Welcome IGNITE's 2021-2022 Fellows!

From four fellows in 2016 to 30 fellows and counting, IGNITE is thrilled to introduce you to our sixth cohort of fellows. Every year IGNITE recruits a cohort of diverse and passionate women in communities across America and provides them with resources, training, and networks to flex their political power and mobilize women on their campuses and in their communities to become civically engaged. Fellows serve as ambassadors for IGNITE’s mission and vision and play a valuable role in our efforts to spread a national message that it is time for young women to step into political power. 

Meet IGNITE's 2021-2022 Fellows

Christina B. Williams, Atlanta Fellow

Christina Williams300dpiChristina B. Williams is IGNITE's Atlanta Fellow.  She is a rising senior at Clark Atlanta University (CAU), pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science as a Provost Academic Excellence and Dean's List scholar. Christina is a leader in the student civic engagement space and has extensive experience serving in student government. She has founded and presided over several campus clubs and initiatives, including the CAU IGNITE College Chapter. Christina has completed fellowships and internships with several nationally recognized civic organizations, including The Andrew Goodman Foundation, Campus Vote Project, Public Citizen, the ACLU of Georgia, and Rock the Vote. The National Journal, The Washington Post, NPR, and other outlets have featured her. Christina aspires to attend law school to become an attorney and utilize the law as a tool to defend the civil rights and civil liberties of marginalized communities. She is a Philadelphia, PA native. For Atlanta inquiries, contact christina@ignitenational.org.

Jessica Riley, Austin Fellow

Jessica Riley squareJessica "Jess" Riley is IGNITE’s Austin Fellow. She is a recent graduate from St. Edward's University, holding a Bachelor's of Social Work with a minor in Political Science. Through her time at St. Edward's, Jess held many leadership positions, including President of her IGNITE college chapter, Senator and External Affairs Director for the Student Government Association, and Executive Secretary for Social Work Student Association. Jess was also a member of the Model UN team for the International Affairs Society. In her two terms as Co-Chair for the College Student Commission, Jess advised the Austin City Council on issues that impacted the 150,000+ college students in the city. Jess also interned with the National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter (NASW-TX), where she fine-tuned her skills as a community organizer, coalition builder, and legislative advocate/lobbyist at the state level. She aims to one day hold political office at a local or state level. For Austin inquiries, contact jessica_r@ignitenational.org.

Carlyn Michelbacher, Baltimore Fellow

CarlynCarlyn “Kiki” Michelbacher is IGNITE’s Baltimore Fellow. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Law and American Civilization with a minor in Human Rights and History at Towson University. She serves as president of Towson University’s Pre-Law Society. Carlyn’s political engagement began in high school with her involvement in student-led protests that supported gun reform, police demilitarization and challenged restrictive school policies. She has taken this passion for social justice with her throughout her college career and, in 2019, she developed a young women’s mentorship program that aims to bridge the gap between high school and college for young women in the Baltimore area. In the future, she hopes to attend law school with a concentration in International law so that she can advocate for the global and intersectional inclusion of women in every facet of politics. For Baltimore inquiries, please contact, carlyn@ignitenational.org

Kaila Pouncy, Birmingham Fellow 

KailaKaila Pouncy is IGNITE’s Birmingham Fellow. She is a student at The University of Alabama majoring in Criminology/Criminal Justice and Political Science with a minor in Psychology. Kaila has held many leadership positions on her campus, including Associate Justice on the Judicial Board of UA’s Student Government Association, President of UA’s Women and Gender Resource Center Student Leadership Council, a captain position for UA's Mock Trial Association, and is a contributing writer for two student publications. She is the Organizational Committee Head for UA’s League of Women Voters and serves as the Political Awareness and Involvement Committee Chair for the Lambda Zeta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority Inc. She plans to attend law school and work to advocate against mass incarceration. Kaila aspires to one day hold political office at a local or state level. For Birmingham inquiries, please contact kaila@ignitenational.org

