Everett Director and Staff

Chris Benner – Executive Director

Chris Benner joined UC Santa Cruz in April 2015, as the Dorothy E. Everett Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship Chair, Executive Director of the Everett Program, and Professor of Environmental Studies.

For more information about Chris, visit his website, chrisbenner.net.

Staff & Executive Fellows

Katie Roper
Katie RoperManaging Director
Katie Roper is a GIIP alumni, who has formerly done documentary film directing, political organizing, strategic messaging, and directing grassroots fundraising operations
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Thomas Gelder
Thomas GelderTechnology Manager
Thomas works to mentor fellows teaching tech, expand the program’s tech capacity, and create systems of documentation and continuity.
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Christine Ongjoco
Christine OngjocoExecutive Fellow
Graphic designer, social entrepreneur and music artist interested in using art and technology for sustainable change and community development.
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Gabriela Giusta
Gabriela GiustaResearch Specialist
Researcher and human rights activist interested in integrating both academic work and grassroots activism to promote human and planetary well-being.
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Everett Fellows

Student power is one of our core beliefs. Without the active participation, management, and ownership of the program by our student fellows, the Everett Program simply would not exist.

The fellows are students who’ve completed the 30 series and typically have implemented their own projects (sometimes multiple times!). They teach the research sections and tech labs while designing new ones. Fellows are responsible for recruitment, aspects of fundraising, and act as peer mentors for current 30 series students. The fellows are self managing and are understood to be the true owners of the Everett Program.

Amelia Curry
Graduating Spring 2019

I am super passionate about women’s empowerment and youth leadership. This past summer I was a counselor for the Youth Empowerment Institute where we taught 15 high school girls how to make a phone app about food justice. In my free time I like to go outdoors, be active and read poetry. I am from the East Bay where I still work part time for a non-profit, Amigos de las Americas, that trains youth to volunteer in Latin America. I am studying bioengineering with a concentration in bimolecular engineering and looking forward to combining my interest in science with my pursuit of social justice.
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Kimbery Balmorez
Graduating Spring 2018

Hello! My name is Kimberly Balmorez and I am from the Bay Area. I am a third year majoring in Sociology and minoring in Education. Some groups that I have been involved with on campus include the Filipino Student Association (FSA), Isang Himig A Capella (IH), Counseling and Psychological Services Peer Education Program (CAPS PEP), Everett Program, Experiential Leadership Program (ELP), and Engaging Education (e2). This past year I have co-coordinated two youth outreach programs. The first being A Step Forward which brought accepted high school seniors to the UCSC campus to learn more about higher education and explore their Pilipinx identities. The second being the Youth Empowerment Institute summer camp which brought local middle school and high school girls to the UCSC campus to learn more about coding and access to education. The summer camp also produced a mobile app, designed by the girls who attended, to help their peers easily access information about applying to colleges and different educational routes after high school. In the future I hope to build off of the experiences I have had with working with youth, health, education, technology, and art by pursuing public health and continuing to volunteer in the many communities that I am a part of.

Yesenia Torres
Graduating Fall 2017

When I first joined Everett, I was terrified of technology. One of the first assignments involved using a function in an Excel sheet at the time I was sure I was going to fail the course. Fast-forward to a little over a year later, I am now a tech major enrolled in computer engineering courses and am developing the curriculum for the new Raspberry Pi Lab. The Everett Program has shaped who I am by enabling me with the confidence to go well beyond my comfort zone. I love challenging myself, thought experiments, and conversations that go off on tangents.
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Dominique Mayden
Graduating Winter 2017

I have always been a big advocate for college students to apply what we have learned in the class room to our communities. I am becoming more enamored with the idea of invest in our communities by educating our communities and strengthening our foundation. It was not until I recently transferred to UCSC fall 2015, that I was presented with such opportunities to become more involved in community outreach through projects and research. The more we learn about our communities, the more we can help our fellow man.

