Walnut STEM Academy and Social Justice School for Advanced Studies


Welcome to Walnut STEM Academy and Social Justice School for Advanced Studies GEAR UP

Walnut Park belongs to the fourth GEAR UP 4 LA grant that operates at multiple schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The program strives to ensure that all of our students, parents, and families have equitable access to the resources, services, and support that they need to be college and career ready. We provide leadership opportunities and services such as workshops, field trips, college advising to all gear up students.

  • Contact GEARUP
  • Room: Library Conference Room B 101-F
  • Office Cell #: (213) 605-2418
  • [email protected]

Our Staff

Questions? Contact us at [email protected] (Contact GEARUP) or mailto:[email protected].

  • Tabitha Pang

    Site Coordinator

    • College: Occidental College, UCLA
    • Favorite Movie: Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    • Favorite Food: Jasmine Rice
    • Biggest Influence: My ladies – my mother, aunt, and grandmother are my biggest influence. They are strong, resilient, and generous women who inspire me and remind me that nothing is insurmountable.
    • Why I LOVE My Job: Empowering students and their families to realize their dreams and potential is incredibly rewarding. Having spent over a decade as a middle school educator, I am thankful that I can continue the important work of ensuring the success of our students and communities as a site coordinator.
  • Sergio Ceja


    • College: Undergraduate:  Cal Poly Pomona  Graduate: CSUN
    • Favorite Movie: The Wizard of Oz
    • Favorite Food: Chilaquiles
    • Biggest Influence: My parents are my biggest influence because they gave up so much to give their children a better life and they instilled compassion, hard work, discipline, and resiliency to all of us.
    • Why I LOVE My JOB: I love seeing the academic and personal growth in students and their resilient spirits that constantly overcome tremendous obstacles. In high school, I was fortunate enough to have passionate adults who believed in me and helped me create my own choices, now I want to share that same passion with these students.
  • Miriam Garcia

    Community Representative

    • Favorite Movie: I enjoy Horror movies
    • Favorite Food: I love Southern Food
    • Biggest Influence: My biggest influence I would say is my mother. She came to the United States when she was 20 years old, with very little education and yet has been able to accomplish what she would say “The American Dream.” She is hard working, became an American Citizen, a homeowner as well as very independent. She has shown me that anything is possible as long as you dedicate yourself and aim towards your goal no matter the obstacles that may come your way.
    • Why I LOVE My JOB: I love my job because I enjoy meeting new people. I love helping others because growing up all I saw was gangs, drugs and broken homes in my community. I truly believe this program will allow children to know and believe that there is an outlet to breaking a cycle and have a brighter future for them.
  • Fernando Franquez

    Academic Advisor

    • College: University of California, Santa Cruz
    • Favorite Movie: The Dark Knight & 2 Fast 2 Furious
    • Favorite Food: Hamburgers and Enchiladas
    • Biggest Influence: My biggest influence are my parents. They have sacrificed their dreams, aspirations and countless hours of sleep for my sisters and me to try and have a better life. I am the person I am today because of them.
    • Why I LOVE My JOB: I love my job because it gives me the opportunity to help students that are growing up in the same situations and help guide them and inform them on things I never was aware of.
  • Carmen Vargas

    Academic Advisor

    • College: University of La Verne
    • Favorite movie: Groundhog Day
    • Favorite food: Bean and Cheese Burritos
    • Biggest influence: My biggest influence is my mother. She taught me to work hard, be persistent, and above all, to show compassion and kindness to everyone I meet. Because of her, I am a lifelong learner who is passionate about education and eager to share knowledge with others.
    • Why I love my job: I love my job because I get to work with an amazing team that is passionate about access and equity.