CHCI-Wells Fargo Housing Graduate Fellow
Hometown: National City, California
School: Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College
Placement: Office of Policy Development & Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Mayra was born and raised in National City, CA, a low income, predominantly Latino community located 12 miles north of the US-Mexico border. As the daughter of a middle school educated, single mother, she learned very early on the importance of resiliency and the value of earning an education for a more prosperous future. Mayra is passionate about providing access and opportunities for upward mobility and economic empowerment to all, especially communities like her own.
She began her career in public service at the San Diego City Council where she led outreach efforts for three communities, developed a district-wide business outreach program, and advised on economic development policy. She later joined the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce — the largest chamber on the West Coast representing approximately 2,500 members — where she worked with businesses, all levels of government, nonprofits and academia on trade, education, and workforce development policies that spurred economic growth and strengthened cross-border relationships in the Cali-Baja region. During her tenure there she co-authored an agreement with the Mexican Senate, revamped the Education and Workforce Development Committee, and developed a bi-monthly bi-national forum through cross-department collaboration. In 2018 Mayra led the first Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) advocacy efforts for the national nonprofit, Girls Inc., out of their Office of Public Policy in Washington, D.C.
Mayra earned her Master’s Degree in Public Administration (MPA), as a National Urban Fellow, from the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, and was inducted into the MPA Honor Society, Pi Alpha Alpha. She graduated cum laude from California State University, Long Beach with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and is an alumna of California’s state-wide Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute and the San Diego Public Leadership Institute. She has mentored and supported youth through her work with nonprofits, personal experiences, and in a professional capacity.
As a CHCI Graduate Housing Fellow, she aims to use her professional competencies, academic knowledge, and personal experience — growing up as a housing assistance recipient herself — to identify innovative approaches, effective policy and cross-sector collaboration that can empower housing cost-burdened families and improve equitable home ownership opportunities and housing conditions.