Cohort 10 | Class of 2026

Dilkash AhmedDilkash Ahmed

  • Hometown: Fremont, California
  • Undergraduate: Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Pathology and Audiology at California State University Eastbay
  • Graduate: Master of Arts in Education
  • Research Interests: Inclusiveness regarding students with extensive needs being enrolled in general education classes at the college level and gap between adults with disabilities and employment
  • Personal Interests: I enjoy baking, gardening, spending time with family and in the wilderness. I love adventure and traveling.

Melvin BrownMel Brown

  • Hometown: San Jose, CA
  • Undergraduate: BA in Social Science, San Jose State University
  • Graduate: M.Ed in Higher Education Leadership, Northcentral University
  • Research Interests: First Year Experience Programs, Black College Student Retention, Artificial Intelligence affects of higher education.
  • Personal Interests: I enjoy, cooking, karaoke, traveling, being a foodie, dancing (as a workout), watching movies, writing, electronic music composition.

Clarissa Mae CalimbasClarissa Calimbas

  • Hometown: South San Francisco, California 
  • Undergraduate: AA in Social Sciences, College of San Mateo, and BA in Child & Adolescent Development - Preparation for Teaching, San Jose State University
  • Graduate: MSEd in Educational Leadership with a focus in Student Affairs
  • Research Interests: My research interests include exploring Pilipina/x/o Americans college students and their involvement with Pilipina/x/o Student Organizations (PASOs) and finding out it impacts the college experience. My interests also include social mobility, Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) student issues including retention, engagement, equity gaps and professionals (identity and career development), sense of belonging, campus traditions, student success, the transfer student experience, and student engagement and leadership.
  • Personal Interests: Going to the gym and Orangetheory classes, running, attending concerts and music festivals, cheering for Bay Area sports teams, binging shows, learning how to DJ, and spending time with my family, boyfriend, and friends.

Benjamin Campbell Benjamin Campbell

  • Hometown: San Jose, CA
  • Undergraduate: California State University, Long Beach | Bachelors of Arts in Chinese Studies | Minor in Journalism
  • Graduate: Johns Hopkins University School of Education | Masters of Science in Education
  • Research Interests: Public and Charter K-12 Education



Prisilla CortezPrisilla Cortez

  • Hometown: Gonzales, California
  • Undergraduate: Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies, Minor in Child and Adolescent Development, San Jose State University
  • Graduate: Masters of Arts, Communication Studies, San Jose State University
  • Research Interests: After School Programs, High School College and Career Readiness, Latino Experiences in Higher Education, and Social Emotional Learning.
  • Personal Interests: I enjoy cooking, thrift shopping, attending concerts, and spending time with my family & friends.

Jen Daby  Jen Daby

  • Hometown: Sacramento, CA
  • Undergraduate: Bachelor of Arts, Chicano/a Studies with a Cultural Studies Emphasis and Spanish Minor, UC  Davis Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with BCLAD in Spanish, CSU Sacremento
  • Graduate: Master of Arts, Latin American Studies, San Diego State University
  • Research Interests: My research interests include identity, belonging, and the home-school connection for children of immigrant families.
  • Personal Interests: My personal interests include learning about other languages and cultures, dancing, and listening to music.

Preeti JhaPreeti Jha

  • Hometown: San Jose, California
  • Undergraduate: Bachelors in Education, Banaras Hindu University, India
  • Graduate: MA in Emancipatory Leadership, San Jose State
  • Research Interests: Spirituality and Education, spiritual aspect of a leader, a teacher, and a student in Education
  • Personal Interests: Art, yoga, mindfulness, travel, family and friend time, listening to music, exploring new cafes

Sara Kendallen

  • Hometown: Visalia, CASara Kendallen
  • Undergraduate: Bachelors of Arts; Human Communications, Cal State Univ. Monterey Bay
  • Graduate: Masters of Arts; International Policy Studies; Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  • Research Interests: large-scale, high-stakes assessment; student equity in the classroom; teacher retention; dyslexia screening; school funding
  • Personal Interests: international policy/news; travel; real estate; docuseries

Carmen Kennedy-Saleh

Carman Kennedy

  • Hometown: San Jose, CA
  • Undergraduate: BFA, Art, University of San Francisco
  • Graduate: MFA, Creative Writing, San Jose State University
  • Research Interests: Storytelling Craft and Critique, Liberatory (Emancipatory) Theories, Critical Histories that center Sociology, Pan-Africanism, and Afrofuturism
  • Personal Interests: Art, Photography, and Video Production


Luis LenziLuis Lenzi

  • Hometown: Bakersfield, California
  • Undergraduate: B.A. in Music, Minor in Sociology, California State University Bakersfield 
  • Graduate: M.S. in Special Education, Mild-Moderate Disabilities Concentration, California State University East Bay 
  • Research Interests: Social Emotional Learning (SEL) within the Special Education classroom settings, Teacher Attrition and Retention for male teachers of color within special education, Campus Safety and Emergency Management Strategies for both teachers and students. 
  • Personal Interests: Spending time with family, creating music, and cycling. 

Amanda LubbsAmanda Lubbs

  • Hometown: San Jose, California
  • Undergraduate: BA. double major: Mathematics and French, Knox College (Illinois)
  • Graduate: MA Education, Special Interest, SFSU
  • Research Interests: Math Anxiety, how to alleviate it in both teachers and students
  • Personal Interests: Singing, playing Bass Guitar, Cooking allergy friendly meals, Supporting my 2 college children and my Educator husband. 

