Cortney is the summer William Randolph Hearst Fellow for the Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation. Sanders is a Master’s in Public Policy (MPP) candidate at the University of Michigan Ford School for Public Policy with concentrations in Social Policy, Education, Community Development, and Data Analysis. She serves as a Graduate Student Instructor for the school’s Congress and State Legislature course, University of Michigan First Generations Group Graduate Student Advisor, and sits on the Office of the Vice Provost of Equity, Inclusion, and Academic Affairs Student Advisory Board.
As an undergraduate at The University of Texas at Austin (UT), Sanders employed her leadership skills and pioneered the filing of an amicus brief with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on behalf of the Black Student Alliance for the Fisher vs. The University of Texas Supreme Court case. In 2011 Sanders became a J. J. Pickle Junior Analyst. She conducted independent research on the evolution of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 leading her to: present independent research at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago, become a prestigious Public Policy International Affairs Fellow at the University of Michigan, and work as a full-time intern for the U.S House Representatives Committee on Education and Workforce with the Bill Archer Fellowship program in Washington DC, and, travel to Accura-Ghana (Africa) for economic development work. In 2014, she was featured as Business Insider’s, Most Impressive College Student and awarded the J.J. Pickle Award for youth civic engagement at the University of Texas. Prior to graduate school, Sanders was an educator and Americorps VISTA for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Houston, TX.