Staff    Board    Advisory Council    Alumni Council



Staff member Maro'Jene Alexander

Maro'Jene Alexander
Career Counselor
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As an alumna of our Administrative Careers Training Program, Maro’Jene brings her passion and experience to our WIOA team. Prior to this role, Maro’Jene worked at Los Medanos College, participated on the Opportunity Junction Alumni Council, and was a volunteer supporting our annual gala.

“I love encouraging people and letting them know that a job/career is possible. I’m proud to work in a place where people can learn professional development and get the help they need to succeed.The best part of my job is seeing a client come in with a smile after they get a job!”


Staff member kaylan

Kaylan Billeci
Career Counselor
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Kaylan is a recent graduate with a BA in Human Development from Cal State East Bay. She will be working as a College and Career Counselor in our Road Map to College program. She attended Los Medanos College before transferring to CSEB, so she has walked the same path as many of our Road Map college students that are navigating the community college system. Before joining Opportunity Junction in 2018, Kaylan was a Facility Manager for a nonprofit Crisis Nursery in Concord. She has an Associate’s Degree in Child Development, and worked at LMC’s Child Study Center as well.

"My favorite part of working at Opportunity Junction is being able to help create positive change in the community I grew up in. I also enjoy working alongside passionate and dedicated individuals."


Alexis Bonn
Director of Development
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Alexis joined our team as Director of Development in 2019 with a strong background in marketing and communications. After graduating from Azusa Pacific University with a Bachelor's in Psychology and a Masters of Business Administration, Alexis honed her marketing, communications, and social media skills in the banking and electrical construction sectors. At the same time, she helped a number of nonprofits launch websites and social media presences in her spare time. Now she can apply her talents full time in the non-profit sector!


Alana Chisholm
Computer Skills Instructor
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Alana has a long history with Opportunity Junction, first as a graduate of our Administrative Careers Training (ACT, formerly JTPP) program in 2011, then as a Volunteer Trainer in our evening Technology Center, and since 2014 as a Session Leader for the Do-It-Yourself Tax Assistance program. Meanwhile, Alana transitioned into teaching from the administrative field and served as an instructor in computer skills at Liberty Adult Education and Rubicon Programs. She is a credentialed Microsoft Office Specialist several times over and joined the teaching staff for the ACT in 2019.


Staff member Christy

Christy Corrigan
Director of Counseling
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Christy joined our staff as Director of Counseling in 2015. A licensed psychologist, Christy has 12 years of experience in mental health serving children, adolescents, adults and families dealing with diverse issues including trauma, child abuse, addiction, and community violence. Christy has a B.A. in International Development from American University, and an M.A. and Psy.D from the Wright Institute in Clinical Psychology.

"I became a therapist because I love helping people make positive change, regardless of their history or their circumstances. At Opportunity Junction I get to be part of a team who shares that same passion, and we get to see the results of our work every time a participant finds a job."


Staff member Ja'Nae

Ja'Nae Craig
Executive Assistant
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Ja'Nae joined our team as the Executive Assistant in November of 2019. Ja'Nae had most recently been managing multiple offices of Block Advisors (H&R Block). She worked her way up from Receptionist to Tax Preparer to Multi-Office Manager. Ja'Nae is a real go-getter and holds three (count 'em, three) Associates degrees from Los Medanos College (Business Administration, Accounting, and Liberal Arts).


Staff member Alissa

Alissa Friedman
President/Chief Executive Officer
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Alissa has been with Opportunity Junction since 2001 and has led the organization since 2003. Before joining the organization, she worked in software development for eight years, as an attorney for Morrison & Foerster for two years, and as managing partner of the law firm of Friend & Friedman for five years. In 2004, Alissa completed a fellowship with the Women's Policy Institute and helped draft and successfully advocate for S.B. 1639, the Education Works! bill. From 2005 to 2009, she served as a Commissioner on the Contra Costa County Commission for Women. Originally from Evanston, Illinois, she holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

"I get the deepest possible satisfaction from hearing 'I love my job' from an alum who pops in for a visit. I smile and reply, 'so do I.' My favorite times are when we're tackling a challenge, and each of us contributes ideas from our own perspective. There's the sense of shared purpose and camaraderie. From childhood, I've believed that this work represents the highest form of charity: helping others do for themselves."


