The staff at CALSOAP is dedicated to working with our local schools, organizations and community to facilitate and increase the availability of information about the existence of post-secondary education, the sources of financial assistance, and student career opportunities. Our staff members understand the adversities that majority of students endure while trying to pursue higher education. Their enthusiasm in helping our students is driven by their own experiences in being first-generation graduates. To contact our staff, you may email directly or Make an Appointment.


Joanna Romo

Project Director


Joanna Romo has been working in the field of education for 16 years in various districts throughout California. Six of those years are experiences working in non-profit organizations helping develop education programs. Prior to joining the CALSOAP team, she worked for the Napa County Office of Education as part of the Northern California Career Pathways Alliance (NCCPA) that is funded through the California Career Pathways Trust. Her experience working with this grant allowed her to understand the need to increase the graduation rate and prepare underserved students for higher education which strengthened her passion for working with low-income, first-generation, college-bound students.

Joanna was born in Santiago, Chile and moved to Santa Barbara at the age of 8.  She was the first in her family to attend college and graduated from UCSB. She later moved to Northern California to attend graduate school at Sonoma State University and lived in the North Bay area for 10 years. As a first-generation college graduate, and years of experience with public schools and nonprofits in rural and urban capacities, Joanna has developed a well-rounded understanding for the need to help students achieve academically and pursue career goals. She is elated to be back in her community and work with an incredibly talented team of first-generation young professionals.

Sam Hendrix-McCowan

Program Coordinator


Sam received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at Sacramento State University while competing as a 4-year, collegiate student-athlete. He was the first in his family to graduate college.

Furthermore, he received his Master’s in Educational Counseling with a PPS Credential at Sacramento State. Sam previously worked as a College Advisor at CALSOAP Sacramento with student-athletes, K-12 students and college students from many backgrounds. Moreover, his main focus is to develop youth and the community to produce success in every aspect of their lives and to empower, inspire and equip them with necessary tools to thrive with the intent to give back to their communities.

Rocelia Martinez

Outreach Coordinator


Rocelia Martinez received her Bachelor of Science degree from Cal State Long Beach in Health Science Community Health. Furthermore, she has previously worked as a Program Specialist for the Central Coast CALSOAP in Santa Maria. Rocelia is the first in her family to graduate from college and is intent on aiding students to complete their financial aid applications. Her main focus is to promote educational resources, mentorship and empower students to further their education.

Eddie Moreno

Administrative Coordinator


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_1492-4-768x1024.jpgEddie Moreno is originally from Orange County but has now been living in Santa Barbara for the past 8 years. He received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Global Studies and Spanish minor at the University of California, Santa Barbara as well as a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Education from Antioch University Santa Barbara. Originally from a background of underrepresented and low-income communities,  Eddie looks forward to serving the SB community with academic resources and educational opportunity.

CALSOAP Peer Advisors:

Our Peer Advisors are not only CALSOAP staff, they are also currently enrolled students at UCSB.  Their objective is to meet with junior high and high school students to ensure that they are receiving adequate information pertaining to financial aid, college applications, career opportunities and academic support.  They also serve as advocates to each individual for their academic needs and advisement and assist in informing their parents. Peer Advisor appointments and hours can be accessed here.

Madalyn Schultz

Madalyn is a 4th year UCSB student with a major in Sociology and a minor in Education. She is a first-generation college student from Northern California. Coming from a household where neither parent graduated high school and having attended a high school with limited resources for its students has driven her passion for education. Madalyn chose to work with CALSOAP because she identifies with its mission to support low-income, first-generation, college-bound students. She began working at CALSOAP in April 2018 as a tutor and as of June 2019 has now become a Peer Advisor. After graduating from UCSB, Madalyn intends to continue working with non-profit organizations that serve low-income, first-generation-to-college students.

Evelyn Rojas

Evelyn has been a mentor to students since high school as a reading tutor for elementary students and volunteered at her local library. She started tutoring for CALSOAP in January 2019 and now continues to assist in multiple sites with students from 7-12 grade. Evelyn is passionate about helping underrepresented, low-income, students of color thrive through high school and into an appropriate career path. She hopes to spread joy and wisdom everyday, and hopefully one day make a difference in a student’s life.

Marisol Mora

Marisol is a 4th-year UCSB student majoring in Linguistics with an emphasis in Hearing and Speech Sciences. She is a first-generation college student originally from Northern California. Marisol began working as a CALSOAP tutor in November 2017 and was promoted to the Peer Advisor position in January 2020. Marisol elected to work at CALSOAP because she had also been tutored by college students in high school who encouraged her to pursue her passion for medicine. She hopes to inspire other students just as her mentors had done for her. In the future, Marisol would like to attend medical school and practice medicine in the community where she grew up.

Marifer Ruiz

Marifer is a 3rd-year Sociology major with a minor in Education at UCSB. As a first-generation college student from a low-income community in the bay area (Hayward), she was drawn to CALSOAP in order to give back to the communities with limited resources and began as a Tutor in March 2019. Now, as a Peer Advisor (as of February 2020), Marifer is eager to mentor other students as she had once received assistance from her mentors for access to higher education. She aspires to pursue graduate school in Education after graduation and seeks to become an advisor/counselor for either high school or college students.

CALSOAP FA Peer Coaches:

Humberto Rico

Liseth Santos-Solano