The Unschool's SEVENTH Fellowship Program starts on Sunday April 23rd!

Meet the incredible #UNSCHOOLSF cohort of creative rebels and change agents, joining us in SAN FRANCISCO, USA, from 8 different countries!


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Abigail Mapua-Cabanilla

Abi is a seeker with a profound mission to build new models that change the status quo, in a world filled with broken systems and inequality. Her founding and establishment of the Hub of Innovation For Inclusion (HIFI), a university-based social innovation space and incubator is a testament to this mission. Abi's practice in the fields of environmental science and social design exposed her to the key importance of listening and empathizing with the needs and values of people.  Her work in academia in the areas of social design and sustainability presented her with the opportunity to cross-pollinate across disciplines, involve students and faculty, and facilitate collaboration and co-creation with communities and their very real challenges. Abi is also Co-Founder and Sustainability Driver at KindMind, an experience design laboratory that helps organizations grow by creating brand moments for their users. Abi is a regular speaker and facilitator of human-centered innovation among universities and corporate partners.

Aleesha Rodriguez

As a passionate abstract and critical thinker, Aleesha questions everything and loves to problem-solve. Her big, burning, world-changing passion is understanding the intersection between ecology, digitality, and economics, with a focus on understanding the discourse and narratives that stakeholders produce to initiate the mitigation of the climate crisis.

Aleesha holds multiple degrees in Ancient History/History, Studies of Religion, and Sociology. Her thesis sought to identify how environmental crowdfunding projects (ECFPs) discursively construct environmental issues on the web 2.0 crowdfunding platform, IndieGoGo, analyzing whether these constructions influenced the success or failure of the environmental projects. Outside of academia Aleesha is a cyclist, a traveller, and an advocate of Effective Altruism, which is about being generous yet diligent with one's time and money to do the most social good.

Alejandra Gomez

Alejandra is an infinitely curious internationalist with a passion for developing strategies that promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth. As an industrial analyst and journalist, Alejandra has conversations with CEOs of leading mining and infrastructure companies, NGOs and strategic governmental authorities. The information is collected and compiled into annual reviews that are unique in the market.

Alejandra currently lives in Mexico City where she graduated with a double major in international relations and business administration. She was raised in Eugene, Oregon in the United States and has a background in leadership training, activism and human rights advocacy. Her passion for change and community organizing motivated her to join an Oregon Latino youth leadership academy named Juventud Faceta at the age of 16. During the program, she was invited to be a board member for the immigrant rights NGO, Amigos Multicultural Services, that organizes the training. She taught social justice workshops at regional and national student conferences, organized cultural and fundraising events, helped develop strategic annual plans and objectives for the NGO and promoted higher education among latinx youth in the community. With increasing interest in Mexico to create better and more sustainable projects, Alejandra seeks to strengthen the connection between social, governmental and private spheres to promote healthier economic growth. She aims to find a middle ground between her experience in the activist arena and in the private sector, to open a social enterprise that can help companies and organizations close the gaps in the country through creativity and innovation.

Amanda Grossman

Amanda lives in and works for the City of Santa Monica in California. For the past two years she has worked in the Office of Sustainability and the Environment with a team of ambitious individuals that strive to set trends and be leaders in the field of sustainability.

Along with sustainability and the environment, Amanda also has a passion for learning about human behavior and how it relates to sustainability, and is working towards a certificate in Sustainability and Behavior Change. She believes in the capacity to significantly reduce negative human impact on the environment by changing behavior (such as diet) from the bottom-up, and because of the urgency of the situation, she wants to activate people and communities now. Her particular areas of interest are sustainable food, food waste, and waste in general. One of her personal goals is to live a zero waste lifestyle.

Douglas Sovonick

Doug’s ultimate goal is to utilize his talents to spread the gospel of sustainability and positively impact our environmental condition. He is a partner and Chief Creative Officer at Deskey, a branding firm in Cincinnati. Presently he and a small group of environmentally conscious people inside Deskey are establishing a branding practice using biomimicry as inspiration to create branding executions that are earth friendly. He lives in a five acre urban oasis in Dayton, Kentucky where he and his wife create art from up-cycled objects.

Drew Robinson

Drew is an educator, a web developer, and a problem-solver. Drew believes that when we approach life with a solution-oriented, growth mindset, we can change the world for the better and is especially passionate about the power of education and is committed to helping teachers improve their practice, advancing educational technology in classrooms, and teaching computer coding to kids and adults. Drew is a Google Certified Trainer and has been awarded the 2016 Oklahoma PBS Digital Innovator, and the 2017 Tulsa StartUp Series - Tech/App Division Winner. 

