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Meet the Staff

Career Staff

  • Gerardo Arellano (he/him/his)

    Gerardo Arellano (he/him/his)


    Gerardo N. Arellano received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and his BA from UC San Diego in the departments of comparative ethnic studies. Dr. Arellano is the inaugural director of the Raza Resource Centro at UC San Diego. His research interests include trans-border culture and migrations, de-colonial pedagogies, Latinx post-secondary educational achievement, and retention. He has extensive experience working with underserved students of color at the community, high school, and university levels. He loves to work with students and he enjoys advising graduate and undergraduate students, strategic planning, curriculum design, program development, and assessment. He is passionate about coaching students to obtain scholarships, internships, research, and conference experience.

    Office: 858.246.1650


  • Claudia Martinez (she/her/hers)

    Claudia Martinez (she/her/hers)

    Assistant Director

    Claudia Martinez was born and raised in Tijuana, México. She moved to the United States at the age of 14 with her parents and younger brother in 2001 just in time to enter high school. She graduated from the University of Redlands with a Bachelor’s degree in Race and Ethnic Studies and Spanish in 2009 and is finishing her Master’s Degree in Higher Education. She served as the First Generation Student Programs Coordinator at the University of Redlands from 2012-2014 and has been part of the RRC since July 2014. 

    Claudia Martinez nació y fue criada en Tijuana, Baja California, México. Ella, junto con sus padres y hermano menor, se mudo a los Estados Unidos a la edad de 14 años en el 2001 para poder ser admitida en la preparatoria. Claudia se graduó de la Universidad de Redlands con su Bachillerato en Race & Ethnic Studies y Español en el 2009 y esta terminando su maestria. Fue la Coordinadora de Programas para Estudiantes de Primera Generación del 2012-2014 en la Universidad de Redlands. Claudia a trabajado en el Raza Resource Centro desde el verano del 2014 como parte del personal inaugural en la posición de subdirectora. 

    Office: 858.246.1844

  • Omar Padilla (he/him/his/él)

    Omar Padilla (he/him/his/él)

    Associate Director of Academic Initiatives  

    Omar is originally from Santa Monica, California where he grew up in the Pico neighborhood. His family has migrated between Santa Monica and the region of Los Altos de Jalisco for three generations and Omar is first generation born in the U.S. Omar also identifies as a first-generation college student, having attended UC Santa Cruz for undergrad where he majored in Latin American/Latino Studies and Politics, and was involved in the ChALE peer-mentoring program and an RA for his residential college, and was involved in establishing a chapter of his Latino-based fraternity at UCSC.

    Before UCSD, Omar worked at Santa Monica College with the Black Collegians and Adelante Programs while attending CSU Los Angeles for his master's in Mexican American/Chicanx studies. Omar arrived at UCSD in 2013 to pursue his Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies where his research focuses on “queer public memory.” Omar’s dissertation research focuses on the public responses to the deaths of Mexican singer Juan Gabriel, Mexican-born make-up artist Jacob Yebale, and the PULSE Nightclub shooting to produce a queer afterlife. Through his dissertation research, Omar is interested in seeing how public forms of mourning and remembering empowers LGBTQIA-identified people to narrate possibilities of queer life.

    At UCSD Omar has worked with undergraduate students as STARS Advocate, SPACES Grad Mentor, and Instructor in DOC Writing Program and Ethnic Studies Department. He is passionate about helping graduate students create a sense of community at UCSD and has worked to do that through his roles at Grad Division and Engaged Teaching Hub.

    Omar is very excited to come into the role of Associate Director for Academic Initiatives and continue to work in collaboration with the RRC team in creating spaces for students to develop a community of scholars.

    Phone: 858.246.5081
    Office: Bookstore, 3rd floor, Room 122

  • Xeleste Micah Torres (They/ She/ Ella)

    Xeleste Micah Torres (They/ She/ Ella)

    Facilities, Operations, Student Program Coordinator  

    Xeleste Micah grew up in the Inland Empire for most of their adolescence and moved to the central coast after high school. They lived in the Seaside and Salinas area for a decade. Xeleste was a non-traditional student and attended Hartnell College after working full-time in customer service for a few years. She was very involved with Hartnell’s Sociology club while in community college and loved the community outreach aspect. They also had the opportunity to become a sociology supplement instructor while completing her studies at Hartnell. They soon transferred to UC San Diego in the fall of 2019 with three Associate of Arts degrees in Sociology and Liberal Arts with both a Psychology and Culture & Society emphasis. She graduated and received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a Concentration in Science and Medicine in the summer of 2021. During their undergrad at UCSD, they volunteered for the Raza Resource Centro and became the 2020-2021 QTPOC intern. After graduation, they became the RRC’s Student Life Development Specialist and worked with the Centro for a few months before being hired as the current Facilities, Operations, Student Program Coordinator. 

