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Miriam

Miriam Castañon

Director

619-594-6298

Miriam is a first-generation college student born and raised in Mexicali, Mexico. She is a higher education professional with over 27 years of professional experience in student affairs. As the Director of EOP, she is responsible for providing leadership and direction to a team of 22 professional staff members and more than 80 para-professionals. Prior to this role, Miriam was at SDSU Imperial Valley Campus, where she worked for 22 years passionately serving underrepresented students, primarily low income and first generation college students. There, she had multiple leadership roles including Director of Student Affairs, Assistant Director for Partnership Programs, International/Graduate Programs Coordinator and Academic Advisor.

Miriam has an associate’s degree in Business Transfer from Imperial Valley College, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management and a master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business both from SDSU. She found her passion of serving students while working as a student assistant in Student Affairs during her undergraduate program. Miriam is not only passionate but committed to the success of all students, in particular those students who lack the social, cultural and financial capital to succeed in college.


Shareka White

Danny Oliveira

Interim Assistant Director

619-594-6298

Mr. Oliveira has been a counselor with EOP since 2015, previously serving as a Graduate Assistant for the EOP Guardian Scholars Program. He currently serves as the staff adviser for the Guardian Scholars Student Advisory Board (GSSAB). He was a Science and Physical Education teacher for the Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula Vista, CA for five years. Prior to his brief teaching career, Mr. Oliveira served as the Assistant Coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Life at SDSU for six years before moving on to serve as Coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Life at San Jose State University for two years.

Mr. Oliveira has a B.A., Kinesiology, San Diego State University and an M.A., Postsecondary Educational Leadership with emphasis in Student Affairs, SDSU California Single Subject Teaching Credential, San Diego State University. He was actively involved at SDSU as a student leader in Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity, Inc. and was a co-founder of the United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC). He served as the inaugural President of the USFC and later became the staff adviser for this council for culturally-based Greek Letter Organizations as well as staff adviser for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) for historically African-American Greek Letter Organizations. He takes pride in the development of the USFC as a model for several CSU campuses to empower culturally-based fraternities and sororities and as a catalyst for equity and inclusion of campus Greek communities across California and beyond.

He has continued to be actively involved in Nu Alpha Kappa since his undergraduate years. He was a National President of the organization and continues to serve as a co-founder and Board member of the NAK ALAS (Alumni Association) in San Diego. He now serves as the staff adviser for the NAK SDSU chapter. His attributes much of his personal and professional growth to his involvement as an undergraduate student at SDSU.

As a first generation college student from an immigrant family, he has developed a passion for the empowerment of underrepresented students like himself. He has worked with students of diverse cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds throughout his career and enjoys the daily opportunity to pay it forward as an EOP Counselor. Mr. Oliveira is committed to student success by supporting students' academic and personal growth towards the development of their full potential.

 

Photo Coming soon!

Andrew Mertig

Associate Director

619-594-0811

Andrew Mertig is the Associate Director of EOP overseeing the Outreach, Recruitment, Admissions, and Enrollment team. He has worked in higher education for over 13 years. Aftergraduating from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay in 2006 with a B.S. in Communicationsand History (Education), he worked as a Residence Hall Director for Concordia University Wisconsin. After acquiring his M.S. in Student Personnel Administration, he worked as an Academic Advisor at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Most recently, Andrew was the High School Recruitment Manager at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Andrew started in EOP at SDSU in 2022. He loves watching and participating in sports, spending time with his dog, and is currently pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership. Andrew’s main focus in higher education is helping students change their lives, their future, and their communities through accessing education and completing their degree.

