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ABOUT

SMASHing The Boundaries Of What’s Possible In CS

OUR MISSION + VISION

At SMASH, we aim to build a strong, diverse, and socially conscious tech workforce by leveling the playing field through academic learning and experiential engagement for high school and college students.

We empower dedicated students of color in computer science fields through intensive education, culturally relevant coursework, and access to resources, aiming to cultivate success in college and careers. Our vision is to create a Computer Science ecosystem where every student, regardless of their zip code, can thrive in the global economy. By providing equitable opportunities, we seek to enrich our communities and workplaces with well-prepared, competitive leaders representing broad perspectives and sectors of society.

OUR HISTORY

A Decades Long Legacy Of D&I Advocacy

SMASH was one of the earliest STEM education programs created in the United States as a way to prepare students of color for Computer Science college studies. The very first SMASH site program launched on the University of California, Berkeley campus in 2004, but it follows a decades long legacy of diversity and inclusion advocacy by our founder, Dr. Freada Kapor Klein.

2001

A New Approach: LPFI

In 2001, Dr. Kapor Klein founded the non-profit, Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI). Frustrated by the inability of the for-profit world to foster diversity and having already spent nearly three decades consulting to organizations on issues of discrimination and diversity, Dr. Kapor Klein aimed to tackle the problem from a different vantage point. She created a non-profit institute to rigorously and creatively address why diversity efforts had failed and more significantly, to examine and implement programs to understand and experience how diversity could succeed.

2002

Broadening The Vision: IDEAL

Over time, the plight of underrepresented students of color in higher education became a greater priority and fueled the creation of new educational programs. The first of these, the Initiative for Diversity Education and Leadership, IDEAL, was founded in response to the passage of Prop 209 during her tenure on the Executive Board of the College of Letters and Science at UC Berkeley with three of her colleagues.

Between 2002-2012, the IDEAL program helped students navigate and graduate from higher education systems by providing students with scholarships and mentorship.

2004

Developing A Pipeline Of Young Scholars: SMASH

Recognizing the need for a pipeline of highly qualified Bay Area students who are prepared for college, LPFI started assessing the opportunities that students from well-resourced schools have; it then sought to close the gap as much as possible for Bay Area students of color without those resources.

In response, SMASH was founded in 2004 under the name the Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Academy. It was inspired by and loosely modeled after Phillips Academy Andover’s Math and Science for Minority Students [(MS)2]. The SMASH Academy launched a residential summer program in 2004 at UC Berkeley, and in 2006, expanded to include year-round academic programming, based on student requests.

Extensive research showed that the SMASH model worked! Soon after, the national SMASH expansion began.

2020

Pivot To Virtual In Response To COVID-19

We launched our very first virtual program for SMASH Academy and SMASH Rising as our university and corporate partners closed in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
SMASH has served 2,000+ scholars from groups underrepresented in STEM fields, and through SMASH Virtual will continue to provide insights into college and career pathways in CS and STEM, we will develop a college+career digital platform to share information, experiences, and resources to help students navigate and succeed in their CS journey–from HS courses to college, and into careers.

Our Team

Jonathan Durfield

Chief Executive Officer He/Him

Jonathan Durfield is the Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for designing, leading, and implementing SMASH’s philanthropic development program through corporate, individual, and foundation partnerships. Jonathan believes that education is the greatest lever for change, especially for those furthest from opportunity, and has over 20 years of impact-driven outcomes within K-16 education.

Prior to joining SMASH, Jonathan founded VEER Ventures in 2020 to support disruptive educational technologies that benefit communities of color, served as vice president of development for the National Math + Science Initiative ($45 million annual budget), successfully launched Nord Anglia Education’s $100 million flagship campus, worked as an associate vice chancellor of Texas’ second largest higher education system, and was the founding director at the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. He obtained a master’s in public administration from Harvard University and a bachelor’s in political science from Pepperdine University.

Jonathan currently lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and two teenage sons. Having studied abroad in Europe and Africa while in college, he is passionate about traveling and experiencing new communities, cuisines, and cultures from all around the world.

Dr. Hassan Brown

Chief Innovation Officer He/Him

Dr. Hassan Brown is the Chief Innovation Officer, and developing our new upcoming SMASH STEM career exploration digital platform for underrepresented students of color as its Chief Executive Officer. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Hassan became a teacher in his community after serving several years as a child protective investigator. Hassan has since worked in various capacities across the country addressing systemic resource, workforce, and education inequities in municipal, school district, and nonprofit spaces. His most recent work focuses on cultivating and sustaining participatory principles and practices in venture philanthropy.

