Nominees Bios for 40Under40 Latinos2Watch

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Art & Culture

1-    Manuel Romero: Manuel received MACSA’s People’s Choice Award in 2008 as the Most Influential Latino of Silicon Valley. His first CD was released at the age of 9; he now has 6 CDs on the market; he was in the top 20 on America’s Got Talent; was nominated for a Latin Grammy at the first Latin Grammy Awards; he also sang for Pope John Paul in Mexico City; President Fox requested that he sing the Mexican National Anthem in Los Angeles; he has performed in Las Vegas and here in California, the western US and in Mexico.

2-    Mia Perez: Distinguished directors have acknowledged her ability to bring a character to life and being in the moment. Her humility was immediately recognized as she truly connects and cares about her culture and community. As an actress she witnessed firsthand the Latinos struggle to be given the opportunity to perform in the art of acting as a profession. The lack of representation for Latino actors ignited a fire to make a difference. Latinos In Film, Television and Theater (LIFTT), The LIFTT movement was set in motion as she aligned herself with Cesar Vargas creator of I want to see more Latinos in film and T.V.

3-    Salvador Arciniega: Chasing his passion for food, chef Salvador has traveled and worked in restaurants on both coasts of the country and in Mexico. He honed his craft working and learning at influential San Francisco Bay Area restaurants and urban farms. He was also a Marketing and Culinary team leader for Whole Foods, helping form the vision for organic retail marketing in California’s South Bay. He now works for the leading culinary school in the nation as an ambassador for Mexican cuisine.

4-    Samuel Rodriguez: Samuel is a San Jose-based artist whose practice encompasses a wide variety of media including illustration, design, murals, painting and Drawing, From 2005-2007 Rodriguez worked with artist Mel Chin on a permanent installation for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose, CA. More recently he has completed two additional permanent public art installations, one for the Los Angeles County Metro Authority at Jefferson Station and for San Jose’s Solari Branch Library. Rodriguez’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the Bay Area and abroad with a solo exhibit in Hawaii and a two-person exhibit in Hong Kong, China.

Athletics

5     Greg Camarillo: Born in Redwood City and raised in Menlo Park, Greg Camarillo became a football standout at Menlo-Atherton High School. Deciding to stay in the Bay Area for college, Greg walked on as a punter/wide receiver at Stanford University. After two years, he earned a scholarship and became a valuable receiver for the Cardinal. After graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, he was able to turn a tryout with the San Diego Chargers into an eight-year NFL career. He has played for the Chargers, Dolphins, Vikings and, most recently, the Saints. He has totalled 146 career receptions and averaged over 9 yards per return as a punt returner… On a personal note, Greg and his wife, Sharon, welcomed their first child to the family. A baby girl, Avery, was born January 5th.

6     Ramiro Corrales: Ramiro is from Salinas, California and is a veteran and versatile player with excellent depth as a left back, left midfielder, central defender and central midfielder. He currently plays for San Jose Earthquakes in Major League Soccer and has been an integral part of the Earthquakes team for many years.

7     Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero: Robert is a professional American boxer of Mexican descent. Nicknamed The Ghost, he is the current interim WBC welterweight champion. He is also a former IBF Super Featherweight world champion, A former interim WBA champion. “Fighter of the Year” in 2012. Professional Boxing Record – 31 Wins (18 knockouts), 1 Loss, 1 Draw, 2 No Contests

8     Sergio Romo: Mexican-American right-handed professional baseball pitcher for the San Francisco Giants of MLB. As a closer for the Giants, he recorded three saves during the 2012 World Series, helping the Giants win the title. Romo was born in Brawley, CA to Mexican parents. In 2010, Romo was part of the San Francisco World Series team, acting as the team’s primary setup man through much of the season. In the NL Championship Series and World Series, he pitched 3 scoreless innings. In 2011, Romo became the 5th reliever to throw 9 or more consecutive perfect innings, retiring thirty straight batters in 10 innings over a span of 14 games. In the 2012 World Series, and he struck out three straight, including Miguel Cabrera for the last out and Giant’s win!

Community

9     Diana Bautista: Upon graduation from San Francisco State she went on to work for the CA governor in Sacramento. She has also worked for CA State Senate and for the Lieutenant governor. Most recently she worked for the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley, The Mountain View Chamber of Commerce and as a freelance PR consultant. Diana is an active board member in Girls For a Change, the Silicon Valley Boy & Girls Clubs, The Junior League of San Jose, San Jose Reads, The MayFlower school district among others. At one time she served on 10 non-profit boards concurrently. She is a great example of a Latina who is involved in the community where she lives, aspires to make a change and leads by example.

10  Elisa Orona: Elisa currently serves as the President of the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley, and she is a graduate of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Institute, the Latino Leadership Alliance, and the Multicultural Arts Leadership Initiative. Elisa holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and a masters from Carnegie Mellon. Her professional career includes work in environmental community affairs, various positions with the City of San Jose, and experience in the Peace Corps Guatemala. After facilitating a successful community business planning process, Elisa led the operational start-up of a new School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose. She currently works as a manager with Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI) in San Jose, helping increase access to health care and social services for low-income county residents of all backgrounds.