Staff member Natalie

Natalie Georgia
Manager of Personal Development
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Natalie has taught life skills and provided case management services since late 2000, and is responsible for recruitment and outreach as our Manager of Personal Development. Ms. Georgia has studied computers and business administration at Los Medanos College and was one of the first alumni of the Administrative Careers Training Program.

"I love working at Opportunity Junction because I get to witness the transformative power of change every day."


Staff member Cameron Hayes

Cameron Hayes
Career Counselor
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Cameron graduated with a BS in Psychology from Howard University in 2015. Since then, she has dedicated her life to supporting individuals in the pursuit of their passions. She is delighted to work with Opportunity Junction to make a change in the community.

"It warms my heart to know that every staff member has dedicated their life to helping people reach their full potential. I can’t wait to do my part to provide opportunities for individuals willing to work hard to succeed.”


Staff member Melinda Johnson

Melinda Johnson
Vice President of Administration
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An Antioch resident since 2015, Melinda joined our staff as Administrative Manager in April 2016. She became our Director of Administration in July 2017, managing all aspects finance, human resources, and facilities for the office. Melinda has 25 years of progressive administration experience in small and start-up businesses, as well as in the non-profit sector.

"I love working for an organization where I can make a difference in the lives of others. Living in Antioch myself, it means a lot that we help others in my and neighboring communities to gain the skills and confidence necessary to find fulfilling employment."


Staff member Dionne Moeller

Dionne Moeller
Program Manager for External Partnerships
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After graduating from high school, Dionne Moeller pursued a career in healthcare where she spent 20 years. When she decided to change course and pursue a career in Counseling, she enrolled at Los Medanos College with plans to transfer to a four-year university. At Los Medanos, she earned an AA with an emphasis in Behavioral Science and Social Science before transferring to Cal State East Bay where she earned a BA in Sociology and minored in Human Development. She really wanted to work helping people achieve their dreams and reach their personal goals just as she had. That’s when Dionne landed her dream job with Opportunity Junction where she now serves as the Program Manager of External Partnerships.

“I thoroughly enjoy working here at Opportunity Junction because it gives me an opportunity to make a positive contribution to the very community where I'm raising my own children. It brings me great joy and satisfaction to help give young adults a path to personal growth and self-sufficiency.”


Staff member Hilarie O'Connor

Hilarie O'Connor
Alumni Manager and Career Counselor
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Hilarie joins the OJ team as our Alumni Manager and Career Counselor for our Administrative Careers Training Program. Hilarie has worked with and for non-profit organizations throughout her career. Hilarie has a background in both counseling and recruiting. She received her B.A. from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Organizational Psychology and has an M.A. in Psychology and interned as an MFT.

“I am proud to say that I work at Opportunity Junction. The staff, and the people we serve, all have in common the desire to work hard and help others.”


Staff member Nadya Poveda

Nadya Poveda
Program Coordinator
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Nadya Poveda joined our team in 2019 as the Program Coordinator for the Technology Center. Nadya is a seasoned administrative professional, having graduated from Opportunity Junction's job training program in 2008. Bilingual in English and Spanish, she provides a warm welcome for every person who comes into the Technology Center.


Staff member Brianna

Brianna Robinson
Vice President of Programs
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Brianna, a former high school teacher, coach and administrator, joined Opportunity Junction in 2007 and serves as our Director of Programs. She completed the extensive Neighborhood Builders leadership program as the organization's Emerging Leader and serves as a representative on the Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Board for Contra Costa County. Brianna holds M.A. degrees from Temple University in both Educational Psychology and Educational Administration. She received her B.A. in English from Furman University.

