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Meet the Staff


Director

  • Dr. Belinda Zamacona (she/her/hers)

    Dr. Belinda Zamacona (she/her/hers)

    Hometown: Colonia La Venta, Acapulco de Juárez, Guerrero, México
    High School: Fallbrook Union High School
    College (BA & MA): San Diego State University
    College (Ed.D.): Joint doctoral program in Education Studies with UC San Diego & CSU San Marcos
    Favorite spot on Campus
    Y Mas
    On my bucket list:
    To spend an entire summer at the beach. 
    Advice to new students
    “No estudio por saber más, sino por ignorar menos”. ―Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

    Belinda is the founder of the Chancellor's Associates Scholars Program (CASP), conceptualizing the program when she was hired in 2014. Her responsibilities as the Director for CASP include the creation, development, and implementation of a comprehensive retention program to support students who receive the Chancellor’s Associate Scholarship, which recognizes and supports talented students with financial need who have great potential and motivation to succeed at UC San Diego. Belinda is a proud first-generation, English-language learner student, born in México. Belinda has been part of UC San Diego since 2009. She is passionate about issues of access and equity in education. Her professional background includes working with parents and families, community relations, and access, yield and retention programs. Belinda has served as a higher education leader nationally, being a past member of the leadership team for NASPA’s Socioeconomic and Class Issues in Higher Educational Knowledge Community, and an Advocate in the Advocacy Group for NASPA’s Center for First Generation Student Success. She is a member of NASPA, AHSIE, AAHHE, ASHE, and HACU. Her research agenda includes undocumented students and social class identity. 

    belinda@ucsd.edu | (858) 822-6740
    Office hours: By appointment.  
    Schedule an Appointment, https://calendly.com/bzamacona

Coordinators for Academic Support and Student Success

  • Ria Rodriguez, M.A. | STUDENT SUCCESS COORDINATOR

    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
  • 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

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) 822-6740

Office Manager

  • Kimberly Rodriguez Jimenez

    Kimberly Rodriguez Jimenez

    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) 246-2788
    Schedule an Appointment, https://calendly.com/ksr002

CASP Course (EDS 50 & 150) Instructors

  • Erick Ramirez Manriquez

    Erick Ramirez Manriquez

    Hometown: Calexico, California
    College (AA): San Diego Miramar College, 
    College (B.A./Ph.D): UC San Diego
    Favorite Spot at UCSDChicano Mural
    Bucket list: Travel to see the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle
    Advice to new students:  Always remember that even when you feel alone, you are not alone. You are your community, which is strong, resilient, and resourceful. Reach out to your comunidad, as they/we are here for you and your growth in this journey.

    About me: Erick Ramirez Manriquez is a first-generation Latinx Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at UC San Diego. As a former Calexico High School graduate (Class of 2012) and a transfer student, Erick's work is grounded in working with, by, and for minoritized transfer students. Grounded in Critical Race Theory and Transfer Receptive Culture, he is interested in long-term systemic change in the California Community College system. He aims to disrupt the inequitable processes and institutional barriers that hinder community college transfer opportunities for minoritized students of color. In recognition of Erick's work, he has received the Student Housing Opportunity for Recruitment Enhancement (SHORE) Award (2020), UC Santa Cruz Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Transformative Service Award (2019), the Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action & Diversity Award (2017), and been nominated for the UC President's Award for Outstanding Student Leadership (2017).

    Email: err018@ucsd.edu

  • Martin Leyva

    Hometown: 
    College (BA): 
    College (MA): 

    Favorite Spot at UCSD
    Bucket list: 
    Advice to new students:  

    About me: 

    Email: jmleyva@ucsd.edu

  • Melissa Powless Chacon, M.S.

    Melissa Powless Chacon, M.S.

    Hometown: Temecula, CA
    College (BS/MS): University of San Francisco
    College (Ed.D.): UC San Diego/CSU San Marcos (Class of 2023)
    Favorite Spot at UCSD: InterTribal Resource Center, Birch Aquarium, Library, Tapioca Express
    Bucket list: Publish books, visit Niagra Falls and Disney World
    Advice to new students:  Remember why you chose college and trust that the process will help you reach your goals. Reflect on your journey while staying connected to who you truly are (culture, people, family, passions, goals).

    About me:  Melissa is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and a first-generation, transfer, low-income student and raised by a single mother. She is passionate about supporting future leaders of color and especially Indigenous women who are Mothers and pursuing higher education degrees to serve their communities and support their families. Melissa has worked as an academic student mentor/coach and many other capacities supporting Middle, High School, and Higher Education students and programs for over 20 years. She is an alumnus of USF where she majored in Public Administration and Organizational Developed focused on Native American nonprofits and reservation-based education. Currently, Melissa is a doctoral student/researcher in the Joint-Doctoral Program at UCSD/CSUSM, Educational Leadership researching transformational leadership coaching with Indigenous women/girls.

