Equality California Institute Announces 2017 Comcast Fellows

Equality California Institute today announced its 2017 class of Equality California-Comcast Fellows, and the commencement of the program’s seventh year.

The Equality California-Comcast Fellowship is a leadership development program in which six exceptional LGBT or ally college students are placed in the offices of California legislators or other government officials. Fellows gain first-hand experience working with legislators, government officials and their staff, and develop key leadership skills. Their presence increases LGBTQ visibility in the Capitol and gives government officials direct interaction with members of the LGBTQ community.
“It is more important now than ever to make sure we have adequately prepared the next generation of LGBTQ leadership,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “Our partnership with the Comcast Foundation helps address the traditional underrepresentation of LGBTQ people in government and helps advance equality by familiarizing people in the California Capitol with LGBTQ people and the challenges we face.”

The Equality California-Comcast Fellowship is funded through a generous grant from the Comcast Foundation.

“Comcast NBCUniversal is committed to empowering the LGBTQ community through our philanthropic initiatives. We are proud to partner with Equality California for the seventh year to foster education and awareness that promote LGBTQ inclusion, respect, and equality,” said Lorena Hernandez, community investment director of Comcast California region.

This year’s Equality California-Comcast Fellows are:

  • Severiano Christian, from Ukiah, is a senior double-majoring in comparative religion and multicultural and gender studies at California State University, Chico. Seve is the campus transgender program coordinator for CSU Chico Associated Students Gender and Sexuality Equity Center and was a representative for Transform California, the statewide campaign co-led by Equality California and Transgender Law Center to increase awareness of the transgender community.
  • Jacob Fraker, from Sonora, is a senior majoring in social work at San Jose State University. Jacob was appointed as a liaison to the National Association of Social workers and has planned and implemented anti-bullying programs for the Center for Non-Violent Community.
  • Daniel Gonzalez, from Fresno, is a senior majoring in sociology at California State University, Fresno. Daniel is a board member of the Fresno State LGBTQ Student Advisory Board, where he facilitates events for the campus LGBTQ community.
  • William Muetzenberg, from Tracy, is a senior majoring in political science at UCLA. He recently completed an internship with Equality California, where he helped coordinate communications campaigns and conducted interest group endorsement research.
  • Emily Paciulla, from Davis, is a senior majoring in management at Georgetown University. She is the President and a founding member of the McDonough Alliance, the first LGBTQ business group at Georgetown. She also hosts a two-hour, weekly program on Georgetown's WGTB radio and has worked with middle school students on strategies to curb the spread of HIV in their communities.
  • Christina Parker, from Yucca Valley, is a senior majoring in Arabic language, culture and literature at California State University, San Bernardino.  She is chair of the San Bernardino Chapter of California Youth Connection, where she empowers youth to use legislation, policy, and advocacy to transform the foster care system, and has met with state assemblymembers, senators and their staff to advocate for bills affecting foster youth.

This year’s fellows will be placed with the offices of Senators Scott Wiener and Henry Stern and Assemblymembers Susan Eggman, Laura Friedman, Evan Low and Blanca Rubio.



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