SMASH Stanford

SMASH Stanford



James Sarria

In 2009 James joined the Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI). He started in the residential program, and is currently the Site Director at Stanford University, managing the partnership with the University and running the Summer Math & Science Honors Academy(SMASH). James spends his summer managing SMASH Academy, and the academic year supporting his scholars with events to develop a strong community and continue with STEM exposure programming.



Daniel Torres-Rangel
Lead Instructor

Since graduating from the Stanford Teacher Education Program in 2006, Daniel has taught math for 8 years in Wisconsin and California.  Currently, he teaches pre-calculus at Everest Public High School in Redwood City, CA.  Daniel likes to stay active outdoors by hiking, playing tennis or running with his two dogs, Naya and Capri.  He also has a strong passion for acting.  Daniel is thrilled to return to SMASH for a second consecutive summer with an instructional team that brings both expertise and experience in STEM education.


Rony Aristil
Program Assistant

Mr. Rony Aristil is a Haitian native, who after 3 years of working as a mentor at an orphanage in Haiti came to the United States to fulfil his educational goals. Mr. Aristil came to the United States in 2010 as a high school student, where he attended Saint Paul Preparatory High School, a private International High school, which represented students from more than 38 different countries around the globe. Soon after graduating from Saint Paul Preparatory School, Mr. Aristil attended Normandale College, where he earned his accounting degree. During his time at Normandale, Mr. Aristil worked for the tutoring department at his college, where he tutored Financial Accounting, Microeconomics, Gen Chem and French.

Currently, Mr. Aristil is a senior at Metropolitan State University in Minnesota. In December 2015, he is complete his Business Administration and Organizational Administration degrees from MSU. At MSU, Mr. Aristil serves as a student ambassador, where he participates and facilitates sections of New Student Orientations, spring and fall graduations, promote campus events in classrooms and conduct campus tours. Finally, Mr. Aristil loves working and interacting with people of diverse background and interests; he believes there is nothing richer than working with culturally diverse individuals. Mr. Aristil is ever excited to join SMASH this summer; he looks forward to make immediate contribution to the success of SMASH this summer.


Jennifer Arguello
Computer Science & Engineering and Design Challenge Instructor

Jennifer Argüello, a Silicon Valley native and dual citizen of Costa Rica and the United States, is a speaker and thought leader on women in technology and Latinos in STEM. She has a background in programming that includes a BS in Computer Science from UC San Diego and over a decade of experience in technology companies creating products from mobile apps to the first Xbox Kinect device. Jennifer is a returning SMASH Stanford instructor. She taught computer science and entrepreneurship in the 2013 summer. She currently is the Senior Tech Advisor at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. Arguello also mentors high school girls in the tech entrepreneurship program Technovation Challenge and college students in the CODE2040 program.


LaWanda Muhammad
Pre Calculus & Math Elective Instructor

“He who prescribes the diameter of your thinking dictates the circumference of your activity” MLF. LaWanda Muhammad is a native San Franciscan who has been working to enrich the lives of young people throughout the Bay Area since 2001. Once she completed her Bachelor’s in Mathematics at SFSU, she went on to earn her teaching credential at Mills.  She will be entering her eighth year as Math Instructor & Coach for Leadership High, a small charter school in San Francisco. She enjoys traveling with her three sons and is excited about seeing her oldest child off to college in the fall. She is truly looking forward to working with the scholars of SMASH this summer.


Berenice (Alex) Cabrera
Chemistry Instructor

Berenice Cabrera graduated from San Francisco State University and double-majored in Biology and Latino/a Studies and earned a minor in Chemistry. She is currently preparing to apply to graduate programs in chemistry to teach at the college and/or university level.

She is very passionate about increasing access to quality education for all students, as well as motivating girls of color to pursue STEM majors and careers. In her free time, Alex likes to read, rock climb, and explore San Francisco. This is Alex’s first summer with SMASH and is really excited to get to know the students more and work closely with them.

Diane Tucker
Computer Science I

Diane Tucker began her career back in 1999 working from an executive assistant, office manager, human resource / payroll manager all the way to an Information Technology Director.  During 2008 to 2012, Diane helped launch 4 start-up ventures and began thinking about middle and high school students were never able to reach their career goals. She wanted to supply a way for students to reach their full potential, despite their income or environment.

