Our Staff

Christian Esteban
Executive Director 
(714) 322-5692 | christianesteban@joyascholars.org

Christian joined the JOYA Scholars team in 2015 as a volunteer mentor. After serving as an AmeriCorps member with OneOC and Orangeview Junior High School, he first took on the role of Program Coordinator with JOYA.

Christian graduated from UC Irvine with a BA in Psychology & Social Behavior and Anthropology. In his time at UCI, he worked one-on-one with first-generation college students, global anti-poverty advocates, and children with high-functioning autism and their families.

Christian is passionate about giving students and families the tools they need to succeed, and connecting volunteers and community organizations to the causes they care about.
As Executive Director, Christian is responsible for staff supervision, fund development, community outreach, and vision and planning.

Lisset Magdaleno
Advocacy Director
(714) 485-3487 | lissetmagdaleno@joyascholars.org

Lisset was born and raised in Santa Ana and attended Vassar College in New York, where she studied Sociology and Latin American and Latino/a Studies. During college, she worked on learning more about college access, especially for low-income and first-generation students, and involved herself both in and out of the classroom on this topic and on improving the college experiences of these students. Previously, she was a Sociology research assistant, interviewing first-generation and low-income college students and was a student fellow, a mentor to first-year students. Lisset, herself a first-generation low-income recent college graduate, is deeply committed to serving students, families, and communities in their pursuit of higher education and beyond.


Lupe Sanchez
Garnet Program Coordinator
(657) 549-0413 | lupesanchez@joyascholars.org

Lupe was born and raised in Riverside, California. She went to Chaffey Community College where she graduated with an associate degree in Sociology. She then transferred to California State University Fullerton where she got her BA in Sociology. She volunteered as a teacher’s aide at an elementary school and was a mentor for the younger generation. She also went to different elementary schools where she brought her passion for education and performing arts to children. She desires to serve underrepresented students, families, and communities in pursuing higher education. Being a first-generation graduate student, she knows the difficulties of navigating through the education system and hopes to use her knowledge to help others.

Lina Sabri
Maple Program Coordinator
(657) 207-0501‬ | linasabri@joyascholars.org

Lina was born in Iraq and raised in the United States. She has a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Art, and she is passionate about empowering youth through education and art. Lina was an AmeriCorps member who worked with K-12 students at a non-profit organization’s after-school program. She supported young people in achieving their educational goals and improving their talents. Lina had the pleasure of fundraising and volunteering for Women Refugee Women, Enlightening Dreams, and Prison Arts Collective.

Kelly Harrity
Tutoring and Academic Specialist

Kelly has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UCLA and a master’s degree in biology from Stanford. While pursuing her Phd in biology, Kelly realized that her favorite part of graduate school was teaching undergraduates, so she switched paths from research to teaching. She worked as a high school teacher for seven years, teaching math and science in Northern California and Boston, until it became clear she needed greater flexibility to care for her daughters. Kelly created K-Harrity Tutoring in Irvine in 1994, offering one-to-one lessons in students’ homes. During her 22 years as a private tutor, she has learned through trial and error that different techniques work for different students, depending on their learning modalities and personalities.

In 2019, seeking a meaningful way to remedy the equity gap in education she observed daily, Kelly began volunteering at JOYA. The daughter of an immigrant/first-generation college graduate, Kelly felt she had found a perfect fit. Kelly now tutors multiple JOYA students and in 2021 became JOYA’s Tutoring and Academic Specialist She offers instruction and resources to other tutors, while researching pedagogical strategies specific to JOYA students and tracking down resources to help our students succeed.

Patricia Goheen
Maple Elementary After School Program Tutoring Lead

Christina Garner
Lead, Charlemos Culture and Conversation Class

Julianna Hernandez
Parent Academy Lead Instructor

Yazmin Garcia
Administrative Coordinator

Alexandra Rubio
Academic Tutor