Students from California campuses were selected in Fall 2020 to participate in California Campus Compact’s Community Engagement Student Fellowship (CESF) program, a 4-month initiative specifically designed to support student leaders advancing service, service-learning and community engagement at California Campus Compact member campuses throughout the state.
Mansharnjit Aujla is in her third-year at Fresno State as a pre-medical student majoring in Biology. She was born and raised in Fresno and continues to live and serve in that community. Currently, Mansharnjit is the Vice President of Bhagat Puran Singh Health Initiative (BPSHI) which facilitates health clinics for underserved populations and is engaged in undergraduate cancer research. She has been a Richter Center Ambassador since 2019 where she supports the campus culture of service including mentoring new students in the Richter Center Service Leadership Academy. This year, she is also a California Campus Compact Community Engagement Student Fellow. Through this fellowship, she is serving as co-director of the LIFT Conference, which brings together student service leaders from around the state of California. Mansharnjit plans to attend medical school in the future and be of service to those underrepresented in the health field.
Bryanna Causor Lara
Bryanna Causor Lara (pronouns are she/her) was born and raised in San Jose, CA but she and her family recently moved to Gilroy, CA. Bryanna is a senior majoring in Legal Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and will be graduating in Spring 2021. Last year she was an intern for the Public Service Internship program at UC Berkeley and this year she is one of the Student Directors for the PSI program. By working within this program Bryanna has been able to help the community by giving resources to those families that may otherwise not receive them. She has been able to help out the youth by providing tablets, books, and internet services to those who are being affected by the pandemic. Now as a Student Director Bryanna has been able to guide the interns within their internship as well as making sure they are having a great experience within the program. During her free time, Bryanna loves to facetime and spend time with family, hang out with friends, and spend quality time with her partner.
Jesus “Paco” Estrada, recent graduate of Verbum Dei High School, is a Theological Studies and Spanish double major at Loyola Marymount University and is involved with the First To Go Scholars Program, the Social Justice Scholars Community, Campus Ministry, and an immigrant rights and activist support group called RESILIENCE. He has an emphatic desire to one day serve his community as an immigration lawyer to provide many the opportunity to live the American Dream: just like his family. Having previously interned at Latham & Watkins LLP and the Milken Center for Advancing the American Dream(MCAAD), he is well informed of the many facets and nuances of immigration law. Paco penned a wonderful blog post on MCAAD’s website where he reflects on his life experiences that have led him to his aspirations. He is certain he will reach his dream as is evident through his perseverance and success in the face of adversity. In his free time, Paco enjoys leisure reading, binging Netflix shows/movies, and bopping his head to some Latin music.
Stephanie Farris is a first generation senior at Sonoma State university. She will be graduating in December 2020 with a BA in Communication and Media Studies as well as a minor in Film. Throughout her time at SSU she was a Residential advisor as well as a summer orientation leader. Stephanie is now an intern for the Center of Community Engagement as a Blogger. She has a keen interest in film, television, and writing and she plans on pursuing a career in media after graduation. Through her position at the CCE Stephanie hopes to broaden her skills as a writer and learn more about community engagement.
Aadhiya Jeharajah is a second year undergraduate student at Occidental College working towards a major in Biology and minor in Public Health. Recognizing the importance of serving the community, she participates in the neighbor to neighbor program to help those facing homelessness in Los Angeles. On campus she works as a Community Engagement Coordinator to help support community partners and plan social justice programs and activities. During her fellowship, Aadhiya will organize a vote center on campus and use social media to raise awareness and provide information about the upcoming election.
Ariel Mendez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies and a Teaching Credential from Fresno State and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Education. After she graduates, she intends to earn a doctoral degree from Harvard University with plans to become an international teacher and write children’s literature. Ariel is currently a member of the Richter Center’s SERVE Committee, Co-Director of the 2020 LIFT Conference, and a California Campus Compact Community Engagement Student Fellow. Her core beliefs are to uphold justice, truth, and fair play. She enjoys worshiping, helping others, fighting for what’s right, helping those experiencing homelessness, spending time with family and friends, loving others, and spreading positive energy and kindness. In her free time, she loves to hike and travel. She is passionate and committed to helping others, education, academic excellence, learning, and her religion.
Helena Oda is second year honors student at College of Canyons pursuing an associate degree in business administration with plans of transferring to a four-year University to obtain a bachelor’s in business economics. After her family lost their home when she was sixteen, it was neighbors and community programs that helped them get back on their feet. Having seen firsthand the effectiveness of government initiatives at the local and state level, Helena believes that advocating for people who are less fortunate protects the value of life and ensures that people from all social classes feel a sense of belonging. She is actively participating in the College of the Canyons ‘Engage the Vote Project’ as well as the College of the Canyons ‘Place Project’ which focus on the importance of voting to bring about change and advocating for housing security for the less fortunate, respectively. Ultimately, she hopes to help people find a sense of belonging the way others have done for her. In addition to finding purpose in community and pursuing an education, Helena has also developed a successful career in film and television. Having worked on big budget projects with some of the most respected names in the industry, she plans to apply her education to further gender equality and other underrepresented groups in the workplace.
Abigail Royster is currently a freshman studying at College of the Canyons. She is pursuing English as well as a pre-law studies program. She grew up moving between Greenville, Texas and Santa Clarita, California. She comes from a large family of military and law enforcement officers, and that has influenced her to develop a passion for contributing to her community. Abigail has a love for writing and communication, and has used that enthusiasm to involve herself in community service projects involving voter awareness and housing affordability. Following graduation, she would like to obtain a Juris Doctorate degree and become a practicing attorney so that she can continue to make positive change through legislation.
Sara Wright is a student at Stanbridge University in Irvine, CA, studying to become a Veterinary Technician. Sara was born on an Army base in Landstuhl, Germany, and grew up traveling the world with her family. Through Sara’s years of travels, she found her greatest passion to be giving back to others. Upon graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Mt. Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Sara dedicated 15 years to civil service, giving back to her community both on the East and West coasts. While serving her country, Sara had the opportunity to work with various military and police canines, leading her to explore the world of complex and combat animal medicine. Through this work, Sara redirected her focus to giving back to the animal community, and decided to return to school to pursue a career in animal medicine. Sara regularly volunteers at animal hospitals, helps with a multitude of rescue and foster programs and events, and even fosters dogs with severe physical or emotional trauma to aid in their rehabilitation. Sara’s goal is to become a Registered Veterinary Technician, and work in wildlife response and rehabilitation, helping care for animals affected by natural or man-made disasters.