2022 SDLA Fellows Class

Jordan Latchford
Sr. Field Research Analyst

Jordan Latchford an Analyst at CBRE. At CBRE, she provides research and analysis support of commercial real estate markets. With a background in economic research, Jordan rounds out the research department’s ability to produce formal research reflecting the region’s priorities and pressing questions. She is an active member of the YIMBY Democrats of San Diego and Circulate San Diego Policy Committee. Originally from San Mateo in the Bay Area, she graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science. She enjoys exploring San Diego’s dog parks with her rescue pup, Cody.

Summer Yousif Bales
Policy Coordinator

Summer Yousif Bales is a Policy Coordinator at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. At the Chamber, she oversees the Chamber’s Defense, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and Small Business Roundtable, among other policy responsibilities. As a former intern at the Chamber, Summer now manages the External Affairs Internship program and supports students in their transition to the workforce. Prior to joining the Chamber, Summer was a master’s student at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, where she conducted research under Professor Barbara Walter on nationalism, ethnic conflict and democratization. Summer received her undergraduate degree from UC San Diego with a major in international studies and political science with a minor in international migration studies, while interning with the International Rescue Committee’s Immigration Department. Outside the office, Summer is a member of YIMBY Democrats of San Diego and coaches a youth soccer team for La Jolla Impact.

Ana Laura Martinez
Community Representative

Ana Laura was raised in Tijuana and San Diego & grew up in a working-class and immigrant household. As a committed and passionate advocate, she has more than 10 years of organizing and advocacy experience on economic justice, reproductive justice and LGBTQIA+ issues. Prior to joining Team Fletcher as a Community Representative, Ana Laura was the Organizer and Leadership Development Coordinator at the Center on Policy Initiatives. During her five years there, she led campaigns on worker justice at the City, County and State levels and coordinated an organizing program for college students. As a student, Ana Laura organized with SEIU-Good Jobs L.A. through the UCLA Labor Center, AFSCME 3299, and UAW 2865, fighting for economic justice. She has also worked at UCSD as a teaching assistant and City College as an adjunct professor, grounding her teaching philosophy on critical thinking, empowering students to read the world differently, and inciting commitment to social justice outside of the classroom. Ana Laura graduated from UCSD with a double major in Ethnic Studies and History. As a fat queer, she is committed and guided by the values of solidarity and deeply believes that another world where all everyone is free is possible. In her free time, she serves as a Board Member for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest and enjoys hiking, biking, and screen printing.

Mauricio Medina
Public Affairs Manager

Born and raised in San Diego, Mauricio received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations and a minor in English. Upon finishing his degree, Mauricio returned to San Diego where he worked at the City of San Diego, City Council Offices. In his initial role as a council representative, Mauricio worked directly with constituents to address their concerns. It was this person-to-person experience that sparked his passion for public service. He later served as the Budget and Government Efficiency Committee Consultant where he coordinated with multiple city departments, elected officials, and outside organizations to organize the monthly agenda. In addition to his time at City Hall, Mauricio also worked on a successful San Diego City Council campaign and served briefly as a campaign manager for a mayoral campaign. In his current role at the San Diego Hunger Coalition, Mauricio continues his commitment to bettering his community by facilitating a county-wide Hunger Advocacy Network, while also developing and supporting efforts to strengthen federal and state hunger relief policies. During his free time, he enjoys reading, golfing, tennis, soccer, stand-up paddle boarding, photography, listening to new music, spending time with friends, and wandering around the San Diego Zoo.

