Meet the 2018 Silicon Valley Fellows
(back to NLC 2018 Fellows)
Senior Field Representative, Office of Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo
As a Bay Area native, Scott grew up with open space such as the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Coyote Hills Regional Park in his backyard. Since then, he has developed a passion for sustainable energy, public land conservation, and the advancement of public policies to protect our natural environment.
Scott serves in Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo’s Palo Alto District Office where he handles a broad portfolio of policy and constituent casework issues. In his current capacity, Scott interfaces with constituents and stakeholders throughout Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo counties. He entered the public sector as an intern in the Silicon Valley District Office of Congressman Mike Honda where he performed an array of constituent services.
Scott initially developed his passion for serving the public interest as a student at Santa Barbara City College. In June 2014, he earned his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles with Departmental Honors in Political Science and a minor in Public Affairs. Prior to returning to the Bay Area, Scott lived in Washington, D.C. where he interned in the Environmental Security and Sustainability program at Global Green USA as part of the UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy Quarter in Washington Program.
Student Achievement & Public Affairs Director, Escuela Popular Family Learning Center
Daisy R. Barocio was born in Michoacan, Mexico and grew up in a small farm town on California’s beautiful central coast. She chose to work in the field of education because she believes education can be one of the greatest catalysts of change and by investing early in our future citizens from the world will be a better place. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in Psychology with a focus on Child Development & Language Acquisition, along with a double major in Spanish with a focus on Spanish Literature. She later received her Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern California with a focus on Elementary School Education and obtained her California administrative credential.
With 14 years of experience she now serves as Student Achievement and Public Affairs Director for Escuela Popular Bilingual Family Learning Center. She is committedd to serving and helping transform the lives of her students, families, and community. Additionally, she served on the City of San Jose Library and Early Education Commission where she combined her love of literacy and education; and most recently she serves on the City of San Jose Human Services Commission.
Community Engagement Specialist/Outreach Coordinator, San Mateo County
Madahí Cornejo is a Bay Area native from Redwood City, a first generation American and first generation to receive a college degree. Madahí is a recent graduate from San Jose State University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minor in Spanish. She aspires to pursue a higher education throughout her life.
Through a variety of local political campaigns, she grew interest in local politics. Her experience in local politics inspired her to pursue a career in local government and help create civic engagement. She hopes to continue working with all communities and in the future run for public office.
After graduating from SJSU she began working as a Community Engagement Specialist/Outreach Coordinator for the County of San Mateo. Today, Madahí works very closely with her childhood neighborhood, North Fair Oaks. Madahí has worked with North Fair Oaks small business and manages the North Fair Oaks Public Art workgroup, where residents and the County work together to bring art to their local district. Her goal is to enhance the quality of life in the community. She works on creating relationships between communities and their local government. She aspires to continue creating civic and community engagement within all neighborhoods in San Mateo County.
Jessica Dickinson Goodman
Outreach Coordinator, Child Advocates - CASA of Silicon Valley
Jessica grew up in East Palo Alto and San Jose, CA and graduated from Harker High School in San Jose, where she was captain of the wrestling team.
As an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University, Jessica led a student movement that made Pittsburgh, PA the first mid-sized US city to introduce legislation aimed combatting a particular sex trafficking network; her legislation was later passed in two states. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Ethics, History, and Public Policy.
After college, Jessica spent two years running online communications for a national anti-human trafficking nonprofit in Washington DC, raising $500,000/year online and recruiting tens of thousands of people to work to end human trafficking.
After finishing her time in DC, Jessica missed grassroots organizing and so moved to Seattle where she organized volunteers in support of female candidates of color. She spent the 2015 legislative session working for the chair of WA House Appropriations, where she helped constituents get healthcare and managed the office.
When she had the opportunity to become a scheduler for then-California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris in the summer of 2015, Jessica moved back home to California and got to work. After helping manage the now-US Senator's schedule for 18 months, Jessica assisted with AG Xavier Becerra's transition to Attorney General for a few months and then joined Child Advocates of Silicon Valley as their Outreach Coordinator.
There, she is in charge of Silicon Valley recruiting and outreach, finding exceptional volunteer mentors for children in foster care. In her free-time, Jessica served as an Impact Coach for a team of women engineers from the Middle East, helping them plan a water conservation project for their home country and pitch it to venture capitalists.
LaToya Fernandez was born and raised in Connecticut and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications with a media writing focus. LaToya became a District 3 resident in San Jose California in 2009 and begin her pursuit of community empowerment through her employment at the YMCA Silicon Valley.
