Estefanía currently serves as a Project Analyst for UC San Diego’s Office of the Vice Chancellor-Student Affairs (VCSA). In this role, she provides internal project management, research, and analytical support to senior administrative leaders. Prior to her position at UC San Diego, she coordinated college literacy programs for high school youth as an Outreach Program Manager for the University of Michigan’s Center for Educational Outreach. Her previous involvements also include research assistantships at the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) and the National Forum on Higher Education for the Public good.
Estefanía was born in San Salvador, El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles, California. At a young age, she learned to embrace her family’s passionate pursuit for a better life and became committed to her academic journey. The first in her family to attend college, she received a Bachelor’s degree from UC Irvine and a Master’s degree in Higher Education from the University of Michigan. Through this leadership program and with a collective of progressive leaders, Estefanía intends to build and harness the knowledge, tools, and resources to serve and advocate with underrepresented, working-class, and immigrant communities.
Juan Vargas is an Escondido resident who is actively seeking change within his community. Currently, he works as the Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Principal and Academic Dean at Del Lago Academy within the Escondido Union High School District. He also serves as part of the Executive Committee for the North County Immigration Task Force. Prior to this, he worked as a project manager and sales representative for a construction company.
Unhappy with the situations his community continues to face in regards various social issues, especially immigrant rights, he left the customer service field in pursuit of a career that would allow him to volunteer his time and be active in the community. He went back to school where he worked to obtain an Associates Degree in General Studies with an Emphasis in Social and Behavioral Sciences and intends to continue towards obtaining a bachelors degree in Sociology.
Juan is also a part of the music and arts community; regularly performing in a band throughout San Diego County. Together with other members in the North County music and arts scene, he is in the process of creating an arts collective who through art and music bring light to issues throughout our communities and revitalizes youth interest in organizing for change. As a first generation Chicano and a father of two, Juan dreams of creating a community that fosters progressive change for generations to come.
Caryl Montero-Adams is originally from a small town in northeast Ohio. As a first-generation college student, she moved across the state to pursue higher education. While in school, her co-curricular involvement introduced her to social issues and the progressive community. Caryl’s transformative collegiate experiences sparked a lifelong passion for service and community engagement, which included tutoring refugees, working on political campaigns for LGBTQ+ rights, lobbying on Capitol Hill for comprehensive sexuality education, and participating in an intensive experiential learning program centered on issues of diversity and inclusion.
Having established roots in San Diego in 2011, Caryl serves as the Assistant Director of Student Life & Leadership for Fraternity & Sorority Life at San Diego State University. Her primary responsibility is leading the Greek community at SDSU with the vision of “collaboration, inclusion and integrity.” At SDSU, Caryl also serves on several cross-campus committees, including the Sexual Violence Task Force, Alcohol and Other Drug Task Force, and the Integrative Diversity Task Force, to name a few. Prior to her role as Assistant Director, she served as a Residence Hall Coordinator and was honored with the Exceptional New Professional award from the Division of Student Affairs at SDSU in 2014.
Caryl earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in Health Promotion and Education: Community Health from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University. Caryl is passionate about issues of inclusion, access, gender equality, reproductive justice, community development, and health promotion.
Matthew is an Oceanside native doing his best to create positive change in the communities and spaces he is most passionate about. An unapologetic progressive and LGBTQ advocate, he currently works at Tedstrom Associates, an LGBTQ stakeholder engagement and management consultant firm helping to foster greater equality and equity in business, government, and civil society. Matthew also sits on the Victory Campaign Board, raising money for LGBTQ candidates locally and across the country.
As a history nerd, Matthew holds both his B.A. and M.A. in History from San Diego State University, which allows him to be an enthusiastic adjunct professor at San Diego City College.
During his spare time, Matthew reads the San Diego Business Journal, reviews agendas and minutes from various community planning groups across the city, and periodically calls his elected representatives to support pro-housing policies. A proud affordable housing, smart growth, and YIMBY advocate, he hopes to connect with and inspire others to support housing and transportation justice in San Diego and beyond.
Matthew lives in South Park with his partner, Daren, neither of whom wants children, nor dogs, at this time.
Jennifer V. Kulka began working as a therapist at an outpatient County-contracted mental health clinic in April of 2017. She deeply enjoys providing individual and group therapy services to transitional-aged youth (TAY) experiencing severe mental illness, and assists with redeveloping the TAY program at her clinic.
