Wonder Women

Posted April 22, 2008 at 4:22pm

The Women’s Research and Education Institute has welcomed five new Women and Public Policy fellows to work on Capitol Hill for the year.

[IMGCAP(1)]The fellows — Joanne Manrique, Jennifer Taylor, Pamela O’Leary, Anh Phan and Carolyn Hughes — come from diverse backgrounds and will work to further the mission of the research institute, which is to “identify issues affecting women and their roles in the family, workplace, and public arena.” They are spread out among Congressional offices.

Manrique earned a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Maryland and is working on her doctorate, which she hopes to complete this fall. She also completed public health training at The George Washington and Johns Hopkins universities.

The New York City native serves as the legislative fellow for Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). She works on issues related to the Food and Drug Administration and international women’s health.

Her previous work experience includes a stint as the executive director of Experior Advisory, where she worked on public health delivery programs for refugees, labor policies and practices, and taxation structures in Latin America and the Middle East. She also worked in the medical field managing clinical trials in areas including neurology.

In her spare time, Manrique is a soccer and T-ball coach for the Rockville Civic Center, and a member of numerous organizations, including the Women’s Information Network, the American Political Science Association, the International Studies Association, the Maryland Population Research Centers and the Canadian Society for International Health.

She also started her own company, International Development Solutions, which led a team of physicians, political scientists and policymakers to explore how women’s groups can mitigate the effects of armed conflict on public health in the Middle East.

Taylor is the legislative fellow for Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.). She is from Santa Clara, Calif., and has bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences and psychology and social behavior from the University of California at Irvine. She also earned a master’s degree in public health at the University of California at Los Angeles in 2006.

Taylor, 27, handles health care and women’s issues for Capps. She has experience working in birthing health care, volunteer management and fund development, veterans health education and therapeutic horseback-riding. She also worked at a health science camp for underprivileged high schoolers and for the Flying Samaritans, a health care group in Mexico.

In her spare time, she enjoys kickball and her office softball team, The Kicking Asses. Taylor is an avid hockey fan as well.

[IMGCAP(2)]O’Leary is the legislative fellow for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), where she is responsible for women’s issues.

The 23-year-old is from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2006 and a master’s degree in applied women’s studies at Claremont Graduate University in 2007.

O’Leary was an intern for Human Rights Watch and the United Nations, and worked for the Feminist Majority Foundation and her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi.

“If the right position opens up at the end of my fellowship, I would very much appreciate the opportunity to continue working on the Hill,” she said. She would also love to work at the United Nations and plans on applying to law school.

O’Leary is a co-founder of an international solidarity group, Hope for Justine, which provides support to survivors of sexual violence in the Congo. In Washington, D.C., she has become involved in the Women’s Information Network, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy and the Women’s Foreign Policy Group. She owns her own apparel business, called iamfemtastic.com, which sells shirts with such slogans as “Wanted: Trophy Husband.”

“My passion is international women’s human rights,” O’Leary wrote in an e-mail.

Phan, a Congressional fellow in the office of Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), is from Portland, Ore., and has a charming take on her job on the Hill.

“Riding that little subway to and from the Capitol never gets old!” she wrote in an e-mail.

But there’s nothing quaint about this 32-year-old’s CV.

Phan earned her master’s degree in public administration from the Baruch College-City University of New York and has a degree in government and international politics from George Mason University. At GMU, she minored in urban and suburban studies. She was the communications director of the Organization of Chinese Americans, a pan-Asian American national civil rights and education nonprofit group. She also did electoral campaign work in Oregon and Washington states, worked with the Senate Democratic Caucus in the Oregon legislature and shot a documentary film in Vietnam with a youth group through the American Friends Service Committee shortly after the United States normalized relations with the country.

Phan now takes care of appropriations, health, civil rights and immigration issues. She also helps Roybal-Allard draft speeches and prepare for hearings and briefings.

She is a member of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and participates in events with the Oregon State Society.

Phan’s goals include more work on Capitol Hill and, possibly, at a think tank or nonprofit organization. She is married and lives in Alexandria, Va.

Hughes is the legislative fellow for Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), where she focuses on labor issues, human rights and health care.

Originally from Cincinnati, Hughes has a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Xavier University and a master’s degree in human rights from the University of London.

Hughes, 25, previously worked for the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps with Hands On Gulf Coast, where she helped with Hurricane Katrina relief and reconstruction. She also has experience as an international development worker for the Middle East Centre for Women’s Rights in London. She is currently learning Arabic and plays on a soccer team.

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