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Coordinators for Academic Support and Student Success

  • Karen Van Ness, M.A. | ACADEMIC SUPPORT COORDINATOR

    Karen Van Ness, M.A. | ACADEMIC SUPPORT COORDINATOR

    Hometown: Richardson, Texas
    High School: Plano Senior High School
    College (BA): Brown University
    MA & C.Phil: UCSD Department of Literature. Currently in joint doctoral program in education at UC San Diego and California State University, San Marcos
    Favorite spot at UCSD: The May 1970 Peace Memorial on Revelle Campus
    Bucket list: To finish my dissertation!
    Advice to new students: UC San Diego can feel big & impersonal, but you will find your place if you look for it.

    Karen has worked at UC San Diego for over 15 years as a writing instructor and as a program coordinator in Student Affairs.  She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation on the role of the University of California system in the success of non-traditional students.

    kvanness@ucsd.edu | (858) 246-0322
    Schedule an Appointment, https://calendly.com/karenvanness
  • Maria "Ria" Rodriguez, M.A. | STUDENT SUCCESS COORDINATOR

    Maria "Ria" Rodriguez, M.A. | STUDENT SUCCESS COORDINATOR

    Hometown: El Cajon, CA
    High School: Granite Hills High School
    College (BA): University of California, Merced
    College (MA): San Diego State University
    Favorite spot at UCSD: Price center because of all the food!
    Bucket list: Cage Diving with Sharks
    Advice to new students: “If you were born with the weakness to fall you were born with the strength to rise.” – rupi kaur

    Ria Rodriguez is the inaugural Student Success Coordinator in the Chancellor's Associates Scholars Program. In her role she oversees the peer mentorship program for first-year students, as well as summer transition interventions, alumni tracking, amongst other responsibilities. Ria is alumna of UC Merced, where she majored in Political Science. She completed her Master of Arts in Education in the Postsecondary Educational Leadership Program with a specialization in Student Affairs. As a first-generation college student, Ria is passionate about creating community and supporting students throughout their journey at UC San Diego. She has been with UC San Diego since 2015 and is excited to continue her journey of growth to better serve the students she works with.

    m4rodriguez@ucsd.edu | (858) 822-5392
    Schedule an Appointment,https://calendly.com/m4rodriguez

Student Retention Specialist

  • Maria Soto

    Maria Soto

    Hometown: San Diego, CA
    High School: Gompers Preparatory Academy
    College (BA) University of California, San Diego
    Favorite spot at UCSDMuir & Price Center!
    Bucket listCreate an organization that supports first-generation students applying to college!
    Advice to new studentsPlease do not be afraid to ask for help! There are lots of people on campus willing to support and guide you, as long as you ask. When things get rough, remember that you deserve and earned your spot-on campus!! Lastly, enjoy your time, try new things, and discover yourself on this journey.

    Maria Soto is a first-generation, Latina, alumna from the University of California, San Diego. She is part of the 2015 CASP Cohort and majored in Ethnic Studies with a minor in Education. Maria was born and raised in South East San Diego and it has always been her dream to come back and help students towards their educational goals. She is passionate about social justice issues, access, and equity in education.

    m8soto@ucsd.edu | (858) 246-3526

    Schedule an appointment, https://calendly.com/m8soto

Office Manager

  • Kimberly Rodriguez Jimenez (they/them/elle)

    Kimberly Rodriguez Jimenez (they/them/elle)

    Hometown Chula Vista, CA and Tijuana, B.C., México
    High School: Chula Vista High School
    College (BA) University of California, San Diego
    Favorite spot at UCSD: OASIS and UCSD Women's Center
    Bucket list: To visit every state in Mexico
    Advice to new students: "What we do is more important than what we say or what we say we believe." - bell hooks