Emily Tran

Emily Tran is a licensed LVN and RCFE administrator since 2012. Her passion for advocating for older adults and their care is one of many driving forces that motivates her to be involved in progressive spaces. Her Vietnamese-American heritage is an evolving identity of hers that influences her perspective on issues relating to inequality, community building, and civic duty. She moved to San Diego in 2017 and immediately became involved with the San Diego LGBT Center’s Young Professionals Council (YPC). A professional development program that helps local LGBTQ+ and allies network with each other, and teaches its members about local LGBT social justice movements. In 2019, her advocacy and experience with older adults were acknowledged by the Mayor of Chula Vista, Mary Salas. Emily was sworn in as an official member of the Commission on Aging in Chula Vista, California that same year, and is currently the Chair for the Commission. Another organization that Emily is an active member of is Viet Vote SD, a local non-profit dedicated to advancing civic participation with the local Vietnamese-American community. Emily is an undergraduate at San Diego State University majoring in Gerontology and minoring in Asian Studies. She is involved with SDSU’s Social Policy Institute as an intern where she is a part of the “Age-Friendly” conversation happening both on campus and off. Upon completing her undergraduate studies, she plans to pursue a Master’s in Public Policy. She aims to be a part of conversations revolving around senior services, access to those services, and creating inclusive policies that center around a culturally sensitive approach.

Matthew Soler
Medical Social Worker

Matthew Soler (he/him/his) is an electrical engineer turned social worker. He was born in Germany while his parents were stationed there while serving in the Army. He grew up primarily in El Paso, TX. Matthew moved to San Diego in 2011 with hopes of landing a job with his engineering degree (but mainly for the weather). He lived out of his car for six months while searching for work. Running low on funds, he decided to return to waiting tables. It took him a month of saving (while working three restaurant jobs) before he was able to secure a place in San Diego. The experience helped motivate his decision to switch to a career in social work. Matthew’s public policy interests have been shaped by the different people he’s worked with and the struggles they’ve shared with him. He began the transition to community work by volunteering with individuals and families living out of their cars. Since then, he has engaged with people impacted by the criminal justice system, college students facing food and housing insecurity, newcomers from East Africa, people experiencing serious mental illness, and those fighting for racial justice. Currently, he is focused on supporting San Diego County residents living with disabilities and/or high medical needs. The struggles and strengths exhibited by these clients, their families, and their caregivers has further expanded his understanding of topics scarcely talked about. Matthew hopes to use consensus organizing to concentrate the power of residents, so their perspectives are the ones directing community improvement efforts. Matthew makes time for joy by having frequent surf sessions and bike rides along the bay. He recently began a journey to visit every museum in San Diego County.

Natasha Salgado
Small Business & Community Engagement Program Manager

Natasha Tais Salgado was born and raised in Orange County, CA.  In 2019, she graduated from the University of San Diego with a B.A in Political Science and minored in International Relations & Non-Profit Enterprise. Natasha serves as the Community Engagement & Small Business Program Manager for Logan Heights Community Development Corporation - a community-based organization in the Logan Heights community. As the Program Manager overseeing the organization’s Economic Development efforts, she has focused on advancing program development and policy efforts both in the City and County of San Diego that equitably serve the small businesses and residents in the Logan Heights, Historic Barrio District, and San Diego Promise Zone communities. Natasha serves as the Vice-Chair for the City of San Diego Small Business Advisory Board and Co-Chairs the City of San Diego Promise Zone Economic Activities working group.

Julie Roland
Aviator, Lieutenant

Julie Roland grew up in the Bay Area and then Baltimore, MD, and then graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015 on an ROTC scholarship with a B.A. in history. She is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and has deployed to the South China Sea and Persian Gulf as a helicopter pilot. She currently works as an Air Certifying Officer at Afloat Training Group San Diego, assuring the safety of flight operations aboard Naval vessels. Passionate about improving DEI and morale in the military, she has organized team building events at each of her past commands, served on the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Committee and the Command Resilience Team while at her fleet squadron, and wrote an essay about caring better for junior enlisted Sailors which was recently published by the U.S. Naval Institute. Julie is also a member of the San Diego Rotary Club, League of Women Voters, and Women’s Foundation. In her free time, she created the nonprofit Just Tryna Make Friends, Inc., which endeavors to build community and promote the arts mainly through a variety show which occurs monthly in San Diego and Los Angeles for which she produces, hosts, and performs as a magician. Julie has a monthly residency at Finest City Improv theater and is currently working with the nonprofit Save Starlight to help restore the Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park. She will be attending the University of San Diego School of Law part time beginning this August.

