Michelle Meza

Michelle is a Peruvian-American mid-career, hands-on public manager passionate about working at the nexus of politics and policy – with the ultimate goal of getting things done in government to improve people’s lives.  

Prior to becoming a National Urban Fellow, she served as a Political Appointee for the Biden-Harris White House from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where she was the scheduler to the EPA Administrator Michael Regan. From there, Michelle played a fundamental role in the planning and execution of the Administrator’s and the broader Administration’s climate goals by getting into the unique “art” of translating daily competing priorities at the highest levels into well-thought, well-rounded, time-efficient run-of-shows to achieve them. A public manager by heart, she was also responsible for directing the vetting process of all scheduling requests, invitations, and public appearances for the Administrator, acting as a liaison with program offices across the agency and the general public. Furthermore, following her strongest passion for intergovernmental affairs and stakeholder engagement, she led the coordination from the Administrator’s Scheduling Team for all scheduling requests with congressional offices in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. 

Before her time in the Administration, Michelle served on Capitol Hill herself as a Scheduler and Special Assistant to California Congresswoman Nanette Barragan and later as the Director of Scheduling to Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford, managing his legislative and campaign agendas.  

Michelle is a firm believer that to achieve massive transformation in people’s lives for the better, policy and politics must go hand in hand. So in 2020, after earning a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), she decided to hop on the campaign trail for President Biden, joining the race from Wisconsin where she led Hispanic constituency outreach, GOTV county operations, and volunteer engagement. She has also undertaken roles as a consultant to the World Bank in Sierra Leone and to the Gates Foundation; fellow at the NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer and non-profits like the Open Government Hub; a TEDx speaker; and an in-progress writer of her first book on the diminishing state of women’s safety in big cities across the United States. 

She is a current fellow of American University’s Women & Politics Institute WeLead program, preparing mid-career professional women aspiring to run for office. And in 2018, she ran her own campaign, becoming the president of SIPA’s Latin American Student Association.  

Michelle earned her B.A. in Political Science from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru in Lima and holds an MPA from Columbia University in New York City.  

Wearing different hats at different government tables has convinced her that minorities —particularly the fast-growing Latina demographic— need to win more seats at the table of democracy. Through the fellowship, she expects to gain the policy depth, strategic governance mindset, and political savviness to navigate the loopholes of our democracy and translate them into a more civic-minded, people-powered, participatory, smart, gender-balanced, and racially diverse system of government.