Digital NEST staff


Jacob Martinez

Founder & Executive Director

Prior to establishing the Digital NEST in 2014, Jacob Martinez spent ten years leading innovative computer-based programs in Pajaro Valley schools and beyond, with a particular focus on encouraging Latina girls to enter high tech fields. He is a frequent speaker at technology and educational conferences and symposia, and has been honored by business, community, and educational institutions for his innovation and leadership. He spoke in 2015 at the first White House Tech Meetup and was named by Tech Crunch as one of 2014’s Top 10 Men in the Country Supporting Women in Technology. Jacob holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Masters degree in Instructional Science and Technology from California State University Monterey Bay. Jacob recently received a recommendation letter from former United States Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta. He continues to seek opportunities to build on the broad coalition of supporters that have made Digital NEST a reality, and welcomes your inquiry. Email: [email protected]

Steve Bean

Enterprise Director

Steve joins the NEST in the middle of a long and exciting career in education and at the beginning of what he hopes will be an even longer career in social entrepreneurship, integrating “good works” with work in design and publishing. He has worked with youth from vulnerable populations as a wilderness trip leader, sailing instructor, AmeriCorps crew leader, teacher in a continuation charter school and as a developer of in-school and out-of-school programs. In the Central Coast and Silicon Valley regions of California, he has been the founder, program designer and program manager for the Physical Education for Body, Mind & Spirit, Young Women’s Leadership Alliance, Girl Game Company and Watsonville Tecnología-Educación-Communidad programs. In his effort to innovate on behalf of vulnerable youth, Steve has been key in securing more than $20 million in Federal, State and private philanthropic grant funds over a 15-year period. When he’s not engaging in social entrepreneurship, Steve works as the Principal of Steve Bean Games, a boutique, start-up, tabletop game design studio. Steve Bean Games has designed and written commercial tabletop game-related products under contract from Goodman Games and Strategy & Tactics Press while working towards publishing its own products. Steve holds a Master’s in Education from University of California, Santa Cruz, but feels that his author credits and business contract check stubs are his real credentials. Email: [email protected]

Linda Bixby

Development and Communications Director

Linda joined the fledgling Digital NEST in 2014 to support its launch and organizational growth. A longtime volunteer for causes serving children and youth, Linda enjoyed a long career in newspaper journalism, the last 15 years as a contributing feature writer for USA Today, before entering nonprofit management. She served as Development Director for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) from 2006-2013, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Encompass Community Services. Linda has held public office as a member of the City Council of Benicia, California, and maintains an active interest in municipal government and public policy. Linda is a native of Portland, Oregon and holds a B.A. in English from Portland State University. Email: [email protected]

Jesus Rosales

Assistant Tech Manager

Jesus Rosales also began his journey at the NEST as a member, and then later as a volunteer of Tech Squad. After much training from our IT Director, Yazmin, Jesus has come on board as our Tech Manager. As a Watsonville native, Jesus has been a great resource for our members, and we’re happy that he is now a great resource for our staff too. Email: [email protected]

Yethzell Diaz

People, Project and Leadership (PPL) Manager

Yethzéll is a researcher, educator, and advocate for community-informed programs. Her goal in her work is to identify the value of the daily-lived experience of the community in order to connect its members to educational resources in more impactful, meaningful and lasting ways. She joins the Digital NEST team as our Projects, People and Leadership Manager after working at ETR (Education, Training, Research). Born and raised in Bakersfield, California and after a few adventures in South America and Los Angeles, she moved to Santa Cruz County to attend University of California, Santa Cruz. She and her tiny dog, Apple, can be found on a hiking trail or at the beach, training for competitive ocean swims. She is excited to continue her work with the community and looks forward to being part of the amazing things happening here in Watsonville. Email: [email protected]

Gabriel J. Medina

Digital Arts and Technology (DAT) Manager

Gabriel J. Medina was born and raised in Watsonville, CA. He graduated with the class of 2010 from Watsonville High School where he was greatly involved with the Video Academy and the theater department. Upon graduation Gabriel attended the University of California, Los Angeles where he obtained his B.A. in Visual Literacy and two minors in Film & Television studies and Chicana/o Studies. While at UCLA, Gabriel interned for several film companies. He was the Marketing Intern for two years at Lionsgate’s Pantelion division where he helped market the films: Girl in Progress, Cinco De Mayo, Filly Brown, Caesar Chavez, and Cantinflas. He then worked with ACantar Films where he helped rising actress and producer Margarita Reyes in production and post-production work. While in his junior year he then met Alicia Caldes who offered him an internship position at Blue Blondie Productions, and was soon promoted to a Producer due to his contributions to the company. While in school he took directing and producing courses with legendary film child star and producer Professor Myrl Shreibman, and a writing for television course with James Franco. Currently, Gabriel is back in the Watsonville area working on several projects through his production company, Calavera Productions, and is an active member of Watsonville Film Festival. Email: [email protected]

Alex Santana Jr.

Digital Arts and Technology (DAT) Coordinator

Alex Santana Jr. is a Watsonville native. He graduated from Watsonville High in 2010 and pursued his BA at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2014, Alex graduated with a degree in film and digital media and had a short career in news broadcast production. After working as a Production Assistant for KSBW Channel 8 and NBC Bay Area, Alex left the stations in the summer of 2015 to work for the Santa Cruz County’s local LGBTQ+ resource center: The Diversity Center. In addition to his work at the Diversity Center, Alex remains active in the local film scene by volunteering his time with the Watsonville Film Festival’s Program Committee. Email: [email protected]

Yazmin Herrera

Web and Information Technology Manager

Yazmin graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz where she started her career as a social engineer and entrepreneur at the Everett Program. Through the Everett Program, she was able to work with community leaders like Jacob Martinez to start several initiatives around education and technology in Watsonville. After working on nation-wide education and community-building initiatives in Washington, DC, she returned to Watsonville to help launch the Digital NEST as the Program Manager. Her love for technology and learning and her ability to navigate different fields made the NEST a great fit. Email: [email protected]

Miguel Lozoya Burciaga

Web and Information Technology Coordinator

Miguel Lozoya Burciaga graduated from California State University Monterey Bay with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, focusing on Software Engineering and Game Development. He most enjoyed being part of the Game Research Lab at CSUMB where he developed games that read brain activity in order to adapt in difficulty to the player. When he’s not lost in a recursive function, he can be found testing a new recipe in the kitchen or searching for new music. He brings his passion for inventing and his creativity to the Digital NEST with a goal to inspire those around him. In return, he seeks to be challenged and taught by those he serves. Email: [email protected]

Ximena Ireta-Lopez

Operations and Communities Manager

After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s in Sociology, Ximena wanted to aid her native community of Watsonville by advocating higher education, specifically to the Latino youth. Email: [email protected]

Brianna Del Franco

Volunteer Manager

Brianna Del Franco is our new AmeriCorps as the NEST’s Volunteer Program Manager. She is a Watsonville native who went away to the University of California, Los Angeles to pursue her degree in Political Science with a minor in Education. After graduating, she became a member of the NEST, volunteered as part of Connect Crew, and is now a very welcome addition to our staff. Email: [email protected]

Stephanie Barraza

Office Manager

Stephanie Barraza is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Modern Literary Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Stephanie, a self-proclaimed social media guru and tech enthusiast, hopes to eventually become a tech writer. Before becoming a full-time banana slug, she was a Watsonville TEC student teacher and a founding member of Girl Game Company. Email: [email protected]

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact us directly at our emails listed above, or fill out the form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

  • We will direct you to the correct person.