Jennifer graduated from her Master of Social Work program in 2016, during which she worked for Planned Parenthood facilitating a Youth Organizing and Policy Institute, a Youth Leadership Academy, and providing direct patient care. In between work and class, she interned as a therapist at Center for Community Solutions, a non-profit that provides services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse.
Jennifer also interned at The Association for Community Housing Solutions, a nonprofit permanent-supportive housing provider for adults with severe mental illness. It was during her degree that Jennifer felt she had planted the seeds to become a catalyst for community change. After her degree, Jennifer moved to Australia where she gained experience in international social work and chased koalas, but she resolved to make San Diego her permanent home. Jennifer is interested in affecting policies that impact her clients and acting as a voice for those that she serves. Her passions are mental health, trauma, women's issues, and transitional-age youth.
Carolyn Winn is passionate about improving access to healthcare and education for all communities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Minor in Theatre, and a Certificate in College Counseling from the University of California, San Diego. By coordinating and providing internship placements, personal and professional skills workshops, mentorship, and college and career guidance, she empowers hundreds of high school students from diverse backgrounds to imagine and attain their highest career aspirations.
Prior, Carolyn worked to improve access to sexual health information and services through her work at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest (PPPSW). There, she held positions in clinical settings as well as administrative departments including marketing, community engagement, and volunteer program management. During this time she founded and ran a progressive public speaking club called “Toast 4 Choice” and was elected to the governing body of Mid-City Community Advocacy Network.
After eight years of service at PPPSW, she pursued her lifelong dream of travelling the world for one year. With her husband, she visited several countries in Latin America and Europe. Together, they had many transformative experiences such as participating in work exchanges, language programs, organic farming, and hospitality services. She resides in Ocean Beach and is an active member of the OB Town Council and other local grassroots initiatives.
As a Program Manager for Cleantech San Diego, Alyssa oversees the San Diego Regional Energy Innovation Network, a state-funded incubator program that provides innovative clean technology startups in the San Diego region with access to free commercialization services through a number of partner organizations.
Alyssa graduated with a B.A. in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Community Studies is a unique program that blends sociology, anthropology, and politics in the study of community organizing, social movements, and the nonprofit sector. Since graduating, Alyssa has worked for nonprofits, startups, and business advisors in a variety of roles that have nurtured her passion for social and environmental impact. These diverse experiences feed her desire to facilitate collaboration whenever possible between the public, private, nonprofit and academic sectors on complex social and environmental challenges.
A native San Diegan, Alyssa loves craft beer and cruising around Balboa Park. In her free time, she enjoys visiting art museums, photographing the world around her, and getting lost on road trips.
Luis Montero-Adams was born in Los Angeles and is the oldest child of two undocumented immigrants. Concerned about increasing violence, the family moved to San Diego when Luis was a young child. Years later, after his parents obtained United States citizenship, Luis’s family moved to back to Tijuana to be closer to their extended family. Choosing to continue attending school in San Diego, Luis joined his father as a member of the international commuter community. Although Luis has lived in San Diego since September 12, 2001, his binational roots have shaped his perspective and how he engages the region.
Soon after graduating from San Diego High School, Luis began his 10 years of service at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest. There, he held positions in each of the three pillars of the agency’s mission: education, health services, and advocacy. Introducing him to the San Diego progressive community, his time at Planned Parenthood also ignited his passion for community organizing, coalition building, and volunteer engagement.
In 2015, Luis enrolled at San Diego State University. In December 2017, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women’s Studies with a minor in Latin American Studies. Having recently graduated, Luis has now shifted his focus to returning to the progressive community and is excited that SDLA will play a large role.
Brendan Dentino works as an Americorps VISTA member within the City of San Diego’s Economic Development Department working to increase economic opportunity and decrease unemployment and poverty in the federally-designated San Diego Promise Zone.
A New Jersey native, Brendan received a BS in Exercise Science from the George Washington University, at which he participated in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC). After graduating, he accepted a commission in the United States Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer.
Upon being stationed in San Diego, Brendan quickly fell in love with his new home and became increasingly aware of and interested in the economic injustices facing his fellow San Diegans. After coming across the literature of urban theorist Mike Davis in 2016, he decided to commit to a career path advancing progressive causes. Before transitioning out of active duty service in early 2018, he volunteered for progressive candidates running for the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees, and attended many progressive training sessions and organizational meetings.
Brendan enjoys reading and writing about Southern California society and culture, doing crossword puzzles, working out, and listening to his holy triumvirate of favorite bands—Avenged Sevenfold, Bruce Springsteen, and David Bowie. He is currently working toward a Master of Science in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology at the University of Southern California.