"I love being part of an organization that truly impacts our community. We serve an area in great need, and I feel lucky to work here with the most dedicated and caring people I know."


Staff member Shaun

Shaun Samuels
Business Services Manager
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Shaun is an experienced professional who recently joined our staff as a Career Counselor. He previously served as a Placement Coach with The Workforce Development Board of Solano County, Recruiter/Staffing Manager with Robert Half, and also worked in the non-profit and gym industries. Shaun is very passionate in what he does and helping people on their professional/personal goals is his purpose in life.

"The best feeling I get is when I see my clients get out of their comfort zone, rediscover their skills/passions, and ultimately find their dream job!"


Erica Satchwell, Professional Development Instructor

Erica Satchwell
Professional Development Instructor
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Erica joined our team in 2019 as the Professional Development Instructor in our Healthcare Career Pathway job training program. Erica has a background working with children and adults with special needs, giving her insight into the challenges her students may face in providing empathetic care to their patients. She holds an A.A. in liberal arts from Diablo Valley College.


Staff member Nicole

Nicole Sherman
Program Coordinator
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"The thing I like the most about working at Opportunity Junction is that it gives me the chance to give back to the community. I benefited from the programs here, and now I can help other people do the same."


Staff member Janelle

Janelle Stauffer
Program Coordinator
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Janelle has recently joined our team as our new Program Assistant. Janelle comes with over 5 years of project management and customer service experience in the gym industry. When it comes to customer service, Janelle strives to make sure the customer has the absolute best experience and helping people brings so much joy to her life.

"If you're not making someone else's life better, then you're not making the best of your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better."


Staff member Michelle

Michelle Wade
Lead Program Manager for the Job Training and Placement Program
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Michelle joined us in 2014 as our Manager of Alumni Programs and now serves as Program Manager for our flagship Administrative Careers Training Program. Michelle entered the career counseling field after more than 15 years in banking operations and management. She holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management from Devry University.

"Hearing the success stories of those we serve and the incredible barriers that they have overcome truly inspires me. These stories serve as proof that no barrier is insurmountable. I'm proud to be a part of an organization that supports others in achieving their personal and professional goals."


Staff member Annabelle Villanueva

Annabelle Villanueva
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
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Annabelle joined Opportunity Junction in February 2019 with several years of varied administrative experience. She previously worked as the Events and Training Coordinator for UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach, giving her solid skills and enthusiasm for her new role as Outreach Coordinator. A recent transplant from San Francisco, Annabelle and her family now live in Pittsburg and she has eagerly committed to impacting the community through her work.

“I always wanted a job where I could make a difference. It is my passion to help people and it is rewarding working at Opportunity Junction. I love to see the outcome of our work: people getting jobs!”


Nolan Yee

Nolan Yee
Data Analyst
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Nolan joined our staff in October 2019 after 8 years of progressive experience in analytical chemistry in method development with Impax Laboratories. One of his proudest achievements during that time was leading a team of senior scientists, research associates, and scientists in the successful execution of a complex 32 part in-vitro bioequivalence study. That study required the automation of ~200,000 calculations, and resulted in a 600+ page bioequivalence study report with approximately 16,000 pages of appendix material. Drawing meaning out of our wage, demographics, and program data should be a piece of cake after that! Nolan holds a Bachelor's of Science with Highest Honors in Chemical Biology from the University of California at Berkeley.


Staff member Patty

Patty Zavala
WIOA Program Manager
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For the past 10 years, Patty has worked for non-profits who support people through life-controlling behaviors and situations including eating disorders, self-harm, substance abuse, depression, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking. She worked as a life coach supporting clients through accountability, encouragement and mentoring to help them become whole, productive, and thriving individuals.

