2017 CRC Scholars

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2017 CRC Scholars

Samantha Aguilar

Samantha Aguilar is a community and regional development major interested in public policy and education reform.  Through minoring in political science, she hopes eventually to work with youth in marginalized communities to provide them with the policy education needed to create social and political change.  During her time with the CRC, she will work towards these goals by assisting with the Putting Youth on the Map (PYOM) project.  While working with the CRC’s Community Engagement Coordinator, Sergio Cuellar, Aguilar will develop a curriculum using the PYOM mapping index that will help guide youth fulfill their goal of using their advocacy projects to create lasting change.  She will also be conducting research and analysis that will work towards making this project more effective and attractive in order to promote youth activism in communities.


Brenda Hernandez

Brenda Hernandez is a community and regional development and Chicana/o studies double major.  She is interested in affecting social change through public and local policy.  As a CRC Scholar, she provided technical assistance to Action Teams in conjunction with "Keeping the Promise: A Getting Started Guide for Evaluation Sacramento's Promise Zone."  Hernandez also worked with Bernadette Austin, CRC Associate Director, in conducting an asset map of current and potential organizations and other resources available in the Sacramento Promise Zone.  She also supported the CRC staff and partner organizations in developing programs and technical assistance for the implementation of the Planning Healthy Communities Act (SB 1000).


Marguerite Kise

Marguerite Kise is an American studies student graduating in spring of 2017.  Minoring in community and regional development, as well as film studies, Kise pursues intersectional solidarity building from the bottom up and embraces art as a tool to create more inclusive, restorative conversations about justice.  As an undergraduate, Kise taught English through the Worldwide Child Relief Foundation, stage managed and performed for Vagina: Our Stories, participated on the board of Third Space Art Collective, and interned for the Women’s Resource and Research Center.  In 2015, Kise was invited to present her workshop “Lies About Allies: Creating Cooperative Solidarity” at the annual North American Student Cooperative conference.  As a CRC Scholar, Kise works with the Environment Justice Coalition for Water to create short informative films about access to clean, affordable water and other related environmental justice issues in the Salton Sea and California Delta, and in regard to Northern Californian tribes.


Hy Nguyen

Hy Nguyen is a sociology undergraduate major who is interested in academic issues and public health issues such as nutrition, physical activity, and obesity within disadvantaged communities.  Inspired to understand the culture of his community, Nguyen decided to minor in Chicana/o studies.  In winter 2017, he is supporting CRC faculty affiliate Nancy Erbstein, and CRC staff member Stacy Shwartz-Olagundoye, with the CRC project “Chronic Absence in the Sacramento City Unified School District” by presenting chronic school absenteeism data to different communities, as well as providing data analysis of various school’s progression of reducing chronic absenteeism to members of the Sacramento County Unified School District.


Viva Parsa

Viva Parsa is an undergraduate in sociology interested in addressing health disparities through intersectional approaches to public health and medical sociology. As a member of the Biology Undergraduate Scholars Program, Parsa interned at the Casteel Lab where she studied insect-plant interactions of the potato virus in solanaceous plants.  Plant pathology research and minoring in global disease biology gave her a scientific insight into the importance of environmental health and the need for interdisciplinary, or "One Health" approaches, to social issues.  At the CRC, Parsa is working with the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water to produce educational and advocacy tools targeting water rights issues in tribal communities across California.


Cassandra Paz

Cassandra Paz is a double major in Community Regional Development and Spanish. She is interested in bridging disparities in communities through local policy and outreach. As a CRC Scholar, she is working with the Associate Director of the Urban Land Use and Transportation Center (ULTRANS), Dr. Caroline Rodier. Through the collaboration of ULTRANS and the CRC, the goal of the project is to provide alternative means of transportation to disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley.


Marie Pinna

Marie Pinna is a third year international relations major, as well as a community and regional development minor.  She is interested in the intersection between public policy and critical community needs.  Through the CRC, she is coordinating the UC Davis Environmental Health Science Academy Day, which will connect community partners with research from university professors to address challenges in Central Valley communities.  Pinna hopes to study law after completing her undergraduate degree this June.


Michelle Rodriguez

Michelle Rodriguez is a first-year Masters of Public Health student at UC Davis. Her interests are global/international health, health disparities, as well as community health. At the CRC, Michelle is supporting the Environmental Health Science Research for Central Valley Communities project by putting together a pesticide focused “Environmental Health Academy Day.”  Concurrently, she will assist in piloting a curriculum around topics of academic-community partnerships.  In the future, Rodriguez hopes to start her own non-profit organization to support underserved communities in receiving the knowledge and resources to live a healthy lifestyle, with a focus on providing clean water to underprivileged areas.