With a passion for youth and a background in technology, Diane created DMMSI to bring STEM to inner cities and equip the next generation for their career path via her STEM Youth Programs and a STEM National Social Network.  She has been a one woman company since 2011 making a difference in the lives of each youth she comes in contact with.  This is Diane’s first summer with SMASH as the Computer Science Instructor.  She is excited to bring her skills and experience to the team and help enrich the lives of the SMASH scholars.

Leilani Gilpin
Calculus Instructor (Math III)

This is Leilani’s first summer with SMASH and she is excited to bring her wide range of research and technical experience to the calculus curriculum.  Before coming to SMASH, Leilani worked for two years at PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) where she worked on fraud analysis in healthcare.

Before working, Leilani earned her M.S, in Computational and Mathematical Engineering from Stanford University in 2013 and a B.S. in Computer Science, a B.S. in Mathematics and a music minor from UC San Diego in 2011.  Leilani is passionate about attracting and retaining underrepresented groups in STEM and inspiring the next generation of the STEM in research and the workforce.  In her spare free, she enjoys swimming, hiking, traveling, playing piano and Polynesian dance.  Leilani will be starting her PhD in Computer Science at MIT this fall.


Jessica Li
College Success Instructor

Jessica is currently a graduate student at San Francisco State University studying for her Masters in College and Career Counseling.  She earned her B.A. in Drama and a minor in Education from UC Irvine.  This will be Jessica’s second summer with SMASH and she is excited to help scholars navigate the college application process as well as tips for success while in college.

Before coming to SMASH she worked for a private education company helping high school students apply to colleges.  In addition, she has interned at Stanford’s Career Development Center, University of San Francisco’s Career Services Center, and San Mateo County’s Workforce Development.  Jessica is passionate about gender equality and equity in the STEM workforce.  During her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, swimming, and catching up on her favorite TV shows online.


Shannon Mueller
Biology Instructor

This is Shannon’s first summer at SMASH, and she is excited to share her passion of biology and STEM careers with a diverse group of highly motivated students!  Before coming to SMASH, Shannon graduated from Carleton College in 2012 with a major in Biology and concentration in Spanish.  At Carleton and during the summers while she was there she was able to pursue her passions in teaching, science, and Spanish.

She was involved with various ESL tutoring organizations, an elementary school conservation initiative, and translating and outreach with a community health clinic.  She spent a summer with the Christian Appalachian Project mentoring high school students, a summer in Florida with Breakthrough Collaborative teaching English and Conservation Biology to middle school students, a summer with CENIT in Quito, Ecuador teaching children working in the markets, and another summer with Honduras Children in El Porvenir teaching children and adults.   She also spent a semester at Carleton in a direct enrollment program at a university in Merida, Mexico.  After Carleton, Shannon spent a year working as a healthcare implementation consultant with Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, MO.  In Kansas City, Shannon was able to continue ESL tutoring, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and translate at a public health clinic connected to KU Medical School.

For the past two years, Shannon has worked as a high school biology teacher with Teach for America at a public high school in East San Jose.  In her free time, she enjoys training for marathons (especially for the San Francisco Marathon this July!), hiking, biking, backpacking, keeping up her Spanish, and traveling in Spanish speaking countries (she has been to every country besides Panama in Central America and about half of the countries in South America!).

Gabriel Chaparro
Residential Director

Gabriel Chaparro was born in Sanger, CA and moved to the Bay Area when he was nine years old. Growing up in Hayward, Gabriel attended Hayward High, and graduated from Cal State Hayward (as it was called at the time) with a B.S. in Physics. After working in various fields (i.e. sound installation, radio engineering, wastewater operations) Gabriel followed his true calling and taught High School Science back at Hayward High (Go Farmers!).

After serving as science instructor, leadership teacher, and activities director, Gabe left Hayward to pursue a Master’s Degree at the University of the Pacific. After earning his master’s in Educational Administration and Leadership, Gabe moved to Southern California to work on a PhD in Higher Education. With only one semester of coursework left at Claremont Graduate University, Gabe is looking forward to starting his dissertation work and researching what support looks like for undocumented students at community colleges within the San Joaquin Valley.