“I love being a part of an incredible collective of kind people who are passionate about serving our community through the services provided at Opportunity Junction. I know we will continue to see our clients succeed and I am thankful to be a small part of a significant victory with each person we empower.”

Staff    Board    Advisory Council    Alumni Council


Board of Directors


Board member Linda Best

Linda Best
Former President and CEO
East Bay Leadership Council

Linda Best is the retired CEO of the East Bay Leadership Council, a private sector public policy organization and retired Executive Director of the Contra Costa Economic Partnership. She also serves on the board for STAND! for Families Free of Violence and the East Bay Regional Park District Advisory Committee. She received her BA and MA degrees from Stanford University.

"I feel privileged to serve on Opportunity Junction's board of directors. The training and services OJ provides our clients truly change lives in a positive and transformative way. It is so rewarding to see these individuals obtain a well-paying job, gain self-esteem, be able to support their families and give back to the community."


Board member Carol Ann

Carol Ann Barber
Carol Ann Barber Consulting

"I am excited to be involved with Opportunity Junction and serve on the Board of Directors. The organization's mission is a perfect fit with my passion for community service as well as my professional experience in job placement and recruiting. Opportunity Junction provides a foundation for long term success not just in a work setting, but also in life skills.”


Board member Bruce Baumgarten

Bruce Baumgarten
Director of Talent
CSAA Insurance Group

Bruce has been a member of the Opportunity Junction Board of Directors since 2016. He has served on varying committees and held different positions including Board Chair for the 2019-20 term. He has over 20 years’ experience in corporate talent departments (e.g., learning & development, leadership development, talent management, and talent acquisition) and a master’s degree in Training and Organizational Development and a MBA. Bruce has lived in East Contra Costa County since 2012 and some of his other volunteer work includes clearing Mount Diablo trails, helping landscape regional parks, and preparing food so it can sent where most needed.

"Every success story I read and participant I meet reinforces the impact Opportunity Junction has on so many individuals and the community. OJ provides skills, confidence and hope to hard working people in various ways. It is an honor to serve on the Board of Directors and contribute to an amazing mission."


Board member Marc Gallo

Marc Gallo
Financial Services Partner

Marc Gallo has dedicated his professional life to the use of technology to drive strategic visions, achieve business goals, expand products and services, tap into new markets and pursue operational excellence. He has spent 24 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers, currently as a Financial Services Partner providing digital and technology innovation to Banking and Insurance clients. Previously, Marc served as a Managing Director at BearingPoint, leading first their Financial Services Technology Delivery practice in the US and Canada, then their Banking practice. Marc began his career at Argonne National Laboratory after earning a B.S. in Computer Science at the University of Illinois and an M.B.A. from Lewis University.


Board member Osbaldo Garcia

Osbaldo Garcia
Vice President and Branch Manager
Mechanics Bank

Born in San Francisco, Osbaldo graduated from Richmond High School and Cal State East Bay. Osbaldo is the VP/ Branch Manager at Mechanics Bank Pittsburg. He has more than 15 years’ experience in banking. Currently a resident of Pittsburg, Osbaldo is married with three children. He also serves on the boards of the LMC Foundation, Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce and Pittsburg Entertainment and Arts Hall of Fame.


Board member Jim Jones

Jim Jones
James Jones Consulting

"I enjoy being part of OJ Board due to chance to help people in a meaningful way. I have witnessed the positive impact the program has on people who take advantage of what is offered and dedicate themselves to changing their lives through acquiring skills that enhance employment and career opportunities."


Board member Kathy Jones

Kathy Jones
Senior Counsel, Environmental and Real Estate
Pacific Gas and Electric Company

"I have long supported and admired the work of Opportunity Junction and am honored to serve on the Board of Directors. The organization provides training and life skills that transform lives by developing the foundation for independence and self-sufficiency. The staff is incredible - determined and dedicated to working with each participant to ensure success. I look forward to working with OJ in continuing its mission to fight poverty in the East Bay."