Aviva Paley 
Chief of Staff

Aviva Paley is a non-profit leader and social entrepreneur with ten years of experience working at the intersection of sustainability and economic justice in the food system. Aviva currently serves as the Chief of Staff for the National Young Farmers Coalition, a national advocacy organization working to shift power and change policy to equitably resource a new generation of working farmers. Previously, Aviva served as the Co-Founder and Senior Director of Kitchens for Good, a San Diego based non-profit that tackles issues of food waste, hunger, poverty, and recidivism through innovative apprenticeship training programs. Over her seven-year tenure, Aviva helped Kitchens for Good transform a start-up into an award-winning non-profit with 40 staff that has helped 20,000 San Diegans gain access to nutritious food and supported 400 job seekers launch meaningful careers. Aviva is passionate about fostering a just and livable community and dedicates her volunteer time to support several San Diego based initiatives. Aviva serves as a Board Member for the Climate Action Campaign, a Committee Member of the Green New Deal Alliance, the Chair of the Avodah San Diego Advisory Committee, and a member of the San Diego Jewish Community Foundation Innovation Incubator committee. Aviva has been chosen for several prestigious awards and fellowships including Forbes 2019 list of 30 under 30 Social Enterprise Leaders, Food Tanks list of 20 Food Leaders Under 40, The UC Global Food Initiative’s 30 under 30 Food Leaders Award, The ROI Fellowship, and the Arianne de Rothschild Fellowship.

Rachel Oporto
Partnerships & Advocacy Manager

Rachel Oporto is a native San Diegan, lifelong relationship builder, and the Partnerships & Advocacy Manager at the San Diego Food System Alliance. She leads the Alliance's efforts in network development, community engagement, relationship building, as well as Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Rachel’s experience in the food service industry has informed her educational and career pathways, bridging a love for food with a commitment to equity. With a strong connection to food & culture, and a deep commitment to racial justice, Rachel seeks to shift power, build bridges, and cultivate a local food system owned and led by the community. Rachel first graduated from the California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco with a degree in Culinary Arts. Later graduating Summa Cum Laude from UC San Diego with a degree in SocioCultural Anthropology, focusing on social justice and gender studies. While completing her undergrad at UC San Diego Rachel served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member for two years through the Anti-Hunger Opportunity Corps.

Abbey Reuter 
Community Representative

Abbey Reuter currently works as a Community Representative for Chair Nathan Fletcher with the County of San Diego Board of Supervisors. In this role, she oversees youth and environmental community engagement, as well as constituent services. Before joining the County of San Diego, Abbey was a student at UC San Diego. She graduated with a BA in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. She interned with the City Council in Councilmember Raul Campillo’s office. She also served as the Associate Vice President of Local Affairs in the student government at UCSD. Through this position, she got involved in local San Diego politics, advocating for student housing projects and for increased oversight over surveillance technology. She also served as the Advocacy Director for a youth-led nonprofit, Our Time to Act United, helping to determine state legislative priorities and build up the advocacy program. In her free time, she likes to bake and read.

Jesse O'Sullivan 
Policy Counsel

Jesse is policy counsel for Circulate San Diego, where he researches and advocates for land use and transit policy solutions for a more affordable and sustainable San Diego. He has authored reports dealing with the regional transportation plan, pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and a forthcoming report on an incentive program that gives developers incentives if they construct housing developments with units set aside as affordable. Prior to working at Circulate, Jesse practiced law for over a year as a litigator on a variety of matters. He also externed for the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and for the Honorable Gonzalo P. Curiel for the Southern District of California. During law school, Jesse was a member of the San Diego Law Review and his comment, Increasing the Effectiveness of California's Density Bonus Law, was published in The Real Estate Law Journal.

