Leadership and Administration 

 Shalom Staub, Director

Bio

Shalom joined the Center staff in September 2018. He has been involved in collaborative, community-engaged program development, pedagogy and research over his multi-sector 42 year professional career in state government, the private non-profit sector, and higher education.

At the Center, Shalom is responsible for strategic leadership to advance community-engaged learning and research opportunities as a cornerstone of the UCLA undergraduate experience. He introduced the new community-engaged course framework in 2019 and secured the approval of the Undergraduate Council for this open, expansive approach. He led the re-design of the Community Engagement and Social Change (CESC) minor, which is now a flourishing free-standing minor with over 90 students. He redesigned the Engaging Los Angeles course, which he now offers each quarter for 120 students. Engaging Los Angeles serves as the gateway to the CESC minor, focusing social inequality in contemporary Los Angeles and strategies for social change. Students in that course are matched with one of nearly 40 nonprofit partners, working with those organizations and gaining insights into the core themes of the course. Shalom has teamed with Prof. Andy Atkeson (Economics) to design and offer a social entrepreneurship practicum each fall quarter. Shalom also developed and new teaches a new online course on Intercultural Communication for the Global Workplace available to students participating in the new summer Global Internships program.

Shalom leads implementation planning for Goal 1 of UCLA’s Strategic Plan: Deepening UCLA’s Engagement with Los Angeles, providing leadership across the university to build the institutional structures and policies that enable community-engaged scholarship to flourish at UCLA. His efforts have successfully increased recognition for community-engaged research and teaching in the academic personnel review process. He designed the Chancellor’s Award for Community-Engaged Scholars program which has now recognized 16 faculty for their community-engaged research, and supported them to develop new undergraduate community-engaged research courses. His efforts have contributed to securing national recognition for UCLA faculty from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Engagement Scholarship Consortium: “Exemplary Work” recognition in 2020 for Million Dollar Hoods and the Kellogg Community-Engagement Scholarship Award in 2021 for Congo Basin Institute.

Prior to arriving to Los Angeles, Staub was Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Civic Engagement at Dickinson College. In his 14 years at Dickinson, he collaborated with faculty colleagues to develop a civic learning and community-engagement program that was embedded in the curriculum spanning the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. While at Dickinson College, Staub was also a contributing faculty member to the departments of Religion, Sociology, Judaic Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He created Dickinson’s Conflict Resolution Resource Services program, offering conflict coaching, mediation, group facilitation, and conflict skills education to the campus community. Prior to his work at Dickinson, Staub was the founding President/CEO of the Institute for Cultural Partnerships, a non-profit organization located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He had also served as the State Folklorist and later Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Heritage Affairs Commission, a state agency.

Staub’s publications include Yemenis in New York City: The Folklore of Ethnicity; Craft and Community: Traditional Arts in Contemporary Society; Conference Proceedings: Governor’s Conference on Ethnicity—Exploring the Impact of Pennsylvania’s Cultural Diversity on Public Policy, and numerous articles on Yemeni Jews in Israel, Yemeni Muslims in New York, folk culture and cultural conservation, and civic engagement work in higher education.

Staub received his BA and MA in Anthropology from Wesleyan University, and a Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds practitioner certification in conflict mediation and as a conflict resolution educator.

 Douglas Barrera, Associate Director for Faculty and Community Engagement

Bio

Douglas (Doug) first joined the staff in 2008, as the coordinator for the Civic Engagement internship course. He became an assistant director with the Center in 2012. He has been involved in community engagement work for over 20 years.

At the Center, Doug works directly with faculty and community partners to develop community-engaged courses for undergraduates. He has developed and directs UCLA’s Collaboratory initiative, the Astin Community Engaged Scholars and the Changemaker Scholars programs. He also facilitates the Center’s Engaged Pedagogy Workshop series and course development for the Chancellor’s Award for Engaged Scholars initiative, and is currently developing a place-based initiative related to youth empowerment in west L.A. He serves as the Campus Champion for the center’s Jumpstart program. Doug teaches courses for the Community Engagement & Social Change minor, and is an adjunct instructor for Labor Studies.

