OUR BOARD

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Lawayne Williams

President

LaWayne joined the board in 2013 after years as a CAP friend, partner, and supporter. He is the former Program Director of the Mustangs on the Move after school program at John Muir High School, his alma mater. LaWayne now serves as the Senior Director of Community Relations at The Pasadena Tournament of Roses and was previously the BLOOM Program Manager at the California Community Foundation. LaWayne has coordinated and implemented college awareness programs with both UCLA and UCSB. He resides in Pasadena, where he and his wife grew up and where he is the father of two children who attend PUSD schools. LaWayne brings a wealth of local knowledge and expertise to CAP. He holds a Bachelor’s from UCSB and a Master’s from CSULA, both in sociology, and a Master’s of Public Administration from USC.

 

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Jodi Epstein

Vice President

Jodi Epstein was first introduced to CAP through the USC Graduate Board Fellows program, an initiative developed by the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, as an assigned capacity building and fundraising volunteer. After her year-long fellowship, Jodi joined the CAP board as a full-voting member in May 2011. She is especially excited to work with the organization’s talented executive director and fellow board members to help ensure that CAP students fulfill their Big Dreams!

Jodi received her bachelor’s in Human Development, with minors in Business and Sociology, from Binghamton University in New York and her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California (USC). Jodi formerly worked as a Finance Assistant for Wendy Greuel for Mayor of Los Angeles and as the Civic Engagement Associate and Community Outreach Director at the USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, providing students practical experience in politics and public service through internships and research opportunities. She is currently an Account Executive at Cerrell Associates.

 

"CAP gets it. The staff are beyond dedicated to doing and advocating for what's best for their students. They're not afraid to get their hands dirty, take calculated risks and strive to achieve greatness. They break down barriers, inspire and follow through. I'm proud, each and every day, to be on CAP's board.”

-Jodi Epstein, Vice President

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Jessica Cobb

Secretary

Jessica is a proud graduate of Pasadena High School and was a first-gen college student when she attended Pomona College in 1999-2003. She now holds a PhD in sociology from UC Berkeley and is currently attending law school at UCLA Law. Jessica was a CAP Program Coordinator in 2012-2013 and Director of Programs in 2013-2014. She joined the board in 2015 after penning and conducting the evaluation for a white paper about CAP’s work titled “College Access Plan: A Community Opting In to Post-Secondary Success.” CAP students and staff are some of the most amazing, interesting, talented people Jessica has ever met, and as a board member, she is excited to continue to support them to Dream Bigger!

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Kate Kelly

Treasurer

Kate joined the board in 2012 and has a decade of experience in the accounting profession. After receiving her bachelor's degree in business administration from Northeastern University, she moved to New York where she worked as an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, gaining experience working on the audits of nonprofits as well as public companies. In 2010, she moved to Los Angeles and is currently employed as a forensic accountant in the litigation department of Gursey|Schneider LLP. Kate holds CPA licenses in both New York and California.

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Sam Gelinas

Member & Immediate Past President

Sam Gelinas has spent his career in public education across the United States. He developed and implemented a media based literacy program for incarcerated youth in LA County, combining music production with reading and writing skills. He left California to teach Special Education in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools. As a teacher Sam saw firsthand the deficits in access to postsecondary education for many students. After spending three years in the classroom, Sam returned to Los Angeles, where he currently serves as Chief Program Officer for the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education, working to develop and implement new initiatives in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District and partner organizations.

Sam holds a BA in Sociology and Psychology from Pitzer College, an MA in Education from George Washington University and a MA in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. He joined the CAP board in 2012.

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Jana Blumenthal

Member

Jana joined the board in 2013 and brings over a decade of production experience to the role.  She grew up in Boulder, Colorado and attended the University of Colorado, majoring in sociology. After undergrad, Jana abandoned her plan to become an attorney for the excitement of video production. She started her television career in New York producing live events and eventually migrated to Los Angeles. Jana has served as a production executive on hundreds of hours of programming and currently oversees multi-platform video production for the Viacom Music and Entertainment group.

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Saru Ramanan

Member

Saru Ramanan is the Southern California Program Manager for Study Smart Tutors, Inc. — an SAT/ACT preparation company that works with schools, outreach programs, and college access organizations to provide efficient and effective test preparation — and brings her experience in program development, social enterprise, and strategic communications to the CAP board.

Saru earned her Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, where she concentrated in Nonprofit Management and Policy. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Composition from The Ohio State University.

With a deep interest and experience in social justice work, Saru’s career has involved working with large, public programs, nonprofit initiatives, and grassroots international development efforts, and has focused around serving children and families. She lives in Pasadena with her dog, Zilla.

“It’s really a rare thing to have an organization provide so much social value in such a cost-effective way. Not only does CAP deliver on its mission, but it also maintains fidelity to its culture of renegade enthusiasm and exceptional work ethic. The CAP team is as supportive as it is happy, and that shines through at all levels of the organization.”

-Saru Ramanan, Board Member

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Miguel Reyes

Member

Miguel is fortunate to be a CAP and John Muir High School alumnus. He received his bachelor’s in chemical engineering with a minor in materials science and physics from Cal Poly Pomona. Miguel currently works for California Steel Industries as an engineer. Experiencing CAP’s programs firsthand has made him passionate about helping others fulfill their college dreams. Miguel joined the CAP board in 2017 as its first alumni member in hopes of bringing a student perspective as well as giving back to his community and the amazing CAP family.

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Mo Hyman

Co-Founder & Executive Director

As one of CAP’s founders, Mo can’t think of anywhere else on earth she’d rather be. The students she meets everyday inspire her to work hard and laugh a lot. It’s easy for her to be passionate about college: it was as an undergraduate at Michigan State University receiving a BA in English that Mo developed into a scholar, became a community advocate, and made the friends of a lifetime. She has since gone on to obtain an MA in English from the University of New Mexico and a Masters of Public Administration from USC and spent nearly two decades teaching community college English, which helped to build her passion for educational equality and access. CAP allows her to combine these passions and work shoulder-to-shoulder with the most amazing students, staff, board, and community she could have ever imagined.

In addition to her role at CAP, Mo proudly serves on the Leadership Council of Collaborate PASadena, a shared initiative of the Pasadena Public School district, community organizations, and the city/local governments of Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre. She also serves on the board of Action Kivu, a nonprofit organization that collaborates with local nongovernmental organizations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and invests in Congo’s women, children, and communities through vocational training and education, creating paths toward peace and prosperity. Mo is a proud resident of Pasadena.

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Kathleen Parent

Co-Founder & President Emeritus

Kathleen views co-founding CAP as one of her proudest accomplishments. As a first generation college student, Kathleen knows the importance of providing strong, personalized support systems for aspiring college students, and appreciates the power of a college education to change lives. She studied Creative Writing and Theatre at Western Michigan University, but later changed careers to follow her lifelong passion in education. After earning a MEd from DePaul University, she relocated to Los Angeles to work in urban education.  Kathleen is so grateful for the opportunity to have worked with amazing colleagues at John Muir High School in Pasadena where she taught English for eight years and worked to establish CAP's first programs. This experience set the foundations for her career as a teacher, rooted in social justice and equity of opportunity. She now lives in Chicago, where she teaches AP and IB English at John F. Kennedy High School and co-directs the drama club. She continues her work on college access in her own classroom, and by tutoring Chicago Public School students in ACT/SAT.

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