Brown currently serves on the boards of the Boston Children’s Museum, and Education Through Music-Massachusetts. Additionally, he serves as a startup advisor for SecondMuse’s Headstream Accelerator which focuses on the development of technologies that promote youth wellbeing and creativity. Hassan is the co-founder of VRsatility, a simulation lab harnessing the power of virtual reality to close decision-making skills gaps for both education practitioners and students. Hassan is actively working to bridge the gap between social justice, education, and emerging technologies.

Hassan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Morehouse College, a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a Master’s degree in Education from Hunter College, and a Doctor of Education Leadership degree from Harvard University. Hassan is passionate about improving social outcomes and educational achievement for youth in underserved communities through social innovation and activism. Hassan lives in Boston with his wife, Crystal, and their two dogs, Ziggy and Brooklyn. He loves traveling abroad and has lived all across the country. He is a foodie and an avid hip-hop aficionado with a playlist for every mood and moment.

Cameron Clay

National Director of Curriculum & Training He/Him

Cameron Clay is the National Director of Curriculum and Training. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Cam has a passion for youth-centered social justice work, education, art, and design. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Ethnic Studies from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. Prior to his time with SMASH, Cam served as Creative Director and Research Assistant with DMG Consulting, a social justice think tank and advocacy group. During this time, Cam created custom diversity, equity, and inclusion curriculum and designed and facilitated workshops for clients.

He’s a lifelong artist and received some formal training from California College of the Arts, but most of what he knows has been learned from workshops or self-taught. Cam also has over 20 years of experience working with his family business training dogs of all breeds. He’s excited to contribute to the development of the next generation of the tech workforce with SMASH. When Cam isn’t working, you can find him reading, making art, traveling, or hanging out with dogs.

Moneese de Lara

Development Consultant She/Her

Moneese de Lara is our Development Consultant, with more than 20 years of experience in professional fundraising. She has held senior-level development positions in arts and culture, health, and civil rights organizations. She has extensive experience building and managing development funds and campaigns ranging from $10 to $42 million in operating, capital, and program support. Most recently, Moneese led the fundraising program for the national office of the NAACP as the Senior Vice President of Development. She led and managed the growth of the development program, which more than doubled in revenue during her five-year leadership. She was the recipient of the NAACP Medgar W. Evers Award for Excellence, the highest honor bestowed upon a national professional staff member of the NAACP for outstanding service.

As a senior development officer, Moneese manages a team of fundraising professionals and the strategic direction and operation of all development funds, including foundations, individuals, and corporations. Her personal interest and portfolio is focused on corporate fund development including corporate philanthropy and corporate sponsorship. Her interest in corporate fund development is informed by her work in corporate responsibility and public relations with several Fortune 500 companies before joining the nonprofit sector, including RJR Nabisco, Lockheed Martin, and PepsiCo, where she was part of the start-up and operations of what was then the largest minority franchise in the PepsiCo system, setting up human resources, financial and sales systems to achieve regional product distribution.

A graduate of Rutgers University in Business Management, Moneese is involved in several professional and civic organizations, including, the Association of Fund Raising Professionals; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Links Incorporated; and Jack and Jill of America. She and her husband have two daughters.

Tariq Draine

Program Director, Southeast Region He/Him

Tariq Draine serves as the Program Director for the Southeast Region. Tariq is a first-generation college student and 2-time alumnus of The University of Alabama where he earned his B.S. in Marketing and M.A. in Higher Education Administration. His commitment to serving first-generation college students and underrepresented communities is broadly displayed in areas of his previous work and daily interactions.

At the University of Alabama, Tariq served as a Program Manager and Career Advisor to Arts and Science collegiate majors aiding them in their personal and professional development as it relates to the workforce. During his tenure there he also worked with the First Year Experience and Retention Initiative Office to establish a program geared to easing the transition to a predominantly white institution for African American and Hispanic males.

Tariq is passionate about social justice and reversing the negative pipelines working against the pure work being done in the education system. Outside of his servant leadership, Tariq enjoys putting forth time into agriculture, music, and fellowshipping with family and friends.

Cindy Lora

Interim Vice President, Programs She/Her

Cindy Lora is the Interim Vice President, Programs. Before joining SMASH full-time, Cindy had worked on the Residential team for SMASH Berkeley before helping launch NAF Future Ready Scholars Berkeley during the summer of 2019. She has done work for Undocumented Student Rights throughout California since 2011 and continues to be a point of contact for those in her community. Cindy’s background is in English Composition and Rhetoric, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Sociology.

