News & Stories

Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating SIPA Alumni

Posted Sep 14 2022

According to the Library of Congress, the United States observes National Hispanic Heritage Month each year from September 15 to October 15 to celebrate “the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.”

In recognition of SIPA’s diverse international community, we use the occasion to salute all of our alumni and students who trace their heritage to Latin America or Spain, whether they come from the United States or another country. We’re pleased to highlight below a selection of such alumni who are working to make the world a better place.

If you’d like to help guide how SIPA observes this and other annual heritage celebrations, please contact our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Climate, and Engagement Committee at [email protected].

Raphael Chavez-Fernandez MPA ’19 is the deputy assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Carlos Cuevas MPA ’12, chief strategy officer at Somos, was included among City & State’s 2022 Nonprofit 40 Under 40

Adriana Diaz MPA ’09, IF ’09 is a CBS News national correspondent based in Chicago and anchor of the Saturday edition of the CBS Weekend News.

Carolina Escalera MPA ’13, a career Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Department of State, was named as one of the National Endowment for Democracy’s Penn Kemble fellows for 2021-22. Escalera was previously recognized by New America as one of its Latino National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leaders for 2020.

In January 2022 Eder Gaona-Macedo MPA ’14 became the first senior offficer of community-engaged research at UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center. Before joining UCLA he had served for almost seven years as the executive director of Future Leaders of America, an organization that provides leadership training and educational experiences to Latinx youths in California.

Melissa D. González MIA ’08 is the associate director, operations for the Open Society Foundations’s Latin America Program. 

Nellie Gorbea MPA 92 was elected as Rhode Island's secretary of state in November 2014, becoming the first Hispanic to win statewide office in New England. She was reelected in 2018 and in 2022 became the first Latina to run for governor in a New England state.

Rebeca Moreno Jimenez MPA ’15 is the lead data scientist for the UNHCR Innovation Team at the UN Refugee Agency’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. She is also an alumna of the WEF Global Shapers Community and was named to 100 Questions’ “Bilingual” Community, which uses the term to embrace practitioners who possess both relevant domain knowledge and data science expertise.

In 2019, Claudia Lopez MPA ’03 became the first woman to be elected mayor of Colombia's capital, Bogotá.

Jonathan Malagón MPA-EPM ’11 served as Colombia’s Minister of Housing and Sanitation between 2018 and 2022. Aged 33 at the time of his appointment, he became the country’s youngest cabinet member. Malagón had been serving as vice president of the Colombian Banking Association and director of economic analysis of Fedesarrollo’ he was cited among WEF’s Young Global Leaders and by Apolitical as one of 100 future leaders comprising “the world’s most influential young people in government.

After working for the Biden presidential campaign in Wisconsin in 2020, Michelle Meza MPA ’20 spent a full year in Washington managing the political and legislative agenda of Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.) and Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.). In April 2022 Meza joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of the scheduling and advance team for EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

Economist Andrés Osorio MPA-EPM ’18 served as director of the Office of Productivity and National Entrepreneurship (OPEN) in Chile’s Ministry of Economy and is currently head of microeconomic analysis at Econsult and a part-time lecturer of economics at Universidad Catolica de Chile. Andrés was also recognized by Who’s Who Legal as a 2022 future leader.

Joseph Ramos IF ’64 was selected as Economist of the Year in 2021 by El Mercurio in Chile. His new book on the existence of God, Creer o No Creer: El Misterio de Dios a la Luz de la Razón (Belief or Unbelief: The Mystery of God in Light of Reason), was published in May by Paidós Chile.

Jamie S. Reyes MPA ’14 is the U.S. Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Lead at National Grid, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. 

Lourdes Rosado MIA ’90 is the president and general counsel of Latino Justice, a New York City-based national civil-rights organization.

Tito Armando Velasco MIA-EPM ’98 recently served as a consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank’s fiscal management division, where he built a framework to assess both disaster risk and public investment management governance in Latin American and Caribbean countries in order to rank those public investment systems in better shape to manage the impact of climate change. He previously served as Bolivia's vice minister of public investment and external financing.

Please send your professional and other updates to SIPA’s Office of Alumni Affairs via our Class Note submission form. This page may be updated as the month progresses.