Angelique Lopez (she/her)
Angelique Lopez is a San Fernando Valley native, specifically from Sylmar, California. Raised in a low-income household by her single mother, Angelique’s early curiosity about her socioeconomic and environmental conditions fueled her passion for pursuing a higher education degree in Sociology. She earned an Associate’s Degree of Arts in Sociology from Los Angeles Mission Community College and shortly after, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from California State University, Long Beach. During her time in Long Beach, Angelique drew inspiration from the vibrant world of community organizing and the collective power she encountered while volunteering with local community organizations. Angelique’s motivation for working with underserved communities on a larger scale sparked her interest in joining the Fall 2022 YI West Young Advocates cohort and the 2023 YI West Youth Advisory Board.
Astrid is a first-generation Latina, whose parents immigrated from El Salvador and Guatemala to provide her with a better future. She grew up in South Gate, California, and always found ways to explore new cities beyond her own. Starting at 14 years old, she became an active volunteer at the Compton Initiative, the American Red Cross, Heal the Bay, the Salvation Army, and other small projects. Her passion for social justice emerged when she was invited to the Chicano Youth Leadership Conference. That amazing experience taught her that there were other students of color who wanted to explore beyond their communities and take up space in places where they weren’t present. After receiving her bachelor’s degree at UC Merced, she went on to work on several campaigns with Power California that promoted youth investment, affordable housing, and UBI. Astrid’s original plan was to move back to Los Angeles after college, but her work with PowerCA allowed her to see the potential in the Central Valley. She wants to be present for when the youth and farmworkers become prioritized in Merced. When Astrid isn’t organizing, she loves watching movies with her black cat named Wednesday. Besides binge-watching, she enjoys visiting LA and spending time with her siblings.
Christian Espinoza (he/they)
Christian Espinoza is an advocate for social justice and immigrant rights. Hailing from Michoacán, Mexico, Christian has overcome numerous challenges as a first-generation college graduate and undocumented student. Undeterred, Christian has excelled academically, earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a Specialization in Computing from UCLA and a master’s degree in Higher Education-Student Affairs from the University of Redlands. But Christian’s journey is far from over! In the fall of 2023, he took the next step in his educational pursuit in the Education-Urban Leadership Ph.D. program at Claremont Graduate University. As a member of the 2023 YI West Youth Advisory Board, Christian is thrilled to bring his passion, experience, and expertise to the decision-making body of the Board. He is an advocate for immigration and education policies, and he is determined to create a vibrant lifelong learning community within the YI West network. Christian’s vision is to foster a space where everyone can freely share their perspectives, advocate for change, and make a lasting impact. When he’s not blazing trails in activism and advocacy, Christian loves immersing himself in the great outdoors through hiking, camping, and cycling. He’s also a devoted journaling enthusiast, a culinary maestro of coconut curry, and a pro at catching up with friends on FaceTime.
Imagen Munkhbayar (she/her)
Imagen is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She has showcased her leadership skills as an editor at the Daily Trojan, a visual designer for HAUTE magazine, and in her role as a New Member Officer in Phi Alpha Delta. She aspires to attend law school to champion the cause of underrepresented minorities, ensuring they have adequate representation in the electoral process. Her hobbies include playing the piano.
Japjeet Singh Uppal
Japjeet was born and raised in Livingston, CA by his family who immigrated from Punjab. He initially aspired to become a surgeon, but after experiencing back-to-back semesters of STEM classes, he re-evaluated his path. During the pandemic, he became obsessed with politics and realized he wanted to make a broader impact on a systemic scale. Japjeet graduated from UC Merced with a BA in Public Health and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Public Policy and Administration at the University of Redlands. He considers himself fortunate to wear a handful of different hats: Research Assistant for the Central CA Public Health Consortium, Tutor/Advisor at Livingston High School, Football Coach at Livingston High School, and Merced County Behavioral Health Advisory Board – District 1 Representative
When Japjeet isn’t in school or working, he’s finding ways to get himself and others civically engaged. He’s working to organize young people in the Valley and reach the broader civilian populace through his newsletter and video content. He’s a big believer in grassroots movements and hopes he can support the push for substantive systems change. Japjeet’s favorite thing in the world is football, and he’s a diehard Raiders fan. He also loves to read, exercise, practice self-care, and spend as much time in nature as possible.
Karen Kam (she/her)
Karen Kam was a previous Young Advocate in Spring 2022 and is excited to be involved with Young Invincibles again as a member of the YI West Youth Advisory Board! She currently works as a Health Ambassador at a local community college resource center based in San Francisco, where she connects students to health resources and provides mentorship to those in the Health Education Department. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she received her B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology and minored in Dance. Her experience and background include interning with UCSF’s Kanbar Simulation Center and the California Health Professional Student Alliance, where she developed her clinical and advocacy skills. Karen hopes to continue her education in a graduate-level health program so that she can utilize her knowledge to better serve under-resourced communities and shape a more equitable, healthy world.
