Geraldine (“Dean”) Sare was born and raised in Southern California and is a proud CSUN alum in Psychology. She attended graduate school at Pepperdine University and earned a M.A. in Psychology. Her professional advising career began at Woodbury University. She returned to CSUN as part of the Liberal Studies advisement team and eventually became the Assistant Director. Later, she began advising international undergraduate students and coordinating programs and events toward international student advocacy. With the Hub, she appreciates her work and being part of the CSUN Community and believes in a positive advising experience as an integral part of student success. Besides cheering for the Dodgers and reading, Dean enjoys spending time with family, friends, and her dog.
Julie was born in Los Angeles, CA and was raised in Brazil. After living overseas for ten years, she moved back to the U.S. and completed her high school education in Culver City, CA. She attended West Los Angeles College and transferred to CSUN to earn a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. Julie continued her education at CSUN by pursuing an M.S. in Counseling, specialized in College Counseling and Student Services. She has experience working with student involvement on campus, students who have been disqualified, and providing academic advisement for a variety of student populations majoring in social and behavioral sciences. Julie is passionate about helping students navigate college. To accomplish this, she aims to empower them with the support, information and resources needed to help them achieve their goals. During her free time, she enjoys learning new things and spending time with her loved ones and her cat, Freud.
Senior Training and Development Specialist
Hi! My name is Amanda Bradstock-Waitz. I have been advising full-time since 2010, starting in the Nazarian College of Business and Economics SSC/EOP Satellite and now at The Hub. I love helping students in a holistic way, meaning that I believe all academic paths are influenced by personal, financial, psychological, and physical factors. I especially love helping students explore their career and academic opportunities. I have earned my Masters in Science in Counseling, option in College Counseling and Student Services as well as my Graduate Certificate in Career Education and Counseling at California State University, Northridge. Prior to my graduate school experiences, I graduated from University of California, San Diego with a Bachelors of Arts in Human Development and a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology (specializing in Biological Anthropology), as well as a minor in Psychology. All these experiences and more have brought me here to The Hub, where I am happy to help others embark on their college and career journeys. Welcome to CSUN and I hope to assist you while you are here!
Galaxies Project Coordinator & Senior Academic Advisor
Grace was born and raised in the Santa Clarita Valley. She attended Fresno State where she studied Kinesiology and was a member of the Track and Field team, as a Hammer thrower. Grace returned home to attend CSUN, earning her Master Degree in Education, specifically College Counseling and Student Services. Grace has experience in many areas of Advisement, from first year Freshman and Transfers, to EOP students and Student Athletes, to multiple majors and minors on campus. Most recently, Grace was the Academic Advisor for the Nursing Department before coming to the Hub. Grace takes a proactive, challenge and support perspective when working with students. She believes in turning independence on the Advisor to Interdependence, where the Advisor and student work as a team toward helping the student succeed and graduate.
Hello! My name is Alvaro Castillo and I am a proud product of the College of Humanities. For my undergraduate and graduate career, I studied English, focusing specifically on Creative Writing. Prior to arriving at CSUN, I attended Los Angeles Mission College where I transferred with Associates Degrees in Psychology, Communication and Literature, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and English. At CSUN I have had the good fortune to work in the Learning Resource Center, for the Office of Undergraduate Studies, with the EOP DREAM Center, and for the College of Humanities Student Services Center/EOP. I believe that reading and writing, no matter the major in question, is fundamental for any student’s success and I am excited to share my insights with all of you!
Connections Coordinator and Academic Advisor
Ernesto Cruz, a native of Los Angeles, graduated from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) with a Bachelor in Music in Clarinet Performance and earned his Master in Fine Arts in Clarinet Performance at California Institute of the Arts. His mentors include Dr. Julia Heinen, William Powell, Vinny Golia, Allen Vogel, and Mark Menzies. Ernesto returned to CSUN to serve as the Senior EOP Advisor for the MCCAMC SRC/EOP Satellite. In his role, Ernesto provided academic advisement, career development, and support services to students. Ernesto believes the holistic approach to advisement is the best way to connect students with the resources and services they need to succeed.
