Center Staff


Leonor Ehling
Executive Director 

Prior to joining the Center in 2018, Leonor Ehling spent 22 years working as staff to the California Legislature.  Her work there began as a consultant with the Legislative Analyst’s Office, and continued with jobs as a Principal Consultant at the Assembly Budget Committee, Legislative Director with Assemblymember Wilma Chan, Director of the Senate Office of Research, Deputy Director for the Senate Appointments Unit, and most recently as Senate Rules Committee staff to Senator Connie Leyva.  She is honored to be part of the Center’s important work: helping to develop California’s future leaders, providing research support to the legislative and executive branches, and promoting civic literacy.


Brian Aguilar
Deputy Director and Director, Executive Fellowship Program

As a career educator, Brian's professional experience and passion has always been in providing opportunity through higher education.  In working with the Executive Fellows Program and the Center for California Studies, he is proud to cultivate and support the next generation of leaders in public service.  And one of his favorite elements of the job is working at Sacramento State.  The campus is a leader in the region in supporting diversity, achievement, and leadership.  He believes as a native of South Sacramento and an alum of our campus (MA, Bilingual and Multicultural Education, '06), the campus is uniquely poised to support the growth of our communities.


Megan Thorall
Director, Judicial Fellowship Program

Megan has been with the Center since 2008 and serves as the Director of the Judicial Fellowship Program. Working with the Judicial Fellows is invigorating. As a Director, Megan finds particular joy in creating opportunities throughout the year for Fellows to learn about the Judicial branch, court administration and to advance their educational and professional pursuits.  A Northern California native and proud graduate of both the CSU and UC system, Megan loves working in public service on such a beautiful college campus.


Pam Chueh
Director, Assembly Fellowship Program

Pam Chueh has served as Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship Program since March 2011.  Pam has 25 years of experience working in state and local government, including the past two decades in and around the Capitol.  She has served in a variety of roles with the California Assembly, including Special Assistant to two Assembly Speakers, Senior Consultant to the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, Legislative Aide, and Field Representative.  Pam has also served as a Legislative Advocate for Los Angeles County's Department of Public Social Services and a Community and Government Relations Manager for Kaiser San Jose.  Pam holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, San Diego. 

Jamie Taylor
Director, California Senate Fellows Program

Jamie Taylor has over two decades of experience working in local and state political, community and legislative affairs. Jamie seeks to help Fellows grow in service through active participation in the legislative process and a mission toward authentic, unbiased and ethical leadership. He is a graduate of San Diego State University and University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. Jamie enjoys masters swimming, skiing, and exploring the central coast with his family.  


Rotce Hernandez
Director, The LegiSchool Project

Rotce joined the LegiSchool staff as program coordinator in 2015 and as Director in 2017. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Sac State and is currently working on her Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration. Her experience in other departments include University Advancement, Annual Giving, and the Office of Institutional Research. She loves going to campus events and being involved with alumni groups. When she’s not at work or studying, she enjoys watching movies and planning vacations.


Sandra Bernard
Administrative Operations and Budget Coordinator

Sandra joined the Center in 2002. From 1987 to 2001 she worked at Stanford University in the Food Research Institute and in the Department of Psychology.  Sandra loves working at Sacramento State as it is such a beautiful campus with all the trees.  When not at work she enjoys gardening, painting and watching football.


Claire Bunch
Coordinator of Special Projects and Outreach

Claire has worked at the Center since 1998 and serves as the coordinator of special projects and outreach for the Capital Fellows Programs.  She enjoys working with Capital Fellow alumni and observing where they careers take them after a year in the fellowship.  She also enjoys working with staff in California's many universities as well as developing topics and implementing the annual Envisioning California Conference.  Claire grew up in California's Central Valley and is a graduate of Fresno State.  She has spent a majority of her career working for the CSU and in particular, enjoys the changing seasons of Sacramento States's scenic campus.


Nadia Esperanza Navarro Brown
Program Coordinator, Senate Fellows Program

Nadia is the Coordinator of the California Senate Fellows Program. Nadia joined the Center for California Studies in September of 2014 after working as a Legal Secretary for Legal Services of Northern California. Nadia graduated from New Mexico State University with Bachelors of Science degree in Secondary Education (Spanish), Bachelors of Arts degree in Foreign Languages and an Associate in Criminal Justice. Nadia also taught English as a Second Language, GED and Spanish classes while attending school at NMSU. Nadia enjoys working for California State University, Sacramento because of the beautiful campus which is full of Redwood trees, birds and squirrels.


Zoe Manzanetti
Program Coordinator, Assembly Fellowship Program

Zoe attended UC Santa Barbara where she spent her first three years studying as a Biology Major, studied abroad in Florence, Italy for five months, and then returned UCSB to change her major and graduate with an English Degree and Minor in Spanish. After graduation, Zoe moved to small-town Spain to teach English for a year with the Cultural Ambassadors, Auxiliares de Conversacion Program. Upon completion of the program, Zoe returned to her hometown of Sacramento where she began working at the Center for California Studies as the Assembly Fellowship Coordinator in October 2017. When she is not working, Zoe likes to spend her free time on a soccer field, either as a coach or player.


Ariel Rylander
Program Coordinator, Judicial Fellowship Program

Ariel Rylander, born and raised in Sacramento, has been with the center since 2013. She is the Judicial Fellowship Program Coordinator and is involved with many other aspects of the Center including media, photography and communications.  Ariel is studying Psychology at Sacramento State and is passionate about building future leaders. She loves volunteering at her local church and traveling on missions across the world. In her free time, she enjoys anything Disney, singing karaoke and binge-watching Netflix shows.


Jill Serra
Program Coordinator, Executive Fellowship Program

Jill, a Sacramento native, joined the Center for California in 2018 as the Program Coordinator for the Executive Fellowship Program. She completed her general education at Cosumnes River College and is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Sacramento State. Jill values the opportunity of working for an organization that benefits society and encourages personal growth. Additionally, Jill is involved at her local church and on her free time enjoys spending time with family, exercising and visiting antique shops and coffee shops.