Welcome our new Student Workers to the FORGE Family!

Oct. 7, 2021

We are excited to welcome seven new student workers to the FORGE team this fall!

Our two new positions, Student Venture Pathways Assistant and FORGE at Roy Place Assistant will allow us to extend our reach on and off campus, while also providing our student assistants with extensive professional development and opportunities to connect with the community. Get to know our new student workers below!

Student Venture Pathways Assistants

SVP Assistants are responsible for assisting the Program Manager in the implementation of programs such as Sponsored Challenges, Venturing 101 mini-courses, Advanced Entrepreneur Program, FORGE Ambassadors, and other programs as they are developed.

Akshay Oak

Akshay is a graduate student in Management Information Systems at the Eller College of Management. He is also an international student from Pune, India, and has indulged in many extra-curricular activities such as sports, theatre, and community events. He has almost three years of experience working as a Senior Systems Engineer at Infosys Ltd and he believes in the value of diversity and inclusion, 

thriving to uphold the same through his actions. He loves to interact with people as he believes it opens up many perspectives of looking towards different things in Life and is looking forward to pursuing a career in the field of data analytics and business intelligence.


What are you looking forward to in your role as an SVP Assistant?

I am looking forward to a role that will allow me to engage in communication with new people and assist them in order to resolve their queries.

Valeria Rebaza

Valeria is an international student, senior in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Law major in University of Arizona and junior in Economics and Finance in UPC, a well-ranked university located in Lima, Peru. In 2019, She attended a presentation given by the Consortium for Economic and Social Research (CIES) in Peru, where they delved into the national agricultural sector and the factors that held back the growth of family farmers focused on the domestic market.

From there, the focus of her academic development turned to the problems for social development within the country and the region. Thus, in 2020, she was part of the TFAS (The Fund for American Students) Santiago 2020 program, in which she was able to broaden her vision regarding the need to support small businesses that sustain the communities in which they are located and, therefore, represent an important part of the development of a nation.

It is because of this training obtained in recent years that she find in FORGE a space to put into practice the knowledge in entrepreneurship and its importance for an improvement not only in the conditions of entrepreneurs, but also a collective improvement through job creation, innovation in production processes and others. She is hoping to make a positive impact on the FORGE community.

What are you looking forward to in your role as an SVP Assistant?

I hope to connect with entrepreneurial people and help them achieve their goals with the tools that the organization provides them and by confronting them with innovative proposals, to maintain active participation. I also hope to learn from the group I will be working with and improve my skills as well as improve that same space with new perspectives.

 Benjamin Lemon

Benjamin is an aspiring attorney and entrepreneur with work backgrounds in food service, retail, sales, and education. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia but has been an Arizona resident for most of his life. He graduated from Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Arizona where he was a cellist for the school and regional orchestra, played on the soccer team, and managed the AP Capstone program implementation. Benjamin is hoping to graduate early in the winter of 2023 and go on to attain a J.D. in the midwest.

What are you looking forward to in your role as an SVP Assistant?

I am excited to grow and develop alongside the other members of the program. I believe everyone has a similar entrepreneurial mindset and that this environment combined with our continual determination for excellence will cultivate success and growth.


Sameeka Maroli

Sameeka is a freshman, pre-business student, planning to major in Management information systems at the Eller College of Management. An international student from India, she hopes to be able to use her exposure to various cultures and her diverse interests to bring a fresh perspective to the team. Sameeka's experience with her high school Capstone project, philanthropic initiatives, and passion for using technology to solve real-world problems align with FORGE's mission of inspiring and cultivating pioneers. Immigrating to a new country alone at the age of eighteen has taught her that entrepreneurial thinking is not just limited to business, but taking initiative, using resources wisely, harnessing passion and creativity, and most of all learning from experiences.

What are you looking forward to in your role as an SVP Assistant?

I’m looking to work in a highly collaborative environment, with very bright people, and gaining exposure from the experiences of those around me. I thrive in environments like this and find it’s where I do both my best work and learn the most. I also hope to further develop my professional skills, interact with students and use my creative abilities to innovate and help find solutions.

 Cipriano Childers

Cipriano Childers is a freshman at the university from Winslow, AZ. He is studying biochemistry with a double minor in psychology and Spanish, being in the pre-med field with future aspirations for being an orthopedic surgeon. In his free time, he loves to wakeboard, paintball, cliff jump, fishing, and playing pool.


What are you looking forward to in your role as an SVP Assistant?

I want to help and learn more about students with their goals and problems that they might have. Also, I look forward to networking with multiple people and hear their backgrounds and stories.

FORGE at Roy Place Assistants

FORGE at Roy Place Assistants will be responsible for assisting the Program Coordinator in ensuring smooth operations of the Roy Place building and its activities.


Gene Zagona

Gene is a senior at the University of Arizona working on BAs in Law and in Political Science. After completing his undergraduate degree he is anticipating attending law school (his dream school would be USC) and would like to someday work as a lawyer.

He is a lifelong southern Arizonan, born in Tucson, and has lived here for all but 5 years of his life spent in Sierra Vista. Before college, he attended BASIS Tucson North High School, which was ranked #2 in the nation at the time he attended. He comes to FORGE having worked most notably as a campaign intern for the 2020 Mark Kelly for Senate campaign and as a tutor at the U of A's SALT Center.

What are you looking forward to in your role as a FORGE at Roy Place Assistant?

FORGE at Roy Place looks to be a wonderful community asset and entrepreneurial space and I am looking forward to helping get it set up and further developing the space.

Isabela Evans

Isabela Evans is from Phoenix, Arizona and currently a Junior at the University of Arizona studying Business Management and Political Science: Foreign Affairs. She hopes to graduate from Eller and pursue a master's degree in Foreign Affairs.


What are you looking forward to in your role as a FORGE at Roy Place Assistant?

I am looking forward to connecting with a wide variety of people.

We are so excited to have all of these amazing individuals on our team.  With their expertise and individual experiences, we will be able to expand our programs and engage more students and community members.

In case you missed it...

Did you miss our last ask-me-anything session with the panel of experts on opportunities and resources for entrepreneurs interested in working with the US Government? Don't fear, the recording is here!


The five experts in the panel discussed the benefits for entrepreneurs in working with the government, as well as the resources and grants available. The panel consisted of both entrepreneurs who chose to take the government route and representatives from the government working to provide the opportunities. 

Watch the recording here!