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2022-2023 Cohort


Andrea Alonso Mendoza

Hello! My name is Andrea Alonso Mendoza. I’m a first-gen student, and the oldest of three girls from immigrant parents. My hometown is San Luis Obispo, California but I moved to San Jose to attend San Jose State, University, where I am Majoring in Justice Studies with a Concentration in Criminology and Minoring in Sociology. Being the oldest in my family, I had to learn to be independent and responsible at a very young age. Everything I do is to set the bar higher for my siblings, who I know look up to me. Although I’m still unsure about what I want to do with my career. I know that after I graduate I want to be part of the military and work on getting my Master’s Degree. Everything, I have is because of my hard work, and If there’s anything I’d like these students to take away from me, is that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. Just like one of my favorite quotes that inspires me day to day says, “You don’t fail until you give up.” I joined Elevate not only for the financial support, but to help make a positive impact in these student’s lives. To guide them through their struggles, in the same way that I was guided by many educators as I learned my second language which was English, and received extra support afterschool in many subjects where I had lost hope that I’d pass.


Andrea Labra Orozco

Hello 🙂 My name is Andrea Labra Orozco. I am a first gen fourth year Computer Science major at Cal State East Bay. My plans for after graduation are to attend grad school and eventually do both industry and teaching CS! Some of my favorite hobbies include photography, taking care of my plants and traveling whenever possible. The reason I joined Elevate was to help other women in STEM achieve their goals and serve my local community.


Ani Bacilio Olivera

Hi, My name is Ani Bacilio-Olivera, I am a second-year student at UC Berkeley majoring in Civil Engineering. I was born in Salinas, California, and raised in Greenfield, CA. I moved to Oaxaca, Mexico when I was one and came back at 9 years old. I am the oldest and first in my family to attend college. My parents are my biggest motivation since they work so hard in agriculture under the sun to give us a life they never had. I joined Elevate because in school I had a teacher who stayed after school just to help me learn English so I want to be that person to be able to help another student succeed. My life dream is to graduate and later obtain my master’s degree. I want to be able to help my parents financially and help my community in any way I can.


Boris Bastidas

Hi my name is Boris Bastidas. I was born in Quito-Ecuador. Right in the middle of the planet. I am a first year student majoring in Horticulture and Environmental design at Foothill college. I really enjoy working with plants and their fantastic worlds. I joined Elevate because I am in love of the concept of productive failure. Modern world makes us think that some decisions and outcomes are failures. But, in failure you get the chance to learn even more than in success. Once I felt that I was failing in life, but then I changed my mindset and realized all the positive aspects of failure. It was life-changing. I am looking forward to share this experience to other people and try to help them.


Brianna Navarrete

Hello! My name is Brianna Navarrete, a 3rd year undergrad at San José State University and majoring in Social Work with a minor in Forensic Studies. As a first-generation college student, one of my main goals/passions is to help others like me by guiding them and making a difference in their lives by being a resource to them. I joined Elevate because I want to empower young minds and lead them to reveal their full potential; not only does it bring me great ecstasy to be able to help others, but it would be a life dream to be able to support families in need and see what difference I can make within vulnerable communities!


Camila Lozano Avalos

Hello! I am Camila Lozano Avalos. I am a Junior studying chemical engineering at the University of California Berkeley. I am from Riverside, CA. As a first generation Mexican-American, I hope to be the first of many in my family and community to pursue a professional career. I chose to work with Elevate since they focus on providing opportunities for underrepresented students, like me. Having learned English in the fourth-grade, I have come to value tutoring from someone who speaks my language, Spanish, and I hope that I will be able to provide aid to students who find themselves in similar struggles.


Christina Walsh

My name is Christina and I’m currently attending Mission College for a degree in English. I love to read and write so I chose to take a path towards an English degree in hopes to one day be a college professor to teach young minds the importance of language arts. I chose Elevate so I can be a resource to students who otherwise wouldn’t have a positive and progressive relationship with someone who sees them as achievable. I want to help students realize their potential and know that the road to success doesn’t have to be something to fear but instead something to embrace. My life dream is to achieve my goals while at the same time balancing as much time with my children as possible.