Lauren Cazares
Confidential Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff

Lauren Cazares serves as the Director of Scheduling and Administration for Mayor Todd Gloria and previously served as the Confidential Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff in the same administration. Prior to these roles, she ran Colin Parent’s successful 2020 re-election campaign to the La Mesa City Council, professionally fundraised with Kamiab Solutions for ballot measures and Sean Elo-Rivera’s 2020 San Diego City Council campaign, and helped coordinate volunteers for Todd Gloria’s 2020 mayoral campaign. Outside of government & politics, Lauren was the National Program Manager for WIT: Whatever it Takes! a non-profit focused on youth entrepreneurship and a Guest Professor at the UC San Diego Extension. Lauren is a life-long resident of the City of La Mesa in East County San Diego, where her passion for politics and advocacy began in her teen years. This blossomed while earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science & Women’s Studies at Point Loma Nazarene University. There, she founded Loma After Dark and served on the Board of the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society and the ASB Campus Activities Board. During her free time, you can find Lauren petsitting, coordinating weddings, organizing on boards and committees at Normal Heights United, mentoring MBA students at PLNU, or traveling to Boston to spend time with her long-distance partner, Claire.

Amanda Berry
Policy Advisor

Amanda Berry (she/her/hers) has a passion for policy that improves social determinants of health and health access. She is a policy advisor for Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer representing District 3 on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Amanda advises on Health and Human Services, Boards and Commissions, and Public Safety as it relates to alternatives to incarceration. Amanda has interned with various health providers in San Diego including San Ysidro Health and Sharp Healthcare. Before moving to San Diego, Amanda worked for UC Davis to bridge research and policy for mental health in California continues to consult for research communications and project management. Amanda’s interest in the intersection of health and housing began while she worked as a realtor in Sacramento and continued in her academic research on the association between counseling and retention in a medication-assisted treatment program for people experiencing homelessness. A strong advocate for underserved populations and implementation of best practices, Amanda combines analytical thought and compassionate leadership to drive change in her community. Originally from the bay area, Amanda holds a BS in Biopsychology from UC Santa Barbara, and masters degrees in public health and social work from San Diego State University. When not working, Amanda can be found on a hiking trail, in the ocean, or at a local event with friends.

Paige Coe
Education and Training Coordinator 

Paige Coe (they/them) is the Education and Training Coordinator for San Ysidro Health's HIV Department where they coordinate internal and external training opportunities related to capacity development projects. Paige is also the Community Relations Chair for the San Diego Black LGBTQ Coalition and sits on the Black LGBTQ+ Community Advisory Committee (BLCAC) at the San Diego LGBT Center. They first entered these organizations as a Black-multiracial trans community member seeking spaces that felt affirming of their entire identity. Their role at the Coalition involves connecting to community members, organizing events, and developing community partnerships. Part of this work requires direct training to assure that community partners have tools to create safer spaces for the Black LGBTQ+ community. They aim to utilize their position and lens to advocate for the removal of barriers keeping darker Black folks and other LGBTQ+ community members out of decision-making roles in spaces that serve them. Their identity and values guide them to be dedicated to prison abolition, harm reduction, and other movements that center people, care, and deconstruction over profit, punishment, and tradition. Paige is originally from Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican territory (Milwaukee, WI)

Jacqueline Guan
Development Manager

Jacqueline Guan is a daughter of immigrants and a first-generation college graduate, born and raised in the Bay Area. She is driven by her love of community and commitment to building a socially just world where people feel safe, loved, and understood. In her role as Development Manager at the Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI), Jacqueline oversees the organization’s fundraising, grant writing, community outreach, and stewardship. Jacqueline joined the CPI team in 2019, with a background in education, youth development, and nonprofit management. Prior to CPI, she supported first generation students at Reality Changers, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines, and developed student programs at UC San Diego. Jacqueline holds a B.A. in International Studies/Anthropology with a minor in Education Studies from UC San Diego. She volunteers her time as a steering committee member of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy (EPIP) San Diego, an active member of Asian Solidarity Collective, and serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) with Voices for Children for foster youth in the juvenile justice system. In her free time, Jacqueline loves camping and hiking, improving her yoga practice, reading, and catching up with family and friends.

