Santa Clara University

The Johnson Scholars Program

Denise Castillo Chavez '14

Hometown: Windsor, Calif.
Double Major/Minor: sociology and ethnic studies/urban education
Mentor: Lorenzo Gamboa, associate director, Undergraduate Admission
Project: Starfish International—Gambia, Africa

Denise Castillo Chavez values service learning, advocacy for and accompaniment with marginalized communities, empowerment of women, and improvement of access to education. She will spend six weeks in Gambia, Africa, working with Starfish International to share these values and empower girls and women through education. As part of a summer institute, Denise will lead classes for girls and young women from local villages—ranging from English and mathematics to goal-setting and photography—all with the intention of providing a safe learning space where these young women will be able to give back to their home communities. Because of her passion for education and advocacy, Denise plans to pursue a career in education advocacy and eventually teach at the university level.