New Merritt Scholars Cohort 2024!

July 2, 2024

 Merritt welcomes 20 new Merritt Scholars for our 2024-2025 cohort! 

July 2, 2024-Oakland, CA

Welcome to the newest cohort of Merritt Scholars! 

We are thrilled to welcome our 20 new Scholars into a program that will lay the groundwork for a career in affordable housing. Each scholar will be paired with a mentor, have paid attendance to industry conferences, receive assistance and support around jobs and internship placement, and network with industry leaders and peers. 

The 2024-2025 cohort comes from 15 different schools across California. 13 of our scholars are undergraduate students and 7 are in a graduate programs. We had applicants from 11 schools that have not previously applied to the Merritt Scholars program.  62% of our scholars are from UC system schools and 38% are from Cal State schools. This year, 95% of our scholars identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color. 65% of our Scholars have lived experience with poverty, housing insecurity, and/or experience in affordable housing.  

As a people-first organization, Merritt knows that solving the affordable housing crises requires the development of more affordable housers and affordable housing leaders. Commitment to California was created to attract, train, and retain the next generation of housers and leaders, who will work together to ensure that everyone has a home in a community where they can thrive.   

Join us in congratulating and connecting with our newest cohort! 

Calvin Hill, UC San Diego, B.S. Real Estate Development 

Carly Zhou, Cal Poly, San Louis Obispo, B.A. Architecture 

Chloe Orozco Myers, UC Davis, B.S. Community and Regional Development 

Elijah Teats, CSU, Fresno, B.A. Business Real Estate and Urban Land Economics 

Erick Rocha, Stanford University, B.A. Sociology: Data Science, Management, & Markets 

Hector Torres, UC Santa Cruz, B.A. Sociology and Psychology 

Jenae Edwards, University of Southern California, B.A. Architecture, Minor in Real Estate Development  

Jonathan Donis, Stanford University, B.A. Sustainability Science and Practice 

Kaitlyn Tran, UC Berkeley, B.A. Urban Studies and Political Science 

Kayla Brons, UC Irvine, M.A. Urban and Regional Planning 

Lily Keefauver, UC San Diego, B.A. Urban Studies and Planning 

Luiz Torres, CSU Sacramento, M.A. Public Policy & Administration 

Lola Quiroga, UC Santa Cruz, B.A. Computer Science 

Manuela Martinez, CSU, Long Beach, B.A. Geography 

Norma Guzman Hernandez, UCLA, M.A. Public Health 

Rebeca Duran Lopez, UC Irvine, M.A. Urban and Regional Planning 

Saidy Reyes, UC Berkeley, B.A. Architecture  

Sarah Guzman, UCLA, M.A. Urban Planning with a Concentration in Housing Development 

Thomas Phung, UC Davis, B.S. Managerial Economics 

Victor Rodriguez, San Jose State University, M.A. Urban Planning 

We are looking forward to working with our newest cohort over the next year! 

Read more about the Merritt Scholars program here: Merritt Scholars – Merritt Community Capital Corporation (  

Learn more about Commitment to California here: Commitment to California – Merritt Community Capital Corporation ( 

About Merritt Community Capital Corporation  

Merritt Community Capital Corporation is a nonprofit dedicated to our mission to provide equity capital for affordable housing exclusively to California. We do this by partnering with mission-aligned affordable housing developers throughout the state to ensure the most critical communities are developed and maintained for low-income residents. Since 1989, Merritt has created and/or preserved 11,100 affordable homes, through investing over $1.4 billion in 26 separate funds, providing housing for over 29,700 people. 



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