Maria E. Love, Manager of the Office of Immigrant Relations
Maria Love grew up in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States at the age of 14. She has lived in the Santa Cruz and Watsonville areas for the last 24 years.
During the past 13 years, Love has worked for both the County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department and the Health Services Agency. At the Human Services Department, Maria provided guidance to county staff as to changes in agency work operations related to Medi-Cal, Foster Care, and CalFRESH programs based on changes to state and federal policies.
At the Health Services Agency, Ms. Love managed the Santa Cruz County Healthcare Outreach Coalition, where she coordinated the work of county staff and staff from community-based organizations to maximize outreach and insurance enrollment strategies. Love was instrumental in the Newborn Enrollment Project, Healthy Kids Steering Committee, Statewide Covering Kids and Families Coalition, and Santa Cruz County Safety Net Coalition, among other efforts. She also served as the County’s lead for the planning and implementation of the County’s Low Income Health Program.
Maria earned her Masters of Public Policy degree at the Leon Panetta Institute for Public Policy at California State University Monterey Bay in 2012. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from University of California Santa Cruz in 1999. During the fall 2013, Love also taught about health policy and public health insurance programs for a semester at the California State University Monterey Bay.
At the when she assumed her duties Ms. Love stated: “Immigration issues are dear to my heart since I came to this country as an immigrant. I am honored and excited to work with the County’s team at the Office of Immigrant Relations to fulfill the mission of the office. My goal will be to promote and apply best practices for effective immigrant integration and to work with community partners as we plan and implement programs in response to various developments in immigration reform.”
Teresa Castellanos has worked with the diversity of immigrant communities for over 25 years. She began her career as a labor organizer with Justice for Janitors and the Health Workers Union and worked for Catholic Charities’ Immigration Program leading the organizations' citizenship efforts in the mid 1990s. For the past 18 years she has been a guiding force behind the Santa Clara County's citizenship and immigrant integration programs. Through her efforts, in collaboration with community based agencies and other colleagues, 131,000 County residents have received assistance in their citizenship process.
Teresa's scholarship, teaching of immigrant leadership courses, outreach and community organizing have brought attention to the immigrant experience in Silicon Valley and to the multiple ways communities can participate in the improvement of their lives through community access, civic participation and engagement.
She is a contributing author to Bridging Borders in Silicon Valley and KIN: Knowledge of Immigrant Nationalities, two books based on the data from the Summit on Immigrant Needs and Contributions, as well as the recent Office of Human Relations report A Tale of Two Valleys: The Price we Pay for Living in Santa Clara County.
Milina Jovanovic has worked with numerous immigrant communities and researched a wide scope of immigrant issues since 1996. In 1998 she volunteered for 6 months at a Vietnamese resettlement agency working directly with Somali, Iranian, Bosnian and Vietnamese refugees.
In the summer of 1999, Ms. Jovanovic was hired by the Office of Human Relations to conduct research on 16 immigrant groups in Santa Clara County. With her unique research expertise gained and developed over the course of more than two decades in both Yugoslavia and the U.S., she has contributed to all research projects that originated within the Office of Human Relations. She was a contributor and co-editor of Bridging Borders in Silicon Valley and KIN: Knowledge of Immigrant Nationalities, two books based on the data from the Summit on Immigrant Needs and Contributions. She has worked with Immigrant Programs (IRIS/OIR) since 1999 and with the Dispute Resolution Program from 2010 to 2015.
Ms. Jovanovic is especially enthusiastic about documenting a great spectrum of immigrant contributions, transformation of the U.S. society as a result of immigrant presence, demographic trends, The Santa Clara County Citizenship Collaborative, and immigrant women’s issues. She has contributed to concepts and design of immigrant integration programs and monitored contracts for immigrant services administered by IRIS/OIR and Social Services Agency. Ms. Jovanovic is a published author of two books and numerous articles covering a wide range of topics from ethnic studies and immigrant contributions to U. S. foreign policy, gender studies and ecofeminism.
David Acevedo was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the United States at an early age. He has been a resident of Santa Clara County for most of his life, living in multiple cities.
Coming from immigrant parents and being an immigrant himself, David has experienced the struggles that immigrant families often encounter when arriving and living in a new country. David feels that his experience will help guide his work to help other immigrant families in Santa Clara County cope with the difficulties and struggles when faced with a new life in a new country.
David’s parents knew the importance of higher education and guided him into pursuing a degree. David began his higher education in junior college and then transferred to San Jose State University. While at San Jose State University, David attended the Lucas College and Graduate School of Business where he received his BS in Corporate Financial Management.
David has worked with OIR for almost two years. He works closely with numerous non-profit agencies that provide legal assistance and other integration services to Santa Clara County’s immigrant population. David’s dedication to contract administration and quality of service are of critical importance for OIR operations.