Meet the Fellows

2024 Cohort:

 Arianna enjoys immersing herself in other cultures and has always had a keen interest in traveling to Southeast Asia, especially since her hometown has the largest Cambodian population of any city outside of Cambodia. Arianna earned her bachelor's degree from UC Santa Cruz, attracted by its beautiful, forest-like campus and dedication to social justice. During her time there, she honed her passion for human rights and international affairs and studied abroad in London, working at a South London Legal Aid clinic assisting human rights lawyers. Bubbly and smiley, Arianna loves making connections with members of her community and beyond. She is currently working on her thesis focusing on mental health resources for children affected by violence, specifically in El Salvador. Arianna's experiences and dedication to social justice continue to shape her academic and professional journey.

Abdon Rwandekwe is a Jesuit priest from Rwanda. He is a second-year EdD student in the School of Education, focusing on Organization and leadership, with a concentration in higher education. In 2001, Abdon graduated from a Teacher Training College in Rwanda and taught in primary school as a full-time teacher for two years, after which he joined the Jesuits. As a Jesuit novice, he taught religious studies in high school for two years. Thereafter, he went to Cameroon to study at UCAC/ICY (Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale / Institut Catholique de Yaoundé), where he earned a BA with honors in Philosophy of Education in 2009. He was then sent to a Jesuit high school in Burundi called Lycée du Saint-Esprit to teach philosophy, history, and religious studies as a full-time teacher for two years. 

In 2011, he began further studies in theology in Nairobi/ Kenya in order to become an ordained minister. There he did another BA with Honors in Theology and Arts from Hekima University College, a Constituent College of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. While doing theology in Nairobi, he was teaching religious education to francophone Catholics who lived in Nairobi for three years. In 2014, he was ordained a catholic priest and sent to Cyangugu, South-west of Rwanda, to work as an administrator of Mizero Technical Training School and as an assistant to the Director of Jesuit novices for two years.   

In August 2016, he went to the USA to pursue a master’s degree (STL) in Church History at Boston College, School of Theology and Ministry, and graduated in the Spring of 2018. From there, he joined Boston College, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, where he did a master’s degree in educational leadership and policies, finishing in Fall 2019. While in Boston, he also served as a Sunday assisting priest at Saint John Chrysostom in Roxbury, Massachusetts, for three years. Since 2019, he has worked as an assistant lecturer at Arrupe Jesuit University, School of Education and Leadership in the city of Harare/Zimbabwe. Besides teaching and studying, Abdon is also a Radio Presenter at Radio Maria Rwanda https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kM6bGpEYq8&t=21s. His radio program is about the history of the Catholic Church, given in the Rwandan local language (Kinyarwanda), and it goes on from 8 am to 8:30 am every Saturday.        

Alexia is an economist striving to unlock sustainable finance opportunities for the global south, by actively contributing to the growth of infrastructural development, energy wealth, climate change finance and investments, and policy reforms. As an analyst, Alexia has held roles with multilateral development banks and institutions enabling impact investment and development in Africa. She holds an M.A. in International Relations, and as a Fulbright Grantee, she is pursuing an M.S. in Energy Systems Management at the University of San Francisco. Alexia is from Cameroon.

Alvaro Quinteros, originally from Guatemala, identifies himself as a global citizen. He is currently pursuing his second year in the Master in Migration Studies program (MIMS) at USF. Alvaro completed his undergraduate studies in Political Science with a minor in International Relations at Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile in 2018. His academic background has enabled him to actively participate in discussions about youth, development, and democracy in various countries in Latin America. Over the years, his professional interests have expanded towards advocating for migrant’s rights, this has been influenced by his own experience as a migrant. Alvaro emphasizes the importance of elevating migrants' voices in human rights discourses and contributing to the ongoing migration debate. Alvaro is currently working on his capstone project, a thesis in which he aims to analyze how the lack of access to education and economic opportunities for youth in the western highlands of Guatemala causes them to migrate, primarily to the United States.

