José Nino Barajas

José Nino Barajas (He/Him) is a first generation Mexican American born and raised in San Jose, California. He’s deeply passionate about the outdoors, particularly backcountry backpacking, climbing, and snowboarding.  José currently resides and works in the Bay Area and takes pride in his job as a systems water operator. He ensures that the residents of … Read more

Karen Rodriguez-Ponciano

Karen Rodriguez-Ponciano (she/her/ella) grew up in Tijuana, México and has spent the last 10 years traveling and living between San Diego, San Francisco and New York. Karen graduated from the University of California – Berkeley, where she studied Sociology, Design and Technology Entrepreneurship. She currently works in the tech sector, conducting research at the intersection … Read more

Yang Soua

Yang Soua (Yaaj Suav) (he/him) is a Community Gardens Project Manager working for a local Fresno nonprofit organization teaching kids how to garden and farm and providing language access and justice so elderly Hmong can gain access to land space where they can grow fresh and healthy food. He is a first-generation Hmong American and … Read more

Zahira Chaudhry

Zahira Chaudhry (she/her) is an outdoor enthusiast, self-taught chef and novice skateboarder. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Zahira has a deep appreciation for all the green space on Ohlone Land. Zahira is excited to return to OEI as a program assistant after participating in the Fall 2021 cohort. Some of her favorite places … Read more

Audin Leung

Audin Leung (they/them) is a Bay Area born-and-raised community activist, SA survivor, and proud enby queerdo. After completing the OEI program as a participant in 2021, they are excited to pass on the experience to others and support members in connecting with the outdoors, themselves, each other, and ultimately, the universal life that connects us … Read more

Adrianna Johnson

Adriana Johnson (she/her) grew up in Stockton, CA where she graduated high school and went on to get a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. As early as Kindergarten, AJ knew she wanted to be a teacher and now she gets to live out that dream every day.  Growing up, AJ’s family spent a lot of time … Read more

Vanessa Yung

Vanessa Yung (she/her)  is an East Bay native who graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration. Vanessa currently works in youth recreation and loves how it offers her the chance to connect with youth, build a community, and provide youth guidance and opportunities to express themselves through … Read more

Shea Opilla

Shea Opilla (he/him/his) is excited to have the opportunity to join the 2022 Outdoor Educators Institute (OEI) cohort in the South Bay to further his experience both in outdoor adventures and in advocacy. Shea is a student of Kinesiology at San Jose State University, and he has a passion for any activity that can get … Read more

Michelle Le

Michelle Le (she/her) is a Vietnamese American and Bay Area native. Elle is a first-generation graduate and received her B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has spent the past few years of her professional career devoted to addressing environmental issues through community-focused research and educational outreach. So far, her … Read more

Mahal Leia Bilaoen

Mahal Leia Bilaoen (she/they) is excited to be a part of the Fall 2022 Outdoor Educators Institute South Bay cohort! Mahal is currently studying to become an Environmental Studies major and can’t wait to use her knowledge to help others. She is passionate about finding connections between people and nature and everything in between. In … Read more