Current Fellows

Welcome our new fellows!

Summer 2015 Fellows:


Sierra Jamir

Food for Hungry Minds

Sierra is a rising sophomore pursuing nutrition and food science in hopes of someday working on sustainable foods in the Philippines. Her involvement in Iskwelahang Pilipino of Boston and the Rondalla are where she first garnered a sense of her Fil-Am identity and her responsibility as a member of the diaspora. She is excited to work with Kaya Co. to empower the Filipino youth and give back to the community that has given her so much. For fun, Sierra enjoys playing the banduria, working on her indoor aquaponics system and learning a bit of Thai.


Jon Caña

Ashoka Philippines

Having attended an international school while growing up in Cebu City, Philippines, Jon's exposure to Pilipino culture and issues was quite limited. After migrating to the US at 13, it was only until his involvement with the Pilipin@ community at UC Berkeley did Jon finally have a space to grapple with and celebrate his Pilipino identity alongside a supportive community. Jon looks forward to kindling a new relationship with his community in the Philippines and bringing these lessons back to the US.


Gabbie Santos


Gabbie is an International Politics and Economics major at Middlebury College. As an international student born and raised in the Philippines, Gabbie has always desired to make a positive impact in her home country. Her experiences and observations at home, and her inter-disciplinary academic approach to economic and social development have allowed her to explore issues surrounding corruption, poverty, and inequality with an open and critical mind. Gabbie is eager to develop necessary skills and tools to turn her passion and idealism into a productive force for social change, both from within the Philippines and through the Filipino diaspora.


Stephanie Dolfitas

Ritmo Learning Lab

Stephanie hails from Buffalo, NY, but grew up in the Philippines. Upon entering college, she became heavily involved in her school's Filipino Students' Association, where she met and worked alongside a variety of amazing people who inspired her and helped her realize what she was passionate about, leading to her taking on various leadership and mentorship roles. She would like this experience to let her use her skills in a different setting, learn more about her roots, and learn as much as she can from others. Embarking on her journey with Kaya Co., she is excited to share the story of her passion for her heritage and community with others.


Jade Verdeflor

Kythe Foundation

Jade is a rising junior at Stanford University, currently studying Human Biology with a concentration in Ethics and Medical Humanities. She is also a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the Pilipino American Student Union, where she has been able to more deeply explore her Filipino American identity and bridge this with her passion for social justice and public service. She is really looking forward to traveling back to the Philippines to better understand the homeland of her ancestors and use that understanding to help inspire others to explore their own cultural identities.


Mae Verano


Born and raised in the Bay Area, Mae was always aware of her Filipino identity. Now at Brown University where the lumpia and lechon are scarce, she has found home in the decolonized histories of diaspora. She knows that her family history isn’t written into the textbooks, so she goes looking between cans of Spam and Ligo, in her mother’s rosary beads and her father dinnertime stories, all of the parts of her childhood hidden in plain sight. She’s excited to be working with Kaya Co. this summer and to finally appreciate the Motherland she never knew.


Sarah Santos


Sarah is a rising sophomore in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. She discovered Kaya through chats with a former Kaya Fellow in Club Filipino and was inspired by the opportunity to finally explore her roots. Growing up largely disconnected from her heritage, Sarah is excited to explore her role in the Filipino diaspora. To top it off, she can't wait to combine this experience with her love of coffee culture when she interns for Kalsada, an artisanal coffee company that partners with local Filipino Farming communities.


Anthony Garciano


Anthony Otadoy Garciano was born in Camotes, an island in the Visayas. As a child, he spent his days running around barefoot with either a tire leading him or a dog chasing after him, which could explain his fear of the latter. He moved to Missouri when he was eight where he spent the next twelve years of his life getting acclimated to the American culture before moving to Los Angeles for college. Now, as a student at the University of Southern California, his interests lie in connecting the two worlds in which grew up.


Adam Jackson

Hope in a Bottle

Last semester, a friend from my university's Pilipino Student Association shared her incredible experience with Kaya Collaborative last summer with Adam. As someone who is deeply passionate about social entrepreneurship and Filipino culture, the Kaya Collaborative fellowship seemed to be the perfect fit for him. Being half-Caucasian and half-Filipino, his Filipino roots were often overlooked growing up in the U.S.. As as a Kaya fellow, Adam hopes to gain a better understanding of what it means to be Filipino, create and build friendships with both fellows and change makers in the Philippines, and most importantly, bring his unique Filipino-American story full circle by contributing to the reduction of disparities affecting his mother's homeland.


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