Alejandra Ceja

AlexCejaSeminar: Women & Public Policy (1995)

Occupation: Director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, U.S. Department of Education

Education: MPA, Public Administration, Baruch College, City University of New York
BA, Political Science, Mount St. Mary’s College (A PLEN Member School)

Ceja’s PLEN Experience

As a native of Los Angeles County, California, Alejandra (Alex) Ceja never imagined moving more than 2,000 miles from her home to pursue her career.

“Had it not been for my PLEN experience, I don’t think I would have decided to, or even had the courage, to move across the country from California to D.C.,” Ceja said.  “I have to credit PLEN with helping to define my D.C. experience. That week created possibilities for me.”

Ceja is referring to the week she spent participating in PLEN’s Women & Public Policy Seminar in Washington in 1995.  During the seminar Ceja called “life changing”, she had valuable experiences meeting influential women leaders including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, learning the importance of networking, and realizing the extent of the PLEN network. “Meeting with so many wonderful women connected to PLEN and knowing that all you had to do was say that you attended this PLEN seminar—it was like [PLEN] opened a door for you,” Ceja said.

Before accepting her appointment as  Director of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics by US Education Secratary Arne Duncan, Ceja served as Chief of Staff for Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter.  Ceja was Senior Budget/Appropriations Advisor of the House Education and Labor Committee.  Ceja was also Program Examiner for the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she helped comprise the federal budget for the Department of Labor and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Ceja is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Alumnae Association, the National Urban Fellows, and a graduate of the Presidential Management Internship (PMI) program.

“You can’t ask for a better organization than PLEN,” Ceja said. “It’s really about helping you as a woman, preparing you for those leadership positions, and providing you with a network of support to succeed.”

By Kristina Hamilton