students at graduation in caps and gowns

success stories Eastside:Success Stories


Maria Vazquez Mata: Eastside Class of 2006, Santa Clara University Class of 2010, UC College of the Law Class of 2013

After graduating from Eastside in 2006, Maria went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University, and then immediately started her JD at the UC College of the Law. In addition to noticing that most of her classmates were several years older, she was also aware that her background set her apart from the crowd – and she remembers reading that Latinas comprised only 2% of attorneys in the US. Now the COO of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Maria appreciates that she can serve as a role model to – and advocate for – young people whose backgrounds are also underrepresented in the legal profession.


Shiru Kimani: Eastside Class of 2018, St. Lawrence University Class of 2022

Shiru is passionate about economic empowerment, poverty alleviation, and international development. During her time at St. Lawrence University, she co-founded the Avaya SELP group, which focuses on uplifting Maasai communities in East Africa; volunteered at the Campus Kitchens Project; and participated in the McNair Scholars Program, which gave her the opportunity to attend over 30 professional conferences. She also studied abroad in France, interned at JP Morgan and at Cargill, and worked several on-campus jobs before graduating magna cum laude a semester early. In 2022, she began her Master of Global Policy Studies, with a focus on international development, at the University of Texas-Austin. Shiru is also a recipient of the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship, which provides fellows with the opportunity to work as Foreign Service Officers after completing their master’s degrees.


Luis Valencia: Eastside Class of 2014, Columbia University Class of 2018

Following his graduation from Eastside, Luis moved to New York City to attend Columbia University, where he majored in biology. While in college, Luis gained experience in a clinical setting by volunteering in the emergency room at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. And throughout his college years, he worked as a research assistant at the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative, tackling a variety of ambitious projects. During his senior year, Luis was awarded Columbia’s Bridges and Sturtevant Prize, which recognizes students who have done outstanding research in the biological sciences. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Luis continued to do research in a full-time capacity and, in the summer of 2021, he began the next step in his career at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York. He is the first Eastside graduate to pursue a combined MD/PhD degree.


Chantaell Cruz: Eastside Class of 2010, Barnard College Class of 2015

After completing her degree in urban studies at Barnard College, Chantaell began working as a project administrator for the nonprofit Eden Housing. While she strongly believed in their mission of creating more affordable housing options, after several years, she still wasn’t entirely sure that she wanted to continue on the same professional trajectory. Around this time, she was also supporting her brother through the college application process and realizing how rewarding it felt to help someone get closer to achieving an educational goal. So she pivoted, and began a career focused on supporting students along their journeys to – and through – college. Today, Chantaell is back at Eastside, working as the manager of our college coaching team. She greatly enjoys leading our efforts to even better support our college students, and working with younger alums as they pursue their shared goal of becoming first-generation college graduates.


Miguel Berumen: Eastside Class of 2014, UC Santa Cruz Class of 2018

Miguel earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science at UC Santa Cruz. While in college, an IT internship at Cisco resulted in a job as lead technician for ResNet, UCSC’s information technology service. After his graduation in 2018, Miguel joined Google as a network operations engineer, participating in a program that allowed him to rotate through several departments before being assigned to a permanent position. Today, he is working as a Wi-Fi network engineer at Google.


Carina Bustos: Eastside Class of 2011, Occidental College Class of 2015

After graduating from Eastside, Carina earned her BA from Occidental College with a major in critical theory and social justice. During her summers as a college student and recent graduate, she interned at the California Public Utilities Commission, the San Francisco District Attorney Office, Strategic Action for a Just Economy (SAJE), the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, and the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. Her internship with Anita Borg turned into a full-time job as business development account manager, and she was later promoted to business development operations manager. In 2018, she began working for Charles Schwab, first as an associate financial consultant and then as a corporate financial consultant. Now, Carina is working toward new goals as an MBA student at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. She is excited to focus on improving access to generational wealth-building opportunities, and on encouraging other students of color to consider following in her footsteps and applying to business school.


Diamond Allen: Eastside Class of 2018, Holy Names University Class of 2022

Over the years, Diamond has established himself as a young professional, while also focusing on supporting his family and giving back to his community. While pursuing his degree in business administration, Diamond provided extensive care and guidance to his younger siblings. He also worked as a lead camp counselor for Acta Non Verba (an urban farming program that serves low-income children in Oakland), as a retail sales consultant at AT&T, and as a consultation agent at Geek Squad. Then, the summer after his junior year, Diamond’s career coach helped him secure a summer internship at DocuSign. This was extended throughout his senior year and led to a full-time offer as a solution engineer – and after another year, he was promoted to solution consultant. In addition to his work at DocuSign, Diamond is currently serving as an executive board member for Acta Non Verba.


Corine Forward: Eastside Class of 2015, Georgetown University Class of 2019, Columbia Law School Class of 2022

While in college at Georgetown, Corine pursued a variety of opportunities in the legal field: she interned with Bay Area Legal Aid and the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and worked as a research assistant and mentor for Georgetown’s Prisons and Justice Initiative. After she completed her bachelor’s, she began a JD program at Columbia Law School, and continued to embrace new challenges and opportunities: she served as the managing editor of the Columbia Law Review and worked as a summer associate for Fenwick & West and Gibson Dunn. Upon graduation, Corine started her legal career working at Gibson Dunn. Today, Corine is a law clerk for the Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York.


Brian Alas: Eastside Class of 2014, Washington University in St. Louis Class of 2018

Brian used Eastside’s internship program to help him pinpoint his interest in finance. When he first met with his career coach, he mentioned that he was interested in “business” but didn’t know what career paths could be open to him. With his coach’s support, he completed internships at Manresa Capital, Taulia, and First Republic Bank. His experience at First Republic Bank led to a full-time job offer after he completed his degree in economics, and he continued to work at there for five years: first as a portfolio quality analyst and then as a credit analyst. Today, Brian is taking the next step in his career as a credit analyst for Citizens Bank.


Alejandra Lopez: Eastside Class of 2014, UC Santa Cruz Class of 2018

When Alejandra graduated from Eastside, she took her passion for science to UC Santa Cruz, where she studied molecular, cell, and developmental biology and dreamed of giving back to her community by pursuing a career in medicine. With the help of her Eastside career coach, Alejandra secured a summer internship at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, but she soon realized that practicing medicine wasn’t the right career path for her. She reimagined her possibilities and secured two consecutive summer internships at Arcus Biosciences, then went on to become a senior research associate at Arcus, focusing on new cancer treatments. Now, Alejandra is furthering her medical research career by pursuing a PhD in immunology at the University of Washington.

Eastside admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. Eastside does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of our educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school administered programs.