Meet the Team


Araceli Beltran

Araceli Beltran was born and raised in the Coachella Valley. She grew up in Thermal and after graduating high school she left the Coachella Valley to pursue higher education. She received a B.S in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Before becoming involved with Coachella Unincorporated, Araceli worked with Building Healthy Communities Eastern CV, Center for Environmental Health, Berkeley Student Cooperative, and FIND Food Bank. All mentioned organizations are non-profit organizations that focus on assisting marginalized communities at different capacities. With the knowledge and experience Araceli gained through her work and education she plans to contribute a different perspective through story telling in the Coachella Valley. 

Cindy Aispuro 

Luz Gutierrez

My name is Luz Gutierrez and I am 17 years old. I'm part of the class of 2016 at Desert Mirage High School located in Thermal, CA. I come from a large family of four sisters and four brothers and I'm the middle child. I have resided in the Eastern Coachella Valley my entire life in North Shore and in Mecca, CA.

Luis LuaMy name is Luis Lua, and I am a senior at Desert Mirage High School in Thermal, CA. I have written and have had published articles for the RamPage, (the school's online newspaper). I like writing about entertainment but I also write about issues that aren't cleared. I personally think journalism and exercising our rights is a way to express ourselves and/or change the way of seeing things.

Lesly Vallejo

Naomi CarrionNaomi is a senior at Nova Academy Early College High School in Coachella California. She enjoys art projects and working as a team. She is eager to learn, and is looking into joining a university soon and hopes to major in math. Naomi is new to Coachella Unincorporated and she is excited to be a part of the group.  She enjoys helping people and hopes to make a difference in her community not only while with Coachella Unincorporated, but in her future as well.

Olivia Rodriguez

Olivia Rodriguez is from Thermal, CA. She graduated from Desert Mirage High School in 2011 and earned her Bachelor's degree  in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley in 2015. Through her participation with Coachella Unincorporated she hopes to improve her storytelling skills and give a voice to some of the issues in her community that have been voiced less through the media. One day she hopes to be a health leader and work alongside other community leaders in the Eastern Coachella Valley to address health inequalities in her hometown.

Youth Reporters

Amanda Flores

Amanda Flores is a student reporter for Coachella Unincorporated. She joined in the Spring of 2015 and has written several articles since. For her journalism is an opportunity to showcase those in their communities who are making a difference. A Sophomore at Xavier College Preparatory she hopes to attend Stanford University and pursue a degree within the field of legal studies and public administration.

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

My name is Bryan Mendez, and I’m a first generation Mexican-American. In the future, I plan to study film and video production. Once I’m done with my education, I plan to start the first production company here in the Eastern Coachella valley. View Bryan's author page here.

Beat Reporter

Christian Mendez

View Christian's author page here. 

Program Manager and Editor

Amber Amaya

Amber Amaya, a Coachella Valley native, enjoys helping young people learn how to tell stories from their community. Before becoming the program manager and editor 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.

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