Jaymie Bianca, Boston Fellow

FELLOWSHIP (3)Jaymie Bianca is IGNITE’s Boston Fellow. Jaymie graduated from Trinity College with degrees in Educational Studies, Human Rights and English. She served as the Trinity IGNITE Chapter’s President and Co-Founder. While at Trinity, she was a 2021 Class Senator, a member of the TrinVotes initiative which encouraged and registered students to vote and worked on several different policy groups, including the Campus Climate Incident Response Team, Title IX Working Group, and the Non-Discrimination Policy Group. In addition to her policy work, Jaymie has a passion for neurodiverse individuals since her brother, Brandon is on the autism spectrum. Jaymie has advocated for more inclusive laws for people of all abilities, and has continuously raised funds for Special Olympics. Jaymie ran for a seat on the Board of Education and this experience inspired her to continue IGNITE’s mission and lead female empowerment and political leadership efforts in the Boston area and beyond. Jaymie’s political ambition is to become the Secretary of Education for the United States. For Boston inquiries, reach out to Jaymie at jaymie@ignitenational.org.  

Jocelyn Frias, Central Valley Fellow

FELLOWSHIPJocelyn Frias serves as IGNITE’s Central Valley Fellow. She is a first-generation Chicana graduate from the University of California Merced, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Born and raised in the Central Valley, she is a proud daughter of undocumented immigrants who are essential workers in the agriculture industry. Jocelyn has been a mental health advocate for marginalized communities throughout her college career. She founded the IGNITE College Chapter at UC Merced while holding multiple leadership positions in various organizations. Jocelyn is a passionate organizer who has worked with 99 Rootz and PowerCA on several campaigns where she advocated for housing for all, universal basic income, youth jobs and much more. The people of the Central Valley, her community, mean the world to her, and she hopes to give back to her roots by being of service to the most marginalized. For Central Valley inquiries, please contact jocelyn_f@ignitenational.org

Erin Hernández, Chicago Fellow

erin hernandezErin Hernández is the IGNITE Chicago Fellow. She graduated from Northern Illinois University (NIU) with a bachelor's in Political Science and Spanish with a minor in Latino and Latin American Studies. At NIU, Erin served as the Director of Governmental Affairs, president of DREAM Action NIU, and a peer mentor for Huskie Service Scholars. She is currently a bilingual analyst for the Cook County Board of Review, where she reviews property tax appeals and conducts bilingual outreaches in Spanish. Erin also serves as Secretary for the Latino Alumni Council, leading projects to increase resources for students and provide networking opportunities for graduates. As an advisory council member for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Erin is a marketing team voting member dedicated to reaching more students. In her spare time, she volunteers for United Working Families. Erin is a proud Chicagoan, first-generation daughter to a Mexican Immigrant mother, and organizer for justice. For Chicago inquiries, contact erin@ignitenational.org.

Tiera Moore, Cleveland Fellow

Tiera MooreTiera Moore is IGNITE's Cleveland Fellow.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from Kent State University (KSU) and is currently a graduate student at the same university pursuing a Master of Science in Geography. Moore became the third African-American woman to serve as Student Body President at KSU during undergrad. While in office, she advocated for increased mental health resources and laid the groundwork for a campus-wide voter registration initiative called Kent State Votes. Tiera found her passion for national politics while interning on Capitol Hill with Senator Sherrod Brown. She is passionate about education policy, equality for underrepresented individuals, and immigration reform. She plans to research how local communities can enhance youth civic engagement. Moore hopes to encourage other young women to get involved with politics on the local and national levels. For Cleveland inquiries, contact tiera_m@ignitenational.org.

Munira Abdullahi, Columbus Fellow

Munira Abdullahi columbus fellowMunira Abdullahi is IGNITE’s Columbus Fellow. For Columbus inquiries, contact munira@ignitenational.org. Full bio coming soon.