    Kimberly has worked for the Chancellor's Associates Scholars Programs as of July 2016. As a first-generation, low-income student, Kimberly is passionate about social justice issues and has worked as a student counselor in various capacities throughout their time at UC San Diego. They are an alum of UCSD and where they majored in Language Studies and minored in International Studies and Business. Currently, they are enrolled in an M.A. in Couple and Family Therapy with the California School of Professional Psychology.

    ksr002@ucsd.edu | (858) 246-0322
    Schedule an Appointment, https://calendly.com/ksr002

College Academic Advisor Liaisons

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    Roberto Mata| REVELLE COLLEGE

    Email: r2mata@ucsd.edu
  • Karla Kastner | JOHN MUIR COLLEGE

    Karla Kastner | JOHN MUIR COLLEGE

    Email: kkastner@ucsd.edu
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    Sierra Rios | THURGOOD MARSHALL COLEGE

    Email: s9rios@ucsd.edu
  • Amado Berrios | EARL WARREN COLLEGE

    Amado Berrios | EARL WARREN COLLEGE

    Email: aberrios@ucsd.edu  
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    Thailia Roman | ELEANOR ROOSEVELT COLLEGE

    Email: troman@ucsd.edu 
  • Erin Nicole Vedar, M.A. | SIXTH COLLEGE

    Erin Nicole Vedar, M.A. | SIXTH COLLEGE

    Hometown: San Diego, CA
    College (BA, MA & MA): San Diego State University
    Favorite Spot at UCSD: Anywhere I can see the ocean or a good sunset
    Bucket list: Travelling safely with the people I love, and eating all the delicious food I can find
    Advice to new students:  Ask for what you need. There are so many people on this campus that want to see you succeed, but we won't know what you need until you speak up. Make yourself HEARD and KNOWN. We got you!

    About me:
    Erin Nicole (she/they) Vedar is the proud daughter of Filipino immigrants, and a recent graduate from the San Diego State University MA in Postsecondary Educational Leadership, specialization in Student Affairs program. A brand new Academic Advisor to Sixth College, she utilizes both a student affairs and mental health lens in her work with underrepresented students, and first-generation students of color. Erin Nicole is passionate about supporting students through their educational journeys in a holistic way - whether it's physically, mentally, academically, personally, or professionally. In her spare time, she loves traveling with her loved ones, chasing sunsets and good food, and dancing the night away.

    Email: envedar@ucsd.edu

  • Kelly Guerriero, M.S | SIXTH COLLEGE

    Kelly Guerriero, M.S | SIXTH COLLEGE

    Hometown: Anchorage, AK
    College (BA): CSU - Chico
    College (MS): Colorado State University
    Favorite Spot at UCSD: Fallen Star
    Bucket list: Swim with dolphins
    Advice to new students: Enjoy your time in college. Work hard and plan, but do not put too much pressure on yourself to know what you want to do for the rest of your life. Take this time to explore different topics/subjects and find out what your passions are!

    Email: kguerriero@ucsd.edu

  • Vanesa de Boer | SEVENTH COLLEGE

    Vanesa de Boer | SEVENTH COLLEGE

    Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    College (BA):
    UC Riverside
    College (MA): University of Redlands
    Favorite spot at UCSD: 
    Walking along Ridgewalk
    Bucket List: 
    Traveling with my family to Spain & Indonesia
    Advice to new students: 
    Take this time to explore your interests! Seek opportunities to connect with the various communities at UC San Diego and reach out when you need support.

    I am currently a Senior Academic Advisor at Seventh College. Before my current position, I was an Academic Advisor for the School of Biological Sciences for many years. I enjoy helping students navigate their path while at UCSD and providing the resources that will assist them to be successful in their journey.

    Email: vdeboer@ucsd.edu 

  • Michael "Mike" Markulin | EIGHTH COLLEGE

    Michael "Mike" Markulin | EIGHTH COLLEGE

    Email:  mgmarkulin@ucsd.edu

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Liaison

  • Kimberly Knight Ortiz

    Kimberly Knight Ortiz

    Hometown: San Jose, CA
    College (BA):
    UC San Diego
    College (MSW): San Diego State University
    Favorite spot at UCSD: 
    Forest behind RIMAC
    Bucket List: 
    Going to Thailand
    Advice to new students: 
    Find your people and community, they will make your UCSD experience so special!

