UCSB Teacher Education Program: Our current community of excellent teacher candidates

TEP Current Students

Alvarez, Efrain
Efrain Alvarez is a first-generation Mexican-American graduate student pursuing his Masters of Education, as well as an educational specialist credential in moderate to severe disabilities at UCSB’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. He completed his undergraduate studies in Sociology at California State University Northridge. Efrain has a desire to serve and advocate for families in the disabled community. He hopes to use his bilingualism to serve Spanish speaking families who have been underserved.

Aponte, Nicole
Nicole Aponte is a graduate student pursuing her Masters of Education and her Education Specialist Credential in mild to moderate disabilities through UCSB's TEP program. She received a BA in Interdisciplinary Educational Studies at California Lutheran University in the winter of 2020. She has worked and volunteered in classrooms with various grades and areas since high school. A fun fact is that she taught English in Rwanda, Africa for a summer and hopes to return again once graduated. Santa Barbara is her hometown and she can't wait to return to her old schools as the teacher! Once graduated, Nicole looks forward to teaching in classrooms and being an advocate for special education. She can be reached at: naponte@ucsb.edu

Arenivas, Darlene
Darlene Arenivas (she/her/hers) is an M.Ed. candidate in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, pursuing her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Darlene, a first-generation college graduate, earned her B.A. in Spanish with minors in applied psychology and educational studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her undergraduate studies, she worked as a Youth Development Professional at the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara. Also, Darlene completed 80 volunteer hours at Harding University Partnership School in Santa Barbara as a pre-professional. After graduation, Darlene worked as a tutor and assisted 2nd and 3rd graders in navigating through online learning. These experiences validated her desire to become a teacher and fed her passion for working with disadvantaged youth. Darlene can be reached at darenivas@ucsb.edu

Becerra, Alexis
Alexis Becerra is a current graduate student in the Teacher Education Program, where she is pursuing her Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and her Master’s Degree in Education. She is from Winton, Ca, and in May 2020, Alexis received her B.A. in Child Development and her minor in Education from Sacramento State University. She has been working/volunteering with children between TK and 5th grade for 6 years. Her passion for working with children stems from a variety of experiences- including being a Math Tutor, volunteering at Project R.I.D.E, coaching through Sports 4 Learning, and working at the Children’s Center at Sac State. Alexis also worked as a Kindergarten Instructional Aid at Ballico Elementary School where she gained valuable experience and knowledge in classroom management and lesson planning. Alexis is very passionate about inspiring little minds and can’t wait to teach. Alexis can be reached at alexiscbecerra@ucsb.edu.

Block, Alisa
Alisa Block is pursuing a Masters in Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics. Growing up, her family was low income, and she and her siblings would be the first generation to go to college. School was always very important to her, and after graduating high school she moved to Santa Barbara where she attended Santa Barbara City College and University of California Santa Barbara. Alisa Graduated from UCSB in 2017 with a BA in Psychology and Minor in Applied Psychology. She first worked as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, where she helped improve both mental and physical health of her clients, as well as teaching them about health and exercise science. Enjoying her role as an educator, Alisa sought out teaching as a substitute teacher with the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD). While working as a long term substitute teacher at Dos Pueblos High School prior to and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, Alisa reinforced her passion for teaching and her understanding of the importance teachers have in their students' lives. Alisa hopes to make valuable connections with her students and to be able to make a positive impact on their lives and their learning. Alisa may be reached by email at alisablock@ucsb.edu.

Bradbury, Megan
Megan Bradbury (she/they) is an enthusiastic, lifelong learner pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in History/ Social Science and a Master’s degree in Education through UCSB’s Teacher Education Program. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Psychology, they spent time taking Clinical Psychology coursework, working as a behavior technician, volunteering in the classroom, and working as a barista. Megan values a collaborative learning environment and hopes to engage students’ inherent motivation to learn, develop critical thought, practice empathy, and express their unique identities. She will strive to create an equitable educational space that values the importance of language, history, and justice to empower students through new narratives and advocate for them by connecting them to resources. Megan wants the students they work with to feel seen, valued, capable, and supported. Feel free to reach out to them any time at meganbradbury@ucsb.edu.

Brown, Bryan
Bryan Brown (He/They) is a current graduate student in the Teacher Education Program at the Gevirtz School of Education, pursuing a Master of Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in the Spring of 2021 earning his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Minor in Music. His passion for teaching was sparked in High School after having exceptional math teachers and an amazing Yearbook Supervisor. Bryan had the opportunity to work in two after-school programs in the City of Claremont, where they supervised students and put on different activities for students to get involved in. They also were a lifeguard at the community’s Wading Pool, supervising and ensuring the safety of kids in the water. As he continues to pursue his Master’s and Teaching Credential, he hopes that his future classroom is a space for students to be their true authentic selves as they acquire new mathematical skills and techniques. He hopes that students find solace in the way that math teaches different ways to problem solve, which can translate into everyday life. In their free time, Bryan likes to sing, play instruments, and take photos. He can be reached at bryan03@ucsb.edu.

Burchard, Kora
Kora Burchard is a first generation graduate student in UCSB’s Teacher Education Program working towards her Masters in Education as well as her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in hopes to teach lower elementary school. Kora grew up in the Northern Bay Area and ended up finding her “place in space,” as her Grandpa likes to call it, in Santa Barbara. She graduated from UCSB with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and a minor in Education in December 2020. Outside of teaching, Kora is a Holistic Health Coach who loves being outside and traveling the world. Kora appreciates all backgrounds and ways of being and wants to create a classroom that allows students to live in their full authentic identity knowing that they are supported, valued, and accepted through creating connections and content that is culturally relevant and transparent. Kora also wants to instill the importance of finding balance in social emotional wellness from a multicultural lens to support physical and mental health in her students to carry with them throughout their academic careers. Lastly, Kora wants to make sure to create a classroom environment that incorporates joy and fun, hoping that her students are excited about coming to school and learn. Kora is always happy to connect and can be reached at koraburchard@ucsb.edu.