 

Bryan Spencer

Bryan Spencer

Assistant Director

619-594-0140

Bryan Spencer is an Assistant Director in EOP overseeing the SDSU Guardian Scholars Program. He has served his entire 12-year career in higher education with EOP. After graduating from San Diego State University in 2006 with a B.S. in Business – Management Information Systems, he was hired by EOP to serve as an Outreach Officer with the Outreach, Recruitment, and Admissions (ORA) unit designing and implementing its Early Outreach Program and Volunteer Program. After acquiring his M.A. in Education, Emphasis in Multicultural Counseling and Social Justice, with the Community Based Block Program (CBB, 2010), he was hired as an EOP Counselor serving 6 years until he was appointed to his current position. Bryan has also served as the Assistant Coordinator (2009-2012) and Coordinator (2013) of the EOP BEST Summer Bridge Program. He has coordinated the SOAR Mentor Program, pairing upper division mentors with incoming students, protégés, to support their transition to SDSU. He also volunteers as a student organization faculty/staff advisor for AB Samahan and Delta Sigma Psi.

 

Paige Hernandez

Paige Hernandez

LSC Coordinator

619-594-

 

Paige Hernandez (she/hers) is the Manager of the EOP Learning Support Center. She is a double CSU alumna who received a Bachelor of Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from SDSU. Paige has worked at SDSU for over 7 years with DEI and retention initiatives within the Center for Intercultural Relations, Division of Diversity and Innovation, Black Resource Center, and CSU Program for Education & Research in Biotechnology. She is passionate about advocating for the needs of historically underrepresented students and helping them navigate higher education spaces.


 

Tanya Calienta

Tanya Calienta

Office Operations Coordinator

619-594-8957

Tanya Calienta is the Operations Coordinator for EOP.  Tanya is a proud native of San Diego, born and raised and a 3rd generation Filipino American. Tanya has worked for the CSU and higher education for over 20 years; six years at Cal State San Marcos and 15 years here at SDSU in many different aspects of university logistics, divisions, and departments within Business and Financial Administration, and Academic Affairs. During those years of work she was able to earn her degree in Public Administration from SDSU after transferring from SD Miramar College. She represents the non-traditional student - the parent-student, who has successfully managed to earn a degree after returning to school after a long hiatus called life, which she is truly proud of and could not have done without the support from her family.  Tanya loves spending time with her family and pets. Her hobbies include crocheting, crafting, drama bingeing, and volunteering with her faith-based community.  

 

 

Frances

Frances Cruz

Assistant Program Coordinator

619-594-6298

Information Coming Soon!


Counselors

Adolfo Garcia

Adolfo Garcia

Financial Aid Counselor

619-594-6298

Born in San Diego, California and fourth child of five from Mexican parents and heritage. Obtained an Associate’s degree from San Diego Mesa College and immediately afterwards acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University. Previous employment experiences vary from computer sales, automotive technician, and college counselor for UCSD/GEAR-UP. Currently employed at San Diego State University under the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships and working on a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership: Post-Secondary Student Affairs. I consider myself as a down to earth, easy going individual. I enjoy traveling, Mexican food, and family time. Please stop by and say hello, I’m eager to get to know our SDSU EOP students! Go Aztecs!

Robert Guzmn

Robert Guzmán

Counselor
Last Names:
AAA - CAM

619-594-6298

Robert Guzmán is currently a counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program at San Diego State University and a lecturer for the Center for Latin American Studies, SDSU, where he teaches the History of Mexico and two film studies courses (one of which is on-line) on Latin America. From 2006 to 2016, Mr. Guzmán was the EOP tutoring supervisor where he managed tutorial support to over 3,000 EOP students. Mr. Guzmán has over twenty-five years of experience working in higher education with expertise in Financial Aid, Admissions, and Outreach to local communities, and Internship development. He has received numerous institutional grants to expand the services at SDSU’s EOP tutorial center as well as with the creation of outreach support services for historically marginalized students. Mr. Guzmán currently supervises the EOP Transfer Bridge Program, a transition program designed to help first year transfer students to become connected with the University. He also advises two student organizations: The EOP Student Advisory Board (ESAB) and the EOP Student Parent Association. Mr. Guzmán received his B.B.A at the University of North Texas in 1991, his M.A. in History at the University of North Texas in 2002 and will receive his Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration at San Diego State University in 2017. He has received numerous awards for his commitment to student excellence: The Presidential Staff Excellence Award (Tutorial Center) in 2010 and the Most Influential Faculty Award in 2013 and 2016.