     

    Kimberly Knight Ortiz (she/her) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been working at Counseling and Psychological Services since June 2021. Kimberly attended UCSD, studied psychology and identifies as a first generation Latina. She strives to provide a safe space for individuals of all sexualities and genders. She is also bilingual in Spanish and English. In her role as the liaison to CASP she provides consultation with professional staff, presentations/workshops to students and has set aside 3 intake slots a week for CASP students. If you want to schedule an appointment with Kimberly please contact CAPS directly at 858 534 3755 or request an appointment online through the caps.ucsd.edu website. You can find more information on Kimberly's therapeutic style through this link: https://caps.ucsd.edu/about/staff.html#Counseling-Staff 

Student Office Coordinators

The Chancellor's Associates Scholars Program has occasional vacancies in positions for students to serve as office coordinators to support the Office Manager and assist with activities. E-mail Kimberly if you're interested.

  • Jennifer Becerra Rodriguez, Class of 2024

    Jennifer Becerra Rodriguez, Class of 2024

    Jennifer is the the Student Supervisor for the CASP Office Coordinator Team.
    Hometown: Spring Valley, CA
    High School: Monte Vista High School
    Earl Warren College, Sociology & Education Science
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Ridge Walk Academic Complex (RWAC) 5th Floor Outdoor Terrace
    On my bucket list: Visiting the national parks and hiking trails all over California! 
    Advice to new students: Don’t be afraid to choose the path that is right for you rather than sticking to what you are told to do or what everyone else is doing. Choose what you desire and love what you do.
  • Inhae Lee, Class of 2025

    Inhae Lee, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    High School: Benjamin Franklin High School
    Thurgood Marshall College, Business Psychology (Korean Studies minor)
    Favorite Spot on Campus: CASP Office
    On my bucket list: Traveling to various countries and to learn another language
    Advice to new students: Go at your own pace and don't be afraid to experience new things!
  • Jael Huhn, Class of 2024

    Jael Huhn, Class of 2024

    Hometown: South San Diego, CA
    Community College School: Southwestern College
    Sixth College, Literatures in English
    Favorite Spot on Campus: 4th Floor of Geisel
    On my bucket list: Learn how to Scuba Dive
    Advice to new students: Always make sure you're leaving time for yourself to enjoy a personal hobby!
  • Sandy La, Class of 2025

    Sandy La, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Oakland, CA
    High School: Oakland High School
    Sixth College, Public Health (Biology and Psychology minors)
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Biomedical Library
    On my bucket list: To see the bioluminescent blue waves and to learn how to ice skate
    Advice to new students: Don't be too hard on yourself. You are trying your best and thats all that matters ◡̈
  • Saw Paw Kay, Class of 2025

    Saw Paw Kay, Class of 2025

    Hometown: City Heights (DiverCity Heights), San Diego, CA
    High School: e3 Civic High School
    Thurgood Marshall College, Political Science: Public Policy
    Favorite Spot on Campus: CASP Office
    On my bucket list: Travel to my Mother's home country, Myanmar, one day.
    Advice to new students: We all have a twofold moral purpose: To develop intellectually and spiritually and contribute to the betterment of the world!

CASP Peer Leaders (CPLs)

The CPLs work with a caseload of 8-10 CASP students providing peer mentorship, support, and counseling related to academic, personal, and sociocultural issues affecting their college transition. The role of the CPLs is to foster a welcoming, safe, and inclusive community among entering students and to encourage student development and identity awareness through one-on-one meetings and quarterly group events. Any questions about our CPLs, or if you’re interested in applying to be a CPL in the future, please contact us at casp@ucsd.edu.