    Xeleste identifies as a queer, nonbinary chicanx individual and enjoys working with students of all walks of life. They hope to be able to foster learning and leadership opportunities for current and future UCSD scholars.


Graduate Students

  • Rosa Tejeda

    Rosa Tejeda

    San Diego State Graduate Student


Learning Specialists

  • Analine Aguayo

    Analine Aguayo

    Areas of Specialty: Biological Sciences & STEM

    I study the mechanistic role of rhomboid proteins in stress-induced breast cancer progression. For fun: I enjoy doing anything/everything outdoors, watching Rom-Coms, and spending quality time with loved ones.

  • Jessica Aguilar

    Jessica Aguilar

    Areas of Specialty: Social Sciences & Humanities  

    Originally from the San Ysidro-Tijuana border region, Ph.D. student in the Department of Literature, Jessica's work focuses on narratives about Central American migration and the industry of death.

  • Patricia Almaraz (she/her/hers)

    Patricia Almaraz (she/her/hers)

    Areas of Specialty: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

    Fourth-year undergrad, double majoring in Human Developmental Science & Spanish Literature. Patricia’s writing experience includes the Eleanor Roosevelt College, Making of the Modern World Series (MMW11-MMW 15); Undergraduate Research Scholarship for Arts & Humanities; Undergraduate Research Scholarship for Social Sciences; TRELS Research Program; various UCSD undergraduate scholarships, among other academic and professional projects. 

  • Diana Calderon

    Diana Calderon

    Areas of Specialty: Social Sciences & Humanities

    As a third-year undergraduate junior, Diana is double-majoring in Global Health and Ethnic Studies. She is especially interested in researching Latinx women’s health, which entails examining the impacts of culture and identity on mental, physical, and environmental health.

  • Marisol Cuong

    Marisol Cuong

    Areas of Specialty: Social Sciences & Humanities

    Born and raised in Los Angeles, Marisol pursued her B.A at UC Berkeley where she majored in Spanish and Portuguese languages and literature. Marisol’s doctoral research analyzes institutional violence toward communities of color through literary productions.

  • Luis Diaz (He/Him/His)

    Luis Diaz (He/Him/His)

    Areas of Specialty: Social Sciences & STEM

    Mexican-born; Luis is a fourth-year Eleanor Roosevelt undergrad majoring in Cognitive Science specializing in Design and Interaction. He is graduating this Spring and hopes to stay in San Diego in order to work in tech. He hopes to come back to school and attain a master's program. He believes that education holds so much value and wants to give back to the Latinx community as much as he can. 

  • Irvin Gómez (He/Him/His)

    Irvin Gómez (He/Him/His)

    Areas of Specialty: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

    Mexican-born & LA-raised; Irvin is a third-year Muir undergrad majoring in Business Psychology and Visual Arts. Considering his immigrant experiences, his work aims to extend the conversation for public involvement as a way to dismantle prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping in unrepresented communities. Promoting courage leads to empowering autonomy.

Student Interns

  • Cristian Fuentes-Hernandez (he/him/his)

    Cristian Fuentes-Hernandez (he/him/his)

    Yield and Access Intern

    Cristian is a rising Political Science and Latin American Studies, a second-year student from Marshall college. Cristian wants to become a professor, help break those barriers that affect students to get an education and inspire more people to go to college and fulfill their dreams. This year Cristian wants to make sure that you don’t feel alone and can maximize your potential at UCSD. Outside of the RRC, you will find Cristian in MEChA, book stores or just walking around.

  • Fatima Maciel (she/her/hers)

    Fatima Maciel (she/her/hers)

    Arte y Cultura Intern

    Fatima is a second-year Eleanor Roosevelt College student majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Ethnic Studies. She was born and raised in San Jose, California, but has since moved to La Jolla for school. Fatima is a first-generation Mexican-American student whose family immigrated from Guadalajara, Jalisco. She enjoys running long-distance, dancing, taking care of her plants, painting/creating things, cooking, and going out to the beach to boogie board. Fatima is also a part of PANA’s Youth Congress who advocates for refugee rights in the local San Diego area. She hopes to strengthen and build the Latinx community at UCSD and empower her fellow students to maximize their potential and challenge the oppressive institutions that continue to marginalize our people. After college, she hopes to attend law school to pursue a career as an immigration attorney working for non-profit organizations.