In her free time, Karen enjoys giving back to youth and empowering them to make positive impacts in their communities. She currently volunteers with the Community Youth Center of San Francisco, mentoring first-generation API high school students; the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy, coordinating the alumni leadership program team for youth in the Bay Area; Project SURVIVE, promoting sexual violence prevention; and Alpha Phi Omega, where she has chaired the service and leadership programs for universities all over the Northern California and Nevada regions. Aside from her dedication to service, Karen loves petting dogs, dancing, eating good food, and hanging out with friends.
Marcos Molina (he/him)
Marcos Molina is a queer Latino, born and raised in LA and currently living in Pomona. He was radicalized through the gentrification that pushed his family out of their home in Northeast LA, which inspired him to study Urban Planning and pursue a career in nonprofit work. After completing his Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning from Cal Poly Pomona, he worked in a public health nonprofit in the San Gabriel Valley, applying his planning knowledge and experience with a public health lens. He has helped shape policy in the City of Pomona to better serve young people. Marcos is currently a candidate for his Master of Urban Planning from Cal Poly Pomona and hopes to take his grassroots experience to the public sector, pushing city planning departments to understand the importance of protecting and serving underrepresented communities. He is also a City Commissioner in the Historic Preservation Commission and an advocate for protecting Latino neighborhoods that were adversely affected by redlining in the City of Pomona. Outside of work, he is a bicycle advocate and doesn’t drive a car, showing his commitment to creating walkable and bikeable cities for all.
Mario Mendoza is a native of the Inland Empire, specifically Montclair, California. He is a first-generation Chicano who grew up in a low-income household. However, Mario persevered and continued to change the status quo for communities like his. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Multicultural Leadership Studies from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Riverside. Hoping to continue gaining technical work experience, Mario plans to return to higher education for a Doctor of Public Administration degree. His expertise focuses on political affairs and the public sector. Mario was a previous Young Advocate in the Fall 2022 cohort, where he assisted with the State of Young California and other areas. He is passionate about addressing the challenges disadvantaged communities and young adults face. Additionally, Mario’s policy knowledge allows him to provide expertise in the decision-making of the 2023 West Youth Advisory Board.
Nancy grew up in Selma, CA. She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree at UC Irvine, earning her B.S. in International Studies and a minor in Anthropology. Her passion for social justice emerged when she worked with OCAPICA and Power CA. She participated in several campaigns with Power CA that promoted youth investment and affordable housing. Nancy continued to nurture her passion with Young Invincibles as a Young Advocate in winter 2022 and is looking forward to being involved with Young Invincibles again as a member of the West Youth Advisory Board!
Nataly is a San Diego native, embarked on her academic journey at UCLA, where she earned her bachelor’s degree, laying the foundation for her future endeavors. Driven by a genuine passion for understanding the intricacies of the human mind, she further honed her knowledge by completing a master’s degree in psychology at Cal State LA.
Her commitment to mental health and education has been a consistent thread throughout her life. Presently, Nataly is deeply involved in initiatives aimed at creating a positive impact in the realm of education. Her motivation stems from a heartfelt desire to alleviate the burden of student loan debt, recognizing the transformative power education holds in shaping lives.
Beyond her professional pursuits, Nataly is an advocate for social justice, particularly focusing on issues affecting the immigrant community. This passion fuels her dedication to fostering inclusivity and equity. Nataly aspires to be a beacon of positive change, leveraging her expertise and commitment to advocate across multiple domains.
Stephanie Chuquipul Calderon (she/her/ella)
Stephanie was born and raised in Lima, Peru while spending most of her summers in California, which has become her home. She moved full-time to California in 2017 to pursue her B.A. in Economics at the University of California, Riverside (UCR). During her time at UCR, she found a deep passion for mental health accessibility and advocacy. Stephanie has worked as a Program Coordinator, where she managed a Mental Health Awareness grant and provided mental health training to various communities in the Inland Empire. She created partnerships with underrepresented communities and shared her story to inspire others and help people struggling with mental illness to not feel alone. Stephanie wishes to make a bigger impact in her community and decided to go back to UCR this past fall 2023 to pursue her Master’s in Public Policy. As a previous Young Advocate in Spring 2023, Stephanie is excited to join the YI West Youth Advisory Committee and continue supporting Young Invincibles in their goals towards uplifting the voices of young adults in California. During her free time, Stephanie practices self-care by listening to Taylor Swift, learning dance choreographies, watching her comfort movies, and spending quality time with her pitbull named Nugget.