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The Summer Science Institute Staff

SSI is looking for highly motivated individuals who will act as both a dependable mentor and an approachable instructor. You will be serving both of these roles simultaneously whenever you work with your students, both during the summer and the school year.   

During the summer program, mentors work indepently with 2 to 3 students to act as a role model in developing, nurturing, and inspiring each to academically and professionally better themselves. Mentors are responsible for sharing effective study habits, time management, critical thinking, and problem solving skills, health-related knowledge, health career exposure, and both professional school advice and opportunities. The program’s intention is to enable SSI mentees to excel independently in both their future coursework and professional pursuits.

As an instructor, you must plan and tailor the curriculum to the needs of the students. During the summer, classes are held every day of the week where basic concepts in science, math, and writing are introduced. You must contribute to a social environment that reflects the program’s spirit of scientific inquiry, academic excellence, dedication to community, and commitment to personal responsibility.
Responsibilities of Mentor-Instructors:

  • create an open and non-judgemental dialogue with students
  • provide academic, emotional, and social support while building mentor-mentee relationship with students
  • direct students to relevant academic and career resources whenever appropriate
  • review and approve your mentees’ course selection for the school year, helping your students make informed, realistic academic choices
  • design and present lessons in your instructor subject(s)
  • direct students to additional study resources as need
  • must be available during the afternoon tutoring session to provide additional academic support
  • responsible for developing assignments and exams
  • provide timely constructive feedback
  • assist students with final projects as appropriate (e.g. brainstorming, design assistance, feedback, etc)
  • contribute brief academic status updates to the SSI team
  • attend SSI-related events (e.g. team building retreat, pre-health professional conferences and events, SSI staff meetings, etc)
  • act professionally at all times; follow the SFSU Code of Conduct

  • Be able to collaborate creatively and non-judgmentally
  • Feel comfortable leading group activities and public speaking
  • Coursework equivalent to the basic pre-health requirements.
  • Previous teaching and/or mentoring experience highly recommended
  • Be able to commit a minimum of 25 hours a week during the summer, and 4~6 hours a week during the school year

While academics are at the heart of SSI, a sense of creativity and enthusiasm will make this experience truly positive for you and your students. We are looking for people who can share their passion to developing this program into something that will continue to serve disadvantaged students long into the future—we hope you will join us!

Please complete the form below and attach it in an email to Any questions may also be directed to Amanda De La Cerda at


SSI Staff Application 2013: Click Here to Download


Amanda De La Cerda - Co-Director, Biology Instructor

Amanda De La Cerda

Heralding from the small town of Sylmar in Los Angeles, CA, Amanda bleeds Dodger Blue. Her undergraduate work was done at Mount Saint Maryís College, where she received a B.S. in Biological Sciences. Upon completion of her degree, she began teaching life science for a LAUSD school and went on to become a three-peat award winner for most awesome 7th grade teacher. Her minor in the Jedi Arts has allowed her to excel beyond her peers in using the Force. Eventually, realizing that no schools in the lower 48 offered a Masters in this subject, she settled on pursuing medicine. She just finished SFSU's Pre-Health Professions Certificate Program. She is currently in her 2nd year with SSI; this is her first year as Co-Director. She hopes to take SSI to a new level and challenge the students to surpass their own expectations. Amanda plans on bringing her Jedi powers to the medical field next year. Oh, and youíre forewarned: donít lose one of her pens, she will slice off your hand with her lightsaber.

Aaron Gandhi - Mentor, Physics Instructor

Aaron Ghandi

Aaron was born on a warm Christmas morning, a day of splendor and joy. Attending undergraduate at UC Davis, he realized that the best major is the one with the most syllables; Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. Simultaneously, he also wanted a degree to blow his mind, Philosophy. However, the only thing that degree has been useful for was blowing his nose. After a middling career in fighting crime at night, mostly due to lack of resources, he ended up deciding to pursue medicine. His favorite soup is made from the tears of his enemies. While not as skilled in the Jedi Arts as Amanda, he has made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs - on his bike. This is his second year with SSI. He teaches physics for SSI and helps coordinate tutoring.

Ashley Jenkinson - Mentor

Ashley Jenkinson

Ashley was born on a warm September morning in Orange, California in the year 1990. She was raised on Coca Cola and beach rays and enjoyed being an active participant in gymnastics, soccer, swim team, and cheerleading. She moved to San Francisco in 2008, where she discovered her inner hippie and a love for medicine. After practically failing her first economics class, Ashley decided Business wasn't for her leading to an adoption of a Biology/Physiology major. Ashley decided that wasn't quite hard enough so she also took on a Chemistry and Holistic Health double minor as well. Upon graduating next year, she plans on traveling the world to meet with holistic practitioners so that she may adopt their awesomeness and return to the United States as the greatest doctor ever.

Cheyenne Snavely - Mentor, Chemistry Instructor

Cheyenne Snavely

I graduated from SFSU in May of 2011. At SFSU I majored in biology with an emphasis in physiology, as well as minored in chemistry. My goal is to become a medical doctor and I am in the process of applying to medical schools. I started working with SSI as an assistant mentor in the summer of 2010. Since then my involvement in the program has increased and I have taken on the role of mentor and chemistry instructor. My experience with SSI has been very gratifying. I love meeting new students each year and being able to help them grow and watch their progress as they achieve their goals.