Board member Kenneth Leung

Kenneth Leung
Technology Manager
Tipping Point Community

Ken is an experienced technology professional dedicated to supporting mission-oriented organizations and individuals. He has been the architect of six end-to-end Salesforce implementation. He first got to know Opportunity Junction when researching possible options for sharing referral information between nonprofits' Salesforce implementations.


Board member Tom Ramirez

Tom Ramirez
Tom C. Ramirez Construction Co., Inc.

Tom Ramirez is a retired Operations and Maintenance Supervisor for the Contra Costa Water District who is also an entrepreneur and business owner in the fields of construction and investment.

“I began supporting Opportunity Junction in 2014 when I was introduced to their work and attended their annual fundraising gala. I am excited to join the board of an organization of the highest quality that provides a successful path to a meaningful career and many valuable life skills for their students with continuing support for the alumni.”


Board member Renee Reid

Renee Reid
Staff UX Design Researcher

Renee Reid is a Staff UX Design Researcher at LinkedIn with over 20 years of professional experience in various roles including Project Management, Customer Experience, Sales and User Experience. She is also the LinkedIn Campus Lead for the Black Inclusion Group BIG (an Employee Resource group (ERG), a Boys and Girls Club mentor, as well as a Professional Mentor with TechWomen, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs created by the Obama Administration.


Tara D. Sanders
Manager, Workforce & Economic Development
Contra Costa Community College District

Tara Sanders is the Manager of Workforce and Economic Development for the Contra Costa Community College District. She enjoys her career working in higher education, as well as running a small consulting company. Her professional focuses are in strategic program planning and systems alignment. This has allowed her to event plan for hundreds, make investments in today's youth, as well as be a part of community transformation simultaneously. As a liaison between colleges and companies, she develops strategic partnerships focusing in workforce development. These partnerships include alignment with county and federal workforce systems (WIOA), developing internships, community collaborations and event/program planning and logistics.


Board member Justin Santiago

Justin Santiago
Business Relationship Manager
Wells Fargo Bank

Justin Santiago has more than 20 years of experience in the banking field and is currently serving as a Business Relationship Manager for Wells Fargo while pursuing his Master’s of Business Administration. Justin brings to the board expertise in nonprofit finance and tax filings.

“I’m joining the Opportunity Junction board to help make a difference for people who want to better their quality of life and to give back to the community that I live in. I have a passion for helping others and feel a sense of accomplishment when we help a person succeed professionally and financially.”


Matt Tillman
President, Plateau Data Services

Matt Tillman serves as President of Plateau Data Services, a portfolio company of Caivis (investors include David A. Steinberg and John Sculley). Mr. Tillman previously served as the Senior Vice President and General Manager for Zeta Global's Financial Services business where he had overall responsibility for managing the P&L of the financial services division. Prior to joining Zeta, Mr. Tillman served as the Head of Sales of Adchemy Actions, a business unit of Adchemy, Inc. Prior to Adchemy, Mr. Tillman co-founded, an internet marketing services company funded by Dan Gilbert (CEO of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers) and sold to Bankrate, Inc. Mr. Tillman has also served in senior sales roles at Bankrate, Inc.,, a division of Providian Financial and Wells Fargo Bank. He graduated with a BA in Political Science from the University of California at Los Angeles.


Catherina Watters
Attorney at Law

"Throughout my legal career representing pro athletes, I have witnessed the many challenges life can throw at you at a moment's notice. I am thoroughly impressed by the life changing services offered by Opportunity Junction to those in need of a game plan for success in difficult times. As a Board member, I hope to help further this organization's mission of fighting poverty by empowering individuals."

Cat also serves on the board for The 49ers Academy and is an advocate for teens who have aged out of the foster care system. She received her BS from Santa Clara University and her JD from New York Law School. She is also a licensed real estate broker.


