Alumni Changemaker: Jennifer Godinez

Alumni Changemaker: Jennifer Godinez

Shaping educational equity within communities

To honor our 40 years, we're celebrating our most valuable resource - our alumni - through 40 profiles highlighting their leadership. Alumna Jennifer Godinez completed the fellowship at Princeton University in 1996.


Jennifer Godinez embodies the values of loyalty, vision, and initiative. As a first-generation college graduate, she was able to turn her passion into action with support from programs like the Junior Summer Institute offered through the Public Policy and International Affairs Program. Once earning her MPP, she set her sights on ensuring that all students were able to achieve academic and leadership success.

A daughter of two Mexican immigrants, she came to understand how much having support makes a difference to a successful outcome and has committed herself to providing this support in a number of key areas.

She began to impact change by fundraising as the Executive Director at La Escuelita.  Through her efforts, new programs were initiated that provided after-school tutoring, college access, and peer education, as well as a full computer center.  This earned Jennifer Godinez “Leader of the Year” from La Prensa de Minnesota newspaper for her advocacy on behalf of Latino, immigrant youth.

Jennifer Godinez went on to serve as Founding Chair for the Latino Scholarship Fund.  Here she organized funding from local immigrant entrepreneurs on behalf of Latino youth in their quest for higher education.

Continuing to support educational opportunities for all, she began working with Minnesota Education Equity Partnership as Associate Executive Director where she focused on race equity strategic planning and research. These efforts gained her national attention as she successfully developed programs and brought in funding to support youth.

“If something has changed your life and touched your life in a certain way (for me that’s been education) then you should continue to be an advocate around those things”

As Executive Director of Minnesota College Access Network, she is not just documenting achievement gaps, giving detailed attention to public policy, and working to dismantle systemic racism but Jennifer Godinez is strengthening that which gives college access to more students in her local community.

By sitting on numerous boards, being featured in many publications and news agencies, she continues to express courageous leadership across a multitude of platforms. And, although she has won several awards for her dedicated work and become a German Marshal Fellow, Jennifer Godinez continues to focus on how she is impacting students’ lives as a measure of her success.


We celebrate Jennifer Godinez for creating an ecosystem that enhances success and leadership for minority students.  Your commitment to both education and leadership through policy, research, and advocacy is creating a strong network that supports youth in pursuit of their dreams.

The amount of dedication and strategic planning that you offer is creating healthy and prosperous communities as well as an educational system that works for everyone. Thank you for your thought leadership on behalf of our future generations.


Read more Changemaker profiles here!