Isabella D'Alacio, D.C. Fellow

IMG_6250Isabella D'Alacio is the IGNITE Fellow for Washington, D.C.. Isabella is a student at George Mason University studying Government and International Politics and Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Growing up as a young Cuban woman from Pembroke Pines, Florida, she has faced homelessness, witnessed gun violence in her community, and lived the impacts of failed leadership. These experiences, coupled with her identity, have caused her to become a youth voice heavily involved in immigrant protection, women’s rights, and gun violence prevention work. Isabella has served as the Florida Relational Organizer for United We Dream Action during the 2020 election. She currently serves as a Policy Associate for March For Our Lives and on the Team ENOUGH Executive Council - all focused on youth activism. Isabella is a Political Honoree for The Conversationalist’s 2020 The LIST Awards due to her exemplary political involvement as a Gen-Z individual. For D.C. inquires, contact isabella@ignitenational.org.

Teresa Ornelas, Denver Fellow

TeresaTeresa Ornelas is IGNITE’s Denver Fellow. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in International Studies, Political Science and Philosophy with a minor in Spanish at the University of Denver. She serves as the Communications Director for Colorado Young Democrats. She worked on Tattiana Matta’s Congressional campaign in 2016, and volunteered for the Joe Biden campaign in 2020. She currently volunteers for the ACLU of Colorado and New Era Colorado. As a child, Teresa experienced the loss of family members, and she wanted to give back to those who have experienced similar situations so she started working for Camp Erin Denver which hosts a children’s grief camp every summer. As the granddaughter of an immigrant, Teresa is dedicated to increasing diversity in politics as well as advocating for underrepresented voices. She is also passionate about social justice issues such as indigenous rights, women's rights, racial equality, and criminal justice reform. For Denver inquiries, please contact teresa@ignitenational.org

Agatha Pinheiro, Detroit Fellow

Agatha PinheiroAgatha Pinheiro is the IGNITE Detroit Fellow. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan, studying Political Science with a minor in Law, Justice and Social Change. Agatha researched the value of higher education for African-American students at the University of Michigan. She was also part of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies research program at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked on county, state, and federal campaigns in which she has helped to engage voters and organize communities. Agatha also interned with Reproaction, a reproductive justice organization. In addition to her work at IGNITE, she serves as a fellow at the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan. As an immigrant from Brazil, she is passionate about increasing the participation of minorities in politics, especially Latinas. For Detroit inquiries, contact agatha@ignitenational.org.

Christi Nguyen, Houston Fellow

FELLOWSHIP (1)Christi Nguyen is IGNITE’s Houston Fellow. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Social Policy Analysis with a minor in Anthropology as well as a certificate in Civic Leadership at Rice University. Christi has long been a part of Houston’s Vietnamese community through the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association, Hope Clinic, BPSOS, and the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Movement. She is currently coordinating Rice’s Houston Policy Challenge on healthcare, president of Rice’s Asian Pacific American Student Alliance, part of Jone’s residential college’s student government, and a large Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion advocate across campus. Christi is currently starting a nonprofit to bridge the cultural, linguistic, and generational gap on mental health discourse in the Vietnamese American community, The Understanding Initiative. Christi aspires to travel to Southeast Asia to do research, continue her work in nonprofit and policy advocacy, and one day become a tenured professor running a sociological Asian American issues lab at a university. For Houston inquiries, contact christi@ignitenational.org.

Emelie Jimenez, Miami Fellow

emelie jimenezEmelie Jimenez is the IGNITE Miami Fellow. Emelie holds an A.A. in International Relations from Miami Dade College and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Political Science at the Florida International University (FIU) Honors College. This includes two certifications in Human Rights and Political Transitions and Middle Eastern Studies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Emelie created the BC Community Project, an organization dedicated to providing the homeless community housing and resources needed to ensure they have food, hygienic products, and information on other organizations in their area. She also served as the president of the IGNITE college chapter at FIU and interned for Centro Emergenica de Mujer and La Defensoria Municipal del Niño y del Adolescente in Cusco, Peru. In the latter role, Emelie aided young mothers and children in escaping domestic and sexual violence. She applied her learnings on gender-based violence in her research on human trafficking and human smuggling laws for the Department of State through her FUI's Diplomacy lab.  These experiences sparked Emile's passion for fighting for good governance and ridding societies of gender-based violence. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Emelie is a first-generation Cuban American. For Miami inquiries, contact emelie@ignitenational.org.