Cabelli, Devon
Devon Cabelli (she/her/hers) is a Multiple Subject Teaching candidate at University of California, Santa Barbara, and is hoping to become an elementary school teacher. She graduated from University of California, Irvine in 2020 with a bachelors in Education Sciences and is excited to begin shaping the minds of young students. Growing up, Devon spent multiple years and opportunities working with and teaching children, ranging from babysitting to tutoring. This has led her to her passion for education. Her goal is to create an inclusive classroom environment in which students feel safe and comfortable to explore and share their own interests and experiences whilst simultaneously learning the critical thinking skills necessary to be successful throughout their lives. Devon hopes to form close relationships with her students and her colleagues in an effort to promote community and support. Devon can be reached at dcabelli@ucsb.edu.

Cañas-Gonzalez, Valerie
Valerie Cañas-Gonzalez (she/her/hers) is a Teacher Education Program candidate pursuing her Single Subject Credential in English along with her Masters in Education. She graduated from California State University, Chico in 2020 with her Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. Valerie’s passion for teaching began with her involvement in a highschool organization that afforded her the opportunity to teach highschool students up and down California. Following this experience, Valerie pursued opportunities to serve various communities inside and outside of the classroom, both domestically and internationally. From teaching the process of farming as a summer camp counselor at an organic farm camp in California, to teaching English in the Middle East and Asia, Valerie fell in love with working alongside brilliant minds. She finds joy in creating educational experiences that are encouraging, dynamic, and community-oriented. Being a first-generation college student, Valerie looks forward to cultivating a classroom environment where students can be confident and active participants in their learning career. Valerie can be reached at vrcanas@gmail.com.

Carrillo, Sofia
Sofia Carrillo is a first-generation graduate student in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing the Education Specialist Credential with focus on Extensive Support Needs and Masters of Education. She received her BA in Liberal Studies; Teaching and Learning Emphasis from CSU Channel Islands in 2020. Born and raised in Santa Barbara County, specifically Lompoc, Sofia found her passion for teaching while working as a teacher assistant in Latino populated schools. She hopes to become a teacher who is culturally relevant, because being a woman of color herself she understands that all people can attain success regardless of ethnicity, race, or gender and that is the same attitude she wants to instill in her students and their families. Sofia aims to make students with special needs feel valued, empowered, and supported so that they can live the most fulfilling lives possible. Sofia can be reached at sofiacarrillo@ucsb.edu.

Coy, Abigail
Abigail Coy (she/her) is a teacher candidate in the single subject credential program with a focus on science and chemistry. She’s originally from Lancaster, CA. Abby graduated from UCSB in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, then spent a year working as a nanny, an AVID tutor, and volunteer mock trial team coach before entering the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education for the 2021-2022 school year. Abby is passionate about sustainability, health and wellbeing, and growing and cooking food, so she hopes to incorporate plenty of hands-on, dirt-covered activities into her science teaching. One of Abby’s goals as a teacher is to emphasize the practical applications of chemistry in everyday life, especially as they relate to modern day problems and solutions. She hopes to build an environment where her students will learn to be critical thinkers and community leaders, to teach and lift each other up in a collaborative classroom community. She can be reached at acoy@ucsb.edu.

De Santiago, Gustavo
Gustavo De Santiago (he/they) is a First-Generation Graduate Student at the Gevirtz School of Education pursuing his M.Ed in Education and Single Subject Teaching Credential in History/Social Science. He graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in History and was actively involved in LGBTQ+ advocacy and programing on and off campus. Born and raised in East County San Diego, Gustavo has always been inspired and encouraged by his many teachers and mentors to reach beyond what he could ever imagine for himself. His admiration for his teachers, combined with his love of critically relevant history further cemented his desire to pursue a career in teaching. Gustavo hopes to continue to pass down the knowledge, resources and space afforded to him by his teachers with engaging, fun, and relevant lessons. Yes, this includes dressing as historical figures. Gustavo is also fond of costumes. Please feel free to reach Gustavo at gdesantiago@ucsb.edu.

Eisner, Andrew
Andrew Eisner is pursuing his Single Subject Teaching Credential in English, along with a Masters in Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara Teacher Education Program. Andrew graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2021 with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and Education. While attending there, he tutored 9th graders in algebra at Alliance Ouchi 6-12 in Los Angeles, and later on read to and did projects with low-income Los Angeles preschoolers, virtually over Zoom. Given that he comes from a Salvadoran background, is bilingual, and grew up in the heavily Latinx and low-income populated city of Santa Maria, his aim is to give back to his community. He aspires to empower students to think, feel, read, and write freely about their cultures, their identities, social justice, language, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), emotional intelligence, and ultimately anything that will lead them to lead more socially conscious, community oriented, self-confident, and happier lives. He is also eager to learn from and cherish the incalculable brilliance and memories that his students will offer him for the foreseeable future. He can be reached at dreweisner34@gmail.com.

England, Elena
Elena England is a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program at Gevirtz School of Education, pursing an Education Specialist Credential and Masters in Moderate to Severe supports needs teaching. She received a degree in Sociology at UCSB and graduated in June of 2021. Elena has worked at Parters in Education for the Job Readiness program facilitating workshops for disadvantaged students. She enjoys spending time with her friends and family, traveling, hiking, and reading. Elena hopes to make a difference in the lives of her students and give them the tools they need to be successful in life. She can be reached at elenarengland@gmail.com.

Enriquez, Maritsa
Maritsa Enriquez (she/her/hers) is an M.Ed. candidate pursuing a multiple subject credential in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. Maritsa received a B.S. in nutrition with a minor in psychology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She has extensive experience working with elementary age children, both in and out of the classroom. Most recently, her work as a substitute teacher, paraprofessional, and after-school tutor in Hawaii was what led her to pursue teaching as a career. Maritsa is inspired by the incredible imagination children have. Along with creating a culturally sustaining pedagogy, she hopes to weave elements of her passion and background in wellness into her classroom environment. Maritsa strives to incorporate themes of kindness, compassion, exploration, and lifelong learning into her teaching. Feel free to reach out to Maritsa at maritsaenriquez@ucsb.edu.

