María Samaniego is currently the Acting Director and Senior Program Manager at the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program. There she focuses on strategy, operations and partnerships to maximize the impact of their economic mobility focused policy work and to increase the representation of Latinos in Aspen Institute programs. Previously, she served as the Sr. Director of Development & Programming at Voto Latino where she led the production of several community development initiatives and managed key corporate and foundation relationships.
Maria has over a decade of experience championing diversity initiatives and working with underserved communities within the political advocacy and education spheres. She has held several roles with Occidental College’s Neighborhood Partnership Program and served as field staff to two California State Assembly members. She currently serves on the Advisory Council for Support Latino Business Day and has formerly served on the boards of Viva Panama and Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc. In 2015 she co-founded #DCinLA, a networking event to bridge social sector changemakers from DC and LA.
María was recently selected to participate in the 2020 cohort of the HOPE Leadership Program and is a Hispanic’s in Philanthropy NGen Líderes Fellow, an alumnus of the Schusterman Foundation’s Reality Program and in 2019 was named 40 under 40 in Washington, DC by Prospanica DC. She holds an M.A. in Education with a concentration on P-16 Leadership and Multicultural Communities from Michigan State University, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from California State University, Los Angeles and a B.A. in Political Science and Chicano Studies from the University of California, Davis.