STAFF


 

Elizabeth Zamora, Executive Director   Ext 200
 
Zamora previously worked in healthcare, as Executive Director of Women’s and Children’s Health Development at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and as Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the UCLA School of Nursing.  In the field of education, she worked to improve academic achievement at public schools by raising funds for academic intervention programs, programs to increase parent capacity and the construction of new schools.  She is presently a board trustee at the Westside Neighborhood School and a past board member of Bright Star Schools.  An active civic and community leader, she was the elected Chair of the Planning and Land Use Committee for Council District 11 in the City of Los Angeles and served as the Legislative Officer for the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality Political Action Committee.  Zamora grew up in Del Rey, is a graduate of Middlebury College, and went on to earn her Masters of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. 


Mary Hebert, Office Manager, Human Resources, and Bookkeeper   Ext 123

Mary wears three hats at Bright Prospect and ensures that every aspect of the organization runs smoothly behind the scenes. Mary was born in Compton, California where she attended high school at Centennial Senior High. She is the middle child of six children and a first generation college student. Mary graduated cum laude from Kaplan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and holds more than 20 years of accounting experience. In graduate school, she attended Kaplan University and earned a Masters in Psychology with an emphasis in Substance Abuse Counseling. Mary volunteers regularly at her church and her local community center as a substance abuse counselor, as one of her passions is mental health. Mary appreciates helping and guiding students and others through challenges they may be facing, making Bright Prospect her second home.  



 
Kevin Lumowah, Manager of Mission Advancement, Institutional Funding   Ext 222

Born in Pomona and raised in Rancho Cucamonga, Kevin Lumowah attended Chaffey High School and graduated in 2009. He then enrolled to Chaffey Community College while working closely with public school students through various non-profit organizations. Since he intended to work within the community in regards to education, Kevin transferred to California State University San Bernardino where he graduated with a B.A. in English Creative Writing with an emphasis on Secondary School education in Language Arts. He is a first generation college student, the eldest of three children with immigrant parents from Indonesia, and an avid believer of the importance of building strong foundations and support systems for young people. Kevin has spent two years working for Bright Prospect's Junior Team, assisting in the creation and implementation of various college-access and success workshops for his students. He now works in the Development Department where he hopes to continue his career at Bright Prospect to assist in the growth and success of the program. 






Abigail Ledesma-Diaz, Manager of Mission Advancement, External Relations   Ext 219

From a young age, Abigail knew she wanted to be a role model and the first in her family to go to college, so she joined Bright Prospect during her junior year at Garey High School. With Bright Prospect’s support, she graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Hispanic Studies. In college, Abigail participated in multicultural clubs, studied abroad, and interned with the Red Cross in Spain, where she found her passion to work with underrepresented students. After graduation, she worked with children and adults on the autism spectrum in North Carolina and Washington State. When the opportunity arose, she returned to Pomona, her hometown, to work at Bright Prospect. Abigail hopes to inspire and guide students through their journey to higher education. 
 




Patrick Cortez, Manager, Data & Evaluations   Ext 206

Patrick was raised in Montclair, graduating from Damien High School in 2007, Cal Poly Pomona in 2011, and Claremont Graduate University in 2016. During his time in college, Patrick had served in a variety of student-centered roles, such as being an AVID Tutor, Peer Mentor, and Orientation Leader at Cal Poly Pomona, in addition to providing mentorship and leadership coaching during his time at CGU. Since graduating from CPP, Patrick has worked across a variety of research and evaluation projects and brings with him more than seven years of experience spanning across the fields of education, leadership development, and community mental health. 
 




 
Mauro Perez, Manager, College Program   Ext 124

Mauro was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in 2009 and moved to the Inland Empire to attend the University of California, Riverside.  Upon graduating from UCR in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Science, he moved back to LA with the hope of finding a career where he can be a resource to youth. Mauro credits his family as being his greatest inspiration during his college years, and his parents raised him to strive to achieve great things while remaining humble and helping others whenever possible.  He is honored to be part of an organization that teaches students the value of a higher education and helps students achieve great success.  







