Michelle McCarthy is a political science and gender studies double major entering her senior year at the University of Notre Dame. Born and raised in Upstate New York, she is excited to venture to the Pacific Northwest for the first time. Michelle has pursued her passion for grassroots activism with the ND College Democrats and Organizing for Action, and she could not be more thrilled to expand her political organizing skills with Politicorps. When she’s not spouting off about the importance of voter participation or intersectional feminism, Michelle enjoys browsing markets, humming off-key to Broadway musicals, and searching for the perfect bubble tea.
Martha Sonato recently graduated from Willamette University as a Politics major. Originally from Michoacán, Mexico, she has been living in Hood River for the past 15 years and is passionate about social, economic and environmental justice. While in Salem, she has worked with CAUSA and PCUN in Salem/Woodburn on DACA clinics, May Day Rally and Border Fence at Willamette University. She has also organized in Hood River with the Latinx community and is excited to continue to do so.
Politicorps has been an amazing experience for her, where she engages on a daily basis with communities of color about voting and political participation in Hillsboro, Salem, Gresham, Woodburn, Hood River and Portland. Martha’s favorite part has been engaging in dialogue with folks that don’t necessary believe in voting or the political process and working with five different campaigns such as mínimum wage and affordable housing. She has also enjoyed working with fellows who are so passionate about social justice.
Emily Hanson was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia, Emily Hanson loves her home state and the community she comes from. A strong sense of wanderlust and a passion for voter advocacy have led her to Politicorps and the Bus Project. Emily attends the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and studies both political science and geography. Her studies and her own personal history have made her passionate about economic development and economic justice. In her spare time, Emily enjoys binge watching shows on Netflix, babysitting her niece, and being outside, especially if that means sitting under a tree and reading a John Irving book.
Spencer Trumm hails from Toledo, Ohio and graduated with a B.A. in History from Reed College, where he received the Reed Presidential Scholarship during all four years of his studies. His thesis focused on the militant anti-Communism and violence of the mainstream American right during the early 1930s. Spencer has been a political activist since 2009, when he worked as a community and labor organizer with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee. He spent three summers working as an HIV counselor with the Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice’s mobile medical clinic. In 2010, he became a member of his campus chapter of J Street, which promotes a peaceful, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; he became Co-President of the chapter in 2012. In the summer of 2013, he was selected by J Street for a fellowship in Washington, D.C. where he worked to promote civil rights in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. He also helped to organize development efforts with the New Israel Fund, a U.S.-Israeli civil rights organization. Spencer intends to continue his studies at the graduate level and to use his research and writing skills to advance the public interest.
Maya Randolph is a 2014 graduate of Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. She graduated with a B.A. in psychology with minors in history/political science and philosophy. She loves political theory that deals with post-colonial societies and social movements. This fall Maya will matriculate into Case Western Reserve University’s Master’s of Social Services Administration (which is basically a master’s in social work) and Management of Nonprofit Organizations, dual degree program. She loves singing, musical theater, using hammers and chainsaws for trail work, and travelling. In college, she has worked in both cultural and political organizations focus on social justice education and change. Maya has recently finished an Americorps domestic volunteer program, where she assisted middle school teachers in a low income area in the south and a mixed income area in the mid-Atlantic regions of the country. She hopes to take this experience as her first real step into the post collegiate world of grassroots organizing and social justice campaigns.
Drew Edmonds is a rising junior and politics major at Whitman College. On campus, he has focused much of his co curricular energy on K-12 and higher ed issues by organizing discussions, volunteering weekly as an elementary school mentor, and teaching civil rights and environmental sustainability in local classrooms. This summer he has returned to his hometown to practice political organizing and learn from his inspiring peer fellows with Politicorps. He has enjoyed hearing from the diverse perspectives of community leaders about the various avenues in politics–from legislative aids and chiefs of staff in Salem to field organizers and policy directors for local advocacy organizations here in Portland. He has also learned a lot from talking to hundreds of people about the issues they care about, hearing their stories and building grassroots power for a range of local campaigns including affordable housing, minimum wage and climate action groups. When he is not sparking up conversation with strangers on street corners or registering young new voters, catch him cooling off in the Columbia River Gorge or training for his third season on the Whitman College Mens Soccer Team.
