Taking action to build agency and belonging among high school students who want to make an impact in their communities
Emma Araya came to La Jolla Country Day School in 2020 and is currently a senior. Upon her arrival in San Diego, Emma was living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Emma is from Costa Rica and traveling to more than 20 countries has enabled her to see the importance of multiculturalism, inequity, and diversity across the world. She was part of the planning committee for the first annual RSDS and has returned this year. Emma is very involved in DEI work in her community, including being the marketing coordinator for the Student Diversity Leadership Club, co-founder, and co-president of the Latin American/Hispanic Affinity Club, leader of the Latinx Affinity for the annual LJCD’s Hope Conference and member of the anti-racist committee which is supporting diversity work in the middle school at LJCDS.
Daniela Brun Mátar is a senior at La Jolla Country Day School (LJCDS). She is an avid advocate for social justice and shares her worldview in and out of her school’s community. She is the communications director for the Student Diversity and Leadership Committee, where she helps organize LJCDS’ annual Hope Conference and designs/leads spaces such as advisory or assemblies to have “difficult conversations.” She is co-founder and co-president of her school’s first-ever Latin American/Hispanic Affinity Group. She has lead several panels on antisemitism and genocide for Making History Alive and a panel on Inequality within Intersectionalities for LJCDS’ Citizenship Day. Aside from those activities, she is an active member of Model UN.
Daniela participates in RSDS because she realizes the importance of having thought-provoking conversations. She hopes that RSDS fosters an uplifting community where everyone can contribute a crucial piece of themselves to the discussion and unite in celebration of themselves and each other.
Roma Nagle is a senior at La Jolla Country Day School. She is actively involved in diversity, equity, and inclusion work on campus, specifically promoting socioeconomic diversity in independent schools. She is the organizer of the Students with Socioeconomic Concerns affinity group and the leader of the Women of Color Leadership panel that both take place during LJCDS’s annual Hope Conference. This year, she is the co program coordinator of this event and has been planning it alongside the rest of the Student Diversity Leadership Committee for the past few months. Outside of DEI initiatives, Roma is the founder and coach of the LJCDS Speech and Debate Team and a member of the Varsity Mock Trial Team.
Roma has participated in RSDS for the past two years because she recognizes how impactful it is to the larger San Diego area. Since most of the closest diversity conferences are located in Los Angeles, it was important to the team to bring the same ideas in a more accessible manner. She hopes that RSDS will have more participation than before and that people will be inspired by the day’s workshops and speakers to create positive social change in their community.
Sophia Brotman is currently a freshman at La Jolla Country Day. She currently is part of Model UN, Amnesty Club, Lucky Ducklings, and Green Team. On her off time she enjoys reading, fencing, and listening to music. She has been fortunate enough to learn and to travel to many places such as Madrid, Dubai, the Dominican Republic, and Europe. In middle school she was part of No Place for Hate, student council, and helped lead the HOPE conference. She was also the recipient of the Balmer Award, this award is given to a student who has given generously of themselves to the improvement of the school community.
Sophia first learned about RSDS through a friend who also helped in this year's conference. Thus she joined RSDS in hopes of trying to improve her community one step at a time. She wishes that this conference starts a conversation about understanding one’s identity and perspective of others.
As LJCDS’ first-ever director of diversity, equity and culture, Jessica Heredia’s role is to provide leadership in the areas of organizational change, strategic planning, collaborative programming, campus-wide policies and procedures to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion are systemically built into the fabric of the LJCDS school community. This will be Ms. Heredia’s first time participating in RSDS!
Before joining LJCDS in 2021, Ms. Heredia spent the previous 13 years at the University of California, San Diego’s Campus Advocacy, Resources, and Education (CARE) as the assistant director and was most recently the interim director. Previously, Ms. Heredia was an adjunct faculty member for the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University.
Ms. Heredia was born and raised in San Diego and currently lives here with her husband, son, daughter and their cat. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, listening to music and boxing.
Robin Stewart has been teaching English at La Jolla Country Day School since 2004. Prior to LJCDS, Ms. Stewart taught at an independent school in Macon, Georgia, and as an adjunct for a San Diego Community College. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and her Master of Arts in African Languages and Literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
As a student, Ms. Stewart wrote poetry, played basketball, and rowed crew. As a teacher, she continues to promote a love of poetry and social justice. She has served as a policy debate coach, facilitated the Amnesty International Club, and led student activities to celebrate diversity and global citizenship and promote equity and justice. As part of those responsibilities, Ms. Stewart has chaperoned LJCDS student representatives to the National Association of Independent School’s Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) for many years. She also facilitates the annual LJCDS Hope Conference, which is a student-led day of education and inspiration to embrace diversity with dignity and is modeled after SDLC. Ms. Stewart is passionate about teaching the senior elective World Beat: Literature of Africa and the African Diaspora, for which she is thrilled to utilize her graduate studies.