Staff Bios

Joanna M. Hernandez, Director, Transfer Student Center & 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

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 (pronouns: she/her/ella) grew up as a first-generation student and daughter of immigrant parents in the San Fernando Valley. She currently serves as the Counselor/Coordinator for DREAM Scholars and Transfer Programs. She has dedicated the last ten years of her career to developing initiatives and resources supporting first-generation, low-income, transfer, and undocumented students. Her commitment to educational equity and social justice is rooted in her belief that students are empowered and transformed when they are provided with holistic support and safe spaces. Blanca completed her M.S. in Counseling, Student Development in Higher Education (SDHE) at CSU Long Beach. She earned her B.A. in Sociology from UCLA (Go Bruins!). In her spare time, Blanca enjoys exploring scenic spots, watching sci-fi movies, and doing yoga at the beach.

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

Laney Stucki, Counselor/Coordinator, Transfer Programs

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Laney (She/They) is a proud graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara (Go Gauchos!) with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Feminist Studies. Laney also earned a Master of Arts in Education & Human Development from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  After she left the east coast, she worked at UC Santa Barbara in various roles including as a first-generation retention counselor and also spent time as a success coach and advisor to community college students in the Pacific Northwest. She is passionate about building inclusive spaces and ensuring that she leads with her values of kindness, equity, and optimism. She loves all things Disney, her rescue pup, iced coffee, making candles, listening to podcasts, and playing games with her family and partner. If you have any questions about Transfer BOOST, Transfer Programs, or FYRE, please contact Laney.

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Office: 2100 Student Services II
E-mail: dstucki@uci.edu