Our twenty-five RISE Fellows for the 2018 program year represent some of San Diego’s best and brightest community leaders, activists, practitioners, and agents of social change. They have demonstrated their experience in and commitment to a variety of issues affecting urban communities across San Diego, including education, urban planning and redevelopment, food justice, and gang violence prevention.

ANDREA ANDRADE
FELLOW
Andrea is an academic specialist providing students in the North County region of San Diego the guidance and support necessary for them to successfully achieve their goals.
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STEVEN ASKAR
FELLOW
Steve is a husband, father, teacher, and learner and he loves his family, both those directly related to him and those he teaches. As a first-grade teacher for Thrive Public Schools, Steve understands the importance of elevating student voice through agency, advocacy, and access.
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MARJORIE BALCORTA
FELLOW
Born in the Bay Area but raised in Palmdale in Southern California, Marjorie showed an interest at a young age for helping people who have struggled.
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TIFFANY WAI-YING BERES
FELLOW
As a woman of mixed racial background, both Chinese and American, Tiffany grew up with a strong desire to better understand her heritage.
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CIRIA BREWER
FELLOW
For over twenty years, Ciria has served as an educator with the San Diego Unified School District in the communities where she was born and raised.
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KRYSTAL CARRILLO
FELLOW
Born and raised in southeastern San Diego, Krystal is first-generation college student in her family and it is her goal to help students realize their potential as she was helped to realize hers.
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PATRICIA CEBALLOS
FELLOW
Patricia is a native San Diegan and the reentry program coordinator for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
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RONALD CLARK
FELLOW
Ronald is a native of San Diego, where he spent his youth fulfilling speaking engagements, volunteering for the late Charles Lewis III during his campaign for City Council District 4 and serving as the first president of the District 4 Youth Advisory Board (YAB).
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JOSEPH EKYOCI
FELLOW
Obstacles in life are hard to overcome, but not impossible. As a young African man, Joseph faced many challenges throughout his fledgling academic career yet never gave up.
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TEKARA GAINEY
FELLOW
Originally from Philadelphia, Tekara has called San Diego home for the past five years. She holds a BA in anthropology from Temple University and is completing her MA in anthropology at San Diego State University.
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TANISSHA HARRELL
FELLOW
Tanissha, or “Tee” as she is affectionately known, is a mother, servant leader, and advocate for disregarded people groups.
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EBONY JONES
FELLOW
Ebony is an example of true resilience, strength, and leadership. A passionate woman who believes her success is greater than her past lived experience, she has overcome the street mentality and uses her life experiences to give back.
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CINDY LOPEZ
FELLOW
Cindy is a first-generation college graduate and a native of City Heights. After graduating from university, she worked at Teach for America - San Diego before becoming a corps member in 2015 and committing to teaching in a low-income community for two years.
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JANICE LUNA REYNOSO
FELLOW
Janice is the first of six children born to Mexican immigrant parents. Raised in National City and southeastern San Diego, she grew up learning to make a difference and helping others from her mother, Yolanda, who continuously helped the community by translating and filling out documents for immigrants and those in need.
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FRANCISCO "PANCHITO" MARTÍNEZ
FELLOW
Panchito is the oldest child of parents who immigrated from México in search of a decent quality of life.
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BOGDAN MATUSZYNSKI
FELLOW
Bogdan possesses nonprofit, government, teaching, and entrepreneurial experience specializing in the areas of foreign affairs, criminal justice, international social and economic development, and human security strategies.
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ANTHONY MEDINA
FELLOW
Anthony is the son of immigrant parents. He was born and raised in Chula Vista and became heavily involved in community organizing and volunteering while double majoring in political science and English at the University of San Diego.
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MEGHAN MONOKIAN
FELLOW
Born in New Jersey and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Meghan recently moved to San Diego where she hopes to reside for the remainder of her life. From a young age, she has been passionate about helping others and leaving the world a better place.
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GRISELDA RAMIREZ
FELLOW
Griselda is a Los Angeles native and a graduate of California State University Fullerton, where she earned a degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.
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SARAH SETIAWAN
FELLOW
Coming from a family of public school teachers, education has always been a priority and a passion of Sarah’s that has led her to work in a variety of roles with education nonprofits over the past decade.
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JASON SHANLEY
FELLOW
Jason is a husband of twenty-two years and the father of two daughters ages 17 and 13. He grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota and moved to San Diego in 1986.
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ZENIA TORRES
FELLOW
Born in Riverside and raised in San Diego, Zenia represents City Heights and other vibrant neighborhoods like it.She is a returning student majoring in psychology and social work with the dream of transferring to San Diego State University or the University of San Diego.
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ALBERTO “BETO” VASQUEZ
FELLOW
Beto is the youngest of four children born to Mexican parents. Raised in Logan Heights—a community riddled with gangs, drugs, and violence—and once a high school dropout, he overcame homelessness, incarceration, and addiction and changed the trajectory of his life.
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BRENT WILLIAMS
FELLOW
Brent is a 24-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) and holds the rank of Lieutenant.
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ROOSEVELT WILLIAMS III
FELLOW
Roosevelt is a native San Diegan and an industrious, conscientious, disciplined, and self-motivated small business owner.
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