Prior to working for the Center, Doug was a research analyst with the UCLA Center for Community Partnerships and the Higher Education Research Institute. Before coming to UCLA, he was a program director for the Consensus Organizing Institute in San Diego, and taught community-engaged courses at UC San Diego and the University of San Diego. Dr. Barrera has published scholarly articles on student development through service learning and the development of community-campus partnerships. He is co-author of the Council of Europe publication, Advancing Democratic Practice: A Self-Assessment Guide for Higher Education, and the Higher Education Research Institute’s publication, First in My Family: A Profile of First-Generation College Students at Four-Year Institutions Since 1971. He serves on the editorial board for Collaborations: A Journal of Community-Based Research and Practice, and was previously a member of the program board of directors for a social service agency in Pacoima, CA. Doug received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Education from the University of California Los Angeles, and an M.A. and B.A. in History from San Diego State University.

Erica Yamamura, Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives

Bio

Erica first joined the Center staff in January 2003 as an Education Coordinator managing school partnerships, AmeriCorps, and internships. She returned to the Center in December 2023 and serves as Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives. After receiving her PhD in Higher Education and Organizational Change (HEOC) at UCLA in 2006, she served as a faculty member for 16 years at Seattle University, Texas State University, and Carleton College training educational leaders. She has been involved in collaborative, equity-centered community-engaged program development, pedagogy and research P-20 education for over 20 years.

At the Center, Erica is responsible for advancing the institutionalization of community engagement in partnership with campus and community leaders.

Prior to her return to UCLA, she was Director of the Student Development Administration Master’s Program and a tenured full professor at Seattle University. In her 12 years at Seattle University, she partnered with college access non-profit organizations, corporations, and P-20 education (Seattle Public Schools, community colleges, and higher education institutions) to create community-engaged research opportunities. As a faculty partner with the Sundborg Center for Community, she provided assessment, evaluation, and organizational development consulting for their place-based community engagement initiative, the Seattle University Youth Initiative. In 2018, Dr. Yamamura and her colleague Kent Koth published a book entitled “Place-based Community Engagement: A Strategy to Transform Universities and Communities” which has been used across the country to build more equitable and sustainable community engagement partnerships.

After receiving her undergraduate degree from UCLA, she coordinated an education program at a Title I, Latinx majority school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She also worked at UCLA in student affairs, including Residential Life as a Program Coordinator for Hitch Suites and Rieber Hall and the Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP). As a graduate student, she was a Spencer Foundation Fellow and conducted research at the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute on their longitudinal study on the impact of service learning. She cultivated her love of teaching as the lead teaching fellow for the UCLA EAOP college access course and served as a Collegium of University of Teaching Fellow. In recognition for her service, she received the UCLA HEOC faculty award. As an undergraduate student, she held leadership roles in Residential Life, the Bruin Belles Service Association, and the Bruin Leader’s Project and received the UCLA Women for Change Award for her leadership.

Her research agenda is focused on advancing educational equity, college access, community engagement, and diversity and inclusion in higher education. She has received research funding from the UCLA Institute of American Cultures, the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation.

Erica is a first-generation college graduate and a proud product of California’s public education system. She participated in educational access programs, including the UCLA Early Academic Outreach Program and the UCLA Law Fellow’s Program. A Bruin through and through, she received her BA in Political Science (Labor and Workplace specialization) and Asian American Studies (Public Policy Minor) cum laude with College and Departmental honors, and her MA and PhD in Higher Education and Organizational Change all from UCLA. She is a proud parent of a student at Geffen Academy at UCLA. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring tasty taquerias, reading autobiographies, and volunteering at the Venice Japanese Community Center.

Munia Bhaumik, Program Director, Mellon Social Justice Curriculum Initiatives

Bio

Munia Bhaumik is the Program Director of Mellon Social Justice Curricular Initiatives and an award-winning scholar of comparative literature, politics, and law. An alumna of UCLA, where she received her M.A. in Urban Planning, her research and teaching critiques racial and gender inequities as well as the multiple social factors impacting whose lives count before the law. Thus, as an academic researcher, she rethinks citizenship and democracy theory from the perspective of vulnerability, considering how marginalized noncitizen refugees, migrant workers, incarcerated persons, and undocumented (child) detainees are crucial social actors. Dr. Bhaumik received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley before joining the faculty at Emory University in Atlanta where she engaged with new Asian/Latinx immigrant and African American community voting rights alliances in the South, while also developing a vibrant undergraduate degree program in comparative literature and critical theory. Based on her research about noncitizens as the “uncounted,” data and democracy, as well as on poetry as political action across the Global South, she received the prestigious Stanford Humanities Center, Herman Melville Society, and Cornell Society for the Humanities faculty awards. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Bhaumik also spent a decade as a primarily Spanish-speaking labor/community organizer on the staff of leading progressive organizations in Los Angeles shaping national debates about social justice through direct action. Her academic book, In Liberty’s Shadow: The Noncitizen in American Letters and Law, deploys close literary and theoretical readings of seminal literary and philosophical texts defining American political culture before 1900 to argue for a new democratic ethos of recognition for our present. Equally motivated by the humanities as by social movements, particularly the ethical dilemmas communities-of-color are mobilizing in this global (post)metropolis, her work brings to attention research protocols in alliance with the demands for abolition and noncitizen citizenship as well as multilingual, queer, migrant, worker, healthcare, and Black equal rights.

