Ariel Higuchi is excited to join the Office of Ami Bera (D-CA) to continue her work in foreign and domestic policy. Prior to the APAICS Congressional Fellowship, Higuchi was a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. As a Scoville Fellow, Higuchi created a series of lectures and seminars on US nuclear weapons and waste policy which she presented at the National Atomic Testing Museum with the Director of the Nevada National Security Site and the former Director of Sandia National Labs. In addition, Higuchi provided research assistance to Brookings Senior Fellows and ran events with government officials on issues related to the future of arms control and extended deterrence in East Asia. Higuchi graduated with a BA in History from Brown University, where she focused on the political history of nuclear weapons in Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
While at Brown, Higuchi also focused on domestic housing policy. As the Advocacy Chair for Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere and as an Outreach Team Leader with the Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project, Higuchi led legislative efforts at the State House and direct service programs in Providence, RI. In 2016, Higuchi was awarded the iProv Fellowship to conduct independent research and create a set of policy recommendations on subsidized housing applications to the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless.
Higuchi is excited to re-engage with the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community as a former Scholar and Ambassador for the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing Kung Fu, singing sea shanties, and playing Ultimate Frisbee.
As a musician-educator of ten years, cultural leader, and cross-cultural collaborator, Erika Ninoyu has worked to build pathways and organizational capacity to empower the next generation of leaders, our youth, through community organizations and the public-school system. Fighting for more equitable and inclusive policies, she transitioned into a career in education policy through the Harvard Graduate School of Education to enact social change through public policy and education reforms. As the founding president of the Japan Alaska Association, Erika established bi-national programs including partnerships between Japanese American organizations, the Consul General of Japan, the U.S. military, and the Japan Self Defense Force. Her multi-national work also extends to collaborating with the National Congress of American Indians to establish the Climate Action Task Force, the Alaska Humanities Forum to deepen cross-cultural understandings through music, her work to strengthen U.S.-Japan relations as vice chair for the U.S.-Japan Council ELP Steering Committee, and advocating for civil rights as the former VP of the Japanese American Citizens League, Alaska Chapter.
Additionally, having performed with Shidara, a professional taiko drumming group in Japan that preserves a 750-year-old festival tradition, Erika regularly performs with taiko groups across the nation.
Erika is excited to bring her passions to the Office of Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY).
Born in Valencia, California, Manjot graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Global Studies. He held numerous leadership positions while at UCLA, including a position in student government and served as President of the Sikh Student Association for two years. He had the opportunity to intern at the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) which sparked his interest in the intersection of the non-profit and government worlds and how the two actors interact within a larger ecosystem. He went on to intern for the Department of Justice in the Community Relations Service Division.
Upon graduation, he worked for Snapchat and after gaining experience in technology, he was selected as one of 12 fellows for the Coro Fellowship in Pittsburgh, a full-time, nine month deep dive into the world of public affairs where he had the opportunity to sharpen his leadership skills, gain experience in local government and the education sector, and participate in community and political problem solving processes. After graduating from the fellowship, he spent a year and a half working in consulting at Oracle in Santa Monica, California.
Singh is excited to focus his efforts in Speaker Pelosi’s office on the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community while learning how folks in leadership can bring together distinct points of view into a common goal based on shared values. In his spare time, he enjoys discovering new coffee shops and moving around cities by electric scooter.
Born and raised in Connecticut, I received my BA in Social Work from Western Connecticut State University and my Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Policy Practice from the University of Connecticut. As a social worker, I bring perspectives of social justice, human rights and feminist theory to all areas of my work. I am a daughter of Cambodian refugees, and the first in my family to receive a college education. Prior to the congressional fellowship, I interned for the Connecticut Institute for refugees & immigrants. I learned the needs of immigrants and refugees from countries like Syria and Sudan. After the trump administration executed a policy to prohibit the entrance of refugees in 2017, I realized I had an obligation not only as a social worker, but as a first generation American, to be engaged in politics. I then interned for the Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council, in which I learned how to advance anti-trafficking efforts on a state wide level. Most recently, I interned for Hartford City Councilwoman Wildaliz Bermudez. This internship allowed me to organize the 2019 Homelessness Summit, which gave individuals facing homelessness in Hartford with a platform to speak on their experiences.
