Full bio coming soon ….
Yvette has had a lifelong passion for supporting vulnerable populations through her fundraising and local volunteer efforts. In her role at SVUDL, she will be responsible for Fund Development, Donor Cultivation, Foundation Relations, Communications and serving as our Legal Community Liaison.
Yvette was born and raised in the San Jose Bay Area. Since her first job after graduating from college, she has dedicated her career to working in the nonprofit sector and has generated over $10 million in revenue from government, private foundations, corporations and individual funding sources. Yvette’s experience as a strategic planner, story-teller, resource development professional, writer, editor and researcher has provided her with the ability to support organizations in identifying opportunities and develop funding plans which increase revenue and advance organizational effectiveness.
As part of Yvette’s commitment to civic and community engagement, she has served as a Commissioner, Co-Chair for the Crime and Violence Committee and a Jail Monitoring Committee Member for the Santa Clara County Commission on the Status of Women.
Yvette graduated cum laude from Santa Clara University with a B.A. in English Literature.
A self-described “reluctant debater,” Berenice joined the debate team at CSU Fullerton at the urging of her Argumentation professor. She didn’t enjoy public speaking and wasn’t confident in her ability to speak persuasively, but hoped debate would give her a leg up when she pursued her dream of applying to law school. She quickly found a passion for forensics and credits debate for helping her build connections between academia and activism and for helping her find the power of her voice.
Diligent practice earned her a spot on the Varsity team in only her second year, and she and her partner qualified for the National Debate Tournament, the most prestigious and oldest intercollegiate policy debate event in the country. They were the first all-Latina team to attend that tournament, earning spots two years in a row. As she worked towards her B.A., which she eventually earned cum laude, Berenice continued rising through the ranks in debate. She soon moved moving into teaching positions including SVUDL’s own inaugural Summer Institute in 2015 and at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League Summer Institute, where she designed and led a lab targeting young women of color. Her rich history includes teaching debate, public speaking, argumentation, and English to students as young as 4th grade, all the way through high school.
Berenice is thrilled to join SVUDL to take on the challenges of connecting teaching and activism through debate and building empowering academic environments that help students see their power to give back and reshape the future.
Janet holds the perspective and insight of a debater who grew up in the UDL network. She began her debate career with the Milwaukee UDL and credits LaTonya Starks, former Director there, as a mentor and role model. “(LaTonya) was a go-getter- she went above and beyond for her debaters, took extra time to coach us when it came to nationals, and used her connections to help some of her debaters, including me, to receive scholarships to great debate camps across the nation. I have worked to become someone like her and pay it forward.”
Janet just completed her undergraduate studies at Georgia State University, earning a BA in Political Science/International Affairs with a Minor in Urban Education. She worked with the Atlanta UDL from 2010- 2017 as an instructor at their weekly Debate Centers and a Lab Leader in their summer program. She also served as a Lab Leader with her “alma mater" UDL through the Milwaukee Debate Institute, and worked with high school debaters from across the US through the Emory National Debate Institute. Just before joining SVUDL, she was working with students whose behavior had been identified as disruptive or inappropriate, helping them learn to manage conflicts and interact positively with peers and adults. Her passion for and deep knowledge of debate and experience in supporting youth are strong additions to SVUDL.
Kwodwo has spent the past seven years involved in policy debate. He began his debate experience as a high school junior when he was encouraged to join the Bay Area Urban Debate League team at Emery Secondary School. The combination of intellectual stimulation and community engagement helped feed Kwodwo’s desire for purpose, and he soon became involved in BAUDL's Leading With Debate Fellowship, which focuses on the soft skills students gain, fostered by policy debate. After graduating from the program, during his freshman year at CSU East Bay, Kwodwo returned to his high school as a volunteer coach when he learned that the team was on the brink of disappearance after losing its coach. As a coach and as an advocate, Kwodwo led the debate team to great success.
During his Sophomore year at CSU East Bay, he was one of the very first SVUDL volunteers and helped recruit students, run workshops and judge at tournaments in East Palo Alto. He was selected for a teaching position in SVUDL’s inaugural Summer Institute in 2015, and second Summer Institute in 2016. Kwodwo graduated with a Philosophy, B.A. from CSU East Bay in 2017 and won the Bassen Award for Philosophy in 2016 and 2017.
