Meet the Staff


Elisa EastElisa East

Interim Director, Military and Veterans Program

As the Interim Director of the Military and Veterans Program at San Diego State University's Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center, Elisa leads with conscious and agile leadership, keeping student success at the forefront of all her endeavors. Her equity and inclusion-minded approach, combined with her deep understanding of the nuances and layered intersectionalities of military culture, enable her to provide unparalleled support to the diverse military-connected student population. With her extensive knowledge and experience, Elisa oversees the processing of educational benefits, develops existing and new programming initiatives, facilitates student engagement opportunities, and provides supportive services to enable students to progress towards and achieve their educational objectives. She leverages her background as a United States Army veteran, as well as her B.A. in Psychology and M.A in Education with an emphasis in Counseling from SDSU to drive her work forward. Through her leadership, Elisa effectively engages multiple campus and community stakeholders, ensuring that student academics, personal growth, and professional development remain top priorities. Her commitment to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for all military-connected students makes her a valued asset to the SDSU community. 

Jose EsparzaJose Esparza

Military Outreach and Admissions Specialist 

Meet Jose Esparza - a former United States Navy Master-at-Arms and retired Naval Reservist previously stationed at Naval Air Station, North Island. With his extensive military background, Jose is well-equipped to assist prospective students navigate the military related admission process into SDSU. Since joining the Barron Veterans Center in 2015, Jose has become a vital resource for SDSU's military-connected student population. He serves as the point of contact for all admissions and outreach-related inquiries, leveraging his firsthand experience to provide students with the support they need to succeed. If you're a transitioning servicemember, don't hesitate to reach out to Jose at [email protected] or by calling 619-594-3225. With his expertise and passion for serving his fellow service members and their families, Jose is committed to helping you achieve your educational objectives.

Vanessa QuinonesVanessa QuiƱones  

Sr. Education Benefit Specialist/ School Certifying Offical

As the Senior Military Education Benefits Specialist, Vanessa is responsible for overseeing VA compliance; processing State, VA, and TA educational benefits; and providing guidance for our military-connected students throughout their academic journey. Her student population includes: College of Health and Human Service, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, and SDSU Global Campus. Vanessa can be reached at [email protected] or by calling: 619-594-0496.


Ryan MorrisRyan Morris 

VetSuccess on Campus Counselor, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Ryan Morris is a VetSuccess on Campus Counselor (VSOC) for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at San Diego State University's Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center since 2016. With almost two decades of experience in counseling and vocational rehabilitation, Ryan is passionate about helping military-affiliated students navigate their benefits, options, and opportunities. Prior to his current role, Ryan worked as an IDES Counselor at Naval Medical Center San Diego, where he provided transitional services to military members who were medically separating. Ryan earned his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Fresno State University. During his time at Fresno State, he was a member of the Chi Sigma lot international honor society for professional counselors and completed an internship in Fresno State's Workability IV program. Ryan joined the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2008 as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and worked with service members medically separating out of the military at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. For his outstanding efforts, Ryan was awarded the Employee of the Quarter Award within the VA San Diego Regional Office in 2010 and the Vet Success On Campus (VSOC) Counselor of the Year award in 2020. Ryan's office is located in the Barron Veterans Center, and he can be reached at [email protected] or (619) 594-2444.

Joshua Imes