I am extremely excited to be fulfilling a fellowship for Senator Jacky Rosen’s office and to be relocating to DC. I hope to be able to expand my skills in community organizing, leadership, and civic engagement. I also hope to gain more connected to my Asian heritage throughout this fellowship and become empowered as a young person of color in politics.
Nick previously worked at the International Franchise Association (IFA) in Washington, D.C. He led emerging business strategy, the affinity program, and advised the CEO and the board on healthcare issues. Prior to that, Nick had a successful stint in the government relations side of the IFA. Nick has also worked at the Republican National Convention of 2016 in Caucus Operations, and the Public Liaison office at the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee. He graduated with honors from the University at Buffalo with a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Political Science.
Ridhwan Sediqe is an active community organizer from Toledo, Ohio. He recently received his Bachelor of Science in Political Science at The Ohio State University. His academic work specialized in international relations, social scientific methodology, and included advanced language training in Arabic.
Ridhwan’s family is from the silk road pathways of Afghanistan, inspiring his passion to connect Afghan experiences within the Asian American community. Notably, Ridhwan served as President of Ohio State’s Asian American Association, one of the largest student groups on campus. In addition, he has collaborated with the Midwest Asian American Student Union (MAASU) to prepare their annual spring conference. He is passionate about civic engagement, and worked as a student ambassador with APIAVote. He has also worked with the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, supporting outreach initiatives to members of the Arab, Middle Eastern, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities in the area.
Concerned about the absence of members of his diaspora community in the civic engagement space, Ridhwan co-founded the Afghan Diaspora for Equality and Progress (ADEP) in 2016. ADEP is a grassroots organization that strives to engage Afghan Americans with social justice work and improve opportunities for political engagement of Afghans in the U.S.
Professionally, Ridhwan has worked in the U.S. Department of Transportation, where he supported the Maritime Administration’s Office of Program Performance, and researched the effects of public transit and the federal highway system on marginalized communities. He also previously served as a fellow with the Pure Water Access Project where he worked on developing sustainable clean water solutions to various global communities.
Ridhwan is excited to bring his passions and experience to the Office of Senator Tammy Duckworth. Outside of work, Ridhwan is an avid basketball fan, and enjoys writing and performing poetry.
Wardah Khalid is a policy analyst, activist, and speaker on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, refugees, and Islam in America. She is Founder and President of Poligon Education Fund, a national civic education and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening Muslim American engagement with Congress, and most recently advocated on refugee and immigration issues at Church World Service. She is also a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project. Wardah has significant U.S. government experience working with and advising members of Congress and their staff, the White House, and State Department on the Iran nuclear negotiations and human rights issues pertaining to the Syrian and Israel/Palestine conflicts. Her writing and commentary has been featured in numerous national and international outlets, and she was featured on ABC’s Nightline as one of the country’s top millennial activists. Wardah holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, focused on Human Rights/Humanitarian Policy and Middle East Studies. Additionally, she is a CPA and received a BBA and MS in Accounting from Texas A&M University.
Christopher DeVore comes to the APAICS Fellowship program with nearly four years of professional public health experience with the federal government. As a former Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Christopher was responsible for managing legislative and budget issues. He primarily focused on the Strategic National Stockpile, a national repository of life-saving medicines and supplies that can be deployed anywhere in the U.S. during a public health emergency, and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Cooperative Agreement which provides critical funding for state, local, and territorial public health departments to develop preparedness capacity.
Prior to the CDC, Christopher worked as an Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, he provided administrative support to the Assistant Secretary during various public health emergencies including the 2014 Ebola outbreak, Flint, Michigan water crisis, and Zika Virus outbreak.
Additionally, Christopher serves as a volunteer Co-Chair for a policy work group at the National Academies’ Genetic Population Health Action Collaborative. The work group seeks to address the ethical, legal, and social implications of genetic screening for common disorders such as hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and familial hypercholesterolemia. Christopher’s ongoing work with the group has resulted in a publication in the May 2018 special issue of Health Affairs.
Christopher is an alumnus of the New Leaders Council. He joined the organization at the Atlanta Chapter as a member of the 2017 Fellowship cohort and most recently served as their Co-Director of Communications from 2017-2018. In May 2018, Christopher was a recipient of the YoungGov40 award from the Atlanta Young Government Leaders.
