Staff Bios

Joanna M. Hernandez, Assistant Director, Student Success Initiatives

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Joanna Hernandez grew up as a first-generation Latina & former foster youth student.  Over her past 10 years of work experience in higher education, she has specifically focused on advocating for first-generation & low-income student's needs, is a practiced counselor and seasoned program developer. She is passionate about the future of higher education and ensuring it is a safe & inclusive environment for all student communities. Joanna completed her master's in Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan, and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Latin American & Iberian Studies from UC Santa Barbara. She currently serves as the Assistant Director at the Student Success Initiatives Office providing leadership to programs that support foster youth, student parents, undocumented students, transfer success programs, community partnerships, as well as first-generation and low-income students. Prior to this appointment, she served as the TRIO project director at UC Irvine and worked as an EOP counselor at UC Santa Barbara. Joanna is a dog & cat mom, hiking enthusiast, aspirating plant-based home chief, urban art lover, and music appreciator. Please feel free to reach out to her if you would like additional support or want to get connected to any of the SSI programs.

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Office: 2200 Student Services II
E-mail: joanna.hernandez@uci.edu

 

 

 

Rocio Zamudio, Counselor/Program Coordinator

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Rocio transferred from Santa Ana College to California State University, Fullerton (Titan Pride!) where she earned a B.A. in Sociology. Additionally, she earned her M.S. in Counseling from California State University, Long Beach (Go Beach!), where she completed her thesis on Latinas in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) who have persisted through community college and 4-year universities.  Her research and experience working with transfer students at Santa Ana College have ignited her passion for working with first-generation, low-income, and non-traditionally aged students who have overcome a variety of obstacles to reach their academic goals.  Her commitment to student success has inspired her to pursue a doctorate in the near future in order to change the institutional barriers faced by these students.

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Office: 2200 Student Services II
E-mail: rmzamudi@uci.edu

Adeeva Myers, Counselor/Coordinator, Gateway Initiatives

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Adeeva is a Southern California native from the city of Carson. She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed her Masters of Education degree in Educational Counseling from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. While in undergrad, Adeeva participated in various leadership roles on campus including working as a Resident Assistant and being a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. She has extensive experience in college access, previously working with organizations such as TRiO Upward Bound and the USC College Advising Corp where she assisted the majority of low-income, first-generation students in applying and enrolling in college. As a product of an under-resourced high school, Adeeva understands the plight of students needing added support in their efforts to achieve within higher education. Her goal is to see our education system grow into a more equitable institution where students of all backgrounds can achieve equality. Therefore, she is dedicated to helping cultivate young lives concerning their academic, personal, and professional success! Adeeva would love to chat with you. Please contact her with any questions about the Gateway Scholars program.

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Office: 2200 Student Services II
Email: ammyers@uci.edu

Blanca Villagomez, Counselor/Coordinator, Transfer & DREAM Scholars

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Blanca completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (Go Bruins!), where she earned her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Counseling with an emphasis in Student Development in Higher Education (SDHE) at CSU Long Beach. While in undergrad, she held numerous leadership positions where she developed initiatives and resources to support first-generation, low-income, undocumented students. Previous to her current appointment, Blanca worked as the Student Success Advisor in CSUN’s EOP DREAM Center, where she supported students from immigrant backgrounds and mixed-status families navigate and succeed in college. She also worked as a Researcher under UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE), where her research examined retention and graduation patterns of undocumented students at UCLA. Her commitment to educational equity and social justice is rooted in her experiences as an undocumented first-generation Latina. She firmly believes that students are empowered and transformed when provided with holistic support and safe spaces. She is always more than happy to answer any questions you have. Come and visit her!

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Office: 2200 Student Services II
E-mail: villagob@uci.edu

Janet Perez Molina, Counselor/Coordinator, FYRE and Student Parent & Families

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Janet attended California State University, Fullerton (Go Titans!), where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Services. Janet has several years of professional experience working as an Academic Advisor for Pre-Collegiate TRiO Programs at Cal State Fullerton.  She also served as Academic Coordinator for the CSUF GEAR UP Program. She completed her Master of Science in Counseling: Student Development in Higher Education at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). Janet is dedicated to helping underrepresented students from low-income backgrounds to prepare and succeed in postsecondary education. Janet loves to connect students to resources and networks that will support and help them thrive in college. Janet hopes to be a resource for you throughout your time at UCI. If you have any questions about the Foster Youth Resilience in Education (FYRE) Program at UC Irvine or are interested in participating, please contact her.

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Office: 2200 Student Services II
E-mail: jvperezm@uci.edu