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.  

Angelica Llamas

Youth and Education Office Coordinator


Angelica Llamas is a recent graduate of the class of 2021 from the University of California Santa Barbara with a Bachelors in Sociology and a minor in Spanish. Angelica is originally from Visalia, California and is a first-generation college graduate. She is extremely passionate in providing underrepresented students with awareness for opportunities for postsecondary education as she understands the barriers and lack of resources that students may face. Angelica believes in creating a path of upward mobility for many communities such as low-income and people of color to create equal access to education.

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.


Paola Mojica

Paola is a 4th year first generation student at UCSB studying Spanish and Sociology. She is from Salinas, California and is bilingual. She is interested in pursuing a career in education as a mentor.


Emily Tran

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. 



Jessica Wang

Jessica is a fourth year at UCSB. She is majoring in Mathematics and will be attending a Masters of Arts in Teaching program this upcoming January. Jessica has a strong passion for working with young adults and helping them further their education. 




Rachael Estrada

Rachael is a third-year student at UCSB and is majoring Sociology with a minor in Poverty, inequality, and Social Justice.

She is interested in pursuing a career in child/youth advocacy.


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.