Educating Students To Change Our World
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Students from California campuses were selected in January 2014 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.


Karina Camacho is a 5th year student majoring in Criminology/Law & Society and International Studies at UC Irvine. She grew up in San Bernardino and has lots of pride in being from the Inland Empire. Karina loves talking about current events and social justice issues. Her career goals are geared toward International Affairs in promoting equality and human rights between the U.S. and Latin America. In her free time she enjoys being outdoors hiking, biking and participating in adventure sports, or just laughing at hilarious memes.

Alexis Maynard is a senior Chemistry major at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She was born and raised in Oakland where her love for service and community engagement grew while volunteering at school and in church. Alexis is excited to be a CESF Fellow because her project to explore the feasibility of implementing a community of practice among community-based learning faculty members will build upon her experience as a service-learner. She learned the importance of faculty engagement while traveling with instructors to Ghana and Costa Rica for Summer Study Abroad trips, and through involvement with faculty advisors in LMU’s Alternative Break program in Haiti and, next spring, in Puerto Rico. Alexis was attracted to this fellowship because it aligns with her interests in academics, service and social justice. Her future goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry and pursue a career making products from natural sources for people of color. Recent volunteer experiences include service in Orange County and Oakland through the ActNOW Health Conference, as well as participation in the annual health fairs at Allen Temple Baptist Church.

Samantha Merlin  is a senior at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. This Southern California native is from Calexico, a small border town by Mexico. Samantha holds interests in mental health, animal welfare, environmental and social justice issues. She has been an active member of Alpha Pi Sigma Sorority Inc. for almost 3 years and has been community service chair for 2 years. She is a peer mentor for Cal Poly Pomona's Psychology and Sociology Peer Mentor Program. She also currently coordinates another mentor program on campus called Fuerza De La Mujer that emphasizes woman empowerment and assists students in becoming more involved in community service and academics while shedding light on societal issues involving minority communities. Upon graduation, Samantha plans to earn a Masters of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy and then go on to pursue her Ph.D in clinical psychology in hopes to research human and animal interaction and how that relates to mental health.

Angel Nguyen is a senior majoring in Communicative Disorders and minoring in Psychology at the University of Redlands. In addition, she is working towards obtaining a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. On campus, she is involved in Big Buddies, STEP, I’m Going To College, Alpha Sigma Pi, Catholic Newman Club, NSSHLA, and Omicron Delta Kappa. Angel loves to read so her favorite place is the Central Library in her hometown, Huntington Beach. It’s conveniently placed near In N Out and the beach, which are other places she spends a lot of time at. Her goal in life is to provide a positive impact in other people’s lives, but especially for kids since she feels most passionate when working with them. 

Daniel Perez  is a Senior Mathematics and Economics major from Eagle Rock, CA. In his time at Occidental, he has become the Peer Minister for the Occidental Newman Catholic Group, a Values and Vocations award winner, and an Honors Economics Candidate. Outside of Occidental, he volunteers as a tutor for Homeboy Industries and is currently working with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) as a data intern. He hopes to continue to serve the community with his economic background after college. 

Sofia Polo  is a Senior, Urban & Environmental Policy Major at Occidental College, originally from Portland, Oregon. Her main academic focus while at Occidental has been on public health, particularly the issues of nutrition and chronic illness management and prevention. She has had the opportunity to work with Latino diabetic and hypertensive populations through internships both at the clinic at MEND in Pacoima, California, and while studying abroad in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Sofia also has an interest in community organizing and advocacy, and has interned with East Yard Communities For Environmental Justice, an advocacy organization located in Commerce, California. During her three years studying in LA, Sofia has enjoyed getting to know different parts of the city, and seeing the work that is being done by ordinary people to make it a better, healthier, and a more just place​​.

Ruben Reyes  is a first-generation college student pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of California, Merced. He is a third year student from La Puente High School in La Puente CA. Being the youngest of 7 older brothers and the first to attend a University has allowed for him to understand the meaning for his educational pathway. Ruben is currently the Lead Coordinator for Merced County Project 10%, a student leadership initiative that targets 8th graders throughout all of Merced County. Ruben hopes one day to make in an impact on kids’ lives throughout his community, and Merced County Project 10% allows him to do so. By sharing his story of growing up he hopes to inspire kids to graduate high school and to know they can overcome any obstacle or challenge in life.