Cindy Kwok

Hello! My name is Cindy Kwok and I am a first year student currently studying Business Administration with a concentration in Global Management at the UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business. The reason I joined Elevate Tutoring was because I am passionate about giving back to my community and supporting the youth is an amazing way to start. As a tutor fellow, I hope to inspire my students in believing in themselves and whatever path they choose to take. In the future, I aspire to start my own business after gaining some experience in either venture capital, consulting or product management.


Daniela Ceja

Hello my name is Daniela Ceja, I’m a 4th year Anthropology major at UC Berkeley. I was born and raised in Hayward, with strong roots in Michoacan, Mexico where my parents are from. I have a cute pup named Cleta and love to go on walks, play, and spend as much time as I can with her. I am also a first-generation student that had a lot of support from advisors, tutors, and teachers to get me to where I am now. I know how important it is to know that people care about my learning and my success as a student. I hope to be that source of support for the next generation scholars during my time with Elevate.


Daniel Gonzalez Covarrudias

Hello! My name is Daniel Gonzalez Covarrubias, I transferred to SJSU pursuing an Engineering Technology major and a minor in Business. I find technology very fascinating because it has the power to ease our lives, and it allows us to reach new potentials in different areas. I have always liked the idea of making others’ lives easier by helping them out during stressful situations. I enjoy helping students with STEM because these subjects happen to be very stressful for many students. I started tutoring Statistics as a part-time job during my first semester at San Jose Community College. After graduating from Community College, I applied to Elevate Tutoring to help high school students who struggle with STEM subjects. Being a tutor has allowed me to help many people throughout the years, and I am very happy that I still have the opportunity to help others.


des Jackson

des (he/they) is a 5th year student at UC Berkeley studying Comparative Literature. Born and raised in the Central Valley of California, des has been a tutor and mentor for various organizations, including the YWCA of Berkeley/Oakland and StepUp Tutoring, since coming into college. They joined elevate because learning with youth in East Bay middle schools became one of the most impactful and exciting parts of their college life. They spend their free time writing and mperforming poetry, or hiking and biking, particularly at the Berkeley Marina and in the Berkeley hills. A fun fact about des is that they are a libra!


Dillan Hernandez Rojas

Hello, My name is Dillan Hernandez Rojas and I am currently a third-year attending San Jose State University, majoring in Political Science. A little about me, I am the oldest of three to two younger sisters and the first in my family to attend college. I joined Elevate because I know firsthand the difficult challenges many students face in the school system, especially those that get neglected and discouraged because they learn at their own pace. Elevate allows me to give back to the community around me and help those students who need that extra push to succeed. This program provides a great opportunity to both the tutees and tutors, the financial support from this program will also substantially alleviate financial burdens. As a political science major, I hope to further my education and get my law degree in intellectual property. While my path as a patent lawyer doesn’t lead directly toward my aspirations to help my community, I will never forget where I come from and still want to give back to my community in whichever way I can. Community has always been important to me and it will continue to always be.


Fatima Soria

I joined Elevate because it serves underprivileged kids. I grew up being underprivileged and I am excited to be able to give back to my community. My goal this year is to continue pursuing my MIS and CS degrees at SJSU. My long term goal is to be the first one in my family to graduate from a University and to work in the tech industry.


Fernando Sanchez Lopez

¡Hola! My name is Fernando Sánchez López but I go by Ferch, everyone calls me that. I am originally from Ciudad de México, México. I moved here just 5 years ago in October 2017. I speak both English and Spanish with Spanish being my native language. I am a first-generation immigrant and student, I attend San José State University and am studying to obtain my Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and a minor in Chicanx Studies. I came to SJSU as a transfer student from the College of Marin, where I graduated with an Associate in Arts in Spanish and an Associate in Science in Physical Science. I have always been passionate about being involved and helping my community wherever I am, and that is part of why I decided to join Elevate. I tutored in English and Math for 1st to 3rd-grade classrooms back in High School in Mexico, and I was part of the student government at my community college, starting as the Public Relations and Marketing Senator in my first year, and the President in my last year. Another reason why I joined Elevate is that recently I have developed a new goal for the future, which is to become a professor in STEM. I am a firm believer that representation matters, and throughout my journey in higher education, I have not seen anyone that looks like me or is like me. I want to inspire others and be that representation for someone else that you are able to do whatever you set your mind to and the only limits are the ones you set for yourself.


