Going Global Career Panel: Identities at Work
Paola is a senior majoring in International Studies, Latin American Studies and Political Science at the University of Utah. Paola is passionate about social justice. She currently serves as a Promotora for Communities United, an immigrant rights organization where she has been able to learn the importance of food justice, health access, workers’ rights, and equal housing opportunity. Since last year, Paola has been lobbying at the Utah State legislature supporting and pushing for state laws that uphold the rights and create positive change for minority groups in the state of Utah. Paola has also been a peer mentor for the Second Year Experience program at the University of Utah, where she connects students with professionals working in a variety of careers and offers academic, mental and family resources to the students. In the past, Paola worked alongside the Utah System of Higher Education to implement and find alternatives to support first generation students on their way to college. Paola was recently awarded by Malala Fund for her active advocacy on promoting access to higher education for young immigrant and refugee students in Utah.
Ze Min Xiao
Ze directs a newly launched Center for Economic Opportunity and Belonging at the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. The Center serves as the private sector commitment to work alongside government and communities of color to advance the principles outlined in the Utah Compact on Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The Center will focus on advancing economic equity and strengthening community cohesiveness by fostering an environment of belonging for all Utahns.
Ze had a 13-year career with Salt Lake County. As the Mayor’s Office for New American director, Ms. Xiao guided immigrant and refugee integration strategies on the local, state, and national levels. Under her leadership, Salt Lake County became the first county in the nation to achieve Welcoming Certification and was selected as one of four communities to participate in the Welcoming Transatlantic Exchange Program to share best practices with cities in Germany. Her work has been featured in national and international publications including, Bloomberg Associates, Boell Foundation, and Artplace of America.
Ze holds a Master of Art in Community Leadership from Westminster College. She is a fellow of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network. In her free time, she loves to garden, fishing, and spending time with her husband, two teenage boys, four dogs, and five chickens.
Jake Fitisemanu Jr. was born in New Zealand and grew up in Hawai'i and Utah with a deep love of his vibrant Samoan, Chinese, Korean, and American cultures. With a background in social sciences and public health, he led clinical programs for the Utah Department of Health and now works as a program manager for Intermountain Healthcare. As a community advocate and organizer, Jake is passionate about service, civic engagement, and community development. He lives with his family in West Valley City where he is serving a second term on the City Council.
Maxton Cline graduated from the University of Utah in 2020 with an Honors Bachelor of Science in Political Science with an International Politics Emphasis, an Honors Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminology. Maxton is also a recipient of the International Relation Certificate and wrote one of her two honors theses on how various international theories explain shifts in U.S. domestic politics. As an anti money laundering officer at Goldman Sachs, Maxton uses her international politics degree every day to make important risk assessments for a client base in a plethora of global jurisdictions. When not at work, Maxton enjoys consuming global news media, especially concerning foreign affairs and data-driven political analysis.
Daniel is a Learning Abroad Coordinator in the Learning Abroad office. He transitioned to Learning Abroad after working in International Student & Scholar Services for two years, also housed in the Office for Global Engagement. His career in International Education began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia (’15 –’17) where he was a TEFL Volunteer. He has an MEd focused on International Education and an MA in Relational Communication. He is fluent in American Sign Language and claims Chicago as home. Preferred pronouns: He/Him/His.
L. Lee Herbert
Mayra Guadalupe Cedano Robles is a passionate community organizer and authentic leader that has spearheaded immigrant rights campaigns for over a decade. Mayra was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico. When she was 11 years old, she immigrated to the US, where she established deep roots within Utah's immigrant community. Mayra started her activism in the immigrant rights movement when she was 15 years old. When she marched to the state Capitol for the first time to demand a halt on immigration raids. Mayra attended the University of Utah and graduated in 2010, where she received a B. A in Sociology and minors in Chicana/o/x Studies and Psychology. A few months after college graduation, she started working at "CU" Comunidades Unidas as the Volunteer Coordinator. Mayra's journey at CU began eleven years ago, and she feels that those years have been the most transformational and empowering years of her life. Mayra has extensive experience and knowledge on immigration issues, immigration law, and social and economic justice. Currently, she is recognized as one of Utah's immigration and immigrant rights experts. Mayra is a trusted grassroots leader who has organized with immigrant families, led numerous immigrant justice actions, from rallies to marches, and successfully mobilized thousands of Utahns to demand a halt on deportations and a permanent solution for Dreamers. She is the co-founder of CU's Immigration Legal Clinic. In 2014, in collaboration with immigrant workers, students co-founded CU's Despierta!/Awaken Workers Rights Campaign. In the same year, she received accreditation from the Department Of Justice to practice immigration law. In December of 2019, Mayra became the Executive Director and is now at the helm of Comunidades Unidas. Mayra enjoys dancing, stargazing, ice cream, chocolate, popcorn, and tacos!
I am the Director of the U’s Fulbright Program and also a Professor of Political Science. I have received three Fulbright awards to Slovakia, Japan, and Austria. I enjoy advising our students about the Fulbright program and many of them have received Fulbright awards. These awards allow students to study for an MA degree, conduct research, or teach English; all in a foreign country.
Riley joined the CHOICE Humanitarian team in August 2017. As Director of Social Innovation, his role focuses on identifying
and implementing innovative solutions to the complex challenges of extreme poverty,
spanning various sectors including economic development, agriculture, and energy.
He graduated from the University of Utah with a Master of Statistics (Econometrics),
an Honors BS in Economics, and a BA in International Studies. Riley is well-traveled,
speaks Spanish fluently, and has spent significant time living throughout Latin America.
His time spent abroad opened his eyes and fueled his desire to do more to improve the lives of people across the globe. He is a passionate believer in the CHOICE approach to international development and has dedicated his life to making as many sustainable impacts on others as possible. Riley is proud and grateful to be in a position to help fulfill CHOICE’s mission to “support the efforts of people around the world to end extreme poverty and build self-reliant, resilient communities.”
Riley is an avid NBA fan (go Jazz!) and spends his spare time with his wife Erin playing video games, watching movies, and enjoying music.
I am a lifelong Utahan, having grown up in Springdale, UT, on the border with Zion National Park. I came to the University of Utah in 2015 with a faint idea of what I wanted to pursue, but with no concrete plans. Thanks to incredible experiences in my classes, at the outdoor program, and during Hinckley Institute internships I graduated knowing that I wanted to be involved in policy and international affairs. That led to several years of work on political campaigns in Utah, New York City, and Alaska. Once I was ready for a more stable job, I took a position as the Volunteer Coordinator for the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City and that is where I find myself today.