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 16 years in various districts throughout California. Six of those years are experiences working in non-profit organizations helping develop education programs.

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. She is elated to be back in her community and work with an incredibly talented team of first-generation young professionals.

Alex Kinderman

Outreach Coordinator


Alex Kinderman is a graduate from the University of California Santa Barbara with her Bachelors in Sociology. Being raised internationally, Alex has gained a worldly perspective that enhances her cultural humility. Alex has worked with youth in Santa Barbara County since 2018 and is passionate about empowering our youth with knowledge so that they will have the confidence to practice self-efficacy. Alex is a first-generation college graduate which has allowed her to better understand the journey and the gratification of post-secondary education. She looks forward to promoting educational resources, become a mentor, and creating strategic partnerships throughout the community.

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.  


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.

CALSOAP FA Peer Coaches:

Humberto Rico