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East San Diego’s Rising Stars

The heart of our mission at the SD Voyager is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the San Diego’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out inspiring stories from East San Diego below.

Jackie VanHatten

Looking back on my career as a business owner and photographer, I constantly had to overcome challenges. When I came across something new or different, I figured out how to problem solve, prioritize, and move forward. I faced just about every kind of challenge there is, and I solved a majority of those challenges on my own. From camera and computer technology to managing expectations and challenging myself creatively, I found ways to grow. Read more>>

Nicky Quangvan

I’ve been Breakin’ (aka Break Dancing) for 20 years. Lived in an Eastern Iowa town of 350 people, and fell in love with Hip Hop. I was 11 years old, the first time I’ve seen someone Break. In Minneapolis, MN, I have seen a kid lay a sheet of napkin on the floor, then slid on his head a few feet I was hooked. I thought he did something impossible… until I tried it later that night. It was a success. Read more>>


I’m The Patriot Belle. I was raised on my mother’s resilience and molded by the tales of my family’s lineage, which were handed down to me by my grandparents and great-grandmothers. From birth, I was taught courage and sacrifice thanks to my father’s service to the country as a Sheriff’s detective and SWAT officer. As a child, I adored art and history and spent much of my free time creating or reading about the lives and customs of our ancestors. Read more>>

Mike Liorti

I always loved the SoCal scene/culture/vibes. 7th grade; Convinced any and every friend to learn a musical instrument so they could join my band. By high school, we were Rosedale, and near the end of high school, we were traveling on weekends, grinding on that Myspace hustle. Through the roller coaster of touring and releasing music, I lost several bandmates and eventually just went solo as Rosedale with lots of clones myself (on a video screen). Read more>>

Fletcher Roberts

I met my senior broker Yariv Azoulay while working as a waiter at Studio Diner in Kearny Mesa. I was about halfway through my master’s degree program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I started training with World Financial Group in 2016 as I continued to work and attend school. Over the years, I attained my insurance license, served many new clients, and trained dozens of associates at my firm. Read more>>

Sean Tolley

After high school, I toured with a handful of bands for about ten years, and over that decade accumulated a fair amount of musical gear. Once I realized it was something I wanted to do seriously, I began investing every spare dollar I had into recording gear and noise-making toys, and Clarity kind of took on a life of its own to eventually become what it is today. Read more>>

Chuck Partridge

I noticed how interested people were in the crystals. So, I started selling stones and crystals at farmers markets and gem fairs. Then, I opened a kiosk at Parkway Plaza Mall in East County, and, within a few months, expanded to a store there. We will have two stores operating this coming holiday season (the other at Plaza Bonita Mall in South County). And, for those who never venture south or east of Little Italy, there is our new online store at. Read more>>

Paige Alexander

I started in the hospitality industry at an early age. Worked as a bartender for many events and even went to a certificate program at USD for event and meeting management. I have always done events on the side of my normal 9-5. Coming into this project, I was already working as a Project Manager in the advertising/marketing realm. Taking the skills I learned over my professional career in both project management and the event industry. Read more>>

Nina Luna

I started Painting in the beginning of Oct 2013. Here is my Story. I am going to have to start from Jan 27th 2019 and how that changed My life. I was celebrating that weekend on my making the mark. The MARK is an important date. Its your five year anniversary from cancer, chemo and radiation. I am a two time breast cancer survivor. Read more>>

Alexandra Ayres

I love cooking and having friends and family over. I would rather hang out all evening with my friends around the dining table, in the comfort of my home than being in a restaurant. For me, restaurants are too loud to enjoy conversations, I am feeling rushed to leave the table for the next customers and the food is often too rich to suit my health habits. Read more>>

Mari Rothman

In 1991, a friend I walked with told me about the kids at the school she worked at who were “high risk” for not even graduating from fifth grade! The stories touched my heart! A short time later I had a meeting with the school nurse and principal of her school; a month later I was able to recruit five friends and started weekly meetings at Chase school where we taught life skills to 6 girls at a time for six weeks. Read more>>

Araceli Garcia

By the time I was 17 years old, I had already known what I wanted to do with my life – be a wedding planner. [I’m “one of the lucky ones” so many have told me.] During my Junior year in High School, I decided to head to the nearest Barnes & Noble and scout out a wedding magazine – I purchased a San Diego Styles Wedding Magazine. Read more>>

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