Veronica Meza Veronica Meza

  • Hometown: Mountain View, CA
  • Undergraduate: B.A. Literature and Drama-National Autonomous University of Mexico-UNAM-
  • Graduate: M.A. Spanish Education-Bennington College in Vermont State
  • Research Interests: Theater Arts Curriculum in Spanish predominated Hispanic neighborhoods as a vehicle of transformation in art instruction for addressing healing and trauma in students/Spanish immersion schools, and their initial work in creating the new mindset of future leaders/Latino immigration in California, and the disadvantages or opportunities for students to reach a higher education level.
  • Personal Interests: Hiking, swimming, theater, Spanish language playwright, movies, cooking and baking

Lusyna Kim NarvaezLusyna Narvaez

  • Hometown: San Jose, CA
  • Undergraduate: Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College
  • Graduate: Masters in Leadership in Education and Human Services from Pacific Oaks College
  • Research Interests: Women of color in leadership positions within the Community College System, Capturing the student voice using data appropriately to enforce effective change within a community college, and leadership development within Classified Professionals within a Community College
  • Personal Interests: Hanging out with my family (kids and husband),trying new coffee spots, traveling, reading new books, and exploring new cities.

Andrew Nguyen Andrew Nguyen

  • Hometown: Vietnam
  • Undergraduate: Business Administration (Previous concentration: Accounting Information System)
  • Graduate: Informatics - Cyber Security and Privacy
  • Research Interests: Educational Data Integrity and Privacy
  • Personal Interests: In his free time, Andrew enjoys listening to K-pop and R&B music and is a huge fan of modern classic cars.


Uche Ogamba Uche Ogamba

  • Hometown: San Jose, CA
  • Undergraduate: Bachelor in Science in Justice Studies
  • Graduate: Masters in Science in Justice Studies
  • Research Interests: Social Justice, Organizational Development, Representation, and Retention
  • Personal Interests: Family, self improvement, music and fitness

Phoebe Paxton

  • Hometown: Texarkana, ArkansasPhoebe Paxton
  • Undergraduate: BA, Sociology, CSUEB
  • Graduate: MS, Healthcare Administration, CSUEB
  • Research Interests: Charter schools focus on implementing techniques to support minority students effectively. Developing systems for prevention and intervention to assess students strengths, learning styles and interests to reach every child.
  • Personal Interests: Reading about current events and trends, researching skills to enhance my personal development, listening to cultural music, volunteering for a nonprofit organization, and collecting vintage items.

Rolan Resendiz 

  • Hometown: East Side San Jose, CaliforniaRolan Resendiz
  • Undergraduate: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, California State University Stanislaus
  • Graduate: MLS-Public Administration, Fort Hays State University
  • Research Interests: Community education is my main topic area of research. The community can be classified as a classroom, school, neighborhood, or historically marginalized community. More specifically, I plan to study how community-based development can impact communities. Utilizing a community-based development approach is a method of decentralization that uplifts and empowers the community's voice, interest, and power. Community-based development is a manner in which decision-making is done from a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach. Community education is a vital transformative strategy that ensures direct democracy in communities.
  • Personal Interests: I am proud to be the first openly gay city councilman for Hollister, Ca. I enjoy spending time with my partner, daughter, and extended family. I enjoy theater performances, visiting museums, and learning about history.

Anthony Rodgers Anthony Rodgers

  • Hometown: St. Louis, MO
  • Undergraduate: African American Studies | U.C. Berkeley
  • Graduate: Emancipatory School Leadership | San Jose State University
  • Research Interests: I am interested in exploring violence targeted towards black boys in schools and establishing the best practices for black boys to experience an increased sense of belonging in schools.
  • Personal Interests:  I enjoy traveling, brokering world peace, reading, being with family, transformative leadership, and taking on each day with gratitude.

Shilpan ShethShilpan Sheth

  • Hometown: San Jose, California
  • Undergraduate: BS | Chemical Engineering | University of California Riverside
  • Graduate: MA | Teaching | University of Southern California
  • Research Interests: Character education, humanism, and spirituality
  • Personal Interests: music, history, psychology

Feroza SolaimanFeroza Solaiman

  • Hometown: Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Undergraduate: BA in Liberal Studies, Preparation for Teaching, San Jose State University
  • Graduate: MA in Teaching, San Jose State University
  • Research Interests: Lack of representation in the field of education
  • Personal Interests: Jogging, Reading, Traveling, Spending time with my family.

Jeffery Sundquist 

  • Hometown: Monterey, CAJeffery Sundquist
  • Undergraduate: BA, Theater, UCLA
  • Graduate: MA, Scandinavian Languages and Literatures, UCLA; MLIS, Library and Information Science, UCLA
  • Research Interests: Effective and inclusive online course design, teaching, and learning in higher education; Student and instructor competencies in higher education distance learning; Library and academic learning spaces in higher education in a post-COVID-19 environment.
  • Personal Interests: Comic books, TV/movies, libraries and archives

Kaci TurpinKaci Turpin

  • Hometown: San Diego, CA
  • Undergraduate: B.S in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis
  • Graduate: M.A in Sport and Recreation Management from the University of Iowa
  • Research Interests: Organizational learning, transformative leadership, and transfer student retention strategies
  • Personal Interests: Rock climbing, hiking, and just about anything outdoors with my dog, Maverick. Traveling and spending time with family.

Erika Vargas Erika Vargas

  • Hometown: Mira Loma, CA
  • Undergraduate: B.S./Criminology/University of La Verne
  • Graduate: M.B.A./International business & supply chain management/ULV, Second masters Kinesiology/Cal Baptist
  • Research Interests: Higher Ed. Leadership
  • Personal Interests: Spending time with family & outdoor adventures