LEADERSHIP

Melissa Saulog Nagar, President

Melissa Saulog Nagar  is a native of San Francisco and is Head of College Counseling at Archbishop Riordan High School. She earned her MS in Counseling at San Francisco State University and her B.A. in Communications from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. While at Lewis & Clark College she co-chaired the Ray Warren Multicultural Symposium. Melissa is dedicated in supporting and empowering youth, and promoting diversity in higher education.

Melanie Aguas, Scholarship Committee Member

Melanie Aguas earned a bachelor's degree in Biology, with a minor in Psychology, from the University of California, Davis. At UC Davis, she involved herself in campus clubs and activities, particularly in two Filipino-American organizations, Mga Kapatid and Bridge. She is an avid supporter of learning, as well as educating others, about ethnic cultures and histories, and giving back to the community. Melanie recently graduated from the University of San Francisco with a Master's degree in School Counseling and a PPS credential. Melanie loves reading, writing, movies, and art. In her spare time, she enjoys sightseeing, dining at different restaurants, attending concerts, and exploring new places.

Kim Davalos, Scholarship Committee Member

Kim Davalos is a third generation Filipina-American who was born and raised in Stockton, California. Kim is a recent graduate from the San Francisco State University Masters in Counseling program. She specializes in college and career counseling. Her Bachelors of Arts was obtained at San Diego State University in 2010 in Psychology, Counseling and Social Change. Kim is currently working as a college counselor and adviser for IDEA, a program that promotes postsecondary education for the early childcare workforce. She has a passion for women's rights and promoting social equality through empowerment within higher education. She enjoys writing and performing poetry, learning the ukulele for her grandma and father, and eating all the binangkal, bibingka, and halo-halos she can handle.

Vanessa Kwan, Scholarship Committee Member

Vanessa Kwan was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the US when she was 11. She grew up in the Bay Area and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at San Francisco State University. For the past 15 years, she has amassed extensive experience in digital advertising having taken on Ad Operations roles at media companies such as CNET Networks, Bebo/AOL, Federated Media, Townsquare Media, Ask Jeeves. Vanessa is passionate about mentoring young professionals in the business world. In her current role as Associate Director at Jumpstart Automotive Group, she is responsible for hiring, training and coaching new members of the team. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and kids.

Maria Luntao, Scholarship Committee Member

Maria Luntao is a Research Assistant at the School of Education at Stanford University. While working, she has also been taking Psychology classes from the Stanford Continuing Studies department. She finished her undergraduate studies, majoring in English, in Southern California where she is originally from. Maria also earned her M.Ed and Teaching Credential from the University of California, Riverside. She is an avid supporter of youth empowerment and passionate about helping to guide young adults in discovering and exploring their own goals and ambitions in life. Maria plans to go back to graduate school for her PhD in Psychology.

Cristine Sidela, Scholarship Committee Member

Cristine Sidela is a first generation Filipina immigrant with an educational background in Psychology and Counseling. Cristine has a B.A. in Psychology and recently earned her M.S. in Counseling from San Francisco State University. She is passionate about supporting students as they explore their futures and educational aspirations and specializes in college and career counseling. Her previous professional experiences have focused specifically on empowering, mentoring, providing holistic support, and advocating for underrepresented, first-generation, low-income students. Presently, Cristine is working with Dr. Rebecca Toporek as a Research Assistant on a qualitative study of community college counselors' work roles and advocacy. The intention and hope is to highlight and illustrate the importance of the multiple roles of community college counselors. Cristine is currently residing in Southern California, where she hopes to continue her career as a counselor within institutions of higher education. Cristine aspires to earn a PhD in Counseling Psychology in the future.

Elaine R. Serina, Ph.D., Founder and Advisory Member

Dr. Serina founded Pinay Aspirations in 2006 and remained as President for four years. She has been an active member of the community, having served as President-Elect for the Filipina Women's Network, as Vice-President of the UC Berkeley Engineering Alumni Association, on the Advisory Council of the Daly City Youth Health Center, and currently co-authoring Step-Ins, a collection of stories and photographs of Filipino American women. Dr. Serina is also a Principal of Talas Engineering, Inc., a nationally-recognized engineering consulting firm. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley.