Monica Santander is a Master of Public Policy Candidate at the USC Price School of Public Policy. She is especially interested in youth outcomes, namely for at-risk youth, equitable and sustainable community development, and program evaluation. Before attending USC, she received her B.S. in Environmental Biology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where she published research on the phylogenetics of opisthobranchs and studied models of climate change effects on their habitat range. In addition, she has experience in K-12 education, higher education, and inmate education. Her most recent professional experience at the California State University Water Resources and Policy Initiatives consisted of working with stakeholders throughout the California State University system; local community colleges; nonprofits/consultants engaged in water-related technical assistance; and water industries to develop various projects, collaborations, and initiatives. In addition, she assisted in grant writing, progress reports and representing the CSU institute at stakeholder meetings regarding CA Proposition 1 Water Bond funds.
During her first year at USC, she was 2015-2016 Executive Co-Director of the Queer Policy Caucus and a 2015-2016 planning committee member of the Students of Color and Allies Policy Forum. Currently, she is a part-time Transitional Development Specialist assisting foster care and probation youth with their transition to adulthood through life skills and career development.