STARS staff embrace and develop connections and cooperative relationships with colleagues and community partners to create a meaningful and personalized network of support for our students.  We foster critical reflection and action among students and staff. We value self-care, healing, and transformation for our students and ourselves.



Peer Advisers are continuing Transfer and Re-entry students who assist through advising and counseling, computer consulting and administrative support services.

Peer Advisers are available during the academic year in the STARS Student Center (Kresge 180) and via email at


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    Sara A. Radoff

    Director, Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students

    My passion in life is working to transform educational policies and practices to make them more socially just. My core values include developing caring relationships with students, colleagues, and friends, seeking out opportunities for collaboration and connection, and unapologetically challenging systems of oppression. I am dedicated to serving students and supporting their success. Prior to joining STARS, I  served as the Academic Preceptor at Oakes College. Before that, I worked in international education and community development work. I received a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Montana, and a M.A. from the University of British Columbia, specializing in Society, Culture, and Politics in Education.

    Contact me:



    Office Location: Kresge 188

  • Erick

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    Erick Ramirez

    Cultivamos Excelencia Counselor

    Erick Ramirez Manriquez earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Inequality with a Minor in Education Studies from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). As an undergraduate student, Erick conducted research through his Sociology Honors Thesis and the McNair Scholars Program. During both of these programs, Erick researched low-income transfer student’s trajectories at a four-year university, particularly looking at the differences in student trajectories depending on which community college students attended. Erick has received two award nominations from UC San Diego: Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action & Diversity Award (Universitywide Recipient) & UC President’s Award for Outstanding Student Leadership (Nominee). Erick Ramirez Manriquez currently serves as the Cultivamos Excelencia Counselor at UC Santa Cruz. As a former undocumented student, Erick embraces the struggle of the Latinx community and encourages social justice perspectives in his daily life.

    Contact me:


    Phone number: 831-459-3721

    Office location: Kresge 192

  • Jannet

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    Jannet Ceja

    STARS Program Coordinator

    My name is Jannet Ceja (she/her pronouns) and I am a Program Coordinator here at STARS.  I was born and raised in Salinas, California. I transferred here to UCSC from Hartnell College in 2011 and then graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in Politics.  As a student here, I was a peer adviser for the STARS program.  I loved the work that was being done, so I decided to work for STARS after I graduated, as a way to give back to the transfer community that I was a part of. I love working with STARS because I meet incredible people on the daily, and I am able to assist them with their educational journey.  I am here to offer support, a helping hand, as well as an ear to listen.

    I look forward to meeting you!

    Contact Me:


    Office Location:Kresge 178

  • Elizabeth

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    Elizabeth Moya

    Renaissance Scholars Adviser

    I am a UCSC alumn, majored in Sociology and Legal Studies. I am currently attending San Jose State University for my Masters in Social Work. I will graduate May 2018.

    In my current role as the Renaissance Scholars Adviser, I provide various academic, social, and personal coaching services to support students who have experienced separation or estrangement from family networks.  The common thread among our community is resiliency and strength in navigating significant hardships. Our community includes former or current foster youth, orphans, or wards of the court.  We also assist those who have experienced any of the following while growing up: homelessness, violence or neglect in their homes, parents or guardians with severe mental illness or substance abuse, or those who have been pushed out of their homes due to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Those who have been impacted by incarceration or forcible separation from family due to deportation will also find community with us.

    Some of my past experience revolves around student and youth mentorship with the EOP Bridge Program, Barrios Unidos, and career counseling with underserved youth in Eastside San Jose. Most of my passions come from my personal background and me being an alumn of the Renaissance program. I come from personal struggles, abuse, violence, homelessness, and trauma. I share my story with other students and youth to give hope that dreams are meant to come true with patience and guidance. I had inspiring mentors in my life to help me get to the point where I am at today. I only wish to walk alongside students to offer my support to be that one positive mentor or coach in their life.

     I am a true believer in advocacy and personal growth. I encourage and motivate students to reach their full potential while listening, guiding, and being patient with students.

    I relate to students and can build a positive professional relationship to help students feel they belong to a community of trusting individuals.


    Contact Me:

    Phone number:831-459-4819

    Office location:Kresge 174

  • Riana

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    Riana Howard, MSW

    Cultivamos Excelencia HSI Project DirectorPronouns: she/her/hersHello :) My name is Riana Howard and I am the Cultivamos Excelencia HSI Project Director. I was a transfer student myself from San Diego, CA and understand the feelings, barriers, and excitement that comes with the transition process. I received my bachelors in Human Communications and my masters in Social Work, MSW. My work is rooted in educational equity practices and assisting in breaking down systematic barriers in the educational system. I strive to help cultivate a sense of belonging for all students and be a great support for Cultivamos Excelencia and the STARS community. I am excited to meet you and would be honored to be apart of your educational journey as well. 

    Contact me:

    Phone number:831-459-5681
    Office location:Kresge 190

  • Odessa

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    Odessa Burkett

    VETS Program Coordinator

    My name is Odessa and I am the VETS Program Coordinator at STARS. I am from Massachusetts, where I attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and double majored in Sociology and Economics. After working in corporate human resources for three years, I moved to Santa Cruz to return to my roots of service and serve as Team Lead of the AmeriCorps Volunteer Infrastructure Program at the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County. Currently, I am pursuing my Masters of Education in Higher Education at Northeastern University. I am passionate about creating inclusive communities on campus for diverse students to succeed. I am excited to support Veteran students at UCSC and help students thrive during their college experience. 

    Contact me:


    Phone number: 831-502-7240

    Office location: Kresge 232

  • DeShonne Keller

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    DeShonne Keller

    My name is DeShonne Keller and I'm the STARS Administrative Specialist. In this role, I provide financial management, processing and analysis; oversee physical spaces; coordinate communications; and liaise with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. I have seven years as the Kresge College Assistant, with prior administrative, cashier and office management experience. Currently I'm studying at Cabrillo College and working towards completing the IGETC Certification and working on transfer/major coursework in Sociology. I plan to transfer to UCSC as a transfer and re-entry part-time student.

    Contact me:


    Phone number: 831-459-4063

    Office location: Kresge 234