Cindy is originally from Nayarit, Mexico, and has lived in the Central Valley for the past 20 years. Cindy is passionate about social justice, building community, and empowering students. In her free time, Cindy can be found with her toddler Joaquín, either at a park or in a library.

Maggie Melone-Echiburú

Program Director, Bay Area Region She/Her

Maggie Melone-Echiburú is the Program Director for the Bay Area Region. Most recently she served as Implementation Lead for the NASA Engineering Design Challenge, a U.S. Department of Education/NASA interagency effort focused on delivering STEM educational enrichment programs to underserved students nationally. In this position, she was part of a cross-functional team that developed and delivered professional development training for K12 teachers. She was also responsible for recruiting and coordinating NASA engineers and scientists to provide mentorship to classes across the nation.

Prior to that position, Maggie was the founding K12 STEM Director at Hartnell College, where she led the development of a suite of youth/STEM-focused college pathway programs, which included: Coder Dojo HC; Girls Who Code; Saturday STEM Academy, and a state-of-the-art Maker Space.

Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a passion for serving the community around her. Maggie was born in Chile, spent her formative years in Scotland, and settled in the US more than 20 years ago. She and her husband have three children and live with several dogs and cats in beautiful and quiet Prunedale, CA.

Domonique Weston

Program Director, Midwest Region She/Her

Domonique Weston is the Program Director for the Midwest Region. Before joining SMASH, Domonique was the Assistant Director at Wolverine Pathways, a University of Michigan pipeline program. There she committed over six years to supporting underrepresented middle and high school students in exploring their interests and creating a path to college and their future careers. Domonique’s professional interests include diversity and inclusion work, academic and college readiness programming, and student affairs. She leverages her skills in these areas to lead programming that focuses on the holistic development of students.

Domonique was raised in Detroit, MI. She received her B.A. in secondary education from the University of Michigan and her M.A. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. She enjoys traveling, exploring and enjoying various cuisines, and expressing her creativity through hair styling.

Ahna Zackery

Program Director, Southeast Region She/Her

Ahna Zackery is the Program Director for the Southeast Region. She is originally from Newnan, Georgia, and graduated from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia with a BS in Health Science and an MA in Professional Communication and Leadership.

Ahna began her career as a college and career advisor at Windsor Forest High School with the Savannah Graduates program and then transitioned to Clark Atlanta University as a Program Specialist with their TRiO Upward Bound program. Ahna strives to level the playing field for BIPOC and their access to postsecondary education. Her mantra is “be who you needed when you were younger.” In her free time, Ahna enjoys reading, fitness, playing the piano, brunch, and traveling.

Eunice Afenkhena

Data Analytics Manager She/Her

Eunice Afenkhena is the Data Analytics Manager for SMASH. She brings a wealth of experience from her tenure in analytics and research consultancy, including impactful roles at Deloitte Digital Consulting and Great Big Digital Agency. Eunice combines technical expertise with a strong commitment to making data accessible and actionable, ensuring insights lead to meaningful improvements in products and services. Her dedication to data analytics drives inclusive and equitable education solutions in the tech sphere, focusing on projects with lasting impact.

Holding a BA in Economics from The University of Texas at Austin, Eunice is passionate about harnessing the power of data to effect positive change within educational systems and beyond.

Outside work, she enjoys dedicating time to her well-being, family, and hobbies, such as DJing on weekends and reading compelling novels.

Briana Floyd

Digital Partnerships Manager, SMASH Virtual She/Her

Briana is the Digital Partnerships Manager for SMASH Virtual. She is a former STEM educator turned nonprofit engagement, development, and outreach specialist. She has worked with countless organizations in the EdTech and TechEd space with an emphasis on girl-led educational nonprofits, most notably Girls Who Code. She has a passion for equitable education advocacy and reform and initiatives to increase access to tech career paths for underserved and underrepresented communities. Her previous experience with the Kapor Center includes facilitating workshops for SMASH Academy, SMASH Academic Year Programming (AYP), and most recently SMASH Admit’s pre-college advising and coaching program. She is returning as the Community and Partnerships Manager for the newly launched Career Catalyst platform. Briana is excited for the opportunity to use her experience to implement initiatives that make inroads for BIPOC inclusion in tech spaces. Outside of work, she is a voracious foodie, avid traveler, self-confessed bibliophile, amateur photographer, and lover of space science.