Mary Keipp, Program Director of the Community Youth Programs

Bio

Mary Keipp has been the Program Director of the Community Youth Programs (previously the UCLA Community Based Learning Program) since 1989. During these past 33 years under Mary’s direction, the program has grown from a single $100,000 youth workforce program to over 10 extramurally funded youth programs, with contracts totally $3.5 million. The Community Youth Programs work directly with underserved adolescents and young adults, providing a variety of youth workforce development activities that strengthen the educational attainment and career readiness for approximately 700 youth annually. The program operates two youth centers: one in West LA and one in the Pico Union area. The other major area of Community Youth Programs endeavors is providing traditional afterschool programming to young people at six LAUSD high schools and one elementary school. Mary’s current tenure at UCLA is her “second time around” with the University, having first been employed from 1963 to 1968, as a Program Assistant initially fort he Institute of Government and Public Affairs and then the UCLA Overseas Programs Office. In the 21 years between her two UCLA engagements, Mary worked for Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Northridge in workforce and school related programs. Those years also found Mary volunteering in a host of school committees and community organizations, primarily focused on youth development and civil rights initiatives. These included the LAUSD Citizens Advisory Committee on Student Integration, the Martin Luther King Legacy Association, LACER, Communities in Schools Advisory Committee and YPICS Charter School Board of Trustees.

Clearly Mary’s passion for youth has guided her work and community activities for many years, but she has found time for her other loves. These include her nine adult grandchildren and of course, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Christina-Marie Santillan, Academic Coordinator

Bio

Christina-Marie (or CM, for short) has worked at UCLA for almost eight years and recently joined the Center in June 2023. She brings with her experience in community education, higher education, communications, and business operations. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in women’s, gender, & sexuality studies from Cal State University, Long Beach. In 2017, she earned her MBA, with a concentration in project management, from Mount Saint Mary’s University.  

At the Center, Christina-Marie is responsible for the coordination and management of undergraduate academic programs and initiatives, including the 195CE internship program and the Community Engagement and Social Change minor. She also oversees strategic communication and outreach. 

Christina-Marie’s career at UCLA has afforded her the opportunity to work directly with academic policy, programs and services for UCLA students, as well as support faculty and staff. Previously, she served as the Manager for the Undergraduate Educations Initiatives unit, where she was responsible for operations across all programs. During her time as Communications Manager for the Department of Mathematics, Christina-Marie led the planning, coordination, and implementation of marketing programs to actively engage their 13,000 alumni and donor base. 

Her community engagement experience falls mainly under community education, where she served as a national community organizer for a non-profit organization that focused on prevention education for youth dating violence. In this role, she helped to develop an online curriculum and trained over 500 youth and adults across the country to implement the program in their respective school districts. Locally, Christina-Marie taught a residency program at Animo Watts Charter High School and conducted several guest speaking engagements at various middle and high schools all throughout LA county. During this time, she worked with various populations and organizations serving Native American youth, LGBTQ youth, youth experiencing homelessness, and underrepresented youth in low-income areas. 

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Myrna Dee Kikuchi, Academic Advisor

Bio

Bio coming soon.

Xochitl Lopez, Community Partnerships Coordinator

Bio

Xochitl Lopez (she, her, ella) was born and raised in Oxnard, California – where she learned how to become an advocate, organizer, and relative. A proud first-generation college graduate, Xochitl holds bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Spanish from California Lutheran University and a Master of Public Policy from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

As Community Partnerships Coordinator, Xochitl oversees recruiting new partner organizations, organizing student volunteers with partners, and supporting community-engaged development and assessment. Xochitl’s previous work surrounding migrant rights, farmworker justice, and youth organizing has inspired her to increase opportunities for community engagement at larger scales.

Charlie RuanoQuarter in Washington & UC Center Sacramento Program Coordinator

Bio

Charlie is the Quarter in Washington and the UC Center Sacramento program coordinator. He has been working for UCLA since May of 2022. His previous role at UCLA was as the Undergraduate Counselor for the Political Science Department. Charlie became the Quarter in Washington and the UC Center Sacramento program coordinator in October 2023. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cal State Dominguez hills in Sociology and went on to obtain his Masters in Guidance and Counseling from Loyola Marymount University. He is passionate about supporting any and all students towards their personal and academic success.

