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Inspiring Stories from La Jolla & UTC

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 the rising stars from La Jolla & UTC below.

Tiange Zhou

I was born into a family of artists in a smaller city in China. My father is a director and actor, and my mother is a nurse but also a semi-professional dancer. My first performance on stage was about four months after my birth. This experience I don’t remember may have been carved into my subconscious mind. This probably also destined me to live a creative life. Meanwhile, I remembered when I was little, my father always hosted salons every couple of weeks and invited his friends who were poets, writers, painters, photographers, and musicians to have to tea afternoon or if I define it ” smoke afternoon” to talk about art, philosophy, society, etc. And I was always around them since I was two years old. Those events definitely made a strong influence on my future life, a life as a creator and also an interdisciplinary collaborator, a life in which I constantly work with people from many different areas. Like most Asian kids of my generation, I started to learn the piano when I was about four years old. And from the beginning, I was not a child who only practiced the piano. Since taking piano lessons for about a month or two, I have started to create something I like. Read more>>

Nathan Hart

I grew up with my grandma’s herbal medicine. Unfortunately, through my childhood, I hadn’t paid close enough attention to learn. It wasn’t until my college years that I started studying. That interest was sparked by a chance encounter with an herbalist at Purdue university who, finding me suffering with a cold, offered boneset tea and some instructions. An afternoon and evening drinking that tea cleared my cold symptoms. In my next meeting with that man, I asked for some suggested reading materials. Traditional western herbal medicines became a hobby of mine for a number of years. Read more>>

Darius Koohmarey

I’m Darius and while I’ve travelled the globe for both academics and work, I’ve been a San Diego native and local all my life. I have spent my education and career years navigating the demanding environment of software and business. In this time, I developed a keen eye for the less favorable effects this sort of stressful and sedentary environment can have on one’s well-being. There are certain habits I found to revitalize me and keep me energetic despite the demands of work and obligations of modern life. First is careful attention to nutrition and keeping a diet that includes quality ingredients, whole foods, and natural, plant-based supplements. Second, but equally essential, is scheduling physically active outdoor activities into my daily routine, and making time each week for getting out of the house to experience nature whether through hiking, mountain biking, or going to the ocean. Read more>>

Samuel Borden

My interest in art all started in high school. I went to Reading High, one of the most populated and underfunded high schools in the country. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to participate in vocational school at the same time I went to high school. I ended up picking web design because I was always interested in technology and video games, so as a teen who was constantly playing computer games and was always online, it only made sense to me that I try something I already spent so much time interacting with. During my three years of vocational school for Wed Design, I got to experiment and learn all of the adobe creative suites, which I feel in love with photoshop and illustrator, which made me realized I was an artist and that I wanted to continue to be an artist. So with the help of my vocational teacher and support from my brothers, they pushed me to go to college and pursue a degree and I knew that I wanted to major and do something that I would love doing for the rest of my life and art was that. Read more>>

Dr. Cassidy Freitas

Both my parents were public defenders, and so I grew up with values of social justice and public service. I interned at various organizations such as hospitals and foster homes to help me decide if I wanted to pursue Law School or Medical School. Through these positions, I discovered that I was much more interested in holding space for the individuals I interacted with than the legal or medical procedures that were taking place. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University, I decided to pursue a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego and went on to get my doctoral degree at Loma Linda University so that I could also have the opportunity to teach. I’m now in private practice here in San Diego, supervise training therapists part-time at UCSD, and teach adjunct at the University of San Diego. Read more>>

Emma Isaacs

I guess my life has consisted of a series of experiences where I’ve never been fully prepared but have just jumped in anyway. I’ve always been someone who tries new things without knowing how they’re going to turn out. I birthed my six babies at home, moved countries to start a new business with my family in tow, and have started my companies with no formal education or know-how. I believe in trusting your gut, starting things before you’re ready and just having a go. I dropped out of college and started my first business when I was 18. While I was running my recruitment business, a friend invited me to a Business Chicks event. I was 25 at the time and told her there was no way I’d ever go to an event by a company that calls themselves ‘chicks’. Luckily, she told me to get over myself because going to that event was possibly the best thing I’ve ever done! I loved it so much that I immediately signed up to be a member and a few months later I learned the business was for sale. Read more>>

Joseph Bourdeau

I grew up in Tampa, Florida which is a lovely place where I was sunburned a lot and had armadillos in my yard. I don’t really come from a musical family, although my parents have been very supportive of the whole thing, and I started learning music at eleven or twelve, playing bass clarinet in the school band. Read more>>

Kelley King

Helping others was always what I wanted to do throughout my career, so early on I weighed both social work and teaching. Teaching runs in my family and perhaps that influenced me in that direction. But I wanted an extra challenge in my work so I chose to teach children who have barriers to learning. For several years, I taught children with a variety of significant learning issues – hearing impairment. Read more>>

Erin Graham

I grew up in a very small town in central PA. My parents are both reasonably experienced musicians – and they always made sure I was studying one instrument or another as a child. I remember practicing both the violin and piano when I was very young and frankly having very little aptitude or patience for either discipline. The events that steered my interest in composition and percussion were surprisingly trivial – percussion, in particular, is a good story! I must have been about ten, and remember having been very excited to discover a set of plastic toy drums at a local playground. Upon finding these drums, I did what any kid would do and began pounding the most obnoxious beat I could muster. Read more>>

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