Josefina Canchola

Job title: 
Director of Secondary Programs
CEP Program: 

Josefina E. Canchola is an immigrant to the United States.  She was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.  She is a product of the Los Angeles Unified School District, having had attended Hammel Street School and Belvedere Junior High School. Josefina’s family later moved to Whittier, California where she attended Pioneer High School.

Josefina went to the University of California, Riverside. Where she received a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Sociology.  She is the first in her family to receive an undergraduate and graduate degrees.   She received a Master’s in Management Degree from the University of Phoenix in 2006 where she graduated from with a grade point average of 3.98—even though she was a full time working professional, a deeply-involved community leader and was raising her daughter Julia as a single mother. 

Josefina’s passion (and life calling as she refers to it) is to create Educational opportunities for first-generation, underserved students and serves as an advocated for students, that like herself confront educational, economic and social obstacles that challenge their attainment of completing a college degree.  Her life motto is “Si Se Puede” (Yes it can) a message that she shares with students so that they too can beat the odds and attain their highest academic goals and dreams.

Josefina has worked for nearly twenty years with the University of California’s Puente Project in various capacities including; Regional Coordinator, Regional Centers Director, Associate Director of Partnerships and currently as Interim Director of Secondary Programs and Partnerships.  Josefina has also worked for the University of California, Riverside’s Chicano Student Programs as Program Coordinator and as Program Coordinator for the Office of Governmental and Community Relations. She has also worked for the Riverside Unified School District as the Community Services Liaison to the Superintendent and the City of Riverside’s City Manager’s Department as a Community Services Manager. 

Josefina has become a known leader in community circles and has received numerous awards for her efforts including; 

*President Barak Obama’s Community Service Award, 2016 

*The University of California’s Office of the President Exemplary Employee Award

*YWCA’s Woman of Achievement Award, Riverside County

*Hispanic Lifestyle Magazines’ Latina of Influence Award, 2017

*The Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project’s Volunteer of the Year Award

*County of Riverside Latino Heritage Service Award

*The University of California, Berkeley Chancellor’s Community Service Award

*Senator Robert Preseley’s Community Service Award

*Rotary Club of Riverside’s “Book of Golden Deeds” Award

*Woman of the Year for the 57th Assembly District, 2014

*Woman of Distinction for the 32nd Senate District, 2013

*Elected to serve on the California Democratic Central Committee, 2015 and 2021

*Appointed by Assembly Leader Ian Calderon as a Delegate to the California Democratic Central Committee, 2017 and 2019

*The Eleanor Roosevelt Democrat of the Year Award for Los Angeles County, 57th Assembly District, 2017

*2018 Participant of the University of California Office of the President’s Women’s Professional Development Institute, as part of a cohort of only 25 women system wide (and only one of two participating Latinas).

*2018 University of California Office of the President Women’s Initiative for Professional Development Executive Program.

*2021 Elected to serve on the California Democratic Central Committee to represent the 57th Assembly District.

*2021 Honored with Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustees Community Service Award.

These and many other awards and honors have been given to Josefina for her dedicated effort in areas including; Student advocacy for underserved communities, women’s and children’s issues, immigrant rights issues, California Democratic Party efforts and safe communities.   Her involvement includes areas like;

*33 years as a volunteer and past president of the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project—California’s premiere leadership development program for Latino youth.

*University of California, Riverside Alumni Association Board of Directors. Serving on their Executive Committee as organization’s Secretary/Treasurer.

*Appointment as a Member of the Citizens Oversight Committee at Rio Hondo Community College, 2014-2020.

*Former California State Senate appointee to The California Nursing and Psychiatric Board.

*Served as Advisory Board Member of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality.

* Previous member of the Riverside YWCA’s Board of Directors.

*Past Board member of the Riverside Area Urban League.

Josefina continues to be highly involved in not just local, but state-wide efforts as an advocate for many humanitarian causes.  From her perspective, she applies the concept of “giving back” because she feels blessed that her education has given her many life opportunities. 

 Josefina has two biological children; Julia (17) and Darryl Antonio (10) and is also raising a toddler by the name of Eliana who is two years old.  During her free time, Josefina enjoys writing and has had a number of poems published in various Latino Literary journals.  Additionally, pre COVID restrictions, she enjoyed nature hikes, baking, traveling and attending concerts and community festivals.