OUR TEAM

Alison De Lucca

Executive Director

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 110 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 25 years. She’s worked in the women’s, environmental, and immigrant rights fields. Prior to joining SoCal CAN, she served 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 is 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 Calderón-Morin

Deputy Director 

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 and 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 

Marcos Montes

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.

Ana Antuna

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. 

Jason Vazquez

Policy & Development Associate

Jason is a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from the University of California Berkeley. During college, Jason studied abroad twice and spent a semester in Washington D.C. interning at the United States Trade Representative. Prior to joining SoCal CAN, he was the advocacy intern at the Urban Foundation where he collaborated with college access partners to advance several federal and state policy priorities focused on education equity. This past summer, Jason served as Public Policy Intern with the Lumina Foundation. Now, he’s working with the SoCal CAN team to advance our policy agenda. Jason is passionate about improving access to economic mobility through education because he understands the magnified impact it can have on a person’s long-term success. Connect with Jason on LinkedIn.

 Stephanie Guzmán

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.

Maria Pérez

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.

Melanie Alvarez-Rojas

Project Soar Education Navigator

Melanie is a first-generation and recent graduate of California State University, Northridge where she received a bachelor’s in Political Science with a minor in Civic Engagement. While pursuing her degree, she also devoted her time and efforts towards helping her community prosper by taking on several roles in non-profit organizations such as the University Student Union. Throughout her three years with the University Student Union, she focused on issues of education equity and basic needs. During her role as co-chair for the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, she was an active advocate for nontraditional students such as those who identified as undocumented, parents, and formerly incarcerated. Her senior year at the USU, she was elected chair of the Board of Directors where she led a group of student leaders to successfully pass a vote for the allocation of 1.2 million surplus funds to address issues that were highlighted with the pandemic. Her passion for non-profit organizations started in high school during her time with InnerCity Struggle with their component that focuses on leadership development of youth within the greater eastside of Los Angeles. Connect with Melanie on LinkedIn.

Daisy Carbajal

Project Soar Education Navigator

Daisy is a recent college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Cal State LA. Her path to college started when her parents first told her in 3rd grade that they wanted her to go to college. This idea remained with her as she thought about careers she would love to do throughout her education journey. Through the help of Kid City Hope Place, a SoCal CAN member organization, she was able to apply for grants and college. As a first-generation college graduate, she understands the challenges students face when applying for college for the first time. This motivated Daisy to help other students with similar experiences and led her to apply for SoCal CAN Changemakers fellowship. The fellowship helped Daisy grow as an advocate, become more educated on the issues students face, and influence positive changes in her college campus.Daisy is passionate about advocating for students’ needs and equity in higher ed institutions. In the near future, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a career in Educational Counseling. Connect with Daisy on LinkedIn.

Jazmin Rojas

Project Soar Education Navigator

Jazmin Rojas is from Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico but grew up in Anaheim, California and is a first-generation DACAmented student who has overcome economic barriers in higher education. She graduated from Fullerton College with an Associate of Arts in Sociology in spring 2019 and recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. At UCLA, she became passionate as an AB540 Project Director for Improving Dreams Equity Access and Success (IDEAS) to advocate making higher education more accessible for undocumented students. She has a passion for sharing her experience to empower the community to navigate college and dismantling barriers. Currently, she is a first-year graduate student at USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. She is a huge mental health and self care advocate who is working towards becoming a licensed mental health professional.  Connect with Jazmin on LinkedIn.

Ariana Lopez Torres

Let’s Go to College California OutreachIntern

Ariana is a third-year student at UC Davis studying Molecular and Medical Microbiology.  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. Ana was also 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. Once she graduates, she plans to attend medical school to become an infectious disease specialist.  Connect with Ariana on LinkedIn.

Kimberly Garcia

Let’s Go to College California Social MediaIntern

Kimberly recently graduated from CSU Northridge with a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish Journalism. She is passionate about the issues surrounding Latinx communities. Representation in the media has always been very important to her. With the increasing influence of social media, Latinx representation is necessary now, more than ever. In her spare time, you can find her helping her community or spending time with family in the San Fernando Valley, surrounded by culture and music. Her passion for journalism guides the way she tells stories of her community.

Amaya Brooks

Let’s Go to College California Workshops and Programs Intern

Amaya recently transferred to Cal State LA this fall, where she’s majoring in Communications. She enjoys watching documentaries, buying books she never reads, and finding new music to listen to. As a first-generation student, she understands how necessary and life-changing resources like Let’s Go are to first-gen students.  Without programs like these, she believes would not be where she is today. She plans on dedicating her time to “educate youth in communities like mine and yours that success is in our cards, and we are here to help with that.”

Anahi Cruz Bautista

Let’s Go to College California Social Media and DesignIntern

Anahi is a Oaxaqueña from Pico Union, Los Angeles. She is currently in her last year at UC Berkeley studying Sociology and Education. Outside of school, she is an organizer for the Oaxacan Youth Initiative and serves as the Co-director for OaxaCal. Both of these spaces dedicate themselves to helping the Oaxacan community navigate higher education. As a Zapotec woman, these efforts are important to her, as is connecting to the Oaxacan community at large. As a first generation student, she also wants to serve the needs of all first-gen students. Coming from a low-income neighborhood and attending public high school where first-gen Latinx students were the majority, she sees the need first-hand for a space like Let’s Go to College CA. Connect with Anahi on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

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