Upon her involvement with YMCA LaToya started her career with Rocketship Education initially serving two campuses. Throughout her five-year career at Rocketship, LaToya served as an individualized learning specialist and a top performing English Language Arts Teacher. LaToya operates as a solutions oriented leader and because of her observations of certain community deficits LaToya designed and implemented a social justice based curriculum for students in grades k-5, this curriculum built awareness and called upon students to advocate for equity and justice in their communities. LaToya is the Founder of a local Nonprofit Queenhype; an empowerment program that serves to close the opportunity gap for disenfranchised girls. With a focus on health and wellness, technology and law, and policy, members can face obstacles and come out strong in partnership with their communities and each other. As a community advocate LaToya is passionate about serving her district and supporting the development and empowerment of youth.
Management Aide, Santa Clara County
Ketzal Gomez, born and raised in San José, is a Chicana community organizer who has been involved in social justice issues for over a decade. She currently works for Santa Clara County’s Office of Women’s Policy, where her work focuses on women and girls affected by the justice system and on women and girl leadership. Her work there involves co-leading the Santa Clara County Girls Advisory Team, a leadership program for high school aged youth, and Women's Jail Monitoring program a partnership with the SCC Department of Corrections and SCC Commission on the Status of Women.
In her time away from the office, Ketzal chairs the Arts and Culture Subcommittee of Rise Up for Justice San Jose, a project of the Peace and Justice Center. There the subcommittee uses art as a tool in creating a more just and equitable society. Ketzal has led several successful electoral campaigns as a campaign manager and as staff ranging from school board campaigns to state assembly races. In addition, Ketzal has been active with the immigrant community, native community, LGBTQ community, voter registration and community education. Ketzal graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in American Studies and an emphasis in Ethnic Studies and Women and Gender Studies.
Legal and Business Consultant
Stacey (Crespo) Kellogg was born and raised in San Jose, California, and still loves to call San Jose home. She brings over 15 years of project management, legal, and HR experience to the NLC SV 2018 fellowship. Stacey completed her undergraduate studies at Santa Clara University graduating with honors and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. She started her career in the financial sector at JPD Financial, a Bay Area based global financial services firm. Consulting for Fortune 1000 companies in industries from consumer goods, to automotive, to tech, Stacey developed a keen sense of process evaluation and improvement. While Director of Global Account Management, Stacey returned to Santa Clara University to obtain her law degree. After successfully being admitted to the California Bar, she went on to become JPD's Corporate Counsel. In the role, Stacey was a driving force in the development and implementation of JPD's corporate philanthropy and global anti-corruption policies.
It is also at JPD, a family owned business, where she developed her affinity for small businesses and the unique legal and business challenges those organizations often face. While her days were filled solving problems for large companies, her evenings were often filled answering questions of friends and family running small businesses. It was clear that people in the small business community needed help to survive and thrive in the complex and expensive setting of Silicon Valley. In 2016, Stacey left JPD and began working as a legal and business consultant for small businesses, with a focus on the arts in San Jose. An avid lover the arts, Stacey most recently provided legal assistance to bring the POW! WOW! mural festival to San Jose, adding over a dozen new murals across the city. She looks forward to continuing her work as an advocate for local independent business owners who are often the heart and soul of our communities.
Attorney, Grellas Shah LLP
Titus grew up in the Bay Area. He attended the University of California, Berkeley for his Bachelor of Arts and Harvard Law School for his law degree. After law school, Titus worked for a period in New Orleans, engaging in community organizing and providing free legal assistance to poor and indigent individuals. Since returning to the Bay Area, Titus has worked as an attorney at a boutique Silicon Valley law firm providing legal services to startups. In his work, Titus has represented domestic and international clients on a broad range of corporate and transactional matters, including securities compliance, mergers and acquisitions, online terms of services and privacy policies, company formation, and corporate governance.
Throughout his professional career, Titus has remained interested in matters of advocacy and public service. Recent events, especially the presidential election and the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. that occurred in January 2017, have convinced Titus to take such matters much more seriously.
Following the Women’s March, Titus began volunteering with Swing Left, a nationwide grassroots organization dedicated to flipping the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. He now serves as the volunteer coordinator for a coalition of Bay Area Swing Left regional chapters.
Field Representative, Assemblymember Evan Low
Cassie Mancini currently serves as a Field Representative for Assemblymember Evan Low. She recently returned home to San José after graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor’s degree in History of Public Policy. She is passionate about promoting civic engagement among youth in her community and encouraging families to destigmatize political conversations.
7th Grade Social Studies Teacher, KIPP Heritage Academy
Thomas is the 7th grade Social Studies teacher at KIPP Heritage Academy, a charter middle school in East San Jose. He also advises the debate club, and coaches teachers in data-driven instruction through the Illuminate program. Before coming to Heritage, Thomas began his career in education as an Alliance for Catholic Education Teaching Fellow in Austin, where he taught middle school Social Studies and Language Arts. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science and a master's degree in Education from the University of Notre Dame. After traveling extensively as a child in a military family, Thomas is now excited to call the Bay Area home. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, traveling, and running.
