Bridging Perspectives: New Bay Area Interns Are Shaping Stupski’s Future

Part 2: Meet Six Bay Area Youth Leaders in Stupski’s Internship Program

Welcome back, readers! As promised, I am excited to introduce the second half of our fourth internship cohort—the interns from the San Francisco Bay Area. Much like our interns from Hawaiʻi, these five young leaders reflect a diversity of local communities that embody the rich cultural tapestry of the Bay Area.

Please join me in welcoming these outstanding young students! 

Trent Johnson

“I think that the root of all issues in philanthropy comes from the idea that foundations are in place to preserve personal wealth. If we can address this mindset in philanthropy, then I believe more foundations would be inclined to take the immediate and necessary steps to create real change.”

Trent Johnson (he/him) is a public health and economics major at University of California, Berkeley. Trent’s interest in Stupski came from how he saw philanthropy as an unknown field sitting at the intersection of two areas of personal interest: business and public spaces. Over the course of this internship, Trent plans to learn more about the spend-down model and soak up as much information as he can about the work Stupski and its community partners are doing. As intern for the CEO, Trent’s work focuses on shoring mindsets in the philanthropic sector to challenge and change the underlying motives and purpose of philanthropy. Through his work at Stupski, Trent hopes to instill a sense of urgency in funders that will expedite changes in the health care system. 

Viridiana Avalos

“Education is the path to stability, peace, and safety. Everyone should have equal access to it.”

Viridiana Avalos (she/her) is a junior at Cal East Bay pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business administration. As a first-generation college student, Viridiana strives to continue to surpass educational barriers for the sake of her family and future generations. A Bay Area native, Viridiana was attracted to Stupski because of the potential she saw to support and influence change in her community. During the course of this internship, Viridiana hopes to make meaningful connections within the philanthropic sector that will help inform what career path she chooses to pursue. As the grantmaking practices intern, Viridiana believes we must increase philanthropic and government funding for educational opportunities and job training to build a solid economic foundation for a better future for all. Viridiana believes that at its best, philanthropy is about taking care of and uplifting each other to meet the collective needs of the community. 

Alex Gomez

“During my time at Stupski, I hope to open the eyes of those in the philanthropic sector as well as politicians to the idea that free college can become a reality. Through my research, I plan to find viable and sustainable ways to fund California’s higher public education institutions.”

Alex Gomez (he/him) is a junior at the University of California, Santa Cruz, studying to complete his bachelor’s degree in politics. Alex applied for the Stupski internship because he saw the value that Stupski attached to his voice and experiences. Because Stupski not only incorporates students into the Foundation’s work but supports their leadership in their fight for social change, Alex feels empowered to address the problems that he has seen in his community. As an intern for the Bay Area postsecondary success team, Alex hopes to inspire policy changes in California that will establish a free college tuition model to reduce financial barriers for students and increase college attendance statewide. With Stupski’s platform and resources, Alex is hopeful that he can help create a society that is both more equitable and economically successful. 

Mariah Lalani Britt

“I am tired of the school-to-prison pipeline; too many of my peers and family members end up ‘living a life of crime’ because they feel that is their only way to survive … We need more programs for these young people to encourage them to try other career options.”

Mariah Lalani Britt (they/them) is a first-year student at Laney Community College studying sociology. After working in a variety of fields from event planning to art nonprofits, Mariah first gained interest in Stupski’s work because of the experiences they had working for an organization that receives philanthropic support. As the intern for the operations and board liaison, Mariah is interested in learning more about the grantmaking process and gaining valuable work experience in a physical office setting. Mariah believes that one problem plaguing philanthropy is a disconnect between the sector and younger generations. By inviting interns to take part in the Foundation’s work, Mariah sees that Stupski is working to address this problem by engaging with a diversity of youth perspectives, which she thinks will generate fruitful discussion among youth.

Kimberly Cazares-Maravilla

“I have seen that higher education systems today are not designed with Black, Latino, and other communities of color in mind; through my work at Stupski, I hope to help increase Black and Latino graduation rates and improve individuals’ access to future job opportunities.”

Kimberly Cazares-Maravilla (she/they) is a recent graduate from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and political science. As a product of the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), Kimberly strives to address OUSD’s lack of resources, including but not limited to outdated textbooks and underpaid teachers. When asked about what laws she might enact if she were elected governor of California, Kimberly outlined a policy that would enable immigrant communities to access local and statewide programs without putting them at risk of losing their visa and citizenship eligibility. Kimberly plans to spend her time at Stupski developing her professional network and learning more about the different experiences and perspectives in philanthropy.

Aaliyah Castrence

“Stupski challenges the traditional power dynamics and profit-driven models of philanthropy and helps youth bring about revolution through thought leadership and education that allows us to change extractive systems.”

Aaliyah Castrence (she/her) is a political science major at San Francisco State University attaining a pre-law certificate. She hopes to become a labor or immigration lawyer. As someone with a background in community organizing and a personal beneficiary of philanthropy, Aaliyah’s interest in Stupski stems from a desire to dive into the world of philanthropy and compare what it’s like to work in the sector compared to her previous work experiences. While she is excited to learn more about the grantmaking process as well as sharpen her interpersonal skills, Aaliyah is most interested in deepening her understanding of the systemic issues that drive inequity in the Bay Area and Hawaiʻi. When asked about the types of changes she hopes to make, Aaliyah said she wants to empower historically underfunded and marginalized communities by making the higher education system more equitable and accessible. As an intern for the postsecondary success team, Aaliyah plans to use this internship to highlight firsthand youth perspectives. 

Looking Forward With Hope


As you can see, our intern cohort has big plans for the Foundation and the future we will inherit. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about us. While there is much that distinguishes our lived experiences and perspectives, we each have a valuable role to play in shaping how the Foundation serves the communities and organizations to which it is returning all its resources. Over the course of this internship, our cohort looks to further Stupski’s vision by working together to inform the values and practices of this and the next generation of philanthropists. Collectively we are working together to push for justice and equality in the communities we call home.

Interested in learning more about the Stupski internship?

Learn about interning with the foundation.