Estrada, Perla
Perla Estrada (she/her/hers/ella) is a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara, pursuing her M.Ed., Multiple Subject Credential, and Bilingual Authorization. As a first generation student Perla graduated from both Allan Hancock and Cuesta College before transferring to Cal Poly SLO where she received her B.S in Liberal Studies in June of 2021. During Perla’s undergrad career she fell in love with teaching and the ideologies of bringing equity and inclusivity into the classroom. At Cal Poly Perla was a part of EOP, Hammock Club, and ASI Board of Directors as well as being a Week of Welcome (WOW) leader and volunteer for Poly Cultural Weekend. Perla is excited to be furthering her educational journey here at UCSB where she hopes to grow as a person through the hard days, easy days, fun days, and inspirational days. As a future bilingual educator, Perla wants her students to know que “¡Si Se Puede!”  Perla can be reached at estradaguadalupe0@gmail.com.

Fiedorek, Ian
Ian Fiedorek (he/him) is pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English and a Master of Education at UCSB. A lifelong New Yorker until his recent move to Santa Barbara, Ian graduated from New York University in 2007 with a B.M. in Music Composition as well as The City College of New York in 2017 with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Between 2015 and 2021, Ian was a Lecturer and Adjunct Lecturer of English at Hostos Community College in The Bronx, New York. Most recently, Ian worked as a substitute teacher at Isla Vista Elementary School in Goleta during Spring 2021. Ian is an aspiring author who has been working on a novel for the past four years, and an avid musician with a background in piano and classical composition. He is thrilled to be in beautiful Santa Barbara after the bustle of New York, joined by his wonderful wife Tania and two young children, Wren and Beau. He can be reached at ianfiedorek@ucsb.edu.

Florindo, Steven
Steven Florindo (he/él) is pursuing a Master’s degree in Education and a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. He is also working towards bilingual authorization. Originally from Anaheim, CA, Steven graduated from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Linguistics - Language Studies: Spanish and a minor in Education. It was here, working in San Diegan elementary schools where Steven came to discover how rewarding and energizing it is working with young people and helping them attain success. He had the pleasure of working in AmeriCorps after graduating, serving in a 10th grade History and mixed-grade Structured-English-Immersion Civics class. From courses to in-classroom experiences, Steven’s journey with education has left him interrogating the shortcomings of America’s public schools and exploring student agency in educational outcomes, anti-racist curricula and assessment, and the fostering of linguistic and literary pluralism. He hopes to maximize student learning beyond traditional measures, while also giving all students the tools needed for successful navigation of our society. He strives to retire having left the greatest possible contribution towards equity for underprivileged communities and their youngest members, and he is excited to get to work. Steven can be contacted at sflorindo@ucsb.edu .

Foster, Zoe
Zoe Foster is a current graduate student at UCSB's Gevirtz School of Education, and as a Teacher Education Program candidate she is pursuing a Master's of Education and an Education Specialist Credential, with a concentration on Extensive Support Needs. Zoe received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Public Service & Community Engagement from the University of San Francisco in 2021. She is a dedicated animal rights activist and her goal is to work towards a liberated and just world for everyone. She has experience working in the recreational field and individual care for those with developmental disabilities since 2015. Zoe hopes to make education an inclusive and interactive experience for students so they can lead fulfilling lives inside and outside of the classroom. She hopes to work in transition programs and to incorporate aspects of functional, social, recreational, and living skills into their educational experience. Zoe Foster can be contacted at zfoster@ucsb.edu.

Fulton, Rachel
Rachel Fulton (she/her/hers) is pursuing a Masters in Education and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential in UCSB’s Teacher Education Program. She previously graduated from UCSB in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Sociology, and is excited to be back to pursue a career in teaching. Since receiving her B.A., Rachel has spent time working in outdoor education with sixth-graders and found her passion in teaching with nature. Rachel emphasizes hands-on learning, student-led exploration, and community building in the classroom. Her experiences with students have taught her the importance of equity, social-emotional learning, and most of all, that learning should be fun! She is eager to find ways to incorporate interactive projects in the classroom while emphasizing a holistic and empathetic view of each and every student. Rachel can be reached at rachelfulton@ucsb.edu.

Giannini, Kate
Kate Giannini (she/her/hers) is pursuing her Master’s in Education in addition to a Single Subject Teaching credential for Mathematics at UCSB. She graduated in 2019 with a B.S. in Mathematics, majoring in Mathematics of Computation and minoring in Statistics. After graduating, she worked as an instructor and education coordinator at a Mathnasium located in Canyon Country, Santa Clarita. During this time she developed a passion for working and sharing her knowledge with students. Kate is excited to step into the classroom, hoping to inspire others with her love of math. Kate can be reached at kgiannini@ucsb.edu.

Gonzalez Escalona, Gerlyn
Gerlyn Gonzalez Escalona is currently a graduate student in the Gevirtz School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara pursuing a Masters in Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English. She graduated from University of California, Irvine in 2021 with a B.A. in Education Sciences and a minor in Spanish/English Bilingual Education. During her undergraduate studies, she found her passion for teaching and working with students in her field study as a bilingual tutor and as a UCI Gear Up Tutor. As a first-generation student, Gerlyn hopes to inspire students with similar backgrounds. She is also invested in providing an equitable learning environment in which students will be encouraged to persevere despite any obstacles in their educational endeavors. She hopes to create a classroom space where all students are welcomed, valued, and represented in order for them to embrace their community and identity. Gerlyn can be reached at gonzalezescalona@ucsb.edu.

