Alison De Lucca
Alison’s passion for higher education attainment was sparked as child growing up in an agricultural region. Her mother provided college guidance services to those who could afford it, while offering pro bono support to those who couldn’t – namely the children of migrant workers. Within a decade, she witnessed how her peers and community were transformed by the influx in college degrees.
As the Executive Director of SoCal CAN, Alison works with more than 100 organizations to expand college access and completion for low-income students in the region. The network plays an important role in the field by bringing together direct service organizations to exchange effective practices, address existing service gaps, and weigh in on policies and practices that help or hinder students’ ability to smoothly reach their goal of college graduation.
Alison has worked on social change issues in both the United States and Central America for more than 20 years. She’s worked in the women’s, environmental, and immigrant rights fields. Prior to joining SoCal CAN, she worked as Program Officer for the Los Angeles Immigrant Funders’ Collaborative, Program Director for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR), Campaign Director for Friends of the Earth International, and Women’s Micro-enterprise Developer for the Costa Rican Ecologist Association.
Alison graduated from University of California, San Diego (UCSD) with a B.A. in International Development and received her M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA ). She is bilingual in English and Spanish and has served as an appointed member of the UCLA Department of Urban Planning Advisory Committee and an emeritus board member of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. She has also been a fellow with the Women’s Policy Institute, California Education Policy Fellowship, and Southern California Leadership Network. Connect with Alison on LinkedIn.
Lina is a native of Los Angeles, born and raised in East LA and Pasadena, CA. She is passionate about community wellness, education equity, and all things college access and success. Informed by her personal experiences as a first generation college student and her years spent providing direct support and counseling to diverse communities, Lina is continually motivated by the belief that postsecondary education should be a viable option for everyone. As Deputy Director of SoCal CAN she focuses on advancing the network’s strategic vision by developing dynamic member programming, member engagement, and managing the success and expansion of Project SOAR.
Over the past ten years, Lina has partnered closely with public school districts, postsecondary institutions, community-based organizations, and federal and state agencies to provide holistic, community and student-centered programming. Prior to her role at SoCal CAN, Lina worked at Occidental College as the Assistant Director of Student and Community Engagement and helped institutionalize, expand, and deepen Oxy’s community engaged learning and service opportunities. She also worked on numerous committees and initiatives that focused on increasing institutional support for first-generation and low-income students at Oxy, including the First Gen Coalition, the Low-Income Student Support Group, and the Multicultural Summer Institute Leadership Team.
Before her time at Oxy, Lina worked with numerous organizations, including College Access Plan, Learning Works + Homeboy Industries, and SoCal CAN where she oversaw the development, operation, and success of nearly a dozen college access programs serving thousands of students across Los Angeles County. Lina holds an MSW from the University of Southern California where she focused on Public Health and Military Social Work & Veterans Services, and a BA in Sociology from the University of San Francisco. Connect with Lina on LinkedIn
Program Manager & Higher Ed Policy Consultant
Marcos manages SoCal CAN’s policy agenda, Changemakers student advocacy fellowship, and Let’s Go To College CA. He graduated in 2018 from Cal State LA with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Law and Society. He is the first in his family to graduate from a university and a proud product of college success programs. Marcos brings a wealth of knowledge around student engagement and student advocacy. He served two years as an executive member Cal State LA’s student government and one year as Vice President of Legislative Affairs for the Cal State Student Association (CSSA). During his time as a student, he was very passionate about improving college affordability, increasing civic engagement, and supporting undocumented students. He received numerous awards commending his work as a student leader including 2017 CSSA Student Advocate of the Year and a State Resolution from the CA Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon in May 2018. Marcos has years of legislative experience, student advocacy, and institutional change. Connect With Marcos on LinkedIn.
Program Coordinator & Student Communications
Ana is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with an emphasis in Law and Human Rights. As the Student Communications and Program Coordinator for the Let’s Go to College CA project, she strives to ensure that the resources and information are thoughtful, inclusive, and accessible. She is passionate about human rights and making higher education equitable and accessible to everyone. She hopes to provide college students with the tools needed to continue and finish their higher education journey.
Project SOAR Education Program Specialist
As a first-generation, daughter of immigrants, Stephanie full-heartedly believes education is a path for social and economic opportunity. Her passion is to increase the support for marginalized communities by guiding them through their path in pursuit of post-secondary education. Born and raised in the East and Southeast parts of Los Angeles, she enjoys giving back to her community. She is especially excited about providing college advising to students and families in public housing at William Mead Homes and Ramona Gardens in her role as a Project SOAR Education Program Specialist.
Stephanie joined the Southern California College Access Network team in September 2017. She earned her Masters of Science in Higher Education from Syracuse University and received her Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences from California State University, Northridge. She has experience working with diversity and inclusion programs, multicultural affairs, career services, student development, leadership development programs, alumni relations, federal college access programs in both education and non-profit sectors. She is passionate about social justice and developing humanitarian, intersectional, and inclusive ways to build equity for all. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn.