  • Cassandra Lotero, Class of 2024

    Cassandra Lotero, Class of 2024

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    High School: Bravo High School
    Earl Warren College, General Biology (Psychology minor)
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Views by the Canyon
    On my bucket list:I really want to travel to Iceland and see the Northern Lights in person!
    Advice to new students:Don't be afraid to ask for help! Someone is more than willing to help you out!
  • Albert Nguyen, Class of 2024

    Albert Nguyen, Class of 2024

    Hometown: Chula Vista CA
    John Muir College, Human Biology
    Favorite Spot on Campus: CSE Basement
    On my bucket list: Figure out what to do with my life, career wise.
    Advice to new students: You belong here :)
  • Amirah Onanuga, Class of 2025

    Amirah Onanuga, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    High School: Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School
    Revelle College, Human Biology
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Sixth Sunset Rooftop
    On my bucket list: Go skydiving
    Advice to new students: Engage in campus activities and be open to new experiences.
  • Daiana Sandoval, Class of 2025

    Daiana Sandoval, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Chula Vista, CA/Tijuana, B.C.
    High School: Castle Park High School
    Eleanor Roosevelt College, Clinical Psychology
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Geisel library east 1
    On my bucket list: travel through all of Mexico or overall Latin America
    Advice to new students: Take your time adjusting, join student organization they truly do help getting to know the community, and as much as you will want to DO NOT PROCRASTINATE
  • Fahira Anwar, Class of 2025

    Fahira Anwar, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    High School: Bravo High School
    Eleanor Roosevelt College, International Business (Computational Social Science minor)
    Favorite Spot on Campus:The Contemplation Lounge in Price Center
    On my bucket list: To discover the unseen
    Advice to new students: Don't worry too much. There is a reward after every obstacle so if you feel unsuccessful, know that with perseverance, the future will still bring happiness.
  • Gisselle Robleto, Class of 2025

    Gisselle Robleto, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    High School: Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School
    Sixth College, Cognitive Psychology
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Sixth College Lawn
    On my bucket list: Zipline
    Advice to new students: Be aware of the fast pace in the quarter system but still have fun & enjoy your time in college.
  • Helen Tran, Class of 2025

    Helen Tran, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Baldwin Park, CA
    High School: Sierra Vista High School
    Thurgood Marshall College, Psychology and Public Health
    Favorite Spot on Campus: 7th floor of RWAC
    On my bucket list: Go to Japan
    Advice to new students: College isn't a race! Don't focus on what those around you are doing, focus on yourself.
  • Idara Ibekwe, Class of 2025

    Idara Ibekwe, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Riverside, CA
    High School: John W North High School
    Thurgood Marshall College, Human Biology
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Glider Lounge
    On my bucket list: A trip to Greece
    Advice to new students: Schedule really well, but find time to breathe and have fun.
  • Kristen Eng, Class of 2025

    Kristen Eng, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Philadelphia
    High School: Cherry Hill High School East
    Thurgood Marshall College, Public Health (Political Science minor)
    Favorite Spot on Campus:MOMs Coffee Shop
    On my bucket list: Learning another language fluently
    Advice to new students: Explore and go to a lot of clubs/orgs!!
  • Luna McMahon, Class of 2025

    Luna McMahon, Class of 2025

    Hometown: San Diego, CA
    High School: San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts
    Earl Warren College, Global Health (General Biology minor)
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Warren!
    On my bucket list: Graduate from UCSD
    Advice to new students: Be patient with yourself, but get help when you need it!
  • Melanie Estrella, Class of 2024

    Melanie Estrella, Class of 2024

    Hometown: La Mirada, CA
    High School: La Mirada High School
    Thurgood Marshall College, Sociology (emphasis in science and medicine) and Global Health (Native American & Indigenous Study minor)
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Intertribal Resource Center
    On my bucket list: Study abroad and learn another language
    Advice to new students: You belong here! Imposter syndrome can get everyone at times but don’t be afraid to ask for help/seek the many resources UCSD has!
  • Sam Nguyen, Class of 2024