Graham, Joey
Joey Graham (she/her) is currently pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in History and Social Sciences and a Master of Education at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, at UC Santa Barbara. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz in June 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies, and a minor in Education. Joey has been passionate about being a teacher since preschool, but became even more headstrong about her career choice after having an incredibly supportive teacher in her last years of high school. She is committed to creating brave spaces for her students, allowing all histories and stories to be shared and celebrated in her classroom. Joey hopes to be a high school government or civics teacher after completing the program, and strives to foster important conversations around these topics. She believes with the help of her peers, colleagues, faculty, and family that she can be the best teacher for her students. Joey can be reached at jagraham@ucsb.edu.

Gray, Alex
Alex Gray is pursuing a Masters in Education and Single Subject Teaching Credential in History / Social Sciences. She graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in business entrepreneurship. She spent her summers at UCLA’s alumni family retreat, Bruin Woods, first working as a camp counselor and later serving as Kids Group Director. After graduation, Alex began her career as a financial services consultant. During this time, Alex volunteered with Junior Achievement, a nonprofit organization, facilitating personal finance lessons and resume workshops for high schoolers. These experiences helped Alex realize her passion for education and she felt called back to the classroom. She hopes to take her professional experience and industry knowledge with her as both a teacher and financial literacy advocate. Alex has worked with youth of all ages, but believes she could make the biggest impact in a high school setting, bringing government and economics lessons to life. Alex can be reached at alexandragray925@gmail.com.

Guerra, Salma
Salma Guerra (she/her) is a teacher candidate in the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Salma is pursuing a Multiple Subjects Teaching credential alongside a Master’s degree in Education. Salma completed her undergraduate degree in 3 years at UCSB, earning a B.A. in Political Science, as well as a minor in Educational Studies in the Spring of 2021. Salma first gained experience working with children at the early age of 16, when she was hired as a children’s swim instructor at her hometown’s community pool. Originally from Brawley, California, a desert town near the border of Mexico, Salma cherishes her Hispanic roots and strives to teach her students the value of cultural diversity and educational equality. Salma currently lives in Santa Barbara with her 4 year old adopted Pit bull named Bandit. Salma aspires to serve as both an inspiration and a role model for her future students. Combined with her passion for learning, Salma is determined to positively impact the minds and spirits of her co-learners. Salma can be reached at salmaguerra@ucsb.edu.

Haak, Abigail
Abigail Haak (she/her/hers) is pursuing a Masters in Education along with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential through UCSB’S Teacher Education Program. She earned her Bachelor’s in Global Studies along with two minors in French and Educational Studies through UCSB. Her Global Studies major is her largest inspiration for teaching as it offered a wide range of worldly knowledge that isn’t offered in K-12 schools and she felt inspired to bring a more diverse and inclusive education into the American Education System. She also volunteered during her undergraduate years at the Isla Vista YMCA were she worked as a peer mentor and tutor during after school hours. Outside of school she enjoys baking, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family. She hopes to inspire her students to continue to learn throughout their entire lives and strive to make a difference in their own lives and communities. Abigail can be reached at: ahaak@ucsb.edu.

Hansch, Justin
Justin Hansch (he/ him/ his) is pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Master of Education at UCSB. Since earning a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003, Justin has been working in the art and design fields. Before entering the TEP, he was a Substitute Teacher with Ojai Unified School District, Ventura Charter School, and an Artist in Residence for the Rio School District (K-8) in Oxnard, CA. While working for the Rio District, Mr. Hansch developed STEAM-based projects like building wave models with 2nd graders studying coastal erosion and transforming a kindergarten classroom into an immersive kelp forest. These exciting experiences solidified his interest in becoming a teacher. Justin is eager to teach at the elementary level, where he strives to create a welcoming learning environment to aid students in realizing their goals. Justin can be reached at jbhansch@ucsb.edu

Hawkins, Delaney
Delaney Hawkins is a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program at the Gevirtz Graduate school at University of California, Santa Barbara, pursuing a Master's degree as well as an Educational Specialist Credential to work with students with Extensive Support Needs. Delaney completed her Undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the fall of 2020 at which she received her B.A. in Communication accompanied minors in Educational Studies and Applied Psychology. She has been working as a Registered Behavior Technician providing ABA services for individuals with Autism as well as individuals with mild-moderate disabilities and Extensive support needs. Delaney is passionate about teaching children and hopes to make a difference in the lives of her students. She believes strongly in equal opportunity and that all students should be encouraged to reach their full potential. Delaney can be reached at delaneyhawkins@ucsb.edu.

Held, Regan
Hello, my name is Regan Held and I am from Ventura County. I began working as a paraeducator a few years ago and discovered I loved working with students! I graduated from CSU Channel Islands with a BA in Liberal Studies in May 2021 and I am excited to be a part of the TEP at UCSB. I love spending time at the beach, hiking, cooking, and crafting.

 

Helsel, Ryan
Ryan Helsel is a TEP candidate pursuing his Single Subject Teaching Credential in Science with the desire to teach chemistry/physical sciences. Ryan is a first-generation college student and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from UC San Diego with a B.S. in Environmental Chemistry in 2020. He received his M.A. in Chemistry with an emphasis in Chemical Education in 2021 from UC Santa Barbara, with his thesis focusing on the effects of an elementary school science outreach program on students’ understanding of science concepts, attitudes towards science, and science identity. At UCSD, he worked as a chemistry academic coach within the PATHS Program to support students from backgrounds underrepresented within STEM. This experience instilled a deep desire to help empower and support students through navigating their own explorations within science, as well as to approach science teaching with an equity focus that seeks to improve students’ connections with their personal identities and science identity. He hopes to mentor students to understand that scientific information, skills, and critical thinking in the classroom can translate directly into their daily lives and can be utilized to better their own communities. Ryan can be reached at rhelsel@ucsb.edu.

Hennings, Erica
Erica Taylor Hennings is pursuing a Master’s in Education along with a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in the Teacher Education Program. She has nine Associates degree’s from Copper Mountain College in Environmental Science, Mathematics, Liberal Arts, Economics, History, Sociology, Psychology, and two in Political Science. Moreover, Erica graduated with her Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and minors in Applied Psychology, Mathematics, and Science Education from UCSB. Erica is passionate about teaching science; her perspective is that we can all learn science from nature, and was involved with UCSB’s Kid’s In Nature program in 2018-2019. She wants to provide an environment that is inclusive and fascinating to all of her students. Erica hopes to become either a junior-high or high-school life-science/biology teacher after the completion of her credential program in June 2022. Erica can be reached at ericahennings@ucsb.edu.