Sharen Sagadraca, Administrative Assistant

Bio

Sharen has recently joined our team as Administrative Assistant for the Center for Community Engagement. She has been at UCLA since 2021, where she previously worked in administration for the Counseling and Psychological Services. Sharen is a UC Irvine alumna where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology & Social Behavior and a minor in Digital Arts. She spends her spare time freelancing as a graphic designer and enjoys reading and being a corgi dog mom. 

195CE Internship Courses

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Suzannah Beiner, Senior TA Coordinator 

Bio

Bio coming soon.

CESC Lecturers

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Marina Litvinsky, Lecturer 

Bio

Bio coming soon.

Rigoberto Marquez, Lecturer 

Bio

Dr. Rigoberto Marquez is a native of Los Angeles, first generation college student and a product of California’s three public school systems. Dr. Marquez is a higher education administrator, researcher, and educator at the intersections of inclusion, equity, access, and integrative learning. He has over two decades of experience working in the areas of program development and administrative leadership incorporating research, queer & critical race theoretical frameworks and anti-oppressive approaches to education, research, and policy development. Rigoberto has held teaching and research fellowships at Stanford, Columbia, Mills College, and the University of San Francisco. His work on the experiences of queer and LGBT Latine(a/o/x) families has been published in journals such as the Journal for Homosexuality, Equity and Excellence in Education, Curriculum Inquiry. Dr. Marquez holds a PhD from UCLA’s school of education and information studies, a master’s degree from the college of education at the University of Maryland, College Park, bachelor’s degrees from the UC-San Diego and earned a liberal arts degree from Santa Monica College.

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Sjoerd Oostrik, Lecturer 

Bio

Bio coming soon.

Zack Ritter, Lecturer 

Bio

Dr. Zack Ritter has spent more than 16 years in higher education across Southern California with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusivity. He was Associate Dean of Students at CSU-Dominguez Hills, helping run the Office of Community Standards restorative justice department and Basic Needs housing and food insecurity program. He was also the Associate Dean of the Office of Institutional Diversity at Harvey Mudd College and University of Redlands. He is an Adjunct Professor teaching social justice history and research methods at UCLA and CSU-Dominguez Hills. He has co-edited three books with titles such as Whiteness, Power, and Resistance to Change in Higher Education and Emancipatory Change in Higher Education. He also spent several years in the nonprofit sector, building bridges between Muslim and Jewish communities. Dr. Ritter received his PhD from UCLA, focusing on East Asian international students, racial stereotypes, and American media promulgation of globalized race/class/gender hierarchies.

Student Ambassadors

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Lori Garavartanian, UC Center Sacramento Student Ambassador 

Bio

Bio coming soon.

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Hafsa Jay, CESC Student Ambassador 

Bio

Bio coming soon.

Rujula Vikram, Quarter in Washington Student Ambassador 

Bio

Rujula is the 2023-2024 Quarter in Washington Student Ambassador. She is a current third-year undergrad at UCLA double-majoring in Political Science and Economics. As a Spring ’23 alumna of the program, Rujula is excited to share her experience living in DC with prospective QiW applicants. While in DC, Rujula was a legislative intern for Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. Outside of school, Rujula enjoys writing music, visiting new cafes, and hanging out with her dog Coco.

Jumpstart

Brandy Guinn, Jumpstart Site Manager

Bio

Brandy is a Jumpstart alumna, from Oakland California. She completed her undergraduate career at the University of Southern California earning a degree in psychology while serving for 3 years in both Corps member and Team leader roles. Brandy, alongside Cory, now oversees the Jumpstart UCLA program where teams of college students implement Jumpstart’s research-based curriculum in underserved preschools in surrounding LA neighborhoods. While working to support UCLA students, Brandy is pursuing a masters in social work at the University of Southern California.