 
  


 
Jimmy Sanchez, Manager, College Completion   Ext 213

Jimmy was born and raised in Los Angeles. He grew up in a low-income, immigrant, Spanish speaking household where since a young age, he worked with his father in landscaping during his summers until heading to UC Merced where he obtained his B.A. in Sociology. During his time in Merced, he obtained his first job helping students apply to college. Through that job, Jimmy’s passion for college access programs grew. He is excited to be a part of Bright Prospect and looks forward to serving a similar community like his.
 


 

Debra Hoang, Senior Coordinator, College Program   Ext 214

Debra is an alumna of Bright Prospect who attended Garey High School and graduated in 2005. She was born and raised in Pomona, California as the middle child of five. Debra later graduated from California State University, San Bernardino in 2016 with a B.A. in Sociology. While attending CSUSB she worked as an Avid tutor and loved working with students on their academic and future goals, and wants to continue working within the community she grew up in. 






 
Luz Bertadillo, Coordinator, College Program   Ext 125

Luz Bertadillo was born in Mexico City and raised in Pomona. A proud Pomonan, Luz graduated from Garey High School in 2008, where, at a young age, she became active in advocating for immigrant rights. After working at a variety of low-paid jobs for long hours, she decided to continue her education.  Luz first attended Mt. San Antonio College where she obtained her Transfer Associate of Arts (AA-T) in Psychology. She then transferred and ultimately graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Psychology. As a college student, Luz worked as a tutor, teacher assistant and program counselor for low-income students. Her studies gave Luz the opportunity to travel back to her motherland after 15 years to study abroad at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). Following graduation from Berkeley, she got a job at Mt. San Antonio College providing support to undocumented students through the college’s Dream Program.


 


Omolara Oluyemi, Coordinator, College Program   Ext 213

Omolara
 Oluyemi (Lara) received her Bachelor's in English with an emphasis in creative writing at California State University, San Bernardino in 2015. She is currently working toward receiving a Master’s of Science degree in Higher Education Leadership and Student Development from California Baptist University. Her family migrated to the United States from Lagos, Nigeria after winning the lottery for the Diversity Visa hosted by the United States Department of State. Subsequently, Lara strives to make her parents and family proud by being an active member in her community and advocating for those that cannot advocate for themselves. Her passion for service has led her to the education and nonprofit sector. While in college, Lara was an AmeriCorps member, where she tutored High School Seniors and helped them to pass the then, California High School Exit Exam. Tutoring High School students and encouraging them to dream big and shoot for the stars was where Lara realized she had a passion for advising students and providing them with support towards seeking and maintaining Higher Education. She is excited to use her experience mentoring and providing college assistance to students from diverse backgrounds to provide college access services and support to students at Bright Prospect. Her 
focus is to empower our young adults to find their own passion, acquire marketable career skills and enter meaningful and beneficial employment opportunities by introducing workplace development programs, facilitating soft skills training and workshops on how to successfully navigate post-secondary education.

 


 

Yohana Barajas Hinojosa, Coordinator, College Program   Ext 213


Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Yohana and her parents immigrated to the US to pursue the “American Dream”. She was raised in South Central Los Angeles where she experienced firsthand the lack of resources and opportunities in her community and schools. For this reason she became an advocate for educational rights, financial resources, and social justice. As an active member in her community and during her time in high school she served as the Senior Vice President, Varsity Tennis Captain and had other leadership roles among different student/community organizations. Yohana became the first in her family to graduate from high school and attend college. After graduating from Santee Education Complex at the top 5% of her class she attended California State University, Los Angeles where she majored in Social Work. In 2013 with the support of her family, community and mentors she graduated from CSU, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Social Work and minor in Chicano Studies. Yohana continues her work to guide youth with their educational and employment endeavors and thrives knowing that through every obstacle she faced and overcame, paved a path to new opportunities and open doors for the future generation of college students.