Hepburn, Abby
Abby Hepburn is a teacher candidate in the Gevirtz School of Education Teacher Education Program pursuing a Multiple Subjects Credential along with an M.Ed. She graduated from Sonoma State University in late 2019 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Her lifelong passion for working with children has given her experience and insight into child development. She is looking forward to creating an inclusive, welcoming classroom environment that fits her students' needs. Prior to entering the Teacher Education Program, she spent time working as a preschool teacher, designing project-based emergent curriculum and learning about the social-emotional needs of her students. Abby also worked as a data collector for a research-based educational grant program called EduSnap. She is thrilled to finally be entering the elementary education field! Abby can be reached at abbyjhepburn@gmail.com

Hernandez Salazar, Susana
Susana Hernandez Salazar is a first generation graduate student at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, she is pursuing a Multiple Subject Credential with a Bilingual Authorization, and a Masters Degree in Education from the Teacher Education Program at UC Santa Barbara. She graduated with high honors from UC Santa Barbara in 2021 with a Spanish major and Educational Studies minor. Susana is looking forward to working with elementary school students, specifically in a dual immersion program where she can use her fluency in Spanish to help children develop and strengthen their language skills in both Spanish and English. She is also passionate about tapping into the funds of knowledge that students carry, in order to make their learning relevant to their lived experiences. Susana will also strive to create a safe learning environment where her students can be seen, heard and empowered to think critically about theirs’ and others’ experiences and identities. Furthermore, Susana believes that Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is critical to how students develop an awareness of self and society, she hopes to promote SEL through a sociopolitical lens that cultivates students’ criticality (Dr. Muhammad & Dr. Simmons). Susana is excited to start working with elementary school students! You can reach her at shernandezsalazar@ucsb.edu .

Hong, Michelle
Michelle Hong is a graduate student at the Gevirtz School of Education pursuing her Master of Education and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She graduated with high honors with a B.S. in Human Development from the University of California, Davis in 2021. Michelle has volunteered for Paper Airplanes, a nonprofit organization that offers free English tutoring to students affected by conflict in the Middle East and North African region. She has also gained experience teaching students ranging from Kindergarten to the 8th grade at two different learning centers and as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) tutor at a middle school in the Woodland Joint Unified School District. As a teacher, Michelle’s goal is to create a comfortable and inclusive learning environment through equitable teaching practices where students will feel challenged, confident, respected and encouraged to learn past their potential. Michelle can be reached at mhong@ucsb.edu.

Jerez, Michelle
Michelle Jerez (she/her/ella) is a current graduate student pursuing a Masters in Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in History/Social Science. Born in Santa Barbara, Michelle attended K-9 locally before attending boarding school and college in upstate New York. She received her B.A. in History in 2017 and then returned to Santa Barbara where she worked in early childhood education alongside her mother in their family daycare. As a first-generation college student and American, Michelle is passionate about equity in education and opportunities to work with multilingual students. She hopes to receive her Bilingual Authorization along with her credential and master’s degree. Michelle can be reached at jerez@ucsb.edu.

Juarez, Lizette
Lizette Juarez is a proud first-generation college graduate pursuing her Education Specialist Credential for Mild to Moderate Support Needs and a Masters in Education. She received her Bachelor's degree in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2020. During her undergraduate studies she tutored at a non-profit learning center in Santa Barbara and studied abroad in Santiago, Chile. Lizette spent the last year working as a bilingual special education case manager for students in grades K-3. This experience, along with her education history, have inspired her to work and advocate for equitable educational environments for all students. She is passionate about learning and is eager to work closely with the students, teachers, and families in the Santa Barbara community. Lizette can be reached at lizette_juarez@ucsb.edu.

Kozal, Logan
Logan Kozal (she/her) is a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing her Single Subject Teaching Credential in Science. She has been at UCSB for the past 5 years working on her Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology studying the physiology of marine animals in the context of climate change. Prior to coming to UCSB, Logan earned her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University, where she also studied art. During college and after, Logan developed her love of teaching as an outdoor education guide and teaching improvisational comedy and acting classes for middle school students. She hopes to bridge these experiences with her work as a scientist to provide creative avenues for students who have not previously connected with science to feel a sense of empowerment, belonging, and curiosity. Logan can be reached at logankozal@ucsb.edu.

Lee, Lunah
Lunah Lee is a teacher candidate in the Gevirtz School of Education Teacher Education Program pursuing a Single Subject Credential for Chemistry along with an M.Ed in Education. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2020 alongside a Science and Mathematics Education minor, where she discovered her passion for teaching. Her introduction to the field of education was through science outreach where she worked with youth in performing science experiments. She then went on to become a Learning Assistant for an upper-division chemistry lab course where she realized that sharing her chemistry knowledge and techniques was how she wanted to use her degree. Lunah enjoys learning new things and wishes that she could stay in school forever, but she learned that while students learn from teachers, she as a teacher could also learn from her students. Her passion as a science educator is to create engaging science content and find ways to interpret science for all language learners. She plans to teach high school Chemistry and be part of a science program that allows students to have more hands-on opportunities with science. Lunah can be reached at lunah_lee@ucsb.edu.

Limon Diaz, Ana
Ana is a proud first-generation college graduate pursuing her Master’s of Education and Education Specialist Credential in Extensive Support Needs. She earned her B.A. in Environmental Studies with a minor in Education Studies from UC Santa Barbara in 2019. Prior to TEP, she worked for the Goleta Union School District as an Instructional Assistant where she discovered her passion to be an advocate for students with extensive needs. Her goal is to increase inclusivity in all schools to bring enriching learning experiences to all students. Ana can be reached at ana127@ucsb.edu.