7th/8th Grade Ethnic Studies and Spanish Educator, Voices College-Bound Language Academies
Jorge Antonio Pacheco Jr. is an indigenous 7th/8th Grade Ethnic Studies and Spanish teacher, having founded the Ethnic Studies pilot program at Voices College-Bound Language Academies, a Title I K-8 dual-immersion charter school network where he has been teaching his community’s youth for the last 5 academic school years.
Born and raised in San Jose to two incredible immigrant parents--an indigenous Maya and Korean father who wanted more than what his village could offer and a Salvadoran mother who escaped the Salvadoran Civil War - Jorge’s goal is to ignite the Ethnic Studies movement’s momentum to take hold in ALL San Jose’s K-8 public school systems and to bring more progressive educational policy to the forefront of local and state politics. Failing San Jose’s public education system between the grades of 1st and 12th and barely graduating high school with a 1.7 GPA with no prospect of a future career, Jorge knew firsthand how bitter and terrifying the feeling was of not knowing what your future entails, a feeling that thousands of 1st generation youth of color experience in San Jose and beyond, a feeling that Jorge knew he had to do something about not just for himself but for any family that came to this country to pursue the American Dream like how his own parents did.
So after two years at De Anza College where he was elected Senator and Vice President of Diversity and Events for its student government and then transferring to UC Berkeley where he was yet again elected Senator for the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) Senate, he experienced how public service could be used as an agent for change when grassroots organizing and cross-community collaboration and mobilization was utilized. Right after earning his degree in Anthropology and Legal Studies, Jorge knew that he wanted other San Jose youth to discover their own paths to become agents of change for their communities through higher education, public service and community organizing like how he discovered firsthand, which is why he became a public school teacher.
Since then, he became the first in his family to earn a master’s degree and has taught 2nd grade for three academic school years, leaving 2nd grade in 2016 with the highest math and reading proficiency levels at not just his school site, but the entire school network (96% proficiency in math, 100% proficient in English reading and 86% proficient in Spanish reading), transitioning to become the 7th/8th grade Ethnic Studies founder.
In addition to teaching and leading the Ethnic Studies Program, Jorge is a 2017-2018 Teach for America Rising Leaders Fellow where he is exploring the intersection of education and civic engagement, and he just finished serving a two-year term as a member of the Gates Foundation’s Teacher Advisory Council where he and 49 others were selected from a pool of over 400 exceptional educators nationwide to advise and inform the foundation’s strategy and future investments in students’ career and college readiness, bringing the Ethnic Studies and critical pedagogical perspective to help guide national educational lobbying and investments.
Jorge enjoys boxing on a daily basis at his local boxing gym hoping to compete in the future and volunteers as a Court Appointed Friend and Advocate (CAFA) Mentor and Law Program facilitator with the Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY) Program, mentoring youth on probation while helping them navigate and exit the juvenile justice system as well as facilitating classes on juvenile law/justice and life skills.
Clinical Program Supervisor, Rebekah Children Services
Rigo Rosas is an experienced mental health professional committed to serving under-privileged communities in Silicon Valley. He currently holds a position as a Clinical Program Supervisor at Rebekah Children’s Services, a mental health agency committed to seeing communities flourish by building pathways to hope, happiness and well-being. In his current role as a clinical supervisor, Rigo works on ensuring services are provided via a family-centered, strengths-based, needs-driven process designed to stabilize the family unit. While at Alum Rock Counseling Center, Rigo utilized an evidence-based practice approach to services in the Prevention Early Intervention program, which targeted high-risk youth and their families. His worked focused on preventing, reducing, and eliminating the impact of mental health conditions on families in East San Jose. Rigo has held diverse roles at various mental health nonprofits providing an extensive gamut of services. He is passionate about making an impact in our communities, increasing the access of culturally and linguistically competent services to Latino families and helping families in need.
Rigo is committed to improve his leadership and professional development skills and have a greater impact in underserved communities. In 2016, he completed the Latino Board Leadership Academy (LBLA). LBLA is a comprehensive program designed to recruit and train Latinos to serve as board members to serve nonprofit organizations. Rigo is currently serving as a Board of Directors Member at Nuestra Casa of East Palo where he is currently leading the programs committee and has participated in a Theory of Change project to measure the impact of the organization’s program on its target population. Rigo is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and obtained a B.A. degree in Psychology. He also completed his master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Santa Clara University. Rigo was born in Michoacan, Mexico and enjoys traveling internationally.
Internal Organizer, SEIU
Jesus O. Salazar is a passionate labor organizer who fights for the rights of the most vulnerable workers and their families at SEIU-USWW, one of the most militant unions in the country.