Julianna Sahoo is an M.P.H. candidate in the Community and Public Health Practice concentration at the University of San Francisco. She has bachelor’s degrees in Health Sciences and Hispanic Studies with a minor in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities from Rice University in Houston, Texas. Her academic interests focus on social determinants of health in the context of women’s health, global health, and environmental health, including how climate change is affecting human health. As a student, she has pursued global health work in Lesotho and spent a summer interning at a government health clinic in Masaya, Nicaragua through the Foundation for Sustainable Development. Additionally, she is passionate about supporting health for all residents in her community of San Francisco. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in a government health department or NGO to make an impact in her local community.

Martina is a second-year EdD student in the School of Education, focusing on the International and Multicultural Education Program, with a concentration in human rights education. She is originally from Milan, Italy, and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistic Sciences from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. She moved to the United States in 2019 to pursue a Master of Arts in International Studies at USF, from which she graduated in 2019. During her master's degree, she focused mostly on forced migration and refugee studies, completing her master's thesis on the refugee crisis in Europe. After working for an immigration law firm for a bit, she returned to USF to pursue her doctoral degree. She is also currently an Assistant Residence Director for Residential Life- Office of Community Living at USF. She is interested in various research interests such as human rights education, forced migration and displacement, and climate change. More recently, she has been focusing on environmentally displaced peoples' rights and the intersection between climate change and migration. 
 

Selorm is currently pursuing a master's degree in the International Studies program at the University of San Francisco. He previously obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Miami. His interests revolve around human social institutions, social constructions, and social psychology. In his forthcoming graduate thesis, Selorm intends to explore the captivating intersection of sports and nationalism, exploring the transformative potential of symbols of nationalism. Before embarking on his master's program, Selorm accrued invaluable experience within the realm of humanitarian aid and international development with his tenure with United Nations agencies such as the International Organization for Migration and World Food Programme, which equipped him with firsthand insights into the complexities of humanitarian operations, reaffirming his commitment to effecting positive change on a global scale.

Yahsmeene Duffey is from Sacramento California. She has a bachelor's degree in English and Political Science from Westmont College, where she also was a member of the track and field team. Her interests include sports law, intellectual property law, and fashion law. After graduating from Westmont College, Yahsmeene worked in Human Resources while traveling and studying for the LSAT. In the fall of 2023, Yahsmeene began law school at the University of San Francisco, where she intends to learn more about environmental law as it pertains to fashion.

2023 Cohort:

Ginny is a poet pursuing an MFA in Writing. She holds a BA in English: Creative Writing (2010) from Colorado College and was a four-year member of the college’s varsity lacrosse team. Ginny moved to San Francisco shortly after college and has been a brand strategist for a digital media company and for advertising agencies. She tutors children in storytelling, engages in non-profit poetry endeavors, and volunteers for the Golden Gate National Recreation area. From her career experience and regard for words, Ginny is interested in the insidious ways in which words are wielded in popular culture and in politics. She understands that the attention economy cues us for extremes and weakens our critical processing of written content. Ginny believes that a discerning use of language is essential for social justice. Ginny intends to graduate with too many poems and a continued pursuit to engage more people with poetry.

After eight years in journalism as a staff writer for newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and Oakland Tribune, Suzanne worked five years in healthcare consulting/project management with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Kaiser Permanente before retraining as an acute-care nurse with the University of California at San Francisco, where she served a decade in the medical center before assuming her first full-time nurse practitioner role at Stanford in cancer care in 2015.  Suzannes' passions include optimizing patients’ quality of life, exploring diverse cultures and nature, and advancing social justice.  Suzanne, who hails from Singapore and San Francisco, hopes to complete a fine arts degree in poetry with the University of San Francisco by Christmas 2023. 

Shari Sanders joined law school as part of the Justice for Animals program, where she works for animal rights. She is completing a clerkship with the Animal Legal Defense Fund Pro Bono Program and will join the Racial Justice legal clinic at USF in the fall. After tutoring for criminal law and constitutional law, she hopes to become a law professor teaching human and animal rights within the context of climate change. Shari received her Ph.D. in comparative literature from UC Santa Barbara, where she focused on literary representations of human and animal rights. She has joined community organizers advocating for issues around education, labor, gun violence prevention, and community policing.

