Follow Your Dreams: Careers and Life Choices in 2020

On Wednesday, May 27th, 2020, SOMeCA invited alumni to speak with UCSC leaders about navigating the future in a recession. 


Meet the Alumni:

Ray Austin

Ray Austin, Civil Rights Unit, Department of Social Services

Ray is currently a Program Analyst in the Civil Rights Unit for the California Department of Social Services. Ray is a licensed attorney and, prior to state work, represented low-income and homeless people in their claims for government benefits. Ray graduated UC Santa Cruz in 2007. While he was a student, Ray was part of the Filipino Student Association and was the Engaging Education (e2) representative for the A Step Forward program. Ray was also an officer and Chair of the Student Union Assembly.

Amanda DeLaRosa

Amanda DeLaRosa, Lumina Foundation

Amanda is a strategy officer for state policy at Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Amanda’s career has focused on advancing multistate policy solutions to student success and educational equity. She’s committed to “purposing her privilege” in pursuit of racial equity and social justice. A first-generation college graduate, Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree in politics and sociology from UCSC in 2012 and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Colorado, Denver. At UC Santa Cruz, Amanda served in various leadership roles with UCSA, SUA, and Oakes Student Senate, including SUA Chair and Oakes Student Senate President.

Leo Grandison

Leo Grandison, Southwestern College

Leo works in the field of sustainable horticulture and currently provides instruction and conducts research at Southwestern College near San Diego. At UCSC, Leo was an elected SUA officer and was actively involved in Haluan, African/Black Student Alliance (aka BSU), Black Voice, and was a founding member of e2. Leo returns to Santa Cruz often as an invited speaker and mentor for current students, providing inspiration and encouragement to think about new perspectives and paradigms.

Leda Hernandez

Leda Astrid Hernandez, Hillsides

Leda is a first-generation Central American Latinx, who identifies as she/her/hers. She currently working at a short-term residential program, where she advocates and collaborates with LACOE, DCFS, PUSD, LAUSD and clinical teams to improve the educational needs and rights of foster youth. Leda, during her stay at UCSC was an active member of Oakes College by working with a residential program and had many leadership positions that ranged from Commissioner of Diversity for SUA, Student Rep for the Feminist studies department and lead intern at the UCSC Women's Center. She continues to expand resources for students of color even after her undergraduate career. 

Kalwis Lo

Kalwis Lo, Scholarship America

Kalwis currently serves as the Director of Policy for Scholarship America--the nation's largest nonprofit scholarship organization. He graduated in 2011 with a BA in Politics and minor in Education. While at UCSC, Kalwis was deeply involved with SOMeCA, Engaging Education (e2), the Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance (APISA), and the Student Union Assembly. His involvement with student organizations led to a meaningful career in higher education advocacy. Today, Kalwis works to advance policies that improve college access, persistence and completion outcomes for students.

Angel Martinez

Ángel J Martinez, LA Department of Public Health

Ángel currently works as a Staff Analyst for LA County, Department of Public Health in the Substance Abuse Prevention and Control Division. As a health professional, Ángel’s work centers social justice in community population health, research, public health, health policy, and global health. Ángel continues to focus on issues that impact communities of color, indigenous and LGBTQ communities. At UCSC, he was part of student organizations such as MEChA, Engaging Education (e2), ESOC, & Chicanos in Health Education. Ángel graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Community Studies and completed his MS in Global Medicine from the University of Southern California. 

David Peck

David Peck, Salesforce

David was a member and leader of City on a Hill Press. After graduating from UCSC in 2009 with a degree in Business Management Economics, David held Sales and Consulting positions before becoming Co-Owner and Managing Partner of a boutique Model and Talent Management Agency. David developed top talent across Southern California for work in the runway, editorial, commercial, television and film industries.  In 2013, David relocated to San Francisco where he took an entry level sales position with Salesforce, a leader in cloud technology.  Since then, David has grown his career from Inside Sales, to Enterprise Account Executive, to Regional Sales Director and is now a Sr. Regional Vice President overseeing multiple sales teams across the US. 

Paulina Raygoza

Paulina Raygoza, UCI Student Outreach & Retention Center

Paulina is dedicated to advocating for college access and retention efforts that ensure students’ success. At UCSC, Paulina was active in MEChA, was part of the student movement to establish Engaging Education (e2), and was elected SUA Organizing Director. After graduating, Paulina served as e2 Organizing Director for six years. She returned to SoCal to work for the non-profit, United Way, leading efforts to integrate career experiential learning opportunities and the creation of high school student internships. Currently, Paulina is Director of UC Irvine’s Student Outreach and Retention (SOAR) Center, where she supports student voice and leadership in advocating for communities of color to gain access to a high quality and transformative education.