    Email: mpowless@ucsd.edu

  • Pratik Ratadiya

    Pratik Ratadiya

    Hometown: Pune, India
    College (B.E.): Pune Institute of Computer Technology, India
    Favorite Spot at UCSDIGPP Munk Lab <3
    Bucket list: Skydiving, Visiting 50 countries, Winning a tennis tournament
    Advice to new students: Do not ever be ashamed of your identity. Own it, and set an example for everyone else in your community to follow. Be yourself, be honest, judge less, and accept more. Most importantly - help, sympathize, enjoy, and have the time of your life!

    Email: pratadiy@ucsd.edu

  • Reed Kendall

    Reed Kendall

    Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
    College (BS): Education (MIddle Grades Science and Math)
    Favorite Spot at UCSD: The ocean
    Bucket list: Finishing my degree.
    Advice to new students:  Cast a wide net early on, as you may be surprised by what interests you or what opportunities may arise.

    About me: Reed Kendall is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Education Studies at UC San Diego. He recently earned his B.S. in Education from Temple University and is entering the program with a strong interest in studying antiracism in K-12 settings, particularly with respect to the experiences of youth in anti-bias work.

    Email: rhkendal@ucsd.edu

  • Wendy Cheung

    Hometown: 
    College (BA): 
    College (MA): 

    Favorite Spot at UCSD
    Bucket list: 
    Advice to new students:  

    About me: 

    Email: wwcheung@ucsd.edu

  • Yoomee Lee

    Yoomee Lee

    Hometown: Garden Grove, CA
    College (BA): UC Irvine
    College (MA): UC Los Angeles

    Favorite Spot at UCSDStarbucks
    Bucket list: Live in Hawaii for a year (island hopping!)
    Advice to new students: Meet people and network! Build relationships with those who'll help get you to where you want to go. Don't be afraid to ask questions and seek support.

    About me: 

    Yoomee Lee is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Education Studies at the University of California, San Diego. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine, and M.A. in Higher Education and Organizational Change from the University of California, Los Angeles. Yoomee has been working as a college admissions counselor to help close the college access gap. As a counselor, Yoomee aids in the postsecondary planning of diverse students across the United States and worldwide. She also conducted numerous college application workshops for Korean American working-class communities in Southern California. In addition, Yoomee has been promoting STEM education by supporting high school students’ STEM research projects and clubs/non-profits. Her research interest broadly revolves around promoting access, persistence, and success of underrepresented students in STEM. She is particularly interested in promoting diversity and equity in STEM through understanding how institutional support impacts the experiences and outcomes of women and students of color in STEM. Yoomee hopes to inform policies and practices to better support underserved students to reach their educational goals.

    Email: yml001@ucsd.edu

College Academic Advisor Liaisons

  • Arnel Tan, M.A. | REVELLE COLLEGE

    Arnel Tan, M.A. | REVELLE COLLEGE

    Email: art004@ucsd.edu
  • Karla Kastner | JOHN MUIR COLLEGE

    Karla Kastner | JOHN MUIR COLLEGE

    Email: kkastner@ucsd.edu
  • Michael "Mike" Markulin| THURGOOD MARSHALL COLEGE

    Michael "Mike" Markulin| THURGOOD MARSHALL COLEGE

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

    Amado Berrios | EARL WARREN COLLEGE

    Email: aberrios@ucsd.edu
  • Lydia Ramirez | ELEANOR ROOSEVELT COLLEGE

    Lydia Ramirez | ELEANOR ROOSEVELT COLLEGE

    Email: lpramirez@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

  • Stephanie Pineda | SEVENTH COLLEGE

    Stephanie Pineda | SEVENTH COLLEGE

    Hometown: Escondido, CA
    College (BS):
    UC San Diego 
    Favorite spot at UCSD:
    Stonehenge in Revelle
    Advice to new students:
    Don't be afraid to ask for help! Navigating a new campus and way of living can be difficult, but never forget that you have people around you that are truly here to support and help you grow every step of the way.

    About me: Stephanie is a proud Latina daughter to an immigrant single mother and a first-generation college graduate. She is also currently attending the University of San Diego where she will receive her master's degree in Higher Education Leadership in May of 2022.

