Alexandria "Ria" Castañeda

MPS, Global Development
  • Hometown: Benicia, CA
  • Colleges attended and degree earned: B.S. in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science from California Polytechnic State University, SLO
What impact do you want to make on the world? 

Broadly, I want to link people to the tools (knowledge, support, etc.) they need to feel empowered and thrive in their environment. Issues that are important to me include: nutritional insecurity and environmental degradation.

What were you doing before the MPS program? 

I served as an agriculture volunteer in Peace Corps from 2017 - 2019. I lived and worked in the heart of Paraguay - learning and growing with a compassionate community who taught me how to be a better global citizen.

At the end of 2019, I began working for a public health non-profit called Innovative Health Solutions (IHS). We work to promote the wellness of populations in Northern California through performing health education and leading food access initiatives. I am still working with IHS while I pursue my MPS.

What does global development mean to you? 

Global development is more than an idea or discipline. It is a culmination of intentional, humane actions that work to establish equitable global systems through mutual learning, radical compassion, and profound understanding.


Tell us a fun fact about you. 

I recall vividly the first thing I ever planted – a bean seed that I overwatered. I was an overzealous child.

What has been the most memorable or impactful experience of your career so far? 

When I learned how to build connections through expressing myself in a difficult language (guaraní).

How do you envision your MPS degree contributing to your career?

This opportunity, in only one semester, has already refined and built upon important skills that will be necessary in my future job pursuits.