11  Javier Gonzalez: Javier M. Gonzalez is the director of local government affairs for the California Restaurant Association. Prior to joining the CRA, Javier worked for local and state policymakers developing and implementing legislation, projects, and outreach strategies to improve the community. Before his public policy service, he spent several years working in the nonprofit and education sectors.

Active in party politics since 2005, Javier has served in leadership roles with the local and state Democratic Party. In 2012, President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign appointed Javier as an at-large delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Javier serves on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations providing educational learning opportunities and improving the quality of life for the residents of Santa Clara Valley.

Javier attended Santa Clara University earning a Bachelor of Science degree and was recognized by the Department of Political Science with the Amos Dana Award for Distinction in Public Service. He grew up in downtown San José and attended public schools in San José Unified School District. He is the proud son of immigrants from Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, Mexico.

12  Matt Huerta: Matt was appointed Executive Director of NHSSV in July, 2011. He leads a team of 20 professionals providing Home Ownership and Foreclosure Prevention Counseling, Lending, Realty services, and Community Building and Organizing efforts to support low and moderate income earners in Silicon Valley. Mr. Huerta oversees a $2.5MM annual operating budget and assets totaling over $13MM. Mr. Huerta has over 10 years of experience in the Housing and Community Development industry. Prior to joining NHSSV, Mr. Huerta was the Director of Development at South County Housing in Gilroy. He directed staff and a pipeline of over 1200 units of affordable multifamily and single-family developments valued at over $360 Million. He was also recently recognized nationally as one of the New Leaders Council’s 40 Under 40 Leadership Awards honorees.

13  Orson Aguilar: Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Aguilar has advocated tirelessly on behalf of communities of color and youth for nearly 20 years. After receiving his undergraduate degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz, Aguilar obtained his Master of Public Affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He continued his education at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) and the Greenlining Institute Leadership Academy. During Aguilar’s 11 years, the Greenlining Institute has grown into an organization with a $3.7 million budget, expanding under his leadership to have a presence in Washington D.C. He has played key organizing and advocacy roles to ensure that the interests of communities of color and low-income Americans were considered during corporate mergers and acquisitions, resulting in billions of dollars in investments for non-profits, families and small businesses.

14  Stephanie Bravo: Winner of Latina Magazine’s Next Generation Latina Award, Stephanie Bravo is a millennial leader making groundbreaking moves at the national level. Stephanie is the Assistant Director of Social Media at Santa Clara University as well as the President and Founder of StudentMentor.org. Growing up in Silicon Valley, she exemplifies its entrepreneurial spirit. Inspired by her experience as a first-generation college student, she createdStudentMentor.org, a nonprofit organization propelling college students through college and into the workforce via mentoring. Most notably, the StudentMentor.org founders were invited to meet the U.S. President and speak with government officials in 2011. This led to a partnership with The White House in 2012 emphasizing the college dropout crisis and promoting a robust 21st century workforce. Featured by CNN and The Mercury News and a popular public speaker at organizations like Facebook and Stanford University, Stephanie is a passionate advocate for higher education, innovation, social entrepreneurship.

Corporate

15  Diana Navas-Rosette: Raised in Medellin, Colombia, Diana move to Florida at the age of 15 where she earned a B.S in Psychology and M.S in Management, both from the University of Central Florida. In 2004, Diana started a progressive career in Human Resources and has since worked for a variety of Fortune 500 firms. In 2010, Diana moved to the Bay Area to lead Schwab Strategic efforts to extend its brand to diverse communities. For the past three years, Diana’s efforts at Schwab have led to national best company recognition by diversity organizations and media partners.

An innate leader, a strategic thinker, a risk taker, and a passionate advocate for Latino leadership, Diana’s commitment to Latino advancement is evident not only in her corporate role, but also in her community involvement. As the EVP of ALPFA SF, a nonprofit dedicated to building Latino business leaders, she has worked on building a stronger Latino professional community. Her efforts and leadership have helped elevate the nonprofit dedicated to Latino leadership to a top chapter nationally. Her leadership plus her ability to inspire and engage community leaders, corporate partners, and professional organizations, have resulted in the formation of the Latino Leadership Forum. This forum engages in a thoughtful dialogue to effectively maximize the efforts needed to build the business leaders of tomorrow.

Diana’s passion for building the next generation of Latino leaders inspires her to mentor young Latinas and serve as a positive role model.

16  Darcie Green: Darcie is the Community & Government Relations Manager for Kaiser Permanente San Jose. In her role Darcie has forged partnerships and advocated new investments with organizations serving communities of color such as the Hispanic Chamber of Silicon Valley, the NAACP, APALI, and Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. Darcie spent many years as a volunteer grassroots organizer concentrating on improving the quality of life in the area. She serves as an Advisory Board member for the Californians for Justice East Side Education Alliance, the Alum Rock Counseling Center and the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APALI). Darcie is board member of Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN) and Assistant Regional Director for the California Democratic Party statewide Chicano/Latino Caucus. In 2012, Darcie was appointed to the Santa Clara County Board of Education to a Trustee Area that was recently redistricted to allow for the first ever “Latino” seat. She has made it a point to champion universal preschool efforts, school discipline reform, wrap around service models and the exchange of best practices between public schools as ways to close to the achievement gaps for Latino students.

