The SDLA posts profiles of our Fellows at the time they are admitted to the SDLA Institute. After graduation, many Fellows change jobs and advance in their careers, which is not reflected in these bios. Accomplishments of SDLA Institute Alum can be found here.
Lucia Napolez grew up in Yuma, Arizona with her immediate family. She is proud to say that her grandparents and parents come from the seasonal migrant worker's camps laid out from Yuma, AZ all the way to Fresno, CA. She is the first in her family to attend a four year university, and has received two professional degrees.
Lucia relocated to San Diego in 2007 to start anew and begin developing her career. She enrolled in community college, and eventually transferred to San Diego State University to study International Security and Conflict Resolution. By junior year, Lucia was a double major in I.S.C.O.R. and Spanish, with a minor in LGBT Studies.
Lucia became very involved in LGBT social justice, and started donating her time to various organizations in the LGBT community in San Diego. Through her knowledge and experience in LGBT culture, she secured a position with Rescue Social Change Group as a cultural expert and Client Services representative for its National LGBT campaign.
Since joining Rescue Social Change Group nearly a year ago, Lucia has moved internally within the company to her current position as an acting liaison for both Client Services and Creative Operations.
Sarah Abshear is an attorney whose practice covers business and complex commercial litigation across multiple industries. She has experience with all stages of case development, from initial claim assessment to post-trial motions and appeals, in federal, California, and other state courts. Sarah has represented a variety of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, classes of plaintiffs, individual plaintiffs and defendants, and government entities.
Sarah received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2009, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and served as a Writing and Research Editor of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems. She received her B.A., summa cum laude, in Political Science from the University of Kentucky in 2006.
Sarah is admitted to the state bars of California and New York; the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Central, and Northern Districts of California; and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. She is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, and the Lawyers Club of San Diego, where she serves on the Reproductive Rights & Women's Advocacy Committee.
Jeremy Bloom is the Donor Relations Manager with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. Jeremy joined the ACLU in 2015 and is responsible for managing a mid-level fundraising portfolio including annual and planned giving, with a focus on identifying donors and strengthening their relationship with the ACLU.
Jeremy has worked in the nonprofit fundraising and political organizing fields for more than eight years. Prior to coming to the ACLU, Jeremy lived in Santa Barbara and served on the boards of a community-based foundation and faith group. He is an active member of Young Professionals Council, a project of the San Diego LGBT Community Center, currently sitting on the executive committee as the secretary/treasurer.
Jeremy was born in Upstate New York and has traveled extensively throughout North America, the Middle East, and Africa. Jeremy obtained a B.A. in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, VA.
Khalisa Bolling is passionate about building healthy communities and improving people's quality of life. She earned a Masters of Public Health from SDSU, and began her career at the City of National City. There, she managed a Lead Hazard Control Program and a Healthy Homes Program. She served as the Director of Programs for Outdoor Outreach, a non-profit that connects youth to the transformative power of the outdoors. Khalisa is currently working for UCSD in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health coordinating a research study funded by the NIH. This study investigates the efficacy of a multi-level physical activity program aimed at improving the health of older adults. In this role, she also leads a Community Advisory Board and delivers a training to empower older adults to become program leaders.
Khalisa serves as board member and chair of the advocacy committee for the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. She is committed to advocating for infrastructure that will allow biking to become a viable transportation option for all. She also serves on the Groundwork San Diego board, a non-profit that engages businesses, residents and government officials around transforming the Chollas Creek watershed into a community asset.
Beeta Jahedi designs and implements San Diego Grantmakers' program strategy and member learning initiatives. In this role, she creates opportunities to innovate and collaborate on the issues that drive San Diego philanthropies, ensures that SDG continuously fosters a well-informed and connected community of grantmakers, and that programs offered contribute to members' philanthropic effectiveness.
