Raymond Austin is a Staff Attorney at the Homeless Action Center in Oakland, CA. They provide public benefits advocacy for the homeless and mentally ill population in Alameda County. At UCSC, Raymond was a member of the Filipino Student Association and Engaging Education. He was also an organizer for the Practical Activism Conference and served two years as an officer in the Student Union Assembly. He was the Internal Vice-Chair for the first year and then Chair for the second. Raymond earned his B.A. in Sociology at UCSC and his J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, MA.
Niketa Calame-Harris is a Los Angeles native working as a project ambassador for the American Diabetes Association and an actress who has performed in numerous productions, including Squeak in “The Color Purple,” which won a 2012 Ovation Award for “Best Ensemble Cast.” She was also the voice of Young Nala in Disney's "The Lion King." Niketa earned her B.A. at UCSC and her M.F.A. at The Actors Studio Drama School in New York. She was a Chancellor’s Undergraduate Internship Program intern, co-chair of the Ethnic Student Organization Council and Black Sisters United, and an organizer for Destination Higher Education.
Dr. Meda Higa is an assistant professor of biology at York College of Pennsylvania. She is also a member of SACNAS, a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in science. While at UCSC as a Regents Scholar, Dr. Higa earned a B.A. in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Subsequently, she earned a Ph.D. in oncological sciences from the University of Utah. Dr. Higa was also a member of the Filipino Student Association, Pagkakaisa Dance Troupe, and Alpha Kappa Delta Phi.
Eden Silva Jequinto recently graduated from UCLA with an M.A. in urban planning and is now at the UCLA School of Law as a member of both the public interest and critical race studies programs. Previously, Eden was at the EastSide Arts Alliance in Oakland, where she established its Guerilla Theatre and Youth Leadership programs. At UCSC, Eden earned a B.A. in American studies while being a member of the Filipino Student Association, Rainbow Theater, Third World and Native American Student Collective Press, KZSC radio station, Ethnic Student Organization Council, Colors in Action, Student Union Assembly, and Educational Opportunity Program.
Kalwis Lo is a Southern California native serving as the Policy Advocate for Hmong National Development Inc., in Washington D.C. Previously, he served as an advocate on behalf of students across the country to improve law and policy changes within the White House, Department of Education, and Congress. As a Stevenson undergraduate, he earned his B.A. in politics and a minor in education while serving as a member of the Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance and chair of Student Union Assembly.
Tiffany Dena Loftin is the Senior Program Specialist in Community Advocacy and Partnership Engagement (CAPE), Center for Social Justice at the National Education Association. Her responsibilities focus around aligning NEA priorities with partners within the African American and progressive communities and creating opportunities for critical dialogue and action addressing racial and economic disparities. She transfers from the AFL-CIO as the Racial Justice Program Coordinator for the Civil, Human, and Women’s Rights Department. Prior, Tiffany served at the American Federation of Teachers and as President of the United States Student Association (USSA). Ms. Loftin has been nationally recognized, appearing on TV One, Fox News, ABC, People’s World, National Public Radio, and Al Jazeera. A passionate advocate for the empowerment of communities of color, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in Higher Education. Ms. Loftin graduated from UCSC with dual degrees in American Studies and Political Science.
Dr. Belinda Lum works as an Assistant Professor of sociology in the Behavioral and Social Science Division at Sacramento City College. She is also a consultant that specializes community-based action research, strategic planning, consensus building, facilitation, and civic engagement. She earned her M.A and Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Southern California. At UCSC, she earned a B.A. in sociology, and was a member of the Third World and Native American Student Collective Press, the Chinese Student Association, and the Multicultural Festival Organizing Committee.
Lee Maranto is a Southern California native, but has called Northern California his home since coming to UCSC in 1997. He majored in community studies and politics and co-founded the student organization: Challenging, Learning about and Undermining Heterosexism. Lee served as a Chancellor’s Undergraduate Intern for SOAR and later returned as a Program Manager. He earned a law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law and currently works at UC Berkeley as the Independent Hearing Officer. He attributes his legal education and SOAR experience as critical to being hired at UC Berkeley.
