Michelle Mairena (any pronouns) is a rising sophomore at Stanford University, where she is a prospective History and Earth Systems double-major interested in community advocacy and combating climate disinformation.
During the past two election cycles, she has worked in promoting civic literacy among youth as a National Fellow for the non-partisan “When We All Vote.” Most recently, Michelle served as regional organizer with “Rhizome,” a non-profit she co-founded focused on mobilizing high school youth into civic action. This follows work to organize for voting legislation under the non-partisan organization Un-PAC, where she handled Un-PAC Florida’s early social media presence to rally students for the Freedom to Vote Act.
Uplifting young voices is what has drawn Michelle, the granddaughter and daughter of Nicaraguan journalists, to use reporting to center community voices. She has participated in journalism workshops by the Poynter Institute, NAHJ, and YMG. During her time at YMG’s fall 2020 workshop, she wrote a feature story on the third year anniversary of Florida’s Parkland shooting and how Parkland students mobilized under March For Our Lives. In 2018 and 2019, she also received C-SPAN honorable mentions for documentary entries — one about freedom of speech and the other about immigration. For her work in centering youth, Michelle was awarded the Junior League of Miami Uppaluri four-year scholarship.
At Stanford, Michelle is a student worker at the Latinx community center “El Centro,” where she promotes Central American visibility on campus. She is also a tutor in Stanford’s Hope House Scholars Program, where she co-teaches humanities courses at a women’s rehabilitation center in Redwood City, California.
Michelle rejoined YMG in summer 2022 as a content and programs intern.