Guadalupe Carrillo Vega

Hello everyone, my name is Guadalupe Carrillo Vega but everyone calls me Lupita! I am a first generation immigrant and college student at San Jose State University majoring in computer science. Being a Latina in STEM and noticing the lack of representation has motivated me to inspire others to pursue a STEM education. I believe that education is a huge stepping stone in everyone’s life and everyone should get an equal opportunity to achieve success. Thus, I decided to become an Elevate fellow to use my knowledge and experiences to help uplift my community. During my free time I enjoy gyming and going on boba runs with my family. I am looking forward to meeting new and exciting people!


Jada Velazquez Medina

Hi! My name is Jada Velazquez Medina and I am a second year at the University of California, Berkeley. I am currently studying Public Health on a Pre-Med track to pursue my passions and become a Dermatologist. Some of my interests include spending time with my friends, baking, listening to music and playing soccer. A big passion of mine is to help others and Elevate Tutoring gave me the platform to do just that, through tutoring. As am student who grew up having tutors I learned what techniques helped me and what didn’t; therefore as a tutor, I am excited to put my past experiences and current skills to use and help others achieve their academic goals.


Javier Lopez Franco

Being Immigrant/Dreamer I know how hard it is to keep up with classes while struggling with a new language and culture. I struggled much through Middle/Highschool with math and science classes while feeling like no one believed in me. I work with elevate because they believe in students like me. I’m currently going to Santa Clara Mission College and expect to graduate Fall2023 and transfer to US Davis. I want to show other students how to start believing in themselves.


Jobany Torres

Hi, my name is Jobany Torres. I currently attend San Jose State University and majoring in computer science. I like to spend time with friends or family in my free time. Since I was little, I have had an interest in tech even though I never grew up with a computer until later in life. I hope to one day be a programmer at a big company. The journey is not an easy one so I understand that classes in STEM are very challenging, which is a reason why I joined Elevate. I hope to help students currently struggling in STEM, understand both the material and their own potential.


Joell Macias

Hey, my name is Joell Macias. I’m from San Jose, California, and am currently at Santa Clara University in my third-year majoring in Civil Engineering with a minor in Environmental Sciences. At Santa Clara, I’m a student ambassador, a part of SHPE (Society of Hispanic Engineers), ASCE, and LEAD because I’m a first-generation college student. I choose to be a part of elevate because I’ve always enjoyed helping and working with others especially other ambitious people like myself. I know how difficult school can be, especially when it comes to the college process, so I’d like to share my knowledge and worth ethic to show students that not only a path to college is possible but that people like them can attend a private university and succeed as well. For my future I really like the field of Civil Engineering in itself whether that is in construction or water/wastewater management because I like the idea of working on important projects that can not only benefit society but also our environment. Elevate is helping me finance my education while also allowing me to continue my passion for helping my community and giving back to where I came from.


Kate Duong

Hi! My name is Kate Duong. I am a sophomore at Mission College and majoring in Electrical Engineering. I was born in Viet Nam and immigrated to America with my mother a few years ago. I joined Elevate Tutor to assist students in understanding math and physics. This is a great opportunity for me to not only help other people but also help myself to improve my skills and enhance my potential.


Kayla Flores

Hello! My name is Kayla Flores, I am a first-generation college student at San Jose State University. It is my third year in college, but my first year at SJSU. My current major is Public Health, but I want to transfer to nursing to become a registered nurse. Ever since I was in elementary school my parents have encouraged me to take advantage of every opportunity I come across in school. On many occasions, this was tutoring provided by the school. So I have been the tutee for a while which is why I wanted to be a part of Elevate. I am very grateful for this opportunity to be able to give back to students like myself.