Limon, Esther
Esther Limón is a first generation graduate student in the Teacher Education Program pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in World Languages and a Masters in Education. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2020 with a Bachelors in Spanish and a minor in Feminist Studies. When Esther is not at her desk, she can be found in the gym, out in nature, or cuddling with her fur baby Onyx. Esther’s goal as a future educator is to share her experiences navigating education as a first-generation, low-income Latina with students, so that her students may see themselves reflected in her and tap into their limitless potential. Most importantly, she is determined to create a safe environment fostering equal educational opportunities for all students including those from different racial, ethnic, and social-class groups. Esther can be reached at e_limon@ucsb.edu .

Locker, Dylan
Dylan Locker (he/him/his) is pursuing a teaching credential and Masters of Education through the Teacher Education Program at UCSB. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and double minors in Educational Studies, and Science and Mathematics Education. His love of teaching arose from his outdoor education classes at UCSB, most notably the Kids in Nature program, where he blossomed at teaching social, emotional, and natural connections to his students--all while learning about nature and biology at preserves within Santa Barbara. Following his foundational experiences with his first students, he flourished in leading afterschool programs and developing fun curriculum and activities. His colleagues would describe him as creative, energetic, and overprepared. He strives to create a healthy, inclusive, and safe environment for his students to best support their mental, intellectual, and physical growth for success in their education and life beyond.

Logan, Ryan
Ryan Logan is a Teacher Education Program candidate pursuing his Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and Master of Education. He graduated from the University of California, San Marcos in 2013 with a B.A. in History, and a minor in Political Science. Ryan grew up in North County San Diego.  He has many jobs in his life, but has always intended to become an educator. Ryan worked in the writing center at Mira Costa Community College all through college. He also spent a year volunteering at Goleta Valley Junior High through AmeriCorps. Ryan loves being in all types of learning environments and is excited for his future career as a teacher. He can be reached at ryanlogan78.rl@gmail.com.

Longcor, Kate
Kate Longcor (she/her) is pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in History/Social Science along with a Masters in Education at UCSB’s Teacher Education Program. Kate is originally from Boston, Massachusetts and studied International Relations and Entrepreneurship at Tufts University. After graduating in 2013, Kate worked at several startups where she focused both on product design and developing company cultures that were inclusive, supportive, and personal growth-oriented. She is looking forward to harnessing her passion for supporting the growth of others to empower her future students. Kate would like to help create a next generation of leaders who look, sound, and identify differently than those who dominate leadership positions today. When she’s not at work or school, you’ll find Kate in the mountains trail running, mountain biking, climbing, or camping. Kate can be reached at k.hitchner09@gmail.com.

Lopez Morales, Betsabe
Betsabe Lopez Morales is a Santa Barbara local who is excited to be a student in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education’s Teacher Education Program. She is pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Studies and a Masters in Education as a PEAC Fellow. She graduated as a Royal from San Marcos High School and as a first generation college student from UCSB in 2021 with a B.A. in Sociology. She is forever thankful to the amazing teachers and community members that guided her along the way, and is passionate about returning to the Santa Barbara Unified School District as a teacher in order to give back to the community that has given so much to her. Betsabe hopes to become a social studies teacher that challenges systemic barriers to student success and hopes to create a critical thinking environment for her students to thrive. She can be reached at betsabelopezmorales@ucsb.edu.

Ly, Jimmy
Jimmy Ly is a student at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education looking at getting a Single Subject Teaching  Credential in Science and a Master of Education. He graduated in 2021 from UC Santa Barbara with a BS in  Physics. He loves doing anything outdoors and hopes to teach high school physics in the future. Jimmy can be reached at ly@ucsb.edu.

 

 Lyon, Savannah
Savannah Lyon is a graduate student pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters of Education at UC Santa Barbara.  In the spring of 2021, she graduated from UC Santa Cruz, where she obtained a B.A. in Education, Democracy, and Justice, along with a B.A. in Literature.  Savannah’s interest in education was sparked in high school when she volunteered at a local kindergarten classroom.  During her time as an undergraduate, Savannah volunteered in a second and third grade combination classroom and at Live Oak Community Resources, where she tutored students ranging from first to sixth grade.  These experiences working with students in the Santa Cruz area, as well as her course work at UCSC, solidified her desire to become an educator.  Savannah aspires to create a classroom that is rooted in community, curiosity, understanding, and kindness.  She is passionate about fostering an inclusive and collaborative classroom environment where all students feel welcome and supported sharing their diverse viewpoints and learning from each other.  Savannah is happy to answer emails @savannahlyon.ucsb.edu

Martinez, Andrea
Andrea Martinez (she/her/hers) is a first-generation graduate student pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics with a Master of Education in UCSB’s Teacher Education Program. She graduated from UC Riverside in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics with a concentration in Chemistry. Her love for teaching began when she volunteered with UECC AmeriCorps in her second year of college. She loved interacting with her 6th-grade students and sharing her knowledge of math with them. In her last two years of undergraduate studies, she was an Intermediate Algebra tutor at UCR’s Academic Resource Center. Here, Andrea enjoyed the thrills of creating and delivering lesson plans for her set of students. She looks forward to working in a classroom again, where she hopes to encourage students to enjoy the rollercoaster ride that is mathematics. Andrea can be reached at andrea_martinez@ucsb.edu.

Martinez, Mark
Mark Martinez is a first-generation graduate student pursuing a Masters of Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Chemistry. He studied chemistry at Merced College before transferring to UCLA where he earned his B.S. in Biochemistry in 2021. Mark also spent time as a volunteer with the Glendale Learning Program at UCLA tutoring middle school students from the Glendale area in math and science. He aims to be a positive role model for his students and hopes to get more of them interested in pursuing STEM. Mark can be reached at markmmartinez@ucsb.edu.