17  Jessica Ruvalcaba: A Field Marketing Manager for the Cisco America’s Theater Marketing Enablement team with an emphasis in Latin America (LatAm). Jessica works with the LatAm marketing team to drive awareness and adoption of marketing and services solutions programs. Jessica has also been involved with Conexion (Cisco’s ERG group) where she is part of the events planning committed helping drive diversity, talent pipeline, and engaging in mentoring and professional development opportunities to influence Cisco’s growth. Jessica earned a B.S. in Business Administration and an MBA both from California State University of Monterey Bay. Additionally, Jessica’s passion for philanthropy has led her to actively be engaged in her community by serving on the NSHMBA’s SF Chapter Board.

18  Lennies Gutierrez: Lennies works for Comcast as Director of External Affairs for the South Bay and Southern Peninsula areas. Prior to that, she worked on policy issues for ten years at the California State Capitol. Lennies sits on the Redwood City/San Mateo County and San Jose Silicon Valley Chambers of Commerce and is an active board member of the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project, the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley and the Latino Leadership Alliance. She is also on the advisory board for the Bay Area Womens Sports Initiative (BAWSI). She is part of the 2011 class of the Latino Leadership Alliance, the 2010-11 Class of Leadership Redwood City/San Carlos/Belmont and the 2003 HOPE Leadership Institute. She was also accepted into the 2012 HACR Corporate Young Achievers Program and the 2012-13 Class of the NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program held at the Darden School of Business in Virginia. She is a graduate of UC Davis and the Lorenzo Patino Law School of Sacramento.

19  Ricardo Benavidez: Ricardo has been at Cisco for more than 10 years. Prior to joining Community Relations, he was influential in the adoption of the Cisco Networking Academy Program into emerging countries. Ricardo was responsible for growing and maintaining partnerships with other technology companies in support of developing IT skills in students worldwide. After four successful years in sales, learning and development, and engineering operations, Ricardo returned to his corporate social responsibility (CSR) roots in 2009. As a Senior Community Relations Manager, Ricardo oversees CSR programs in Silicon Valley as well as community investment in key locations worldwide. Through public-private partnerships, Ricardo directs Cisco’s cash, product and people into the community to generate positive, sustainable change in education/capacity development and economic development. Ricardo holds business degrees from Santa Clara University and Saint Mary’s College of California. His community insight and business acumen enables him to collaborate across government, business, and nonprofit sectors. During Ricardo’s Community Relations tenure, Cisco has contributed over $25M. Ricardo was awarded the US House of Representatives Congressional Recognition for Outstanding & Invaluable Service to the Community.

Education

20  Christina Ramos: Christina was born and raised in East San Jose and is a proud product of East Side and Alum Rock School District. As a graduate of The National Hispanic University she was the recipient of the President’s Award. Ms. Ramos is Director of MESA Schools Program at San Jose State University supporting educationally and economically disadvantaged students attend college and major in the science, technology, engineering and math. Silicon Valley San Jose Business Journal listed her on the 100 Influential Women. She’s a board member of the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley and Governing Board Member of San Jose Cal-SOAP Consortium.

21  Evelia Villa: Ms. Villa was raised in the central valley, daughter of migrant farmworkers who immigrated from Mexico in the early 1970’s. A product of immigrant dreams, Ms. Villa was taught the ethics of hard work from day one. She was the first in her family to attend college, graduating from Chico State, and began her career in education immediately thereafter. Through her years as a teacher and administrator, Ms. Villa has passed on the ethic of hard work and the belief in earning rightfully, any presented opportunities. She has guided a small high school in Oakland with an 80% Latino population, into becoming the highest performing high school in Oakland, and the County of Alameda. Everyone of her students consumed and lived off of every one of Evelia’s consejos, and they produced. Now, Ms. Villa was given the assignment to oversee a new middle school in Richmond. The school is thriving and its students are now believers. There is no doubt that Evelia is a life changer for her students.

22  Lorenzo Gamboa: Lorenzo is Associate Director of Undergraduate Admission at Santa Clara University (SCU). For over six years Lorenzo has dedicated his time and energy to recruiting students to college and especially helping first generation families navigate the college-going process. Currently he serves on SCU’s Council for Inclusive Excellence and Diversity. Lorenzo is an expert on education and immigration policy and has worked actively on the topic of DREAM Students as an advocate and adviser to students, high schools, and universities. He is often a featured speaker on national panels and conferences. He is also the co-founder of Scholarships AZ, a non-profit organization promoting higher educational access to all regardless of immigrant status. He received his B.S. from Santa Clara University in Economics, International Business, Spanish, and General Engineering. He earned his M.S. degree from the University of Arizona in Mexican American Studies, concentration in Immigration and Education.

23  Perlita Dicochea, Ph.D.: Perlita is scholar and teacher in Ethnic Studies & Environmental Justice Studies at Santa Clara University; Member of Women & Gender Studies Advisory Board; Equality Judge for the San Jose Tech Museum Awards; Faculty Advisor for MEChA-El Frente and a former Summer Fellow with the Greenlining Institute.

24  Jason Rodriguez: Jason is the Assistant Vice President, for Foundation, Corporate, and Government Relations initiatives at Santa Clara University. He is responsible for developing and implementing successful strategies for these key areas to support this prestigious university’s administrative and operational efforts.