Soudabeh Faghihi is a CSUN alum. She completed her master’s degree in cultural anthropology with a focus on intercultural dynamics while she was working as a research assistant and ESL tutor at CSUN. She worked for two years as the Administrative Support Assistant for Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies Departments. Now, she is the office manager at Matador Advising Hub. She enjoys learning about other cultures and languages and she highly values diversity. She is a nature enthusiast and loves hiking.
Nereida "Neddie" Garcia
Senior Academic Advisor
Neddie Garcia is a new counselor for the Matador Advising Hub. Previously, Neddie worked for the College of Health & Human Development (CHHD) SSC/EOP, Satellite at CSUN. Neddie graduated from Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, CA. She is an alumna from CSUN, having received her B.A. in Chicano/a Studies and Linguistics, with a minor in Sociology and her M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis in College Counseling & Student Services. During her studies in the program she began working full-time with undergraduate students in the CHHD SSC/EOP, Satellite. She has over 10 years of experience as an Academic Advisor in various areas of higher education including educational planning, career counseling, personal counseling and program development. Neddie is a first generation college student with a commitment to student’s access to education. She is dedicated to supporting first-time freshman students while on their journey to achieving their personal, academic and career goals. Neddie’s experiences as a former exploratory major and undergraduate student in the Educational Opportunity Program have cemented her desire to work in education and provide support to students, in navigating their college experience and future goals.
Hi, my name is Nicole Goddard and I am a proud CSUN alum. I earned my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Development and Master of Science Degree in Counseling with a specialization in Career Counseling. In my professional career, I began working in the community college setting as a career and academic counselor, but had to return to CSUN to give back to our students. I believe in a holistic advising approach that considers all aspects of an individual’s development. My passions include helping students to develop their own tools to be successful in college and to build their career path based on their interests, experiences, and values. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my son and his dad, going out to new restaurants/coffee shops, and releasing my energy at the gym.
Antonio is a proud CSUN alum. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology in 2004. He has a combined advising experience that expands over 18 years, which started in 2001 as a student peer mentor/advisor, then as a professional advisor in 2004 working at UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge. Since his return to CSUN, he has worked with students in Liberal Studies, the College of Humanities, and the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics. When advising students, Antonio believes in a holistic student-centered approach and values each opportunity to support students in reaching their academic goals.
Hello! My name is Elaine Ham and I graduated from CSUN in the Liberal Studies Program with my K-12 Teaching Credential and received my Masters in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University. I’m a California native but have spent time abroad for several years in various countries focusing on community outreach, teaching, and volunteering. I’m passionate about supporting students of all backgrounds and focus on the whole person approach—integrating all aspects of life into your learning and academic success. I look forward to best supporting you in your goals.
Shonekwa "Shay" James Briggs
First Year F-1 International Academic Advisor
Shonekwa “Shay” James Briggs provides academic advisement to new undergraduate F-1 international and domestic first-time freshmen at the Matador Advising Hub. Shay is a proud first-generation alumni of CSUN, where she obtained her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Finance, as well as her M.A. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies with an option in Higher Education. Shay is passionate about tackling social justice issues faced by underrepresented urban and international students in the US, as well as advocating for educational policies that promote multiculturalism, equity, and diversity throughout higher education. Shay believes in helping all students reach their highest potential by maintaining an environment of unconditional care, high standards, and holistic support of the whole student, both academically and professionally as a mentor.
Senior Academic Advisor
Marine Lousparian is one of the Academic Advisors at the Matador Advising Hub. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and her Master’s Degree in Health Administration. Prior to the Advising Hub she was the Coordinator of Advisement Services in the College of Science and Mathematics SSC/EOP office. During her time in the College of Science and Math she worked closely with Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and Student Health Professionals Pre-Entry Program (SHP-PEP) students. She was one of the co-founders of the SHP-PEP Program in 2005. This program helps students who have an interest in the health field to be part of a pipeline that guides them through graduation and gears them toward the health professional career pathway that they have chosen. She has always been dedicated to student success and increasing graduation rates. Her personal advising philosophy is to handle each student with care, understanding and goal in mind. Every student has a potential to succeed in their own unique style of learning. She has been working at California State University Northridge (CSUN) for the past sixteen years. She comes out of her sixteen year experience with a better understanding of empathy and a passion to educate and learn from others. Marine currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and three kids.