Justice Grau, Milwaukee Fellow

Justice GrauJustice Grau is the IGNITE Milwaukee Fellow. Justice is a proud first-generation student currently pursuing her Master's degree in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education at UW-Milwaukee. She holds an A.A. degree in Early Childhood Education from Madison College and a Bachelor's of Science in Community Engagement and Education from UW-Milwaukee. Justice continually advocates for vulnerable communities in Milwaukee and is committed to understanding race, class, gender, and other equitable issues as a core of her professional work with an intersectional approach. For Milwaukee inquiries, email justice@ignitenational.org.

​​Monali Bhakta, Minneapolis Fellow

Monali Bhakta​​Monali Bhakta is the IGNITE Minneapolis Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English from Gustavus Adolphus College. During her senior year, Monali served as the Co-President of the Gustavus Student Senate, making diversity, equity, and inclusion an institutional priority. Outside college, Monali interned with high-ranking elected officials like U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, where she provided immigration casework assistance for 200+ Minnesotians. In the 2020 General Election, Monali was a Field Organizer for the Dan Feehan for Congress campaign and served as an ambassador for IGNITE the Vote. She was the President of Minnesota's IGNITE College Council, organizing events with powerhouse female candidates and elected officials and educating young women to become civically engaged. In addition to her work as an Advocacy Associate for the Minnesota Private College Council, Monali is involved in many organizations, including South Asians 4 Black Lives, the India Association of Minnesota, the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, and Pay Our Interns. Monali looks forward to attending law school to study public interest law. For Minneapolis inquiries, contact monali@ignitenational.org.

Sumanpreet Randhawa, Las Vegas Fellow

SumanSuman Randhawa is currently serving as IGNITE’s Las Vegas Fellow. She is pursuing a double major in Psychology and Communication with a minor in Social Justice. She recently served as the student body president of NSSA and co-founded the first IGNITE College Chapter at Nevada State College. She is also a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society.  She is the proud daughter of Indian immigrant parents, from whom she gets her drive, perseverance, motivation, and resilience. She is an activist, advocate, and organizer who is passionate about social issues that affect women such as economic, gender-based violence/discrimination, and reproductive rights. Suman is dedicated to supporting and preparing young women to build their own confidence and leadership skills by starting IGNITE College Chapters throughout Nevada. She believes there is power in women working together to tackle challenges. Suman is a proud mom, loves fitness, traveling, meeting new people, and reading. For Las Vegas inquiries, contact suman@ignitenational.org

Yasmeen Metellus, New York Fellow

Yasmeen-1Yasmeen Metellus is the IGNITE New York Fellow.  She graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor's in Political Science. Today, Yasmeen is a student at New York University Law and plans to pursue a career in public interest law.  At Columbia, Yasmeen served as the co-founder and president of Columbia University Black Pre-Professional Society, which provides career resources for underrepresented minorities on campus. Yasmeen has held numerous internships, including NY State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, America Needs You, and Venture for America. She also served as the Campaign Program Facilitator for Chad Klitzman for Broward Supervisor of Elections. Yasmeen is passionate about voter education, diversity, and community engagement. Before her New York fellowship, Yasmeen served as IGNITE's Miami Fellow. For New York inquiries, contact yasmeen@ignitenational.org.

