Staff

Louis Caldera

Louis Caldera is the co-founder and senior advisor to the Presidents’ Alliance. He serves as a distinguished adjunct professor of law and senior affiliate in the program of law and government at American University. His public policy and higher education administration experience includes serving as a California legislator, as president of the University of New Mexico, and as Secretary of the Army in the Clinton administration.

Email: lcaldera@wcl.american.edu

Miriam Feldblum

Miriam Feldblum is the co-founder and executive director of the Presidents’ Alliance. Miriam has over 25 years of experience in higher education administration, student support, and in teaching and research of immigration policy, politics and higher education. She previously served as vice president for student affairs/dean of students and professor of politics at Pomona College, as special assistant to the president at Caltech and senior director for academic support and planning, and is a non-resident fellow at the Migration Policy Institute.

Email: miriam@presidentsalliance.org

Oscar Bahati

Oscar Bahati is the Project Associate for the Presidents’ Alliance, working on the Initiative on U.S. Education Pathways for Refugee Students. Oscar comes from a refugee background. He founded and managed a high school in the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda, and also worked on refugee education with Kepler and as a Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Global Education Movement Student Coordinator. Oscar received his BS in economics from National University, Rwanda, and a BA in Communications and MBA from SNHU.

Email: oscar@presidentsalliance.org

Rajika Bhandari

Rajika Bhandari is a Senior Advisor for the Higher Ed Immigration Portal. Dr. Bhandari is an international higher education expert and a scholar-practitioner with over 25 years of experience in student mobility research and data-driven insights; monitoring, evaluation, and impact studies of international education programs; and shaping thought leadership strategy in the nonprofit, private and higher education sectors. Dr. Bhandari served as the President & CEO of the IC3 Institute and previously held senior roles at the Institute of International Education (IIE) for over a decade where she led IIE’s research, evaluation and thought leadership portfolio. A frequent speaker on international student issues and a widely published author, her forthcoming book is America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility.

Email: rajika@presidentsalliance.org

Emily Fine

Emily Fine is the Director of Membership, Strategic Partnerships, and Operations at the Presidents’ Alliance. She has more than a decade of experience in higher education working on the issues that impact students’ ability to thrive on campus and beyond. She started her career in the classroom: before working at the Presidents’ Alliance, she taught English literature and college writing at multiple institutions of varying types and sizes, giving her a unique perspective on the challenges facing higher education today. Emily earned her Ph.D. in English literature and MA in English and Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University, and her bachelor’s degree in English from William Jewell College.

Email: emily@presidentsalliance.org

Cezanne Hayden-Dyer

Cezanne Hayden-Dyer is a part-time Fellow with the Presidents’ Alliance. She has an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice and she is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources at Miami Dade College. She wants to find new ways to help support the immigrant community, and contributed to the development of the Portal.

Jose Magaña-Salgado

Jose Magaña-Salgado is the Director of Policy and Communications for the Presidents’ Alliance. Jose formerly led the Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s Washington, D.C. office, directing its national policy advocacy in the legislative and regulatory spheres. Prior to working with the ILRC, Jose led MALDEF’s (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) national immigration portfolio. Jose also co-founded the DREAM Bar Association and Arizona DREAM Act coalition.

Email: jose@presidentsalliance.org

Christian Penichet-Paul

Christian Penichet-Paul is the Director of the Higher Ed Immigration Portal for the Presidents’ Alliance. Most recently, Christian was the Policy and Advocacy Manager at the National Immigration Forum. In that position, Christian oversaw multiple immigration-related policy issues. Christian’s expertise includes providing analysis on legislative proposals and federal immigration policies, developing strategic messaging and toolkit products, maintaining updated content and resources, and conducting legislative and administrative advocacy. Christian graduated from Texas State University and earned his master’s in American Government from Georgetown University.

Email: christian@presidentsalliance.org

Laura Wagner

Laura Wagner is the Project Manager for the Initiative on U.S. Education Pathways for Refugee Students. Most recently, Laura was the Senior Program Officer for Integration at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) where she worked with a national network of refugee resettlement agencies to develop innovative and client-centered programs for refugee integration. Laura’s expertise includes refugee resettlement, education, and integration, program development, and project and grants management. Laura graduated from Bucknell University and earned her master’s in International Education Development from Teachers’ College, Columbia University.

Email: laura@presidentsalliance.org

Jill Welch

Jill Welch serves as Senior Policy Advisor to the Presidents’ Alliance on the international student and refugee learner issues. With more than two decades of experience advancing public policies that internationalize U.S. higher education, modernize the U.S. immigration system, and renew our democratic republic to advance for the common good for all, Jill specializes in public policy advocacy, strategic communications, public engagement, and public-private partnerships. She has served both inside and outside of government, most recently as Vice President of External Relations at the U.S. Institute of Peace and Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. She holds a masters in public administration from American University and a BA in political science and French from Berry College.

Email: jill@presidentsalliance.org

Maria Lopez Zamudio

Maria Lopez Zamudio is serving as a part-time Fellow for the Presidents’ Alliance. She is also a full time Bilingual Educator and pursuing her Master in Education at Loyola Marymount University University. She graduated with a major in Chicana/o-Latina/o studies with a Minor in Sociology in 2019. She has a Business Information Worker (BIW) Certificate, Associate of Science in Business Information, and an Associates of Arts degree. She has 10 years of experience working as an advocate to various under-represented communities including: adults and youth with physical and/or developmental disabilities, immigrants, first-generation students, transfer students, and the LGBTQ+ community.

Email: maria@presidentsalliance.org