Antioch University New England (AUNE) and the U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) have chosen Jessica Leonard to serve as AUNE’s 2015 U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus Fellow. This unique fellowship, now entering its ninth year, is for master’s degree students in AUNE’s Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability (ASJS) concentration in the Department of Environmental Studies.
“We are thrilled to send our ninth annual Fellow to D.C. this summer,” said Abigail Abrash Walton of AUNE, who created the fellowship and chairs the selection committee. “We also love the feedback that Antioch uniquely prepares Fellows to make a real impact, advancing change at a national policy level.”
Leonard will work in the Capitol Hill office of Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chair of the CPC and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands this summer. The fellowship is a collaboration between AUNE’s ASJS concentration and the 80-plus member CPC.
“The CPC fellows from AUNE’s Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability program understand how to organize. It’s a skill invaluable to our caucus members, as we work on issues critical to public policy,” Grijalva said. “Meanwhile, they learn the intricacies of how Congress works and help us to advance meaningful policy initiatives.”
Leonard holds a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology, physiology and behavior, with a minor in African and African American Studies, from the University of California, Davis. Her experience includes working on legislative matters at the state and local level, in Dallas, Texas, where she served as a community organizer with the Texas Campaign for the Environment. Her scope of work included community outreach, education, and mobilization, involving participation at corporate shareholder meetings, community meetings and forums on environmental and health issues. She also partnered with a range of other local social interest groups to support their change initiatives.