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

  • Elizabeth

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    Elizabeth Gonzalez

    Dr. Elizabeth Gonzalez earned a Ph.D. and an M.S. from UC Santa Cruz (UCSC) and a Bachelor’s degree from UC Los Angeles. Currently, 

    Dr. Gonzalez serves as the Project Director for the Cultivamos Excelencia Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) initiative, a cross-institutional partnership between San José City College and UCSC, aimed at building equitable educational and career pathways for transfer and graduate students who have been historically underserved in higher education. During her time at UCSC, Dr. Gonzalez has served as an instructor of Psychology and Latin American and Latino Studies, founding member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee in Psychology, and coordinator of the Pathways to Research Program for EOP's Graduate Information Program. Beyond UCSC, she has served as a research associate for the California State University, San Marcos, as a consultant for faculty pedagogy development and as an expert witness in immigration cases. Dr. Gonzalez's longstanding commitment to social justice and equitable education grew from the institutional and social exclusion she witnessed against her community -  first-generation college students and undocumented Mixtec migrant from southern Mexico. In her work with faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, Dr. Gonzalez fosters their development of a critical consciousness, research and evaluation skills, graduate school attainment, and culturally responsive pedagogy development. 

    La Dra. Elizabeth Gonzalez obtuvo un Doctorado y una Maestría de la Universidad de California, Santa Cruz y una licenciatura de UC Los Angeles. Actualmente, la Dra. Gonzalez se desempeña como Directora del proyecto para la iniciativa Institución de Servicio Hispano (HSI) Cultivamos Excelencia , una asociación interinstitucional entre San José City College y UCSC, dirigida para fortalecer las rutas educativas y profesionales para estudiantes que han sido históricamente desatendidos en la educación superior. Durante su tiempo en UCSC, la Dra. González se ha desempeñado como profesora de Psicología y Estudios Latinoamericanos y Latinos, miembro fundador del Comité de Diversidad, Equidad e Inclusión en Psicología y coordinadora del Programa de Pathways to Research de EOP . Más allá de UCSC, se ha desempeñado como asociada de investigación para la Universidad Estatal de California, San Marcos, como consultora para el desarrollo de la pedagogía de la facultad y como testigo experta en casos de inmigración. El compromiso de la Dra. González con la justicia social y la educación equitativa surgió de la exclusión institucional y social que presenció en contra de su comunidad: estudiantes universitarios de primera generación y migrantes Mixtecos indocumentados del sur de México. En su trabajo con profesores y estudiantes, la Dr. González promueve el desarrollo de una conciencia crítica, habilidades de investigación y evaluación, el logro de la escuela de posgrado y el desarrollo de la pedagogía que responde culturalmente.


    Contact Me:

    Phone number: 831-459-5681

    Office location:190 Kresge

  • Riana

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    Riana Howard, MSW

    STARS Program Coordinator

    Hello :) My name is Riana Howard (she/her pronouns) and I am one of the Program Coordinator here at STARS. 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 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:831-459-5886

    Office location:Kresge 184

  • 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. 

  • Rubi

  • Rubi Reyes

    Cultivamos Excelencia Peer Counselor, Assistant Coordinator 

    “My name is Rubi and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I am a 5th-year MCD Bio major and Sociology minor. I transferred here from San Jose City College. I enjoy playing tennis, skydiving and binge-watching Netflix. As a premed student, I am available to chat about med school, requirements, academic planning and practicing self-care.”



Orlando Carrera

Cultivamos Excelencia Peer Counselor, Outreach Specialist 

I am proud to be a new member of the SJCC and UCSC Cultivamos Excelencia Team.  I am here to support your transition to ensure the experience at UC Santa Cruz is a smooth and welcoming one.  As an SJCC Alumni and current UCSC student, I would like to share my knowledge and UCSC transfer experiences to ensure you succeed.  




Julia Vasquez

Cultivamos Excelencia Peer Counselor, Outreach Specialist 

I'm excited to be a new member of the SJCC and UCSC Cultivamos Excelencia team. I am here to smooth your transition to UCSC and offer support. As an SJCC Alumna and current UCSC student, I would like to share my knowledge and experiences in transferring to UCSC to ensure your success!