Martinez-Martinez, Monica
Monica Martinez (she/her/ella) is a Teacher Education Program candidate pursuing a Multiple Subject Credential and a Master in Education. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2015 with a Bachelors in History and Chicano Studies. Monica discovered her passion for teaching after working in education in various capacities in the community of Santa Maria. She began as an instructional assistant in a kindergarten class and continued her work as a substitute teacher. During her time as a substitute teacher, Monica worked in the Dual Language Immersion Program. This experience has also inspired Monica to pursue a Bilingual Authorization in the hopes of teaching in the DLI program in the future. Monica aspires to foster an equitable learning environment where all students are welcomed and valued. Monica can be reached at monicamartinez@ucsb.edu.

McClure, Elaine
Elaine McClure is a Teacher Education Program candidate pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Master of Education. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with a science emphasis from San Diego State University in 2019. During her undergraduate years, a variety of different, meaningful experiences inspired teaching as a career choice. Some difficulty with choosing a professional direction eventually resulted in a decision to purposefully give her time and energy to a path that would contribute positively to society and benefit the future generation of leaders. Her study abroad experience in Livingstone, Zambia where she taught 6th grade for the summer of 2018 confirmed that teaching was a genuine passion, as well as inspired a deep rooted desire to be involved in work with disadvantaged communities. She has worked with children and developed as an educator over the years in a variety of different settings, and looks forward to fulfilling her next role as a student teacher. Elaine hopes to create and foster a classroom environment that is inclusive, resilient, collaborative, hands on, respectful, fun, and compassionate. Her current goal is to grow as a person, leader, and educator by gaining new perspectives and knowledge through her studies in TEP at UC Santa Barbara. She is expected to graduate in June 2022 and hopes to take her career outside of the U.S. for a number of years. She can be reached at elainemcclure@ucsb.edu.

McCune, Spencer
Spencer McCune (he/him/his) is in the process of getting his masters in education at the Gevirtz school of education as well as a multiple subject teaching credential.  His journey to becoming a teacher started when he was attending Santa Barbara City college and learned about the shortcomings of the education system, particularly concerning the spanish speaking community.  Because of this, he majored in Spanish and and got a minor in educational studies at UCSB.  He is incredibly passionate about the outdoors and is excited to incorporate outside activities into the classroom.  His friends would describe him as excitable and passionate, traits he is excited to bring to the classroom.

Mejia-Pulido, Alejandra
Alejandra Mejía-Pulido (she/her/hers/ella) is a first generation graduate student in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Bilingual Authorization, and a Master in Education. Alejandra graduated from UCSB in 2020 with a B.A. in Chicana/o/x Studies and a minor in Spanish. She is originally from Toluca, Estado de México, but came to the United States at the age of 9. She has resided in South Central, Los Angeles ever since. Alejandra took a gap year during the pandemic, where she worked as a program leader in a learning pod at The Adelante Charter School partnered with Just Communities of Santa Barabara. This position is what started Alejandra’s passion for teaching in an elementary school with a dual-language program. Furthermore, this experience is what influenced Alejandra to apply to the Teacher Education Program. In the near future, she hopes to continue her studies by pursuing a PhD in either Education or Chicana/o/x Studies, as she understands that there is still lots of work that needs to be done in both fields. ¡La lucha sigue! Alejandra can be reached at alejandramejia-pulid@ucsb.edu.

Mercado, Ana
Ana Mercado (she/her/ella) is a Teacher Education Program Candidate pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Masters of Education along with a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish. Ana is a first-generation Mexican-American student who graduated in 2019 from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BA in Chicanx Studies and a minor in Education. She discovered her love for teaching during her time at UCSB while working with toddlers in the University Children’s Center. Working with preschool-aged children sparked her curiosity about K-12 education, thus leading her to the Education minor at UCSB. After learning about the lack of representation as well as different inequities in public education, she knew this was a path she needed to pursue. After graduating, she solidified this passion while working as a Substitute Teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Upon completion of the program, Ana aspires to return to her community and teach in a bilingual classroom where she can cultivate a culturally and linguistically inclusive community for her students. Her goal as an educator is for every student to feel that every aspect of themselves is seen, valued, and celebrated in her class. Ana can be reached at anamercado@ucsb.edu.

Mizer, Genesis
Genesis Mizer (she/her) is a first generation graduate student pursuing a Masters in Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Life Sciences. Genesis graduated from UCSB in 2021 with a B.A in Environmental Studies and a Minor in Education. It was here where her passion for teaching was first established. During her time as an undergraduate she worked with many different students in a variety of non traditional outdoor education settings. Her time working in the education departments at both the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden and Santa Barbara Zoo gave her a deeper appreciation for the sciences and a desire to give her students stimulating and explorative experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. Genesis is passionate about having equity and equality in education so students can feel accepted, welcome and supported within her classroom. She wants students to feel like their individual identities and experiences matter, and to know that they have a voice and can be active agents in their own education. Genesis can be reached at genesismizer@ucsb.edu.

Morales, Sophia
Sophia Morales (she/her) is pursuing her Single Subject Teaching Credential in English and a Master of Education. She received her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of California, Irvine. Sophia knew her love of English Literature from a young age but fell in love with the idea of teaching while taking classes at her local community college. While there, her exposure to passionate teachers and professors only grew, and she discovered a love for her compassionate, attentive educators. In her free time, Sophia enjoys reading books, writing poetry and fiction, working on colorful hand portraits, sipping tea, and spending hours in thoughtful conversation with friends and family. Sophia can be reached at sophiamorales@ucsb.edu.

Munoz, Yesenia
Yesenia Munoz is pursuing a Master in Education and Single Subject Teaching Credential in Science. She was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Although she has enjoyed her career as a nurse, she realized that becoming an educator is also one of her passions. She believes that her unique experience as a nurse can help in her role as educator to promote the wellbeing of students. In nursing school, she was a volunteer skills laboratory mentor, and taught 1st year students how to achieve competency in clinical skills. It was here she discovered how much she loves teaching. She also has experience working with youth at Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara and at the UCLA Lab School. Yesenia hopes to give back to her community and teach science at a middle school or biology and health education at a highschool. Yesenia can be reached at ymunoz@ucsb.edu.

