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 has been working in the field of education for over 20 years in various districts throughout California. She 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. Her passion for working with low-income, first-generation, college-bound students comes from her own experience as a first-generation college graduate, and years of experience of working with public schools and nonprofits in rural and urban capacities. Joanna has developed a well-rounded understanding for the need to help underserved students achieve academically, prepare for higher education, and pursue career goals. 


Rafael Alvarado

Program Coordinator


Rafael Alvarado is a graduate from the California State University Northridge with a Bachelors in Sociology and Criminology. Rafael is both a first-generation high school and College graduate. He has been mentoring and empowering youth in Santa Barbara County since 2018. His experiences have helped him understand the challenges that underserved and underrepresented students undergo when pursuing higher education. He looks forward to supporting students in their pursuit of post-secondary opportunities.  

Rachael Estrada

Program Specialist


Rachael is a recent graduate from UCSB where she earned her bachelor’s degree in  Sociology with a minor in Poverty, inequality, and Social Justice. Prior to working as the Program Specialist for CALSOAP, she was one of the lead Financial Aid Coaches for CALSOAP.


CALSOAP Financial Aid and College Success Coaches:

Our CALSOAP  Coaches 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. CSC appointments and hours can be accessed here.





CALSOAP College Success Coaches

Elizabeth Salazar

Emily is a 4th year at UCSB majoring in Sociology with minors in Education Studies and Applied Psychology.

Emily has always loved and thrived in academic settings and hopes to impact the lives of students as a future teacher. 




Neysa Moncada

Neysa is a third-year student at UCSB and is majoring English with a minor in Poverty, Inequality, and Social Justice. 

She is passionate about her work with students and hopes to continue impacting young lives by pursuing a career in education as a teacher or school counselor.





Ryan Lewis

Ryan is studying Environmental Studies at UCSB with an emphasis on Data Science.