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2019-2020 Cohort


Austin Escobedo

Hi, my name is Austin Escobedo, and I want to be an astronaut. I am currently studying physics at San Jose City College, and I plan on transferring to earn a bachelor’s degree in aerospace science. I was born and raised in San Jose which means I love the fast pace lifestyle of a big city. However, my family roots began in Aguascalientes, Mexico, with my grandparents. I am the first in my family to attend college, which encourages me to create a pathway for future generations of underrepresented populations. For this reason, I was drawn to Elevate Tutoring.


Belen Blanco

Hi! My name is Belen, and I am a sophomore at Santa Clara University studying bioengineering. I was born in Torrance, CA and grew up in Los Angeles. Though my family has always been supportive towards my education, I have always struggled with a strong sense of “math anxiety” and imposter syndrome. Despite having made it to Santa Clara’s School of Engineering, I still find myself struggling with these same issues, and looking back, I know I would have loved to have a mentor or tutor. Because I attended a fairly socioeconomically diverse high school, I’ve seen the difference that access to outreach programs and quality tutoring can make in helping students gain confidence in academic ability and developing a growth mindset. I wanted to work with Elevate and give back to other kids who may struggle with math anxiety, a fixed mindset, or need a support system. I know that having someone believe in you and meeting other underprivileged students who have overcome many obstacles and, nevertheless, made it to college can make a big difference. For these reasons, I strongly believe in Elevate’s approach to tutoring and look forward to my tutoring experience.


Eduardo Miranda

Hello! My name is Eduardo Miranda and I am currently a junior at San Jose State University. I am majoring in Business Marketing with a passion in international business relations. I’ve lived in Mountain View for most of my life after immigrating here at the young age of 6 months with my parents. I am the first one in my family to attend college in the states with my younger sister following in my footsteps as a current sophomore at Wellesley College. I am very happy to form a part of the Elevate Tutoring team and join this family. I am currently not sure what I will be doing in the future, but with the help and guidance of Elevate Tutoring I hope to have a better understanding of what I want to do in relation to business and education. I am very happy to join this program because it allows me to help other students who come from similar backgrounds as mine and help them get into college.


Elsa Perez

My name is Elsa Perez , I am currently mathematics major at San Jose State University. I was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States at the age of four. My goal is to become a high school math teacher and change the negative beliefs about math. I am first generation Latina in a STEM major my goal is to encourage many more first generation minorities to take on the challenge of being in a STEM major because we are all capable of it. As a math teacher I aim to help changed that negative stereotypes about math and hopefully make it a fun and educational subject for my future students. Elevate appealed to me because it does work with minorities and low income and to me it is very important to give back to my community and this organization will provide the setting to do just that I. I genuinely feel that we can make a difference with one to one tutoring and hopefully set the stage for a better educational future for many students. Elevate will be a great asset to improving my knowledge and skills in the teaching environment.


Evelyn Vazquez Urzua

Hello there! My name is Evelyn Vazquez Urzua and I am currently a sophomore at Santa Clara University. I am double majoring in Political Science and Ethnic Studies with hopes of continuing my studies in graduate school for Higher Education or Education Administration. I am a first-generation college student, therefore I feel compelled to advocate for higher education in communities of color/communities of low socioeconomic status. Given that both of my parents migrated to the United States from Mexico to give my siblings and I a better future, I highly value education. Education has always been important to me, therefore I felt drawn to Elevate. Furthermore, I was drawn to Elevate because it would allow me to help students like myself achieve their goals. Lastly, I am very excited to commence my journey as an Elevate tutor!


Gabe Hernandez

Hello! My name is Gabriel Hernandez and I am a rising senior at Santa Clara University studying Engineering Physics with a concentration in nanotechnology. I am originally from Vallejo, CA and I am a first-generation college student part of the LEAD program. I am involved with immersion programs on campus with my most recent trip leading a trip to Costa Rica over winter break as well as engineering clubs on campus. I plan to attend a PhD program in the coming years in Applied Physics and see myself as an advocate and inspiration for those who may follow my path. One thing I love about Elevate is that I am directly impacting future engineers (and hopefully physicists). I see education as one way to show that individuals from low-socioeconomic backgrounds can make a difference in our world.


Jessica Escobar


Julissa Tinajero

I first learned about Elevate Tutoring through STEM NOW, a club at San Jose State that creates networking opportunities for women in computing. I was attracted to Elevate because of its purpose to help under-represented students who might not have the best educational opportunities. I myself grew up in a small, agricultural town called Soledad that didn’t have much exposure to fields such as the one I am in now. During my time in high school, I got lucky because a teacher began to offer a Computer Science class. All it took was one class and one teacher to give me the start that I needed. That is why Elevate seemed like the perfect way to give back to someone who might be in the same situation I was in. In high school, I participated in a program where I was able to tutor elementary school students. I saw the impact that one-on-one help can have on the students’ confidence, especially students who were only able to speak Spanish and needed the material to be explained in their native language. As part of Elevate, I hope to make a difference in students’ lives. I want to help them understand the material, but more importantly, I hope to be that starting point that propels them to make future goals for themselves beyond that one class or subject. After I graduate, I want to use my CS degree to become a software engineer and also find ways to encourage more Latinas to go into tech. I think the best way to do this is by creating a supportive environment and letting young girls see that a job in this field is attainable. Through Elevate, I can hopefully serve as an example to younger students who have this kind of aspiration and just need someone to encourage them to pursue it.


