Our esteemed board members provide valuable direction and insight for all of ASF’s activities and organizational goals. We are grateful for their years of dedication.
Monica Santos is a native of California. She received her BA in Liberal Studies and Bilingual Teaching Credential from Loyola Marymount University and has a Masters from the University of San Diego in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. Monica worked as a Dual Immersion teacher in the public schools in Los Angeles and Chula Vista, California for more than 20 years. She is the Founder and Director of Advancing Students Forward-A Su Futuro, an educational nonprofit that has served students in Tijuana, Mexico since 1984.
As a board member since 2005, Jennifer has become increasingly more excited about the growth, good work and development of Advancing Students Forward. Her passion for volunteering began early in life with service projects in Belize, the Dominican Republic, Boston and South Africa. Since her move to the west coast, Jenn has been active in various humanitarian organizations in and around Tijuana. As a Registered Nurse for women and newborns in San Diego, she gets many opportunities to practice her improving espanol. Jennifer received a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Merrimack College and a BSN from Villanova University.
Being born in and raised in Mexico, Gabriel has a strong passion for fighting the blatant inequality that exists there, and believes that education is the key in bridging that gap.
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Odesma is a proponent of education equity as a key mechanism for ensuring just social growth and development. As a trained engineering education scholar, Odesma’s professional and service work is focused on transforming engineering education and its public image; making it more inclusive, and socially connected. Odesma is an assistant professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering program at University of San Diego. She has co-developed and maintained three successful science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education outreach programs: STEAM Labs, STEAM TEAM Academy and the STEAM Youth and Community Conference. Starting in 2015, Odesma has worked closely with ASF students during monthly meetings. Odesma holds a PhD in Engineering Education from Purdue University and a MEng. in Industrial Engineering and a BS in Electrical Engineering, both from Morgan State University.
Robin has a M.C.P. in Urban Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology with specializations in economic development and real estate, and a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego (Revelle College), in Anthropology and Teaching. She is the past director of the State of Nevada’s Rural Economic Development Program, holding appointments by former Governors Bryan and Miller. She has been active in land preservation projects and issues in Santee and East County for the past 25 years. Robin, a founding employee of the River Park, has written several multi-million dollar grants for property acquisition and restoration. Her work for the River Park brings her into multi-faceted issues or restoration, water quality, trail development but also community outreach, public education and working with the homeless population in the San Diego River. Robin also spent several years working at a children’s home in Tecate, where she came to love Mexico and its children.