 Entrepreneurship

25  Alejandro Velez: Alejandro came to the USA as a youngster with his parents. While at Berkeley during an ethics class the professor mentioned something about the possibility of growing organic mushrooms from coffee waste grounds. He and another student liked the idea so much that they formed a company and launched it to the public a few years back. Now they have moved onto creating an aquaponics garden to grow fresh vegetables with fish waste. They also give back to the community by hosting once a month in West Oakland a dinner for the community.

26  Alicia Morga: Alicia Morga is the Founder and CEO of No. 8 Media, Inc.  Formerly, she was the founder and CEO of Consorte Media, Inc., a digital media and marketing company backed by The Mayfield Fund and Sutter Hill Ventures.  Prior to founding Consorte, Alicia was an investment professional for The Carlyle Group and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, a corporate attorney for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and an investment banker at Goldman, Sachs & Co. She holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School and a B.A. from Stanford University.

Recently, Alicia was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of the Most Influential Women in Technology by Fast Company.  In addition, she created the popular iPhone app, gottaFeeling, published two popular ebooks, and writes an expert blog on leadership for Fast Company.com.  You can find her on her personal website Alicia Morga.com or @AliciaMorga.

27  Arcelia Gallardo: Inspired to tell the true story of chocolate through chocolate itself and committed to pursuing her dream; Arcelia opened Casa de Chocolates after graduating from UC Berkeley and while working at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Pasadena. Arcelia was born in Los Angeles to immigrant parents from Colima, Mexico. After graduating from Cal with a degree in Business Communications, Arcelia got a job in marketing for Cordon Bleu culinary culinary school in Pasadena where she learned how to make chocolate candies, desserts and showpieces. She started to study the history of chocolate and its origins, attended professional chocolate making courses, and traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico City, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland and France to learn about the chocolate-making process.

28  Laura I. Gomez: Laura is a lover of startups. She is currently the founder & CEO of Digital Playbook, a multi-faceted startup focused on innovative product strategies for Spanish-speaking clients. Prior to founding Digital Playbook, she spent 8 years in Silicon Valley leading international and ad operations efforts at Google, SearchRev and most recently, Twitter. Laura was the first Latina at Twitter where she joined as head of Twitter en Espanol and then led the product localization into nearly 50 languages focusing on translation, international user experience and global content. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications as Harpers Bazaar Spain, Gente Mexico, La Nacion Argentina, El Mercurio Chile, El Universal Mexico, El Pais and the book Lost in Translation. In 2012, she was named by GQ Mexico as “The Social Pioneer” in their Ten People of the Year issue. She was also recognized by the Department of State and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for her participation in the TechWoman Program.

 Health Care

29  Belinda Hernandez: Belinda’s dedication and leadership skills are unparalleled. She excelled academically graduating from UCLA with degrees in Sociology and Chicano Studies, and moved on to earn a Master’s degree from UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare with an emphasis in Management & Planning. She possesses a Certificate of Distinction in Project Management and graduated in the inaugural class of Clinic Leadership Institute-a program recognizing emerging healthcare executives. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the HFSV Latino Board Leadership Academy, recently becoming a Board Member of the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley continuing her commitment to mentor young Latinas on the importance of leadership and entrepreneurialism. She is a Senior Executive for the Revenswood Family Health Center and owns her own consulting group-supporting counties & the federal government on issues that improve access to health and human services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable.

30  Guadalupe (Lupe) Rodriguez: Lupe is the Director of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte. Previously, Lupe was the Executive Director at ACCESS Women’s Health Justice. Lupe served on the board of directors of the California Family Health Council, and now serves as a commissioner on the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women. She also chairs the board of ACCESS Women’s Health Justice, and sits on the board of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. Lupe is an adviser for the Women’s Health & Rights Program at the Center for American Progress. She has a BA in neurobiology from Harvard.

31  Natalie Renda, MD: Natalie was born in San Jose. She attended Presentation High School and then went on to the University of California at Davis obtaining a degree in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior. She then attended medical school at the University of California at San Francisco. She did an internship at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco where she became excited about critical care medicine. Her residency in neurology was at Stanford University. Combining her passion for critical care and neurology, she completed fellowship training in Neurocritical Care at the University of California at Los Angeles. While at UCLA, she learned to manage acute and devastating neurologic diseases with aggressive state of the art care.

Law

32  Elias Francisco Portales: Elias was born and raised in San José California. He is largely a product of the public school system. Elias attended San José City College and then transferred to Santa Clara University and graduated in 2000. Elias was then admitted into Georgetown University’s Law School and received his juris doctorate in 2003. In early 2008 Elias became part of the Young Lawyers for Obama, which focused on fundraising and voter protection. After Obama’s victory,Elias headed to Washington DC, and worked inside the Presidential Transition Team headquarters in the office of Public Liaison. Upon his return to California Elias served as the Deputy Political Director to Gavin Newsom, and represented the campaign throughout the state. In 2009, Elias was elected to serve as a delegate to the Democratic State Convention where he connected with several elected officials and their staffers. Because of his firm experience in the political arena Elias was asked to serve on the Silicon Valley New Leaders Council Advisory Board.