 
Guadalupe Mejia, Coordinator, College Program   Ext 212

Guadalupe Mejia is a bilingual Latina raised in San Gabriel, California. With the support of her parents and mentors, she became the first in her family to go to college in the United States. She attended Loyola Marymount University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Communication Studies and minoring in Chicana/o Studies. While in college, Guadalupe held an administrative job and actively participated in student life leadership as a Resident Advisor, Greek Life member, and Peer Facilitator of the First to Go Scholars Program. Her experience working with and for other students (Primarily those who identify as being first-generation) has subsequently inspired Guadalupe to pursue a career in the college-access field, one in which she plans to commit herself to support low-income and first-generation students to have access to higher education. More importantly, she wants to ensure that students feel supported all the way up until graduation and beyond. 


Andrea Ortiz, Coordinator, College Program   Ext 

Andrea Ortiz was born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico. Her family migrated to the U.S. and she was raised in El Monte CA before moving to Ontario, CA. She graduated from Chaffey High School in 2009 and went on to Chaffey Community College. After graduating with two Associate’s degrees, she transferred to Cal Poly Pomona and graduated with a B.S. in Management and Human Resources with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship. Having studied abroad during her college experience to Hong Kong and Dubai, she fell in love with traveling. She has a passion for advocating in the areas of justice, equality, and self-care. As a first-generation Latina graduate, she knows the importance of education as it has opened many doors for her. She looks forwards to mentoring and being a resource for students. 


 


Christopher Brown, Manager, Senior Program   Ext 201

Chris Brown is a Pomona born and raised alumnus of Bright Prospect. Chris attended Pomona High School, graduated in 2011, and with the help of Bright Prospect was the first student from the program to attend Union College. Chris graduated from Union College in June of 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in Theater and Film Studies. Chris is the youngest member of his four siblings to graduate from college. Chris is very dedicated to education and hopes to have a positive impact on both the program and the community that he is working in. For some time, Chris was also a Commissioner for Parks and Recreation in the city of Pomona. Chris is eager to improve his community in any way that he can and to be a positive mentor and role model for the students of the program. He has recently taken on a more senior position as the Senior Program Manager to continue his efforts in helping the community.







 
Karen Beckers, Manager of Retention Strategy, Senior Program Ext 114

Karen was born in Covina and raised in Baldwin Park, CA. Karen’s greatest motivational force is her single mother, who worked tirelessly to provide for her and her siblings. After graduating from Baldwin Park High School, Karen pursued a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Despite the challenges Karen encountered as a first-generation college student, she became the first in her family to graduate from college and later pursue a MS in College Counseling and Student Development at Azusa Pacific University.  As a first-generation Latina college graduate, Karen understands the substantial barriers students face in accessing a postsecondary education and has made it her mission to guide and empower students from low-income communities to pursue and attain a college degree.




 
Maria Rodriguez, Coordinator, Senior Program   Ext 216

Maria Rodriguez is a Bright Prospect alumna born and raised in the city of Pomona. Maria graduated from Pomona High School and went on to study at the University of California, Riverside where she graduated with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Spanish. She was a first generation student and has dedicated much of her time volunteering and interning within the City of Pomona.  She believes her success is having students realize their own goals by helping them get through the college pipeline and achieving their dreams.







Natasha Francisco, Coordinator, Senior Program   EXT 205

Natasha received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from California State University: Los Angeles. Initially, Natasha started her career in the law enforcement industry. As a Criminal Justice professional, she was prepared to help prevent crime and put away criminals. However, she quickly realized that she had to get to the root of the problem of crime. Looking towards the future, Natasha redirected her efforts to helping and equipping young people with life skills, tools, and knowledge so that they won’t ever turn to crime. She is passionate about seeing students succeed by directing them to the right resources and opportunities. Currently, she is working on her College Counselor Certificate at UCLA Extension. As a senior program coordinator, she hopes to instill a sense of courage and resilience in the younger generation especially in the face of life’s challenges.
 




