Pamela Alejandra Guerrero ’19 (political science major, international relations minor) was recently named as part of the Axis Leadership Program’s 2021 cohort.
Axis is an eight-month leadership program designed for Latino professionals between the ages of 21-28 to develop personally and professionally and to prepare them to engage with civic and community leadership activities. Upon completion, Axis participants will be equipped and prepared to unify, transform and serve the community.
The program is a partnership between the City of Indianapolis and Indiana Latino Expo. Class members are chosen through a competitive process based on their community involvement, personal vision and achievement.
Guerrero, who is from Ecuador, says it’s a great feeling to represent her country in the program.
“When I found out I was selected for the Axis 2021 cohort, I was very excited about the opportunity. I hope that Axis helps me develop deeper relationships with professional Latinos in the Indianapolis area and learn and meet more outstanding professionals through the State. I also hope to improve myself as a professional and learn how I can better serve the community,” said Guerrero.
Since graduating from UIndy in December 2019, Guerrero interned with the Indiana Institute for working families and assisted #TEAMINSTITUTE throughout the 2020 Indiana legislative session as their legislative and communications assistant. In her former position with the Institute, she met and interacted with many different non-for-profits and legislators. She had the opportunity to write blog posts for the Institute and learn more from the work that nonprofits do across the country as well as the influence nonprofits have in the public policy process.
After her internship, Guerrero was hired as a civil rights specialist with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. In her current position, she concentrates on investigating complaints that fall within the jurisdiction of the Indiana Fair Housing law, the Fair Housing Act, and the Civil Rights law. The Civil Rights Commission provides relief to people that have been discriminated against in the areas of housing, education, public accommodation, credit and employment.
Reflecting on her time at UIndy, Guerrero said, “I learned a lot at UIndy. I think that UIndy prepared me to become an analytical person which is so crucial for my career. I valued all of my classmates’ diverse political views, and I think my professors allowed for a very open environment to learn from each other.”
She specifically expressed gratitude for the mentorship of Milind Thakar, professor of international relations, and Laura Wilson, assistant professor of political science.
“They have been my biggest cheerleaders. I feel confident that even after graduating, I can reach out to them and ask them questions about grad school. It is great to know that I am not on my own trying to figure out the next steps in my career and studies,” Guerrero said.
In the long-term, Guerrero would eventually like to work in environmental policy and management to help address climate change and its effects. She is interested in making clean environment access a right because she sees climate change creating a global humanitarian crisis.
“In Indiana alone, we feel the changes hotter summers, more days in the 90 degrees, and more rain, making it harder for agriculture. Indiana needs to adapt quickly, controlling the sources that are increasing greenhouse gases. Most of the pollution in the state affects minority communities creating lifelong health issues. A clean environment should not be reserved for those that can afford it. We all should have access to it,” said Guerrero.
About the program
The concept of the Axis Leadership Program began as part of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s Latino Advisory Council as a significant lack of Latino leadership was noted within the Indianapolis community. This program was a dream of many long-standing Latino leaders including Former Advisory Council member Carmen DeRusha, whose unrelenting leadership to see a leadership program come to fruition inspired the leadership team to develop the Axis Leadership Program.