (on public policy). 

2017-2018 Student Ambassadors:

David AngelDAVID ANGEL

David Angel is a second-year Public Policy major and Economics minor with an emphasis on health policy and policy institutions and processes. He interned for California State Senator Ed Hernandez in 2013, as well as Congresswoman Norma Torres in the Summer of 2016. His experiences interning with elected officials have motivated him to strive for leadership positions in the government where he can effectively create and influence policy that will help communities gain access to comprehensive health care and financial stability in the Inland Empire and the state of California. David was elected to represent CA Assembly District 52 as an Assembly District Delegate at the 2017 & 2018 CA Democratic Conventions.

Lizzette CapulLIZZETTE CAPUL

Lizzette Capul is a third-year public policy student with an emphasis on health/population and social/cultural policies. She is also a Riverside native. Before transferring to UCR in Fall 2016, she earned several associate degrees in Admin & Information Systems, Kinesiology, Health & Wellness, Social & Behavioral Studies, and Math & Sciences from Riverside City College. During her time at Riverside City College, Lizzette was actively involved with campus organizations and the local community. Her extra-curricular involvement encouraged students to be more involved in the community through service projects and to do well academically. With her involvement in the community and interest to better understand health and social policies, she pursued an internship in the Mayor’s Office for the City of Riverside. Currently, she assists with health-related initiatives in the Mayor’s Office. In the Mayor’s Office, Lizzette chairs the Purple City Alliance Task Force, a group focused on a city-wide initiative that encourages Riverside to be a more dementia friendly city. 

Edgar CastelanEDGAR CASTELAN

Edgar Castelan is in his first year of the Master’s in Public Policy. He graduated from UCR, with a B.A. in Political Science/Administrative Studies in 2015. As an undergraduate intern with Assemblymember Jose Medina, he became closely attuned with the many issues facing our local region, but noticed the incredible potential and role it plays locally and globally. He is interested in the intersection of water distribution and race, and the impact those two factors will play in the future of the Inland Empire. He wants to examine the way in which other countries or regions have directly tackled this issue so that he can bring that knowledge and expertise and apply it locally. His goal is to work at the state-legislative level to implement sound policy that will address resource conservation while promoting social equity among marginalized groups. 

Janine GharghouryJANINE GHARGHOURY

Janine Gharghoury is a second-year Public Policy major with a focus on Healthcare Policy. She served as a Legislative Intern for Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. during 2016, working both in his Palm Desert district office and Capitol Hill office. Hailing from the Coachella Valley, Janine is interested in mitigating the impact of income inequality on healthcare outcomes for both Inland Empire and Coachella Valley residents by increasing the number and quality of healthcare resources in each area. Currently, Janine serves as a Research Fellow for Congressman Ruiz and intends to pursue a career in Medicine and Healthcare Policy upon graduation.

Jacquelyn GonzalezJACQUELYN GONZALEZ

Jacquelyn Gonzalez is currently a Master of Public Policy student concentrating on education and social/immigration policy at the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). Jacquelyn's career in public policy began with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) where she served in the Office of Congresswoman Grace Napolitano in Washington, D.C. During her time in D.C., she served in the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. House of Representatives. In her tenure on Capitol Hill, Jacquelyn served her home district on as a Legislative Assistant for the Office of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46). She oversaw the Congresswoman's domestic policy portfolio handling issues such as education, health care, transportation, labor, water/energy and instituted a robust higher education agenda for Congresswoman Sanchez. Additionally, she lead communications for the Member on all Spanish outreach and media. Jacquelyn is a first-generation graduate student and proud alumna of California State University, Fullerton.

Chase RamosCHASE RAMOS

Chase Ramos is a second year with a focus in institutional processes and health policy. He was drawn to the discipline of policy at the end of his first year when he took Intro to Public Policy. It was then he realized just how impactful policy decisions are in all facets of life. More importantly, he then realized the need for informed policy decisions that are quantifiably beneficial. It is for these reasons that he is enthusiastically pursuing his degree and a position as an Ambassador. As an ambassador part of his personal mission will be to inform others of the importance of policy as well as the fascinating nature of the discipline itself. He believes sound policy is a necessity for a better future and it is up to us to achieve it.

Maria RazoMARIA RAZO

Maria Razo is a third-year student completing her double major in Public Policy and Political Science, with an emphasis in International Relations and policy construction/implementation. After completing her undergraduate studies, she will pursue her Master’s and Ph.D. in Public Policy. While attending UCR, she has interned at the County of Riverside Executive Office where she acquired her interest in economic insecurity. She gained a passion for international relations after studying and interning in Ireland, her experience abroad has led her to pursue a career in an international organization that combines economic development and human rights policies. Maria will continue to gain international experience, she hopes to understand the different factors that influence policy within countries. Maria believes that the key to solving worldwide problems is to understand how the issue is viewed from a local level.