  • Hannah Ordonez (she/her/hers)

    Hannah Ordonez (she/her/hers)

    Yield and Access Intern

    Hannah is a 3rd-year Muir College student pursuing a B.S. in Math-Econ and minors in Data Science and Chicanx/Latinx studies. She was born and raised in Orange County but has spent the past couple of years in La Jolla for school. Hannah is also a proud first-generation student whose family comes from Oaxaca, Mexico, and Guatemala. She passionately enjoys Mathematics, animals (like her two cats!), and coffee. Hannah has also been involved with OASIS at UCSD for multiple years as a Summer Bridge student, 2Excel student, and most recently, a Summer Bridge Resource Assistant for incoming Summer Bridge students. She hopes to be a role model and advocate for other Latinx/Chicanx students in higher education.

  • Anakaren Perez (she/her/hers)

    Anakaren Perez (she/her/hers)

    Civic Engagement Intern

    Anakaren is a fourth-year student from Muir with a General Biology major and a minor in Psychology. She was raised on the Mexicali-Calexico border. She is now president of IVSOL and hopes to bring more imperial valley students to attend four-year institutions. Her goal is to become a psychiatrist in the future and work primarily with Latinx communities. Her aspirations include providing resources for students to fulfill their dreams whether it is in academia, arts, and/or learning specific traits. As well as improve the representation of our community and inspire students throughout their journeys.

  • Eduardo Pintado (he/him/his)

    Eduardo Pintado (he/him/his)

    Program Assistant Intern

    Eduardo is a 4th-year Neurobiology Pre-Med student from Eleanor Roosevelt College. He is beyond excited to work with incoming students who have not yet experienced the UCSD on-campus lifestyle. His passions and hobbies include theatre, live music, community involvement, tasting new foods, and traveling. He would also like everyone to know that he is one of the largest Star Wars fans to ever exist and welcomes people to engage in conversations about the galaxy far far away at any time. He looks forward to meeting new faces and helping them the best that he can in achieving their biggest dreams and aspirations for their future.

  • Ivvan Reyna (he/him/his)

    Ivvan Reyna (he/him/his)

    QTPOC Programs Intern

    Ivvan Reyna is a 4th-year Marine Biology Major from John Muir College who plans on pursuing a nursing career in the future by becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). He was born in Riverside, California, but has lived in San Diego for most of his life. Ivvan is a first-generation Queer Latinx student. His interest in working for the Raza Resource Centro sparked as quickly as hiring positions became available since he enjoys working and providing support for marginalized communities. He enjoys reading gay poetry, dancing, drawing anime, and watching Netflix during his free time! 

  • Selena Sanchez (she/her/hers)

    Selena Sanchez (she/her/hers)

    Social Justice Intern

    Selena Sanchez is from the Bay Area and transferred to UCSD in 2020 as a junior. She is a sociology major with a concentration in social inequalities and a minor in psychology. As a transfer student, she values creating space for transfers to feel valid and at home on campus. She is passionate about combating gentrification and properly dispersing resources to communities in need. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, sewing, baking, dancing, singing out of tune, and other activities that allow her to bond with her grandmother.

  • Gabriela Tessier (she/her/hers/they/them)

    Gabriela Tessier (she/her/hers/they/them)

    Arte y Cultura Intern

    Gabriela is a 3rd and final-year Muir College student majoring in History with an emphasis in Latin America and minoring in Ethnic Studies. She identifies as a mixed Mexican-American, born and raised in Chula Vista, CA. Their hobbies include drawing/painting, writing, watching anime, and learning about astrology. She is also the 2021-22 HA for F-House at Muir College. Gabriela hopes to continue the RRC’s work of highlighting the beauty of our different cultures and offering a safe space for all Latinx/a/o/e-aligned students on our campus. After college, they hope to pursue further coursework in mortuary science and become a restorative artist/funeral home director.

  • Marysol Valdez (she/her/hers)

    Marysol Valdez (she/her/hers)

    Advertising and Marketing Intern

    Marysol is a second-year undergraduate student in Muir College. Her major is currently Undeclared, however, she plans on pursuing a degree in Ethnic Studies with a minor in Public Policy. Marysol was born and raised in Fresno, California, and moved with her family to San Diego during her sophomore year of high school. Marysol has a passion for service, social justice, and community organizing and plans on continuing to promote equality and equity for the Latinx community. During her free time, Marysol enjoys going to the beach, going on hikes, and spending time with her loved ones.