Cory Knudtson, Senior Site Manager

Bio

Cory manages the day-to-day operations of Jumpstart, a nationally recognized early literacy program. A lifelong youth mentor, Cory has worked professionally with youth for nearly a decade. He has always been passionate about community engagement, and as a college student his resume included experiences such as partnering with the City of San Leandro to offer middle and high school students the opportunity to visit local college campuses, collaborating with the Race and Pedagogy Institute to organize a quadrennial conference and Youth Summit, and joining the Freedom of Education Project Puget Sound to provide support during a college program created for people who are currently incarcerated. Upon graduating from the University of Puget Sound with a double major in Communication and African American Studies, Cory was hired by the YMCA to pilot a before and after school care program in a local elementary school. After a successful year of programming, Cory moved on to Seattle, Washington where he worked in an inclusive early learning center that utilizes a peer-based learning model to support children of all abilities. All of these experiences solidified Cory’s commitment to providing equitable access to quality education with an explicit focus on anti-bias education. 

After School Programs

Jamie Garner, After Schools Program Manager 

Bio

For the past sixteen years, Jamie has worked with at-risk youth in vulnerable communities helping support their academic achievement. Throughout the time in Education, she has worked in early childhood education, primary and secondary school settings and managing after school programs.

Since 2005 she has been developing Expanded Learning Programs, that include working directly with youth program development, leadership roles, and collaborating with Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell, community-based organizations, and public and private agencies to help youth create pathways to higher education, and professional development through leadership opportunity.

She has witnessed firsthand the impact after school programs have in student success and is committed to providing services that demonstrated positive student outcomes in academic achievement, increased school day attendance, engaging learning, and social and emotional skills

Magally Aburto, School Site Coordinator 

Bio

Magally Aburto is the School Site Coordinator for the UCLA After School Programs at the historic Thomas Jefferson Senior High School. She manages the daily operations of the program in an effort to provide a socio-emotionally safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment for the students before and after school. The students learn how to be social global leaders while following the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Magally has been involved with community engagement since 2014. Raised in a small town in South Dakota, she was heavily involved in advocating for the Spanish-speaking community. Magally’s passion is in youth engagement and leadership. She is an active volunteer with Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) where she serves on recruiting and programming boards to empower youth leaders in the Los Angeles communities. Magally holds an associate’s degree in Public Policy and Political Science and is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Public Administration for Nonprofit Management. 

Mallory Adragna, School Site Coordinator 

Bio

Mallory Adragna is the School Site Coordinator at UCLA Community School. She attended East Los Angeles College (ELAC) and received an Associate’s degree in Psychology.  During her time at ELAC, she participated in the Puente Club where she mentored and provided support to her fellow peers.  Upon transferring to UCLA, she worked at the UCR, Science center assisting with programs to help underrepresented students gain research experience.  After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies, she worked in the nonprofit & education sector in providing academic and professional development. Mallory desires to influence the next generation of students with mindfulness and emotional intelligence. She is passionate about working with youth and empowering them to find their voices and expand their perspectives. In her spare time, she enjoys getting outdoors with nature and engaging in sports such as soccer, volleyball and kayaking.

Carmen Aguilar, School Site Coordinator 

Bio

Carmen Aguilar is a School Site Coordinator for the Community Youth Programs- After School Program at Franklin Dual Language Middle School. Prior to joining Community Youth Programs, Carmen worked as a Project Coordinator for the non-profit organization Cal-SOAP Los Angeles, in which aims to increase academic and college preparation skills for underrepresented youth in the greater Los Angeles area. Carmen has achieved her B.A. in Sociology from CSUN. She has a genuine enthusiasm and dedication for working with students and strives to positively impacted their success both academically and personally.

Stephanie Khan, School Site Coordinator 

Bio

Stephanie Khan serves as the Site Director for UCLA After School Programs at Nava College Preparatory Academy. She manages day-to-day operations providing high school students with academic, enrichment and recreational opportunities to prepare them for college. She focuses on bolstering youth advocacy and leadership by preparing students to organize and facilitate clubs that they are passionate for.Stephanie has worked in education for 12 years with experience working with students from Kindergarten through 12th grade and their families. She has worked with community partners to provide quality-based curriculum and help bridge the digital divide in the Los Angeles community.

MaryAnn Szyskowski, School Site Coordinator 

Bio

MaryAnn Szyskowski has been with UCLA for twenty-years; first working for the Workforce Investment Act program and since 2008 has been housed at University High School Charter as the School Site Coordinator for UCLA After School Programs. Additionally, Ms. Szyskowski is the advisor for the Peer Mediation program at University High School Charter which trains high school student in conflict resolution. In her spare time, Ms. Szyskowski volunteers with a local dog rescue and has fostered and adopted many rescue dogs over the last fifteen years.

