Our Team

The people with a passion to help the community.

Javier Munoz - Founder, Co-Director

Javier Muñoz founded HGSA College PATHS in the Fall of 2015. He grew up in East Los Angeles, graduated from J. A. Garfield High School in 2009, and is currently a PhD Student at the UCLA Department of History. His experiences in East LA and education at UCLA explain his commitment to helping underrepresented students achieve their goals. Javier is also a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow (Copenhagen 2014).

Vanessa Calderon - Co-Director

Vanessa Calderon grew up in East L.A. and graduated from Garfield High School in 2009. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Master of Public Health at USC. Her work centers on issues of identity, intersectionality, discrimination, and mental health disparities among communities of color. Vanessa is also passionate about advocating for educational access for first-generation students and those underrepresented in higher education. She is thrilled to form part of the CollegePATHS team!

Carolina Ugalde - Programming Coordinator

Carolina Ugalde earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Business Management at UC Merced. She is currently a legal assistant for an immigration law firm located in the heart of East Los Angeles. Carolina is passionate about uplifting her community and ensuring that future generations find the support and resources necessary to thrive. Her desire to directly impact her community led to her involvement with HGSA College PATHS.

Justin Jordan - Branding Coordinator, Web Architect

Justin Jordan graduated from James A. Garfield in 2009 and UCLA in 2015 with a B.S. in Computer Science. He is currently working as a Software Engineer in Pasadena. With a willingness to give back to the community, especially one he grew up in, he joined Javier in his quest to help underprivileged students.

Araceli Centanino - Programming Contributor

Araceli joined HGSA College PATHS in the Fall of 2015. She grew up in San Diego and graduated from Patrick Henry High School and is currently a Ph.D. Student in the History Department at UCLA. As a former community college student, Araceli understands the importance of mentorship and supportive programs, like College PATHS, to the educational success of underrepresented students. She is committed to increasing access to higher education for first generation and students of color.

Patricia Gonzalez - Programming Contributor

Patricia Gonzalez graduated from James A. Garfield High ́13 and earned her B.A. in Literature with a minor in Education from UC Santa Cruz in ‘17. Currently, Patricia serves as a mentor/tutor at a local middle school in East Los Angeles. Aside from her current role at her school, Patricia wanted to find other opportunities that could allow her to contribute back to her community, which led her to HGSA College Paths. Her leadership mission is to make a positive impact for the community she grew up in by encouraging students to thrive within and outside of East LA. She hopes that her contribution will allow her to connect with new generations of students whose successes will inspire positive perceptions about underserved communities and their students.

Sergio Valenzuela - Programming Contributor

Sergio Valenzuela is a first generation Mexican American born and raised in East LA. He attended James A. Garfield High ’09, and completed his undergraduate at UCLA ’13 where he received a double Bachelor of Arts in International Development and Spanish Language. Sergio currently works for one of the largest federally qualified health centers (FQHC) in the U.S. as a Human Capital Professional. Through his work experience, Sergio has developed a passion for providing access to healthcare to those that need it the most. This is the first year being involved with HGSA College PATHS but he is extremely excited to share his knowledge and resources with fellow Bulldogs!

Rudy Torres - Programming Contributor

Rudy Torres hails from East Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Garfield High School in 2012 and completed his undergraduate at Brown University in 2016 with a B.A. in Sociology. Rudy is passionate about social justice work, plays guitar, and drinks damaging amounts of coffee for no particular reason. He enjoys writing about constructs of masculinity, language and identity, as a means of grappling with his own Latinidad. For the past year and half, Rudy has worked in the non-profit sector, primarily in education, ensuring the success and persistence of first-generation, low-income students of color in college. When he's not working on College PATHS, Rudy is probably out dancing Cumbia, eating pizza, or running around East Los Angeles.

Roberto Cancio - Programming Contributor

Dr. Roberto “Rob” Cancio grew up on the East side of Los Angeles. He has received degrees from East Los Angeles College, University of California, Berkeley, University of Florida, and the University of Miami. Dr. Cancio is a community action researcher involved on multiple projects focused on issues related to public health and mental health disparities, juvenile justice, adolescent alcohol and drug prevention, homelessness, and civic engagement. His is also a military veteran.

Joshua Rodriguez - Branding Contributor

Joshua helps set the short and long term direction of the program. He grew up in Boyle Heights and graduated from Garfield High School in 2009. He received his B.A. in Economics from Pomona College and currently works for NBCUniversal. His personal, professional, and academic experiences have motivated him to become a community advocate for equal access to higher education. He's excited to mentor GHS students and help them achieve their goals.

Jose Alvarez - Mentor

José grew up in the Eastern Coachella Valley, where he graduated from Desert Mirage High School in 2016. He was admitted into UCLA in 2016, where he is currently pursuing a B.A in history and a minor in education. He joined College PATHS in the spring of 2017 because he recognizes the importance that exists in terms of assisting underrepresented students in their quest to attain a higher level of education. His ultimate goal is to return to his community with a doctorate in the field of education policies in order to provide students from the Eastern Coachella valley with the same resources found in the Western Coachella Valley.