33  Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria: Jessica is a partner in the Securities Litigation and Commercial Litigation practice groups and a member of the Cooley Litigation department. She joined the Firm in 2005 and is resident in the Firm’s Palo Alto office. She also serves on the Firm’s Diversity and Hiring Committees. Jessica’s clients have included companies and individuals in the hardware, software, semiconductor, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, finance, internet and digital-media industries. Before joining Cooley, Jessica was an associate at a litigation boutique where she represented clients in general litigation matters in both state and federal courts, including appellate courts. Jessica received her JD with distinction from Stanford Law School in 2002. While at Stanford, she served as co-president of the Kirkwood Moot Court Board. Her community involvement includes serving as president of the Santa Clara County La Raza Lawyer’s Association, a member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association’s Board of Trustees, and as a member of the executive committee of the Santa Clara County Bar Association’s Diversity Committee (formerly the Minority Access Committee). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Santa Clara La Raza Lawyers’ Charitable Foundation.

34  Micael Estremera: Micael Estremera is a trial attorney from East San Jose. Since graduating Santa Clara University’s School of Law, he has practiced criminal defense as a public defender in San Jose, impact litigation in Santa Clara County Counsel’s office, and complex civil litigation at Thelen. He also remains very involved in the Bay Area legal community. Over the past few years, Micael served as President of the Santa Clara County La Raza Lawyers, a member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association Board of Trustees, a Co-Chair of the Minority Bar Coalition, a member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association, President of the California La Raza Lawyers Association, a member of the California Rural Legal Assistance Board of Directors, an appellate advocacy coach at Santa Clara University School of Law, and a member of the California State Bar’s Council on Access and Fairness.

35  Nelson McElmurry: Nelson is a graduate from Santa Clara University School of Law, he exemplifies the true meaning of and Justice for all. He defends aggressively all people equally and believes trial 1st settle 2nd. He has successfully defended two life cases with acquittals, which is highly commended so early in his profession. His character and commitment to the Latino community being represented with the highest knowledge of case law and fairness has enabled him to operate his law firm completely by referral basis. Being from a Puerto Rican mother and a Irish father Nelson’s cultural understanding and values has characterized him to defend with values and hard work for all his clients. He is a rising representation in Silicon Valley amongst the judicial system.

Science & Technology

36  Carlos Hurtado: Carlos currently works as a solid rocket motor propulsion engineer for the SM-3 IIB conceptual design missile defense program at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. Carlos is part of a team currently designing the rocket motor stages for the missile. Previously, he served as the missile Forebody delegate certified principal engineer for the THAAD program, for which he was awarded the THAAD Employee of the Month in May of 2009. He is currently a member of the employee resource group The Latino Mentoring Program at Lockheed Martin. Carlos graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly SLO) with a Bachelor’s s of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering in June 2007. His concentration is in Astronautics. During his spare time, he volunteers at Sacred Heart Community Service Center in San Jose, where he presents to K-12 students about his college and professional experiences.

37  Giselle Agosto: Giselle grew up in Puerto Rico and received her Bachelors’ in computer engineering at Universidad de Puerto Rico in Mayaguez. She earned a fellowship to pursue her Masters’ at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She joined Intel out of Michigan and became a Senior Engineer. While at Intel, she authored 2 technical papers. After 5 years, she joined Apple in 2013 as a Silicon Validation Engineer. Giselle has a passion for mentoring young kids, especially girls, into pursuing careers in STEM. Her passion as led her to be a Technovation mentor, an instructor in Intel’s Clubhouse at the Boys and Girls Club in East Palo Alto, and judge multiple MESA competitions. She has been an ERG leader for the Women at Intel Network.

38  Julissa Ramirez: Julissa currently works as an Industrial Engineer for Intel, at the Intel Mask Operations group. She was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in NYC. She attended the Rochester Institute of Technology and obtained her B.S. in Electrical/Mechanical Engineering Technology, her M.S. in Manufacturing and Mechanical Systems, and her Six Sigma Green Belt certification. She is currently the Co-President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Silicon Valley Professional Chapter, and the Public Relations chair for the Intel Latino Network in Santa Clara. During her tenure, she took a role in several community outreach opportunities such as the 2012 SHPE-SV Noche de Ciencias, at the Los Arboles Elementary School, students around the community attended for hands-on learning. She also participated in the FIRST Robotics competition held at the Intel Santa Clara campus for students. She has an intense passion for helping others and always seeks ways of empowering Latinos.

39 Katty Coulson: Katty Coulson is an IT Manager responsible for a team servicing Cisco organizations in Latin America, making sure their IT needs are met and ensuring the solutions are in alignment with corporate IT architecture. She was awarded “Cisco IT Manager of the Year” for 2012.

In addition to her job as IT Manager, Katty is the President of “Conexion”, the Latino Employee Resource Group at Cisco. The group has about ~700 members, 1 board, 8 chapters and 2 executive sponsors. During her leadership period, Conexion was recognized by Latina Style Magazine as one of the Top 5 Latino ERGs 2012 in the USA.

Katty is a born and raised Mexican, moving to the United States only 9 years ago. Today Katty resides in San Jose with her husband and 3 kids. She enjoys giving back activities, traveling and playing tennis.

