Minority Leadership Program

The Minority Leadership Program (MLP) is a cohort made up of talented minority students enrolled at the Trachtenberg school. MLP provides these student leaders with unique opportunities and experiences to build leadership skills through activities and professional development with leaders in policy in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. The MLP cohort seeks to advance the career opportunities of its members and inspire their ambitions with practical training sessions, networking opportunities and speaker sessions. From mentorship programs to social events, the network and lasting friendships found within the MLP stay with members long after graduation.  


The Trachtenberg School's Minority Leadership Program develops the skills of talented students of traditionally marginalized communities, to help them become exemplary leaders in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.


1. To connect the Trachtenberg School minority community and to enhance the professional development and leadership skills of its minority students.
2. To foster participants' leadership skills through their active participation in self-empowerment coaching by alumni and participation in professional development activities.
3. To promote the success and inclusivity of minority professionals in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
4. To connect cohort members with mentors from successful GW minority and non-minority communities to advise them regarding issues, challenges and opportunities encountered in the workplace.
5. To create lasting relationships that will continue to empower minority students long beyond graduation.

Are you interested in joining the Minority Leadership Program? Are you a Minority student in the MPA, MPP or MA-ERPP program? Apply to join the Spring 2018 Cohort before 11:59pm on March 11. 

2018-2019 Chairs
Christopher Luis Stevenson: Founder and Chair
Christopher Luis Stevenson is an MPA student with a focus on state and urban policy and the founder of the Minority Leadership Program at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy & Public Administration. Christopher has a strong background in working in Maryland politics, both at the federal and state level and currently serves as a community liaison for a Maryland State Senator. His passion to create this program stemmed from his deep involvement and previous work on minority issues and organizations such as the LULAC, where he managed various legislative and equal opportunity initiatives. Christopher has experience in communications, legislative process, community organizing and political strategy. Just this past year, he helped lead an initiative that derailed a proposed plan that would destroy the homes of over 1,300 residents in the city that he was raised in. He is a staunch advocate for minority, gender and sexual-orientation equality, and loves promoting and participating in activities that help with these initiatives. 
Erika Ross: Chair
Erika graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Political Science. There, she worked as a research assistant for the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse and an assistant facilitator of the Youth Arts Alliance Program, working with detained youth. After graduation in 2014, Erika became a Teach for America Corps member in Charlotte, NC and is pursuing a Middle School and Secondary Social Studies certificate. As a teacher, she developed a student organization geared towards leadership and involvement with various community service and social action projects. She has completed two policy and advocacy fellowship through Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) working for the School Justice Project, a nonprofit that advocates for special education for incarcerated youth. Currently, she works in policy and communications at the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) and plans to pursue a lifetime career in social policy. 
Shanise Williams: Vice Chair of Programming
Shanise Williams is a native of Philadelphia and a current MPA student with a focus in urban policy and interest in housing and community development. After graduating from Saint Joseph’s University, she served for two years as an AmeriCorps VISTA and assisted with the launch of one of the first 5 Promise Zones. The West Philadelphia Promise Zone, a federal anti-poverty initiative based on a collective impact. Shanise worked in housing and resident engagement and within this role she worked with federal, municipal, nonprofit and community organizations to plan and implement a series of community events and initiatives to bring resources and services to the community. Afterwards, she worked at the Fair Housing Rights Center in Southeastern Pennsylvania, where she completed intakes for victims of housing discrimination and led fair housing rights trainings for housing providers, nonprofit agencies and youth aging out of the foster care system. Her work in housing and community development grew her passion for public service and inspired her to attend the George Washington University's Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. She currently works at Rebuilding Together in Washington D.C., a nonprofit agency focused on home repair and community revitalization. 
Cesar Villanueva: Vice Chair of Communications
Cesar Villanueva is Vice Chair of Communications for the Minority Leadership Program. Currently, he is obtaining his Master of Public Administration (MPA) and is concentrating on education and workforce development issues. Prior to coming to the Trachtenberg School, he worked at the Youth Policy Institute (YPI), a nonprofit organization that closely aligns with his values. YPI is addressing intergenerational poverty by providing access to education, workforce training and essential human need services to low-income families and communities. At YPI, Cesar worked as a Business Service Representative to conduct job fairs, assist with professional development workshops, partner with employers and community agencies and help low-income communities overcome barriers to employment. As an undergraduate, he majored in Political Science, in which he spent some of his time working on Capitol Hill as a congressional intern for the Office of Congressman Xavier Becerra. Cesar is passionate about helping minority communities thrive in higher education, leadership roles and access to economic advancement opportunities. As Vice Chair of Communication, he hopes to help the program be inclusive of all minority communities. 
Hunter Gomez: Vice Chair of Membership
Hunter Gomez is the Vice Chair of Membership for the Minority Leadership Program. Hailing from Arizona, Hunter is a 1st year MPA student with a focus in emergency management and crisis communications. Prior to his enrollment at the George Washington University, Hunter graduated with honors from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s in science. After spending over a decade working in the entertainment industry, he entered the world of marketing and communications as a marketing director with a cosmetics startup based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now a fulltime student at the Trachtenberg School, Hunter focuses primarily on disaster and crisis management and communications. Being a descendant of Mexican and Spanish immigrants, Hunter is dedicated to serving and representing Hispanic populations at the highest levels of the private and public sector. 

For More Information

Questions about the MLP program should be addressed to Chris Stevenson at [email protected]

Apply Now for MLP