The Undergraduate Fellows program provides a community of inquiry and practice focused on peer-to-peer academic stewardship, empowering undergraduate students at UC Santa Cruz to meet their academic goals through learning from one another.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Aiming to place student experts and their insights at the center of support for navigating academic life, this program builds a rich network of undergraduate peer learning experts who can assist their peers in becoming outstanding learners, based on research and on their own experiences on campus.
Since fall of 2018, advanced undergraduate students from across the university have joined the CITL to engage in year-long fellowship and collaborative exploration of the principles and support of student learning.
The program includes off-site retreats to University of California Natural Reserves; a year-long course on the Theory and Practice of Stewardship for Learning (2 units each quarter with monthly seminar meetings in the Fall, Winter, and Spring); and the creation and implementation of projects to enhance learning across campus. Fellows share meals, insights, research, and direction, and their contributions help to develop the curriculum for our future student-to-student programming for undergraduate learning expertise.
The founding year of the program has received generous support from Anu Luther Maitra and Thomas Kailath.
2019-20 UNDERGRADUATE FELLOWS COHORT
Daniel Alexander Garcia
Daniel is a second year transfer student majoring in Politics and Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS). Daniel attributes his foundation for education and passion for social justice to his community college, Mt.SAC (Mt. San Antonio College). At his community college, Daniel was able to grow and develop as a social justice advocate by participating in multiple student organizations such as IDEAS ( A student group dedicated to immigrant justice) and MEchA. During his time at Mt.SAC he was able to help fellow undocumented students by working as a Peer Mentor for the DREAM Program and helped establish the first Political Science Club on campus creating a medium for discussion and debate on current political issues. During his time at UCSC, Daniel has continued his passion for immigrant rights by co-founding a student organization known as Beyond Dreams. His passion for education has also flourished at the 4-year university by becoming involved in research with Pathways To Research. Daniel has continued to give back to his community by joining STARS (Services for Transfer and Re-Entry Students) as a transition mentor assisting transfer students transition from community college to a 4-year research university. Daniel looks forward to continuing his personal development through CITL and is excited to finish his last year at UCSC.
Daniel Alexander GarciaUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Ivan Vega Mendieta
Ivan is a 4th-year student double majoring in Sociology and Latin American & Latino Studies. He attended community college for six years. During this time, Ivan struggled to find a space in academia where he could feel supported. Ivan’s transition to community college from high school was adverse; rejected from two community colleges for being undocumented. That is when he turned to a local community organization, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice of Ventura County (CLUE-VC). Here he connected with the California Dream Network (CDN) and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). CHIRLA is the umbrella organization to the CDN. During this time he worked with undocumented students from high schools, community colleges, and four-year universities from all over California. They organized to pass state and local policies that support the immigrant community. Here Ivan developed community organizing skills and helped establish an Undocumented Student Resource Center at Cal State Channel Islands. Ivan’s passion for closing equity gaps for underserved populations is reflected in the three years he has volunteered with Future Leaders of America (FLA). A community organization that uses their peer-to-peer leadership model to cultivate a college-going culture and to inspire low-income youth to reach their full potential. With the help of these support systems, Ivan is now at UCSC where he continues to practice his passion for supporting others. He is a Transition Mentor for Services for Transfer and Reentry Students (STARS) where he mentors incoming transfer students. He is also an intern for the Student Diversity and Inclusion Program (SDIP) where has focused on issues on racial intersectionality and cultivating an inclusive campus environment. Through CITL, Ivan plans to collaborate with his peers to develop projects that will contribute to the fight for equitable opportunities for all.
Ivan Vega MendietaUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Mark Arenas is a fourth-year majoring in Environmental Studies/Biology. In his free time, he likes to journal, reflect, and walk outside while listening to the environment. He makes friends out of plants and animals and is always eager to learn more. During his time at UC Santa Cruz, he has participated in field study courses such as California Ecology and Conservation, Natural History Field Quarter, and the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars at NAU that have shaped his passion for the outdoors. These experiences have taught him a lot about the importance of experiential learning and led him to pursue further leadership opportunities with the Experiential Leadership Program (ELP) and the Everett Program as a Leadership Facilitator. He is currently working with the Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) as a Wellness Program Intern to increase access to health related activities for EOP students. With CITL, Mark plans to improve as an educator and learner, and practice facilitating an inclusive space to guide student learning.