Aamore Richards, Newark Fellow

Aamore Richards, Newark copyAamore Richards is IGNITE's Newark Fellow. She is majoring in Political Science on a pre-law track at The College of New Jersey. Aamore serves as the Vice President of Student Services, collaborating with school administration to ensure the student body's needs - like housing, dining, health and wellness and support services - are met. Personal experiences with educational inequities have led Aamore to develop a passion for policy and legislative advocacy. She aspires to become a legislator to use policy to advocate for equal and affordable access to education.  For Newark inquiries, contact aamore@ignitenational.org.


Carolyn Kedslie, North Texas Fellow

carolyn kedslie Fellow_Headshot_largeCarolyn Kedslie is IGNITE’s North Texas Fellow. She is a current student at the University of Texas at Dallas and serves as IGNITE's UTD College Chapter president. She also served as an #IGNITEtheVote Ambassador throughout the 2020 general election. During this time, she relationally organized communities to create their voting plans. As an IGNITE Fellow, Carolyn hopes to ignite the political fire in other young women to become civically engaged and get involved with the issues they care about. In the future, she wants to run for office one day to make her community a better, more efficient, and inclusive place. For North Texas inquiries, contact Carolyn at carolyn@ignitenational.org.

Rebecca “Becca” Yanez, Oklahoma City Fellow 

BeccaBecca Yanez serves as IGNITE’s Oklahoma City Fellow. She is double majoring in Professional Writing and Political Science at the University of Oklahoma. During college, she has served in the Oklahoma Democratic Party as an Affirmative Action Chair in Congressional District 4, making her the youngest on the state central committee at that point. She has also served in various leadership positions within the Young Democrats of Oklahoma and College Democrats of Oklahoma. Currently, she is the President of College Democrats at OU. Becca has staffed various campaigns at both the state and federal level. Becca has served as a Democracy Coach for Generation Citizen in Oklahoma. Becca became interested in national politics after interning for Kendra Horn in Congressional District 5 and moving to D.C. in 2021 to report on legislative affairs that affect Oklahomans. Becca hopes to spread the message of IGNITE to Oklahoma and give the state its well-deserved access to resources. For Oklahoma City inquiries, please contact rebecca@ignitenational.org

Shania Bennett, Philadelphia Fellow 

ShaniaShania Bennett serves as IGNITE’s Philadelphia Fellow. Shania started college at the age of 15 years old and is a proud alumna of Pennsylvania State University. In May of 2018, at just 18 years old, Shania was elected in the City of Philadelphia to the position of Committee Person where she serves the 48th Ward 12th Division in South Philadelphia. She is currently the youngest person ever to be elected in Philadelphia. Shania is also a co-founder of “Reach 4 Peace”, a non-violence peace initiative and a licensed Youth Pastor. She is a scholar, athlete and musician. Shania aspires to serve as a firefighter in Philadelphia and hopes to run for United States Senate one day. For Philadelphia inquiries, please contact shania@ignitenational.org

Logan Cole, Pittsburgh Fellow 

LoganLogan Cole is IGNITE’s Pittsburgh Fellow. She earned her bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a minor in Political Science from Duquesne University. She was President of the Alpha Sigma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator of Strong Women Strong Girls. In 2020, Logan started her own business, Casa De LayCee Beauty and Wellness LLC, which promotes the motto of “Loving all of yourself candidly.” She also created P-Her-Pose Women’s Ministry, a women’s empowerment group that encourages women to become a “Full-time purpose walker and part-time entrepreneur”. In the near future, Logan has aspirations of becoming a first-generation lawyer. She is excited to change the narrative of Pittsburgh being an unliveable city for women, especially women of color. She hopes to inspire young women around the world to do anything they set their mind to. For Pittsburgh inquiries, please contact logan@ignitenational.org.  


