METS Staff

Mayra Guevara
METS Director
Education: San Jose State University, BA Social Work
Favorite College Experience: Making meaningful friendships with people from places I had never heard of.

Yadira Gonzalez
METS Program Coordinator
Education: Bachelor's, double major from Holy Names University–Latin American and Latino/a studies and Liberal Studies with a Multiple Subject Emphasis. Master of Education, Holy Names University with an emphasis in Urban Education
Favorite College Experience: Going on our university trips and building lifelong memories and relationships with other students. Coming from a university that takes pride in being social justice advocates, I had the opportunity to travel to Oaxaca, Mexico and learn about the annual teacher's marches and political climate of the state; go on a civil rights tour through Georgia and Alabama; build houses with Habitat for Humanity for low income families in Tutwiler, Mississippi; and most memorable of all, travel to Nogales, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico to learn more about and defend immigrant rights.

Lynna Din
METS Academic Advisor
Education: Laney College, AA Social Science; San Francisco State University, BA Asian American Studies; San Francisco State University, MS School Counseling
Favorite College Experience: Being able to do internships. Through these experiences I was able to gain a better perspective about working with various stakeholders (principle, teachers, counselors, parents, students, and community leaders) within the Oakland Unified School District. I learned to become humbled and open-minded when working with students from diverse backgrounds. This is where I found my joy working with adolescents.

Upward Bound Staff

Javarte Bobino
Director, Upward Bound
Education: Doctoral Degree in Educational Psychology from Alliant International University. Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology and Personnel Pupil Services Credential Saint Mary's College of California. Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication from Xavier University of Louisiana.
Favorite College Experience: All of my undergraduate years were great. I had to chance to learn about New Orleans and people from all over the world.

Shavonne Clark-Lowe, MPA
Senior Associate Director
Education: BA in Political Science, Education Studies Minor, UCLA; MPA in Public Management & Policy Analysis, CSU East Bay.
Favorite College Experience: Finding my passion by creating a student community service group that exposed students to college readiness, art, and activism in Compton & South Central Los Angeles.

Mario Castro
Upward Bound Academic Advisor
Education: BA in Sociology, BS Anthropology
Favorite College Experience: All the friendships and relationships. Having friends close by was nice.

Thalia Rodriguez
Upward Bound Academic Advisor
I was born and raised in Oakland, graduated from Castlemont High School. I went to UC Santa Cruz (GO SLUGS!) where I had the time of my life hiking to class every day. I am a first-generation college graduate so I know how important it is to have awesome mentors/college advisers who make you feel welcomed and supported throughout the journey. Prior to Upward Bound, I was a college adviser at the Oakland High Future Center—I look forward to seeing some familiar faces. During my free time, I love to scroll through Instagram food pages, hike, watch cooking competitions (chopped junior is my fav) and spend time with my dog, Charlie. I can't wait to meet you all!

Vanessa Varko-Fontana
Office Manager, Upward Bound
Education: AA City College of San Francisco, BA New College of California–emphasis on activism and social change
Favorite College Experience: Travelling to Manzanar with my political science class to meet Japenese Internment camp survivors and honor their experience and struggles part of US history. We bonded as classmates and were able to see the impacts of US politics on communities. This experience helped me find my advocate voice and political awareness.

Jennifer Guevara
Upward Bound WCC Academic Advisor
I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to serve as the Mills College Upward Bound WCC Supervisor. As an Upward Bound alumni I know first hand the difference this program can make. As a student I was able to benefit from the opportunities UB had to offer. I met lifelong friends, visited college campuses, benefitted from academic and moral support, attended fun and educational field trips, experienced many firsts such as: snow in Tahoe, Washington, D.C. and dorm life during the summer residential program. I look forward to being able to share similar experiences with you!

Magi Brizuela
Upward Bound Academic Advisor
Education: Mills College, BA Environmental Science
Favorite College Experience: My favorite college experience was walking the stage at commencement, looking into the crowd and seeing my children, parents, and all my family cheering me on.

Louis Ramirez
Academic Advisor/Educational Technologist
Education: BS in Criminology and Criminal Justice studies from Sonoma State University.
Favorite College Memory: Joining Alpha Psi Fraternity of Sonoma State allowed me to build life long relationships with amazing men who are now successfully working in a variety of fields. Additionally, the organization allowed me to participate in philanthropic work that raised funds for local schools and national organizations. Being part of a community like this allowed me to experience a sense of academic, professional, and social support.

Liset Rodriguez
Upward Bound Student Office Assistant
Education: Mills College UB alumni, Currently pursuing BS at Mills College
Favorite College Experience: I love college so far because I have so many friendly people to support me.