Facilitators/Weavers

John Doty

John Doty is a native of Seattle Washington, with a heritage of education and service that includes four generations of teachers: sister, father, grandmother, great grandmother who graduated from an early “Normal School.”

With a BA in English-Pre-law from the University of Washington, a D.Min in Hermeneutics and Education (Fuller Theological Seminary), and a Ph.D. in Language and Literacy from Washington State University,  his focus is on reading and understanding, creating partnerships with college students, faculty, clubs and organizations and local schools to focus on those children traditionally underserved in education, “those who need us most,” the 50%-60% of children in Merced County who are 2 or more grades below reading level. He recruits, trains, and supports students to tutor children in reading, while providing the assessments and lesson plans for research based effective intervention. He considers himself an activist scholar who loves to see people experience those “aha!” moments in learning and progress in their own life journeys


Vernette Doty

Vernette Doty is the Associate Director of the office of Student Life and Civic Leadership at the University of California, Merced. She supports not only the co-curricular community engagement via student groups, clubs and organizations, but is also building the community based learning partnerships for the young and growing campus as well. She received her Master’s Degree in Education at Washington State University, but gained equally as much education raising 3 kids and owning a business.




Christopher Ramirez

Christopher Ramirez lives in Merced, California. Growing up in a working class home in the rural desert community of Perris California, Ramirez saw education as a vehicle for self-discovery and upward mobility.

Christopher now dedicates his time and energy to helping others discover their own unique voices. For one, Ramirez teaches writing in the Karen Merritt Writing Program at the University of California, Merced, where he takes pride in educating first-generation college students. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he fosters community partnerships by engaging service learning opportunities with UC Merced’s Office of Student Life and his current writing classes. His own enthusiasm for service extends into Chancellor Dorothy Leland’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion. Ramirez is a pass elected Building Healthy Communities Hub-Steering Committee Member for South Merced where he also served as Chair for the Community Grant Subcommittee.  Christopher enjoys giving back to his community. For five years now, he has collaborated with the District Attorney’s office, Merced County Office of Education, and with UC Merced to create Merced County Project 10%, a program focused on decreasing high school dropout rates locally in Merced County. The objective: to cultivate belief in a brighter future by promoting the importance of graduation to all middle school youth. He’s also a proud CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). Ramirez also ran a historic race for Merced City Council in 2013 as a newcomer, but fell short of winning office.

DeVonyo Bills

DeVonyo Bills is a fourth year student studying Earth System Sciences. He is the former president and vice president of the Black Student Union, current Lead coordinator for Merced County Project 10% and also the Civic Leadership intern. He hopes to someday work in the field of water toxicology to find more equitable and sustainable means of water purification. Water is very important to him; he would like to ultimately work abroad and help the nearly 750 million people globally that lack access to clean water sources.