Dave Beza serves the Scripps Institution of Oceanography as a Fiscal / Contracts & Grants Assistant in the Marine Biology Research Division. His role involves providing Principal Investigators with accounting support, grant management, and financial controls so that his researchers can focus on their groundbreaking works regarding ocean discovery and human health.
He graduated from UCSD with a degree in Ethnic Studies where he served as a Vice President of Finance for the Associated Students and a President for the Asian Pacific-Islander Student Alliance. As a UCSD Alumni, he continues to support APSA, the Cross Cultural Center, and OASIS.
He is currently enrolled in the University of San Diego’s Master’s in Nonprofit Leadership and Management Program where he has been working on applied projects for nonprofit organizations, such as proposing transportation legislation and designing a community college fellowship program focused on encouraging students into environmental career paths. He plans to graduate later this year.
Outside of his career and continuing education, Dave is an accomplished volleyball coach and professional DJ. He was born in the city of Manila in the Philippines, but considers himself a San Diego native after living all over the city since he was 4 years old.
Gerrlyn Gacao is a Council Representative for the Office of Councilmember David Alvarez and represents the communities of Egger Highlands, Otay Mesa West, Nestor, and Ocean View Hills. She attended the University of California at San Diego, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning and Economics minor. She initially joined the City of San Diego’s Eighth District team as an intern after graduating.
Beyond working for a political office, Gerrlyn serves on the Board of the San Diego County Young Democrats (SDCYD) as Community Service Chair. She is also the current Treasurer of the San Diego County Asian American Pacific Islander Democratic Club, as well as a member of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum-San Diego. Gerrlyn has held various roles working for several campaigns, including Campaign Manager for SDCYD’s successful UCSD Votes Program in 2012. She was also Outreach Coordinator for David Alvarez for Mayor 2013/2014. Gerrlyn was raised in Stockton, CA.
Gabriela Dominguez serves as a Council Representative in the office of Councilmember David Alvarez. As council representative she is honored to represent the communities of San Ysidro, Shelltown and Barrio Logan. Prior to joining the Councilmember’s staff full time, Gabriela worked on David Alvarez Mayoral campaign as the volunteer coordinator and phone room supervisor, where she recruited, trained and supervised volunteers.
A native San Diegan, Gabriela was raised in the Barrio Logan community. She attended San Diego State University and earned her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Political Science with a minor in Sociology.
Gabriela is also the current social chair for the San Diego County Young Democrats and an active member of the Chicano Democratic Association.
Julio Rivera serves as a Council Representative for Councilmember Marti Emerald in the communities of City Heights and Southeastern San Diego. He is also the Councilmember's Intern Coordinator and handles her ceremonial procedures. Julio is the current treasurer of the Chicano Democratic Association, an organization dedicated to increasing the political participation of Latinos.
A native San Diegan, Julio was raised in East County. He attended San Diego State University where he earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Latin American Studies. During his studies, Julio interned for Feeding America San Diego where he focused on helping eligible individuals access Calfresh benefits.
In 2011, Julio was chosen for The Center on Policy Initiatives’ Students for Economic Justice program. He later worked on campaigns for the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, and a California State Assembly race. Julio also spent a year working in Councilmember David Alvarez’s office as his policy fellow where he worked on passage of the Property Value Protection Ordinance. In 2013, Julio was Myrtle Cole’s Field Manager on her successful City Council campaign.
As a Biologist with Blackhawk Environmental, a Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, Nate Bazydlo specializes in maximizing efficiency of major energy- industry infrastructure projects through high-level consultation between environmental adherence experts and private contractors.
In addition to his role in the private sector, Nate is an elected Board Member of the Ocean Beach Town Council and is an active advocate for personal health and prosperity through urban garden education. As Chair of Community Events on the Ocean Beach Town Council, Nate is the facilitator of 10 annual events for the benefit, beautification and civic activation of the greater community. In his role as urban garden educator and advocate, he conducts a credited high school internship teaching organic and biodynamic gardening in his own backyard urban garden.
Davin Widgerow is an environmental lawyer whose work is focused on toxic contamination remediation. He earned his BA (Political Science) from Berkeley, and his JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Davin was admitted to the California Bar in 2011. He began his law career interning for a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and advocating for disabled individuals.
Davin serves on the Steering Committee for Sierra Club San Diego, which is tasked with coordinating Club projects, activities, finances, and administration. He also serves as Chair of the Political Committee, which engages political candidates and environmental activists to further Sierra Club’s conservation efforts.
Davin was born and raised in South Africa, where he grew up hiking in the mountains with his grandfather. He remains an active hiker who has hiked in over 18 national parks and monuments across the US, and he has also explored many of San Diego County's hiking trails. Davin has been inspired by John Muir, Edward Abbey, Theodore Roosevelt, and David Brower, and is passionate about devoting his skills and energies to protecting the Earth.
Sarah Borger is an advocate for social justice and mental health accessibility who has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2007. A Minnesota native, Sarah moved to San Diego in 2014 and currently works as the Coordinator for the Independent Living Association (ILA) with Community Health Improvement Partners. In her role with the ILA, Sarah works with community members to ensure high-quality housing options are available for people who would benefit from a shared living environment. Sarah also serves on the Behavioral Health Work Team and the ILA Work Group.
Her recent work in Minneapolis involved co-creating and implementing drop-in support groups at both the Sexual Violence Center and CornerHouse Interagency Child Abuse Evaluation and Training Center. Sarah’s direct service work includes crisis counseling, support group facilitation, and working as an advocate for victim/survivors of sexual violence and their families.
Sarah holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychological Services from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts from Augsburg College. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys running, musical theater soundtracks, and losing herself in a great book.
Hilary Nemchik began her career in public service at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office shortly after receiving her graduate degree in Applied Communication from Northern Arizona University. Starting as a speechwriting intern, she eventually became Director of External Affairs & Events, managing community outreach and public events for the office. Additionally, she was chair of the Borough President’s Domestic Violence Task Force, a citywide coalition of experts on gender based violence that organized to support advocacy initiatives and legislation.
After five years of working in local government and volunteering with progressive political campaigns in New York City, she relocated to San Diego and began working in development for a national lung cancer research nonprofit. Currently, Hilary is a Field Representative for State Senator Marty Block. She serves as a liaison to communities within District 39 and also focuses on health care, women’s issues, housing and other policy areas.
Hilary is on the board of Run Women Run, and is a member of the San Diego County Young Democrats and the Clairemont Town Council. In her spare time she likes to practice yoga on the beach and explore the outdoors with her husband Brian and dog, Ponygirl.
Sarah Fields coordinates Faith Relations and Community Outreach for the San Diego affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Working closely with diverse faith-based and secular communities across the county to advocate, support, and build affordable homeownership opportunities locally.
Sarah has a history of connecting faith and social justice. As an undergraduate, she was honored with President’s Service Award for bringing Safe Zone Training for LGBT inclusion to the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life. After college, she lived in Tel Aviv, working closely with West African asylum-seeking families and studying at the Bina Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture. In New York, she served as Program Director for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, a grassroots community organization.
While in graduate school, Sarah grew interested in municipal finance, auditing projects at the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services and the NYC Economic Development Corporation. Prior to returning to her native San Diego, Sarah worked to promote the Minority and Women–Owned Business program at the NYC Department of Design and Construction.
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Metropolitan Studies and Politics from New York University and a Master of Urban Planning from City University of New York, Hunter College.
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.