The Junior Center’s mission is to cultivate curiosity and creative exploration through the arts and sciences.  Located in the heart of Oakland on the shores of Lake Merritt, we aim to serve all youth throughout Oakland and beyond.


We value the necessity of equity and representation in the fields of art and science and invest in the future of these fields by providing equitable access to our programs.

We value creativity and imagination – two cornerstones in art and science exploration.  We design our programs to support innovation and creative inquiry.

We believe personal connection makes for the best learning experiences.  Our programs are designed to be fun, interactive and learner-driven.

We value our space as a community space. All families are welcome through our doors.

Zaynab Alrashid
Animal Caretaker

Zaynab is a Mills college student, majoring in biology, with aspirations to veterinary medicine. She grew up in Oakland, and is currently still living there. As a lifelong writer, who only recently rekindled her interest in science, she has a specific interest in the intersection between fact-based, and creative pursuits.

William Bocheff
JCAS Faculty

Bill is a builder and currently a teacher at Town School for Boys in San Francisco. Bill also teaches at the Junior Center. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was both a pre-med and a major in Anthropology. Bill has been associated with the Junior Center for 28 years.

Dominique Enriquez
Executive Director

Dominique is a visual artist, educator, and cultural worker with experience working with youth and adult learners in a variety of community contexts.  Prior to joining the Junior Center of Art and Science she served as the Studio Education Director at the Richmond Art Center, the Director of Education at Leap Arts in Education in San Francisco and the Manager of Teacher Programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.  She received her Master’s degree in Education from the University of California, Santa Cruz, her B.A. in Studio Art from San Diego State University, and studied Drawing and Painting at the California College of the Arts.  Additionally, she has over 15 years of cumulative experience in hip-hop, ballet, and bellydance.  As an experiential learner, Dominique believes in the intrinsic value of creative exploration in the learning process and loves to explore new ideas through observation, dialogue, and hands-on making.

Cybele Gerachis
Program Director

Cybele has been a teaching artist in the Bay Area for over 15 years. Cybele is a mixed media painter who shows her work locally and nationally. She is currently completing her MA in Art Education at Boston University.

Julia Marchand
JCAS Faculty

Using references from wildlife dioramas, public gardens and sometimes her children, Julia Marchand explores themes of nature and identity in her paintings and works on paper.  Marchand has exhibited in galleries in London, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin and Mexico City. Her work can be found locally through the SFMOMA Artist’s Gallery at Fort Mason.  Marchand holds a BA in Art History from American University and an MA in Art Education from Boston University. Currently, she lives with her partner and two children in Alameda CA.

Tammy Mercer
JCAS Faculty

Since 2013, Tammy has been a vital member of our staff, working in various positions including Assistant Teacher, Long-Term Substitute Teacher, and Extended Day Program Enrichment Coordinator. She returns this year to bring new energy to our Integrated Arts Program. Tammy earned her BA in English Literature from Santa Clara University in 2001 and has previously taught and directed arts-integrated summer programs for Galileo. She lives in Oakland with her spouse, three children, and a dog. Her interests include writing, art and performing and recording music. Her favorite quote? “Dreams can become reality — as long as you don’t sleep through them.”

Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh

JCAS Faculty

Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh is an Oakland, CA based visual artist whose current work is focused primarily on the shifting urban landscape. An avid observer and prolific photographer, she employs a vast catalog of visual notes and memories to create her work. A lover of materials and process, Dawline-Jane uses a range of media including relief print making, pen and ink, photo transfer and encaustic.

Ngozi Oparah
JCAS Faculty

Ngozi Oparah is a writer, teacher, and mental health advocate. She received her B.S. from Duke University in Neuroscience and Philosophy and is currently completing her MFA in Writing at California College of the Arts. Her work is grounded in narrative psychology, writing as healing, and personal identity theories and exploration.

no.e Parker

no.e is new media artist, composer, electronic musician/Dj, and educator with a PhD in Digital Music Composition (UC Riverside), an MFA in Digital Art/New Media (UC Santa Cruz), and a B.S. in Textiles & Apparel Design (Cornell University). Teaching media arts and the science of sound with the Junior Center, Oakland’s Studio One Art Center and Thingamakidsshe is also a founding member of the SF Bay area’s SPaZ Collective. no.e’s art addresses pollution and environmental sustainability from a local viewpoint. Exploring intersections between sound &science, data, technology, music, and visual art she creates multimodal experiences of compost and other recycled materials that encourage the public to affect a positive difference on our quickly changing climate and ecosystem. She has exhibited her art in China, Brazil, Denmark, Indonesia and California; articles appear in Leonardo Journal (51-5)Acoustic Space Journal (16); andconference proceedings include IRCAM’s Music & Hacking (2017) and the International Community of Audio Display (2015).

Suzanne Pierre
JCAS Faculty

Suzanne Pierre is a practicing scientist and science educator. She is from the northeast but recently relocated to the Bay Area. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Her research focuses on how climate change affects how forests and soils interact. Her teaching is centered on helping students understand natural processes through observation and first hand experience. She aims to strengthen students’ sense of ability and confidence as investigators. She also writes about society, nature and science.

Dasha Sur

JCAS Faculty

Dasha is a Bay Area based installation artist, art educator, and design project manager. Her art is a continuing study of human perception and body movement. She studied design management at Helsinki School of Economics and worked on design projects for IKEA, Leo Burnett, and KidZania. Dasha is passionate about sharing her knowledge and positive vibes with all children around the world. She founded Visual Arts Studio for Teens in Moscow and launched the Artsy Youth project in California, both of which are dedicated to the development of interdisciplinary skills, critical thinking and personal growth in children. Dasha believes that children are better learners when challenged to study art through interactive hands-on activities. She strives to inspire the sense of discovery and invention in students by leading them through work on real-life challenges.