Project Soar Education Program Specialist
As a native of South Los Angeles, Maria grew up in Avalon Gardens where she witnessed first hand the vicious cycle of generational poverty and the challenges families face to ‘get out of the projects’. She received college advising support from SoCal CAN member One Voice. Leaving South LA to attend college in Massachusetts, Maria actively sought out ways in which she could potentially serve her community back home. Throughout her time as an undergraduate student, Maria explored issues in healthcare, reproductive justice, and the labor movement to get a broader understanding of the lives of the working class. In all of her experiences, the same theme of access to information and advocacy emerged. This allowed Maria to realize the importance of facilitating conversations and empowering the community by providing the tools so that they become active agents of change.
As an Education Program Specialist, Maria values guiding her students, helping them problem-solve and seize opportunities as they make their own life-changing decisions. In the near future, Maria is interested in attending law school and becoming a criminal defense attorney. She is most passionate about helping folks navigate institutional systems and in helping them make the best use of available resources. Maria received her B.A. in History and minor in Economics from Smith College. Connect with Maria on LinkedIn.
Project SOAR Education Program Specialist
Marvin Ramirez was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, where he completed his K-12 studies. In 2017, he received his B.A. in Mathematics from Humboldt State University and his Master of Science in Counseling, emphasis in School Counseling from Cal State Long Beach in 2020. Working with historically underserved youth by providing counseling and college access has been a passion that developed during his undergraduate and graduate career. Having worked EOP (Peer Mentor), Upward Bound (Academic Advisor), Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA, Academic Advisor), Educational Talent Search (College Advisor), and Norwalk High School (Fieldwork Counseling Experience), he has become aware of the lack of resources readily available to first-generation and low-income students when it comes to college access and preparedness.
As an Education Program Specialist, he is thrilled to serve our students by advocating for their academic, social-emotional, and college and career needs by challenging individual and systemic barriers. Outside of his role as a professional, you can find him playing his guitar, attending festivals, hiking, bicycle riding, powerlifting, swimming, training for my next triathlon, playing with George, the sweetest brindle coat pit bull, and looking for aloe vera to apply on his sunburned skin. Connect on Marvin on LinkedIn
Let’s Go to College California Intern
Kimberly Fabian is a senior majoring in Public Affairs at UCLA. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she has been constantly motivated by her community to advance work in justice. First introduced to the realm of education equity in high school by SoCal CAN member Kid City Hope Place, she has dedicated her time to exploring the field, ranging in positions from tutor to research assistant. Finding her passion in college access and retention, being part of the Let’s Go team is a great honor. In the near future, she hopes to enroll in a Masters of Policy program to continue her work in education on a larger scale. Connect with Kimberly on LinkedIn.
Ariana Lopez Torres
Let’s Go to College California Intern
Ariana is studying Microbiology at Pasadena City College and she is applying to transfer to a 4-year university by Fall 2021. Ariana’s passion for higher education started her senior year in high school when she was applying to college. As a first-generation woman of color, Ariana understands the challenges that come with applying to college without any prior knowledge of the resources and programs that are available to students. She is passionate about helping students be successful in higher education and believes individuals deserve the opportunity to attend college. Ariana has been involved with college bound programs such as GEAR UP 4 LA and SoCalCAN. She has participated in Level Up, SoCal CAN’s near-peer mentoring program and was selected to be a SoCalCAN Changemaker Fellow, a year-long student advocacy fellowship that empowers students with the skills and knowledge to create change on their college campus. Ariana also is a Chemistry and Biology tutor for her college’s STEM Center. Once she graduates, she plans to attend medical school to become an infectious disease specialist. Connect with Ariana via LinkedIn
Let’s Go to College California Intern
Monica is a rising student at CSU Dominguez Hills. She is majoring in Human Services with a minor in Chicanx studies. Monica hopes to use her B.A to return to her community to provide students and their families resources, and her minor to share with the world stories about growing up as a Zapotec woman in Oaxacalifornia. Her community work is focused on tutoring and program planning at an afterschool program for low-income children in the Westlake/ Echo Park area. Monica is the eldest of three children and resides with her family and cat in Koreatown Los Angeles. Her interests outside of academia include skateboarding, sewing, and watching 90’s sitcoms.
Edgar Santos Vega
Let’s Go to College California OutreachIntern
Edgar is a recent graduate of Colorado College with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and minor in Race, Ethnicity, Migration Studies. He has a passion for mathematics, social justice, and access to higher education. Raised in Boyle Heights, Edgar was first introduced to educational equity issues by SoCal CAN members College Match LA and Thrive Scholars (formerly South Central Scholars). He received support and encouragement to pursue higher ed from these college access and success programs. In college, Edgar dedicated himself to learning and growth as he became involved with various student organizations. He also served as a Residential Advisor with the goal of helping fellow students learn about different social issues stemming from racism and discrimination. Edgar’s passion for math and social justice has driven him to pursue research in ethnomathematics, the study of the relationship between culture and mathematics. He hopes to use this research to uplift underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields, as he understands first hand the obstacles students of color face while pursuing these tracks. Edgar is working with the Let’s Go to College CA team to ensure as many students and organizations across the state connect with the Let’s Go suite of virtual resources for college students. Connect with Edgar on LinkedIn.