Jolly Tadros, School Site Coordinator 

Bio

Jolly Tadros is the School Site Coordinator for the Beyond the Bell program at Hamilton High School. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2021. Throughout her undergraduate education at Orange Coast College (OCC) and UCLA, she took on several roles pertaining to youth advocacy and restorative justice. She has held titles including Student Senator, Psychology Club President, and Peer Ambassador for OCC’s Student Equity Department. During her time working for Equity she mentored incoming college freshman, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds including low-income, DACA, and first-generation students. Having taken part in several clubs and programs surrounding peer to peer mentorship, Jolly is committed to providing guidance and support to vulnerable student populations. 

Destiny Torres, School Site Coordinator 

Bio

Destiny Torres is the Site Coordinator for UCLA After School Programs at Sotomayor Arts and Science Magnet School. Before UCLA, Destiny worked four years in the after-school setting and two years in the social services field with foster youth. As a proud alumna of UCLA, Destiny earned her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in education. Destiny is passionate about working with K-12 and empowering her students in the expanded learning field.

Yenny Yi, School Site Coordinator 

Bio

Ms. Yenny Yi is the Site Director of the UCLA AfterSchool Program at Franklin HS. She has been designing and implementing programs at Franklin HS for 10+ years, but has been working as an educator for over 20 years. Through her work, she has been able to provide opportunities for a variety of student interests and needs. Most of her work has been in promoting underrepresented young people in the STEAM fields. She has been a proud champion for advocating for equity in technology since she started coaching and running a high school cyber security education program. Her team has competed at the top level of the CyberPatriot competition and placed in top 12 in the country 5 of the past decade of competing in CyberPatriot. This ignited her passion for cyber security competitions and promoting underrepresented people in the computing fields. She is a member and had a leadership role in the Southern California chapter of the organization, Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu. Providing resources and opportunities to support our young people in these ever changing disciplines is exciting and makes every day feel fresh and challenging. Supporting students in finding their passion is what has kept her going strong all these years

Youth Workforce Readiness Programs

Amanda Gonzalez, Work Force Program Manager 

Bio

Amanda Gonzalez has dedicated 20+ years to working with at risk youth ofLos Angeles.Amanda has worked for UCLA since 2000. This is when her passion for mentoring and assisting youth began. She started her career with UCLA as a case manager for the Community Based Learning Program working with at-risk youth enrolled in the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act(WIOA) and Summer Youth Employment (SYEP) Programs funded by the City of Los Angeles’ Economic Development Workforce Department. In 2007 she began supervising a team of case managers and part time support staff while overseeing the daily management of program operations oft hree youth workforce programs, WIOA, SYEP, and LA Rise Program.These programs offer work readiness training, education, career, and financial literacy guidance, and job coaching to up to 700 young individuals annually from underserved communities in Los Angeles that range in age from 14-30 years old.

Amanda has expert experience assisting youth with disabilities, teen parents, foster, unstably house, justice involved, and LGBTQ youth. In 2014 she collaborated with Los Angeles LGBT Centerto create the Transgender Youth Employment Toolkit, which was developed as a part of the Transitions to Work (T2W) project. The T2W project was a pilot project to address the challenges and issues that transgender youth face when entering the workforce. The experiences and best practices learned and developed are contained in this toolkit which is intended to be used by employment caseworkers and others in preparing this marginalized and disconnected youth population for the workforce.

As a first-generation college student Amanda graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California where she studied Public Policy and Management under the School of Public Administration. In her free time, Amanda enjoys attending Broadway musicals, watching movies, and cooking.

Daniel De La Luz, Youth Coordinator

Bio

Daniel joined UCLA Community Youth Programs in 2021 as a part time support staff member. During this time, Daniel supported a team of case managers with tracking participants program progress through document collection and via data entry on online systems such as CalJobs, the HIRELA Platform, and the LA County Y@W Portal site. In Spring 2023 he started his new role as a Youth Program Coordinator for the Center’s Youth Workforce Programs. Prior to his time at UCLA, Daniel was involved in education. He was a mathematics tutor for the Educational Opportunity Program’s Learning Support Center at San Diego State. In addition, he served as a STAR Program Leader for the Paramount School District where he organized sports activities and helped tutor students in grades 6th – 8th. Daniel also has prior experience working for other non-profit organizations, including Human-IT. There he helped to bridge the digital divide by repairing and repurposing old electronic devices, promoting the Affordable Connectivity Program, and participating in community engagement events. Daniel enjoys working with youth and the community because he has a sense of responsibility to give back to people who may not have the resources or opportunities to pursue their dreams.

Like most of his colleagues, Daniel is a first-generation college grad. He graduated from San Diego State in 2020 with a degree in Applied Mathematics. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and is an avid fan of the UFC and NBA.