Mark ArenasUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Elias Bautista (he/him) is a fourth-year transfer student who was born and raised in Santa Maria, California and is majoring in Politics and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and minoring in Education. Elias first began to develop a passion for education as a teacher’s assistant at schools in Santa Maria. This developed into a passion for figuring out how to create spaces where relationships are formed and nurtured to create community. His passion is reflected in his seven years of participating in Future Leaders of America (FLA), a youth leadership development organization that uses the peer-to-peer model to create community, not only amongst the students who participate but also within the communities FLA serves as well. In his undergraduate career, Elias has developed a research interest in the politics of hope, solidarity, and love and how education can cultivate a community. As a CITL Undergraduate Fellow, Elias hopes to understand how the peer-to-peer model can be used as a tool for building solidarity. Outside of school, Elias likes to play soccer, make music, and write.
Elias BautistaUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Jacob Bomgaars is a second-year Merrill affiliate majoring in Business Management Economics and Philosophy. He has been a peer mentor for transfer students, a staff member for Crown Merrill events, and a member of the College Scholars program while at UC Santa Cruz. He looks forward to learning how to build honest and truthful communication with students while improving our shared community.
Jacob BomgaarsUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Samantha Chacon Sifuentes
Samantha Chacon Sifuentes is a Kresge affiliate and a third-year Psychology major with an Education minor. During her undergraduate career she has been fortunate to be involved in MALCS (Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambios Social) and Kresge College as an Academic Mentor and an intern researching UC Santa Cruz students’ mental health and well being. This year she is continuing her internship collecting data and further researching UCSC students’ mental health needs and resources. Samantha is a strong advocate for mental health education and aspires for all students to feel supported and able to succeed in all their academic and personal endeavors. As a CITL Undergraduate Fellow, Samantha hopes to promote a learning environment that promotes and prioritizes mental health and resiliency through a diverse array of student voices and experiences. Aside from academics, Samantha enjoys practicing yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and hiking!
Samantha Chacon SifuentesUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Claire Donovan-Suguitan is a third-year Kresge affiliate majoring in Community Studies and minoring in Dance. During her time as an undergraduate, she has participated in the College Scholars Program, Bayanihan, Wilderness Orientation with the Recreation Department, and has volunteered with the Kresge food cooperative. These experiences have helped Claire create a sense of community on campus. As a CITL Undergraduate Fellow, Claire hopes to use the networks and resources that the UCSC campus has to offer to create a strong sense of community for incoming students. Another focus for Claire this year will be to create spaces where mental health is addressed so that all students feel safer and more confident on campus.
Claire Donovan-SuguitanUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Jaquelyn Kinner-Fletcher is a third-year Merrill affiliate studying Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology with a minor in Education. Jaquelyn is a driven humanitarian, whose passion is to learn and improve the quality of life through knowledge and kindness. Jaquelyn believes that helping is life’s greatest gift and is constantly searching to improve the quality of life. This belief translates to her work as a Residential Assistant (RA) for Merrill College, where she has had the honor to collaborate with residents and co-workers to host programs, promote wellness, and create a comfortable space where respect is shared amongst all. After undergraduate school, Jaquelyn plans to participate in an accelerated Masters program at UC Davis, where she will study Public Health. Jaquelyn wishes to go to Medical School at UC Davis to become an OBGYN doctor and serve patients in underserved communities in the Central Valley. This past summer, Jaquelyn participated in a pre-medical internship, Prep Medico, at UC Davis Medical Center where she had the opportunity to shadow doctors, observe surgeries, and interact with patients. Jaquelyn wishes to intertwine her endearment for science with her passion to help others: she wishes to become involved in the fight to eliminate food deserts, make rehabilitation centers more accessible, and promote food security. As a first-generation student, RA, and CITL Undergraduate Fellow, Jaquelyn is excited to encourage collaborative learning, meaningful relationships, and diversity and eliminate the competitive nature of college.
Jaquelyn Kinner-FletcherUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Emily McIntyre is a fourth-year Kresge affiliate majoring in Cognitive Science with an emphasis in Human Computer Interaction. Emily believes in order to succeed and become a salient member of any community or group, it is important to spend time on personal-development – she has been a practiced TM meditator for 5+ years. Her greatest asset is her emotional intelligence and ability to actively listen so others feel heard. She is also a Research Assistant at Samaha Labs. Emily hopes to break barriers as a women leader in STEM, and through CITL understand how to alleviate personal and tangible obstacles for aspiring scholars to come.
