Our Team

Christina Mireles
Executive Director
650-779-5001   |   christina@peninsulacollegefund.org

Christina grew up in San Jose, CA and attended Harker Academy (grades 3-8; now known as The Harker School) and Presentation High School (9-12) on academic- and need-based scholarships. She then went on to Tufts University where she earned a BA in Political Science with thesis honors, followed by a Master in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University. Prior to joining PCF, Christina served as Deputy Director at Escuela Popular, a K-12 charter school in East San Jose that serves a predominantly Latino student population, many of whom are recent immigrants.

For nearly nine years, she spearheaded Escuela Popular’s operations – strategy, HR, compliance, legal, finance, and board relations. Christina entered the charter school landscape through Ed Tec, a mission-driven for-profit company providing back-office services to charter schools throughout the United States. Christina began her career nearly 20 years ago as an attorney with Crowell & Moring, a Washington, D.C. law firm. She is currently on the Board of Directors of Oxford Day Academy, a charter school in East Palo Alto. Given her personal story, Christina is passionate about serving minority and low-income students who need just a little extra support to realize their dreams. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling for pleasure and spending time with her three children and her husband.

Natalie Walker
Development Director
650-249-7754   |   natalie@peninsulacollegefund.org

Natalie Walker grew up in East Palo Alto and is a first-generation college student. She attended Gunn High School and graduated from UCLA with a BA degree in Economics. Natalie brings 25+ years of corporate sales and marketing experience including sales management, business development, and program management success. Additionally, she has 10+ years of non-profit volunteer and leadership experience. Currently, as Board President of the Ivy & Pearls Foundation, her leadership responsibilities include driving strategy, developing, and managing relationships with external stakeholders and partners. She plays a major role in identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major individual donors, corporate, and/or foundation gifts. In January, Natalie was selected as an IDEA Fellow (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) by the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Silicon Valley. She is also a Year Up and East Bay College Fund Mentor. Natalie resides in Alameda, is the proud mother of a daughter, and enjoys travelling.

Denise Villamil
Director of Career Services
650-727-6563   |   denise@peninsulacollegefund.org

Denise Villamil joins PCF after 15 years in program design/evaluation, relationship building, and management development within the corporate and non-profit sectors. Throughout her career she has been actively involved in developing diverse workforces’ personal and professional development, and consulting organizations in program management and strategic direction. She has a passion for helping individuals realize their career aspirations and highest personal potential. Denise graduated magna cum laude in Business Management from National University. A native Californian, Denise enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and giving back to the community through volunteering her time and talents to various non-profit organizations.

Izabela Villanueva
Program and Events Coordinator, Career Services
650-779-5433   |   izabela@peninsulacollegefund.org

Izabela Villanueva was born and raised in San Jose, CA. They received Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Asian American Studies from UC Davis. While at UC Davis they worked with and created curriculum for Sac Girls Speak and Southeast Asians Furthering Education, two different programs serving students of color. Inspired by these students, Izabela pursued a Master’s degree from UMass Boston in Transnational Cultural Community Studies; Izabela’s research assessed how youth populations utilize social media as means for identity exploration, community building, and global networking. Izabela’s research interests paired with their grassroot advocacy work with AYPAL Oakland and Boston Pilipinx Education Advocacy and Resources, motivates Izabela to create pathways for fellow first-generation students of color, toward personal, academic, and professional success.

Yadira Antonio
Program Coordinator
650-542-8581   |   yadira@peninsulacollegefund.org

Yadira M. Antonio is a native of San Jose, CA. Prior to joining PCF, she's worked as a college adviser fellow for UC Berkeley's Destination College Advising Corps (DCAC). As a fellow, she worked assisting minority, first-generation and low-income students of color with the college application process. Yadira graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master's in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. While at USC, Yadira continued to pursue her interest in education and also discovered her passion for immigration policy. Yadira is passionate about assisting and supporting school staff, students, parents and communities in order to increase students’ academic attainment.

Veronica A. Rueda
Program Coordinator
650-542-0346   |   veronica@peninsulacollegefund.org

Veronica A. Rueda is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Art History. A San Jose native, she attended River Glen Bilingual Immersion School and Abraham Lincoln High School. After college, Veronica served as a College Advisor at Pioneer High School through UC Berkeley’s college access program, Destination College Advising Corps. As a College Advisor, she gained experience working with first-generation, low-income, underrepresented students and helped them apply and transition to college. Veronica is passionate about empowering students and families to reach their educational goals. She also hopes to help other artists and creatives alike feel like they have a place in academia.

