About Us

Created out of student activism in 2003, the Center for Intercultural Relations (CIR) has served as the cross-cultural center for historically marginalized students at SDSU. The CIR supports the academic, personal, and professional success of students through multicultural programming, academic advising and support, and wellness programming.

By eliminating barriers to student success the CIR is designed to decrease retention and graduation equity gaps for historically underrepresented and marginalized students. The CIR fosters an environment where students’ cultural strengths and counter narratives are validated and celebrated. Our values are: academic and professional empowerment, identity development, cultural wealth, intersectionality, and community wellness.

  1. Support students’ academic, personal, and professional success.
  2. Cultivate students’ growth, self-discovery, and self-efficacy skills through academic coaching.
  3. Remove barriers to student success by identifying and supporting students’ basic needs.
  4. Promote health and wellness as a vital part of student success.
  5. Foster students’ sense of belonging to the Center and the campus community.

Academic and Professional Empowerment: The Center supports students in developing a clear vision of their personal goals and degree path. We empower students to define what success means for themselves and support their attainment of these academic, personal, and professional goals.

Identity development: We prioritize the ongoing exploration, education, and research of marginalized social identities and the intersections of various identities.

Cultural Wealth: Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth model represents a framework to understand how students of color access and experience college from a strengths-based perspective. Yosso defines six forms of cultural capital: aspirational, linguistic, familial, social, navigational, and resistance. The Center seeks to support students in understanding the cultural capital (talents, strengths, and experiences) they bring into their college environment as defined in Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth model.

Intersectionality: As a multicultural center, we intentionally want to bring various intersections of identity together in order to critically examine, dialogue, and heal multiply marginalized identities through programming and support.

Community Wellness: We believe that mental health and wellbeing are an inherent part of student success. We promote a culture of wellness and balance by providing spaces for students to engage in community and self-care.

Meet Our Career Staff

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Daniela Saldana Gurgol (she/hers/ella) is the new Associate Director of the CIR. Her hometown is Tijuana, B.C., México. She grounds her leadership in the values of care, community and growth. She loves creating spaces of reflection to make meaning of the world and where people can show up authentically. Daniela is in higher education to empower students who have historically been underserved and to create change. To recharge, she likes walking, running, hiking, biking, reading and crafting. Daniela has an A.A. in General Studies from Southwestern Community College, B.A. in Marketing from Simmons University and M.A. in Higher Education Leadership from the University of San Diego.

One of her favorite quotes is: "All that you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth
is Change."

-Octavia Butler 

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Gabriela Kovats Sánchez, Ph.D. (she/her/ella/meeña) is the Faculty Scholar for the Native Resource Center and the Center for Intercultural Relations at San Diego State University. She also serves as a lecturer for SDSU’s department of American Indian Studies. Dr. Kovats Sánchez's body of research highlights the educational experiences of diasporic Indigenous students (Ñuu Savi/Mixtec and Bene Xhon/Zapotec) and how these differ from mestizo Latinx and Chicanx narratives. Her hometown is Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, and Merced, California. Her hobbies include weaving, DJ, and dance (Ballet Folklórico & Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba).

Her favorite quote is "Por un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos" [For a world where many worlds fit]"

- Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN)

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Ikram Aweys (she/her/hers) is a double SDSU alumna, having earned her Bachelor’s in Child and Family Development and earned her Masters in Science in Counseling, with a specialization in School Counseling. Ikram is passionate about providing holistic support to students and guiding them through the educational system to support their success. Her hometown is San Diego, California. Her hobbies include reading and watching movies.

Ikram's favorite quote is "what is meant for you will not miss you." 

Picture of Dr. Pope, Faculty Scholar for Young Men of Color

As a Faculty Scholar for the Young Men of Color Alliance, Dr. Pope aims to help students deepen their understanding of the self and others, maximize potential, and increase motivation to persist toward degree completion. His research interests involve critical considerations of racism and equity in education, service delivery to underrepresented populations, and the study of organizational structures and participant outcomes in the justice setting. As a non-traditional student, he transferred from San Diego Mesa College before earning Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Education from SDSU. He then earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University in 2018. He works with the Office of Restorative Practices to build and strengthen relationships across the SDSU community.

Meaningful quote: "All need a sense of somebodiness, a feeling of dignity, purpose, and meaning in this short life."

- Dr. Pope



Meet our Graduate assistants 

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MEET OUR Program assistants

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Meet our peer mentors 

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