40  Jennifer Arguello: Jennifer is a California native, a dual citizen of Costa Rica and the United States. Her philosophy is to make every day count and earn your time on earth by adding value to it. At 6, she started programming by accident. She has had over 12 years of experience in technology companies, small and big. Products she has shipped range from mobile apps for life science companies to the first Xbox Kinect device. In 2011, she co-founded a group to advance Latinos in tech entrepreneurship called Latino Startup Alliance. While Argüello looks to start her own company in educational technology, she consults with early-stage startups on product and technology. The other part of her life has been in community service. She is a lifetime member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, where she serves on the National Board of Directors. She is also a mentor for high school girls in the tech entrepreneurship program, Technovation Challenge. Along with that she is on the alumni advisory board for the Computer Science and Engineering Department at UC San Diego and an active member of Latinas in Computing, an affinity group for the Anita Borg Institute.

 

Stable Life: Movie Review

At the 23rd Annual Cinequest Film Festival running Feb 26 through March 10

inspiration
INSPIRATION- 
Films that give your mind & soul a boost!

Meet Dionicia, a mother of five, and her husband, Mario in the remarkable documentary, Stable Life by Director Sara MacPherson and Producer Tricia Creason-Valencia premiering Wednesday, February 27, 2013.

The Martinez’s life was stable while living and working at Bay Meadows of San Mateo, Calif. The family’s passion for the stable life, livelihood, and unity is cleverly projected in this documentary film, along with the unimaginable heartbreak that occurs afterwards. The racetrack is demolished, there is little work, the community is torn apart, and then the Martinez family is also separated.

By Eydie Mendoza

“A whole community that counts on it for a living,” reports the news anchor and 500-600 employees lost their job that day.

Leading up to the days of the Bay Meadow Racetrack closure on August 17, 2008, Stable Life a film by Director/Producer Sara MacPherson and Producer Tricia Creason-Valencia in (English and Spanish with English Subtitles) captures the life, hopes and dreams through the eyes of Dionicia Martinez, a stable hot walker a mother of five.

stable life premier 2.27.13

   Producer Sara MacPherson and Producer Tricia Creason-Valencia

In this documentary the passions and dreams of the stable workers are captured, welcoming the audience into the livelihood of the Martinez family and the community that nurtures the tracks.

Dionicia shares that her ultimate low was when she stole from a neighbor’s farm, back in Mexico, to cook for her family, and that she swore she did not want to live that way, or for her children to suffer as she did. She stresses that that’s no way to live, that a person can be a mother but it doesn’t mean a thing if you cannot feed your child.

Meet her husband Mario who works lives and works at the stables. Mario and Donicia came to the Unites States with hopes and dreams of a better life. They are skilled in caring for the horses. Their eldest son, Jose Luis was born in Mexico and crossed the border when he was a 12-year-old and becomes a horse jockey. Two of their sons Mario (Junior) and Homar are born in California, but Andres and Carlos stay behind with Mario parents.

Working conditions vary between tracks. At Bay Meadows they get room, board and $900 every 15 days. Dionicia and Mario share a room and the two boys have room, as well. While one might question these living conditions, the Martinez’s are grateful for to be together and for the basics, like running water.

JoséLuis-firstwin_web (1)

(Photo: Benoit Photography)

Experience the emotional heart break as Bay Meadows of San Mateo prepares to close and watch it crumble.

Just then a caller alerts the director, “Sarah … Dionicia and Mario were arrested and they might be deported very soon.”

What was stability for the Martinez family crumbles after the tracks close.

Producer Tricia Creason-Valencia quotes Dionicia, “The U.S. separates families.”

If you missed the premier of Stable Life on Wednesday, February 27, Cinequest Film Festival is scheduled to show on Sunday, March 3, 4pm and Tuesday, March 5, 7pm, but check the guide for updated times and location http://www.cinequest.org.

 

I Am a Director: Movie Review

At the 23rd Annual Cinequest Film Festival running Feb 26 through March 10

LAUGHS

LAUGHS – Don’t take life too seriously

What do you get when you cross ROCKY with THE OFFICE? You get a hilarious Puerto Rican send-up film called I Am a Director by Director Javier Colon Rios and starring Carlos Marchand and Joa Tous. In one funny scene, Carlos (the protagonist) describes his unmade film as having the colors of The Matrix and the camera movement of Memento. (What? Yes, it is that zany at times)

By Jose Posadas

I Am a Director (in Spanish with English subtitles) tells the story of Carlos (Carlos Marchand) a wannabe director whose complete (not to mention  unbalanced) enamoration of all that is Hollywood sets him off on a mission to create the best Hollywood picture ever made… in Puerto Rico.

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Filmed in the style of The Office and other mockumenataries, Carlos, aided by producer/friend/love interest Joa (Joa Tous), set out on their mis-adventure in producing their very first film. The laughs in this film are quick and constant throughout this film beginning with the scenes of Carlos and Joa going on a sales pitch to promote their film to potential investors despite the fact they have no script and no measurable experience in film making.

As he speaks to one possible investor Carlos boasts about his experience living in Hollywood for all of two years and proudly states that his film will be made in English. Which is probably not with his Spanish-speaking potential investor wants to hear.

Early in the journey of making his film Carlos realizes the challenges in making his dream come true, from having to raise money, to getting permission to film on location as well as the film festival circuit he must undertake to promote his still undeveloped film. Faced with such seemingly insurmountable obstacles he likens himself to the Rocky Balboa of filmmakers.

In one scene, captured by their documentarian, Carlos admits, “I have no actors, I have no story, no money.. I have nothing”, yet ever the eternal optimist (or fool, take your pick) Carlos, channeling his inner Scarlett O’hara, proclaims, “I will get it done!”

