Ortiz headshot

Emerson Fellow

Wendy Ortiz

21st Class, 2014-2015

Wendy grew up in a migrant Mexican neighborhood in Anaheim, California, and graduated with a degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. In college, Wendy worked as a case manager to promote physical, emotional, and sexual well-being for teenage mothers. She collaborated with an Aztec dance group to create the Indigenous Pipeline Program, which increased the number of local youth danzantes who enroll and graduate from UC Berkeley. She also completed a qualitative research project with the Ronald E. McNair Scholar Program on the connection between healers, plants, and ancestors in Anaheim and Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. Wendy has engaged in grassroots efforts to organize youth, create women of color feminist spaces, oppose police brutality, and fight for migrant and juvenile justice.

Field placement: Texas Hunger Initiative

Dallas, Texas

Wendy authored a report on the outcomes of the Family Garden Demonstration Project, which assessed the use of GardenSoxx gardens to improve food insecurity and promote congregational cohesion. As a community organizer with Empowering Oak Cliff, Wendy developed and facilitated organizing tactics trainings and helped support the localized efforts to address safety concerns, city services access, food injustice, youth development programming and community economic prosperity.

Policy placement: Center for American Progress

Washington, D.C.

Wendy worked with the Poverty to Prosperity team on the intersection of climate change and food access issues. She contributed several blog posts to the TalkPoverty blog centered on food justice, and authored a policy brief on the nexus of concentrated poverty and food deserts.