Kristina de Silva

Development Manager She/Her

Kristina de Silva is the Development Manager at SMASH. Her motivation and commitment to education and philanthropy stems from her first teaching opportunity, working with underserved students in the Philippines. After over 10 years of teaching, Kristina’s passion remains deeply rooted in education, even if she no longer works in the classroom setting. Kristina has served as the Volunteer Programs Manager at Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco and as the Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the Nueva School, an independent school for gifted students.

Kristina holds a BA degree in Humanities and an MA degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Asia and the Pacific in the Philippines. She was born in the Philippines and grew up living between the Bay Area and the Philippines. Kristina finds herself to be extremely fortunate to find a way to turn the work she loves into work that serves.

LaDana Reid

Development Officer She/Her

LaDana Reid is the Development Officer for SMASH. She brings over 20 years of invaluable experience to the nonprofit sector, boasting expertise in advocacy, program development, and fundraising. With a passion for serving marginalized communities, she is committed to raising awareness and funds to support and empower people of color.

Before joining SMASH, LaDana served as the Director of Development at Techbridge Girls, where she played a pivotal role in driving organizational sustainability and growth. In this capacity, she collaborated with the leadership team to spearhead fundraising and donor engagement strategies. Her innovative approaches to donor cultivation, grant acquisition, and stewardship ensured a steady flow of support, facilitating the organization’s expansion and impact.

Throughout her career, LaDana has consistently demonstrated her commitment to empowering marginalized communities. Notably, she led initiatives aimed at equipping young adults, parenting teens, and homeless youth, especially those transitioning from the foster care system, with essential educational and vocational skills to facilitate successful transitions into adulthood. Her collaborative efforts with community donors, coupled with her adept management of multiple grants, underscore her unwavering dedication to fostering positive and enduring change within vulnerable communities. LaDana holds a Master’s in Social Work from Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida. She actively participates in professional and civic organizations, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Blacks in Technology, NASW, and Junior League of Durham and Orange County.

In her leisure time, LaDana enjoys listening to true crime podcasts, trying new restaurants, exploring the outdoors with her dog, Chloe, and spending time with close friends and family.

Ludnie Deneus

Program Director, Northeast Region She/Her

Ludnie Deneus (she/her) is the Program Director, Northeast Region. Prior to her time at SMASH, Ludnie was the Associate Director of Financial Advising at Brown University where she bridged the intersectionality between financial aid and academic advising. Ludnie advised many students from underrepresented backgrounds who experienced gaps during their college tenure. She believes every student should have the same access to resources at any education level.
Ludnie is a first generation student. She was born in Haiti, immigrated to Boston and has lived in Boston for most of her life. She received her BA in Legal Studies with a minor in French from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She also received her MA in International Higher Education and Intercultural Studies from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Ludnie enjoys dancing, traveling, eating an array of food, learning new languages and watching American football and fútbol.

Elena Mateus

Associate Manager of Marketing and Communications

Elena Mateus is the Associate Manager of Marketing and Communications for SMASH. She specializes in creative solutions that bring people and perspectives together and is passionate about using personal narratives to change minds and drive change.

Before coming to SMASH, Elena was a Researcher at TMZ where she not only broke exclusive worldwide stories, but she strengthened her ability to sniff out new angles and create content that breaks through a crowded media landscape.

While at UC Berkeley (GO BEARS!), Elena was the News Editor for San Quentin State Prison’s newspaper, where going behind bars weekly helped her realize her desire to use storytelling to change minds and promote social justice. Her short documentaries spotlight underserved communities, and they have been screened at festivals like the Tribeca Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. She’s also worked on Shorty-award winning campaigns for Mark Zuckerberg’s nonprofit, FWD.us.

Elena is extremely excited to return to the Kapor Center after her previous role as an Events Coordinator. In her free time, she likes to play beach volleyball, watch anything Bravo or RuPaul-related, obsess over dogs and cook. She believes that fresh-baked cookies are almost always the solution.

Freada Kapor Klein

Founder of LPFI & Co-Founder of SMASH She/Her

Freada Kapor Klein is an entrepreneur, activist, and pioneer in the field of organizational culture and diversity.

As a Founding Partner at Kapor Capital, Freada invests in seed-stage tech startups that create positive social impact by closing gaps of access, opportunity, or outcome for low-income communities and communities of color. The companies solve actual problems, aspiring to simultaneously generate economic value and positive social impact. Often the founders are drawing on their lived experiences to create businesses that address real needs.