Jesus is passionate about social justice issues like labor, immigration, and LGBTQ rights. Jesus was born in Michoacan, Mexico and raised in San José, California. He's dedicated many years to giving back to the community via mentoring youth and leading several programs with the City of San José Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services.
Jesus has also volunteered in organizations like the Chicano Latino Leadership Program, and The California Youth Summit which focuses on civic engagement, issue advocacy, and leadership development. Jesus graduated from San Francisco State University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a minor in Communication Studies.
At SFSU, he joined a organization called Student Labor Action Project, a group that represents student workers on campus. After college, Jesus went on to work as an immigration legal assistant at Dionne Legal and was able to help the most vulnerable members of his community. In his spare time Jesus is the Membership Director of Silicon Valley Young Democrats and a mentor for Roosevelt Community Center Youth and a passionate LGBTQ+ advocate.
Attorney, Rimon Law, P.C.
Michael Vargas is a business and securities lawyer at Rimon, P.C. and a lecturer in startup law at Santa Clara University Law School. Michael specializes in sustainable and socially responsible companies, and serves as the Co-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Social Entrepreneurship and Social Benefit Entities. Michael also specializes in the emerging field of legal commercial cannabis law and policy, with an emphasis on cannabis startups and technology companies. Michael also serves on numerous nonprofit boards including the American Constitution Society (ACS), Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), Bay Area Municipal Election Committee (BAYMEC), and the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley. Michael also regularly serves on panels related to social entrepreneurship, crowdfunding, and employment discrimination, and his articles on related topics have been published in the Santa Clara Law Review, the Journal of Law and Inequality, the Business Law Today Magazine, and other regional and national publications.
Outside of work, Michael is heavily involved in local politics and activism, serving as the President of the Peninsula Young Democrats, Co-Chair of the Peninsula Stonewall Democrats, a board member of the Peninsula Democratic Coalition, and an occasional alternate on the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee. In his free time, Michael enjoys debating public policy, ranting about politics on Facebook, and going on walks with his German Shepherd, Hilde.
Project Specialist, First 5 Santa Clara County
Jonathan Velazquez is Program Specialist for First 5 Kids Santa Clara County currently working on a pilot program serving incarcerated parents and their families. Having been impacted by the system of incarceration with his own family, Jonathan understands the struggles these families face and works to ensure that the children, caregivers, and incarcerated parents have the support, tools, and resources during and post incarceration. Jonathan has made a career of working with nonprofits programs who serve children and families. Having grown up in the Seven Trees neighborhood of San Jose, CA, Jonathan was no stranger to “high risk communities” and enjoyed the opportunity to serve these families. It is here where he became aware that the challenges he faced were not unique but rather these are challenges that communities across San Jose face.
Working in other neighborhoods, Jonathan felt he wanted to serve the Seven Trees community. Currently, Jonathan Velazquez sits as the President of the Seven Trees Neighborhood Association working to ensure that the Association acts as a force for change within our community supporting the needs of its residents through advocacy, information, and leadership. By forming strategic partnerships with community organizations, schools, and local government, Jonathan has been able to leverage key resources and worked to build a grassroots movement in his community.
Council Policy & Legislative Analyst, City of San Jose
Maribel Villarreal, a San Jose native, currently serves as a Legislative and Policy Analyst for the Office of Councilmember Sergio Jimenez in the City of San Jose. In her role, Maribel is responsible for public safety, public health, and California high speed rail policies in the District 2 office. She also leads the coordination of participatory budgeting within the district, overseeing the implementation of neighborhood improvement projects and school grants valued at $1 million. Maribel also prides herself in serving as the neighborhood liaison to monolingual Spanish speaking neighborhoods in the community.
Before working at City Hall, Maribel worked as Campaign Manager for the Sergio Jimenez for City Council Campaign. Managing a staff of campaign aides and interns, she led a successful grassroots campaign and helped elect the first Latino Councilmember to represent District 2. Prior to that, Maribel worked as a community organizer with the Merced Organizing Project, a non-profit dedicated to improving the social, economic, and political well-being of Merced residents. She successfully helped organize and register first time Latino voters in rural areas of Merced County, where 35% of residents live below the poverty line.
Maribel graduated from the University of California, Merced and completed the PPIA Junior Summer Institute at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy in 2015. She has since worked to merge her public policy and community organizing skills to promote progressive reforms on many of the issues she is most passionate about. These include immigrants’ rights, police practices, housing affordability, and economic and environmental justice. As a proud daughter of immigrants, Maribel’s passion for civic engagement and empowerment is rooted in the love she has for her family and community. She currently serves on the board of her neighborhood association and is an elected delegate to the California Democratic State Central Committee. Maribel is an avid reader, traveler, Mariachera, and proud feminist.