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2015-2016 Cohort


Angelica Cayanan 

Hello! My name is Carissa Angelica Cayanan, I am a first year student pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with minors in Urban Education and Public Health at Santa Clara University. My family struggled financially and I knew that hard work was my only ticket to a four year university. Growing up, I always had at least one of my four older siblings by my side whenever I needed help with homework. This did not just make realize how lucky I am to have a support system for my academics but it also made me think about those who didn’t get the same support that I had. When I heard about Elevate, I knew that there is an opportunity for me to become a resource to other students by helping them strengthen their academic skills so they can eventually become successful. I want to serve as a model to the youth by making them realize that money should not be a hindrance to their aspirations in life and remind them that hard work always pays off.


Elijah Valdeolivar

Hi, my name is Elijah Valdeolivar. I am a third year at San Jose State University majoring in psychology with a double minor in sociology and child development. I am currently working to gain insight, skills, and experience for a career in counseling, teaching, or social work. In the future I specifically want to give my time to communities and individuals that are under-resourced by assisting them in accomplishing their mental health, wellness, education, and career goals. I love the opportunity to be a part of Elevate because it allows me to fulfill my passion in life of trying to prevent others from experiencing similar hardships I have overcome. I love that I am able to work for an organization in which I can be a positive role model as well as a friend to the youth.


Edith Romero

My name is Edith Romero, I am a sophomore at Santa Clara University majoring in Psychology and Ethnic Studies. I was born in Amatitan, Jalisco and was brought to the United States at the age of two. This made my primary education a bit of a struggle having to adapt to the new environment and especially the language that I was not used to growing up. I know that there are several students that have gone through the same or similar experiences as myself which is why Elevate holds such an important place in my life. By being a tutor for students I can not only help them to succeed in their academics but hopefully encourage them to go beyond what they have already done. When I was growing up, I always did all that was in my reach to help individuals that did not have the access to private tutors so I took the initiative to create a small study group where I provided free tutoring to children between the ages of 7-12. This small project was one that inspired me to become a teacher. I hope to one day be an educator to continue to inspire students to strive for a better education and create the change that this nation needs to see!


Edgar Sanchez

Hello, everyone! My name is Edgar Sanchez and I am currently a freshman at San Jose State. The career I wish to pursue is Civil Engineering. I was born and raised in Mexico City. I come from a family of four. I moved to United States when I was ten years old. My greatest motivation for continuing to pursue my education is my little sister Montserrat. She is four years younger than me and currently attends Los Altos High School. I wish to be a role model for her and to show her the importance of a good education and the doors that it can open for her in the future. I wish to do the same for many other students and that is why I joined the Elevate Tutoring Program. I am really excited and I can’t wait to start helping my tutees.


Francisco Gutierrez Ramirez

Hi! Welcome to Elevate Tutoring. My name is Francisco Gutierrez Ramirez, I am currently a sophomore studying Public Health Science at Santa Clara University. I was born in San Jose, CA and my parents are from Mexico. Growing up was filled with many obstacles that kept whispering to me that it was okay to stay where I was at, they kept telling me this is who you are, and this is who you will be. It was very tempting to conform to these thoughts. These thoughts made me feel comfortable where I was at, I didn’t feel like I was letting anyone down. Despite these obstacles, I was blessed in that I had people who believed in me and all they were asking of me was to simply give it a try. At the time, I didn’t understand why. Why me? It could have easily been anybody else. It turns out, all I needed was someone to believe in me, because now I felt like I had purpose, I felt like I would be letting someone down. My goal as an Elevate tutor is to be able to show even if it’s only one kid that he doesn’t have to be smart, special or even lucky, he just needs to try, and I will show him that by believing in him just like people believed in me.