Ellen Kim

Ellen is a peace worker and a human worker with a passion for cultivating wholeness, awareness and connectivity. She holds a Masters in Sustainable Peace Through Sport from the University for Peace and is working towards her Masters in Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation from the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck. She has spent the last six years working, traveling and studying around the world, including living in Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, France, Austria and Thailand. Having worked on grassroots capacity-building projects, as well as with the United Nations, Ellen is curious to better understand the structural factors that lead us to collectively create and perpetuate fractured systems. She would like to explore the intersection between the transpersonal and the political, working to unfold the full human potential in order to re-imagine and transform today’s ecological, social and spiritual divides.

Emily Teng

Raised in Jakarta, Melbourne and Singapore, Emily was inspired from a young age to serve the needs of the community around her. Perpetually in motion, Emily is passionate about all her causes. Her infectious energy resonates far and wide, especially within the communities she has touched. ‘Awesome’ is not just her favorite word but her mantra. It is used to describe everything and everyone. What gets her out of bed every day is the drive to help youth realise their own inner ‘awesome-ness’ and potential to change the world.

Emily is known in Singapore as the “Chief of Awesome”. She currently delivers a program called Beyond Awesome to at-risk students, providing education and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities through work experience and training. Emily’s achievements have been recognised by Yahoo! Singapore 9 Awards, Cosmopolitan Singapore’s ‘Fun Fearless Female’, Singapore International Foundation’s Young Social Entrepreneur Program, the GOOD 100 Global Change-maker and 2017 Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leader run by the Australian Government in partnership with AsiaLink.

James Sarria

James' passions are centered around people and communities.  His professional experiences are focused on designing initiatives for global social change, education reform and building innovative programs to address the most urgent issues facing society. James has life experience all over the United States, Mexico, every country in Central America, several in South America, and Kenya.  His experiences are focused on sustainable agriculture, climate change, agroforestry, and conservation research initiatives.

For the last 8 years, James has been immersed in the work of the Level Playing Field Institute, developing, defining, experimenting and building out the Summer Math & Science Honors Academy in preparation to scale the program nationally.Through his current graduate program in Sustainable Food Systems, James is focused on building sustainable food systems in the United States through leveraging technology, education, and entrepreneurship to drive initiatives for social change.

James has a rescue pet ball python, dances afro-Brazilian rhythms, and loves making pesto.

Jessica Bellamy

Jessica graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Louisville with degrees in Drawing (BFA), Graphic Design (BFA), Pan African Studies (BA), and a minor in Communication. As a former Neurodevelopmental Science research analyst at UofL, Jessica now runs her own business that combines grassroots organizing, research, and information graphics. She is the owner of GRIDS: The Grassroots Information Design Studio.  

GRIDS is a for-profit research and design agency that creates works that support social justice initiatives. Their clients are generally nonprofits, social change organizations, and community groups. GRIDS uses an inclusive business model that allows them to provide a wide range of services on a sliding scale. In addition to data collection, data organization, and visual storytelling services, GRIDS offers consultations and workshops on Community Engagement, Access to Information, and Design in Social Justice.  

Matthew Bakker

Matt is from Brisbane, Australia and has a background in Environmental Science. He has worked on projects such as the ‘Healthy Country’ program which aimed to reduce sediment from agricultural land from entering the creeks and streams and eventually ending up in our coastal bays. The implementation of this project used sustainable management practices and took a whole systems approach to improving agricultural land across South East Queensland.

Currently Matt is contracted to work with recognized Aboriginal Groups, who are connected to the land they identify with as the traditional custodians. His primary role involves capturing and implementing effective management processes recommended by the Aboriginal Groups representatives, to protect and preserve cultural heritage attributes that may be impacted by development.

Additionally, over the last year Matt started an urban farm project with a colleague selling their produce directly to the local community through a farm gate stall and local buyers groups. Using his farm as a platform, Matt’s interest with this venture is in improving the sustainability of the urban environment with a particular interest in local food, power production, increasing water quality, reducing air pollution, improving urban flora and fauna and local economies. His goal is to create not only sustainable hubs within the community, but also broader collaborations to proactively help tackle these issues.

Meredith Reynolds

Meredith is a project manager and social design strategist who currently resides in Detroit, Michigan. She is passionate about engaging in projects that promote positive systemic social change. Currently she works on capacity building, marketing & communications, and project management for the Detroit Revitalization Fellows, a program of Wayne State University.

