APSIA Hosts 7th Annual Diversity Forum Advisor Workshop in Texas

APSIA Hosts 7th Annual Diversity Forum Advisor Workshop in Texas

On Friday, May 19, 2023, APSIA welcomed 15 advisors from 11 minority serving institutions around the great state of Texas for the seventh annual Diversity Forum Advisor Workshop.

The day kicked off with a welcome from JR DeShazo, Dean of the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) School of Public Affairs. Dean DeShazo emphasized the important work toward diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in international affairs and the intersection between the two.

Then, alumnae Stella M. Flores, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Public Policy at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin LBJ School Alumna), and Elisha Smith Arrillaga, Faculty Fellow for the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Professor of Practice at the University of Texas at Austin College of Education (Princeton SPIA Alumna) explored why diverse voices are needed in policymaking and international affairs.

They shared their professional and personal journeys at the intersection of DEI, higher education, and policy. Both speakers shared examples of how policy choices impacted their own lives and sparked long-term change. Dr. Flores shared how she comes from a family of farm-workers and saw affirmative action policies provide her family a chance to access higher education. Dr. Smith Arrillaga remembered how her mother advocated for policies in Mississippi that still fight discrimination today. Both women encouraged advisors to remind students that - even though it can be difficult to see how - we are all called to be a part of fixing the world. Policy decisions and representation among decisionmakers play an important role in that process.

Next, alumni Pooneh Mianabi, Senior Manager at Salesforce (GWU ESIA Alumna), Carlos Navarro, Data Analyst for Texas 2036 (TAMU Bush School Alumnus), and Marielle Septién, Latin America Policy Manager for TikTok, (Georgetown SFS Alumna) shared their professional journeys.  Moderated by Nabeeha Chaudhary, Senior Student Program Coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Austin (UW JSIS Alumna), speakers compared and contrasted their work in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Since all of the speakers had experience in each realm, they were able to share more about salary expectations, the impact of their work, and how they moved across different sectors and policy areas.

Over lunch, Estevan Delgado, Director for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the University of Texas at Austin LBJ School (UT Austin LBJ School Alumnus) led a discussion of how to engage diverse students amid a changing political environment. Discussants talked about pending legislation in the DEI space and how important it is to create a sense of belonging for students, no matter the policy environment.

Attendees then got to hear from Henry Chambers, Program Administrator for Diversity Equity, and Inclusion at the Tufts Fletcher School, and Kathryn Meyer, Director of Admissions and Recruitment for Texas A&M University Bush School of Government & Public Service. Angel Ornelas, Texas native and a current graduate student at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, moderated the session, which explored how students can choose a school that fits their needs, how to pay for school, and how advisors can help students understand when it is the right time to pursue graduate education.

To close out the day, APSIA’s Constituent Relations and Communications Coordinator Britnee Chuor (UT LBJ School Alumna) explained APSIA’s work and how it is of service to advisors throughout the year, especially through the Public and International Service Advisor Network.


The 2023 Diversity Forum is made possible by many generous supporters:






















  • Global Access Pipeline – www. globalaccesspipeline.org
  • Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs - www.maxwell.syr.edu
  • University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs- lbj.utexas.edu
  • The Volcker Alliance - www.volckeralliance.org
  • Women in International Trade - www.wiit.org



  • Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Foreign Policy for America