Jesus Fernandez

Hello everyone! My name is Jesus Fernandez and I am currently a junior at Santa Clara University, majoring in Communication Studies. I am from Morgan Hill, California and the eldest of three siblings. As a first generation college student, I take great pride in leading by example and hoping to become a credible role model that younger generations can look up to. I am very grateful for the opportunity Elevate Tutoring has given me to continue to develop my tutoring and mentoring aspirations. Giving back to the community is something that has always been a value to me personally and I look forward to contributing to the Elevate Program. Growing up in a lower socio-economic household has presented me with many challenges, but as I continue to learn more about society and continue to advance academically, I see more of the importance in contributing to one’s community.


Lindsey Sepulveda

Greetings! My name is Lindsey Sepulveda and I am a student at Mission College and I hope to transfer to UC Davis to study Animal Sciences and Management and eventually go to Veterinary School. My educational path has not been similar to the path as many of my peers. After high school I received a scholarship to go on a bridge year to Ecuador and since then I have been hooked on traveling. I have seen some of the poorest and the richest communities and I feel that it is my duty as a global citizen to help close the gap of this wealth inequality through education. With Elevate Tutoring I am able to give back to my community and influence students who come from a similar background as my own. I come from an immigrant family with little education. If I had not found similar resources to Elevate Tutoring throughout school, I would not be where I am today. I want to pay it forward and help others believe in themselves like so many tutors and advisors did for me as I was growing up.


Marlene Cerritos-Rivas

My name is Marlene Cerritos-Rivas and I am a sophomore at Santa Clara University majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Public Health. I was born in San Vicente, El Salvador. I came to the United States at the age of nine, having to learn a new language while at the same time keeping up with my peers was very challenging to me. My future goals involve becoming a surgeon and building clinics abroad in rural areas where medical treatments are not accessible to those who are underserved. Elevate tutoring has allowed me to understand and stay in touch with my dreams. My dream becomes alive every time I tutor a student because I am helping someone else not give up and giving them the tools to succeed.


Michael Viray

Hello! My name is Michael Viray and I am currently a freshman at The University of California, Santa Cruz. I am majoring in Biology specializing in molecular & cellular development. I plan to apply to medical school and ultimately become a pediatrician. My passion in life is being able to help people, and this is the first step of many towards achieving that goal. Being able to show students their personal potential in the classroom through a good education is why I wanted to join Elevate Tutoring. Thank you and I really look forward to tutoring this coming school year.


Rashmeen Kaur

Hello! My name is Rashmeen Kaur and I am a senior at San Jose State University. I am currently pursuing a bachelors degree in Political Science. I want to attend graduate school for a degree in Public Policy, specializing in Higher Education. I have longed to receive the education I obtain today and have struggled to get where I am because I come from a similar background as those students who I have the privilege of tutoring this year through Elevate. My goal this year is to help students become confident in math and inspire them to go to college by illuminating a growth mindset and building rapport.


Raquel Chavez

Hi! My name is Raquel Chavez, and I am currently a sophomore at San Jose State University. My major is Biological Science. Since high school, I had an interest and passion to helping the youth at different levels. It went from doing tutoring hours at local elementary schools to Soledad Main Street Middle School at my home town, to taking part of the SCAAP (South County Autism Awareness Project) program and experiencing a new stage, where I helped create educational activities to Autistic youth. My career goal is to become a Pediatrician. Elevate tutoring is the perfect place to reach my career and academic goals. Feeling blessed, taking part of Elevate Tutoring is a great opportunity for me to continue applying my educational skills, give back to my community, and make the tutees believe that their effort will count!


Yuriria Acevedo Perez

Hola everyone! My name is Yuriria Acevedo Perez and I am currently a 2nd year student at Foothill College, majoring in English. I am from Mountain View, California and the eldest of five girls. I am proud to say that I am a first generation college student that has overcome many obstacles. Therefore, they have made me a stronger individual and I am more motivated than ever. Throughout my educational journey, I have struggled but nothing has been more challenging than coming to the United States and leaving Mexico behind. That part of my journey was the most challenging thing I had to face, so from there on I chose to view my glass half full and overflowing. Elevate Tutoring has create an opportunity to give back to those who aren’t as represent. Elevate has given me the chance to be a positive role model to those I encounter in my educational journey.

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