Leah Katz-Hernandez

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden announced on September 30 his intent to appoint 21 individuals to serve as members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics. Leah Beth Katz-Hernandez, ’10, is one of the appointees, and will be the first deaf person to serve on this commission.

Katz-Hernandez previously held the position of Senior Operations Coordinator, or West Wing receptionist, for President Barack Obama. The first ever deaf person to hold the position, she was appointed to the West Wing after serving in First Lady Michelle Obama’s communications office. Throughout her career in the tech industry and in the public sector, Katz-Hernandez has consistently used her specialty knowledge to urge equal access for the deaf, disability, and Latinx-Hispanic communities.

Since departing the White House, Katz-Hernandez advised in various capacities for multiple organizations and institutions, including the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Ford Foundation, Discovering Deaf Worlds, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, and The Harkin Institute. She also served as a Special Advisor to President Cordano.

Katz-Hernandez earned her Professional M.A. in strategic communication from American University and a B.A. in government from Gallaudet University. In 2018, she contributed a chapter to the book West Wingers: Stories from The Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House, edited by Gautam Raghavan and published by Penguin Random House.

The President’s Advisory Commission on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics will provide advice to the President through the Secretary of Education on matters pertaining to educational equity and economic opportunity for the Hispanic and Latino community, including:

(i) what is needed for the development, implementation, and coordination of educational programs and initiatives at the Department and other agencies to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for Hispanics and Latinos;

(ii) how to promote career pathways for in-demand jobs for Hispanic and Latino students, including registered apprenticeships, internships, fellowships, mentorships, and work-based learning initiatives;

(iii) ways to strengthen the capacity of institutions, such as HSIs, to equitably serve Hispanic and Latino students and increase the participation of Hispanic and Latino students, Hispanic-serving school districts, and the Hispanic community in the programs of the Department and other agencies;

(iv) how to increase public awareness of and generate solutions for the educational and training challenges and equity disparities that Hispanic and Latino students face and the causes of these challenges; and

(v) approaches to establish local and national partnerships with public, private, philanthropic, and nonprofit stakeholders to advance the mission and objectives of this order, consistent with applicable law.

This article was adapted from a White House news release.

Recent News

Stay up to date on all the gallaudet happenings, both stories, and initiatives, we are doing with our Signing community!