María Samaniego is the Program Manager at the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program. There she focuses on internal and external partnerships and building procedures to better conduct their work. Previously, she served as the Sr. Director of Development & Programming at Voto Latino. There she led the Leadership Development team in the production of programs, such as the innovative Power Summit leadership conference and several community development initiatives utilizing data driven best practices. She also managed key corporate and foundation relationships with organizations such as Fuse Media, HBO Latino, Electronic Arts and The California Endowment.
She joins the team with 10 years of experience championing diversity initiatives and working with underserved communities within the political advocacy and education spheres. As the National Director of Cultural Affairs for Lambda Theta Nu Sorority, Inc., María guided Latina students in over 30 college campuses in developing culturally-relevant programming for their peers. She has also served as a board member for Viva Panama, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness of the Panamanian community in the United States. Her work is driven by her passion for seeing communities succeed.
María holds a master’s degree in Education from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from California State University, Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Chicano Studies from the University of California, Davis where she was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Service Excellence Award.