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 paths to higher education. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she earned her bachelors. Shortly thereafter, Wendoline moved to NYC to pursue a Masters in Social Work at New York University. 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, and helping them 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 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 SW 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
Treasurer

Edwin was born and raised in Los Angeles. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and then moved to Miami, FL for two years to complete his Masters in Higher Education Administration from Florida International University. This is where his professional experience serving marginalized populations began while he supported LGBTQ+ students at FIU. Edwin currently works as a Senior Resident Director at the University of California, Berkeley supporting students that live on-campus. He has over five years of working in higher education supporting first-generation, undocumented, international, women, queer, trans*, and students of color. 

 

Edwin started working with Her Vaga Bound Roots in 2018, and strives to use his education, professional network, and privileges to better serve Black, Indigenous, and women of color. He believes HVBR represents the dreams and aspirations every older brother has for the women in their life. 

 

Edwin would like to see this movement of educated + professional BIPOC womxn 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
Secretary

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. She worked as a local news reporter for one year before finding her true passion for women empowerment, and serving her community.

 

Jennifer currently works as Program & Event Coordinator for The Adelante Movement, and Becoming Self Made, two virtual platforms that 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.

 

“I am passionate about women’s issues, more specifically for women of color; there truly isn’t enough representation and it’s time to bring these hidden figures to light.  I am overjoyed to work in a space where I still get to utilize my media and production muscle while recognizing that I am doing something that is greater than myself.”

She 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, so that young women have role models to look up to.

 

Jennifer would like to see more women of color pursuing higher education so they can obtain high level jobs, or start their own businesses in the future. She'd love for Her Vaga Bound Roots to be able to grant many of those women the financial ability to do so, and hold an annual sponsored event/conference where Vagas can come together to network, and share experiences. 

Vanessa Cortez, MPH
Board Member

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.