Mandla is a second-year EdD student in the School of Education focusing on the Organizations and Leadership program.  He previously completed a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science in Disruptive Innovation at San Francisco Hult International Business School.  He worked for multinationals like Coca-Cola, IBM, and Vodacom (a Vodafone UK Plc subsidiary), including government and Non-Profit Organizations funded by Bill & Melinda Gates, Kaiser Family Foundation, and the US government (USAID) focusing on HIV/Aids and Community development.  Outside education, he is currently a community activist, entrepreneur, and leadership consultant in San Francisco.  Mandla is originally from Johannesburg  South Africa and involved in a community feeding scheme project in Berkeley named “Hot Meals” through St. Marks church.  He will continue to use the McGrath Fellowship to advance social justice, climate change, women empowerment, and gender equality in Africa to Change the World.

Shanela Ranaraja is from Kandy, Sri Lanka. She holds a BA in Anthropology, Creative Writing and Journalism from Augustana College in Illinois and is pursuing an MA in International Studies at USF. Her research focuses on the intersections between gender justice, storytelling, equitable information access, and pedagogy. She has taught ESL at Black Hawk College in Illinois and currently serves as a Resident Minister for USF's University Ministry, where a diverse group of faith leaders strives to share Jesuit values and experiences with the student community. She is also a writer and artist, and her work has appeared in publications such as Transition, Entropy, and Strange Horizons. She intends to continue learning from and contributing to the ways that marginalized communities worldwide leverage storytelling, kinship, and unorthodox strategies of resistance to survive and overcome injustice. 

Originally from rural Westmoreland, Jamaica, Omelia is a dedicated and passionate first-year student pursuing her M.A. in Educational Technology. Her focus is on exploring how technology can be leveraged to improve learning outcomes and create positive social change, particularly for marginalized communities. She believes everyone deserves access to the tools and resources necessary to succeed and, after her studies, she hopes to make a meaningful impact on the lives of learners from diverse backgrounds. Omelia is currently an Instructional Design Student Assistant at the University of San Francisco and is gaining invaluable hands-on experience while contributing to the university's mission of creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment. With a genuine dedication to leveraging technology for the betterment of education, Omelia is determined to make a profound and meaningful difference in the lives of learners. 

Olusola Akanni is from Nigeria, West Africa. He has a bachelor's in Geology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Control and Management. He practiced in this capacity as a researcher focusing on the interaction between Humans and the environment in relation to climate change and global warming. Bringing this experience forward, he went on to work in Nigeria's migration public service for seven years cutting across various departments that ultimately led to being certified by the Netherlands Ministry of Justice and Repatriation Services as an Hostmanship Trainer centered around hospitable service delivery within a dynamic migration system. Olusola is currently enrolled in the Masters of Migration Studies (MIMS) program at the University of San Francisco with the hope to bridge the gap between academics and the current realities of global migration with a concentration on  Climate migration and climate policy action plan, Globalization and forced displacement, and Digitization of Advocacy and Awareness through Social platforms.

Chaitanya is from Hyderabad, India. He has a master's degree in Computer Science and Engineering and has worked in the IT industry as a senior software engineer but his interest towards policy making and policy advice drew him to the public sector. He was associated with the Indian Railways for twelve years in various managerial positions before venturing out to the United States seeking to enhance his quantitative and analytical skills in the areas of policy research and analysis. He seeks to apply quantitative methods to causally infer intractable social and environmental impacts of decisions. And he loves mountains, music, and writing, not necessarily in that order, but preferably together.

2022 Cohort:

Casey Ticsay is a Filipino-American writer and filmmaker whose work focuses on immigration and human rights. She is the founder of Mahalaya, a community newspaper that centers Filipinx narratives and experiences in and beyond the Bay Area through solidarity journalism. She earned a bachelor's degree in broadcast communications from San Francisco State University and a certificate in TV foreign reporting from the Danish School of Media and Journalism. She is currently a graduate student in the Migration Studies program at the University of San Francisco. Her work has appeared in El Tecolote and Globus.