Charnise Bumpus

Charnise Bumpus

Counselor
Last Names:
CAN - FZZ

619-594-6298

Charnise Bumpus is a proud Southeast San Diego native. She is a two-time alum of San Diego State University, earning her B.A. in Psychology (2014) and her M.S. in Counseling from the Community Based Block Program CBB2 (2016). She started her journey at SDSU through EOP Best Summer Bridge Program (2009) as a commuter participant and was fortunate to become an EOP student assistant shortly after. She worked in various capacities from Outreach and Recruitment, Personal Information Assistant, SOAR Mentor Program, and BEST Summer Bridge Program (2009- 2014).

After completing her graduate program, her professional journey with the Fowler College of Business in various departments such as the Executive MBA Program (EMBA), Sports MBA Program, Online Degree Completion Program (BSBA), and the Fowler Center for Student Success. In those various roles, she enjoyed building relationships and working with multiple departments to ensure students were successful inside and outside of the classroom.

Charnise believes that obtaining higher education should be accessible to all, so she is passionate about working and mentoring students. Being a former EOP student helped her mature as a young adult and ultimately enabled her to harness power over her education. Her motivation and drive are to continue building on the EOP mission by conveying unwavering support and guidance for students to reach their full potential academically and professionally as they persist toward a university degree.


Niko Villa

Dominiko "Niko" Villa

Counselor
Last Names:
GAA - JAL

619-594-6298

Niko is a two-time alum of San Diego State University, and has started his career in student affairs at SDSU in 2020. He truly believes that education is the key to open doors that may have been non-existent, and education will continue to be that key because it changes one's trajectory. This is his foundation of love for helping students, families, and the community. Niko works with diverse college student populations and youth inside and outside the classroom. His professional interests include outreach, access, and retention programs for underrepresented students. Dominiko prides himself on self-care, community care, and mentorship.

Niko’s passion has always been to pay it forward and help others. His commitment to the process is not only professional, but it is also personal because of the individuals who have helped him and it is his turn to be that guiding hand. He loves every opportunity to speak to students and parents. His ability to speak with honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability aids in his hopes of addressing mindsets and inspiring positive action.


Mace Mikaele

Mace Mikaele

Counselor
Last Names:
JAM - MEZ

619-594-6298

Mace Fuataina Mikaele is a proud native of Southeast San Diego. She completed her undergraduate work at University of California Riverside obtaining her B.A. in Political Science/International affairs and her graduate work  at University of Southern California earning a M.Ed. in Post-Secondary Administration & Student Affairs. She has served in disability services as a specialist and director at CSU Dominguez Hills and Pomona College, respectively, for 8 years. Prior to working Disability services, she worked in various capacities from Orientation to Athletics to Asian Pacific American Services. Mace is passionate about serving EOP students, enjoys helping them define and achieve their academic and personal goals and is passionate about building inclusive spaces and ensuring that she leads with her values of kindness, humility and equity. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and her children, Honor & Revere.

Peper Anan

Baramee Peper Anan

Counselor
Last Names:
MFA - PHA

619-594-6298

Baramee Peper Anan (Peper) graduated from UC San Diego with a B.A in Communication and a minor in Psychology in 2006. During his time at UCSD, Peper was involved in various student organizations, most of which were related to the Campus Community Centers (LGBT Resource Center, Cross-Cultural Center, and Women’s Center). His experiences as an undergrad shaped who he is today and served as the motivating factor in his pursuit of a career in higher education.

He went on to earn a Masters degree in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Student Affairs from San Diego State University in 2009 and has gained experience working in a variety of different departments including LGBT Identity Centers, Student Conduct, Residential Life, Career Services, Academic Advising, Orientation, Financial Aid, Student Accounts, and Enrollment Services.

Currently, Peper is attending the joint doctoral program  (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership at UCSD and CSUSM while working full-time. His topic of interest is on the experiences of transgender and nonbinary undergraduate students in higher education.

He enjoys being able to give back by providing holistic support to students and advocating for their needs (especially those who are and have been historically and systemically silenced/marginalized) while also challenging them to expand their horizons.


