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2016-2017 Cohort


Alejandra Sanchez

Salutations! My name is Alejandra Sánchez, and I am sophomore at Santa Clara University majoring in Sociology, Spanish, and Ethnic Studies with a minor in Latin American Studies. I am from Redwood City, CA— located in the heart of Silicon Valley. As the daughter of immigrants, and a first generation Latinx in higher education, I know what it’s like to be a part of a vulnerable community experiencing injustice. Although SCU is a beautiful and manicured campus, the realities outside of the SCU bubble have challenged me to take social action, specifically within education, for marginalized communities like the one I grew up in. My lived experiences are the reason why I love tutoring and working with students from various backgrounds. More importantly, I enjoy witnessing what students are capable of and all they undertake through a growth mindset to elevate in their academics. If I cannot challenge the platform of the uneven distribution of educational resources and opportunities, then I am part of the problem. My goal as an Elevate tutor is to deconstruct the institutionalized inequalities in the educational system through knowledge, power, and growth mindsets in classrooms everyday.


Alejandro Zepeda

Hello, I am Alejandro Zepeda. I am a first-year Economics major at Santa Clara University and from Los Angeles, California. As a first generation college student and child of immigrants, I find it imperative to do everything in my power to receive a college education. I believe I serve as an example to my two little sisters, Celeste and Clarissa. They are the motivation for me to work hard and to put my sincerest effort into all that I do. I want to leave in them an example of hard work and dedication. I want to show my family that, despite the obstacles that may be presented to us, we can achieve greatness. I believe I can help others realize their greatness through Elevate.


Alex Flores

Hello! My name is Alex Flores, I was born and raised in Gilroy, Ca. I am a junior in college. I attended Santa Clara University my first two years of college but I have transferred to Cal Poly Pomona. I play soccer for my university and currently live in Diamond Bar, Ca. I began with Elevate a year ago and it has truly helped me become more open minded with the way different individuals learn and communicate. I am grateful to be a part of the Elevate tutors team!


Anh Le

Hello! My name is Anh Le and I am a junior Biomedical Engineering student at San Jose State University. I was born in Vietnam and moved to the United States when I was nine. Not being able to understand English, I was put into English Second Language sessions during school hours and I joined after school programs to get help on homework. I was inspired by the mentors who helped me, so I became a tutor at the age of sixteen. Being an Elevate tutor, I hope to not only show students the importance of education, but also to inspire and encourage them to pursue their passion. The difference between the college students that helped me when I was younger and me as an Elevate tutor is that I can come to students and help them in class instead of having them come to me. I value Elevate Tutoring because the organization gives me the opportunity to make a positive impact on my community as a young adult.


Eneyda Tobar

I am a junior at San Jose State studying to become an accountant. I value education, and believe that it is the best investment you can make in yourself. I discovered my passion for helping the youth when I tutored others at Mathnasium and from my time at Stretch to Kindergarten. Once I heard of Elevate, it seemed like a great way to continue to help students and give back to the community. What I gained from Elevate was beyond expectations, because we learned new tutoring techniques and the growth mindset, all of which I have benefited from myself. For this reason, I am happy to be a part of Elevate Tutoring because I am able to share my experiences and knowledge with the students and I also have the pleasure to see the students grow as individuals.


Helen Newen

Hello! My name is Helen Newen and I am a third year at Santa Clara University majoring in Public Heath. Growing up, I was blessed to have a support system present at home and at school to encourage me. With the support of others, I have learned to embrace hardships while trying my best to overcome them. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with Elevate and look forward to tutor students that have a similar background as my own. As a first generation college student, I hope to inspire the younger generation to have a growth mindset and pursue their dreams and aspirations.


Isaiah Dolce

Hello! My name is Isaiah Dolce, and I am a Freshman at San Jose State University. I am currently pursuing a degree in Software Engineering. I have been passionate about programming ever since I picked up my first programming textbook 7 years ago. Another part of my inspiration to go to college is my mom. As a first-generation college student, I was motivated by her to go to a four-year university where I could further my education and pursue a career in what I am passionate about. Being in Elevate Tutoring has helped me gain a new perspective on learning and education, and I plan on using what I have learned in this program far into the future.


Jesus Caballero

Hello! My name is Jesus Caballero and I’m a mechanical engineering student at Cañada College. I was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico and I moved to the US when I was four. I’m the oldest son in a family of six, and the first person that go to college in my family. That means that I have to set a good example for my younger siblings. I’m thankful to the Elevate program because I’ve been working with kids going through similar experiences as me and it’s good giving them help that I didn’t get when I was in their shoes.


Jose Roque

Hello, everyone! My name is Jose Roque and I am currently a sophomore at San Jose State University majoring in Aerospace Engineering. I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and arrived at the United States when I was two years old. I am the oldest and first in my family to go to college. I had no one to set the footsteps to guide me to college, so everything that I was achieving was new to my family and I. Even though it is a little bit nerve racking to set the pathway to a higher education for my family, it is also very rewarding that I am showing my siblings that a higher education is the right way. Elevate has giving me an opportunity to not only help other students who could be in a similar situation I was, but it has also let me set a support network with other college students. Elevate is also helping me achieve my goal of completing a higher education.