Syed, Khundmeer Fahad came to the U.S. when he was 13 from Hyderabad, India. Since in the U.S. Khundmeer has been a passionate advocate for undocumented students and issues of access to education in general. Khundmeer’s post-secondary journey began with the Jesuits at Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago and Georgetown University where he studies Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Computer Science respectively. A vocal leader, Khundmeer had created and led organizations to support undocumented students in high schools and on the campuses. He is currently a second year graduate student in the School of Education studying Educational Technology. In the light of the pandemic, he is currently researching humanistic approaches to developing community in online learning environments. He also works as an Instructional Coach at the UM Tutoring Program, developing CS curriculum for schools that do not have CS/STEM programs. For leisure, he likes playing football (soccer), singing, and loves having meaningful authentic conversations. An educational visionary and an overall passionate person, Khundmeer seeks to leave a place better than he has found it. 

Jorge is a first-year student in the Masters of International Studies program, with an emphasis on Governance and Global Justice. Originally from México City, México, Jorge has navigated the higher education system as a DACA student. Living with the constant feeling of uncertainty and fear of possible deportation has only increased his motivation to support the undocumented community advocate for change. 

Jorge currently works with Newcomer students at the Oakland Unified school district. He supports students with pending immigration matters, attends court hearings with students and provides mental health counseling. Jorge has advocated for advance parole permits for undergraduates who intend to travel for education purposes abroad, through outreach with Congress representatives from the Los Angeles region. With the goal of explaining the necessity for a path towards immigration, Jorge has done live interviews on national television, and internationally, with the Mexican Electoral System and Telemundo. Jorge's long term goals include increasing access to legal aid for low-income immigrants and to continue actively supporting organizations that have an immigrant's well-being in mind.
 

Originally from Spain, Jesús de la Torre is currently a first-year graduate student of the MA in Migration Studies under a Fulbright scholarship. He holds a MA in European Union Studies by UNED and a BA in International Relations by Universidad Loyola Andalucía, and participated in programs in Japan and Brazil. Jesús aspires to advance a migration system where no one is discriminated by their place of origin, sex, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. For that, he is researching on border externalization practices from a comparative perspective, while advocating alongside migrant and youth communities through writing reports and proposals, and providing services like Spanish classes. Passionate about networks for the global common good, he is now working for the IAJU Working Group on Migrants and Refugees to advocate for Jesuit universities to work for migrants and refugees. He hopes to help societies become aware of the impacts of our migration policies and demand changes in allyship with migrant communities.

Martin is a graduate student in the School of Management, Masters of Nonprofit Administration program. His research interests include social enterprise models and program evaluation methods of humanitarian aid NGOs.

Martin’s professional experience has been primarily in public policy—developing and implementing sustainable land use, housing, and transportation policies and programs. He has also worked for nonprofit organizations in the fields of environmental conservation, job training, and adult education and literacy. He is a former US Peace Corps Volunteer, where he worked in rural community development in Papua New Guinea.

Martin has an MA in Urban and Regional Planning, and has completed several executive public leadership programs. He is grateful for the spirit and solidarity of his McGrath cohorts, and is looking forward to our collaboration. 
 

Chad Baron is a second-year master’s student in the International Studies program with a concentration in environmental justice and sustainable development. He has worked professionally in high school networks advocating for providing for the educational needs of families and communities with limited economic resources in San José and Orange County, CA. Additionally, he worked with and supported houseless communities in the Bay Area and migrants in transit with Casa de Clara, San José. His current research explores post-growth sustainable socio-economic transitions and the intersections of social and environmental justice. His writing has appeared in the Times of San Diego, and he has written for GLOBUS and the Ignatian Solidarity Network, exploring themes of climate action, justice, biodiversity, and beauty.

