Special Projects and Outreach Associate
Mayra Baeza is a proud first-generation Mexican-Guatemalan-American. She was born in Chicago and raised in a western suburb of Chicago. Senior year of high school she chose to research segregation, specifically in schools, which was assigned by her AP English teacher. This research paper ignited her passion to dismantle education inequities. She attended the University of Dayton to study sociology, human rights, and political science. She graduated earning magna cum laude and the Outstanding Student Award in both of her majors: Sociology and Human Rights Studies.
In Dayton, she sought opportunities to learn more about the education system, which led her to be a youth leader in an after-school program for third to twelfth graders in East Dayton. During her time at East End Community Services she created various interdisciplinary programs as well as coordinated an opportunity for experiential learning in Washington, D.C. Her experience at the community center reaffirmed her desire to pursue a career in educational justice.
The summer before her senior year she undertook two major projects. She engaged in a year-long project researching, conducting field work in El Paso, Texas and creating multimedia products for The Moral Courage Project: America the Borderland. As part of the project an exhibit, website, and a podcast were produced. Later that summer she interned in the U.S. Department of Education, focusing on teacher retention.
After her internship, she started her career as an elementary school teacher in Houston, Texas with Teach for America. While teaching, Mayra was involved with Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) as well an education organizing group called ONE Houston. In her Policy and Advocacy Fellowship with LEE she learned that although she enjoyed teaching kindergarten and second grade students, she wanted to leverage the education system as an agent of change outside of the classroom. Through LEE she learned about The Lab. She quickly connected with the Lab’s mission and has joined the team in aiming to change the opportunity gap.
Outside of learning how to create systems change for more equitable opportunities — Mayra enjoys reading, going on jogs, and spending time with her family and friends.