Carolyn Gandy, Youth Coordinator

Bio

Carolyn began her tenure at UCLA in 1989. She began as receptionist for the Community-Based Learning Program and Field Studies. Throughout her 33 years, she has held different positions from receptionist to Case Manager to her current role as Information Management Specialist.She keeps staff updated on where we are in enrollments by providing bi-weekly tracking reports and reminders of what is needed for our files.She assists Case Managers with follow-up activities after our youth have exited the program for 12 months.Carolyn has been able to absorb the programmatic changes over the years and has been able to transition from the JobTraining Partnership Act (JTPA) to theWorkforce Investment Act(WIA), to our current Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act Program (WIOA). She has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise on CalJOBS, which is the State of California’s system for participant tracking, and federal and state reporting.She regularly attends trainings to keep abreast of the updates and changes made to the system. Carolyn is passionate about helping youth find their voice, direction, and resources to become successful self-sufficient adults. Carolyn enjoys cooking, crocheting, and listening to all genres of music.

David Herrera, Youth Coordinator

Bio

David Herrera has worked in non-profit organization and Educational Programs for over 20+ years. His activism was nourished at the University of San Francisco where the Jesuit philosophy of service rooted in justice and love for others was introduced. He started his career at Bienestar Human Services where he worked alongside his community helping the LGBTQ+ youth In East Los Angeles by providing targeted programs to bring awareness, prevention and stigma reduction around HIV/AIDS. He was then introduced to the Community Based Learning team by a researcher Dr. Ayala who had mentored him while serving as a board member for APLA Health agency representing Queer Latino/a youth for the City of Los Angeles. While at CBL David was able to work with diverse organizations all over the City of Los Angeles from the Harbor to the Valley and everywhere in between. He helped with resources for youth to gain knowledge in the world of work and financial literacy. He was then placed in the Beyond the Bell Program where he provided after school programming for at one point three South Los Angeles High Schools gaining a true understanding of service to others. Eventually continuing his Jesuit Education by attending Loyola Marymount University achieving his Master’s in Business.Now he looks forward to continue his service alongside the community in need of resources and support.During the Pandemic he focused on trainings around inclusion and diversity and implemented that knowledge to better serve his community and students. On the weekends you can find him enjoying a musical or concert when he is not playing tennis or creating art. David credits his great network of loving friends for reminding him every day that his work matters and is having a positive impact in our community.

Angela Hwang, Youth Coordinator

Bio

Angela Hwang has been working in a non-profit setting since she was in high school to give back to the programs that help raised her. She graduated with a double major in Sociology and Psychology from Chico State University. She has experience working with youth from underrepresented communities in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Her experience includes creating and managing high school programs in the San Francisco community to ensure the youth of high school graduation and assist them with planning for after graduation. She also mentored many young people in their first job experience by providing advice and employment related workshops.  Her recent experience was in the Crenshaw community providing financial education and helping clients to become financially stable.

In her free time, she loves to watch The Office and guess who best represents her. She also enjoys making a good cup of coffee and finding a new Korean restaurant to try!

Kevin Matthews, Youth Coordinator

Bio

Kevin Matthews has worked for UCLA since 2016. He began as a case manager for the Community Based Learning Program working with at risk youth enrolled in the Workforce Investment Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Summer Youth Employment (SYEP) Programs, and LA Rise Program. These programs offer work readiness training, paid internships, support services, and education and career guidance to underserved youth within the Los Angeles communities. Youth in these workforce programs range in age from 14-30 years old.Kevin manages a caseload of up to 60 youth annually.

Kevin has experience working with youth with disabilities, teen parents, foster, homeless, justice involved, LGBTQ youth, and military veterans. In 2020, he became a lead case manager for Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Student to Student Program. In this program students were recruited from various LAUSD high schools and given a paid internship that allowed them to tutor younger family members at home during the beginning of the pandemic. The program was so successful the first year, our agency was refunded for the project for a second year.

Kevin’s passion for working with youth began with coaching young people. He has been coaching high school basketball since 2014. He enjoys motivating young people and teaching them about responsibilities and how it relates working well with others now and in the future. He also enjoys helping young people develop and improve upon their skills. As a coach he can connect with students in the athletic arena just as he would at work with students in the education and career guidance arena.

Kevin is one of the first in his family to attend college. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Los Angeles where he studied Sociology under the School of Social Work. In his free time, Kevin enjoys attending sporting events, concerts, taking walks on the beach, and riding dirt bikes in the mountains with family.

