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This article originally appeared in NACC News, the newsletter of the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council. NACC established the Nu Lambda Mu international honor society.
Fernanda Torres Maqueda graduated from Arizona State University’s College of Public Service and Community Solutions with a Master of Nonprofit Leadership and Management degree in December 2017.
“A few months post-graduation, I began a new professional journey as the Senior Program Manager of Public Allies Arizona (PAAZ) at the ASU Lodestar Center,” says Fernanda. PAAZ is committed to advancing social justice and equity by engaging and developing diverse young people. As a national program, Public Allies serves 23 communities through a 10-month-long apprenticeship learning program funded through Americorps.
“In my role,” says Fernanda, “I support and manage over 30 young adults through professional development, leadership engagement, and community projects based on the values of collaboration, continuous learning, diversity and inclusion, focus on assets, innovation, and integrity.”
As a former STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) educator, mentor, and partner of community organizations such as the Arizona Humane Society, the Association of Professional Humane Educators, the Hispanic Leadership Institute, the Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine, and Omega Phi Chi Multicultural Sorority, Incorporated, Fernanda has worked to develop youth and young adults for over eight years.
“I credit my mother, Marisol Maqueda, for my nonprofit sector and community involvement passion,” says Fernanda. “My mother always volunteered in her spare time, even when she worked multiple jobs. She gave her complete self to the community, regardless of the little money and resources she had. I aspire to follow in her footsteps.”
As someone previously labeled as opportunity youth, Fernanda found solace from the challenges that arose from being economically disadvantaged, an immigrant, a woman of color, and a DACA recipient within the nonprofit sector.
“I am unsure of where I would be without local community leaders and the support they provided me,“ she says. “Whether assisting me with learning a new language, providing my family with food boxes, to helping me navigate the post-secondary education world as the first in my family to not only attend college but also to graduate from high school; the love and care I received from nonprofits contributed significantly towards my development of who I am today. I will forever be grateful.”
Fernanda notes, “As a new graduate and a recent Nu Lambda Mu inductee, I am excited about continuing my work in the nonprofit sector as well as engaging with and learning from my community.“