Meet our interns for the fall of 2018

A new season means a new internship cycle at 826. This fall, we’re pleased to welcome this great cohort of interns, who are helping us advance our mission and support our students, whether they’re writing a poem or recording a podcast. Among these beautiful faces, you will find a cyberpunk enthusiast, a pianist, and a business owner (who started at the age of 16!) to name a few. So dive in and read all about them!

Educational Programming Interns

Tran Bao prides herself on being a Vietnamese, a sociology major, a foodie, an ambivert, and an explorer. After spending 19 years in Vietnam and four years on the East Coast at Amherst College, she moved to the West Coast in pursuit of more sunlight and fun adventures. Tran loves venturing into multilingual, creative writing spaces to reconstruct her sense of self, share her stories, and connect with other voices. Unsurprisingly, she found 826 Valencia to be the ideal place to anchor after college. She can’t wait for a memorable year of growing with and learning from all 826 Valencia’s amazing students and staff!


Geordi Galang was born and raised in the Mission District and is now entering his senior year at San Francisco State University, where he studies English education with hopes of becoming a teacher in the Bay Area. He enjoys stories of intersectionality that share different paths of life which bring us together. In addition to being a passionate connoisseur of comic books, Geordi is also an avid runner who just conquered his first full marathon this summer! He believes that the best personal growth comes from meeting people who inspire you to find your true voice, and 826 Valencia is the perfect place to do that!


Erin Hamilton is a Bay Area native who listens to music so loud that she often can’t hear when people call her name. She also enjoys walking, even far distances, because according to her, “it’s easier than driving.” She is currently finding her footing after recently graduating from UC Davis with a degree in English. Erin passes the time traveling, doodling on any free scrap of paper, and reading Wikipedia articles for fun until she finds her way in the world.


Grace Hunter grew up in the Bay Area and returned, after college, to pursue a career in education. In her time away, she was lucky enough to work for 826 in New Orleans, and in the past two years, she has worked at a garden at a public elementary school in San Francisco, which has inspired her to go back to school to get credentialed to teach English. While she finishes up applications for grad school, she is excited to intern at Buena Vista Horace Mann school and read all the incredible stories the students create on each session. She is dedicated to celebrating the spectacularly unique voices of the students both on and off the page.


Shyla Jackson is a San Francisco native who has pursued an understanding of multi-culturalism and self-expression through writing. She has recently earned her BA in English literature at San Franciso State University and is now taking the time to learn an abundance of teaching methods in her gap year before graduate school. Throughout high school, she participated in numerous literary and media arts programs facilitated by 826 Valencia in partnership with the Friends of the Geneva Car Barn & Powerhouse community-building internships. Through working with her fellow motivators at 826 Valencia, Shyla hopes to build a positive and nurturing relationship between the freedom provided by creative outlets and academic success.


Leslie Ngo lives in the husk of a hundred-years-old corner store in San Francisco. He’s played guitar for many different things, ranging from theatre pit orchestras to math rock bands. His favorite band is Chon and he loves all things cyberpunk. Leslie currently interns as a podcast editor for 826 Valencia.


Savannah Melson is a San Francisco native attending City College of San Francisco, where she is currently majoring in audio engineering. She plans to transfer to Arizona State University in the spring of 2019, with hopes of becoming a Sound Designer and Audio Editor for film and television. She enjoys reading, listening to music, and practicing her audio editing craft in her free time. This fall, Savannah is excited to be a part of the 826 Valencia’s Tenderloin team.


Tinia Montford was born and raised in the heart of Chicago, before venturing to the West Coast to attend the University of San Francisco, where she is pursuing a BA in English and design. She loves writing and reading, her favorite genres being fantasy and contemporary romance, and she dreams of being a published author. She aspires to one day become an English professor to help nurture and discipline the next generation of influential writers and authors.


Kathy Nim was born in South Sacramento, California, and raised in a diverse community with a family who taught her how to be proud of her Chinese and Vietnamese heritage, for which she is very grateful. She is currently in her senior year at UC Santa Cruz, where she’s majoring in community studies and minoring in Education, with the hopes of becoming a teacher, or a counselor, one day. Kathy is very excited to be a part of the 826 team and give back to the beautiful Tenderloin community. In her free time, she likes to write and play with her pets—she has three dogs and one cat!