Leya Day

Hello! My name is Leya Day and I am currently a sophomore at Santa Clara University. I am majoring in Psychobiology and I’m considering a minor in Engineering. I am originally from Fort Worth, Texas and now my family lives in Auburn, Ca. I plan to apply to law school and become a family lawyer. When I was looking into Elevate I fell in love with the organization’s motive. I loved the idea of 1st generation, low-income college students tutoring and helping others who may have a similar background. I hope to be an inspiration and role model for those students who need a little encouragement and motivation. I want them to know that their dreams and goals are achievable. I hope to inspire students that their past or present situation doesn’t determine the future. I am proud and appreciative to be an Elevate Tutor!


Luis Del Roasrio

Hello, my name is Luis Del Rosario. I am currently a freshman at San Jose State, majoring in Meteorology. I was born and raised here, specifically about 30 minutes north of San Jose, Redwood City. Growing up, I had very inspirational teachers in middle school, that not only taught me, but encouraged me to aim higher than what I believed in. In high school, I also had very motivational teachers that believed in me and my peers. One of my biggest advocates was my high school counselor; I want to pass that legacy of motivation and encouragement to my tutees through Elevate Tutoring. I want them to believe in themselves and their ability to succeed in the present and in the future.


My Nguyen

My name is My Nguyen; I am currently attending San Jose State University as a sophomore. I am pursuing Public Health Administration. I was born in Vietnam, Saigon and emigrated to the United States at the age of 8. Therefore, English was not my primary language. Learning a new language and adapting to a new culture was one of the first obstacles I had overcome. However, I was fortunate enough to have encountered an individual that impacted my life significantly. Someone who created a patient, understanding, and comfortable learning environment for me which sped up my learning process. To me, she was my “Hero without a cape,” because I knew exactly what it felt like to be stuck and helpless. By having someone there as an assistance, meant the world to me. She wasn’t just a tutor but also a companion: an invisible hand that helps guided me to the right path. Because of this experience, I am inspired to become someone else’s invisible hand that will motivate and guide them through their struggles in mathematics and ultimately obtain a better education – especially lower socioeconomic class individuals who could not afford private tutoring. This is one of the reasons that grasped me into joining Elevate Tutoring Program!


Omar Arellano

¡Hola! I am Omar Arellano. I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and I moved to the United States at the age of 7. I am a first generation college student at San José State University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a Minor in Italian. The city of San Jose and the Bay Area in general contributed to my upbringing and because of that I have fallen in love with this community. I am thankful and honored to have Elevate as a platform to give back to my dear community. I hope that I can make an impact in the life of others and help them achieve their goals in education and life.


Ricardo Portals

Hello my name Is Ricardo Portals, I am a recent transfer attending San Jose State University as an electrical engineering major. I am excited to be a part of the Elevate Tutoring Program. I have worked in the past as a tutor and know how it feels to be able to touch peoples lives and make a difference by helping understand topics in school. That is why I am grateful to be able to do it once more. My goal in this program is to be able to not only strengthen students ability to learn their materials but to also have them gain an interest in their school subjects to better prepare them mentally for college and to help them gain confidence in their ability to learn. In return I hope Elevate will help me strengthen subjects I have already learned and to help me develop my professional skills for life after college as well as help me pay for my tuition in college.


Ronnel Fetalvo

My name is Ronnel Fetalvo. I am a second year transfer student at San Jose State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I am so blessed to have the chance to be part of Elevate. I Have been waiting patiently for this opportunity to come because deep down inside me, I wanted to teach but I was too scared to do anything about it. Elevate has given me that chance to pursue my other goal that I have been waiting for. I wanted to use these skills to help teach children in a foreign Country when I graduate. I want to have the opportunity to build an orphanage that teaches children who couldn’t afford to go to school because they don’t have money. I am looking forward to see what Elevate has in store for me and what they can teach me so that I can help others in the future.


Samantha Puccetti

My name is Samantha Puccetti. I attend San Jose State University and I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. Being a first generation college student I understand how getting assistance from others around you can make a big difference. I was raised by a single dad and I now have two younger siblings that mean the world to me and remind me everyday that I am a role model and mentor. Whether it be a mentor to help you with the different life obstacles you encounter, or a tutor to help you with your academics, having someone there working with you can make all the difference in the world. I am very excited that Elevate has given me the opportunity and skills to help others reach their potential.


Yurybett Silvas

Hello my name is Yurybett Silvas. I am a senior at San Jose State studying Sociology and Spanish. In the future I aspire to be a high school teacher and Spanish professor, however my biggest dream is to be a photographer while traveling the world. I am the first in my family to graduate high school and attend a four year university. All through out my education I have had a great connection with my teachers and I really believe they are a big reason why I love school so much. During my time at Elevate I hope to inspire students and make them understand why educations is so important and the many doors it can open. I want all my students to believe that college is possible.


Zayna Seyedi

Hello! My name is Zayna Seyedi and I am a junior at San Jose State University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. I was born and raised in San Jose and I look forward to giving back to my community through a career in the public or non-profit sector. I’m very excited about having the opportunity to work with Elevate to promote learning and an interest in mathematics in local classrooms. As a first generation college student, I hope to influence other students to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals through higher education.

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