Keidy Duong

Hello! My name is Keidy Duong, and I am in a second year at Mission College. I plan to transfer for the following Fall 2023 with a Data Science major. Being the first generation, I always chase my education path. I usually go to the gym and swim during break time. I enjoy going to photography clubs and taking photos. I want the tutor there to help the students, share my own experiences as a student, and make class an okay place to be unsure or ask questions. The tutor may realize that they can convey an idea more simply, show students a webpage, or any of these. What I hope for is I am a person who can augment and clarify in ways that make the materials more accessible to the students. Let’s work hard and play hard together!!


Kimberly Hernandez Rosas

Hello! I’m Kimberly Hernandez a new tutor with Elevate. I’m currently an Undeclared 2nd-year student at UC Berkeley. I look forward to working with my tutees in STEM because I’ve always considered myself a little science nerd. I would consider my best subjects to be science-related (Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology) and I hope to one day pursue a career in medicine. I’ve been tutoring since my freshmen year of high school, I began as a volunteer with an after-school program at my old elementary school. I’m excited to continue helping students with their classwork and to hopefully become someone they can rely on!


Luz Jauregui

Hi! My name is Luz Jauregui and I am currently a Chabot College student with the intention of transferring to pursue my degree in Computer Science. I am a first-gen college student as well as the eldest sibling so I know how it feels to be lost through the academic system. I lived and studied in Mexico when I was in middle school and the transition back here was very difficult for me. Also, having to work since high school is something that has been difficult through my academic path. Whenever I met people with at least a similar background to mine I always felt a great motivation that I can keep going to pursue my goals too! I know there are many barriers each student faces, but I’d love to be someone who can guide in any way possible for each to pursue their own paths. Elevate provides me with the opportunity to be able to give back to my community and help the next generation of scholars. It’s okay to not have everything figured out yet, but being able to help build a foundation in a student’s path is a great start!


Matthew Robledo

Hi, I am Matthew Robledo, and I attend Santa Clara University and major in Accounting and Information Systems. When I was in middle school, I had tutors from nearby colleges visit my school, and while they did help me with homework, they also pushed us to dream bigger. I Joined Elevate Tutoring in the hope of being that person to push the next generation to dream bigger and show them anything is possible with some hard work and determination.


Noel Salmeron

Hi! My name is Noel Salmeron, and I’m a third-year Data Science major at UC Berkeley. I was a tutor throughout high school, so I’m excited to continue now through Elevate and work with socioeconomically-disadvantaged students in STEM, so that they have more support like I wish I had when I was younger. I am also a first-generation student, so I’m grateful and looking forward to this opportunity!


Nourdean Shraim

Hello, my name is Nourdean. Glad to make your acquaintance! I am a biomedical engineering student at San Jose State, and I simply like the idea of tutoring, ever since high school when I was helping fellow students with work ranging from every aspect of education. I now am in elevate to make the positive changes that teachers and professors have made to my life, since I know that there is a slim chance that I would get into tutoring in the late future, I would at least try to recreate that with elevate, and make a positive impact on my community.


Pedro Ochoa Navarrete

Hello everyone! My name is Pedro Ochoa Navarrete and I am a first generation college student. I am currently in my junior year at UC Berkeley studying Computer Science. I transferred last year from the Peralta community college system where I worked as a tutor at Laney College for roughly a year and a half. After taking a semester off of tutoring I really missed it so when I heard Elevate was looking for tutoring in STEM classes I knew I had to join! I am looking forward to learning and growing with all of you!


Quacy Moore

Hi I’m Quacy and I’m studying Mechanical Engineering at Santa Clara University. I joined Elevate to give back to the community and give others access to resources that I did not have growing up.


Samantha Rodriguez

Hi everyone! My name is Samantha Rodriguez and my pronouns are she/hers. I am a second year student at San Jose State University. My major is Political Science with a minor in Chicana/o Studies in hopes to become an immigration attorney. In my free time I love reading and advocate for injustices around our communities especially underrepresented ones where more action needs to be taken. Being a tutor in many ways throughout high school myself has given me peace of mind to know I am a resource to many students who may be going through similar paths as me. Now being a part of elevate, I want to focus on ways to help younger students succeed and be able to overcome challenges in their academia world. I’m excited to see students shine in their own ways!