Danielle Wang - Mentor, Writing Instructor

Danielle Wang

Like Aaron, Danielle was also a December baby. After surviving a childhood of rollerblading, gymnastic tumbles, and every Disney movie ever made, Dani fell in love with her science classes and doughnuts in high school. In 2011, She graduated from UC Berkeley, where she majored in Interdisciplinary Studies Field and minored in Global Poverty and Practice. Rather than fulfilling her childhood dreams of becoming a pastry critic, she has decided to remain a student for as long as her parents can tolerate, starting with SFSU's Pre-Health Professions Certificate Program. Dani is excited to step up her involvement within SSI as a mentor this summer. She hopes to help students develop their public health perspective and improve their writing skills. Outside of SSI, Dani is gaining invaluable experience at Berkeley Free Clinic and SF General. In her free time, she can be found most likely eating a cupcake, hiking in the woods, or in yoga poses.

David Aguiniga - Assistant Mentor

David Aguiniga

At 5 am on April 16 1990, after hours of screaming and twerking, David C. Aguiniga made his first debut in a hospital. As a kindergartner, he claimed to have his MD and proceeded to diagnose and treat his peers with sticks, mud, and grass. His mother listened to AC/DC and his father was a big fan of Journey, which inspired his teenage '80s metal band, the Hot Pockets. Through middle school and high school, if David was not studying he was head-banging and jumping off stages into mosh pits. He moved to San Francisco immediately after high school where he discovered his passion for sciences and admiration for the nerd life. He enjoys seafood. Besides working, school, working more and volunteering, David shreds wakeboards, bikes, seadoos, dirt bikes, off-road trucks, TRIES to surf, and consumes a ridiculous amount of food. If you were to see David roaming in his natural habitat, you would most likely see him chugging an ice coffee and screaming, jumping, or rolling around with those super skinny black jeans.

Derrick -Assistant Mentor


At this time I'm an undergraduate at San Francisco State University. My interest in the human body has lead me to major in biology. Obtaining this degree will be a step towards me becoming a naturopathic doctor. I choose this form of medicine due to its principals and the way in which ailments are treated.

Lara Musser - Mentor, Math Instructor

Lara Musser

Lara "TheMoose" Musser grew up on the vicious streets of Davis, CA. Never flinching in the face of danger, she learned quick, becoming great at using a baseball bat - particularly at slowpitch softball. Her undergraduate years at UC Davis trained her in the art of lifeguarding, where she has a solid track record of keeping individuals away from her pool. Her small stature is surprising given her voracious appetite; Lara has consumed 73.4% of all foods in the San Francisco area. She enjoys Math. and also wants to pursue Emergency Medicine.

Lilia Sanchez - Mentor

Lilia graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008, where she received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Child Health and Development. She then completed the SFSU Pre-Health Post Bacc Program in Spring of 2010 to pursue her dream of becoming a Pediatrician. She currently works as an ER Scribe, is Clinical Coordinator of Global Medical Brigades at SFSU, and is volunteering at the Healthy Lifestyles Clinic with children and families struggling with obesity. Lilia's passion is outreaching to communities and being an advocate for the underserved population. She joined SSI to give students hope to pursue careers in medicine, and be a motivator as someone once was for her at a young age. She enjoys dancing, especially salsa and hip hop, movies and shows like Glee! She is looking forward to applying to Medical School next year.

Mykel Anderson - Mentor, Writing Instructor

Mykel Anderson

Mykel was known throughout grade school as Chun-Li of the West, for her indiscriminate kicking. As a child in Moreno Valley, CA, Mykel often wished she was flying high among the clouds. She also wished she was a Ninja Turtle. Both of these desires caused her to join the United States Air Force. She then tried to fulfill her ultimate goal of flying by studying Biology at UCSD; this way she could attach wings to her arms. While at UCSD she helped to establish ScienceBridge, Roger Tsien, 2008 Noble Prize winner's science outreach non-profit, clinically managed one of UCSD's Free-Dental Clinics, directed the UCSD Pre-Dental Society, and performed HIV/AIDS fieldwork in Arusha, Tanzania. These mediocre activities caused another passion of Mykel's to surface- a passion for clean teeth and beautiful smiles. This realization caused her to join the UOP/SFSU Dental Post-Bac, where she can be found in the hallways making fighter jet noises like a small aircraft.

Noel De Leon - Mentor

Noel De Leon

Noel was born in the summer of '86, in the fine city of Long Beach, CA. Being the eldest of three children, he carried with him the hopes and dreams of his parents, and blazed the path towards the future for this younger siblings. He entered college with an intention to pursue a degree in business, which would have put him on a path that would follow his entrepreneur parents. However, he quickly developed an attraction to the life sciences and instead decided to declare Biology as his major. Along this new path, he also developed his interest in Dentistry. After graduating in 2008 from Loyola Marymount University with a BS in Biology, he helped manage his familyís business before returning to school to once again pursue a career in Dentistry. Noel is currently a student of the Pre-Health Post- Baccalaureate Program at SFSU, and volunteers as a Sterilization Tech at Ravenswood Dental Clinic in East Palo Alto. Heís an avid fan of all things geeky, from Sci-Fi/Fantasy to video games and animation. He also thinks he can cook.

Vy Nguyen - Mentor, Writing Instructor

Vy Nguyen

Tuyet Vy Nguyen or Little Snow, hails from San Jose where she never actually consumed Little Snow. Her travels brought her to Davis, California where she spent her days caring too much in VN Cares, a free clinic in Sacramento. She majored in Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at UCSD and succeeded in that field mainly because of her ability to say Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior faster than her peers. She has an odd perchance for collecting bugs, much to the chagrin of her family. Growing up, her parents repeatedly have found collections of ants, caterpillars and other insects in her room back home. She has 16 week old small Labrador Retriever Child named Dexter. Dexter's special abilities include farts that knock you off your feet. Her ability to still care for Dexter in spite of this trait exemplifies her desire to become a Nurse - Vy has tender heart despite her small size, and is willing to deal with offensive smells.