    Stephanie is conducting action research in exploring the various ways the cultural wealth and resilience of the Latinx community can be used to disrupt deficit views, and instead, inform next steps to innovating institutional practices. She is passionate about the work she does within higher education and looks forward to cultivating spaces of growth and support between her and her students. 

    When she is not working or attending school, Stephanie still plays field hockey with her former teammates or is on the hunt for the best coffee shops all over San Diego! She's currently named Por Vida Coffee Shop in Barrio Logan as her favorite - all other recommendations are welcomed! 

     

    Email: s7pineda@ucsd.edu

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Liaison

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.

  • Melany Guzman, Class of 2023

    Melany Guzman, Class of 2023

    Melany is the the Student Supervisor for the CASP Office Coordinator Team.
    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    High School: F. Bravo Medical Magnet High School
    John Muir College, Ecology, Behavior and Evolution 
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Biomedical Library
    On my bucket list: Learn to speak French or Italian 
    Advice to new students: Don't be afraid to ask for help. There are so many resources on campus that can really help you, but always remember to take a break and have some fun.
  • Claire Inhae Lee, Class of 2025

    Claire 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!
  • Jasmine Landeros, Class of 2023

    Jasmine Landeros, Class of 2023

    Hometown: San Diego, CA
    High School: Lincoln High School
    Thurgood Marshall College, Sociology (Human Developmental Sciences minor)
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Women's Center
    On my bucket list: To see the Aurora Borealis!
    Advice to new students: Getting out of your comfort zone plays a big role in making your college experience great! Start small and build your way up :)
  • Jennifer Becerra Rodriguez, Class of 2024

    Jennifer Becerra Rodriguez, Class of 2024

    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.
  • Joseph Park, Class of 2023

    Joseph Park, Class of 2023

    Hometown: Yorba Linda, CA
    High School: Valencia High School (Placentia, CA)
    Eleanor Roosevelt College, Molecular and Cellular Biology
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Wagner Dance Rooms
    On my bucket list: study abroad in Korea
    Advice to new students: Don't compare yourself to others! Your goals are your own and you'll get to them on your own journey :)

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.

  • Angela Rosales, Class of 2023

    Angela Rosales, Class of 2023

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    High School: 
    Alexander Hamilton High School
    Eleanor Roosevelt College, 
    Biochemistry/Chemistry
    Favorite Spot on Campus: 
    Taco Villa
    On my bucket list: 
    To explore San Diego! I want to go to all the nearby beaches and visit the San Diego Zoo.
    Advice to new students:
      Be friendly and do not stress yourself out! Also, always remember that you're not alone in your college journey.
  • Carolyn Razo, Class of 2023

    Carolyn Razo, Class of 2023

    Hometown: San Diego, CA
    High School: Gompers Preparatory Academy
    John Muir College,  Psychology and Global Health
    Favorite Spot on Campus: Geisel
    On my bucket list Travel all of Latin America
    Advice to new students This is a time to discover yourself and new things about life so don't be afraid. Make sure to make time for self-care and always be yourself!
  • Cassandra Loreto, Class of 2024

    Cassandra Loreto, Class of 2024

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    High School Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School
    Earl Warren College, General Biology (Psychology minor)
    Favorite Spot on Campus Outdoor Seating at Canyon Vista
    On my bucket list Travel to Iceland
    Advice to new students Ask questions! Nobody expects you to know everything, so don't be afraid to ask for help.
  • Karina Laurel Kirsch, Class of 2023

    Karina Laurel Kirsch, Class of 2023

    Hometown: Oakland, CA
    High School Skyline High School
    Thurgood Marshall College, Clinical Psychology
    Favorite Spot on Campus Keeling rooftop garden for sunset watching (:
    On my bucket list learning how to rollerskate & traveling across Europe!
    Advice to new students Always be gentle with yourself & remember to take time for yourself to destress!
  • Paris Wells, Class of 2023

    Paris Wells, Class of 2023

    Hometown:  San Diego, CA
    Community College:
    San Diego City College
    John Muir College, 
    Philosophy (Music minor)
    Favorite Spot on Campus: 
    Miriam E. and Jerome S. Katzin Courtyard in Muir College
    On my bucket list: 
    To teach in Africa for a year
    Advice to new students: 
    Create a schedule and stick to it
  • Sierra Okamura, Class of 2023

    Sierra Okamura, Class of 2023

    Hometown:  Oceanside, CA
    Community College:
    MiraCosta Community College
    Sixth College, 
    Psychology spec. Human Health
    Favorite Spot on Campus: 
    Geisel Library
    On my bucket list: 
    Skydiving
    Advice to new students: 
    Believe in yourself!