Stephanie Valenzuela's love for community and cultural diversity has been expressed through her past and present local and national professional and volunteer experiences. Being born and raised in East San Jose, CA, Stephanie was raised surrounded by family who encouraged the importance of building community through endless support and togetherness. She became inspired at a very young age to give back to the community that built her up. This inspired her passion to create change by raising awareness of gender and racial inequities through activism and civic engagement.
In 2012, she graduated from the University of California with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Sociology. At UCM, she spearheaded a program where she provided mentorship and academic guidance empowering first generation students to graduate college. Stephanie discovered her passion for leadership and youth development as a Director for an after school program in East Side San Jose which allowed her to plant seeds of STEM, art and self awareness activities. Stephanie began her national service work as an AmeriCorps (NCCC)/ FEMA Corps volunteer. She trained alongside FEMA in disaster preparedness and response and recovery for survivors of natural disasters. Stephanie was awarded The President's Volunteer Service Award for her services.
Following this experience, Stephanie work with children of the military as a Child Development Intern stationed on the Army base in Italy and the navy base in Oahu, Hawaii, she provided daily lesson plans to provide consistent support to the ever changing lives of military families. Lastly, Stephanie channeled her education in mental health in order to assist individuals in underserved populations as a Bilingual Behavioral Intervention Specialist. She provided wraparound counseling services to children, teens, young adults and parents. This was done through the use of behavioral plans which encouraged communication/behavioral techniques, daily interventions and coping mechanisms.
Currently, Stephanie serves as a Commissioner for the Commission on the Status of Women for Santa Clara County. Creating initiatives and highlighting issues to eliminate gender based discrimination and prejudices towards cys and trans women. She is currently employed as a Community Services Resource Specialist for San Andreas Regional Center providing resources in supporting and empowering individuals with developmental disabilities. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her many family members, closest friends and dog, Bella. She enjoys exploring the world through travel, food and the outdoors.