Emily McIntyreUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers, They, Them
Sanam Noorani is a fourth-year undergraduate student double majoring in Neuroscience and Environmental Studies. Sanam’s experiences at UC Santa Cruz have shaped her career interests towards helping people physically and environmentally. Her experiences as a mentor and mentee have allowed her to create a wide understanding of how students are receptive to information. Sanam has also been a peer educator and Resident Advisor at UCSC, which has enabled her to work with people from all community backgrounds. As a Senior Undergraduate Fellow, Sanam aspires to continue helping to develop and deliver projects aimed at improving students’ success and experience on campus.
Sanam NooraniUndergraduate Fellow (18-19, 19-20)
Rodrigo Mora Sandoval
Rodrigo Mora Sandoval is a fourth-year Kresge affiliate majoring in Business Management Economics. As a Senior Undergraduate Fellow, this fellowship has given him lots of amazing experiences from last year (besides the retreats :)), such as making connections with various UCSC community members, learning the pedagogy of mentoring college students, and most importantly, defining professionalism outside the university. Throughout his last year here at UCSC, he is currently interning for the Student Success Equity Research Center as an Events Coordinator. From this internship, he hopes to not only create or modify events around campus for the beneficial success of UCSC students, but to also share his knowledge and expertise with the CITL community so as to aid the 2019-20 Undergraduate Fellows in their own projects and/or collaborate with the stewardship on a big project in order to enhance learning around campus as a whole. Aside from all his involvements at UCSC, he loves to travel, partake in outdoor activities, and find new adventures along the way. Feel free to hit him up if you’re down to go hiking sometime!
Rodrigo Mora SandovalUndergraduate Fellow (18-19, 19-20)
Sabrina Schmier is a third-year Merrill affiliate studying Literature with a minor in Education. Always placing value on student-centric organizations, Sabrina has involved herself in student-run publications as a Student Editor at StudyBreaks Magazine and is currently one of the Editors-in-Chief at the on-campus Chinquapin Literary Magazine. Additionally, she has had the pleasure of participating in both the College Scholars Program and the Merrill Core Course Assistant Program, which has sparked her passion for learning. These experiences have anchored her gravitation toward community-based learning and a holistic approach to education. At present, Sabrina is furthering her knowledge and practice of these themes as a Research Assistant for Jessie Dubreuil’s work with the Berkeley Center for Studies in Higher Education and as a Writing Tutor with UCSC’s Learning Support Services (LSS). In her time at UC Santa Cruz, she has discovered the importance of an education with foundations in community and in learning without any fear of failure; as a CITL Undergraduate Fellow she hopes to find a way to infuse this ideal into the competitive college culture of the current moment. Aside from academics, Sabrina is an aspiring world-traveller, a founder of Sequoia Singers A Cappella, and a lover of all forms of storytelling.
Sabrina SchmierUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Karlee Sprowl is a Kresge-affiliated undergraduate student majoring in Psychology (Intensive Concentration) with a minor in Education. She is a proud transfer student and in her final year at UC Santa Cruz. During her time on campus she has worked as a Research Assistant in Dr. Ben Storm’s Memory Lab, an Instructional Assistant for the Psychology Department, a Transition Mentor at STARS (Services for Transfer and ReEntry Students), a Student Assistant at the Summer Session Office, and a Representative for Kresge Parliament. Her current field study placement has given her the opportunity to work closely with students attending an alternative high school. Looking forward to her last year here in Santa Cruz, her goal is to grow professionally and prepare for graduate school. Now, as a CITL Undergraduate Fellow, she plans to use this opportunity to impact the lives of transfer students. More specifically, she is interested in providing a space for community college transfers to feel comfortable at a research university and to encourage deep engagement on campus.
Karlee SprowlUndergraduate Fellow (2019-20)
Mateo Patricio Valdivia
Mateo Patricio Valdivia is a fourth-year Merrill affiliate majoring in Human Biology and minoring in STEM Education. As an undergraduate, he works at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and interns at the Public Health Department of Santa Cruz. He helped organize Campus Clean Up 2019 and collaborated on the Learning Stories Project. Mateo is also a learning assistant for BioL20A and BioE20B and has done an intensive teaching internship at James Lick High School. These experiences have helped Mateo understand both learning and teaching and how they pertain to science. As a CITL Undergraduate Fellow, Mateo hopes to discover more about education and how he can become a better educator. He plans to inspire other students to discover how they interpret new information and how to learn in a more meaningful way. In addition, Mateo would like to create safe spaces for students to express themselves and their thoughts, without fear of judgement.