Julia Perrotta, Raleigh-Durham Fellow

Julia PerrottaJulia Perrotta is IGNITE's Raleigh-Durham Fellow. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in philosophy, politics, and economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Most recently, Julia served as a policy research fellow for Democracy NC, where she championed access to voting and civic engagement. Julia also conducted research to improve voting processes, which she presented to the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Julia served as a UN Experiential fellow for Blue Ridge Consulting.  Previously, she volunteered for Gina Collias, a Congressional candidate who ran in her hometown district. Julia plans to continue involvement both on and off her campus to boost civic engagement and voting opportunities, raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault, and create empowering spaces for women and girls. Julia's goal is to attend law school to advocate for the civil, human, educational, and political rights of women and girls worldwide. For Raleigh-Durham inquiries, contact juliap@ignitenational.org.

Faith Garcia, San Diego Fellow

Faith GarciaFaith Garcia is IGNITE's San Diego Fellow. She recently graduated from California State University San Marcos with a Bachelor's Degree in Political science and a double minor in Women's Studies and Sociology. Faith centered on civic engagement, inclusive excellence, diversity, equity, social justice, survivors, and immigration throughout her academic career. She was also committed to efforts to defund and abolish the University Police Department across the CSU system. She believes in the power of community and is excited to help create an empowering space for young women to discover their voice and place in areas they aspire to be, including in elected office and leading movements. Faith is a first-generation graduate Latina, Indigenous, Queer, Woman who is system impacted. For San Diego inquiries, contact faith@ignitenational.org.

Camille Gix, Seattle Fellow

Camille GixCamille Gix is the IGNITE Seattle Fellow. She is a first-year Master of Public Administration student at the University of Washington Evans School, specializing in Social Policy. Camille serves as Policy Chair position for my legislative district's Democratic party and the Platform Committee Chair position for the Washington Progressive Caucus. She is also working on a ballot initiative opposition campaign in Seattle called House Our Neighbors. Since high school, local politics has been her passion when she interned for the Washington state campaign for marriage equality. In undergrad, she became a precinct delegate for the Sanders presidential bid. Camille recently returned to her hometown of Seattle after four years living in Ecuador and later Chile as a youth program manager. For Seattle inquiries, contact camille_g@ignitenational.org.

Rahel Bachmann, South Bay Fellow

RahelRahel Bachmann serves as IGNITE’s South Bay Fellow. She took part in the Ronald Reagan Leadership Program at the Reagan Library and served alongside students with varying political backgrounds. She also created a service-based leadership action plan to implement in her community and was a board member in her high school’s chapter of Junior State of America, where she took part in multi-day conventions during which high school students would run mock trials, introduce and vote on bills, and elect students to act as Congress members. In the past, Rahel helped establish and run a friend’s successful campaign to become Governor of Junior State of America. Additionally, she has served children in her local community, creating lesson plans and communication goals for native Spanish speakers in California, and in Ethiopia, her family’s homeland. In Ethiopia, she worked with teenagers at an orphanage in Addis Ababa. Rahel is passionate about improving communities of varying backgrounds. For South Bay inquiries, please contact rahel@ignitenational.org

Camille Serrano, Southern California Fellow

Camille SerranoCamille Serrano is IGNITE's Southern California Fellow.  She is pursuing a Juris Doctorate at Southwestern Law School and previously graduated Summa Cum Laude with the Highest Departmental Honors from UCLA with a Bachelor's degree in Gender Studies. Camille also attended Fullerton College, where she served as Associated Students Chair of Finance, Delegate for Student Senate for California Community Colleges, and was one of eight community college students chosen to partake in a fully-funded social justice research project at UCLA. Camille used research as a platform for policy change, initiating the Cultural Sensitivity Task Force that passed a resolution to mandate cultural sensitivity training for all North Orange County Community College District staff. Camille facilitated UCLA's first Intersectionality Forum and LGBTQIA Forum. In addition, Camille collaborated with Blue Future, a youth-led political action committee, to improve accessibility to COVID-19 resources between constituents and Senator Alex Padilla. Born to two immigrant parents, Camille is a queer woman of color ready to create more space at the table. For Southern California inquiries, contact camille@ignitenational.org.

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