Christopher earned his Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Graduate Certificate in Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology from Emory University and his Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health from the University of Maryland.
Born in South Korea but raised in Louisville, Jennifer graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies. Upon graduation, Jennifer served as an English Teaching Assistant in Sejong City, South Korea through the U.S. Fulbright Program. She taught first through sixth graders while learning more about the culture and language of her heritage.
Prior to her Fulbright grant year, Jennifer gained valuable government and public affairs experience at our nation’s capital. Her experience includes interning at the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the office of Rep. Joaquin Castro, and SKDKnickerbocker. Her time at the Department of Commerce exposed her to the intersection between business, security, and policymaking through its focus on export controls. She continued to develop her interests on the Hill through her work on the U.S.-Japan Caucus and foreign affairs related to the Asia-Pacific. Jennifer was also part of the Council of Korean American’s (CKA) inaugural public service program.
Shaped by her experiences, Jennifer strives to build coalition among AAPI communities while pursuing her passion in national security and foreign affairs. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys watching Korean dramas, reading, and traveling.
Neil Noronha is excited to join the Office of Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) as a foreign policy and defense aide. Prior to starting the APAICS fellowship, Neil completed a 1-year fellowship abroad in New Delhi, India as part of the Henry Luce Scholars Program. There, he worked at Carnegie India as a visiting scholar, researching how the Indian government combats various transnational security threats, to include money laundering and disaster management. He has published with Carnegie India, The Print, The Diplomat, and Seminar Magazine.
Previously, he spent two and half years in the Federal government as part of the Obama Administration. From December 2015 to January 2017, Neil was the Special Assistant to the Senior Director for Response Policy on the National Security Council (NSC) staff at the White House. He oversaw the presidential approval process for declaring severe domestic incidents as major disasters or emergencies under the Robert T. Stafford Act. Additionally, he served as a duty officer within the Response Policy Directorate, working with the White House Situation Room to inform senior NSC staff and White House principals, including the President, about severe domestic incidents, their impact on local populations, and the U.S. government response.
Before joining the NSC staff, Neil was at the Department of Defense as one of its youngest political appointees hired under the Obama Administration. Under the Defense Fellows Program, Neil served as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict, where he served as the Assistant Secretary’s principal speechwriter and handled special projects related to counterterrorism, humanitarian affairs, and counternarcotics. Additionally, Neil was an Action Officer within the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, where he covered issues related to defense cover and human intelligence activities.
Obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service and his master’s degree in Security Studies, both from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Neil has interned at various Federal agencies and departments, a think tank, and a financial services company. He is passionate about solving transnational threats, such as terrorism, organized crime, climate change, and natural disasters, through economic policy and instruments. Having grown up in the Washington D.C. area, Neil, a 2010 alumnus of Gonzaga College High School, is an avid basketball and football fan, consistently rooting for the Baltimore Ravens and Georgetown Hoyas.
Originally from Pakistan, Niha was raised in Dallas, Texas and holds a BA in Finance and minor in Political Science from The University of Texas at Dallas, and a JD from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL. During her time at University of Texas at Dallas, she served as the President of Pakistani Students Association and worked at JPMorgan Chase for two years as a corporate analyst maximizing the company’s profitability index and models while developing new best practices.
During law school, she was a board member for Student Bar Association as well as Vice President for South Asian Law Students Association. Additionally, she served as project lead at the International Human Rights Clinic at JMLS and predominantly worked on investigating the human trafficking of Puerto Rican substance abusers in Chicago, IL. She also provided intakes for domestic violence victims and addressed immigration reforms from May 2015 to May 2017.
After graduating from law school, she interned at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas (ACLU) focusing on international and domestic policies concerning economic justice, education, housing, voting rights, and environmental justice. In her most recent position as a Legislative Fellow with Poligon Education Fund, she served as the direct liaison for legislative, policy, and public affairs regarding all constituent matters while cultivating superior partnerships and alliances.
She is excited to utilize her legal and finance background and join the Office of Representative Al Green (D-TX-09) as their 2018 – 2019 legislative fellow!