Geraldine (“Dean”) Sare was born and raised in So. California and is a proud CSUN alum. 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. Later, she began advising international undergraduate students and coordinating programs and events toward international student advocacy. She has been with the Hub since it formed in May 2019. Dean appreciates her work in helping first year freshman and believes in a positive advising experience as an integral part of student success. Besides cheering for the Dodgers and reading, Dean enjoys traveling and time with family and friends.
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!
Senior Academic Advisor/ Advising Lead, CSUN Connections
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. Ernesto is also adjunct faculty at CSUDH where he is teaching traditional music from Oaxaca.
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.
Hello, my name is Ivania Fictoria, and I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I am a proud CSUN Matador alum, and received my Master’s degree in Counseling, option College Counseling and Student Services. As a graduate student at CSUN, I gained valuable experiences such as serving as a mentor for University 100 and experiencing graduate internships in the Career Center and Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES). I enjoy working with students to help them navigate the college journey, assist them in discovering their interests and strengths, learn about their unique experiences, and overall provide ongoing support. My counseling philosophy follows a student-centered approach in meeting students where they are in their learning and development and providing opportunities for students to be supported and also challenged to grow and learn. During my free time, I love spending time with my German shepherd dogs, watching Dodger baseball and Lakers basketball and trying new food places!
Nereida "Neddie" Garcia
Senior Academic Advisor
Neddie Garcia is a Senior Academic Advisor for the Matador Advising Hub. Neddie graduated from Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard, CA. At CSUN, she completed 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 College of Health and Human Development, SSC/EOP, Satellite. She has approximately 15 years of experience as an academic advisor in various areas of higher education including educational planning, career counseling and program development. 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 higher education and provide support to students while navigating their college experience and future goals.
Senior Academic Advisor & First-Year F-1 International Academic Advisement Coordinator
Antonio is a proud CSUN alum. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology in 2004. He has a combined advising experience that expands over 20 years, which started in 2001 as a student peer mentor/advisor, then as a professional advisor in 2004 working at UC Irvine. 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. He now advises new F-1 international students at the Hub and coordinates their advisement services. When advising students, Antonio believes in a holistic student-centered approach and values the opportunity to support students in reaching their academic goals.
Hi! Welcome to the Matador Hub! My name is Jocelyn Guerrero, and here are some fun facts about me. I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. I graduated from Manual Arts High School and began my post-secondary education journey at Los Angeles City College (LACC). After years of hard work and dedication, I was able to transfer to my dream school, CSUN, as a Chicano Studies major and Gender and Women’s Studies minor. I’m a proud MATADOR for life, and as the say goes, “Once a MATADOR, always a MATADOR!” After graduating from CSUN, I went to graduate school and obtained a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Mount Saint Mary’s University. Over the years, I’ve truly enjoyed being able to support students in various avenues, including transfer students and new and returning community college students, and look forward to supporting our awesome CSUN scholars. Working in higher education has been such a rewarding experience, especially seeing students fulfill their goals and accomplishments. As a CSUN student, I faced various challenges, and for a brief moment, I just wanted to give up. However, with the support of my awesome advisors and university resources, I pushed through until the very end, and here we are. My goal as an advisor is to provide the necessary and essential tools and resources for students to feel supported and encouraged during their time at CSUN. My advising philosophy and approach is to provide compassion and empathy when supporting students, but most importantly, to provide a safe environment. During my self-care time, I enjoy going on walks with my fur babies Oreo and Ozzy, spending quality time with my sisters, cooking with my family, and painting on canvas using acrylic paint.
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.
My name is Andy Hutchinson. I was born and raised in the Antelope Valley, but now reside in Santa Clarita. I received my B.A. in Psychology here at CSUN. GO MATADORS! I have a passion for helping students ; by understanding who they are, what they go through, how we can overcome obstacles, and ways we can succeed is my approach to advising. I am here to make all our students feel welcomed, supported, and heard. If I’m not with family, I’m with family. I love to learn new things, whether fixing the car, a house project, or a new recipe you can always find me doing something.
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.
Kathy Martinez was born in the San Fernando Valley where she was raised by two hard-working Salvadoran immigrant parents. Her journey in higher education began at Moorpark College, where she graduated with an associate degree in Child and Adolescent Development before transferring to CSUN. Here, she obtained a B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences-Family Studies option. She continued her education at CSUN and earned an M.A. in Higher Education Leadership. Kathy has over four years of experience working in higher education, as a student assistant and a peer advisor. She enjoys helping students that come from all walks of life and academically advising them throughout their time at CSUN. In her free time, she enjoys travelling with her husband and spending time with her family.
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.
Hello! My name is Eva Navarro and I was born in Acapulco Guerrero, Mexico! I moved to San Diego when I was 8, and then finally settled in the Valley when I was 13 years old and I have been here ever since. I initiated my studies at Los Angeles Mission College and then transferred to Northridge in 2016. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree from CSUN in 2018 and in 2023, I graduated with my Master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership & Policy Studies. During my undergraduate journey, I had the opportunity to begin working with the office of EOP&S/CARE at LAMC. Working for EOP&S opened the world of education and I fell in love with it. I worked closely with students to further assist their education journey by providing counseling appointments, answering basic questions about the program, and overall student services. I returned to CSUN as a Records Representative and stayed for almost four years! Supporting students is one of my passions and I continued to do so with Enrollment Services at CSUN and now at the Hub! My experiences with LAMC, CSUN, and my passion for education helped me realize that I want to stay in the field and facilitate the education journey for students pursuing their goals.
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.
Hi there! My name is Desiree and I am from the Northridge area. I briefly lived and studied Communicative Sciences in San Francisco prior to transferring "home" to CSUN where I switched my major and earned a B.A. in Linguistics. I have always been wildly interested in modern software (within the creative arts) and human development which is why I initially wanted to work in biotech and music rehabilitative services for trauma patients until I began working in higher education. While I was an undergraduate student at CSUN, I was fortunate to work as a Peer Academic Advisor at the Nazarian College of Business and Economics. I absolutely loved getting to know students and answering any questions they had about their classes and on-campus resources! From my experience working in academic advisement at CSUN along with human resources in the tech industry, my career interests shifted as I discovered that I genuinely love to advise and help people learn. I plan on earning my M.A. in Instructional Design so that I can integrate more technology and different teaching methods into academic advising. I love to spend my free time creating just about anything ranging from decorated baked goods, sewn accessories, paper crafts, digital artwork, and experimenting with music software!
Hello! My name is Debby Picado. I was born and raised in L.A. but now live in the Northridge area. I am a proud Alumni of CSUN! I received my B.A. in Child & Adolescent Development and my M.S. in Counseling with a specialization in College Counseling & Student Services. At first, I wanted to work with children but later on my passion grew for the population of college students. I enjoy seeing students discover themselves and their own passions. Whether it be in academics, personally, professionally or spiritually. I believe an all-encompassed approach is key to support students. CSUN has a special place in my heart because it is where I found my true passion both professionally and personally. At CSUN I worked in various departments from the Career Center, Student Involvement and Student Housing. My goals were to help students find their place at CSUN and pursue their goals. On my spare time I am also the College Ministry Advisor of my church Good Shepherd Fellowship, also a Christian club here at CSUN. In this role I advise and mentor students through both challenging and rewarding life experiences. Now as an Academic Advisor at The Hub. I want to continue giving back to CSUN, in hope that our first-time freshmen will feel welcomed, supported and encouraged. On my spare time I enjoy hiking, traveling, singing, movies, cooking, all with my beautiful baby girl, husband and all our family.
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.