    Sam Nguyen, Class of 2024

    Hometown: Seattle, WA
    High School: Scripps Ranch High School
    Thurgood Marshall College, Biochemistry
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Zanzibar Cafe
    On my bucket list: Bali!!
    Advice to new students: Study hard, find friends, give back to your community, volunteer, have fun!
  • Sonia Lopez Alvarez, Class of 2025

    Sonia Lopez Alvarez, Class of 2025

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    High School: Bravo Medical Magnet High School
    Earl Warren College, Studio Media 
    Favorite Spot on Campus: The tree bench by Muir Field.
    On my bucket list: Going to Ireland or Brazil.
    Advice to new students: Make sure to become familiar with and utilize the resources available to you.

OLC Co-Facilitators

Once-A-Week Learning Communities (OLCs) co-facilitators assist in planning and leading 50-minute learning community seminars that give students an opportunity to engage with peers on topics ranging from transitioning into college to utilizing on-campus resources and more. OLCs provide a consistent, small-group environment that provides a network of support.  Any questions about our OLC co-facilitators, or if you’re interested in applying to be a facilitator in the future, please contact us at casp@ucsd.edu.

  • Bushra Azrar

    Bushra Azrar

    Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA
    Earl Warren College
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Geisel Library
    On my bucket list: Skydiving
    Advice to new students: To put yourself out there and really get to know your professors, roommates, and classmates.
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    David Rodriguez

    Hometown: San Diego, CA
    Thurgood Marshall College
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Geisel Library
    On my bucket list: An off-road driving, hiking, and camping adventure.
    Advice to new students: Get to know your College GE's and Graduation Requirements. Create an Academic Plan.
  • Eli Gallegos

    Eli Gallegos

    Hometown: Palmdale, CA
    John Muir College
    Favorite Spot on Campus: M.O.M.'s Cafe in Muir
    On my bucket list: To go to Mexico, reconnect with la cultura
    Advice to new students: Say 'yes' to new experiences more often! You'll surprise yourself when getting out of your comfort zone.
  • Isabella Newell

    Isabella Newell

    Hometown: San Diego, CA
    John Muir College
    Favorite Spot on Campus: The hammocks around campus
    On my bucket list: Publish a book
    Advice to new students: You are capable of so much more than you think! Also... go to office hours
  • Maheeka Bimal

    Maheeka Bimal

    Hometown: Mumbai, India
    Eleanor Roosevelt College
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Biomed library/Wong Avery library 
    On my bucket list: Visit all the wonders of the world! 
    Advice to new students:
    Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want: you only need one yes! Have faith in yourself and always go with your gut.
  • Megan Taylor

    Megan Taylor

    Hometown: Lancaster, CA
    Earl Warren College
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Sixth College 4th floor ocean view
    On my bucket list: Travel to Europe
    Advice to new students: Prioritize yourself, you are important and what will be will come to you
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    Nadia Flores

    Hometown: San Diego, CA
    Seventh College
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Copa Vida or Audrey’s
    On my bucket list: Help kids in any third-world country, live abroad, ski, parasail, go on a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, and skydive.
    Advice to new students: Live in the moment because you won’t ever get this time back.
  • Sofia Vasquez

    Sofia Vasquez

    Hometown: Brawley, CA / Mexicali, B.C. México
    Thurgood Marshall College
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Raza Resource Centro & Student Center
    On my bucket list: To learn a third language
    Advice to new students: Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it! Also explore everything that UCSD has to offer and reach out to others to find a community here on campus!
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    Sonia Alvarez

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    Earl Warren College
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Either Marshall lawn or any of the hammocks.
    On my bucket list: To go skydiving.
    Advice to new students: It’s normal to feel unsure about this first year and to not have a clear picture of where you’re headed, so just focus on the fact that you’re here and you have the skills to do great things. Don’t worry too much and have fun as you discover what makes you excited and what you definitely want to avoid.