Allison Kennedy, Manager, Junior Program   Ext 218

Growing up, Allison never questioned that going to college was in her future and ventured to be the first in her family to attend a 4-year university. She started taking classes at Chaffey Community College the summer before her junior year at Alta Loma High School and made a smooth transition to Chaffey post high school graduation. As she did not qualify for financial aid, she started working at 16 to save money for college and paid her way through school, with the help of her parents. After earning 2 AA degrees from Chaffey, she transferred to Cal State San Bernardino where she acquired a bachelor’s in Psychology. After graduating from CSUSB in 2013, she stumbled upon a volunteering opportunity at Bright Prospect editing personal statements. She fell in love with the work, the staff, and the organization and was honored to join the staff in February 2015 after five months of volunteering. She is proud to work with students every day who have goals and dreams to better their lives and community via higher education.



 
Sergio Diaz-Luna, Coordinator, Junior Program   EXT 203

Sergio was born and raised in the City of Pomona and graduated from Ganesha High School in 2013. Being an alumnus of Bright Prospect, growing up in poverty, and being a first-generation college student provides his motivation to assist others in reaching their full potential. He attended Haverford College in Pennsylvania where he became involved in first-generation college student mentorship and participated in research trips to Mexico and Guatemala. In 2017 he graduated with a B.A. in Political Science with a Latin America and Iberian Studies Concentration. Upon graduating, he returned to Southern California to work with newcomer children to help them navigate the immigration system before transitioning to his new role at Bright Prospect.

 




Crystal Ruiz, Coordinator, Junior Program   EXT 207

While born in Southern California, Crystal was raised most of her life in the Central Valley. She graduated from Clovis East High School in 2011 and attended the University of California Irvine for her undergraduate degree. During her time at UCI, she was involved in the Women’s Lacrosse Club and a Little Sister Organization while also balancing multiple part time jobs around campus. Upon graduating from UCI in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health Policy, Crystal spent over two years planning intentional preventative activities with at-risk native youth in areas such as higher education, leadership, and work readiness. She is excited to bring her experiences to Bright Prospect and to begin helping to direct juniors on their future educational and career pathways. From a young age, Crystal was surrounded by inspiring mentors, coaches, and individuals, and she hopes to be a similar advocate for the students of Bright Prospect.




Jesus Navarro



Jesus Navarro, Manager, Sophomore Program  Ext 215

An alumnus of Bright Prospect, Jesus Navarro is a first generation college student. In 2000, his family migrated from Tijuana, Mexico to Pomona, California. From a young age, Jesus has been inspired and motivated by his parent’s quest for a better future; for him this meant acquiring knowledge through higher education. He attended Ganesha High School and graduated in 2010. On June 2014, Jesus graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Chicano Studies. Jesus joins the staff hoping to contribute and give back to a program that was vital in his educational journey. He hopes to utilize the skills learned as a student, volunteer, and intern of the program to assist students, from a community he considers home. Jesus hopes to continue to foster a community in which higher education is seen as the key to success. 



 
Crystal Davis, Coordinator, Sophomore Program Ext 209
 
Crystal Davis is a Riverside native who graduated from Ramona High School in 2012. She then enrolled and received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Applied Psychology, and Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Through the duration of her undergraduate experience, Crystal placed herself in leadership positions, taking an active role as a community organizer in her non-profit organizations. In her experience, she has developed counseling skills and a keen interest in creating strong community foundations through education and rehabilitation. To increase her understanding of different cultures and diversity in societies, she seized the opportunity to participate in a study abroad program in Rome, Italy. Aside from academics, Crystal was also a member of a dance group, “Black
Reign” that performed at multi-cultural shows, basketball games, and other campus events hosted by the student collective. After receiving her degree, Crystal sought out a career that would stay true to her values and her vision of building up her community. Crystal is not only enthused about being a part of Bright Prospect, but is also truly privileged to be part of a team that is motivated and driven to increase community scholars through college access.