JCYC Upward Bound Staff

Cesar tapia

Senior Education Advisor

john o'connell

Cesar Tapia graduated from San Francisco State University, with a degree in International Relations in 2011. During his time at RCC and SFSU, he participated in youth outreach programs with student based organizations and after school programs. In 2010, he joined the SF Promise Mentoring Program. The program provided tutoring and mentoring for middle school students in the San Francisco community. From 2011 to 2014, he was the Education Advisor for the AACE Talent Search Program at Francisco Middle School. One of his favorite activities is taking students on college campus visits. He is enthusiastic about providing students with the tools necessary to have fruitful futures.

Nicole ROdriguez

Education Advisor

Mission High School

​Nicole Rodriguez grew up in a border town called El Centro, California. They graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Ethnic Studies with an emphasis on Race and Sexuality. Nicole worked with the LGBT Resource Center at UC San Diego to find ways of collaboration between LGBTQ+ students and the greater LGBTQ+ San Diego Community. They previously worked as an Academic Mentor for MYEEP. With a background of athletics and dance, Nicole is an advocate for healing through body positivity and empowerment. They believe that encouraging youth to love and accept their, true authentic, selves is crucial for the success of community work. Nicole is really excited to provide low-income youth with the weapons and tools to succeed in higher education institutions.

Jeffrey Smith

Education Advisor

Galileo Academy of Science and Technology

​​Jeff moved to San Francisco by way of Brooklyn, NY in 2002.  He graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2009 and has been working with youth in a variety of counseling and tutoring roles ever since. Jeff takes a holistic approach to counseling and academic support and builds strong relationships with all of the young people that he works with.  Having joined the Upward Bound team in August, Jeff looks forward to working with its staff and all of the youth that it serves. Jeff is the current Upward Bound advisor for Galileo Academy of Science and Technology participants.

patricia justafort

Education Advisor

Balboa high school

​Patricia (Patty) Justafort graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in American Studies with an emphasis in Race and Public Policy. During her time at Cal, she began to work as a Director for the bridges Multicultural Resource Center to help recruit and retain students of color in higher education and continued her work in empowering underrepresented youth by teaching Financial Literacy to high school students in Oakland through YWCA and most recently in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil under Education USA as a College Advisor to Brazilian students who wished to study in the States. She believes higher education should be accessed by all, no matter their background, and is now a High School Academic Advisor for JCYC Upward Bound at Balboa High School.