Board of Directors
Wendoline Vargas, LCSW
President & Founder
Founder and President of Her Vaga Bound Roots, Wendoline was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles). The youngest of 3 children and only daughter to traditional Mexican parents, Wendoline was a first-generation student set with the tough task to trail blaze her own path to higher education. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at UC Santa Barbara in 2013, and a Masters in Social Work from New York University in 2017. Wendoline is a fierce advocate for social justice and has a thriving passion for working with BIPOC women, young adults, and individuals with marginalized identities; empowering them to reach their fullest potential. She is a licensed, bilingual, clinical social worker and is currently working at an outpatient adolescent mental health center in NYC. Wendoline provides assessment and evidence based treatment to a diverse population of adolescents and young adults living with Mental Illness.
Wendoline created HVBR in 2017, while attending graduate school at NYU, a predominantly white institution. After noting a small number of BIPOC women in her graduate program, coupled with her personal journey, Wendoline set out to create an online platform to increase visibility and amplify the voices (and stories) - that were and continue to be so often untold or excluded. Wendoline believed it to be vital to uplift and celebrate the journey and successes of BIPOC women earning degrees, to inspire the next generation, thus creating the annual graduate series, "Vagas With Degrees".
In 2018 she officially established Her Vaga Bound Roots as a 501c3 nonprofit, with the mission of not only increasing representation of BIPOC womxn but also empowering and celebrating BIPOC women in academia, professional settings, and beyond, by providing easy access to resources, skills, mentorship, and financial scholarships.
HVBR nonprofit also proudly houses The Vagas With Degrees Scholarship Foundation. Inspired by personal financial challenges, Wendoline always dreamt of creating a scholarship foundation to aid in increasing women’s access to higher education, retention, and achieving academic success by awarding merit and need based financial scholarship(s) to VAGAs in need every year.
Edwin Serrano, MS.Ed
Edwin was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. He completed a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at UC Santa Barbara in 2013, and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Florida International University in 2015. Edwin has recently transitioned into the Learning & Development world, serving as a Corporate Training Specialist at Vallarta Supermarkets where he helps professionally develop the talent at over 35 locations throughout the state of California. Prior to this, he dedicated six years to supporting students from marginalized backgrounds transition into higher education through housing and dining, multicultural/LGBTQIA+, and conference services at various universities.
Edwin has served as the Treasurer for Her Vaga Bound Roots since 2018, and uses his education, professional network, and privileges to better serve Black, Indigenous, and women of color pursuing academia and their professional goals. He believes HVBR represents the dreams and aspirations every older brother has for their sisters and is honored to be a part of the great team.
Edwin would like to see this movement of educated + professional BIPOC women reach even the most rural parts of the U.S. He also hopes to one day see a *Champions Dinner* for scholarship recipients of The Her Vaga Bound Roots non-profit organization, in order to give more women the opportunity to reach their highest potential.
Jennifer Guzman, B.A
Jennifer Guzman was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley in the Greater Los Angeles area. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at California State University Northridge with a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Broadcast Journalism, leading her to jumpstart her early career as a local news reporter in 2015.
Since then, Jennifer’s professional roles have included, working in LIVE and virtual event production, media and content curation and team management. She currently works as Program & Event Director for The Adelante Movement, a nonprofit organization that aims to empower and train Latina and women of color economically and entrepreneurially through a digital community that provides training, shared stories and resources, as well as LIVE workshops all over the country.
Jennifer joined the Her Vaga Bound Roots Board of Directors in 2018; fueled with a passion for change, she strives to positively impact the lives of young women and echoes the importance of highlighting those that are on that path to success while simultaneously motivating and inspiring one another. She is overjoyed to work in a space where she is working towards something that is greater than herself.
Vanessa Cortez, MPH
Vanessa was born and raised in Los Angeles. She completed her Bachelor’s of Art in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master’s of Public Health at the University of Southern California.
Since graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in 2013, Vanessa’s professional roles have been dedicated to grant management, research, implementing evidence-based initiatives, and serving as the liaison to community partners. Currently, her professional responsibilities as an Analyst include pre-award grant writing and the coordination of grant applications and materials.
Vanessa is an advocate for health and educational equity. As a Director of HVBR, Vanessa will support initiatives that promote educational equity through her role as a member of the Scholarship Committee, as well as with researching and pursuing grants to secure scholarships for future college-bound (vaga-bound) generations.