She is the founder of SMASH, now in its 20th year, which provides rigorous STEM education and access to social capital for low-income high school students of color on 10 university campuses across the country.

Freada’s initial job in tech was as the first head of Employee Relations, Organizational Development, and Management Training at Lotus Development Corporation. Her job description was to make Lotus the “most progressive employer in the U.S.” Lotus 1-2-3 is widely recognized as the “killer app” that made the personal computer ubiquitous in business.

In 1976, she co-founded the Alliance Against Sexual Coercion, the first organization in the U.S. to address sexual harassment. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy and Research from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University; and has conducted numerous large survey projects on perceptions and experiences of bias, harassment, and disrespectful treatment in workplaces.

Freada is a member of the Obama Foundation Tech Policy Council, the U.C. Berkeley Board of Visitors, and the council that formed the Hollywood Commission chaired by Anita Hill. She serves on the advisory boards of Twilio.org, Generation Investment Management, and Trident; is a board observer at Aclima.io, a tech startup focusing on hyperlocal air quality monitoring, and serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors.

Freada and her husband, Mitch Kapor, are co-authors of Closing the Equity Gap, which identifies how to create wealth while simultaneously addressing the inequalities in startup investing. She is also the author of Giving Notice, which details the human and financial cost of hidden bias in the workplace.

Ross Rubini

Vice President of Engineering, SuccessFactors He/Him

Ross Fubini is a Vice President of Engineering at SuccessFactors (NASDAQ: SFSF). He arrived at SuccessFactors after his venture-backed company, CubeTree, was acquired in June of 2010. Ross was the Co-Founder and Board Member of Cubetree, an enterprise collaboration suite that integrates social networking features like profiles and microblogging with tools like wikis, blogs, etc. Prior to CubeTree, Ross was Senior Director of Engineering at Symantec.

Allison Scott, PhD

CEO, Kapor Foundation She/Her

Allison Scott, PhD is the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, formerly the Chief Research Officer, who led a research team aiming to enhance diversity in the tech ecosystem through (a) conducting landscape studies and research on interventions within educational settings and the technology workplace, and (b) disseminating effective research-based strategies, resources, and practices across the tech ecosystem. Before leading research at KCSI, Dr. Scott was the Program Leader for the NIH’s Enhancing the Diversity of the NIH-funded Workforce Program, a set of three experimental initiatives implementing and examining the effectiveness of training, mentoring, and institutional development interventions to enhance diversity in biomedical research.

Dr. Scott was previously the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI), overseeing a research agenda examining barriers to the pursuit and completion of degrees and employment in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) among underrepresented populations. Her research examined the influence of perceived barriers and stereotypes in the sciences, the double bind facing women of color, and the effectiveness of research-based interventions in improving STEM outcomes for underrepresented groups.
In addition, Dr. Scott led the longitudinal evaluation of LPFI’s pre-college STEM intervention programs and is the Principal Investigator for an NSF CE21 grant to increase access, success, and preparation in computer science for underrepresented students in California. In just 2 years, this project has demonstrated significant increases in the numbers of underrepresented students of color and girls completing computer science courses, taking the AP CS exam, and intending to major in CS in college. Dr. Scott holds a Ph.D. in Education, with a specialization in School Psychology, from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hampton University. Allison enjoys traveling, jogging, and drinking Diet Coke.

Steven Wolfe Pereira

CEO & Co-Founder, Encantos Media Studios He/Him

Steven Wolfe Pereira serves as the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Encantos Media Studios, PBC (“Encantos”).

Named by Adweek as one of the “50 Most Indispensable Executives in Marketing, Media, and Tech, “and with more than two decades of experience growing brands at the intersection of technology, entertainment, advertising, media, and marketing, Mr. Wolfe Pereira is committed to building purpose-driven businesses and helping people discover their superpowers to ignite their true potential. Before joining Encantos, Mr. Wolfe Pereira was the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Quantcast, the leading AI-driven audience insights and measurement company. Previously, he also served as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Neustar and at Datalogix. Mr. Wolfe Pereira has also held executive roles at Publicis Groupe, Univision, and Akamai Technologies.

A passionate supporter of women and diversity initiatives as well as STEAM education, he also serves on the board of directors of the Ad Council, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).
He earned a B.A. from Tufts University, was a Fulbright Scholar, and completed the Greater Boston Executive MBA Program at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.