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Cynthia K. Orellana

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Cynthia K. Orellana
Cynthia K. Orellana recently joined the University of Massachusetts Boston as the director of the Office of Community Partnerships.

Cynthia K. Orellana recently joined the University of Massachusetts Boston as the director of the Office of Community Partnerships, which seeks to identify, strengthen and create collaborative, high impact, reciprocal community partnerships that advance the university’s mission as Boston’s public research university. Created in 2011, OCP serves as an information hub, connector, and strategic coordinator of the university’s engagement. Prior to joining UMB, Orellana served as the assistant commissioner for Access and Success Strategies at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and a senior member of the Academic Affairs and Student Success Division. In this role she led strategic policy projects and initiatives to increase college readiness and college-going rates of the Commonwealth’s students, particularly first-generation to college, low-income and under represented students. She also oversaw over $3.5 million in federal and state funded grant programs and engaged with multiple sectors on initiatives to increase student college access and participation, and closing the achievement gap. Orellana also served as director of the Commonwealth Corps in the Office of Governor Deval Patrick, where she promoted civic engagement through grassroots governance projects as well as managed the Governor’s cornerstone civic engagement initiative, The Commonwealth Corps. Orellana’s professional experiences include community organizing and advocacy, community development, politics and campaigns, governance, social policy and development of startup initiatives.

Orellana has also been newly appointed to serve on the Cambridge Human Rights Commission and City Year Boston’s Board of Directors. She was also a founding board member of Chica Project, created in 2011 to grow the pipeline of inter-generational Latina leaders connected through mentoring, leadership development and community empowerment activities.

Orellana is a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts and the youngest of four children. She is the first generation born in the United States and first in her family to attend college. She holds a M.A. in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University and a B.S. in political science from Northeastern University.