Meet Our Staff


Sierra Francis Perez

Grants Coordinator
Hometown: Severn, MD

Sierra has a longstanding passion for social justice, indigenous ways of knowing, and serving the youth of Turtle Island through language, art, and culture. She aims to use her personal strengths and knowledge to help others uncover their stories and uplift their voices. Prior to joining Elevate, Sierra worked as a Youth Development Project Coordinator near Baltimore, Maryland. In this role, she served Native American Boys & Girls Clubs across the country, providing technical assistance, culturally relevant program trainings, newsletter publications, and best practice resources for her clients. She traveled frequently, visiting Clubs within the Menominee Nation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and state of Oklahoma.

Most notably during 2017, she had the opportunity to attend a Child Protection Symposium in Bismarck, North Dakota to identify current tools and technologies that support AMBER Alert systems in Indian Country. That same year, she met with the Boys & Girls Clubs’ Native Services Unit, the National Congress of American Indians, various Club staff members, and subject matter experts in Atlanta, Georgia to develop a behavioral health curriculum for youth enrolled in the T.R.A.I.L. to Diabetes Prevention Program.

Sierra holds her BA in Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communications from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She graduated cum laude from the Honors College and successfully defended her undergraduate thesis, “Mohawk and Cherokee Language Revitalization: Overview, Assessment, and Challenges” in 2015.

Outside of Elevate, you will find Sierra exploring new places with her significant other, Gabriel, spending time with her family and friends, caring for her indoor garden, and reading up on politics, wellness, and spirituality.

What is your hidden talent?

2-D art & design, and amateur photography.

What punctuation mark would you be and why?

A question mark, because I have to question everything, and my quest for knowledge is never-ending!

What is your grammatical pet peeve?

Run-on sentences can irk me, but like many linguists, my only true pet peeve is when the general public confuses stylistic convention for "proper" language use (verbal or written).

What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Relaxing at home with good food, drinks, books, and my loved ones, probably watching Insecure or She's Gotta Have It re-runs!

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