Meet Your Merrill Advisers

    Merrill Advisers

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    Winnie Tang

    She/Her Pronouns

    Academic Preceptor

    About Me: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and completed my A.B. at Bryn Mawr College. After completing my M.S.Ed from the University of Pennsylvania, I lived and taught English in Hong Kong for a number of years. I most recently worked at Portland State University and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. I am new to Santa Cruz and absolutely love going on food adventures. Most importantly, I truly love academic advising and I am very excited to meet you all.

    Hometown: Brooklyn, New York


    M.S.Ed, University of Pennsylvania

    A.B., Bryn Mawr College

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    Cassie Isaacson

    She/Her Pronouns

    Academic Adviser

    About Me: One of my favorite words is YES! As one of your Merrill College advisers, I am excited to be a resource, guide, and encourager to students from day one through graduation. I hope to remind students that YES, you belong here. YES, your story matters. YES, growth is always possible. YES, we are here to support you. I consider it a privilege to get to know students, hear about your goals, and watch you develop academically, professionally, and personally. When I'm not advising, I enjoy taking long walks, listening to podcasts, eating curry, and traveling to visit friends.

    Hometown: San José, California


    M.A., Higher Education, John Brown University

    B.A., Liberal Studies/ Elementary Education, Azusa Pacific University

    Favorite Quote: “Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.” -Brené Brown

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    Alejandra Guzman Llamas

    She/Her Pronouns

    Academic Adviser

    About Me: Greeting Slugs! I’m Alejandra, an academic adviser for Merrill College. I was born in Mexico, and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I am a Dreamer and first generation college student. In my role I help students identify and explore their interests and establish academic, personal, and career goals. Feel free to connect with me for questions or even to share how your quarter has been going.

    In my free time I like to go on outdoor runs, watch movies, and spend time with friends and family. 

    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA


    B.A., Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz

    B.A., Spanish Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

  • EOP STEM Counselor

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    Sara Sanchez

    She/Her Pronouns
    Assistant Director for Advising, HSI Initiatives (Lead EOP STEM Counselor)

    About Me: Education has always been important to me and I am fortunate to pursue a profession where I get to "go to school" every day and be part of college student's educational journey's. As an EOP STEM Counselor I provide support to students regarding academic and non-academic issues, including: social, financial, cultural, family, sense of belonging, personal support and navigating university resources. I also love connecting students to opportunities and other people that can be part of your journey. When I'm not on campus I enjoy spending time with friends, working out, hosting dinner parties and watch parties, and crossing things off my Santa Cruz bucket list.

    You can find me at Merrill College on Fridays for appointments between 9:30-12:00 and 1:30-4:00. You can also make an appointment to meet with me at my office on Science Hill - Science & Engineering Library 213, Monday through Thursday. Appointments can be made on Slug Success

    Hometown: Norwalk, California
    M.A., Educational Administration with a Specialization in Student Affairs, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
    B.A., Communication Studies and Spanish, California State University, Long Beach

    Favorite Quote: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do." - Mark Twain

  • Peer Advisers

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    Victoria Hatch

    Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

    I am returning to Merrill for my 3rd year as a Peer Advisor while currently pursuing my BA in Psychology with a Minor in Education. Equity and inclusion are very important to me. As a first generation University student, I understand how necessary additional resources are in order for students to navigate the journey of a successful University experience. I look forward to working with all students and will do my best in clearing roadblocks so that each individual can achieve their personal goals.

    Interesting Facts:
    While distanced learning continues, I am living and working in San Diego, CA
    I enjoy rock climbing and pottery
    I am in the Guinness Book of World Records
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    Jasmine Jones

    She/her(s) pronouns
    Proposed Major and Minor: Human Biology and Dance

    About me: I love helping and making realistic plans so why not become a peer advisor at the best college on campus?!

    Fun facts:
    I am pursuing a career in modeling and acting
    I love puppies
    I am from Georgia
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    Andres Garza

    Pronouns: He/Him

    Hometown: Delhi, California

    Hello! I am a History Major with a Minor in Education. I hope to one day become an educator, and consider the role of Peer Mentor as an excellent way to practice for my future career. I am a transfer student from a small town, and my time in the community college taught me that any goal is achievable if we strive to achieve it.

    Interesting Facts:

    I love French fries and reading
    My favorite TV show is The Office

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    Pedro Fernando Martinez

    Pronouns: He/Him/His

    Major: Technology Information Management B.S., Cognitive Science B.S., & Computer Science Minor

    I decided to become a peer advisor because I love helping people. I want to make sure everyone does their best, and I want to let students know that no matter what obstacles come up, there's always a way to get to their goals.

    Interesting Facts:
    I tend to play as a defender in most sports, so you know I got your back.
    I think all the best games are Mario games.
    Christmas IS the most wonderful time of the year.

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    Olivia LaBarbera

    Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

    Proposed Major: Sociology

    I’m excited to be a Peer Adviser because I am passionate about helping fellow UCSC students achieve their academic goals. I also am an advocate for mental health awareness and want to help my peers find the resources they need to thrive at UCSC. 

    Interesting Facts:
    I have a 4 year old German Shepherd Dog named Poppy
    I love making homemade pasta
    I have a lot of family in Italy