Meet our fabulous spring interns

Spring hasn’t sprung yet, but here at 826, we’re already celebrating the season’s renewal spirit with fabulous new interns (and recurring ones who returned for a second term!) that recently joined our team! This semester, we are lucky enough to have 27 interns powering our work with their devotion to our students. So, without further ado, meet the fresh faces of 826 Valencia and learn more about this wonderful group that includes avid readers (anyone surprised?), aspiring educators, and a Giants fan!


Joanna ChauJoanna Chau is a proud Bay Area native and a recent UC Berkeley graduate. After her four years at Berkeley, she took an extra year to study abroad in Berlin, Germany, where she consumed an excessive amount of bread, cheese, and coffee. Although her area of study is centered around the biological sciences, Joanna joined 826 Valencia as an intern to reconnect with her passion for voluntary work and community service, with hopes of becoming even more involved with educational and youth development nonprofits in the future. In her free time, you can find her glued to her laptop at her favorite coffee shops.
Andrea David Andrea David was born in the North Bay and raised in a military family. She spent her childhood reading during long drives to and from the various places she called home. Andrea currently lives in San Francisco as she pursues an English degree with a Technical Writing minor at the San Francisco State University. In her free time, she enjoys petting the various dogs of San Francisco and finding places with funky bathrooms.
Chris Himmelblau Chris Himelblau is a Bay Area native hailing from Pleasanton, California. He is an English Literature student in his final semester at the University of San Francisco. In his free time, you can find him meditating in the Redwood groves, practicing yoga, playing music, or buried in some Roman Noir book. Some of his favorite authors and poets are Shakespeare, Kafka, Cormac McCarthy, Raymond Chandler, Pablo Neruda, Agatha Christie, and Maggie Nelson. He is excited to get to work with students and foster creativity in them and himself as well.
Jace Hommel Jace Hommel was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and grew up with a burgeoning desire to explore the world. But restricted by costs and limited by age, he turned to books and video games instead to fulfill his curiosity. As a current senior at the University of San Francisco, he hopes to graduate with a degree in English and to go on writing novels, so that he can create his own world to call home. When he isn’t studying, hunched over homework, he enjoys various kinds of music and dancing and is always looking for new languages to learn.
Sierra Kaufman Sierra Sky Kaufman hails from Redondo Beach, California. She’s in her last semester at the San Francisco State University and will be graduating with a BA in Child & Adolescent Development with an emphasis in Youth Work and Out of School Time Activities. Being outdoors is a huge part of her life; she loves hiking, playing soccer, and exploring the city, but she always makes time to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. When she’s not out and about, she coaches soccer for the Bay Area Girls Unite and strongly believes that whether you’re writing a short story or out on the soccer field, having supportive mentors is vital in achieving your goals.
Priscillia Ortiz Priscilla Ortiz was born and raised in San Francisco. She graduated from California State University, Chico, where she studied Communication with a focus on Organizational Communication and Spanish Language. After graduating, Priscilla spent some time in Spain, where she ate tons of Valencian paella and volunteered as an English Language teacher at various elementary schools. Back in the Bay Area, she is excited to tutor students at 826 and contribute to her community. In her spare time, she can be found eating honey-lavender ice cream, attending concerts with friends, or reading a book at Dolores Park.
Yael Platt Yael Platt recently moved back to her hometown of Berkeley, California after attending college in Boston for four years, where she studied English, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and also African & Afro-American Studies. She loves to draw cartoons and paint portraits of people using pen and watercolors. Yael has been a theater educator for the last five years and adores spending time with and supporting young people in their creative pursuits. She enjoys dancing and trying to make people laugh, and worships James Baldwin, her favorite writer.
Natalia RivasNatalia Rivas was born and raised in Fremont, surrounded by a loving family of Colombians and El Salvadorans who value education and growth. After finishing fourth grade, she moved down to sunny Southern California, living in South Pasadena and Irvine. But ultimately, she decided to go back to the Bay Area to attend the University of San Francisco, where she is currently a freshman in Communication Studies with a minor in Public Relations. In her free time, Natalia loves to read and write, find new music to listen to, take pictures, and explore new places in San Francisco.
Josh Shah Joshua Shah had always thought he was going to be a professional baseball player for the Giants. When he realized he couldn’t hit a 95 mph fastball, he decided to pursue other passions. He is a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Psychology and a budding interest in education. Coming from a mixed heritage, Josh applies his own diverse experiences of identity and race when connecting with students. He also works as a behavioral therapist in the East Bay and plans on continuing his education in the future. In his free time, he loves writing comedy skits with his friends and going to Giants’ games.
Sammy Tran Sammy Tran was born in San Jose and raised in Fremont. He recently graduated from the San Francisco State University with a degree in English Education and hopes to continue his teaching credential program there to become a high school teacher. Although he has a Vietnamese last name, Sammy speaks Teochew, a unique Chinese dialect, and identifies as a Chinese himself. His favorite band is Bastille, and he is always listening to their Pandora station on his commutes to 826. Sammy is an avid lover of video games and reading, considering himself an explorer of imaginary worlds.
Katie Troung While working alongside her dad in political campaigns, Katie Truong was encouraged to find her own platform in making a difference in her community. And 826 Valencia offered her the perfect opportunity to make an impact, but also to be impacted. She is currently finishing her last semester at the City College of San Francisco with plans to transfer to a UC in the fall, where she will pursue a degree in Sociology focusing on education and social inequity. When not at 826, she enjoys listening to Soul music and doing Chinese brush painting. Fun fact: her initials sound like her first name.
Ava Wallace Ava Wallace is a Bay Area native currently taking a gap year before attending the University of California, Berkeley. She first found out about 826 Valencia while exploring the Mission District with her cousin, and later rediscovered its awesomeness when she attended a spoken word poetry open mic held in their Mission Center’s Writing Lab. Since then, she has been continuously inspired by the imagination and creativity of 826 students. She loves cooking, hiking, and practicing yoga. She is always ranting about food justice and is often overcome by a spontaneous desire to hug a tree (clearly she has spent too much time in Berkeley.)