Students from California campuses were selected in Spring 2023 to participate in LEAD California’s Community Engagement Student Fellowship (CESF) program, a 4-month initiative specifically designed to support student leaders advancing service, service-learning and community engagement at LEAD California member campuses throughout the state.

Veda Dean is a Junior at Sonoma State University Majoring in Communications and Media Studies and she is excited to be a part of the Community Engagement Student Fellowship Program. Coming from a small town, Veda knows firsthand how important a strong and supportive community is to its members. She is the current reigning ambassador of her hometown of Ione, CA, holding the title of Miss Ione. Veda is also a concert violinist of 14 years, an operatic performer, and a martial artist. Through her fellowship and budding career as a Journalist, Veda aspires to tell stories about communities coming together and helping one another.

Marlene López Torres is a first-generation student at Sacramento State, majoring in Spanish and Ethnic Studies. She strives to receive her Doctorate and be able to help future Hispanic/Latinx students, as a way to give back to her community.

Jesse McClure is an adult re-entry student at College of the Canyons, returning to finally complete his associate degree. He is majoring in Political Science and Public Policy, with an emphasis in civic learning and democratic engagement. He plans on transferring to university, in the hopes to become a human rights lawyer. From his time being on television and travelling the globe, to being a two-time cancer survivor, he has now turned his focus on helping others in his community through legislation and advocacy.

Talin Mirzaei is currently in the first year of graduate school as a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) student at Stanbridge University. Talin is a former graduate of California State University of Northridge (CSUN), with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, emphasis on applied fitness. Talin has many interests, however, has recently taken the time to prioritize hiking back into her weekly agenda. Besides the physical aspect of hiking, Talin really enjoys being outdoors to practice being one with nature. Pursuing a career in occupational therapy Talin intends to help individuals participate in occupations that are their passion; with the goal of helping them live fulfilling lives. Talin’s goal is to become a travel occupational therapist for a couple years, as that has always been a dream.

Marbely Olivo is nursing student at Stanbridge University and with the goal of becoming an oncology nurse practioner. Marbely was born and raised in Venezuela and moved to the United States in 2011.

Danielle Sanchez is a student at College of the Canyons. She is currently a sociology major and plans to transfer to a university. Upon graduation, she plans to attend graduate school. She advocates accessible housing, mental health awareness, and food accessibility through the PLACE Project. Her goal is to help support those living in Santa Clarita Valley by providing resources to those in need. In addition, Danielle enjoys learning about the environment, advocacy, and baking.

Julia Shapiro is a second-year student at California State University Channel Islands. She has always had a passion for math and problem solving, and she is currently using these skills towards a degree in business with an option in finance. She has always loved helping those close to her, as well as helping her community. In high school, she served as the Vice President for the Teen Coalition Committee of Agoura Hills, where she worked with her peers to plan events that benefited various individuals within the neighboring communities. Additionally, she has always enjoyed learning about the environment and the causes and effects of climate change, as well as teaching others about the topic. Therefore, she is excited to be a member of the CSUCI Climate Corps program and to be working towards a more sustainable future.

Karissa Smathers is a junior at CSU Channel Islands completing her Bachelor’s in Anthropology and Psychology. Prior to CSUCI, Karissa was a Senior Lead Compost Intern with Moorpark College’s Compost Project while completing her Associate’s in Environmental Studies, Psychology, and Anthropology. There, she studied and led various projects about hot composting, vermicomposting, and food waste diversion. She volunteers for the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, Sea Center, educating guests about the diversity and importance of the Santa Barbara Channel and works for Island Packers, the boating concessionaire for the Channel Islands National Park. Karissa is passionate about the environment and is now a Climate Corp fellow for her campus, where she is looking to assist the Center for Community Engagement and Office of Sustainability to launch a food waste recycling program on campus to reduce environmental impact and help curb climate change.”

Rebekah Williams is a master’s student in the General Psychology Program at California State University, Sacramento. Her concentration is developmental psychology and she will be graduating in May of 2024. Through her leadership, scholarship, and service, she is committed to aiding institutions with their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.