January 2022 Diego Báez

The Poetry Foundation has welcomed Diego Báez (CHI’19) as a new Harriet Books reviewer. Named after Harriet Monroe, the founding editor of Poetry Magazine, Harriet Books centers the work of poets and serves as a portal to the latest poetry-related news.

Read more here.

January 2022 Dirrick Butler

Dirrick Butler (CHI’19) has transitioned to a full-time role of Project OneTen. Founded by Butler as part of his fellowship capstone project, the organization that engages and mentors Black and Brown boys in Chicago during the transition to high school by empowering them to recognize and develop their strengths, academic confidence, and innate brilliance.

As the new Executive Director of Project OneTen, he will lead fundraising, support the development of transformational programming, set a vision and path for growth and deeper impact, and increase organization awareness in the broader Chicago education landscape.

Learn more about Project OneTen at: www.projectoneten.org

December 2021 Zuleica Lopez

Zuleica Lopez (OAK’20) was promoted to Senior Director of Program at OneGoal, an organization whose mission is to close the degree divide in America.

Learn more about OneGoal at: www.onegoalgraduation.org

October 2021 Sonya Mehta

Sonya Mehta (OAK’18) has started a new role as the new Chief of Staff at Families in Action for Quality Education (FIA Oakland).

FIA Oakland is a community-organizing coalition working to build collective power around issues that impact equitable access to quality education in Oakland, by developing the leadership capacity of school parents, youth, educators, school leaders, and educational justice allies.

October 2021 AJ DeLeón

AJ DeLeón (CHI’15) was recently nominated and elected into membership of the ECC. Membership in this exclusive club connects him with the heart of Chicago’s C-Suite to learn from more experienced leaders and to enhance the brand awareness and impact of his organization, Innovare, locally and beyond.

September 2021 Jonathan and Shenita


Jonathan Chaparro (CHI’17) and Shenita Johnson (CHI’17) have been appointed to the BES National Board of Directors. BES is an organization that invests in leaders so that they can invest in their teams and students, delivering on the promise of an excellent education for every child.

September 2021 Cristina Marquez

Cristina Marquez (KC’20) has begun serving as an adjunct instructor at her alma mater, The University of Kansas (KU).

“I have served and will continue to serve as a Field Instructor for MSW students and will also begin serving as a Field Liaison/Lecturer. This is a stretch assignment for me, but Surge gave me the tools and confidence that I needed to take this leap and do something that I never thought I could and never thought I would have the opportunity to do.” Congratulations Cristina!

September 2021 India Johnson

India Johnson (INDY’21) was featured on an episode of Terrell Talks where she shares on her work and how she is lighting the path to the future through her educating and healing our youth.

“This my favorite of all the interviews I have ever done because I was authentic in my expression of the joys, pains, hopes, and desires that make my work so meaningful to me and my community.” Listen to the episode here.

August 2021 Sanam Jorjani

Co-Led by Sanam Jorjani (OAK’19), the Oakland Literacy Symposium (hosted by the Oakland Literacy Coalition) will be a two-day virtual conference that will bring together educators, youth development professionals, leaders, design thinkers, and change makers together to learn, strategize, elevate, and collaborate. The idea for this conference also stemmed from Sanam’s 2019 Surge Fellowship capstone project.

Registration for the Oct 1-2 Symposium is available here.

August 2021 Osayuware (Tina) Enagbare

Osayuware (Tina) Enagbare (OAK’18) has been promoted to Head of Talent & Equity at Peer Health Exchange, and she now advises growing her capstone project, the organization’s Youth Advisory Board, nationwide.