We’re excited to welcome Daniela as the newest member of the Circulate crew. We're happy to have her.
As is tradition, we asked Daniela a few questions so that our supporters can get to know her more. Below are the questions and her written responses.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a native of Escondido, a third-generation Californian, an only child, and my roots with Oaxaca run deep through my mother (a native of Oaxaca). As a child, I loved playing with cars and car garage toys; tonka trucks moving gravel, and drew “floor plans” in my free time. As a result of my early interests, I pursued a B.A. in Urban Studies and Planning at UC San Diego, but graduated during a recession. Thankfully, this prompted me to go live and work in South Korea for a while. While living abroad, I had the opportunity to travel through Southeast Asia, and see many advanced, progressive cities like Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur. Their transportation systems and land-use patterns kept inspiring me to envision greater opportunities for America, too.
I have come a long way from the teenager that once feared walking in her own neighborhood, to the person that has traveled to 14 countries alone, and walks without fear.
How did you become interested in Circulate San Diego?
One of my classes at UCSD had a guest speaker from Walk San Diego (now Circulate San Diego). The topic of pedestrian transportation and sustainability piqued my interest, and I felt a strong desire to support this organization’s mission. I then began volunteering for the Footprint Awards in various roles.
When I returned from living abroad in South Korea, I wanted to work for an organization that did planning work, and that would have a focus on improving alternative modes of transportation in the San Diego region. Circulate San Diego was hiring five years ago for a project coordinator. However, I was not yet on their radar.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement was fulfilling a dream of mine to backpack throughout Southeast Asia for about three months. I never felt more alive! I went through Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), and Laos. I walked, rode bikes, rode buses, rode trains, rode subways, and took tuk-tuks. I even rode a scooter bike through a herd of cows, and a cloud of butterflies on a quiet rode in Laos, to and from a giant waterfall where I swam with a friend. I met people from all over the world, most of whom I still keep in contact with to this day. Unfortunately, there are too many adventures to recount, but they always put a smile on my face when one pops into my mind, or Facebook newsfeed.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?
This is a tough question…but, it would be Bernie Sanders. His passion for positive change is infectious to me, and I admire his resilient spirit to pursue justice in many facets of our American government.
Why are you most excited to be part of Circulate San Diego?
I am excited to work on projects that will contribute to changing the built environment, quality-of-life, and alternative modes of transportation for the better to truly make San Diego “America’s Finest City.” Plus, I work with brilliant and talented people whom I hope to learn from, too.