Dulce is a second-year graduate student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs Masters program and a Graduate Student Coordinator at the Cultural Centers at USF. Before attending USF, Dulce attended College of San Mateo and got her A.A. in Psychology then soon after transferred to UC Riverside allowing her to get a B.A. in Public Policy with a minor in Education. Being a first-generation undocumented Latina has influenced Dulce and motivated her to work in higher education and student affairs to create a safe and inclusive environment for all students and community members. Dulce’s work has allowed her to raise awareness for the undocumented student population as well as work closely with students who come from marginalized identities from K-12 to higher education. As a rising Student Affairs professional, she hopes to further continue to support students and be a voice for students in spaces who have been historically underrepresented. 

Glendy Alvarez is a recent graduate at Stonehill College where she studied Political Science & International relations with a double minor in Criminology and Latin American & Caribbean Studies. Glendy hopes to be a bridge between the mental health profession and her community, to deconstruct the stigmas of mental health. She is in her first year of the USF Masters of Migration Studies where through her research she hopes to highlight intergenerational healing, truthtelling, and resilience among immigrant communities. Glendy is passionate about examining a deeper insight into multilayered perspectives on human rights issues and learning in ways that affirm human dignity, uproot oppression, and advance collective struggles for rights and justice. Her legacy is to continue to weave healing into the future generation and to challenge the negative narratives of mental health, by highlighting that mental health is healing and that care is justice. 

Nicole Buchanan is a first-year graduate student pursuing her M.A. in Migration Studies in the hope that the knowledge and experiences she will gain will allow her to actively practice her passion for community-oriented research, activism, and social justice work. Nicole is originally from Maine and attended Stonehill College in Massachusetts, where she majored in Political Science and International Studies. Through a collaborative research project, she hopes to highlight intergenerational healing, truth-telling, and resilience among migrant communities.

Gaby was born in Lima, Peru and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science - International Relations and a minor in Spanish. She received her certified lactation educator counselor certificate from the University of California San Diego and is pursuing her International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) certification. Gaby currently serves as the Board Chair for the California Breastfeeding Coalition, and supports Breastfeeding in Combat Boots through her expertise as a Navy veteran and spouse. She specializes in supporting families through the prenatal and postpartum periods with education and information on birth, breastfeeding, and maternal mental health resources through her social media awareness campaign - Latched. In the Navy, Gaby served as a Surface Warfare Officer in San Diego, California. She had her first son while serving, which brought to light the need for more support for military families navigating the journey into and through parenthood. She continues to be a sought-after mentor and advocate for breastfeeding service members who need policy support. Gaby is an equity advocate and is actively involved with a variety of non-profit organizations and has also taught numerous breastfeeding classes in both English and Spanish within the community and to military families participating in centering pregnancy. Her goal is to close the gap on access to breastfeeding and birth support within racially diverse communities.

Vanessa is a first-year student pursuing her M.A in International Studies, with an emphasis on Governance and Global Justice. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended Lycoming College in Pennsylvania for undergrad and received her B.A in Political Science and Religion. Vanessa is a human rights advocate and has worked with non-profits and human rights organizations to bring about awareness, advocacy, and fundraisers geared towards human rights. Throughout her time at Lycoming, she worked with UNICEF to establish a charter on her campus. She is dedicated to using her ability to lead, work collaboratively, and speak publicly to help amplify the voices of her community and those marginalized.

Valentina is a first-year student at the EdD program in International and Multicultural Education, with a concentration in Human Rights Education. Originally from Florence, Italy, Valentina pursued her JD at the University of Florence School of Law, and published a dissertation Public Policy and Best Interests of the Child, focused on national and international public policy doctrine with respect to child welfare law. While in Italy, she worked for the Florence Public Prosecutor’s Office as a legal linguistic mediator. Such a job sparked her interest in immigration law. In 2017, Valentina moved to the United States, and pursued her LLM master’s degree at the University of San Francisco School of Law, concentrating on International, Comparative, and Immigration Law. She later worked as a legal fellow for the San Francisco-based non-profit, Open Door Legal in the Housing and Immigration Law Departments. Valentina is a recipient of the Global Grant Rotary Scholarship for the “conflict resolution and peacebuilding” area of interest, awarded by The Rotary International in 2017. She is a native Italian, and fluent in English, Spanish and French and she currently serves as legal writer for an immigration law firm in San Francisco. Her research interests include discrimination faced by immigrants while looking foe housing in the United States. 

