Yanitzmarie (Marie) Polanco

Program Trainer and Coach

Yanitzmarie majored in Psychology and minored in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at North Carolina State University. Before attending NC State, Yanitzmarie completed the first portion of her undergraduate studies at the University of Puerto Rico, where she studied until 2019.

During her time at NC State, Yanitzmarie was an undergraduate research assistant in the ERPAS lab – specializing in implementing HELPS 1:1, coaching, and learning AMPPS. Through this experience she became passionate about working with underserved communities and providing support to students who don’t have access to a quality education. After almost two years of working in the lab, Yanitzmarie became part of the Helps Education Fund team as a Program Trainer and Coach.

Prior to working at Helps Education Fund, Yanitzmarie was a full-time nanny for over two years while completing her undergraduate degree. She developed a connection with the family and learned the importance of communication, discipline, and patience; these characteristics were important in the development of her passion for working with children and improving educational equity. Yanitzmarie also has a passion for feminist theory and focuses on how intersections affect the lived experiences of underserved communities.

Yanitzmarie lives in Raleigh with her long-term partner and has a black cat named Luna. She enjoys going for sundowners on their sailboat, spending time with family and friends, reading fiction novels, and traveling home to Puerto Rico. One day she hopes to live full-time on a sailboat and travel to the Caribbean and South America.