Paul Callejas lives in the Little Village neighborhood in Chicago. He is an entrepreneur and a future politician. His mom is an avid hard worker and has always set that example for him, she never accepted government aid despite coming from a poor background. They believe with hard work they could sustain themselves. He is a product of the Chicago Public School system. He recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where he got his bachelor’s in Business Administration and minor in Entrepreneurship; He started a campus dance team – Movimiento Latino — because he loves dancing to all the types of cultural music that is a huge part of La Villita; He also joined Omega Delta Phi Fraternity Inc in 2012 And became the president his last year in college. In 2013, he decided to run for state representative im the 21st district for the Illinois General Assembly because he saw to many corrupt politicians and many issues that needed solving. He believes politics is a civic duty and wouldn’t want to make it a career. He enjoys running, graphic design, reading, the outdoors and helping others. He wishes to become a great entrepreneur. He founded and is currently the Director of Operations & Technology at GPS Campus. He got accepted in the Politicorps fellowship this summer and he is eager to learn how to run an awesome campaign for the next time he runs for state representative.
Cristina Marquez is a PolitiCorps fellow born in Oaxaca, Mexico and raised in Salem, Oregon. She recently graduated from Willamette University with a major in Anthropology and minor in Psychology and French. Throughout the summer fellowship, Cristina has been able to continue to pursue some of her passions including voter education and advocating for social justice issues. In her hometown, she has been able to continue to organize for the Yes for Cherriots campaign to expand Salem-Keizer transportation services. In addition, she has been part of the team focusing on the Raise the Wage campaign, a statewide effort to provide a living wage for all Oregonians. She is excited to take the skills and experiences she has acquired throughout the program as she continues to advocate for immigrant rights, indigenous rights and social justice.
Emily Effrece is known as the cat loving twin of Amy the Leadership Development Coordinator. Emily is most commonly identified by her galaxy cat shirts and witty meme creations. With a father in the military, Emily moved frequently which exposed her to many new people, new places and new stories. Once coupled with an invaluable education from University of Portland, in North Portland, her passion to educate the public and draw interest towards political engagement materialized. Becoming involved in the Bus Project’s Politicorps program gave Emily the tools necessary to reach out to these communities with campaigns such as Oregon Climate and Raise the Wage where she learned canvassing, phone banking and volunteer organizing skills. She draws much of her fervor from her idols like John Oliver and Neil deGrasse Tyson and hopes to utilize their entertaining and informative goals to target crowds she was able to approach with Politicorps campaigning. She aspires to become involved in digital organizing so she’ll see you on the web!
Zoe Bluffstone is a PolitiCorps Fellow who is passionate about fighting climate change, registering young people to vote, a capella music and Ultimate Frisbee. A native Oregonian, throughout this fellowship Zoe has loved learning about the inner workings of the state’s political system from trips to Salem and valuable lectures from local activists. As a member of the leadership group with the Bus Project’s partnership campaigns with ReNew Oregon and Oregon Climate, Zoe has gotten the chance to help plan events and get into the field to talk about Climate Change with a lot of Oregonians. After her graduation this year from Oberlin College, Zoe hopes to work to advance environmental issues in Oregon and worldwide through inclusive grassroots community and political organizing.
Luisa Sosa is a first generation college attendee born in Guatemala and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Luisa, along with her family, immigrated to Chicago at the age of six to the United States. She is currently a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago pursuing a Sociology major with a minor in Human Capital and Labor Markets. Luisa is passionate about fighting for the undocumented immigrant community. She has helped this community in Chicago by providing one-on-one informationals on DAPA and DACA. She also served as a Family Defender with lifetime immigration advocate, Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez. She enjoys registering young people to vote, advocating about social justice issues and eating Pad Thai. Her dream is to be elected as a U.S. Representative so that she can continue to help her community at a larger level. The best way to describe her would be an old soul with a young heart.
