The Staff at Cal-SOAP is dedicated to working with our local schools to help facilitate and increase the availability of information to students about the existence of post-secondary education, the sources of financial assistance, and career opportunities. The Cal-SOAP Staff understand the adversities that majority of students endure while trying to reach higher education. Their enthusiasm in helping our students is driven by their own experiences in being first-generation, college-bound graduates.
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 Cal-SOAP 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 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 Cal-SOAP 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 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 Cal-SOAP 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 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.
Cal-SOAP Peer Advisors:
Our Peer Advisors are not only Cal-SOAP 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 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 Cal-SOAP because she identifies with its mission to support low-income, first-generation, college-bound students. She began working at Cal-SOAP 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 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 Cal-SOAP 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 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 Cal-SOAP tutor in November 2017 and was promoted to the Peer Advisor position in January 2020. Marisol elected to work at Cal-SOAP 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 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 Cal-SOAP 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.