Irma Castañeda is a second year Master of Public Policy candidate at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her experience as a first-generation college student has driven her passion to advocate for higher education policies that increase college access and affordability for underrepresented students. Irma has conducted research with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to inform program practices that increase community college access and preparation. During her time at Luskin, Irma has been an active member of Policy Professionals for Diversity and Equity, serving as Outreach Co-Chair this year and helping to recruit a diverse MPP cohort. Last year, she participated in student advocacy efforts through her role as Organizing Director with the UCLA Graduate Student Association and volunteering with the First Generation Graduate Student Council.
Prior to graduate school, Irma worked as a case manager for Child and Family Guidance Center where she advocated for clients and linked them to resources in their communities. Irma also has experience as a college advisor, guiding underrepresented students through the college application and financial aid process. In her free time, Irma enjoys trying out all the boba and ice cream places in her neighborhood, latin dancing, and listening to podcasts.
Please visit Irma’s LinkedIn for more on their professional experience.