Cynthia K. Orellana, Ph.D. is the newly appointed President and CEO of Mass Mentoring Partnership, a statewide non-profit organization focused on supporting young people and over 350 youth-serving organizations across the Commonwealth by ensuring young people have access to the mentoring relationships they need to develop into thriving, engaged adults.

Dr. Orellana joins Mass Mentoring Partnership with nearly 20 years of experience in community organizing and advocacy, civic engagement and social policy, cross-organizational partnerships, educational access and justice, and the development of startup programs and initiatives. Her professional trajectory is reflective of her passion and commitment for inclusive and collaborative practices, racial equity and epistemic justice, bridging the opportunity divide, and driving systems change.

Most recently, Dr. Orellana served as the Director of the Office of Community Partnerships at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she led university community engagement strategies and strengthened reciprocal community partnerships that advanced the university’s mission as Boston’s public research university. Prior to UMB, she served as the Assistant Commissioner for Access and Success Strategies at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education where she led strategic policy initiatives and oversaw over $3.5 million in federal and state-funded grant programs to increase college readiness and participation of the Commonwealth’s students, particularly first-generation to college, low-income and under-represented students.

Dr. Orellana also served as Director of the Commonwealth Corps in the Office of Governor Deval Patrick. While there, she worked on one of the Governor’s cornerstone civic engagement initiatives and promoted civic engagement through grassroots governance projects that touched upon an array of issues including immigration, income tax credits, public budgeting processes, and young adults.

Dr. Orellana has a history of service on boards and national and local advisory groups. She has been recognized for her work and leadership by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus with a Latino Excellence Award in 2023, the Commonwealth Seminar’s Civic Engagement Amplifier Award in 2021, Campus Compact’s Nadinne Cruz Community Engagement Professional Award in 2020, Get Konnected’s 25 Influential Millennial Leaders of Color and Amplify Latinx’s list of 30 Amplifiers for the Latino community in Massachusetts in 2018; and among 100 most influential people in Massachusetts to the Latino community in El Planeta Newspaper’s 2017 Powermeter list.

Dr. Orellana is a native and lifelong resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts and the youngest of four children. She is the first generation of her family born in the United States, the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, and first in her family to attend college. She holds a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from University of Massachusetts Boston, an MA in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Northeastern University.