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Delivered with deadpan seriousness Carlos (the actor) gives a memorable performance as the ill-fated director. His costar Joa is equally as funny as she is beautiful.  She too delivers a wonderful comic performance both touching and sweet.

Real Director Javier Colon Rios does a marvelous job in telling the story of his protagonist as well as providing  genius comic touches like inserting quotes from both real and fictitious people (including himself) throughout the film.  The final credits (bloopers) and ending trailer are worth the price of admission alone- DON’T LEAVE YOUR SEATS OR YOU MAY MISS MAYBE THE FUNNIEST SCENES OF THE ENTIRE MOVIE!

Those who see this film will not be disappointed and you will find yourself cheering Carlos on and laughing your kidney off along the way.

To see the most current full lineup of films, ticket information and event schedule go to www.cinequest.org

I Am a Director will be shown Thurs 2/28 9:30pm and Mon 3/4 4:00pm

HABANASTATION Movie Review

At the 23rd Annual Cinequest Film Festival running Feb 26 through March 10

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INSPIRATION- Films that give your mind & soul a boost!

Imagine being a tween stranded in an unfamiliar side of town and experiencing a rite of passage in one day. That is what happens to Mayito (Ernesto Escalona) but lucky for him he runs into his classmate, Carlitos (Andy Fornaris), who accompanies and befriends him in this journey. This film is great for the entire family. Experience a time in life where ignorance and innocence are blissful, where Mayito and Carlitos develop a sense of gratitude for what they have and don’t have. Fall in love, fly a kite, roam in the rain without shoes, and learn to stand up for yourself in HABANASTATION; it’s no game.

 

By Eydie Mendoza

Mario, also known as Mayito, a 12-year-old boy happens upon his rite of passage in the film HABANASTATION/HAVANASTATION from Director Ian Padron.

Set in Habana, Cuba (Spanish with English subtitles) the film centers around Mayito (Ernesto Escalona) who is sheltered by his overprotective mother, Moriama (Blanca Rosa Blanco) and has a famous musician father, Pepe Arlay (Luis Alberto Garcia) who is more down to earth than his mother.  He is fortunate, coming from a wealthy family where he has a carefree life. Mayito is a friendless, single child, and even owns the latest Playstation games.

He and his classmates prepare to celebrate May Day with readings in the school courtyard and for a field trip, but like most children they share more enthusiasm about playing video games.  Teacher Claudia (Claudia Alvarino) cares about her students, and promises Moraima that she will watch Mayito after the May Day parade.

“La vida esta muy dura,” says his father as they enjoy a roasted chicken adorned with bell peppers for dinner and drink imported wine. Immediately after dinner, his father gives him a Playstation III game.

The following day, after the May Day festivities and parade Mayito gets separated from his class and his adventure begins when he mistakenly takes the wrong bus. After requests that the driver stop to let him off, he walks through the unfamiliar neighborhood filled with people and children playing in the dirt roads.

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Fortunately he runs into Carlos (Andy Fornaris) an acquaintance from school that lives there in a shack with his grandmother (Miriam Socarras).  As they walk over to use a phone at the neighbor’s house, Mayito relizes that “La vida esta muy dura (life is hard)” for his classmate, yet in spite of having to work, save money to buy his own toys, and cook his own meals,  Carlitos too is a bit carefree.

Throughout their adventures in the barrio, the boys tease each other about their ignorance but have a bonding experience when they compare their relationships with their fathers, who are not around much. One father was incarcerated for self-defense and the other is a traveling musician.

The teacher finally remembers that Carlitos lives in the vicinity where the bus driver left Mayito, so she alerts the parents, and meets up with the grandmother at the shack.

Mayito not only grows from this experience but he learns about sacrifice, develops a sense of independence and appreciation for others.

Viewers seeking to gain insight into a day in the life of two boys who develop a friendship, learn about each other’s lives, and discover how to have fun in el barrio de la tinta in Havana, Cuba are invited to join Mayito and Carlitos as they get into mischief, play in the rain, learn to solve problems and share Mayito’s first crush.

To see the most current full lineup of films, ticket information and event schedule go to www.cinequest.org

Habanastation will be shown Thurs 2/28 4:15pm, Tues 3/5 6:45pm, Sat 3/9 11am

“Egyptian spell on Silicon Valley” by Elena Martina

An Egyptian Museum in Silicon Valley? That is exactly how I responded; surprised, when someone told me that there is an Egyptian museum in Silicon Valley.  He recommended it as, “A wonderful place to visit.” So one sunny weekend, I took his advice, grabbed my camera, and headed there to find out what it was all about.  Free parking was available at the back of the museum and after a short walk to the main entrance I came face to face with its architecture, greenery, and gardens.  A low entry fee of $9.00 allowed me to get in, where I was told that I could take pictures, but without a flash.

I was so intrigued that I put thoughts in my mind about this visit and expected something grand, and got it.  The front interior was dark, giving the impression of mysterious elegance, but it was well illuminated in display areas.  Slowly but surely, I started looking at all their art and historical descriptions at different floor levels.  Amazed at the variety of items displayed, some I could actually touch and watch at a very close range without anyone telling me to back off.  I also learned that the museum was established in 1928 and it was architecturally inspired by the Temple of Amon at Karnak and houses the largest exhibition and collection (over 4,000 items) of Egyptian artifacts in Western U.S.