Lanna Togami
JCAS FacultyEquity in education has been a lifelong passion for Lanna. She studied Biology and has been working over the last seven years as an science educator in the Bay Area. She’s had the opportunity to teach in Thailand and enjoys working with animals and being outdoors. Above all, Lanna is committed to shifting the opportunity gap in science with historically marginalized youth. She focuses on the intersectionality of how identity and science shapes the way youth experience science education in their everyday lives. She is currently finishing her Master’s in Teaching focused on Urban Education and Social Justice and excited to be teaching science both indoor and out!


Joel Hart
Board President

Joel is a Bay Area native. Joel studied Philosophy at the University of California. He has worked for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E_ for 14 years, and is currently a Supervisor in Gas Operations, supervising PG&E work in the East Bay area. He now lives in Berkeley with his wife and 3 children. In 2014, for his work with the JCAS, Joel received PG&E’s prestigious Mielke Award honoring PG&E employees who have made outstanding contributions to their communities.

Caroline Purves


Caroline was born in Canada but has lived in Berkeley for over 20 years. She received a Ph.D. in Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. Caroline worked over 30 years in private clinical psychology practice in 3 countries: United States, Canada, and England. For several years, she ran a Head Start program in Rodeo, focusing on low-income families of diverse backgrounds. At the end of her working career, Caroline had a private practice in Berkeley and Pleasant Hill, and was a Supervisor at the West Coast Children’s Clinic in the Fruitvale district in Oakland. Her work always included children and adolescents, along with adults. She retired from active practice in 2012. Caroline was drawn to the JCAS through her involvement with one of the JCAS’s supporting neighborhood associations, the Aesop Auxiliary, and elected to stay on the board.

Susan Spiller Acquistapace


Susan was born in New Orleans, LA, but was raised in the Bay Area. Although Susan’s undergraduate program at University of California, Berkeley, included a Pi Beta Phi and an English major, her career pathway led elsewhere. After several years at Bank of America, Susan developed a passion for biology. Susan received a second Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, and a Ph.D. in Plant Physiology from the University of California, Berkeley. Marriage, three post-doctoral positions in Plant Physiology, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry of chlorophyll biosynthesis paralleled the birth of three daughters. Susan spent 25 years as Professor of Biology at Mills College. She retired in 2014, and is presently Professor of Biology Emerita at Mills.

Brian Dickerson


Brian was born and raised in Oakland, CA. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his BS degree from the Haas School of Business. Brian has been employed by PG&E for over 13 years and currently holds the position of Customer Relationship Manager. He is married with two children. Brian is passionate and committed to working with children. He enjoys working with children and finds joy in helping them develop new skills and being part of their development.

Kevin Davenport


Kevin was born and raised in Richmond, CA. As a kid, Kevin’s fascination with Lincoln Logs, Legos and Erector sets created a passion to pursue a career in engineering.  He graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from San Jose State University, and has been fortunate to carve out a 20 + year career learning and working with leading technology companies like Pacific Gas and Electric, Applied Materials, Cisco and Intel where he has received numerous leadership and technology awards.

Kevin is humbled and privileged to pay forward to the Bay Area community that has so richly deposited in him.

John Howell


John, an Oakland native, currently lives in Oakland and is a construction manager with Harris and Associates. John has provided project management expertise to a number of projects in Oakland, including the Elmhurst Community Prep Elementary School, Oakland Community Land Trust affordable Housing, Kaiser Permanente Phase 2, and La Escuelita Downtown Education Center, Phase 2. He has also worked as a securities and bond trader. He holds a degree in Finance from Fisk University, and has completed programs in real estate development and construction small business strategic partnership

Tamara Rasberry


Tamara Rasberry is a 16-year veteran of the Capitol Community. She recently joined the staff of California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.  As the Assistant Deputy for Strategic Business Partnerships and Outreach, Ms. Rasberry is responsible for building public and private partnerships in the Bay Area and Northern California. Ms. Rasberry was most recently the manager of State Agency Governmental Affairs for Sempra Energy, is responsible for maintaining Sempra’s interests in all state regulatory agencies and legislative advocacy. Ms. Rasberry lives with her husband, Kirby Harris, and their two daughters in Oakland, California.

Karli Maeda

Karli was born in Fresno, CA and raised in the Bay Area.  She earned her Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Karli has worked in the natural gas industry for 16 years, of which, the last 6 years have been with Pacific Gas and Electric.  She is a licensed Mechanical Engineer in the State of California and is currently the manager of a transmission gas engineering department at PG&E.  She enjoys running, playing slow pitch softball, and volunteering.

Heidi Quan

After being born and raised in Oakland, Heidi sought out sunny San Diego to obtain her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice with a minor in minority relations. Thereafter, she obtained her J.D. and currently works as a litigation partner for a law firm in San Francisco. She has served as an active volunteer and board member for the Junior League of San Francisco. Heidi continues to make her home in Oakland and can be found on the weekends at the local farmers markets and rooting for the A’s, Raiders and Warriors.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text el_class=”bg-shadow bg-grey”]

Rich Smith

Rich holds a BBA and MBA from the University of Oklahoma and a JD from the Quinnipiac University School of Law. Rich has 30 years of experience in HR. He is currently Vice President, HR Strategy & Management for Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California. Rich values community service. He has served on the boards of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Black Parent Initiative and Albertina Kerr Centers before moving to the Bay Area.