Raquel Funches is the Southwestern College’s Restorative Justice Project Specialist and co-advisor for the SWC Rising Scholars student organization. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Master’s degree in Sociology, with an emphasis in restorative justice and higher education in prison. Raquel has been working with currently and formerly incarcerated college students for several years and is inspired by all students she meets. Raquel is passionate about providing support for justice-impacted students to enhance their opportunity to achieve their academic and career goals. She is deeply committed to empowering students, fostering community building, and reducing recidivism through higher education. Raquel has built her career on being of service to others, has a student-first approach, and is a social justice advocate.
I am a native San Diegan and graduated from Cal State University of San Marcos. I received my bachelors in business administration with an emphasis in accounting and have been working in the accounting field since 2014. I have always had a love for gardening and helping others. Garden 31 is a wonderful mission to help our communities.
Helping Students Grow
Garden 31 is made from a team of passionate, professional and dedicated teachers and industry experts. We’re extremely proud to share some of their stories with you, and if you have any questions or remarks - get in touch.
Community Health Program Specialist at County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency
Umoja Counselor at MiraCosta College
Dr. Carly Offidani-Bertrand
Assistant Professor of Human Development at California State University, San Marcos
Dr. Edward Pohlert is a multiethnic 1 st generation immigrant born in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1966 from Amsterdam and has lived in Argentina, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and San Diego. Edward graduated from the Los Angeles public school system in 1975. He’s the first in his family to attain college degrees from Los Angeles City College, CSU Los Angeles, and San Diego State University. His advanced doctorate degree in cultural psychology is from Alliant International University. He currently works as the Faculty Director for Retention Services at MiraCosta Community College in Oceanside, CA. In addition to his community college faculty role, Edward is the Association of Colleges for Tutoring and Learning Assistance (ACTLA) Past-President. He is in his 41 st year as a higher education professional spanning eight institutions across the CA Community College and CSU systems.
Dr. Pohlert resides in San Marcos, CA with his spouse Alma Ruiz-Pohlert (Kinder Teacher) and has two adult children, Isiah Guillermo and Ismael Eduardo. Edward practices Tai Chi and enjoys bringing communities together. He’s also produced the “1st Generation College Story: Échale Ganas”, and is currently producing and directing the documentary; “The Fascinating Life Journey of Mr. Siegfried Pohlert – Elder”
Mikiel Askia Toure
I Am We - Character Mastery Program
Board Member/Neighborhood Farms Leader
“My roots are from New Orleans, but I’ve been transplanted to the beautiful San Diego. The first plant I grew was a sunflower in 2017, and it planted a seed of fascination and wonder in me that has been growing into a new life path. I realized growing plants gives me deep joy, and I’ve joined Garden 31 to help share that joy with the rest of the world. “
Mr. Willson is the retired President & CEO of ITF Pharma, Inc., an affiliate of Italfarmaco, S.p.A., a family-owned pharmaceutical company with operations in over 40 countries around the world. He was previously one of the founders of Hsiri Therapeutics, a start-up developer of novel antibiotics based on discoveries from the laboratories of Dr. Marvin Miller at the University of Notre Dame and of Ranedis Therapeutics, another start-up developer of drugs for rare and neglected diseases. Mr. Willson remains non-executive Chair of both companies.
He sits on the boards of three companies, including a non-profit organization, and is an unpaid advisor to two others. He also is an active volunteer with SCORE, a not-for-profit affiliate of the U.S. Small Business Administration, which mentors small entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.