A graduate of Michigan State University, she started her career by working to advance public policy initiatives for nonprofits statewide at the Michigan Nonprofit Association. After this, she oversaw fundraising at AIDS Walk Detroit, raising over $195,000 to fund HIV awareness, prevention and education efforts across metro Detroit. Meredith also served as an account manager for Digerati, a triple-bottom-line IT company located in downtown Detroit that utilizes technology to address talent retention in Michigan.

In her spare time, Meredith enjoys riding her bike through Detroit, finding good restaurants to try and picking new cities to visit.

Myrthe Lanting

Myrthe is an idealist and a lover of all things food, India, mind-boggling conversations and unexpected perspectives. She has an educational background in Textile Design and Design Cultures and works for a social startup, Starters4Communities, that helps young graduates kickstart their value-driven careers, and amplifies the impact of community-driven projects. She is fascinated by the idea of design as a “push activity” towards better futures, and is on a mission to design and scale better processes instead of purely looking for solutions to the problems at hand. Her main interest currently lies in urban food systems.

Nicholas Cobb

Nicholas builds on his humble roots to lead and align people around a common purpose of positive impact, and shared values for growth and progress. He strives to amplify his individual power by empowering others to take on shared challenges. As a young leader, Nicholas feels fortunate to have been able to gain experiences across diverse sectors --- the public sector in the Massachusetts Senate, the private sector within a financial institution and a consulting firm, and the nonprofit sector through his AmeriCorps VISTA service in the greater Los Angeles area --- and he aspires to continue to incorporate such a balance throughout his life. Consciously making the decision to not enter business solely for financial gain, but as a way to find meaningful work and make a positive difference in the world, he believes business and its leaders play a powerful role in shaping society. In his travels to numerous countries, he has seen firsthand that businesses and corporations are often more powerful than governments. These experiences confirmed his own hypothesis that future leaders will be better equipped to tackle the problems of tomorrow by being successful in operating across geographies and sectors today.

Paros Huckstepp

Paros started on the pathway of design at the age of 14 when the woodworking shop at his school was turned into a computer-based design room. Having completed his Bachelor of Design in Architecture in 2012, Paros sidestepped into his career as a landscape architect. This role afforded the opportunity to work closely with architects, interior designers, and property developers – each with their own perspectives and priorities. With the belief that design has the power to change the way people interact with each other and their environment, Paros is investigating, integrating, and initiating positive social change through his work in landscape design.

Rosemary Broad

Rosie is passionate about effecting social change. Originally from Feilding, a small town in New Zealand, she currently works for the Ministry of Health in Wellington where she activates her I passions about improving health outcomes and health care access, particularly for Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand who continue to suffer from an unequal access to resources. She is committed to making positive change and finding different solutions to improve Maori health outcomes.

Rosie is also a keen conservationist who loves a good hike in the mountains and experiencing New Zealand's fantastic wilderness.

Susanne Peterson

Born in Silicon Valley before it was referred to by that name, Susanne came into the world with an abundance of energy, curiosity and heart. She is a natural creator, idea generator and has an immense love of people and possibilities. Susanne is a practical optimist, believing in the potential of our shared humanness to make the world a better place and knowing it’s going to take time. Through a circuitous career path, she found her way to 10+ exciting and successful years in high-tech and then turned her attention, skills, and passion to working with non-profit organizations focused on critical social justice issues (she’d love to tell you about the organizations sometime). She loves “making things happen” and is extremely excited to be part of Unschool San Francisco.

Theresa Edick

Theresa was born and raised in New Hampshire. She attends Colby-Sawyer College, a small liberal arts college where she studies environmental studies and sustainability. Her recent endeavors include exploring the cultures behind sustainability and social change towards environmental impacts. Theresa is a young change-maker with a vision to live a sustainable lifestyle and lead a cultural shift towards sustainability through education and knowledge.

Tibora Girczyc-Blum

Tibora was born with her eyes open. She is an asker-of-questions, a seeker and an adventurer. She likes to make things and take things apart. Tibora finds inspiration from the complexities in the world and is informed through her experiences as a visual artist, educator, entrepreneur, community organizer, creative reuse proponent and world explorer.

Vanina Howan

Vanina is a clothing design graduate from California College of the Arts. During her studies, she focused on sustainable design and was published in 7x7. She currently teaches at CCA and is working on starting her own creative sustainable practice.