Esmeralda Vasquez

Class of 2017

Esmeralda Vasquez was born in Downey, California and was raised in multiple cities until her family finally settled Simi Valley, California. She attended Moorpark College for two years, transferred to UCLA, and received a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Throughout her time at UCLA, she participated in multiple internships and organizations that cultivated her passion to pursue a career in public service.

She joined a student activist club called Act for Equality, an organization that fights for LGBT and Women’s Rights. As a member and intern, Esmeralda participated in phone banks that successfully led to protect women’s pro-choice rights in Colorado against Proposition 66. In addition, she participated in a research study as a canvasser which aimed to diminish transgender discrimination. The study conducted by Stanford University demonstrates twenty minute face-to- face conversations with people helped lower prejudice against transgender people. The study was the first of it’s kind and as a result, the research was published in major news articles such as “Science”, “New York Times”, “Los Angeles Times”, “The Washington Post”, “PBS”, “NPR”, and “Buzzfeed”.

Esmeralda participated in the Center of American Politics and Public Policy Quarter in Washington Program at UCLA in the Spring of 2016. She was a Research Intern for the National Archives and Records Administration. She remembers how blessed she was to walk by the White House everyday for her internship and work in the same building as the documents that founded our nation such as the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence. This experience blossomed into a new goal; Whether she becomes Chief of
Staff or President of the United States, her new goal is to represent and work for the people in the White House.

As a recent graduate, Esmeralda continues to have a strong commitment to public service and research in order to propose solutions that provide equal opportunity for underrepresented communities. For example, she participated in the inaugural Los Angeles “Mayor’s Cup” competition which invites students and faculty to propose innovative solutions to the city’s most pressing problems. Her research proposal focused on the “college and career” gap” among low-income youth in Los Angeles. While competing against 105 teams, her performance led her to the “Mayor’s Cup” semi-finals or the top 24.She plans on pursuing a joint degree in Public Administration and Law in order to continue creating equal opportunities of all races, religions, gender, and ages.

Esmeralda served as an intern for UCLA Government and Community Relations through the UCLA External Affairs Internship in University Advancement and Philanthropy. Her experience involves researching public programs, legislation, and elected officials to support the Assistant Vice Chancellor and staff projects. One of her most significant contributions includes analysing and synthesizing the Los Angeles County ballot initiatives for the departmental website. This publication served to illustrate a comprehensive summary of the initiatives made available for thousands of Los Angeles County Residents. Esmeralda was then hired by UCLA Government and Community Relations as a part-time temporary Assistant.

Esmeralda was recently hired as a Field Representative for California State Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s District Office. She looks forward to beginning her public service career assisting the community within the 59th Assembly District.

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