Kamalprit Kaur

Hi! My name is Kamalprit Kaur and I am currently a senior at San Jose State University. I am majoring in Business Administration with the concentration of accounting. I was born and brought up in Mountain View, but I am a first-generation student because my parents immigrated from Punjab, India. My dream is to become a CPA within the next few years and to work for the IRS. Being a part of Elevate Tutoring has helped me give an opportunity to help out other first-generation students and that is a pleasure of mine. The help that Elevate Tutoring is giving to these students is the help I wish I always had. And the fact that I am a part of this organization and I am helping to make an impact makes me feel happy.


Karina Guzman

Hello! my name is Karina Guzman and I am a sophomore at De Anza College majoring in Biology. I was born in San Salvador, El Salvador migrated to the US at the age of six and grew up in Sunnyvale, CA thereafter. I am a first-generation college student who is determined to advocate for marginalized communities. School has always been a privilege for me but it has also been one of the greatest struggles growing up because of the lack of resources and support. I am honored to be part of Elevate Tutoring because I believe it will provide me with the resources and strength to reach my goal of giving back to the local community. Through the means of tutoring and mentoring, I will promote academic achievement for students to reach their goals.


Liam Swanson

I was raised in West San Jose alongside my two brothers. My fascination with math and physics drew me to the world of engineering at a young age. Sure enough, I am now majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Santa Clara University. Being a junior, I am now looking towards what I want to do with my degree. Renewable energy and environmental aspects of mechanical engineering have sparked my greatest interests. My ultimate goal is to give back to the San Jose community in a positive way so that the people are well provided for and empowered by the resources around them.


Luis Sanchez

Hello! My name is Luis Sanchez. I was born and raised in Hayward, CA! I am currently a student at San Jose State University and my major is Biological Sciences with a Concentration of Systems Physiology. I am a first generation Latino student that comes from undocumented parents, and who is eager to learn new things and get out of his comfort zone. What drew me to Elevate was the mission statement that Elevate has. Growing up in a low income household and community, I am honored to be part of Elevate and to be in a position that allows me to give back to the community and help others that are struggling just like I was to achieve their academic goals due to their economic status.


Makayla Mouton

Hello! My name is Makayla and I currently attend San Jose State University. I am entering my 4th and last year as a public health major. I am a first generation college student who grew up in Hunters Point, San Francisco, and I’ve always had the goal of making sure to get an education for myself because my education is something no one can ever take from me. Coming from a low income community and being of ethnic background, I know first hand the adversity and struggles some youth may go through. I have worked with youth since I was a teen in my own community and I’ve always wanted to be the role model I wish I had when I was in high school. Elevate gives me the opportunity to continue to be able to help other youth in their journey and help other students achieve their goals and hopes in education who also may come from a similar background as I did. I enjoy working with youth and I feel I am making an impact on some of the youths’ lives I work with.


Michael Bose

Hey! I am Michael Bose, a second year electrical engineering student at Santa Clara University. I’ve lived in San Jose and Santa Clara my entire life, so I am definitely familiar with the area here. With Elevate, I hope to create an environment where a student does not have to worry about external factors, and can learn without being afraid of judgment. As a first generation student, I understand what it is like to not have someone who feels like the school system is not in their favor, and I would love to motivate others to do what they can do to get a good education. I can’t wait to help other students!


Paulina Ochoa


Renzo Huarcaya

Hi, my name is Renzo and I am a second year Neuroscience major with a pre-health emphasis at Santa Clara University. I hope to one day create outreach programs in which residents of less developed communities have access to adequate and effective healthcare. I also hope to achieve a medical degree in an area of study related to neuroscience. My background as a first generation college student has allowed me to fortify a foundation for serving the community especially in areas where resources are less readily available. I am also interested in education and the opportunity to reach out to students at the beginning of their academic career. Being able to engage with students of similar backgrounds and modify teaching techniques to each student has allowed me to realize that education is one of the most vital factors in anyone’s life path. I chose Elevate to serve my community with the same help I was given throughout my academic career, but tutoring has taught me much more than the ability to teach problem-solving techniques. I am able to develop my character and strengthen my initiative after each and every tutoring session. I am also able to create a lasting impact on the students and give them the extra courage they need to believe in their own abilities.


Sophia Castaneda-Colgan

I am a junior, studying Communication and Philosophy at Santa Clara University. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, where I was a part of a program that also tutored students in underserved areas. Coming to Santa Clara I wanted to find something similar, but what I found was even better than I imagined: Elevate Tutoring. I joined Elevate because I really love the goals of the organization and what they aim to achieve. I wanted to take part in their mission to help provide accessible tutoring for students who have been in the same position as I have been. I am first generation like most of the students we tutor, which makes the connection with these students so much stronger. I love that Elevate has provided me with support while also doing what I love so much, which is helping students see their potential. It’s been amazing to see the students grow and the impact we have, no matter how big or small. I hope to continue working with and supporting Elevate Tutoring because of the connections I’ve been able to make and the spectacular work that’s been achieved so far.


Trinity Tran

Hello! My name is Trinity Tran and I am currently a second year student at San Jose State University. I am majoring in Public Health and minoring in Psychology. I was born and raised in San Francisco, California. I grew up as an only child and am grateful to be the first in my family to attend a university. I take pride in being a first generation student and am very thankful to Elevate for providing me with the opportunity to aid other students who may be in need of academic or emotional support. Elevate gives me the chance to give back to my community as well as improve my tutoring abilities. I would love to be a resource for students and help them achieve their educational careers and goals. By sharing similar experiences as these students, I hope to help them grow into stronger individuals by sharing a positive influence.

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