Parth Sheth is a fourth year student at the University of California, San Diego. He is pursuing a major in Biochemistry & Cell Biology with a minor in Psychology. Parth is a trained peer health educator for the Student Health Advocate (SHA) program where he has served as the Sexual Health Lead Coordinator and now President.  In addition to facilitating workshops on safer sex practices, he has led committees for large scale campus & public events such as World AIDS Day and All You Need is Love, which focused on increasing awareness for the use of barrier methods and initiating partner communication in order to reduce STI transmission. Parth also volunteers in the Neurosurgical ICU of the Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, attending to basic patient needs as well as participating in outreach programs to the general public that bring health care to underserved populations.     

Phoenix Skeahan isan English major and the “I Can Read” Literacy Initiative Intern at the University of California, Merced. She grew up in a small neighborhood in Mariposa County, not too far from Merced.  Both of her parents are involved in education which has greatly shaped and influenced her aspirations, certainly as a child, and even more so now as she begins to plan her future. Her father has been teaching International Baccalaureate English at the high school she attended for over twenty years and when Phoenix was very young she remembers seeing piles of essays and romanticizing their contents. Her mother volunteered at her elementary school.  Phoenix witnessed her involvement with the administrative staff and teachers. It taught her the inner workings of education and the collaboration necessary to keep a school, whose funds were being restricted, afloat and flourishing. Phoenix has always wanted to be like her parents and she is proud to say that she is (for the most part). Her foremost goal after graduating with her bachelors of arts is to travel the world, teaching children not only the English language, but the beauty within literature and learning; to help each group have an equal chance regardless of their socioeconomic status, or gender, or religion.

Roxana Urrutia  is a first generation, third year undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego. She is a Human Biology major and Global Health minor candidate. Roxana is an active member of the Student Health Advocate (SHA) Program where she has served as the General Health Workshop Coordinator supervising and facilitating numerous workshops on stress, nutrition, and body image.   This year she will serve as the General Health Lead Coordinator, where she will be responsible to oversee all General Heath activities in the SHA Program including health events and campaigns. Roxana is enthusiastic about the impact the SHA program has on the UCSD community and is always willing to assist in anything she can. In addition to her SHA duties, Roxana is the Lead Student Coordinator of Global Health Department's Health Frontiers in Tijuana (HFiT) Undergraduate Internship Program. This program provides UCSD students the opportunity to visit a free bi-national, student-run clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. Undergraduates assist by registering patients and taking vital signs, and also shadow consults, wound cleaning, and rapid tests (for HIV, syphilis, etc). Roxana is responsible of overseeing the entire HFiT program; from selecting the new group of interns, to providing orientations both on and off-site, and facilitating committee meetings with students and the HFiT Program Directors. Roxana is able to assist in keeping the clinic running as smoothly as possible.

MichealVavro is a fourth-year transfer student majoring in Computer Science at UC Irvine.  He was born on a U.S. Air Force base in Illinois and spent several formative years in Kansas, but California is his true home. Michealloves helping people and contributing to his community. He was a boyscout, and takes his scout-mandated “one good deed per day” responsibility seriously. Communication and cooperation are key to the success of any organization. The capabilities afforded to us by modern communication technologies are great. These capabilities set the stage for unprecedented levels of coordination. Our potential to work together as a species has never been greater.Micheal’s academic interests include machine learning, bio-mimicry, and intelligent systems. He wants to utilize ideas from these fields to reverse-engineer nature. Millions of years’ worth of research and development have gone into creating the wondrous technologies we see in the flora and fauna on Earth. He believes some of the most important and valuable technological advances will come from these invaluable resources.   In his leisure time he enjoys woodworking, singing, tinkering with engineering projects, and technical rock-climbing.

Rima Vora is a senior at Cal Poly Pomona studying Hospitality Management. She works for University Housing Services as a resident advisor in the Social Justice and Diversity Community. She is also a barista at Starbucks and a tutor with the Disability Resource Center. For the past 5 years Rima has worked with the American Cancer Society and is currently a co-chair for Cal Poly Pomona’s Relay For Life. She is also a wish granter through Make A Wish Foundation and volunteers with several other organizations. After graduation Rima is hoping to pursue a career through which she can make a difference in the world.