UCLA Luskin Social Welfare Alumnae Elevated to Public Office
Caroline Menjivar and Nikki Perez, two members of UCLA Luskin’s Master of Social Welfare Class of 2018, have turned their background in social work into successful bids for public office. Menjivar has been elected to the California State Senate, and Perez will join the Burbank City Council, results from the Nov. 8 election confirmed. The two alumnae will bring a broad range of perspectives into the halls of government. Menjivar, a Marine Corps veteran and the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, will be the first out LGBTQ legislator to represent the San Fernando Valley. She told CalMatters that she plans to use her personal experiences and background as a social worker to advocate for mental health services and housing solutions. While at UCLA Luskin, Menjivar worked in the office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as a David Bohnett Fellow. Perez was the top vote-getter in the Burbank council race. She told the Burbank Leader, “As the first Indigenous and openly LGBTQ woman elected to council, it’s a tremendous honor to bring a unique perspective and representation to our city government.” A lifelong Burbank resident and graduate of its public schools, Perez said she will be a voice for the city’s underrepresented populations, including renters, working-class families, union members and the Latino community. Since graduating from UCLA Luskin, Perez has worked as a nonprofit program manager and staff member with the California Legislature.