As the daughter of Bolivian immigrants, Michelle’s understanding of their experiences allows her to appreciate the challenges faced by Latino immigrants who come to the U.S. in search for a better life and more opportunities.
She serves as the Associate Director of Youth Development Initiatives for Hispanic Access overseeing the design, recruitment, budget management, education/training, coaching, and supervision of three major youth internship programs. Michelle manages partnerships with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Reclamation. Her work is critical, as the federal government has had difficulty recruiting qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds for science, engineering, environmental, and management positions. At the same time, Latino young professionals have had difficulty identifying rigorous, paid, and exciting internships that will help bolster their resumes, be competitive in the job market, and acquire a career and job that they love. Michelle has supervised and/or supported 100 interns in the past year alone. What sets her work apart is that she is a model representative of the Hispanic Access culture of respect, going the extra mile, family, and excellence.
Michelle previously served as the Director of Financial Programs and managed Hispanic Access’ largest program implementing financial education in 18 communities. Formally, she served as Associate Director of Health Programs, overseeing a national cancer prevention education and screening program in five low-income Latino neighborhoods. In six years at Hispanic Access, Michelle has mastered program design, development, budgeting, implementation, and has learned the valuable skills of coalition and partnership building. She brings her natural talents that include strong work ethic, analytical skills, and deep passion for improving the lives of Latinos and creating a more equitable society.
Michelle is a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in community health from George Mason University. Her coursework provided a strong base of knowledge and skills to address the local, national, and global health needs of diverse communities and populations. She developed a solid understanding of issues such as health-related education, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation within a community setting. Her academic training and fieldwork has contributed to her understanding of environmental and physical health issues faced by Latino communities and other populations.
Prior to joining the Hispanic Access team in 2011, she interned at Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) for the Sustainable Development and Environmental Health department and assisted with research related to road safety legislation and health public policy initiatives. She currently serves on the Associate Board for the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, DC and mentors for the Virginia-based Edu-Futuro emerging leaders initiative.