13323820_10153588717248144_1014407814656960555_oLeo Alva

I was born in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero but was raised in the Central Valley. My parents and I immigrated to Modesto, CA when I was one year old and it wasn’t until I started college that I moved to the Bay Area. I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Studies from UC Berkeley in May 2016. I plan to pursue a graduate degree that will allow me to have a career where I can focus on serving the underserved populations that I identify with, especially immigrants.  Some of my interests and hobbies include: going on walks, journaling, writing letters to friends, and hoping to travel/explore new places!



Livvy Belisle

I was born in Oregon but I didn’t stay there long; I’m a military kid and have lived in a handful of states, mainly Alaska and Virginia with some Washington sprinkled in here and there. I’ve considered the DC area to be my home for over a decade now, and I graduated with a B.A. in Religion from the University of Mary Washington. Driving cross country to Sacramento was an awe-inspiring and almost surreal experience I can’t fully describe; I’ve never traveled far from or without my family before and I’ve certainly never lived out of easy driving distance from them either. I know this year will present me with many new challenges and I may even grow into a person that the current me wouldn’t quite recognize, hopefully she’s as kind, thoughtful, and conscious as I strive to be? In this new community and in my new ministry I hope that my experience with traveling and living in different places and among different people can provide a unique perspective and keep my mind and heart open to who and what may come.


Hannah Boggs

I grew up 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis, Indiana and graduated from Anderson University (Indiana) in May 2014 with a BA in Psychology and complementary major in Youth Leadership Development. Since then I have been working in residential treatment for teenage girls and women with eating disorders. I am not certain what the next few years have in store for me but I know I have a heart for youth, their stories, and helping them build life-giving community with each other. I am passionate about strength through diversity, expression through music, and good story-telling. My values include the dignity of all humans and the joy of being an enthusiastic fan – whether it’s of a novel, a musical, a particular shade of purple, a tasty snack, or a walk outside with a friend. I am so excited to build community with other service-oriented humans at LEVN, to be challenged in new ways, and to expand my perspective through the life-altering encounters we are sure to have this year with God’s children!


Zachary Kihm

I am a collection of ideologies, an over-thinker, and a compassionate human being. Because I am extremely privileged and beyond blessed with the life afforded to me thus far, I try my hardest to think about others and their livelihoods. I intend to use my good fortune for good and to uplift
others in need. As to my lived experience and identity: I am the youngest of five—two brothers and two sisters—I have more than two loving parents, and I must be frank, my mother is my #1; Tyson, my dog, is my #2; On my dad’s side, I am Swiss and German, and on my mom’s side, I amCosta Rican; More than any sense of place, I am American and Californian; I have never lived outside of California (NorCal, CenCal, and SoCal); and I am partially deaf and wear hearing aids, which has led to many hardships and tons of growth. My interests are: Books; Science; Politics; Philosophy; Anime; Movies; tv shows; EATING; and conversing with people!


Nicky McHugh

I was born in Seoul, South Korea, but raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I earned my B.A. in Visual Communication from Berry College in December 2016. I plan on continuing my studies and hopefully receive my PhD in Strategic Communications. Some of my interests include playing soccer and chess, fishing, and of course the Auburn Tigers!




Nicolette McHugh

I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Berry College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Anthropology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. While I was earning my degree, I met my sweet husband Nicholas, who I’ve been married to since August 12th. Some of my favorite things include documentaries, rainy days, and all things Disney. I also love good, strong coffee especially when paired with a good book. I’m looking forward to deepening my understanding of our world, challenging myself and my views, and exploring my new home on the west coast!



Andrea Merkey

I was born in Rochester, New York. I went to college in Buffalo at Canisius College, and yes it’s as cold as they say! I graduated with a Bachelors in Arts, and my major was Sociology, with a minor in Psychology and Child, Family, and Community studies. I have learned a lot during my studies at Canisius, and what resonated with me was the Jesuit way of being a man or woman with and for others. As a sociology major I immediately was intrigued by the social injustices and stigmas that our society occupies. I’ve always known that it is part of my purpose on this earth is to ensure that I make it as safe and accepting as possible. I am a firm believer in emitting into the universe what ever you wish to receive. It was with that mind frame and the help of my campus ministry that I found LEVN.  The diversity, sense of belonging, along with the drive to help others is just what I was looking for and I that’s what I saw in this program. I knew right away that joining would be the perfect opportunity and fit for me. I want to explore the realms of the Lutheran religion, while meeting individuals that will influence me in a positive way, all the while instilling a positive change in them. I’m ready for this spiritually and magical journey with a heart full of love and a mind full of curiosity.