Ana Pena, Youth Coordinator

Bio

Ana Peña has worked for the department’s Youth Workforce Programs for 21 years. Ana is a hardworking and reliable case manager with strong ability to identify clients’ needs. She provides services to disadvantage youth ages 14 –24 ,offering educational and work readiness training .She case manages up to 100 youth every school year. Ana is highly organized, proactive, and has a team-oriented mentality. When she isn’t case managing youth, you can find her camping with family or crafting.

Carlos Pena, Youth Coordinator 

Bio

Carlos Pena has worked for UCLA and its Community Based Learning Program since 2012. In his role as Youth Program Coordinator, Carlos helps manage the unit’s WIOA, SYEP, and LA Rise programs. Through these programs, Carlos is able to assist underserved and at-risk youth groups within Los Angeles with educational counseling, workforce preparation, mentoring, and other supportive services. Carlos maintains strong working relationship with local high schools, the various UCLA Afterschool programs, and community organizations such as The Rightway Foundation. He specializes in working with high school seniors, foster youth, and other students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Finally, Carlos works very closely with Human Resources to ensure that all of the program’s hirings are processed efficiently. Carlos personally hires approximately150 student workers every fiscal year.

Carlos is a first-generation college student and proud Bruin, having graduated fromUCLA in 2014 with a degree in Political Science, and minors in both Education and Afro-American Studies. He recently earned his Master’s degree in Higher Education Student Affairs from Grand Canyon University. Outside of work, Carlos enjoys hiking and attending live sporting events.

Laura Rodriguez, Youth Coordinator 

Bio

Laura in her role as a youth program coordinator, primarily works with youth that live in high poverty areas and includes young people who live in households that are considered low income. Additional groups of youth that are served through other programs address the needs of youth that face housing insecurities, are system involved and foster and former foster as well. She has worked with numerous programs in partnership with the City of Los Angeles to provide employment opportunities along with college and career guidance.Special resources for outreach include system involved, immigrant youth, justice involved and other subcategories in these areas. The service areas for working with youth and outreach spread across the Central, East, and West side of Los Angeles. She has been doing this work for over 22 years since she started as a student at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). She is a fan of all UCLA sports, especially Softball.

Grecia Velasquez, Youth Coordinator

Bio

Grecia joined UCLA’s Community Youth Programs as a Youth Program Coordinator in the spring of 2023. She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, and minors in both Conservation Biology and Film. Throughout her undergraduate career she dedicated her time to various organizations that promoted sustainability and empowering LA’s youth. Grecia was the former Marketing Director for UCLA Dig: Student Garden Coalition, in which she maintained the organization’s social media presence while fostering a space for community members to learn about food systems. In the summer of 2022, she completed her year-long research practicum under the guidance of United States Fish and Wildlife Services to generate conservation strategies that could protect the federally endangered Arroyo Toad. As a first-generation college student, Grecia was inspired to join Mentorship at UCLA, where she planned and facilitated educational empowerment programs to support and educate underserved youth in North Hollywood. Her time as a mentor during her undergraduate years motivated her to continue working with youth after graduation. She wishes to continue uplifting and assisting in the personal development of LA’s youth. In her free time, Grecia enjoys spending time with her friends, going to the movie theater, attending concerts, discovering new music, taking dance classes, and going out for a cup of coffee or boba! 

Yeinsy Venoza, Youth Coordinator 

Bio

Yeinsy Venoza has been a Site Director for several years with experience in all grade levels. She began her journey with the team as a participant of the YouthSource program in 2009 and continues to work closely with the Youth of Los Angeles through the UCLA After School Program. Yeinsy is grateful for the opportunity of being able to empower and motivate our youth as they navigate through their academic lives.

Majestic Williams, Youth Coordinator

Bio

Majestic has been working for CBL since 2021. He received his Bachelor’s in Communication Studies & Political Science from Cal State Northridge. He is currently working on his Master’s in Education with an emphasis in College Counseling. He is also a member of the following organizations: Alpha Kappa Psi Co-Ed Business Fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega Co-Ed Service Fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta Co-Ed Law Fraternity & Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated. He is also involved with Hermanos Unidos which focuses on the retention rate of Latinx male students at a four-year institution as well as the African Student Union which focuses on the retention rate of Black students at a four-year institution.When he’s not studying or working, Majestic enjoys hiking, spending time with family & friends, Korean BBQ & Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles. He also enjoys going to concerts, traveling & video games (Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros) on his Nintendo Switch.