Dalila RenteriaDALILA RENTERIA

Dalila Valdez Renteria is in her first year as a graduate student for the School of Public Policy at UCR. She attended UCR for undergrad and graduated with a degree in Plant Biology. During that time, she became an volunteer for RESULTs, a policy organization focused on ending extreme poverty, where she gained an interest in policy and how policy is developed. She was also involved with P.O.D.E.R. and the Undocumented Student Programs in helping to advocate for undocumented students at UCR. Currently, she has continued to give back to the riverside community by working at the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center as a Community Education Presenter. Through her work, she serves as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault and facilitates multiple young women groups through a rape prevention program under the California Department of Public Health. Her policy focus is on social policy with a special interest in immigration policy. After completing the Masters program, Dalila plans to continue her education by obtaining a law degree and eventually seeking a judgeship in order to make sure that the voices of immigrants and survivors are being heard. Her favorite things to do on her days off is to travel, go to six flags, act in with her church’s drama ministry and to spend time with her family. Dalila Valdez is in her first year as a graduate student for the School of Public Policy at UCR. She attended UCR for undergrad and graduated with a degree in Plant Biology. During that time, she became an volunteer for RESULTs, a policy organization focused on ending extreme poverty, where she gained an interest in policy and how policy is developed. She was also involved with P.O.D.E.R. and the Undocumented Student Programs in helping to advocate for undocumented students at UCR. Currently, she has continued to give back to the riverside community by working at the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center as a Community Education Presenter. Through her work, she serves as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault and facilitates multiple young women groups through a rape prevention program under the California Department of Public Health. Her policy focus is on social policy with a special interest in immigration policy. After completing the Masters program, Dalila plans to continue her education by obtaining a law degree and eventually seeking a judgeship in order to make sure that the voices of immigrants and survivors are being heard. Her favorite things to do on her days off is to travel, go to six flags, act in with her church’s drama ministry and to spend time with her family.

Marina SangitMARINA SANGIT

Marina Sangit is a third year Gender and Sexuality Studies and Public Policy double major with an emphasis on social/cultural policy and policy institutions and processes. She aspires to work in local government as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence and public education. Currently, she is a Student Co-Coordinator for Sexual Assault and Violence Education (SAVE) under CARE, the Vice-President of Philanthropy for Alpha Chi Omega, and an Office Assistant at the Academic Resource Center where she helps manage multiple programs and departments. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, and journaling.

Xuan TongXUAN TONG

Xuan Tong is a third year Sociology and Public Policy double major. She is interested in empowering the Asian-American and the low-income communities through reforming educational policy. Xuan furthered her political experience with the non-profit, Center for Asian-Americans for Self-Empowerment as a Community Engagement Advocate and Leadership Academy Intern to learn about the needs of each individual Asian-American community and how to advocate for their representation. Xuan also interned for LAUSD Boardmember Schmerelson where she spoke to professionals on where LAUSD is heading. Xuan hopes to start the conversation around debunking the “model minority myth” and continuing the mentoring pipeline to have real community needs reflected in policy.

Eileen TovarEILEEN TOVAR

Eileen Tovar is a third-year public policy student concentrating in environmental and urban policy. She has always been passionate about protecting the environment and hopes to pursue a career within the Environmental Protection Agency. On campus, she is involved with multiple organizations, such as ASUCR, the Well, Chicano Student Programs, the Guardian Ambassador Program, and Counseling and Psychological Services. She continually works to change the negative stigma around mental health, bring awareness to sexual violence and prevention, and fight against food and housing insecurity. In her spare time, she dances competitively with UCR Dancesport, goes on Disneyland trips, and travels.

Iman UsmanIMAN USMAN

Iman Usman is a third year public policy major. She is also a transfer student from a community college in San Diego. She is Indian and Pakistani and identifies as a part of the queer/LGBTQ+ community. She has participated in LGBTQ+ student organizations, panels, and is a member of the Community OUTReach Program through the LGBT Resource center on campus. Activism is very important to her, especially in regards to minorities and queer folks. Aside from academics, music is one of her passions. She plays the guitar and cello and writes songs.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Contact Information

School of Public Policy
Anil B. Deolalikar
Founding Dean
Professor of Economics

Student Affairs
Tel: (951) 827-2334
E-mail: jolene.sedita@ucr.edu

Dean’s Office
4133 CHASS Interdisciplinary South
Tel: (951) 827-5564
E-mail: spp-dean@ucr.edu

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