Alessa Becerra

Alessa Becerra

Counselor
Last Names:
PHE - SGZ and Price Scholars

619-594-6298

My name is Alessa Becerra and my pronouns are she/her/ella. I am a first-generation college graduate and I grew up in San Ysidro, CA. I have three fur babies and I also enjoy being outdoors. Anything from nature walks, hikes, kayaking, swimming etc. I truly love it.

I graduated from CSU Chico with a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish in 2015. I was part of the Educational Opportunity Program and participated in Summer Bridge in 2010. As an undergrad student I had the opportunity to join a multicultural organization, Lambda Theta Nu which allowed me to have a strong community and enhance my leadership skills with my involvement outside of the classroom. In addition, I was also able to study abroad for a full academic year in Madrid, Spain. The best part about my study abroad experience was that financial aid was able to fund this amazing opportunity. Through my different experiences, I knew I wanted to go back to San Diego to pay it forward and empower students to pursue higher education and help students take advantage of all the opportunities and free resources available to them.

After I graduated from CSU Chico, I attended graduate school and earned a Masters degree in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Student Affairs from San Diego State University in 2018. I had the opportunity to work with the Center for Educational Partnerships, Outreach, and Success and serve as the Price Community Scholars Coordinator. The program facilitates the recruitment and support of fifteen (per cohort) high-achieving SDSU students from City Heights with a scholarship. I was able to support the mentors and mentees of the program in building a community that enhances their path to higher education through academic success, self-awareness, cross-cultural exchange, and civic participation.

As a first-generation Latina and low-income college graduate, my transition from San Ysidro High School to CSU, Chico was a critical component in my educational journey just like many current students. My participation in summer bridge helped me combat imposter syndrome and gain a sense of belonging on the campus. EOP gave me a home away from home. I am passionate about playing a key role in supporting EOP students by providing them with the tools, guidance and most importantly the agency to make empowered decisions while attending San Diego State University.


Name

Cara Yoo

Counselor
Last Names:
SHA - ZZZ

619-594-6298

Cara Yoo is a Counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at San Diego State University (SDSU) as of June 2019. Previously, she worked for SDSU Pre-College Institute, Upward Bound/ Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) Academy, as a Counselor where she provided academic and personal advising to high school students from low-income backgrounds and underserved communities in San Diego County. She has over five years of experience with personal and educational counseling in various settings including the K-12 sector as well as young adults and adults in residential community. 

Cara is an advocate who deeply cares about educational equity and closing achievement gaps. She is committed and devoted to serve EOP students to achieve their goals in their educational journey and reach their full potential. Cara has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and a M.A. in Educational Counseling with a PPS Credential from Point Loma Nazrene University.



Outreach, Recruitment and Admission

Lorena Malo

Lorena Malo

Outreach and Recruitment Assistant Coordinator

619-594-5047

Lorena has worked in higher education throughout most of her professional career. She feels fortunate to work with a team of experienced and talented staff who understand the soul of higher education lies in helping others realize their academic and personal dreams across generations, ethnicities and backgrounds. Lorena believes this transformation happens by fostering a personal connection with EOP participants. “Our students need to feel they belong at SDSU and that their hard work has earned them a place here.”

Lorena completed the Clear Cross-Cultural Multiple Subject Teaching Credential at SDSU and the Master of Arts in Guidance Counseling, with a PPS Credential at the University of Redlands. Her expertise include, bilingual education, guidance counseling, Instruction in K-12 and higher education settings, supervision of student teacher candidates and counseling interns, establishing intersegmental collaborations, and pioneering innovative outreach and retentions programs for first-generation populations. This year Lorena will complete her 19th year as a staff member at SDSU.

As the liaison for EOP transfer students, Lorena looks forward to meeting you this year at one of our outstanding, best-of-the-best, service area community colleges. Each academic year she connects with incoming EOP eligible transfer students to provide a supportive pathway during their transition into San Diego State University. The personal and academic success of the students in her care continues to be Lorena’s number one motivation.


 

Student Staff 

 

Student Staff EOP