Our Team

Irene Quevedo

Irene joined Operation Jump Start in 2009. She received a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and International Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She also holds an MBA from Eastern University. As a Latina born and raised in an underserved community, she is indelibly passionate about the work done at Operation Jump Start.

With almost two decades of experience in the non-profit sector focused on serving families and children, her passion for the students OJS serves and the organization’s mission is second to none. She works closely with the agency’s Board of Directors to oversee all office operations including human resources management, technology, marketing, enrichment and academic programming, fundraising efforts as well as financial management systems. Irene has the proven skills as a manager and the vision as a leader to take OJS to new heights in achieving its mission.

Outside of OJS, Irene enjoys podcasting, spending quality time with her fun-loving husband and children, as well as extensive traveling!

Connect with Irene: irene@operationjumpstart.org

Maria Alvarez

Maria joined the team in February of 2015. She is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Criminal Justice. She believes education is the foundation to build a better community. Maria herself is a first-generation college graduate who attributes her success to mentoring. When Maria first joined the team as the College Access Program Manager, she demonstrated early on her talent and ability to lead programs, later managing and playing a critical role in the expansion of the College Success Program.

Now as Operation Jump Start’s dedicated Program Director, Maria oversees both OJS Programs and is on the Long Beach Cal-SOAP Board of Directors. She effectively leads the programs team, assuring the overall quality and execution of our programs, while monitoring the academic progress and success of all OJS scholars (8th-12th grade and college students). She is also leads our internship program and serves as the preceptor for master’s and bachelor’s Social Work interns. She is passionate about working with youth and believes a successful college experience exposes deserving students to high-quality opportunities.

When Maria is out and about she enjoys coffee shops, shopping, family time, and tropical vacations!

Connect with Maria: maria@operationjumpstart.org

Emily Garcia

Emily joined the OJS team in February 2020 as a Youth Leadership Intern for the YLA program. As an OJS Alumna, Emily first started in OJS as a 9th grader in 2010 and is excited to return to the organization that gave her so many memorable experiences and served as an enormous support system throughout her college journey. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies. Emily leads the College Success Program and the Learning Resource Center, both crucial programs within Operation Jump Start. She works closely with our students aiming to push them beyond limits, encourages them to reach their highest potential, and celebrates their successes and victories together! Emily is driven to create an inclusive and positive learning experience for our scholars while exposing them to new opportunities. She believes in OJS’s mission to support students to get in, stay in, and graduate from a college/university!

When not at OJS, you can find Emily enjoying the outdoors, working on her fitness goals, or spending quality time with her Labrador and Husky!

Connect with Emily: emily@operationjumpstart.org

Rebecca Ridge

Rebecca joined Operation Jumpstart in February 2020. She graduated from the University of California, Davis with a double major in Communication Theory and Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies and a minor in Education. As the first in her family to attend college, she is passionate about providing all students with access to higher education and about the imperative need to support them throughout their journey.

In her free time, she loves to craft, work on ceramic projects, cook, and spend time with her cat, Luna.

Connect with Rebecca: rebecca@operationjumpstart.org

Anahi Hernandez

Anahi started at OJS as a sophomore in high school and graduated in 2019. After high school she went to CSU Long Beach where she graduated in August of 2023 with a degree in Family Life Education and a minor in Gerontology. She joined OJS as a Programs Intern in late 2022 and later on became an OJS staff in August of 2023. Coming back to work for OJS felt like a full circle moment for her. Being on the receiving side of OJS as a high school student to then working with students and parents, has given her a drive to help other first-generation students and families in navigating the barriers that many face when going to college.

In her free time she enjoys watching movies, reading, and spending time with her dogs Oreo and Honey.

Connect with Anahi: anahi@operationjumpstart.org

Kevin Melvin

Kevin joined Operation Jump Start as a College Access Coordinator in November 2021. He graduated from Bates College in 2017, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Japanese. In 2016, he worked as an intern for OJS, helping with the student recruitment process, which motivated him to continue on his journey of helping younger students. As a part of that journey, he has conducted research on homeless youth’s barriers to education in Lewiston, Maine, and worked for four years as a behavioral therapist for children on the autism spectrum. His passion for helping youth excel in education has finally brought him back to OJS, where he hopes to continue his mission of fostering success in young students.

When he’s not at OJS, he likes to spend his free time playing video games, watching anime, working out, or spending some quality time outside roller skating.

Connect with Kevin: kevin@operationjumpstart.org

Board of Directors

Mark Christoffels
Board President
Vice President, HDR Inc. 

Joe Arismendez
Board Treasurer
Project Manager, Spectra Contract Flooring

Kellina Anderson
Facilities Manager, Linde – Western Tennessee

Rachel Davis
Water Loss Control Programs Supervisor, Municipal Water District of OC


Rick Nolan
Board Vice President
Director of Global Recruitment, MaxLinear, Inc.

Edoardo Savi
Board Secretary
Professional Development Coach, ZS Associates

Jane Bemis
Retired, Disney Executive

Justin Grayson
CEO/Founder, The Grayson Agency

Advisory Council

Diann and Walt Zenda

Charles Russell

Kathryn Chapman
Community Champion

Interested in board membership?

Contact us! ojs@operationjumpstart.org to learn more.