Edher Zamudio
Program Coordinator
650-839-7190   |   edher@peninsulacollegefund.org

Edher A. Zamudio migrated to San Francisco, California from Lima, Peru in 2005. He attended City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and later graduated from San Francisco State University (SFSU) in Sociology and Latina/o Studies in 2014. During his undergraduate career, Edher worked as a teaching and research assistant at SFSU. Off campus, he volunteered at CCSF and worked in the field of education. In fall 2014, Edher began his graduate career at the University of California, Santa Cruz and received a Master of Arts degree in Latin American and Latino Studies in 2018. After completing his graduate education, he worked as a college and career advisor for GEAR UP, a federally funded program with the goal of increasing college readiness and awareness. Edher has two passions: (1) supporting and advocating for low-income, first-generation students in college and (2) Peruvian migration patterns to the Bay Area and how race, immigration status, and class affect immigrants' cultural transition.

Lianne Aratea
Program Coordinator
650-457-0382   |   lianne@peninsulacollegefund.org

Lianne is a San Diego, CA native and attended San Diego State University for her undergrad. After undergrad, Lianne moved away from San Diego to San Jose where she worked for 2 years as a College Adviser with UC Berkeley's Destination College Advising Corps at Overfelt High School. During her time in this position, she learned about college access and was also introduced to PCF as they would come to the high school to present the amazing scholarship opportunity to students. Lianne is currently a graduate student in the Master's program of Higher Education and Student Affairs and the University of San Francisco and looks forward to supporting scholars in PCF through her role as a Program Coordinator while also applying newly acquired knowledge from her graduate program.

Vanessa Magaña
Program Coordinator
650-779-5002   |   vanessa@peninsulacollegefund.org

Vanessa Magaña was born and raised in Hayward, CA and is a first-generation college graduate. She attended San Jose State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. After graduating from SJSU, she started her fellowship with UC Berkeley's Destination College Advising Corps where she served as a College Advisor at Mt. Eden High School in Hayward. In this role, she empowered first-gen, low-income, and underrepresented youth to view higher education as a feasible option after high school. During the summer, Vanessa works with another non-profit called Camp Phoenix as a Head Counselor, where she supports low-income youth from Oakland to close the opportunity gap and combat summer learning loss. Vanessa has always had a passion for supporting youth in different capacities and is excited to bring those passions and all that she’s learned in her prior roles to PCF and PCF scholars. Outside of her professional life, she enjoys attending concerts and music festivals (pre-COVID-19) and hanging with friends and family at the beach.

Martha E. Corral
Development, Marketing and Operations Coordinator
650-338-1366   |   martha@peninsulacollegefund.org

Martha E. Corral was born and raised in Newark, CA and is a first-generation college student. She attended De Anza College and obtained her Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts with an emphasis on Social Science and Behavioral Sciences. Having worked while in school advanced her career. It allowed her to climb the career ladder at a young age. Her job offered her amazing opportunities with potential for growth, but she knew she would face a glass ceiling and obtaining a four-year degree would be able to break it.

Martha left it all behind and moved to Los Angeles to attend California State University, Northridge and majored in Communication Studies. While at CSUN, she focused her studies on the intersectionality of communication in human relations, cultural studies, social justice, training and development. Due to her own story, Martha is passionate about career development, specifically for first-generation scholars. She enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures.

Karina Lira
Alumni Coordinator
925-289-9588   |   karinalira17650@gmail.com

Karina Lira immigrated to East Palo Alto, CA when she was 9 years old. She Graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with a BA degree in Political Science, and is a Peninsula College Fund Alumna from Class of 2015. Karina utilizes her professional experience in Legal, Finance, and Business Operations to support individuals to achieve their personal and professional goals. She is passionate about upward social and economic mobility for immigrant communities, and people of color.

Jennifer Mora
Development Intern
650.770.5000   |   info@peninsulacollegefund.org

Jennifer Mora was born and raised in Redwood City, CA. She's a PCF scholar and a first-generation college student. Jennifer's passion for medicine and identifying social disparities within low-income communities led to her pursuing a bachelor's degree in Public Health and Health Equity at Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her main goal is to work at a non-profit that helps communities receive healthcare and other resources that can minimize social disparities that affect their health and quality of life. In addition to being a public health advocate, Jennifer is also passionate in sharing resources and uplifting other first-generation students to succeed in college by finding strategies to overcome obstacles. Jennifer enjoys hiking in Big Sur and learning about geology when she's not busy working on her senior thesis.

Maleena Guido
Social Media Intern
650.770.5000   |   info@peninsulacollegefund.org

Maleena was born and raised in San Jose, California. She is a PCF scholar and first-generation college student. She attended Cristo Rey San Jose Jesuit High School and was part of the first graduating class in 2018. Now she is a junior at Saint Mary's College of California. Her first major is Justice, Community, and Leadership on the track to become a Special Education Teacher. She is in a program that will give her a teaching credential at the same time as her bachelor's degree! Her second major is Theology and Religious Studies, which feeds her passion for learning about other faith traditions and reminds her of how her faith has inspired her passion for social justice. Maleena has spent the past three years working for Jumpstart, a program that engages with underserved preschoolers in Oakland to improve child literacy and prompt social-emotional development. Maleena loves children and is a strong advocate for quality, fulfilling education being accessible to lower-income communities, communities of color, and Special Education students.