The museum’s actual name is The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. “Rosicrucian” is an international organization specializing in the ancient mystic, devoting their studies to mystical, philosophical, and religious doctrines concerned with their application to our modern life.

As I was taking several photographs I kept looking back at my pictures to make sure they were good.  I knew then that I would be writing a piece about it, and glad it has come to be months later.  The museum is very interesting! And yes, there are a couple of Mummies in visible cases you can lean on for further inspection.  A ten minute video showed how ancient Egyptians embalmers rolled up their dead in wraps, after taking out fluids and internal organs.  A modern medical machine is now able of seeing through these corpses without unwrapping their ancient cloths.

By reading the museum posts, I learned that Egyptology is the study of ancient Egyptian history, language, religion, and art, and that Egyptians loved their cats and considered them protectors of their homes.  Most cats were called Ta-Mieuw, or “The Meower,” and were very spoiled. Some even wore jewelry and got embalmed just like humans.  A household cat was mummified and given a burial after death.

 

I also read there were dozens of Egyptian dynasties, but the first two from 3000-2800 B.C.E., showed typical characteristics of Ancient Egyptian culture; language, architecture, art styles, construction, administrative organization, calendar, weights, measures, and royal activities; were important enough to leave a legacy and where the Step Pyramid construction technique started.  In my many observations, I came across a black flat stone, and after reading what the post said, it turned out to be a copy of The Rosetta Stone.  I thought that Rosetta was a language learning tool, but how wrong I was. It used to be an ancient village in Egypt where the stone was discovered, by accident, in 1798 by one of Napoleon Bonaparte soldiers.  This stone was “key” for early researchers to decipher ancient Egyptian writings!

Once I had visited all the museum levels and left the main building, I was happy to have found such treasure in Silicon Valley.  What greeted me afterwards were outdoor gardens that included an Egyptian game floor that looked like checkers, but wasn’t.  I then leisurely meandered around, zigzagging the green areas and gods and goddess statues seemed to greet my every turn.  As the museum does not have a cafeteria, I would recommend visitors to bring a picnic basket and sit at the Peace Garden for lunch, while listening to a waterfall nearby.

And I leave you with an Egyptian proverb that says, “Stretch your legs as far as your blanket extends” which means: “Don’t live beyond your means.”

Want to know more? Check out their very educational website at: http://www.egyptianmuseum.org/ Address: 1660 Park Ave., San Jose CA. Hours: Wed – Fri: 9:00am to 5:00pm, Sat – Sun: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Mon – Tue: Closed. The Museum is also closed on: New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

Mia Perez: Latino Cinema

Mia Perez starring in Sin Padre

Juan is a street-smart, 17 yr Honduran in the Mission District of San Francisco. When he is given an assignment to write about where he comes from, Juan is reminded of a deep pain in his life: his fatherless childhood.

 

Live @ the Pagoda

Tommy Aguilar and the music scene at the Pagoda in downtown San Jose

Sabor del Valle

Come to Sabor del Valle this Friday, July 20 at San Jose History Park.

Bel Borba Aqui Film Review

Brazilian artist Bel Borba | Photo courtesy of Cinequest

Meet Brazilian artist Bel Borba of Salvador da Bahia through an awe-inspiring documentary (English and Portuguese with English subtitles) about the man who loves his city as he, through his vast imagination and unlimited canvases, embellishes it.

The film, written and directed by Burt Sun and André Costantini, opens with Bel and an assistant crew at a decayed building frame, and he talks about the history of other fallen structures just like it throughout the city, he paints the exposed metal beams with white paint using a small paint roller. When he is done speaking, the camera pans out and the metal beams come to life with the patterned mural made up of cultural expressions.

Brazilian artist Bel Borba here stands next to one of his Mosaic Murals in Salvador du Bahia | Photo courtesy of Cinequest

“People from Bahia are very much on love with our town,” says Bel. “I have such a close relationship with my town where I was born, where I live.”

He is considered a gift to his town.

We follow the artist through the city and neighborhoods to discover what inspires him and experience the passion for his culture, people and home town. The open market, a small ranch, his back yard and an old boat yard all attribute to images in his work.

“I am a man that is moved by  passion. I just feel things.”

He works from small scale on single ceramic tiles to larger than life scale murals made of broken tiles –wood and ceramic – and his crew solders and saws out sculptures from steel and metal, as well.

“There’s my rocket!” Bel refers to a Christmas tree sculpture that he created from metal bars and plastic Coke bottles strung on rope; at night it is illuminated with green lights to be seen for quite a distance.

Director Burt Sun says, “Bel has tattooed the city with his art.”

Live like Bel as he eats, sings, works and sleeps in this creative film production that incorporates ten lapse photography and animation techniques. Feel the artist’s exhaustion while working on his masterpieces as he falls asleep on benches and the floor. One can almost taste the marinated steak dinner he cooks for friends. Feel free to sing along or whistle, if you know the tune, while he creates.

The Bel Borba Aqui world premier will be featured Sunday, March 4 during Cinequest 22 Film Festival in San Jose at Camera 12 at 6:30PM and experience a live painting by Bel.

Coming Soon the SVL exclusive interview with Director/Writer Burt Sun during the Film Festival!