Meet the 2015–16 Ambassadors

Jove AlcazarJOVE ALCAZAR is a senior majoring in Civil Engineering. He is involved as the community service director of the Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity at Fresno State. He also serves on the executive board of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honors society. Jove routinely volunteers at the Bulldog Pantry, helping distribute food to those who benefit from it. In the past, Jove has volunteered for service events such as Kid’s Day and has set up many different service projects for his fraternity. He has enjoyed seeing his fraternity brothers benefit from meaningful service projects and wants to deliver the same message on a larger scale to the entire student body. Jove’s mission in his first year serving as an Ambassador is to help promote service projects to students on campus and to let the students know how impactful community service can be to not only the community but also to themselves as well.

Juan AlejandreJUAN ALEJANDRE is a senior majoring in Civil Engineering. He is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and a founding father of Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity at Fresno State. He also serves on IFC, Interfraternal Council, and the Society of Professional Engineers as scholarship chair. Juan has actively volunteered at Saturday Sports and has partnered with the Food Recruitment Network at Fresno State. In the past, Juan has volunteered for one day service events such as Make A Difference Day, Serving Fresno Day and Spring into Service. This summer Juan had the opportunity to volunteer internationally when he ventured to Nicaragua to build a home for a family. His active involvement for service reemerged as he was encouraged by his fraternity brothers, friends and other students participate in events that had an impact on the community. Juan’s mission as an Ambassador is to promote to students, faculty and staff the benefits volunteering can produce not only in the lives of others, but also their own.

Alma AlvizarALMA ALVIZAR is a junior at the University of California, Fresno pursuing a Bachelor’s of science in Recreation Administration – Community Recreation and Youth Services option and a minor in Public Health. She plans on using her education to design programs that meet the many needs of our community and to provide adequate information to our community regarding important health related and environmental issues. So far, she has volunteered in organizations and programs such as the John Wells Youth Center, Boys and Girls Club, Alternative Spring Break, and the Community Food Bank. As she continues to serve our community, she aspires in becoming a great leader and role model to all. Her goal as Richter Center Ambassador is to encourage other Fresno State students to volunteer; so that they also have the opportunity to be great leaders and role model to all.

Erika CastanonERIKA CASTANON is a junior at Fresno State majoring in Mass Communication and Journalism, Public Relations, and minoring in Spanish. Erika is a first-year Ambassador and a returning Reflection Facilitator (ReF). Fresno State’s commitment to service drew Erika into attending the university as a President Scholar in the Smittcamp Family Honors College. In addition to serving with the Richter Center, Erika works as a news assistant for University Communications, a DOG DAYS: New Student Orientation leader, Connect Coach for the College of Arts and Humanities, and an officer in the brand new Be The Match On Campus student organization. She wants to raise awareness for the national bone marrow registry, moved by the 2014 drive for Fresno State alumnus Justin Garza. On the weekends, Erika volunteers at Ericson Elementary with Every Neighborhood Parntership’s Saturday Sports program and at her local church The Bridge. Erika’s ultimate goal is to attend graduate school for strategic communications and work as a communications manager for a national community benefit organization. Her passion for service and connecting with her peers makes Erika an ideal member for this year’s diverse team of Ambassadors.

Jazmin De La TorreJASMIN DE LA TORRE is serving her third year as an ambassador while majoring in Psychology/Pre-med with a certificate in Drugs and Alcohol Studies and a minor in Public Health. She is a member of the Health Career Opportunity Program (HCOP) and a founding member and officer of Chicanos/Latinos in Health Education (C.H.E.). Jazmin’s love for service started when she was in middle school by helping out at food drives, especially around Thanksgiving, and tutoring her friends. What kept her involved was the satisfaction of seeing someone smile and realizing that she did not have to do something big to change the world. Through her involvement in the Richter Center, she continues to fall in love with service and hopes to inspire those around her to join her in creating a better community. Jazmin seeks to share this lesson with her peers through her position as an Ambassador, in addition to participating in multiple other volunteer projects this year.

Alex GalloALEX GALLO is a double major in Political Science and Communications. She plans to graduate with her degrees in 2017 and continue her education in Law School. She currently works as a student assistant for the Kremen School of Education and Human Development.This is her second year serving as an Ambassador, where she enjoys helping other students get involved in serving organizations both on and off campus. She is also a coordinator for Vintage Days, Fresno State’s largest student-ran event and Camp Kesem, a camp for children whose parents have been affected by cancer, as well as serves as President of the League of Women Voters Unit and Secretary for the Fresno State Democrats. She became involved with the Richter Center by first participating in Alternative Spring Break each year, where they partnered with the Ronald McDonald House and Every Neighborhood Partnership. She is a member of the Delta Zeta sorority and previously worked as a California Compact-Community Engagement Student Fellow, where she worked on expanding existing materials for the Richter Center so that fellow Richter Center Student Leaders can teach students the essence of serving.

