Maria Calderon has been selected as a member of the 2022 Class of Congressional Fellows by the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute.
WCPI Fellows work in congressional offices from January through July on a wide range of policy issues. Calderon’s fellowship will be with Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California's 13th Congressional District, which is based in Oakland and covers much of northern Alameda County.
“I am so excited to have been awarded a fellowship that so many great women have been a part of, and even more excited to have the opportunity to work for the Honorable Barbara Lee,” said Calderon, who will complete her fellowship in a hybrid capacity. “It is incredibly surreal to work for an icon who has relentlessly fought to make this country a better place."
Calderon’s primary tasks in her work with Rep. Lee will include assisting the office’s legislative team with its appropriations portfolio, legislative research, and hearing and testimony preparation. Through this experience, Calderon said that she hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the budget and appropriations processes, as well as processes for the legislative branch.
Each year, the Congressional Fellowships are extended to a select number of students and recent graduates who are pursuing or have recently completed an advanced degree. Selected fellows also display a proven commitment to equity for women. Fellows gain practical policymaking experience and can earn graduate credit as they work in congressional offices.
The fellowships are designed to train potential leaders in public policy formation to examine issues from the perspective, experiences, and needs of women. The program is unique in that it is the only graduate-level fellowship program on Capitol Hill focused on women.
Calderon’s field service work at the Clinton School created a unique set of experiences with organizations and initiatives, many of which focused on women. Most recently, her Capstone project was completed with the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, where she developed an advocacy plan for the organization in advance of the 2023 legislative session.
Calderon completed her International Public Service Project in partnership with Girls Gearing Up International Leadership Academy, an empowerment program based in Berlin, Germany, that is designed for young women across the world. Using both quantitative and qualitative data analysis, she created an evaluation plan to serve as the foundation for the organization's comprehensive monitoring and evaluation program.
As a first-year student at the Clinton School, Calderon was part of a team of students who partnered with DecARcerate, Inc., an organization committed to ending mass incarceration in Arkansas. The team used interview and survey data to compile a report examining the collateral consequences of Pulaski County's court debt system.
Calderon, a native of Houston, Texas, graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville with a degree in political science and international studies. As an undergraduate, she interned with the Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History and was involved in student government.
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