Santa Clara University


Student Profiles

Get to know the students who are helping our local community through the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative.

  • Billy BouzosBilly Bouzos

    Year: 2014

    Major(s)/Minor(s): Marketing and Music/Latin

    Hometown: Walnut Creek, CA

    Interests/Hobbies: Guitar, Piano, Basketball, Fishing

    How I came to work on NPI and what I’ve learned: I came to work with NPI from its very inception, being a member of the original ELSJ class. I’ve learned to keep an open mind when meeting people, and how to find hidden beauty in the least likely of places. To be honest I’ve learned more about myself than anything else, and I’m thankful for my time with NPI. It’s been well worth the time and effort.

  • sm-sebastian-feyeSebastian Feye

    Year: 2014 

    Major(s)/Minor(s): Finance/International Business 

    Hometown: San Diego, CA 

    Interests/ Hobbies: Traveling, Outdoor Activities, Hiking, Sailing, Surfing 

    How I came to work on NPI and what I’ve learned: As a sophomore I heard about an opportunity to start something new on campus and jumped at it. I found a possibility to contribute to something greater outside of the Santa Clara bubble. I started by working on documenting and creating databases of the local business and vacancies. There has been many great experiences and projects since then. I have met so many committed and inspirational people who have taught me about their life, successes, and challenges. Every day working on this project has been a new learning experience.

  • Karisma Garcia-ValenciaKarisma Garcia-Valencia

    Year: 2015

    Major(s)/Minor(s): Finance and Political Science

    Hometown: Turlock, CA

    Interests/Hobbies: Social Justice, Traveling, Outdoor Activities 

    Activities Involved in On-Campus: Christian Life Community, Contemplative Leadership and Sustainability Program, Intramural Soccer

    How I came to work on NPI and what I've learned: During the spring of my freshman year, several friends shared with me their experiences of establishing NPI and building the initial relationships in the Washington community. I was drawn to the opportunity to translate what I was learning in the classroom to a real life application and became a part of the initiative in winter 2013. Our class worked closely with Yolanda's Market in pursuit of implementing changes to the business that Yolanda, the owner, could sustain. Over the span of the quarter, I learned a great amount and ultimately realized how this project was not as black and white as the assignments given in my business courses. There are many unforeseen factors in the real world, and it takes great communication and flexibility to develop objectives and change direction when needed. I have continued working with NPI this quarter and am excited for what the future holds.

  • Garrett JensenGarrett Jensen

    Year: 2014

    Major(s)/Minor(s): Accounting/Political Science

    Hometown: Portland, OR

    Interests/Hobbies: Travel, Tennis, Basketball, International Cuisine, Laughing

    Activities Involved in On-Campus: ASG Senator and Chair, EMT on-campus, MUN, ACE Program, Peer Advisor, Global Fellow in Turkey, Immersions to New Orleans, Ecuador, and Burma

    How I came to work on NPI and what I’ve learned: I first learned of what would soon become NPI during an information session in fall quarter of my sophomore year. I heard Jackie Schmidt-Posner speak about this new project and the overarching goals, and while I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, I just knew I wanted to be in it. I have been hooked on this “start-up” ever since.

    Throughout my work on many different projects within NPI, I have learned immensely from others. I have learned about the Washington Neighborhood and the amazing leaders that serve within it. I continue to learn about small business development and the many facets of running an efficient and successful business, and I’ve learned to be more patient, as well as discern within myself my passions and career goals. I am committed to continue my involved in downtown San Jose long term.

  • Sean RoeSean Roe

    Year: 2015

    Major(s)/Minor(s): Operations Management & Information Systems and Spanish/International Business

    Hometown: Mill Creek, WA

    Interests/Hobbies: Hiking, guitar, piano, geography, aviation, church ministry

    Activities Involved in On-Campus: Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field, NPI, SAAC, CORE Christian Fellowship

    How I came to work on NPI and what I’ve learned: NPI presented itself to me Winter Quarter of my sophomore year. I saw a unique opportunity to incorporate both of my focuses at Santa Clara (Business and Spanish) into a local outreach program. Sometimes we wonder how our studies at a university will serve us in the future; I couldn’t have stumbled upon a more blatant opportunity to share my gifts with our San José community. My initial contact with NPI was through Yolanda’s Market, a small carniceria and restaurant in San José. Our class’ efforts were directed towards boosting a customer base and increasing profits. I played the unique role of focusing on financials and modernizing a point of sale (POS) system in the store while using my Spanish language to communicate more effectively with the primarily Latino, Spanish-speaking clientele. 

    My work at Yolanda’s continues today, mainly as a result of what I learned through my experiences there. I realized that I committed to a neighbor, a community member, and more importantly, a family member of this larger global family, that I would see the project through until its completion. It’s a project that will “take as long as it takes.” NPI has taught me to stay true to my word, see projects through until the end, and most importantly, to seek justice for those we serve.

  • Trevor RomeleTrevor Romele

    Year: 2015

    Major(s)/Minor(s): Finance

    Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA

    Interests/Hobbies: Surfing and skydiving

    Activities Involved in On-Campus:  Leadership Excellence and Academic Development (LEAD) – LEAD is a program on campus for first generation college students. I was a peer educator for a freshmen English class of LEAD students.  I would attend every English class for two quarters and help the students with their work when needed and help the professor as well.  

    How I came to work on NPI and what I’ve learned:  I got involved in NPI by applying for an internship that was being offered at Center for Employment Training (CET).  CET is basically a trade school for lower-income people.  My internship at CET is unique because I am able to get work experience while helping out in the community at the same time.  CET also allows me to relate the information I am learning in my classes to real life projects.  What I enjoy most about working with NPI is being surrounded by people who have just as much passion to make a difference in the community as I do.  While working at CET, I have had the opportunity to teach a class of students, organize a career fair for the students, and set up interviews for some of the students with potential employers.  Every time I spend time in a classroom, talk to an employer, or help a student one-on-one, I learn something new that helps improve my performance for the future.

  • Jessica SullivanJessica Sullivan

    Year: 2015

    Major(s)/Minor(s): Marketing/Spanish Studies

    Hometown: Pleasanton, CA

    Interests/Hobbies: Service, photography, country music, reading, my dogs, sitcoms

    Activities Involved in On-Campus: Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity, Leavey School of Business Peer Advisors

    How I came to work on NPI and what I’ve learned: I came to NPI as an eager freshman looking to get more involved after hearing about an opportunity from a professor for a community service based pilot program in the business school.  I had no idea what it entailed, and after attending the informational meeting, I learned that no one, including the program's founder, Jackie, really knew what it would entail.  Nonetheless, due to Jackie's evident undying spirit, eleven undergraduate business students and I signed up to be a part of this experience, and thus NPI was formed.  Since its inception, the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative has been a developing, flexible learning process that has proved to be exponentially beneficial for both the students and the community members.  

    I have had the opportunity to work with small business owners, city officials, numerous dedicated volunteers, elementary school students, and determined parents, many of whom primarily speak Spanish.  Through these collaborations, I have learned and developed a wide range of knowledge and skills due to hands-on experience that I wouldn't otherwise have gained simply from inside the classroom.  Most prominently, I have learned that it is the people with spirit and determination for positive change within the neighborhood that can truly make a difference for the community as a whole-- people like Maria Evans and Brian O'Halloran.  I look up to individuals like Maria, Brian, and the teachers and parents of Washington Elementary, seeing all that they have accomplished to better the lives and futures of the Washington Elementary students.  They have taught me that success and service can go hand in hand, and I hope to one day be able to impact my community in a way similar to how they have touched the lives of the students of Washington Elementary.

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