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2014-2015 Cohort


Alphonso James

Hello. My name is Alphonso James. I am currently a 3rd year Civil and Environmental Engineering student at San Jose State University. I am not only a first-generation college student but a first generation immigrant from Liberia who really didn’t see the point of school as a kid due to the environment I was in. I state these facts because they have been obstacles in my life which slowed me down and discouraged me from the successful path that I am on today. Being an Elevate Tutor brings me great joy because I will get the chance to be an inspiration to any student who may have “obstacles” which they may struggle with. It also gives me an opportunity to utilize my prior tutoring experience for a great cause. Overall, I aspire to learn just as much as I teach from the students I encounter as well as my wonderful co-workers and professional staff.


Carlos Aldana

Hello, my name is Carlos Aldana. I am a sophomore at San Jose State University. I am currently undeclared, but I am hoping to major in Mechanical Engineering. As a first-generation student coming from a single parent, low-income family, it would have been difficult to pursue my education without some resources and help. I am very thankful that I found programs while I was in high school that have helped me get to where I am today. Programs that have helped me have also motivated me to give back to the community and I believe Elevate is the first step that will allow me to that. I want to help underprivileged students and let them know that anything is possible.


Christina Arredondo

Hi! My name is Christina Arredondo and I am a 3rd year student at San Jose State University. I grew up in a small town known as Windsor, CA. I am currently working towards my BA in Psychology and a minor in Child/Adolescent Development. Graduate school is definitely in my future, followed by my plan to eventually attain my license as an MFT/LPCC. I aim to become a licensed psychologist specializing in children and adolescents. Working with children and teens is my passion, and the fact that Elevate Tutoring gives back to the community, specifically those in middle school and high school that come from underprivileged communities, is awesome. I hope to grow and gain new knowledge and perspective during my time in Elevate, and I especially hope to make a positive impact on the students that I get to work with. This opportunity has been a blessing and will help by taking me one step closer to reaching my educational and career goals.


Francisco Arce

Hello, my name is Francisco Arce and I am a first-generation college student from Oakland, California. I am a 3rd year at Santa Clara University majoring in Finance. I am very fortunate to be where I am today, and I recognize that I am pursuing a college education thanks to the many people in my life that gave me advice and challenged me to continue my studies. Now, I am happy to have the opportunity to give back the help I once received. I look forward to my role and hope to make a positive impact in the communities we serve.


Jason Nguyen

Hello! My name is Jason Nguyen, and I am from Portland, Oregon, otherwise known as the city of bikers, hipsters, and coffee enthusiasts. I am none of those things. I am currently a freshman at Santa Clara University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Spanish. After undergrad, I plan on attending medical school to become an oncologist. I have always been fascinated by the study of cancer, but witnessing what it has done to people that I know and love has solidified my resolve to contribute to its treatment and possibly its cure. I am interested in Elevate because I want to be a resource to students like me who may lack resources due to their financial circumstances. Furthermore, I believe that Elevate is a great opportunity for me to improve skills that not only will make me a better tutor but will also benefit me in my future career as a doctor and in all other aspects of my life.


Jessica Aldama

Hello everyone, my name is Jessica Aldama and I am currently a third-year student at San Francisco State, majoring in Criminal Justice and hoping to double major in Communications. I was born and raised in San Jose, CA and come from a low-income Mexican family. Although my family’s financial situation is challenging, I believe this made me who I am today, and it has only motivated me to strive for excellence in my education even more. I’m really looking forward to being a part of this year’s team. Working with youth is something I have never done before, and it only excites me as I have come to learn that I love helping others. I have heard nothing but great things about the outcome of working with students, so I decided to take advantage of my educational skills and apply them to this opportunity in order to hopefully make an impact on someone else. I’m very grateful for every door that has opened in front of me throughout the years as I continue to pursue my first degree as an undergrad.


John Anthony Sanchez

My name is John Anthony Sanchez and I am a freshman at Santa Clara University. I am majoring in Computer Science & Engineering and plan to become a future tech company owner. I am very content to be part of the Elevate Tutoring program because I feel it is a duty for me to return to the community and help those that require aid to succeed.


Lilian Nguyen

Hi! My name is Lillian Nguyen and I am currently a sophomore studying Psychology and Child Studies at Santa Clara University. As an Oregonian, I feel quite blessed to have had the encouragement and support that brought me to continue my education in the bright and sunny state of California. Although my financial situation at the time did not suggest that I could afford a college education, I was never discouraged and worked hard throughout high school to ensure that I would become the first in my family to attend a four-year university. With the support of the university, my college experience thus far has been enriched with amazing opportunities and resources for which I will be forever grateful. Elevate Tutoring is one incredible opportunity that I am thrilled to have. In addition to offering students free quality tutoring that will help them thrive in mathematics and the sciences, as a tutor I also hope to motivate these students to achieve their most outstanding aspirations without being hindered by barriers that prevent their pursuit of academic success.

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