Gael Farajian McDermott
Gael Farajian McDermott is a native of the San Fernando Valley. She brings to the team her extensive experience and impressive background in business operations, physical and facility management, budgeting and employee management within the entertainment industry. Gael began her career at CSUN in the College of Humanities Dean’s office as Special Events and Programs Liaison and is now Operations Specialist for the Matador Advising Hub. Gael is key in assisting with the collaboration, set-up, organization and process management in the establishment of department operations. She is a recent graduate of the University of Redlands with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Management. She also received her certificate in Project Management from the University of Redlands as well as a certificate in Human Resource Management from UCLA. Gael is passionate about philanthropy and is very involved in the community.
Graduation & Retention Advising Specialist
Martha Noyola is a Senior Academic Advisor at the Matador Advising Hub, she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Chicano/a Studies at University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration at St Cloud State University in Minnesota. Martha was raised in a migrant family, moving around the country following seasonal crops until moving to Salinas, CA where she attended and graduated from high school. She was the first person in her family to attend college and graduate which is the main reason that she is so passionate about college access, student development and success. Martha has made it her personal and professional goal to help students access and learn to navigate their college experience, not only to survive, but to thrive. Martha has over 12 years of experience working with students in a higher education institution and over 18 years working in issues of social justice.
Daíl was born in Chiapas, Mexico and was raised in Los Angeles. She began her higher education journey at Santa Monica Community College and transferred to Cal State Long Beach, where she attained her B.A. in Human Development. She then pursued a Masters in Higher Education Administration. Her experience includes running a youth program to promote college-going culture within underserved communities in South LA. She transitioned onto Admissions and Financial Aid Advising for five years. Working with USC and the Los Angeles Film School has given Daíl the opportunity to advise students and parents on admission requirements and helping finance their education. Her passion for working with students comes from her personal experience in navigating higher education as an undocumented student and witnessing how every student’s journey vastly differs. Daíl recognizes all students come from different backgrounds and have their own obstacles. This is why she aims to take a holistic approach and consider all aspects of a student when advising. Working together with students, she aims to guide and provide the tools necessary for them to attain their academic goals.
Senior Academic Advisor
Claudia S. Richarte is a Senior Academic Advisor at the Matador Advising Hub. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Child Development as well as Psychology in the spring of 2000 and a Chicana/o Studies degree in the spring of 2009. Claudia further pursued her passion for learning by successfully obtaining her Masters of Arts in Educational Administration with an emphasis in Higher Education in the spring of 2014 from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). In over 18 years as a staff member at CSUN, Claudia has helped thousands of students successfully achieve their academic and personal goals. As an advisor to first time freshman, former foster youth and EOP students, her work with the Exploratory student population allowed her to provide guidance and insight into the various fields of study available to them. Additionally, Claudia also ran a Peer Advisor Mentor program for Exploratory student advisement, which provided additional support and mentorship to first time freshman. As an experienced advisor, she believes in the holistic approach to advising by exploring the obstacles students face today and developing attainable goals to help students overcome these academic and personal challenges.
Lucio Simental was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated from Oxnard College with his Associate of Arts in 2007, graduated from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) with his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2011 and received his Master of Arts in Educational Administration-Higher Education also from CSUN in 2015. Lucio has been in advising and mentoring since 2006, he was a peer advisor at Oxnard College from 2006 to 2007, a peer advisor mentor at CSUN for Undecided students from 2008 to 2011 and an academic advisor also at CSUN for Exploratory students from 2014 to 2019. Lucio believes that mentoring and guidance play a key role in student success and has always enjoyed helping others reach their educational goals. He is excited to be working with new incoming freshmen and to be part of the Matador Advising Hub.
First-Year F-1 International Academic Advisor
Hello! My name is Maryna Volkava. I was born and raised in Belarus, small country located in Eastern Europe. I graduated from Polotsk State University with a Bachelor’s degree in English. I started working at CSUN in 2009 as a Representative in the International Admissions Office. I became an International Admissions Advisor in 2012 assisting international students achieve their educational dream in the US. My goal at The HUB is to provide support and advisement to students and encourage them to achieve their educational and career goals.