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Team

Cindy M. Lopez

Founder

LEAP’s founder and director is a recently retired California Deputy Attorney General and Loyola Law School alumna. After observing an acute need for this type of programming in Southern California, Cindy has drawn on her wealth of leadership experience in the legal arena and in the nonprofit college access field to spearhead the development of LEAP. Prior to founding LEAP, Cindy served in the California Attorney General’s Office for more than 33 years representing a variety of licensing agencies. There she also contributed to the Attorney General Honors Program and authored a bill that protects consumers from doctors convicted of serious sexual assault.

Cindy was Board President for MOSTe, a mentoring and college access nonprofit working with young women from underserved backgrounds. In her various roles with MOSTe, Cindy created, developed, and ran the college access and success programs while working as a full-time attorney. In her free time Cindy loves to travel, run at the Rose Bowl, listen to live music under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl, and cheer on LA area sports teams.

Ellen Eoff

Marketing

A freelance grant writer and fundraising consultant, Ellen provides development writing support to LEAP. In addition to her freelance grant writing work, Ellen serves as Director of Development Strategies in the philanthropy consulting firm Skylark Strategies where she provides fundraising training and strategic planning services to nonprofit organizations. Ellen also provides development and sponsorship support to the nonprofit festival, Reimagine End of Life. Prior her freelance and consulting work, she managed fund development for the Human Rights Foundation and One Heart Worldwide. Since 2016 she has been a co-chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) Mentoring Program where she provides professional development programming and operational support to program participants. Outside of work, Ellen enjoys painting, sewing, board games, and all things crafty.

Kristan Venegas, Ph.D

Evaluations Consultant

Dr. Kristan Venegas is the Chief Learning, Data, and Evaluation Officer at the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation. Prior to this role, Kristan was an Associate Provost and the LaFetra Endowed Professor for Excellence in Teaching at the LaFetra College of Education at the University of La Verne. For over 10 years, she served as a Professor of Clinical Education and a Research Associate in the Pullias Center for Higher Education in the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. There, she was also appointed the Assistant Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Evaluation. Her research focuses on college access and financial aid for low-income students of color. Her work has appeared in American Behavioral Scientist, Urban Education, American Academic, Educational Studies and the Journal of Student Financial Aid. Kristan designed the evaluations methodology to track LEAP’s program outcomes and conducts the program’s evaluations.
Paula-Gluzman-headshot

Paula Gluzman

Admissions Advisor

A consultant from Spivey Consulting with a decade of experience in legal practice and law school administration, Paula Gluzman lends her expertise to LEAP as an advisory board member. Gluzman is passionate about working with students on their law school journeys, and her consulting firm, Spivey, specializes in admissions work with both prospective law students and law school admissions departments. As the Assistant Director of Admissions & Financial Aid at the University of Washington School of Law and later at UCLA School of Law, Gluzman has read and evaluated hundreds of admissions files, interviewed applicants, and has worked directly with candidates all over the country and abroad to advise them on the law school admissions process.

In addition to mentoring and advising pre-law students and traveling the country to present on law school admissions topics, Gluzman also has experience in law school career services, employer outreach and recruiting, and professional development training. She has reviewed and edited hundreds of resumes, cover letters, and other application materials, as well as graded California Bar exam practice tests.

Sara Raquel Roschdi

Former Program Coordinator

Sara Raquel Roschdi is LEAP's Program Coordinator. She supports logistics for the fellow's workshops, researches funding opportunities, and provides administrative support as needed. She is incredibly passionate about serving as another resource to our fellows on their journey to becoming lawyers.
Sara is a product of college access programs similar to LEAP and is passionate about educational access and equity for students of color, first-generation and low social-economic students. She received her BA from Pitzer College in Sociology and Latin American Studies. She went on to study Latin American Studies at UCLA, obtaining her Masters with summa cum luade honors.

Sara was raised in a union household. These values of worker rights, social justice, and equity continue to guide her work, and she brings this passion to supporting the growth of LEAP.

Lila Mendoza

Program Coordinator

As Program Coordinator, Lila Mendoza provides logistical and administrative support for LEAP’s programming. A Los Angeles native, she holds a bachelor’s from Pitzer College and a master’s from the University of Southern California. She knows firsthand the power a postsecondary education holds along with the challenges it presents for a first-generation college student. Fortunately, throughout her educational journey, she benefited from a college access program similar to LEAP, along with countless mentors willing to provide support and guidance.

Her passion for educational equity has welcomed a decade of experiences in K-12, two and four-year colleges, both private and public. When she’s not supporting LEAP and its mission, Lila is doing admission work at the undergraduate level. Her desire to increase enrollment of students that are representative of California’s diverse landscape aligns with LEAP’s mission to diversify the legal profession.

Camille Soliva

Outreach Coordinator

As an Outreach Coordinator, Camille assists with the outreach and communications between Fellows, Mentors and Attorneys associated with LEAP. Prior to joining LEAP, Camille served at many non-profit organizations across California, Texas and Washington D.C. Her background in higher education, policy and strategic communications is what drew her to be part of LEAP’S mission to educate and guide the next generation of youth in the legal profession. Camille earned a Master of Education with a minor in Counseling and Guidance from Texas State University in 2022. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Ethnic Studies with a concentration in African American Studies from California State University, San Bernardino. Her long-term goal is to keep educating the communities and youth while engaging in policy making decisions to better serve the children who want to pursue higher education. She also hopes to one day be part of a change that will empower leaders to keep elevating and diversifying our education institutions.

Derek Meeker

Admissions Advisor

Derek Meeker, a partner with the Spivey Consulting Group, has over 20 years of experience in law school admissions and legal recruiting. He has served as the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid for the University of Pennsylvania Law School, as a global recruiting manager for Paul Hastings LLP, and as an admissions reader for the University of Chicago Law School. As a consultant for Spivey, he guides law school applicants through the admissions process and has advised law schools on their admission, financial aid, and career services strategies.
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