Brett Hall
Program Manager

Brett Hall (she/her) is a Program Manager at Community Health Improvement Partners, a non-profit public health organization with a mission to advance long-term solutions to priority health needs through collaboration and community engagement. In her role, she works on several initiatives including the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council, the San Diego Resident Leadership Academy, the CHIP Public Policy Committee, and the CHIP Behavioral Health Work Team. Prior to this, Brett spent time in various non-profit spaces and gained experience in social emotional development, restorative practices, play therapy, extended learning, school-based suicide prevention, qualitative research, and school social work administration. She is dedicated to serving others and is both a former City Year AmeriCorps Member and Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer. Brett received both her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, and Master’s Degree in Social Work with a focus in Administration and Community Development from San Diego State University. While working towards her MSW, Brett also obtained an Advanced Certificate in Social Work Administration, and upon graduation, she was awarded Student Leader of the Year. Brett is passionate about creating progressive change and recently published a study in the Contemporary Justice Review titled “Confronting the Traditional System: a Qualitative Study on the Challenges to School Based Restorative Practices Policy Implementation”. She is a co-founder of the community organizing group, Social Workers for Equity and Leadership, and is a graduate of the Mid City CAN Resident Leadership Academy. In her free time, Brett enjoys going to the beach, doing yoga, and traveling.

Karen Islas
Transportation Engineer

Karen Islas is a STEM advocate in the civil engineering industry within the San Diego–Tijuana region. She is a Transportation Engineer (Civil) with the California Department of Transportation, also known as Caltrans, in District 11 which oversees San Diego and Imperial Counties. With Caltrans, she has been able to work with State partners in a variety of programs and projects since she joined in early 2018, including the 40-year $869 million North Coast Corridor Program, the SR-78 & SR-76 Corridors, minor maintenance projects and District Director’s orders encompassing the 1,000+ center lane miles of state highways, and the strategic Caltrans working group for Senate Bill (SB) 743 implementation on state highway systems under the Director’s Office of Sustainability Program in Sacramento, CA. Karen is currently preparing for her upcoming assignment with the State Route 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry and adjacent projects, where she will assist in collaboration efforts within our border region. Prior to her employment with Caltrans, Karen worked at the City of San Diego for general-fund and enterprise-fund departments handling complex projects that included coordination with Councilmembers’ offices, decision-making body briefings and public hearings, and constant cooperation with stakeholders. Moreover, she leads mentorship efforts and participates in symposiums and courses at San Diego State University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. After all, the ever-changing civil engineering industry and the lack of representation within STEM motivates her to continue learning and preparing herself to surpass any hardships that may arise.

Anjleena Kour Sahni
Researcher and Policy Advocate

Anjleena works as a researcher and policy advocate at the Center on Policy Initiatives, a non-profit organization dedicated to uplifting economic, social and racial justice at the local level, in the San Diego region. Her work centers around coalition building and community-based policy advocacy, which includes developing budget/policy demands that reflect community needs, identifying and producing research that can be useful to support and amplify messages, and working continuously to understand the city and county budget processes more deeply. She is committed to work that brings together community partners and uplifts community voices that have historically been excluded from policy-making.

The SDLA posts profiles of our Fellows at the time they are admitted to the SDLA Institute. After graduation, many Fellows change advance in their careers or have other accomplishments, which are not reflected here. Accomplishments of SDLA Institute alumni can be found here.

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  • Maria Bojorquez-Gomez
    published this page in Fellows Classes 2022-04-19 19:49:16 -0700

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