Meet the Team

Student Reporters

Victoria Contreras

Victoria Contreras has been a student reporter for Coachella Unincorporated for two years. Victoria is currently a senior at Coachella Valley High School in Coachella, Calif. In the past two years, she has reported on issues like high school athletics and how young people cope with loss. Victoria is very involved in athletics and recently finished her final season with CVHS girls basketball. Victoria's faith is at the center of all she does, and it drives her to work hard in all aspects of her life. In the fall, she will be attending California State University San Bernardino where she plans on studying to become a registered nurse. View Victoria's author page here.

Johnny Flores Jr.

Johnny Flores, Jr. has been regularly contributing to Coachella Unincorporated since his freshman year of high school at Xavier College Prep. Johnny has written numerous articles for CU and other publications, including The Desert Sun and Princeton Summer Journal. In the fall, Johnny will be attending the University of Southern California where he will be majoring in print and digital journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He also hopes to minor in business management at the Marshall School of Business.  Johnny hopes to keep contributing to CU even after his high school graduation. He also enjoys helping youth from the eastern Coachella Valley develop their journalism and leadership skills. View Johnny's author page here.

Maria Garcia

Maria Garcia has been a student reporter with Coachella Unincorporated for two years. She is currently a junior at NOVA Academy in Coachella, Calif. Maria enjoys writing personal reflections and profiles of people in her community. In her spare time, she also enjoys drawing and sketching comic book characters. View Maria's author page here.

Karla Martinez

A few years ago Karla Martinez didn’t think a young person like her could ever make a difference in her community. But after getting involved with local organizations, Karla's opinion on this was reversed. She has devoted almost every spare minute of her time to bettering her community. Karla, 16, is currently a junior at Nova Academy in Coachella. She has been a regular contributor to Coachella Unincorporated for two years, where she has written numerous articles and reflections on issue ranging from community violence to voter registration. In April 2015, Karla won the Young Lady of the Year Award for Riverside County District 4 for her work with the Land Use Planning Awareness project. View Karla's author page here.

Bryan Mendez

View Bryan's author page here.

Ivan Valenzuela

Ivan Valenzuela has been a student reporter with Coachella Unincorporated for two years. Ivan is currently a student at College of the Desert, but he is transferring to California State University Riverside in fall 2015. Ivan has reported on issues like farmworker's rights and access to clean drinking water. In his spare time, Ivan enjoys learning about photography and film. View his author page here.

Beat Reporter

Christian Mendez

View Christian's author page here.


Program Coordinator

Amber Amaya

Amber Amaya, a Coachella Valley native, enjoys helping young people learn how to tell stories from their community. Before becoming the program coordinator for Coachella Unincorporated, Amber worked for several publications, including the Orange County Register. She is also conducting an ongoing study, supported by a Pew Research Young Scholars Grant, focusing on how young Latinos utilize social media. Amber is a graduate of Biola University and the Torrey Honors Institute. View Amber's author page here.



Ivan Delgado

Born and raised in the Coachella Valley, Ivan Delgado graduated from Coachella Valley High School in 2010 without any solid plans for the future. He is now 20 years old, majoring in communications at College of the Desert. He is a staff reporter and website editor for the campus newspaper, The Chaparral.  He feels his career in journalism is only just beginning. “I really love what I have experienced so far, and hopefully in a few years my resume will be a little thicker,” he says. Ivan joined Coachella Unincorporated to gain experience and knowledge that will be valuable for him as a professional journalist, saying “I get the opportunity to not only have my voice be heard, but also voice the issues and stories that make up my hometown.”  

Aurora Saldivar

Aurora Saldivar is a student at College of the Desert.  At school, she plans on studying philosophy, and aspires to find a career involving some level of social activism.  In her spare time, Aurora can most likely be found nursing her caffeine dependency, while pursuing an enthused appetite for the history and literature of Middle Eastern and Latin American cultures.  By joining Coachella Unincorporated, she hopes to understand more fully the needs and identity of her local community, along with learning about the journalistic field and improving her writing skills. Her interest in community involvement is based on the idea that sharing a collaborative of articulated perspectives is a tool to building stronger, and sustainable communities.  

Tony Aguilar

Tony Aguilar is a political science major at College of The Desert in Palm Desert, CA. Tony was born and raised in Thermal, an unincorporated community of Riverside County. Tony is secretary for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, a state-wide shared governance body that addresses issues affecting Community College students. Tony plans to transfer to a four-year university and major in political science and minor in journalism. In his free time, Tony enjoys watching bloomberg and indie shorts.

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