CHCI-UFCW Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Reading, Pennsylvania
School: Lehigh University
Degree: B.A. in Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies
Placement One: The Office of Congressman Adriano Espaillat
Placement Two: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Mericel Mirabal (she/her) is the daughter of Dominican immigrants. While growing up in Reading, PA, a majority Latinx city, Mericel dealt with challenges brought by poverty, residential segregation, and education inequality. Mericel witnessed firsthand how those challenges were exacerbated for her family since her parents struggled with learning English and assimilating to American culture. From a young age, Mericel had to translate and advocate for her parents while still grappling with her own English. Her experiences inspired her to pursue a career committed to advocating and providing resources to historically under-resourced communities.
Mericel graduated with high honors from Lehigh University and is a first-generation college graduate. She earned a degree in Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies with a minor in Africana Studies and a certificate in Global Citizenship. She is a proud sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. During her time at Lehigh, Mericel wore many hats. She worked at the Office of Multicultural Affairs, where she helped to plan many of the cultural heritage months such as Black History Month, Latinx Heritage Month, and Native American and Pacific Islander Month that united these communities, especially at a predominately white institution. She interned at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, where she conducted research on Dominican migration to Pennsylvania. In her senior year, Mericel was one of the founders of Future Lawyers of Color on campus. This club provides resources for students of color looking to go into the law and public policy fields. She completed an undergraduate thesis on education inequality through class and race focusing on her hometown of Reading, PA.
As the CHCI-UFCW Public Policy Fellow, Mericel wants to learn as much as she can about the Hill and how to make these spaces more accessible for people of color. She hopes to form a better understanding of the intersection of public policy, government, and the law to better serve marginalized communities.