November 14, 2023
Meet Wave-Maker Alumni
With our Making Waves Education Foundation alumni network over 600 college graduates strong, we continue to see Wave-Maker alumni making waves in their career and communities.
Hear from some of our Wave-Maker alumni – graduates of colleges like San Francisco State University, UCLA, UC Merced, and USC and leaders in fields like education, healthcare, and social justice.
- Hossain Albgal, UCLA
- Daniela Barrera, California State, Dominguez Hills and Sacramento State University
- Adrianna Boles, USC
- Alexander Culannay, UC Merced
- Angelica Delgado, Santa Clara University and UCLA
- Brenda Godoy, San Francisco State University
- Ciera-Jevae Gordon, UC Santa Cruz and California College of the Arts
- Kayla Jones, California State University, East Bay, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University
- Vilma Rizzo, San Jose State University and Florida International University
- Enrique Romero, Pitzer College and Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Carol Tran, Harvard University and University of California, San Francisco
“I remind myself that adversity is often an indication that I’m headed in the right direction. Often, it isn’t the adversity itself that negatively affects a person, but instead the feeling of restriction and discomfort. Once I accepted that adversity and obstacles were as much a part of the experience as the triumphs and victories, I learned to recognize the beauty in the struggle.”Hossain Albgal, a fellow at the Aspen Institute and a graduate of UCLA
“Making Waves educated me and my family on higher education and how to complete the college application process, and gave me the opportunity to explore a different community and environment, which led me to choose the career I have today and discover other life passions.”Daniela Barrera, a healthcare professional and a graduate of California State University, Dominguez Hills (undergraduate) and Sacramento State University (graduate)
“Take on career-enriching programs and internship opportunities early on, while in school. This will allow you to gain great insight on a particular industry, profession, or company, and could also determine whether or not you can see yourself pursing that type of career and lifestyle. Taking advantage of internship opportunities is also a great way to secure a job right out of college.”Adrianna Boles, a certified public accountant and graduate of the University of Southern California
Alexander (Culi) Culannay
“Stick to and refine your goals. Put yourself out there and build your networks. Embrace and continue all friendships. Don’t let one mishap deter you from what you want in your life. You ultimately set your own success, and it doesn’t have to be immediate. Take the time to explore and discover. Trial and error will become your best friend through life. Just remember to take a mental break when you need it because you will wear yourself out on your journey.”Alexander (Culi) Culannay, a creative designer and a graduate of UC Merced
“Being a third-generation Richmond resident, I’ve made it very clear that I represent my community, I love my community, and I’m proud of my community. My end goal has always been to recycle my success here. That’s what I’m doing through my work—I focus on building resident leadership in Richmond that improves the wellness of our entire community. I remind Richmond residents that they shouldn’t feel limited to experiencing wellness in nature. They have the right to feel that same form of wellness in their neighborhoods every day.”Angelica Delgado, a public health leader and a graduate of Santa Clara University (undergraduate) and UCLA (graduate)
“Do not be afraid to pursue a career that you do not know anyone in. The career I chose is not one any person in my family ever pursued. This made it difficult to understand the culture or what was to come when I entered the field, but it has been a rewarding experience and I am glad I pursued my career choice.”Wave-Maker Brenda Godoy, a criminal justice professional and a graduate of San Francisco State University
“I have the honor of working with youth from Richmond every single day of my life! I’m able to introduce a multitude of art forms to young folks as a way for them to process and heal from their stressors and traumas. I teach spoken word/poetry, I support in conflict mediation, and I create a safe space for youth to explore themselves and share their stories.”Ciera-Jevae Gordon, a nonprofit leader, graduate of UC Santa Cruz (undergraduate) and California College of the Arts (graduate), and Poet Laureate of Richmond
“Trust the process even when you may not understand it. Keep a community of people around you that will not judge you or give up on you while you’re becoming who you were destined to become. While on your journey, develop discipline because discipline will keep you going in the absence of motivation.”Kayla Jones, a graduate of California State University, East Bay (undergraduate) and UC Berkeley and Stanford University (graduate)
“Making Waves instilled structure, community, positive affirmation, motivation, and support to pursue higher education and strive to achieve our goals despite the many statistics that said we couldn’t. Making Waves provided us mentors, tutors, and experiences that broadened our horizons and showed us that the world could be ours.”Vilma Rizzo, a social justice advocate and a graduate of San Jose State University (undergraduate) and Florida International University (graduate)
“Do not limit yourself or your opportunities because of fear. Push yourself outside your comfort zone. Not only will you learn more about yourself, but you may also discover something you’re passionate about.”Enrique Romero, an education leader and alumnus of Pitzer College and Harvard Graduate School of Education
“Two values have motivated me throughout my educational journey and decision to become a physician: the pursuit of justice and the alleviation of human suffering. I aspire to learn how to help heal patients, how to innovate to better diagnose and cure diseases, and to make those resources accessible to marginalized communities. Making Waves prepared me for the challenges of college and medical school. The mentorship and resources fostered my academic potential, and the supportive community encouraged and inspired me, and made me proud of the community I come from.”Carol Tran, Diagnostic Radiology Physician at University of California, San Francisco, and Graduate of Harvard University and UCSF
ABOUT MAKING WAVES EDUCATION FOUNDATION
At Making Waves, we are committed to educational equity. Making Waves Education Foundation is a Bay Area nonprofit that supports Making Waves Academy – a public charter school with more than 1,100 5th through 12th grade students – and leads college and career programming with more than 500 college students.
Knowing the opportunities that come with a college degree, we partner with historically underrepresented and underserved students to help make college affordable and graduation attainable. Centering the journeys of our students, our personalized approach includes college and career coaching, scholarships, and financial planning.
Our alumni network includes more than 600 college graduates, who earn their degrees and land jobs at more than twice the rate of their first-generation, low-income peers, with 84% graduating debt-free.