Panetta Intern – Kayla Tolentino, Health Education
Kayla Tolentino is a senior majoring in Health Education. She has made the Dean’s List for eight consecutive semesters due to her superior academic achievement and a 3.94 GPA. Born and raised in South San Francisco, Ms. Tolentino is an impassioned public health scholar and advocate. Ms. Tolentino’s community experience and studies reflect how she embraces her advocacy role in health education. She was recently elected as the 2014-2015 Health and Social Science (HSS) Representative in Associated Students at SF State. Her role is to mobilize HSS students, faculty, staff, and administration in efforts to unite the College and increase her own accountability to the students she represents. At the core of her leadership values is the need to have an inclusive space for voices to be heard in the decision-making process.
Ms. Tolentino displays a sincere and passionate attitude about learning and doing positive work in her community. Working with the Asian American Recovery Services in her hometown of Daly City, she learned firsthand how the power of community members could influence public policy. After spending months helping the organization collect data on the contributing factors of underage youth drinking, a proposed draft was presented to the Daly City Council meeting. This came about by researching various stakeholders among the community through surveys and interviews with Daly City youth, business owners, and parents. Ms. Tolentino was instrumental in using this research to inform a policy proposal, which was then supported by the Mayor of Daly City. Through the Panetta Internship, she hopes to continue to gain the knowledge and skills that will lay the foundation for a future career in social welfare policy. In addition, after graduating from SF State, she intends to pursue a Master’s degree in social work.