Sharon LeyvaSHARON LEYVA is a senior at Fresno State majoring in Liberal Studies. This is Sharon’s first year as a Richter Center Ambassador, however she has been actively involved with the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning since fall of 2012. She was initially involved as a Richter Center Student Leader as a Reflection Facilitator (ReF) and later joined the S.E.R.V.E. Committee (Service Experience with Richter Volunteer Events). Sharon will have been the first student to be involved in all three of the student-leader groups. Sharon’s passion for service resonates with personal growth. This will be her second year with Jumpstart and her first year taking on the Team Leader position. In addition, Sharon has began volunteering with West Care Foundation as part of the residential treatment program. By being involved in multiple areas, Sharon hopes to reach out to students and peers on Fresno State campus to get involved in their community!

Nicole ShinkawaNICOLE SHINKAWA is in her last year at Fresno State majoring in biology. Her future goal is to become a dentist and give back to the underserved communities in Fresno. She is a member of many community service based student organizations such as Circle K International and Tri Beta Biology Club. This year, she is actively volunteering at the Fresno Rescue Mission, Tzu Chi Dental Clinics, and Bulldog Pantry. She has always enjoyed volunteering at community service events hoping to impact the community with her enthusiasm. As a returning Ambassador, Nicole seeks to continue to educate her fellow Fresno State peers on the impact that service can have on the community as well as on themselves. This year, Nicole is especially excited about taking her service experience abroad and becoming a part of the service-learning experience in Fiji.

22 MalaMALA SINGH is a sophomore pre-dental student majoring in biology. A few co curricular activities Mala is involved with at Fresno State include being an active member for HCOP, serving as treasurer for the Tri-Beta Biology Club, and conducting research with fruit flies. Her passion for community service began when she started volunteering at a local Sikh temple. Afterwards, she got involved with other splendid community service opportunities such as being a front desk volunteer at Clovis Community Hospital, helping decorate for Fresno City College’s Asian Fest, and teaching dental sessions to foster parents at the Central California Social Welfare, Evaluation, Research, and Training Center. Taking part in these wonderful opportunities helped Mala enhance her leadership skills and enjoy giving back to the community. She is so fortunate to initiate her first year as a Richter Center Ambassador and hopes to influence her fellow Fresno State peers to get involved with community service as well.

Taylor TessendoreTAYLOR TESSENDORE is a senior at California State University, Fresno and looks forward to graduating this spring with her B.A in Psychology. During her time at Fresno State she has made Dean’s list, joined Psi Chi International Honor Society of Psychology and was invited to become a member of Golden Key International Honour Society. Taylor has a passion for volunteer work and has immersed herself in the community since age fourteen, where she served as peer counselor at Clovis West High School. She has volunteered her time at the Marjaree Mason Center as a kNOw MORE peer educator and developed a love for encouraging children through mentoring her “little” at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She aspires to be a School Counselor in a K-12 after she finishes her M.S. in School Counseling. She is currently working closely with Fresno Unified School District in an after school program for young girls dedicated to improving their academics. She also spends her free time volunteering for NAMI, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, where she raises awareness and provides support to those in need. Taylor hopes to inspire her peers to become more involved in their community throughout her year as an ambassador.

Lilliana TosteLILLIANA TOSTE serves her third year promoting the spirit of service on campus as a Richter Center Ambassador , and her second year as a Reflection Facilitator. She plans to finish her undergraduate degree as a senior in the Smittcamp Family Honors College this year. She looks forward to an awesome career of service as a Speech-Language Pathologist. Her major is Communicative Disorders, Speech-Language Pathology with a minor in Urban Civic Education. Lilliana is a student assistant in the Office of the President at Fresno State and in the Office of the Associate Dean of the Kremen School of Education and Human Development, a leader of the Newman Catholic Student Association, and a member of the National Student Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (NSSLHA). Her love of service has taken her to volunteer positions at Reading and Beyond, St. Agnes Medical Center, many food distribution projects in Fresno (Bulldog Pantry, Poverello House, Food Recovery Network, etc.), various environmental efforts around Fresno (such as organized river cleanups and park restoration), and even to Fiji on a service-learning adventure. Lilliana reports that these diverse activities have enriched her college experience and inspired her to share with her peers the wonder of service-learning. Above all, she strives to be an enthusiastic collaborative leader and an uplifting friend.

Toushulong VangTOUSHULONG VANG is a senior from Fresno, California majoring in Agricultural Education with an emphasis in Plant Science. His future goals are to teach high school agriculture and volunteer with the Peace Corps. Toushulong’s passion for service of others started in high school, where he was actively involved in the FFA (Future Farmers of America) educating elementary school students and their parents about agriculture. He has continued his service at Fresno State, getting involved in Alternative Spring Break, Fresno State Swine show team, FFA Field Day, State Conference Committee, Multicultural Agriculture Ambassador, Pit Crew, and Camp Kesem. Toushulong looks forward to his first year as an Ambassador encouraging students to serve others.


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