Linda is a Colombian sociologist, with a Masters’ degree in education from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. She has worked with various underserved and internally displaced populations on research, community engagement, and teaching. She led an award-winning pedagogical project to promote peaceful relationships among school students. Later, she led another pedagogical project to boost youth’s community engagement and access to postsecondary education. Recently, she has been volunteering as an immigrant advocate, tutor, and as a community outreach assistant. Linda is currently a first-year student at the Master in Migration Studies program, where her research focuses on an analysis of unaccompanied minors’ rights, with a special focus on girls and LGBTQ+ minors, and how they have been constructed as dehumanized and invisible in Colombia and the US. She loves working with kids and youth, and she firmly believes that when people are provided with fair conditions and respect, they will certainly flourish.

Adrian is a first year student in the Masters of International Studies program, with a focus in Culture, Power and Social Movements. Originally from New York, Adrian attended The University of Scranton, where she majored in Counseling and Human Services, concentrated in Human Development, and minored in Italian and Theology/Religious Studies. After college, she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Atlanta, GA, serving as a caseworker in the Refugee Resettlement department at Catholic Charities Atlanta. In this role, Adrian assisted newly resettled refugees with general transitional support upon their arrival to the US. Later, Adrian returned to her parents’ home country of Italy to work for a Jesuit study abroad program. Here, she coordinated cultural immersions and social justice programming within Italy and Europe, focusing on the greater roles that migration plays. Now at USF, Adrian works as a Resident Minister coordinating and leading immersion opportunities for students on campus. This year, she has assisted with two trips focused on the rights of refugees and migrants in Rome, Italy and at the US/Mexico border. Adrian serves as a Program Ambassador for her MAIS cohort. She is looking forward to the opportunity to be a McGrath fellow and learn from others while reflecting on her own experiences in Jesuit Higher Education.

Civil Rights Advocate Elle Fersan is in her first-year of the USF Master’s of Arts in Public Leadership program. She is the Executive Vice President for Resource Development and Communications at the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC). She is also the founder and CEO of Global Nexus Solutions, LLC a consulting firm specializing in global public affairs and social impact.
Over a 20-year career in government, nonprofit, and academia, Elle has dedicated herself to improving policy and changing lives through research, international development, policy advocacy, campaigning, and fundraising. Elle’s advocacy work, expertise, and thought leadership are focused on immigration issues, women, and global LGBTQ rights. She holds a Master’s degree in History, from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, and is fluent in French, Arabic, and English.
Elle is a Truman National Security Fellow (2020) and the Communications Chair at the National Women’s Political Caucus, LA Metro Chapter.
She won numerous awards from the U.S. Department of State, UNESCO, Mayor of Los Angeles, LA County Supervisor, and the Eisenhower Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter @ellefersan.

Leandro Gonzales is a first-year student at the College of Arts and Science, MA Public Leadership program. Leandro is a community leader and community organizer in San Francisco, working with our most marginalized communities. He volunteers with Project Open Hand/Meals on Wheels/Burrito Project/Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinner/Mama G's Thanksgiving Street Dinner in Civic Center and Castro Community on Patrol on weekends keeping people safe at night. He has made a difference for many communities: immigrants, those in recovery, seniors, youth, transgender community, breast cancer patients, people living with HIV, Homeless, Veterans, Northern California Fire Relief and Latinx/Asian Pacific Island communities, LGBTQ communities in Ukraine, as well as standing with the Black Lives Matter movement and has raised over $300,000 for charities helping communities in the US, Mexico, Ukraine, and Puerto Rico. Keep an eye on his annual Tamale Fundraiser, in which he plans to use a teamwork approach with students and faculty at the University of San Francisco. He wants to learn and grow from this exceptional McGrath cohort of leaders and intends to complete his Capstone Project on Adaptive Leadership and  Public Narrative to create our “Change the World from Here” motto.