Jimi’s life changed in 7th grade when he discovered debate. Previously bored in school and plagued by a stutter, debate helped him find a smooth, fluent, confident voice and an appealing challenge. He won many awards in his debate career, including placing in the top 21 of LD at the 2005 NFL nationals. Jimi earned his BA from Williams College in 2012 and was awarded the Williams/Sloane Coffin Passionate Public Speaking Prize for Social Justice during his time there. As a first-generation student on a full scholarship he found the critical thinking and writing skills he built through debate were invaluable to his success.
Jimi has consistently worked to help youth build skills and unlock their potential through debate, working at the Tabor Academy Summer Program, Niskayuna High School, and as a private debate coach. He is thrilled to return to the speech and debate community in a role that allows him to support and nurture urban debaters base whose backgrounds are similar to his own.
Jenet joins SVUDL with an in-depth knowledge of office management and considerable experience in organizational administration. She combines these skills – so critical for a growing nonprofit organization – with a passion for helping others.
Jenet has more than 16 years of general office experience and also has managed and organized multicultural events and disaster relief operations, including necessary actions after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in 2013.
Jenet earned her bachelor of science degree in customs administration from Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation in the Philippines and spent 11 years as a visa counselor, helping reunite families through tedious petitions and application processes, and also oversaw branch office operations.
She is excited that her work will support a program that inspires at-risk students to excel.
Destiny recently graduated from Oak Grove High School, where she was Founding Captain of the SVUDL-supported Debate team. She had an illustrious career as a SVUDL debater: she was a founding member of the Women's Association, was one of six young women to argue privacy vs. security in front of sitting Federal judges in the HPE Moot Court, and she earned multiple awards at SVUDL Tournaments.
Destiny is a participant in the Legal Career Mentor program and is currently attending SJSU, where she's majoring in Psychology. She plans to pursue a legal career helping families who have experienced domestic violence.
A recent SVUDL and Silver Creek High School graduate, Bhargavi brings her debate experience and devotion to creating change, to her role as a SVUDL intern. In her leadership role, she inspired other students to join the team, and used it as a platform to express herself. Bhargavi was one of six students in the 2017 SVUDL Moot Court, trying a real and complex case before two Ninth Circuit and one US Northern District judges. As a SVUDL mentee, Bhargavi has benefitted from the guidance and support of her mentor, and now offers this to other debaters in her SVUDL intern role.
Bhargavi is currently an economics major at Evergreen Valley College where she is also a senator in her college's Associated Student Government. She continues to use her voice for change by writing a resolution to ensure all Veterans attending community college in the State of California have a full-time academic and mental health counselor. Bhargavi also serves on several campus committees that focus on diversity, equity, civic engagement, and budgeting. With social justice and equity as core values, Bhargavi plans to join the peace corps before attending law school.
As founding captain of the Overfelt High debate team, Brandon helped grow one of the flagship programs in SVUDL. With guidance and support from coach Mark Wightman and league staff, he helped lead the Overfelt Royal Debaters to stand their ground and make a name for themselves. The team offered Brandon a chance to expanded his skills as well as being able to give back and offer his support to the next generation of SVUDL debaters.
As an intern, Brandon pursues his passion for coaching and helping novices and new recruits become strong leaders and skilled debaters. He currently attends De Anza Community College and plans to transfer next year, balancing his interests in political science and communications. Over the long term, Brandon plans to give back to his community as a politician or public servant.
Angela Hagen has 30 years of experience as a journalist and communications professional.
Angela earned a bachelor of arts in journalism from the University of Arizona and was an editor at several daily newspapers including the Tucson Citizen. Following her journalism career, she taught American History and conversational English in Puerto Rico. For more than a decade, she has worked in communications, public relations and marketing, specializing in the unique branding and messaging challenges of nonprofit organizations. She is a past president of the Southern Arizona chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
Angela believes in the power of words to educate, enlighten and transform, and she loves using her skills in writing, editing and digital media to help organizations communicate more effectively.