Laura Medina Quintanar was born in Mexico City and raised in San Francisco, California. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UC Berkeley. Before attending this institution, Laura attended City College of San Francisco (CCSF) where she served on the Associated Students Council as the Head of the Interclub Council. In that position, Laura supported efforts to pass the Student Achievement Gap resolution, which implemented resources aimed at improving the academic outcomes of historically under resourced student populations. Laura also worked to give voice to undocumented students. She facilitated trainings for CCSF staff and faculty to equip them with tools to better serve the unique needs of the undocumented student population.
After college, Laura continued to break barriers in educational access through her work in the non-profit sector. She is the current Director of Programs at SMART, a college access nonprofit that helps low-income students become the first in their families to go to college. In her program management roles, she has improved student supports by writing an eight-year after-school program curriculum and launching a holistic case management system to proactively address students' needs. Laura has contributed to SMART's organizational growth by writing the operating logic model, leading the team in drafting program measures, and introducing evaluation cycles.
A life long learner, Laura is trained in conflict resolution, adult learning, and curriculum writing. Most recently she earned her a Master's Degree of Public Administration from San Francisco State University.