2021 Cohort:

Vanesa “Vane” Vazquez is a 6th semester MSN student in the Entry-level MSN program at USF. An LA native, she received her bachelor’s in Health Science with a focus on Global Health from CSU Fullerton. Vanesa has since relocated to the Bay Area and currently resides in Oakland, CA (Ohlone Land). Her work history includes birth work, patient education, and administrative work. She is currently a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at a hospital in San Francisco. Vanesa is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels, and especially in the clinical setting. In the future, she hopes to work towards a system that closes the gap on health disparities for vulnerable and misrepresented communities.

Janise Powell is a first year graduate student in the International and Multicultural Education Ed.D. program. Janise is social justice advocate, experienced event planner/programmer, and education professional focusing on training and development in the areas of cultural competence, leadership, and career development. Utilizing skills in personal development, public speaking, spoken word, storytelling, and advising, she empowers individuals to share their stories through various platforms (art, resumes, fundraisers, etc.), to learn from others, to grow together, and to generate solutions from within various communities. Janise aims to place power back in the hands of people and communities.

Hamida Dahir is a mental health activist, human rights advocate, and poet. She has lived and worked in Somalia, Kenya, and the United States. Her most recent research centers on the effects of trauma, violence, and displacement on the mental health of Somali refugees in the diaspora. Her project particularly focused on the use of resistance tools such as indigenous knowledge production through creative writing and storytelling as well as women-led community advocacy networks that champion the de-construction of mental health stigma. She previously worked with NGOs in the provision of medical and livelihood training for repatriated Somali refugees from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. At the moment, she is a graduate student at USF’s Master in Migration Studies (MIMS) program. Her research interests lie in the intersection of migration, gender identity, refugee rights, and policy advocacy.

Victoria is a second year Organization & Leadership master's student about to finish her thesis on multicultural Latinx/a/o student identity. She currently resides in San Francisco but is originally from Los Angeles and as an avid LA sports fan and foodie. When she's not working on her thesis you can find her hanging out in Golden Gate Park or on the hunt for the best pastry in San Francisco!

John served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Honduras collaborating with local government and youth, earned a master's degree in Dispute Resolution as a Trinity Fellow with a focus on Urban Leadership from Marquette University while assisting first generation students achieve their dream of attending college, and cycled from Ohio to California to raise awareness and funds for the Saint Luke Foundation for Haiti. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 he worked at Hostelling International USA, a non-profit organization with the mission to create a more tolerant and understanding world through travel and volunteered as a youth soccer coach and event manager with Street Soccer USA. Since mid-March he has been volunteering with La Voz Latina to ensure that basic needs of Spanish-speaking families within the Tenderloin community are being met and assisted as a Spanish translator at the Latino Task Force COVID testing and vaccination sites. He also works as Building Manager (Section-8 Senior Living apartments) for Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation. John will graduate from the University of San Francisco’s Executive MBA program in the Spring of 2022 and for the duration of his studies will continue to volunteer and support his neighbors in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Upon graduation he will apply the management and leadership skills to further support San Francisco's most underserved residents in a Social Service or Corporate Social Responsibility leadership position.

Ana Karen Barragán is an international student from Puebla, Mexico. Currently, she is studying for a Master's degree in International Studies (MAIS) with a concentration in culture, power, and social movements. In 2020 she was elected as a student representative for the MAIS program. At the local level, Ana Karen works in the Arrupe Initiatives office, and at the international level, she collaborates in the International Association of Jesuit Universities. Previously, she worked as the secretary/executive assistant to the President of the Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla, who was also president of the Latin American Network of Jesuit Universities (AUSJAL). Ana Karen's topics of interest are social justice, community engagement, and leadership in Jesuit education.

Writer Lacy Jeffreys is in her second year of the USF Master’s of Arts in Public Leadership program where her research centers on equipping leaders to thrive within institutions not designed with them in mind. A military spouse with a background in communications, Lacy has worked for a variety of organizations from Capitol Hill to public radio. She is a passionate problem-solver focused on helping individuals and businesses think critically about building for the future. She currently lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her family, but is trying to find a way to move back to Asia