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Leading the Way

SCU employees and alumni named among top Silicon Valley Latino leaders.

Silicon Valley Latino magazine has named its inaugural “40under40 Latinos2Watch” list and Santa Clara University is well represented. The group was chosen based on dedication to helping the Latino community, leadership skills, and professional success. Nearly a quarter of the honorees have ties to Santa Clara University.

“It's no wonder so many of those honored are connected to this prestigious organization. Santa Clara University has the pulse of the next leaders of Silicon Valley,” says Assistant Vice President for Foundations Jason Rodriguez, who was named in the education category. “I am proud to be among this group and committed to continuing SCU's tradition of excellence and appreciation of diversity.”

Members of the Bronco family were recognized in the education, corporate, community, and law categories. Many have earned a reputation for their dedication to helping others and inspiring change politically. Some attribute their success to strong networks.

"I am thankful for the support of my loving wife, family, friends, and colleagues that allowed my passion to blossom,” says Lorenzo Gamboa, an alum and the associate director of undergraduate admission at SCU. “I look forward to using my social justice knowledge nurtured by Santa Clara University to open the doors of education to all regardless of their life circumstances."

You can read more about the list in the next print edition of Silicon Valley Latino on April 23.

COMMUNITY:
Stephanie Bravo is the assistant director for social media at SCU and founder of StudentMentor.org. The mentorship program was recognized by the White House and several major news outlets. She was nominated in the “community” category for her passion for higher education and social entrepreneurship.
Javier M. Gonzalez ’05 is the director of local government affairs for the California Restaurant Association. He’s spent years working for several Santa Clara Valley nonprofits and has served in leadership roles in the state and local Democratic party.

EDUCATION:
Perlita Dicochea ’97, Ph.D.  is an assistant professor of ethnic studies and environmental justice studies at Santa Clara University and member of the Women and Gender Studies Advisory Board. She also earned her B.A. in communication from Santa Clara. Her current research focuses on New River pollution on the Mexico/U.S. border and Guadalupe River watershed restoration in San Jose.
Lorenzo Gamboa ’03 is the associate director of undergraduate admission at Santa Clara University and studied economics, international business, Spanish, and general engineering. He also serves on SCU’s Council for Inclusive Excellence and Diversity and is committed to helping first-generation families navigate the college experience. He co-founded Scholarships AZ, a nonprofit organization promoting higher educational access to all regardless of immigrant status.
Jason Rodriguez is the assistant vice president for foundation, corporate, and government relations at SCU. After years working at HP, he has built a name for himself in the business world of Silicon Valley.

CORPORATE:
Ricardo Benavidez ’00 is the senior community relations manager at Cisco and during his tenure the company has donated $25 million. He studied marketing while attending SCU. He was also awarded a U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Recognition for Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community.

LAW:
Elias Portales ’00 is the founder of the EFP Law group and earned a B.S. in political science from Santa Clara University before earning a law degree from Georgetown University. He has worked for the Obama administration and is also active in state and local politics.
Micael Estremera ’02, J.D. ’06 is a trial attorney from East San Jose who graduated from Santa Clara University in ’02 with a B.S. in political science and ’06 with a law degree. He has held several leadership positions in Silicon Valley including president of the La Raza Lawyers Association.
Nelson McElmurry, J.D. ’04 successfully runs his own law firm after attending law school at Santa Clara University. He has successfully defended two life cases with acquittals, which is highly commended so early in his career.

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