Board member Dr. Sean Wright

Dr. Sean Wright
City of Antioch, Mayor

"Opportunity Junction has created the model for 'teaching someone to fish.' The skills and knowledge learned by students in an atmosphere of love, family and expertise allows for growth of individuals to become self-sufficient, gain self-worth and strive to reach their goals and dreams. Whether you need help or you are willing to help come be a part of our family of service above self."

Staff    Board    Advisory Council    Alumni Council

Advisory Council


Iris Archuleta, CEO, Emerald HPC International, LLC

Keith Archuleta, Founder/President, Emerald HPC International, LLC

Jodi Avina, Director of Recruiting Operations, CFOs 2GO

Jacqueline Bhagavan, 2015 Mrs. California, Host, Complexion Kitchen

Christine Bonifacio, VP, Program Manager, Wells Fargo at Work Program

Sandy Bustillo, Welfare-to-Work Manager, Contra Costa Employment and Human Services

George Carter , Business Services Representative, Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board

Val Davis, East County Advocate,

Aimee Durfee, Chief Program Officer, JVS

Lester Ellis, retired broker, Ellis Insurance Associates

Hon. Jim Frazier, Assemblymember, California State Assembly

Sue George, Director, Center for Teaching Excellence, Haas School of Business

Hon. Steven Glazer, Senator, California State Senate

Hon. Federal Glover, County Supervisor, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors

Laurie Huffman, Professor, Los Medanos College

Jim Jakel, Founding Board Member,

Rick Kaiser, CPA, CFP, Temen, Kaiser & Cameron, CPAs, LLP

Christine Lambert, Regional Recruiter, Nelson Staffing

Angela Lowrey, Public Information Manager, Delta Diablo Sanitation District

Curtis McAdams, Relationship Banker, Umpqua Bank

Meryl Natchez, CEO (Retired), TechProse

Richard Pagano, State Farm Agent and Antioch Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Sharon Pappas, Principal, Antioch Area Community Fund

Nancy Parent, Former Mayor, City of Pittsburg

Ricardo Perez, DDS, Owner, Cosmetic Dental Spa

Laurie Phillips, Diablo Valley College

Juan Prieto, Family Development Specialist, California Human Development Corporation

Deb Rivera, Senior Director, Operations, Educational Testing Service

Hon. Kevin Romick, Councilmember, City of Oakley

Jackie Seeno, Land Development, Community Relations Manager, Owner, Cyrus Land Investments, LLC, A.D. Seeno Construction Co. & Discovery Builders, Inc.

Arne Simonsen, City Clerk, City of Antioch

Tonya Smith, Senior Communications Coordinator, Bayer, Opportunity Junction Alumni, Class 5

René Tucker, Employer Liaison, EASTBAYWorks-Brentwood, Opportunity Junction Alumni, Class 8

David Wahl, Manager of Workforce and Economic Development, Los Medanos College

Charlotte Will, Product Marketing Manager, Google

Alma Williams-Palmer, Procurement Coordinator, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Opportunity Junction Alumni, Class 9

Staff    Board    Advisory Council    Alumni Council

Alumni Council


Composed entirely of alumni of our Job Training and Placement Program, the Alumni Council has input into the strategic direction of Opportunity Junction programs and has input on activities for Alumni.

The members of the Alumni Council are:

Alumni Council member Rebecka Amenta

Becky Amenta
Class 39

Alumni Council member Donald Buchanan

Donald Buchanan
Class 12

Alumni Council member Shaunette Buchanan

Shaunette Buchanan
Class 31

Alumni Council member Lily Lopez

Lilia Barajas Lopez
Class 32

Alumni Coucil member Maria Rigazio

Maria Rigazio
Class 23

Alumni Council member Leslie Serrano

Leslie Serrano
Class 23

Alumni Council member Nicole Sherman

Nicole Sherman
Class 29

Alumni Council member LaToya Shovan

LaToya Shovan
Class 43

Alumni Council member Lada Velichkov

Lada Velichkov
Class 40