Shu Saw

Hey guys! My name is Shu Saw, and I’m currently a third year student trying to major in Software Engineering at San Jose State University. I was born in Saigon, Vietnam and I moved to San Francisco in 2012. I joined Elevate to make connections, gain experiences, and to gain confidence. I think it’s crucial that students gain confidence in whatever they are doing. Whether that’ll be asking teachers for help, seeking out for personal advice, or just improving your own self-confidence. Without confidence, especially in college, I believe that you lose out on a lot of easy/potential help that could make things easier. Confidence is one of the things us tutors at Elevate would like students to develop. Besides Elevate, I enjoy drawing and playing video games!


Stefany Plantillas

Hi, I’m Stefany Plantillas and I am a first year at De Anza college majoring in nursing. My goal is to transfer in two years and earn my B.S in Nursing to become an RN (: I was born in Nayarit, Mexico and came to the U.S at the age of two. I am the eldest out of my two younger siblings. Growing up as the eldest daughter I had to go through a lot of things alone especially when it came to education. I never got the help I needed nor did I know how to reach out for help which was impactful on my math and science skills later on. Since I know how it felt to be lost and helpless when it came to school, I decided to join Elevate to help students who are in my position receive the help they deserve. Not only this but being the oldest helped me develop a strong passion for helping and caring for those around me. I’m excited to be part of Elevate and I look forward to working with students to help them grow.


Toan Nguyen 

Hey! My name is Toan Nguyen and I am in my third year at San Jose State University. Majoring in Liberal Studies Preparation for Teaching, I hope to be able to become an elementary school teacher in the future and manage my own classroom. I was born in Vietnam but came to America at a very young age, so San Jose is what I consider my home. Despite having grown up in a low income household, I fortunately still had the opportunity to get the help I needed from after school programs and because of this, I want to be able to give back to my community by doing the same. In comes Elevate and why I wanted to join. Not only will I be able to contribute to my dream of becoming a teacher, I will be helping those who need it the most, like I once did. That is why I’m here.


Ximena Cadenas Dominguez

Hi! My name is Ximena, and I am a freshman majoring in Biology at Santa Clara University. I hope to combine my love for Biology with public health to address a lot of the current local/global health concerns. I wanted to become a tutor with Elevate because of many reasons. As a low-income and first-generation student, I aim to be a catalyst for positive impact by providing STEM education and any support I can to underrepresented and disadvantaged students. In the same way that I’ve been supported by mentors, I also want to guide and support younger students. Furthermore, I find tutoring to be a rewarding exchange. There’s immense satisfaction in helping a student succeed.


Xiomara Garcia

¡Hola! My name is Xiomara García. I’m from Gilroy, California and currently attend Santa Clara University. I am a first year majoring in bioengineering. As a first generation student, I have high aspirations for myself because my parents sacrificed their own education for mine. Throughout my early education, I always strived to succeed and overachieve. At times, it was difficult because other students had additional help I did not have. When the opportunity was presented, I found tutoring an amazing resource. I decided to join Elevate Tutoring because I would like to give back to my community and help students discover new skills.


Yulitzi Vizcarra​

Hello! My name is Julie, and I am a fourth-year student at UC Berkeley. I am majoring in environmental engineering. As a first-generation college student fortunate enough to receive so much support and opportunities, I want to give my community the same by helping them reach their academic goals. I know I can do this by creating a space of acceptance and assisting students in their educational endeavors. When I am not tutoring, I am backpacking, bouldering, and swimming (I LOVE THE GREAT OUTDOORS). I want to pursue higher education in engineering; I hope that my level of enthusiasm for the STEM field empowers my students.


Yusra Sultan

Hello, my name is Yusra Sultan and I am currently a 3rd year student at California State University, East Bay majoring in Speech Pathology and Audiology. I would love to become a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and serve at a non-profit organization before eventually becoming a contractor. As an SLP, it is very important to be able to work with individuals on a more personal level, one on one, which influenced me to join Elevate. Also, I would love to give back to my community by supporting the underserved communities that played a huge role in my upbringing. I am very excited to work with a diverse group of individuals while working on my communication and leadership skills.

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