2021-2022 CHCI-Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Jackson Heights, NY
School: Smith College
Degree: B.A. in Economics, B.A. in Portuguese & Brazilian Studies
Placement: U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, Subcommittee on Education
Jessica Vivar (she/her) is an Ecuadorian-American, born and raised in Queens, New York. From a young age, her parents emphasized the importance of education as a tool for achieving equity. They often worked long shifts to provide her with opportunities they were not afforded in their native country. When her parents worked overtime, her community took care of her and her sister. Her community’s willingness to always help taught her the virtues of being Latinx: compassionate, determined, and resilient.
Jessica graduated from Smith College with a B.A. in Economics and Portuguese & Brazilian Studies. As an undergraduate student, she crafted an interdisciplinary experience that concentrated on communities and sectors of policies meaningful to her. Her educational background with underfunded NYC public schools propelled her to volunteer with elementary and middle school students as a mentor, tutor, and community leader in organizations like Homework House and Project Coach. Serving as a language translator, she worked at Center For New Americans, a community-based non-profit serving immigrants, refugees, migrants, and asylum-seekers in Western Massachusetts. Upon graduation, her interest in intercultural exchange led her to represent the United States as an English Teaching Assistant through the Fulbright Program in Colombia. Her identity as a first-generation Latina has shown her to be open-minded, care for all, and recognize the importance of community in creating positive change.
As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, Jessica hopes to work on equitable education policies that benefit all students. She hopes to serve as an agent of change by addressing systemic issues and inequities that will ultimately improve the lives of her family, community members, and underrepresented communities across the country.