Alejandra at The White House with former President Barack Obama. Washington, D.C., October 16, 2015.
For the past three decades, the Panasonic
Foundation has been rooted in supporting equity
and educational excellence for all students by
investing in systemic change and capacity
building. That work has yielded important returns.
And, with new leadership at the Foundation, Ceja
intends to do better by focusing the Foundation’s
future investments on Literacy, STEAM (Science,
Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math), and College
and Career Readiness to help improve outcomes
and increase opportunities for children – especially
children from low-income backgrounds and from
underrepresented communities to succeed in the
global 21st century.
“Alejandra joined the company to further
enhance Panasonic’s contribution to society
and more specifically, through education, an
initiative critical to the core of our business
principles,” shares Megan Lee, Chief Human
Resources Officer and Vice President of Strategic
Planning and Initiatives at Panasonic Corporation
of North America. “She has had great initial success
within our local community and elsewhere.”
For Ceja, it is important to create pathways
for students to have more access to internships
and fellowships because they are the future
engineers and scientists of the workforce. “I
want for students to know that there is a place
for them in our industry,” she shares.
The Panasonic Foundation approach to
their mission, education reform through the
complete school system (teachers, parents,
administration), is a perfect match for Ceja.
Prior to this role, she was the Chief of Staff to
the Under Secretary of Education at the U.S.
Department of Education, where she was
responsible for coordinating policy activities
related to postsecondary education, career
and technical education, adult education, and
federal student aid. Her previous professional
experience includes serving as the Senior
Budget and Appropriations Advisor for the
House Congressional Committee on Education
and Labor, where she worked on budget and
education policy issues. She also helped draft
legislation in support of reauthorizing the
National and Community Service Act, resulting
in the enactment of the Edward M. Kennedy
Serve America Act. From 1999 to 2007, she
was a Program Examiner for the White House
Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Motivated to do more for herself and the
community, Ceja takes pride in her achievements
and experiences. She received her M.P.A in
public administration at Baruch College, City
University of New York, and her B.A. in political
science at Mount St. Mary’s University in
California. She is a board member of Child
Trends, a graduate of the National Urban Fellows,
the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the
Presidential Management Fellowship program
and a 2015 Marshall Memorial Fellow of the
German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Today, she credits her success not only to
hard work, but to the unwavering support of her
family and network.
“I’m pouring my heart and soul into this
role and I’m just happy doing it,” she shares.
“It’s hard work but it is fun and rewarding. It’s
going to make a huge difference.”
And to those who are also trying to make a
difference, Ceja encourages to “embrace the
now and be prepared for all the doors that are
going to open for you in the future.”
“Jump off that cliff and don’t look back,” she
shares. “We deserve to be at the table, we deserve
to feel that we belong, and not that we just fit in. I’m
at a place where I know I have a seat at the table and
I belong at the table. That is really powerful.”
Alejandra with former U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne
Duncan at the Department of Education in Washington,
D.C., July 28, 2013.
Alejandra with Joe Biden and Jill Biden at The White House
in Washington, D.C. on September 15, 2015.
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Alejandra’s parents Juana and Enrique Ceja in
Washington, D.C. August 14, 1999.
Students 2 Science, Newark, NJ, May 7, 2018. Maurice
Minott, a 10th grade student at Newark Public School’s
Eagle Academy and the first intern of the new Students
2 Science Lab, is surrounded by Alejandra Ceja, Executive
Director, Panasonic Foundation; Interim Superintendent of
Newark Public Schools Robert Gregory, Newark Mayor
Ras J. Baraka, CEO of Panasonic North America Tom
Gebhardt, Students 2 Science President and Co-Founder
Paul Winslow and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Panasonic’s
It is the first STEM lab of its kind in Newark, NJ. “ ” Jump off that cliff and don’t look back. We deserve to be at the table, we
CEO presented a check for $1.5 million to mark the
grand opening of the new Students 2 Science Newark
Technology Center for Newark Public School students.
deserve to feel that we belong, and not that we just fit in.
16 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 24, No. 3, 2018