Prior to joining San Diego Grantmakers, Beeta was a senior program associate in the president's office at The JPB Foundation, where she managed a $50M portfolio in poverty, effective philanthropy, and performing arts education. She was also the assistant director of learning services at Philanthropy New York (PNY) where she implemented PNY's member learning strategy, launched and designed several collaborative projects and initiatives, such as the role of philanthropy in post-election America and best practices in disaster grantmaking after Hurricane Sandy, and increased the use of digital and social media at programs as a tool for funders to continue discussing best practices and engage with the wider philanthropic sector.
Beeta is a 2016 San Diego Leadership Alliance (SDLA) Fellow. She also serves on the Screening Committee for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. She was formerly Chair of the Girls Incorporated of New York City's Junior Board, and a co-leader of the Alumni in Philanthropy Group of NYUWagner.
Beeta received her M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Administration from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and received her B.A. in Gender Studies from Bard College at Simon's Rock, an early college.
James Halliday is a native San Diegan. He attended public K-12 schools, completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma program at San Diego HS in 1999, and had the privilege of being an Aaron Price Fellow, where the connection between civic engagement and public leadership first took root.
After graduating with a degree in history from Stanford in 2003, James pursued postgraduate studies in Cracow, Poland, where he lived until 2005. Between 2005-14, he lived Seoul, Moscow, and Istanbul, where he worked for many years in journalism, before transitioning the focus of his work to the intersection of education, philanthropy, and social enterprise.
He is currently Program Director at the Education Synergy Alliance, and actively involved in shaping the impact economy for the greater San Diego region through his work with ImpactSD and the local chapter of EPIP.
Erin Tsurumoto Grassi works as a Human Rights Coordinator for Alliance San Diego, where she helps support and organize the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium.
She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area as a biracial, fourth generation Japanese American. Those experiences helped shape her passion for social justice and racial equality from a young age.
The first to graduate from college in her immediate family, Erin has a Bachelor's degree from Whittier College in Political Science and Spanish, and a Master's of Art degree from the University of California San Diego in Latin American Studies with a concentration in International Migration. During college she interned for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in the Bay Area, Assemblywoman (now State Senator) Lois Wolk's district office, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Prior to joining Alliance San Diego, Erin was a community organizer with Justice Overcoming Boundaries and the Gamaliel, where she worked with leaders on a variety of issues, including transportation, housing and immigration.
In her free time, you can find her running, cooking, reading, dancing and rock climbing.
Rosa Flores is Vista Community Clinic's Health Resource Advocate where her work centers primarily on connecting historically underrepresented communities to resources through comprehensive outreach, coalition building, leadership development, and community organizing. Her goal is to promote and ensure all North County San Diego residents choose health.
An heir to the immigrant experience, Rosa's volunteer work is dedicated to advocating for immigrant rights and policy. She is a former volunteer with Latinos Organizing for Action of North County and the Imperial Legal Outreach Program legal team at the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties where she worked to ensure the correct implementation of the TRUST Act and assisted in providing legal resources to migrants in detention, respectively. Rosa is a recent graduate of MANA de San Diego's Latina Success Leadership Program. She has a history of canvassing for local campaigns and issues throughout San Diego and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the North County Immigration Task Force.
A graduate from San Diego Sate University with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor Spanish, Rosa is wholeheartedly committed both personally and professionally to immigrant, health, and educational justice in San Diego.
Nate Fairman has spent the last decade of his life developing his skills as a Journeyman Lineman constructing and maintaining high-voltage power lines. At the age of nineteen, he began a four-year apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers which included 8,000 hours of on the job training in one of the most dangerous fields of work. He sits on the Executive Board of IBEW LU 465 and has founded an IBEW Young Worker group focused on volunteer work and building community-labor partnerships.
Nate is a native of San Diego and was raised by his mother whom he lost as a teenager after a difficult battle with cervical cancer. At a young age he provided for his family and worked at a fast food restaurant while attending high school where he developed a tremendous respect for working families from all walks of life. Shortly after graduating he began his apprenticeship and found a passion for the construction trades and organized labor.
After attending the AFL-CIO Next Up Young Workers leadership training he has enrolled in the Labor Studies program at San Diego City College and is planning on continuing his education and strengthening the local labor movement.