Jacob Sutter has lived in Northeast Portland almost his entire life. He went to Grant High School where he competed on the national championship winning Constitution Team. Participation on this team flared his interest in politics which he has pursued at Macalester College along with his interest in Urban Studies. In Minnesota, he became Secretary/Treasurer of the Twin Cities Chapter of Common Ground which advocates primarily for capturing community created value through a land tax. In his free time he enjoys hiking in Forest Park, listening to and making music with his friends, and playing basketball. Jacob has learned a ton while in Politicorps, especially about the interaction between the non-profit sphere and the political sphere. He has worked specifically with the Welcome Home Coalition which is fighting for a new local revenue source for affordable housing. Jacob chose to work this organization because he has seen housing prices increase dramatically in Portland, which has caused residents to be pushed further away from the civic amenities that Portland offers. He is excited to bring all of this knowledge with him back to Minnesota and to use it wherever else his career path leads him.
2014 Year of Service Fellows
Isaac Ambruso is a recently graduated student of Political Science from Pacific University in Forest Grove. He thoroughly enjoys a good chess game, good company and a good book in equal measure. He is an avid policy enthusiast and he loves a good debate on almost any topic and is a huge history buff. He loves to speak in any languages he can, which are English and Chinese for the time being. He likes to use his second language whenever possible in order to improve. He looks forward to working with PolitiCorps this year and can’t wait to start learning more about the world of politics!
Originally from Dallas, TX, Maggie Duffy is a recent graduate from the University of Notre Dame with a B.A. in Anthropology, Latino Studies, and Peace Studies. After taking Border Issues seminar during my sophomore year, she became deeply interested in immigration from Mexico. Since then, she has interned with an immigration lawyer through the National Immigrant Justice Center, volunteered with the humanitarian organization No More Deaths, and returned to serve as the student leader for the same Border Issues seminar that first ignited my passion. She hopes to find a career in which she can continue to be an advocate for immigrants and for human rights. Her ideal day would be spent backpacking through southern Chile, but she’s just as pleased with good music, good friends, and some good grub.
Dinah Foley grew up in Olympia, Washington and moved to Portland in 2006. She’s moved away from this city twice; once to work on farms in Hawaii and Southeast Asia and once to teach English in Taiwan. She’s close to completing a BA in Political Science at Portland State University and hopes to focus her future education and work on the promotion of social and environmental justice and improving access and equality in the political system. One of her early adulthood indiscretions was the participation in competitive unicycling, but since then she’s (mostly) abandoned her dreams of mastering the circus arts.
From moving out as a teenager while living on Long Island, NY and his experience at Brandeis University, Dillon C. Harvey (AKA Dil) has consistently seen the beauty of “paying it forward.” Without the kindness and mentorship of others he certainly would not have benefited from or known about the opportunities presented to me in the past. As a recent graduate with an independent interdisciplinary major in Critical Race and Sexuality Studies alongside a minor in Legal Studies, Dil is now searching for a new environment so that he may continue to give back in a way that engages his passion to provide safe spaces and access to currently underprivileged communities, particularly queer homeless youth. Through the recognition and embrace of both his racial and queer identities, Dil has ascertained new levels of self-love and acceptance and learned how crucial such things are to be a complete and sustainable individual. His goal is to cultivate and share resources and opportunities for those who have also come from and currently face struggles that hinder self-discovery and active communal and political participation.
A native of Austin, Texas and a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, David Leffler has finally discovered a city rad enough and an organization meaningful enough to draw him away from his hometown. His two loves in life up to this point have been sports and writing, which he was able to roll up into one big, beautiful package during his two years as a sports columnist for UT’s newspaper, The Daily Texan. Although he’s a little on the inexperienced side when it comes to politics, he couldn’t be more pumped for the summer and becoming a part the Bus Project family! He’s excited for an adventure.
Gus Wolff is a 21 year-old from Greenwich, Connecticut (though you will often hear him say he’s from the “New York Area”) who graduated in May from Lewis & Clark College with a degree in Political Science & Gender Studies. He is the only Gus that he has ever met who was born as simply ‘Gus’, which means he finds Gustavs, Augustuss, Gustavos, and Anguss to be impostors. In school, he co-created a Queer Resource Center, co-ran the 33rd Gender Studies Symposium, and he has been given honors such as an Emerging Leadership award nomination from the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement. In the greater world, he has served as a senatorial intern in Washington D.C., an operations intern at Cascade AIDS Project, and a policy intern at the City Club of Portland. He is excited about bicycles, wine, television, and graduating from being a perpetual intern to being a PolitiCorps fellow!