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Angelique Salizan


Program Year: 2020

Current Role:  Policy Coalition on Director Adoption Institute

“With access comes power”

Angelique spent years building her career on Capitol Hill, but continued to hit a ceiling, seeing some of her colleagues with the same level of education moving through their careers at a faster pace. National Urban Fellows became her catalyst to break through those barriers, obtain an advanced degree and increase her competitive edge as a professional.


Erik Estrada


Program Year: 2010

Current Role: Community Manager, Community Foundation of South Jersey

““National Urban Fellows opened up doors and helped me sit at tables that I didn’t even know existed.”

As a teacher, Erik Estrada felt limited in his ability to impact the lives of his students. He knew he needed a more holistic understanding of the societal and systemic challenges they were facing everyday. He needed to strengthen his leadership capacity in order to more effectively answer his call to service as an educator. However, when he found National Urban Fellows, a chance to upskill became an opportunity to reimagine the trajectory of his career entirely.


Miles Sandler


Program Year: 2014

Current Role: Director of Policy Engagement at The Ewing Kauffman Foundation

“I literally don’t see that I would be where I’m at right now, if I hadn’t walked through that first door.”

Before becoming a National Urban Fellow, Miles was a single mother with a three year old running an after school program. Even with the most supportive family, she was struggling to make ends meet and have the impactful career she’d imagine. Pursuing a Master’s degree felt like the way to do that, but it would have been impossible for her to afford taking on additional student loan debt.


June Glover


Program Year: 2011

Current Role: Senior Program Officer at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

“Being in NUF changed my life.”

After spending years pursuing a career as a physician, June was at a crossroads. She realized that providing direct healthcare services would not accomplish the systemic changed that she believed was necessary address health disparities. When exploring the backgrounds of leaders in the healthcare industry for inspiration, she saw two things: very few leaders of color and very little emphasis on the systemic impacts on health outcomes for black and brown people; most focused on individual behaviors. She couldn’t see a clear path towards meaningfully combating the inequities she saw in her community.


Brianna Rogers


Program Year: 2020

Current Role: Associate Initiative Officer for Rework the Bay at The San Francisco Foundation

“NUF is a life transformation.”

While she always had the passion for making meaningful change, Brianna was continuously assigned to positions that limited the level of impact she could have. She recognized her innovative talents were being wasted in roles with little opportunity for upward mobility. When she joined National Urban Fellows, she found a place that empowered her to create her own legacy.


Kendra Chao


Program Year: 2010

Current Role: Managing Director

“NUF poured into me.”

Serving as an Executive Director at a small local nonprofit, Kendra had made strides in her career, but she knew she had a ways to go before she could envision the type of leader she wished to be. It’d been almost a decade since she was in college, and she doubted that a Master’s degree would have a tangible impact on the trajectory of her career. Luckily a mentor introduced her to National Urban Fellows, and her life was forever changed.


Benita Benavides


Program Year: 2018

Current Role: Assistant Director, Community Construction Outreach Program at University of California San Francisco

“NUF … has allowed me to be best present in the spaces I’m in without changing the way I am.”

As a public servant motivated by labor empowerment, Benita recognized something was missing, hindering them from effectively building more inclusive communities. They knew something needed to change.

Calvin Williams


Program Year: 2012

Current Role: Senior Advisor for Social Impact & Advocacy at Think Common Entertainment

“I needed to go where I could grow.”

Calvin Williams reached an inflection point in his career. He was stuck in positions that didn’t allow him to make the level of impact he knew he could, if he were only given the opportunity. Seeing colleague after colleague with the same level of work and educational experience achieve promotion after promotion, he knew something needed to change.


Ontay Johnson


Program Year: 2011

Current Role: Non-profit Executive and Founding President of O.D. Johnson, LLC

“I will never be the same and haven’t been since.”

I will never be the same and haven’t been since.” The National Urban Fellows program took Ontay on a journey that catapulted his personal and professional growth. As part of that experience, Ontay was compelled to critically evaluate his lived experiences and how they fit into the larger narrative of racial equity in America.

Essen Otu


Program Year: 2008

Current Role: Diversity & Inclusion
Manager at Salt River Project

““The NUF experience solidified a clear direction for me in my career.”

Essen reached a point in his career where he knew he wouldn’t progress without furthering his education. When his boss told him he needed to get a Master’s, Essen knew he needed more than just a degree. In search of mentorship and community, he found a program that would clarify his path forward, in his career and in his life.