Maria Talania is a first generation immigrant from the Philippines. She migrated to the United States in 2012. Maria graduated with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, minor in Philosophy at the University of California, and a Master in Public Administration at New York University with a specialization in International Development and Policy. She served as an AmeriCorps VISTA for Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE). As an AAFE Project Coordinator, she developed a special project geared towards poverty alleviation, job creation and employment opportunities for immigrant workers and small businesses in Queens, NY. Then, she worked at the NYC local government as a Program Coordinator. She managed the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs’ (MOIA) Volunteer program with its mission of promoting volunteerism and civic engagement within immigrant communities in NYC. She recently graduated with a Juris Doctor degree at Northern Illinois University College of Law. She will be an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow at the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) in Hartford, Connecticut where she will assist with legal screenings and direct representation for immigrant communities in Hartford.