Thora Olsen studied environmental studies and Native American studies at Dartmouth College, where she became enraptured with stories and their ability to shift paradigms. She has been teaching gardening and food justice in the Bay Area for the past couple of years and is committed to helping youth celebrate their stories. When not teaching, you can find her tearing it up on a dance floor, painting, and hanging out with trees.


Viviana M. Ontiveros is a San Francisco native, with the Mission District holding a special place in her heart. She is majoring in Women and Gender Studies, with a minor in Education, in hopes of working in the field of education with a focus on social justice. She encountered 826 Valencia while searching for a “second home” to practice the theories put forth in classrooms and seminars. Now she finds herself engaged with students who are constantly embodying a dream turned into reality: eager minds ready to accept social change.


Niki Ragone was born and raised in Southern California, but she loves the Bay Area just as much. She is currently majoring in global studies and minoring in Spanish at UC Berkeley. Niki found 826 through her university and joined because of her passion for working with students—and how much she can learn from them. Her passion for education came from having inspiring teachers, who fostered her love of learning to a point that she also wants to be a teacher herself. She is excited to be a new addition to 826 to help with field trips! In her spare time, Niki likes to watch dog videos, listen to music, and explore the Bay Area with her friends.


Luis Sepulveda was born in Houston, Texas, and spent most of his life there until he decided to try something new. After starting his first business at the age of 16, he gained an immense interest in business and finance and moved to San Francisco. He is currently a Sophomore at the University of San Francisco majoring in finance. In his free time, he enjoys driving his motorcycle through the mountains, expanding his knowledge of business, and meeting new people. He is very excited to be a part of the Tenderloin Community and 826 Valencia’s team once again!


Wan Su came from China and graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in technology and applied composition. As a composer, producer, and pianist, she furthered her abilities with pieces in all media genres. Her portfolio consists of electronic, ambient, orchestral and experimental music for games, videos, demos, and other mediums. She loves creating sound experiences that combine stories and feelings and also working on sound design for videos. She is thrilled to join 826 Valencia this fall to help students bring their podcasts to life.


Destiny Vigil was born and raised in San Jose, California. She is finishing up her last semester at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Sociology with double minors in Latin American and child and youth studies. She is extremely passionate about working with youth and fighting for equitable education. In her free time, she likes to go on long distance runs, write and perform spoken word, and search for the best milk tea spots in the Bay Area.


Caroline Woods-Mejia was born and raised in Berkeley, California. She is a recent graduate of UC Santa Cruz, where she studied literature with a concentration in creative writing and published her own poetry chapbook. She has a favorite pen to write poems with and will not let anyone borrow it, so don’t even ask. Currently, her favorite poetry book is TwERK (and that book she will let anyone borrow). During her free time, Caroline enjoys painting pottery, collecting crazy socks, and brunching her way through the Bay Area.


Design Interns

Allie Joseph was born and raised in the Bay Area and is currently working towards a degree in graphic design. In her free time, she enjoys taking photos, cooking, and skateboarding. Allie recently started the San Francisco chapter of the All Women Project, and is very excited to watch it grow!


Alex Kinoshita is visual designer and illustrator currently based in San Francisco to pursue a BFA in graphic design. Originally from Seattle, she enjoys getting outside and hiking (with other people’s dogs) and occasionally baking hand pies and quiches. She aspires to leave a positive dent in the world and hopes to use her passion for art and design in areas of activism such as climate change, education, and Womxn’s health.


Montana Manalo is an avid cook and reader who comes from a big family with six brothers. Before coming to 826, she worked for the nonprofit Maker Education as an Americorps VISTA. When she’s not working, she goes to art shows and hiking trips.


Sendy Santamaria is an Oakland-based Mexican-American illustrator and designer from the US/Mexico border region. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at California College of the Arts. She primarily paints traditionally with acrylic but has extended her palette to a variety of mediums including embroidery, ceramics, hand lettering, printmaking, and mural arts. Her work celebrates hard work, family tradition, and observational narratives. When she isn’t painting, she likes to embroider, pigeon watch, and draw people sleeping on public transit.