The Cultural Leadership Fellowship is rooted in the work of “Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World” by Django Paris and H. Samy Alim, focusing on how these learnings apply in different cultural spaces across the United States and the world. The cohort will participate in a virtual course on Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy curated by Scholar Fund’s fellowship leads during the fellowship.
Following the course, the cohort will participate in a travel program during the spring and summer. During the travel program, the cohort will participate in project-based learning virtual classes on Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and how it shifts through space; seminars on the economic, political, and educational systems at each perspective location; and visit various archeological sites and education-based institutions or organizations to learn how culture has sustained across centuries in these spaces.
Upon return from the travel program, the fellows will create a cultural product of their choice (blog post, video, journal entry, etc.) focused on each of their learnings, connected to culture, space, and the current political, educational, and economic climate in the locations they visited. Scholar Fund will share the fellows’ cultural products through their website, social media, blogs, and newsletters.
Scholar Fund Founder & CEO
David hails from the Central District of Seattle, where his passion for access to opportunity was formed. Growing up, he set his sights on breaking the chains of poverty, which led him to study mechanical engineering at the University of Washington. During his undergrad, David worked at the National Science Foundation, Boeing, and Tesla and helped create the Hyperloop for SpaceX’s competition. It was through these dream jobs that he realized his calling: helping others pay for college through Scholarship Junkies, a non-profit he founded. He believes not worrying about money will free students to experience the magic of higher education. David is now expanding the vision of Scholar Fund to three areas: education access, relief funds, and community development.
Yuriana Garcia Tellez
Programs Manager - Fellowship Lead
Yuriana is a first-generation Latina from Michoacan, Mexico. She grew up in the state of Washington in a small, agricultural town. She later attended the University of Washington, earning her degree in Human-Centered Design and Engineering. Yuriana worked in higher education to increase access and success of immigrant and first-generation students by creating access programs and training. She founded the Beyond HB 1079 conference for immigrant students in Washington state, providing access to resources and community space. Before Scholar Fund, Yuriana served as the Diversity Outreach and Engagement Administrator at the City of Bellevue, where her goal was to engage diverse communities within Bellevue to be civically engaged and be at the forefront of equity initiatives.
Alejandra Pérez, M.Ed.
Director of Education Strategy - Fellowship Lead
Alejandra’s passion for educational equity comes from her advocacy with and for immigrant students and their families in Washington State. Alejandra has an extensive background in organizing for social justice, running large-scale events and conferences, and providing professional development to educators. She served as Co-Director for the Beyond HB 1079 Conference, was a member of the Dream Educational Empowerment Program National Advisory Council, and was a community organizer with the Washington Dream Coalition. For over six years, Alejandra coached and facilitated educator teams to shift adult mindsets and transform education systems throughout south King County. Alejandra graduated from Cleveland High School in south Seattle and went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education from the University of Washington Bothell.
Manager of Education Strategy - Fellowship Lead
Daniela is an undocumented educator who is passionate about education equity and advocacy for liberation and community joy. Daniela has a vast experience in advocating for underserved communities in the state of Washington, from community organizing, to serving as an Education Advocate as a direct service provider, to providing professional development to educators. She has co-led Undocumented Ally Trainings for educators, institutions, and non-profit organizations on how to best support undocumented students. She served as the Director for the Rising Monarchs King County Fellowship for undocumented high school and college students. Daniela was born and raised in México, and immigrated along with her family at age 12. After high school she went on to earn her Bachelors of Arts from the University of Washington Bothell.
Cindy Marquina Negrete
Program Manager | Relief Funds and Community Success
Cindy’s commitments to community and social justice stem from the love, care, and support she has experienced from her communities as an undocumented person. She graduated as a Presidential Scholar from Western Washington University with a degree in Human Services. At Western, Cindy has been involved in student-led advocacy efforts which have resulted in her participation in the design and construction of the Multicultural Center, and the creation of the Blue Resource Center to bring visibility and support for undocumented students on campus. Working at Scholar Fund, she has supported countless undocumented, BIPoC, and low-income communities apply and receive funding from Washington state and King County cash assistance programs. She has since transitioned to a Program Manager position in which she uses her personal lived experiences & community organizing skills to aid in the development of cash assistance programs that are equitable, accessible, and center those most vulnerable among our communities.
Community Engagement Coordinator
Victoria Matey Mendoza (she/her) is a queer, undocumented digital creator based in Washington. She has been speaking for nine years across the nation on immigration topics including two TEDx talks. She is also the Host and Co-Producer of Shot of Truth Podcast, created to celebrate, share stories, knowledge and heal through dialogue with other undocumented people. She graduated with a business degree at Western Washington University and was a part of various local and state efforts to support her community.
America has been involved in the education system her whole professional career. She started out as a tutor, then as an intern school social worker, and intern at the Diversity, Equity, and Outreach Department at the local school district. One of America’s passions is working with youth and families. She served as a College and Career Readiness Assistant for the Dream Project, where she worked directly with students to encourage and supported them in pursuing higher education. America also co-led the Rising Monarchs Fellowship for undocumented high school and college students in South King County. With a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington, and a passion for education, America pursues to address systemic change for her community.
Laura Bohorquez Garcia
Laura Bohórquez García is from Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, an im/migrant, current first-generation undocu educator and entrepreneur. Laura’s awareness and approach to community building, higher education, and advocacy come from her communities and families' funds of knowledge acquired through generations of abundance, wisdom and the agricultural work in various aspects of the apple and cherry industry in central Washington State. Laura is an educator who is centering healing, reflecting and unlearning through her Interrogating Undocumentedness Program via her platform Inner Work Collective Freedom. Laura currently serves as the Director of an Undocumented Student Center in California where she continues to advocate for and center liberation, joy, and healing while challenging what education equity and access looks like in her day to day. Laura is learning to roller skate, is a plant sibling to more than 45 plantitas, and a Danzante. Laura received her B.A. in American Cultural Studies with a concentration in Diversity in Higher Education at Western Washington University and her M.Ed. from Loyola University Chicago.
Larissa Reza Garcia
Larissa has an extensive history working with young people as a bridge to connect them to opportunities, with a focus on underrepresented immigrant youth and families, within the education system. Larissa was the Education Equity Lead for Washington Dream Coalition, planning committee for the Beyond HB 1079 Conference, and former lead on the Undocumented Liberation group at the University of Washington. Aside from her immigration work Larissa has also experience in developing and delivering art programs throughout South Seattle that engage students of color. In her previous position, Larissa managed a county-wide college and career initiative where she supported over 300 schools to obtain resources and information on how to build a college-going culture at their schools. Larissa earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Welfare from the University of Washington and is currently in school to obtain her Associate’s in Applied Science.
Process Engineer | Fellowship Ambassador
Jose’s commitment to community engagement and support strived from his involvement in various relief fund efforts. He was part of administering the largest grassroots COVD-19 relief fund for undocumented immigrants in the nation, leading him to be a key player in the Washington Immigrant Relief Fund, Seattle Disaster Relief Fund, and others. Jose’s expertise in customer service, payment administration, and application review have given access to millions of dollars to thousands of people in Washington to support them through this crisis. He now guides Scholar Fund efforts through process engineering to ensure that programs ran by the organization become more accessible and efficient for the community. Born in Guatemala, Jose grew up in South Seattle and experienced firsthand struggles as an immigrant youth. His goal is to continue providing direct support and solutions to immigrant communities and communities of color to ensure access to a better quality of life.
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