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2023-2024 Cohort

Next Gen group photo

emily-cruz-sarilesEmily Cruz Sariles

Senior, Political Science and Spanish

Emily Cruz Sariles is a senior majoring in political science and Spanish with a minor in quantitative social science. Cruz Sariles is an active member and leader of the Association of Latinx/Hispanic Advocates and Allies, a UH cultural organization that aims to create a new sense of unity on campus through celebration and advocacy. She wanted to join the Next Generation Leadership Academy to further develop the research and analytical skills she learned through her Civic Houston Internship Program experience with Teach for America (TFA), a nonprofit committed to education equity. As a Civic Houston Intern, she performed legislative research, engaged in external communications and outreach and learned about public education in Texas.


sophie-kaloustan-cerqueiraSophie Kaloustian Cerqueira

Sophomore, Public Policy

Sophie Kaloustian Cerqueira is a sophomore majoring in public policy. Kaloustian Cerqueira sought the Next Generation Leadership Academy to augment her public policy journey and develop her leadership skills. She knows her public or nonprofit career aspirations align closely with the national network’s mission and outcomes. Kaloustian Cerqueira has been involved in campus activities, including managing social media for the Venezuelan Student Union. She founded the Do Something Club in her high school to bring awareness to social issues affecting the community.


miguel-medinaMiguel Medina Jacquez

Sophomore, Political Science

Miguel Medina Jacquez is a sophomore majoring in political science. Medina Jacquez relocated to Houston and enrolled in the University of Houston after working as a diesel mechanic. His first memory of advocacy and civic engagement was at a public meeting announcing teachers’ pay reductions and seeing his first-grade teacher show up against them. He was a Civic Houston Intern with the financial services team at the Harris County Clerk’s Office in the spring of 2023. He served as an intern with Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia in the summer of 2023. Medina Jacquez hopes his experience with the Next Generation Leadership Academy will help him construct productive solutions for his interests in preserving the environment, public transportation and food inequality.

sandra-teranSandra Teran

Sophomore, Public Policy

Sandra Teran is a sophomore majoring in public policy. Teran's awareness of families living in poverty created her determination to access avenues to develop her leadership and advocacy skills, specifically in issues around affordable housing and gentrification. The first-generation college student is a member of the UH Academic Achievers Program sponsored by the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Office of the President and is working with the campus Metro Volunteer Program and Environmental Cougar Organization. She wants to amplify her public policy experience through the Next Generation Leadership Academy. 


dawn-trevinoDawn Treviño

Senior, Political Science

Dawn Treviño is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in laws, values and policy. Treviño will apply what she learns through the Next Generation Leadership Academy to engage with her community through the political process. The transfer student from Lone Star College wants to bring awareness to critical social issues such as race and gender issues in hopes of making change for the better. Off campus, Treviño proudly serves in the Air National Guard and worked at a public relations and communications firm conducting a nationwide landscape analysis and other data research and analysis projects. Her on-campus activity includes a leadership position with Deeds Not Words at UH, a student-led organization empowering others to stand up for social justice.


aryan-trivediAryan Trivedi

Junior, Political Science and Public Policy

Aryan Trivedi is a junior majoring in political science and public policy with aspirations of becoming a leader in the public sector. He wanted to become a Next Generation Leadership Academy student to develop his leadership skills and learn how to create positive societal change through public policy. Trivedi is an avid esports competitor and UH Coog Gaming and Esports Club officer and has competed in several national contests. He practices speaking Mandarin with fellow members of the Chinese/American Language and Culture Organization on campus and supports the university’s student-run online television station CoogTV activities.


tiffiani-thanTiffani Than

Junior, Public Policy

Tiffani Than is a junior majoring in public policy and minoring in biology, Spanish and medicine and society. She developed a desire to make a positive policy change by volunteering with educational and mentoring organizations. Than entered the Next Generation Leadership Academy eager to learn how to advocate for the areas she is most passionate about – education and maternal and pediatric healthcare. She holds leadership positions in a science mentoring initiative for middle schoolers and an after-school tutoring project. The University of Houston Tier One Scholar works as a resident advisor on campus, helping new students integrate into campus and residential life. She also serves as an Honors Ambassador working with incoming students in the Honors College.


alexander-westerbeckAlexander Westerbeck

Junior, Political Science

Alexander Westerbeck is a junior majoring in political science and minoring in philosophy. Westerbeck is taking their experience as an undergraduate at-large senator for the University of Houston Student Government Association to the next level with their commitment to the Next Generation Leadership Academy. They also served as the chair of the SGA administration and finance committee and received the SGA Leadership Award in the spring of 2023. Working part-time helping students access campus necessities and amenities at the UH Student Housing and Residential Life allowed Westerbeck to volunteer with campus groups Deeds Not Words and Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees (PAIR UH). They hope to apply what they learn to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights through newfound communication skills.