Anna Vandergriff
Graduating Fall 2018

I’m passionate about education, reproductive rights and gender rights, especially looking at how these issues intersect. I’m also interested in journalism and student media. I had the opportunity to partner with some Everett fellows to complete my project with the Youth Empowerment Institute this past summer. We designed and ran a camp for middle school and high school aged girls from the Santa Cruz and Watsonville area teaching them basic coding and mobile app design skills while also giving them a chance to experience college life and learn how to look for and apply to colleges.
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Mike Needle
Graduating Spring 2017

I’m a 4th year at UCSC, and a transfer from a community college in the Bay Area. Before moving to Santa Cruz i worked for four years at a non-profit rec center in Menlo Park, CA. This past summer i was fortunate enough to work with The Youth Empowerment Institute, teaching basic html and app design to 10 middle to high school aged girls from the Santa Cruz/Watsonville area. I’m passionate about achieving equal opportunity in education for all people, and am excited about the near peer mentor style of the Everett program!

Amber Holguin
Graduating Spring 2018
  • You’re most likely to find me: Reading, exercising or trying something new
  • The social justice issues and projects I’m most excited about right now: Education reform, Reducing minimum sentence requirements, Women?s empowerment
  • My favorite part of the Everett Program is: The ability to make it our own and evolve with the program along with being able to combine social justice and technology.
  • Come talk to me about: Hands on coding and how to write a paper.

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Monica Gutierrez
Graduating Spring 2017

I am passionate about prisoner rehabilitation and reintegration, women’s empowerment, and fair socio-economic opportunities for everybody. As a fellow in the Everett Program, I have learned how to apply hands on tech skills and social entrepreneurial knowledge to help many communities. With the help of the Everett Program and two fellow peers I co-coordinated the Youth Empowerment Institute 2015 where we taught 15 girls how to co-code a mobile application to become tech-savvy leaders in their community. I have taken all the skills Everett has taught me and applied them to an internship abroad; I worked with a non-profit organization named Aculco where helped immigrants transitions into Spain and Europe. The Everett program continues to challenge me in ways that no average lecture class can and I am grateful to part of this team of social justice warriors.
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Maya Contreras
Graduating Spring 2017

Hi my name is Maya! I am a fourth year sociologist student. My favorite things are good conversations, bananas, and coffee! I also super like being outdoors and doing fun stuff like running! I have a passion and curiosity about drugs in society, public health, and American history. Come talk to me if you have some provocative thoughts on life, want to caffeinate together, or brainstorm how to change the world.
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Annarose Leff
Graduating Spring 2018

My name is Annarose Leff and I am a 3rd year Community Studies major. I’m most interested in fair media reporting, cyber security, community organizing, and cooperative business. Outside of the Everett office I might be found jamming with friends on the flute or working on boats.

Sheila Riley
Graduating Spring 2017

My name is Sheila Riley. I am a transfer student from Cuesta College attempting to make the most of my short time here at UCSC studying Sociology. Having and interest in technology and social change, Everett has given me the opportunity to show the tangible results of my sociological training. I am interesting in education, learning at all ages, product/industrial design with a societal focus, women’s rights, food security, and criminal justice reform. In the future I plan to continue my education in whatever direction life takes me. Currently headed toward getting my masters in Industrial Design. I plan on becoming a pilot in my free time as well as getting my dream job working at IDEO creating a more socially conscious environment with every chance I get.

Janie Flores
Graduating Spring 2017

I enjoy getting to know people and sharing knowledge. I also enjoy dancing, long walks behind college 9/10, and Thai food. I care deeply about development issues around people and access to education and their government. I find it fascinating yet disturbing that people from all over the world have no clue what resources are available to them and the voice they have or could have in their societies. In the future I hope to work in the nonprofit field, NGO, or GO that increases educational capacity and government transparency for a particular group of people.
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Former Executive Fellows

Hasnain Nazar
Hasnain NazarTech Director
Formerly the Director of Technology at GIIP, where he developed the GIIP Technology curriculum, coordinates technical training and social enterprise, and maintained technical partnerships. Hasnain is now pursuing his Masters at the UC Berkeley School of Information
Juan Sanchez
Juan SanchezExecutive Fellow
JC has been with Everett for over 5 years and joined the staff team after graduating. He is heading several exciting new projects including a mobile apps lab and a collaboration with a sociology professor’s labor project.