Matthew Palm is a Ph.D. candidate in geography at UC Davis. His research focuses on environmental justice and developing smart housing and transportation policies for working class communities. Matthew’s currently studying the benefits of free bike loan programs for working families and documenting the obstacles to affordable housing construction in the San Francisco Bay Area. At UCSC, Matt earned a B.A. in history while organizing with The Network (now Queer Student Union) and Student Union Assembly. Afterward, he earned an M.P.P. at Oregon State University.
Justin Resuello is Director at First Republic Private Wealth Management and manages fixed income research for $21 Billion in bank and ultra high-net-worth investment portfolios. Justin earned a B.A. in business management economics at UCSC, and a M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, where he was a graduate fellow. As an Oakes undergraduate, he was a chairman of Engaging Education, a coordinator of the Filipino Student Association’s A Step Forward, a volunteer with the Kuya/Ate Mentorship Program, and a Board of Director of Engaging Education in its first year.
Leisette Rodriguez earned her J.D. from City University of New York School of Law and currently serves as a union representative for teachers in Los Angeles. At UCSC, she studied sociology, politics and education. She was Co-Chair of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan and an active member in Student Alliance of North American Indians, Third World and Native American Student Collective Press, Ethnic Student Organization Council, Multicultural Festival, Lesbians of Color Alliance, City on a Hill Press, Students Support United Farm Workers, and a student member of the Santa Cruz Indian Council. Leisette was also member on the Chancellor’s Exploratory Commission for an Ethnic Studies general education requirement.
Darrick Smith is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of San Francisco and a consultant for colleges and school districts addressing equity concerns in the areas of policy, pedagogy, and leadership. Dr. Smith’s research interests include: culturally responsive discipline practices; equity in community colleges; critical pedagogy; transformative leadership, and education for social justice. He has served as an educator, school leader, and consultant within secondary, post-secondary, and non-profit spaces for 18 years. Dr. Smith previously served as the Co-Principal at the June Jordan School for Equity in San Francisco, as well as founder of the TryUMF (pronounced “triumph”) program for adolescents, teaching students fundamental principles in sociology, feminism, and critical theory. He was awarded the University of California’s Fannie Lou Hamer Award for his commitment to social change and a commendation from the California State Senate for his work in violence prevention and youth development.
Brian Sniegowski is Director of Innovation and Development at Farmers Insurance Group, the third largest US property and casualty insurance company. Brian earned a B.A. in politics and business economics at UCSC and a M.B.A from the USC Marshall School of Business. He has been chair of the UCSC Multicultural Festival and president of the Southern California Hapa Issues Forum. Currently, Brian is an elected board member of the UCSC Alumni Council, board member of Coro, a public policy non-profit, and ensemble member of Cold Tofu, an Asian American improv troupe.
Kenneth Songco is a Bay Area native, born and raised in San Francisco. He holds a Master of Public Administration from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from UCSC, Oakes College. At UCSC, Ken was involved with the Filipino Student Association, Pilipino Cultural Celebration, Rainbow Theater, a founding member of the Ethnic Student Organizing Council (ESOC) and was the first Recruitment and Retention Intern with the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Internship Program (CUIP). He’s currently Director of Student Equity and Success at Mission College in Santa Clara, CA and was previously Director of Federal Student Services Grants.
Dr. Claradina Soto (Navajo/Pueblo) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California Keck School Of Medicine in the Institute for Prevention Research. She earned her Ph.D. and MPH at USC, with her research interest in tobacco control to improve the health of American Indian populations and other diverse populations through education, prevention, and cessation efforts. As an undergraduate at UCSC, Dr. Soto was a member of the Student Alliance of North American Indians, the Bridge program, and SOAR.
GusTavo Guerra Vasquez was born in Guatemala and immigrated without documents to Los Angeles at the age of eight. As a Human Services Administrator for Los Angeles County’s Human Relations Branch of the Community and Senior Services Department, GusTavo leads their youth initiative and Hate Violence prevention, documentation, and intervention work. A multi-disciplinary artist, he has performed and toured with spoken word groups promoting equity and social justice. GusTavo received his B.A. in Spanish literature from UCSC and an M.A. from the Comparative Ethnic Studies Graduate Group at U.C. Berkeley.