2023 Equity & Inclusion Fellowship Undergraduate Recipients

The new Equity & Inclusion Undergraduate Fellowship program introduces the field of public policy to undergraduates who might not otherwise be familiar with it, as well as increases the pipeline of diverse students into APPAM institutional member graduate public policy and public affairs schools. The recipients will be recognized for their accomplishments and will also have opportunities to formally network with each other, Student Equity and Inclusion Fellowship Recipients and with members of the Policy Council and Diversity Committee. They will also have many opportunities to informally network with other students and professionals during the conference.

Congratulations to the 2023 Equity & Inclusion Undergraduate Fellowship recipients!

Michael Fuentes, University of Pennsylvania

Dedeepya Guthikonda, University of Pennsylvania

Nehal Naqvi, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Alishba Sardar, University of California, Berkeley

Stephen Silva, University of Texas at Arlington


Michael Fuentes

Michael_FuentesMy name is Michael Fuentes. I am a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Economics and majoring in Data Science and Analytics. I am a first-generation Latino student with a passion for coding, nature, and sports of all kinds. Since I have recently gotten involved in human subjects research, I am interested in completing human subjects research to help those in need. I hope to focus my research on issues of homelessness and food insecurity. Ever since I can remember, I have loved completing community service, be it collecting trash in my local park or volunteering at marathons and 5k runs for breast cancer. I also partake in work with Collective Success @ Penn, a first-generation, low-income club focused on providing professional opportunities to students in need. I have two older brothers who are my rock and mean the world to me. I am very excited about everything that is to come in my educational journey, and I am very grateful for all who have helped me go as far as I have today.

Dedeepya Guthikonda

Adrienne_EvansDedeepya is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a BA in Economics in the College of Arts & Sciences and a BS in Economics at the Wharton School. She is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her research interests lie in education policy and reform, which she had the opportunity to explore this past summer at Penn’s Graduate School of Education. Her other academic interests include writing and journalism, and on campus, she is an editor for the Daily Pennsylvanian.

Dedeepya is excited to learn more about public policy, explore the different career paths the field offers, and is particularly interested in the intersection of economics and public policy. She is looking forward to exploring the conference’s theme, and further examining public policy as a tool for equity. On campus, she is also a part of student government, and spends time teaching writing workshops for K-12 students across Philadelphia. This past summer, she interned at the Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency, gaining insight into the refugee resettlement process in the United States. Her hobbies include listening to podcasts, running, and baking banana bread!

Nehal Naqvi

Nehal_NaqviNehal Naqvi is a political science and statistics student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where he is a Sondheim and Blaustein Public Affairs Scholar, a member of the Honors College, and a Data Science Scholar within UMBC’s Center for Social Scholarship. His academic focus areas include Research Methods, Public Policy, and Applied Statistics. His research interests include evaluating preparatory effectiveness and investigating a national framework for political science research methods coursework. At the state level, Nehal serves as Attorney General for the Maryland Student Legislature and as an Intern for the Maryland Statistical Analysis Center within the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victims Services.

Nehal is also interested in development and advocacy for Shi'a Muslims in America. He serves as a board member for Ma'rifa, a nonprofit organization committed to the spiritual and intellectual growth of Shi’i students. He also has served as a member of the American Muslim Bar Association's Policy Committee, where he has supported advocacy on federal policy impacting the Shi'a community. He has also spoken at the 2023 Universal Muslim Association of America Conference - Challenges, Opportunities and Advocacy.

Alishba Sardar

AlishbaI am currently working on a degree in Ethic Studies and Education at UC Berkeley. My journey at UCB has involved delving into research focused on particular strategies that shape the assistance extended to foster youth in the realm of higher education. My aspirations revolve around futhering my exploration into support initiatives tailored for foster youth, particulary within urban school settings. My aim is to foster the development of inclusive and equitable educational environments. I intend to leverage my research findings to drive the implementation of policies that can usher in positive and transformative changes. 

Stephen Silva

Stephen_SilvaStephen Silva-Brave, is an enrolled citizen of the Sicangu Lakota Nation (Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota). He is in his final semester of the UTA BSW program where he received the Outstanding Student Activist award in 2022 and is conducting research on grassroots efforts for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Stephen resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He is an LCDC-I and consultant for Texas’ pioneering statewide Native American Studies course.

As a member of MMIW TX Rematriate, he organizes and facilitates Uncle Time, a unique community gathering to foster support among local Indigenous males. Stephen’s primary purpose is to uplift Indigenous communities and drive positive change to those struggling with substance use and health problems.