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CHCI-Wells Fargo Housing Graduate Fellow

Hometown: Appleton, WI
School: University of Maryland – College Park
Degree: Master of Public Administration
Placement: U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

Fátima Sierra-Vargas (she/her/hers) was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin. As a Latina growing up in a low-income household, she witnessed first-hand the disparities communities of color face, such as the housing cost burden and poor housing conditions. Remaining connected with her upbringing enabled her to recognize the importance of obtaining an education to make an impact in her community. Fátima went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a Master of Professional Studies in Public Administration from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her graduate studies awakened an interest in helping implement policy in local government at a grassroots level.

Following her graduate studies, Fátima began her career in public service with the City of Milwaukee, Department of City Development in the Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC), and Commercial Corridor Team (CCT). While at NIDC, Fátima managed an exterior home improvement grant program, implemented a contractor outreach program, and established relationships with elected officials, City staff, and community organizations to advance City home improvement program efforts and improve the quality of life in Milwaukee’s neighborhoods. She then joined CCT where she coordinated economic development initiatives in the City’s neighborhood and commercial districts, led an analysis on the impact of Business Improvement Districts, and helped develop and implement a COVID-19 relief program to provide financial support to small businesses impacted by the pandemic through CARES Act funding.

As a CHCI-Wells Fargo Housing Graduate Fellow, Fátima hopes to use her personal experience witnessing her family’s lack of access to affordable housing and professional experience at the local government level to drive positive outcomes in policy for underserved communities in the areas of affordable housing and economic development.