Nguyen, Ella
Ella Nguyen (she/her/hers) is a first-generation graduate student pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Master's in Education. Ella received her Bachelor’s in Education Sciences and minor in Psychological Science at UC Irvine. One of her most memorable experiences as a college student was working with first and second graders in the Reading One-to-One (R1-1) Program. The program provided her with a unique experience of working with multilingual learners. She also worked as a camp counselor at Camp Bob Waldorf. As a camp counselor, she helped to enrich the lives of children throughout Greater Los Angeles with the tools and support system they need to thrive. She was also a camp counselor for Camp Kesem where she got the chance to provide a safe, supportive, and exciting overnight camp experience for children who have a parent who is currently in treatment for cancer, in remission from cancer, or who has died from cancer. Through Camp Kesem, Ella helped to provide children with the unique opportunity to build friendships and gain strength from peers facing similar challenges. Her experiences working with children pushed her to pursue a career in teaching. Ella hopes to expand her experiences working with diverse learners. You can contact Ella at ella_nguyen@ucsb.edu.

Ochoa, Mateo
Mateo Ochoa is currently pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Master’s Degree in Education at the Gevirtz School of Education. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Chicana/o Studies at UCSB in 2020. His favorite experiences working with young students include being a paraeducator for three years in the After School/Expanded Learning Program in the Santa Barbara Unified School District and being a private virtual learning aide for a Kindergarten student in a Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Program in the Goleta Union School District during the COVD-19 pandemic. He also worked at Franklin Elementary School when students returned to campus for in-person instruction and wound up in a long-term substitute teaching position there for a second grade class. As a 10th generation Santa Barbaran, Mateo hopes to remain here to teach in the district he was raised in and loves so dearly. He is passionate about working with lower-level elementary Latine youth and creating a diverse and inclusive classroom for his students. He can be reached at mateodochoa@ucsb.edu.

Orozco-Barrillas, Manuel
Manuel Orozco (he/him/his) is a first-generation graduate student pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Biology, Masters of Education, and Bilingual Authorization to teach in Spanish at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Manuel, a West Los Angeles native, graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in Spring 2021 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Science Education. As an undergraduate, he joined the UCLA Cal Teach program to work with local K-12 students, both in the classroom and remotely, where he discovered a passion for education. He then worked for two quarters as a Learning Assistant in an introductory Biology lab course at UCLA, facilitating the learning and application of biological concepts most relevant to a lab setting. Manuel strives to create a welcoming environment where students can collaboratively engage with each other and give voice to their unique perspectives as they apply biological concepts to broader issues in their own community. Manuel is happy to answer any questions or doubts at m_orozco-barrillas@ucsb.edu.

Owens, Elizabeth
Elizabeth is a candidate in the Teacher Education Program pursuing an Education Specialist Credential in Mild to Moderate Support Needs as well as a Master of Education. She received her B.A. in English for Secondary Education from Humboldt State University. Prior to that, Elizabeth served as an Expanded Learning Mentor for CalSERVES AmeriCorps in a middle school in Napa, California. It was through this position that she discovered her passion for working with students and supporting them as they reach their full potential. She looks forward to creating an inclusive classroom community where each student knows their voice is valued. Elizabeth can be reached at elizabethowens@ucsb.edu.

Parhami, Sepehr
Sepehr Parhami is a graduate student in the Gevirtz School of Education pursuing a Masters degree in Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2006 with a Bachelor's in Economics with a Mathematics Emphasis. Sepehr wants to make a positive difference in the world by helping students become more socially minded, better critical thinkers, and more understanding of the importance of human connections. He also currently holds a brown belt in Aikido, and will continue to pursue his Aikido training as soon as it becomes feasible to do so. Sepehr would love to teach high school statistics, as it is the type of math that he has most frequently used in his life, as well as the type of math that is most commonly misunderstood in his estimation. He hopes to teach math with an emphasis on the process of solving a problem. Sepehr may be reached at sepehrparhami@ucsb.edu.

Parker, Natalie
Natalie Parker is pursuing a Master's of Education and Education Specialist Credential with a focus on Extensive Support Needs at UCSB's Gevirtz Graduate School of Education with the goal of becoming a elementary school special education teacher for students with moderate-severe disabilities. She graduated in the spring of 2021 from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Child Development and a minor in Spanish. During her time in undergrad she studied abroad in Alicante, Spain which was an awesome experience because she was able to greatly improve her Spanish speaking skills. During her time in San Luis Obispo she worked as a preschool teacher for 3 years and coached various sports with Special Olympics for 4 years. She absolutely loved being a Special Olympics coach and hopes to help coach a Santa Barbara team now that she has moved to the area. In her free time she loves hanging out with her friends, taking spin classes, playing board games, baking cookies, trying new recipes, going to the beach, hiking, spending time with her family, running, and doing pretty much anything outdoors! She can be reached at natalie_parker@ucsb.edu.

Reyes, Esmeralda
Esmeralda Reyes is a graduate student pursuing a Single subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics and Masters in Education. In 2021, Esmeralda received her B.S. in Mathematics from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. Through countless hours tutoring low-income elementary students in Santa Barbara and teaching in small group instruction in a 9th grade Algebra 1 class at Paso Robles High School, Esmeralda saw the need to advocate for these students. She is passionate about fighting systemic racism and other barriers which uphold the status quo by providing equitable and high-quality education to all students. She hopes to use her personal experience to empower students to excel in math classrooms and beyond. Esmeralda can be reached at esmeraldareyes@ucsb.edu.

Rivera, Giselle
Giselle Rivera (she/her/ella) is pursuing her Master in Education alongside her Single Subject Teaching Credential in Spanish and Bilingual Teaching Credential in the Teacher Education Program (TEP) at UCSB. She is a first generation graduate with a BA in Spanish and an education minor that she acquired from UCSB in 2020. Prior to TEP, Giselle worked as a Bilingual Paraeducator and Bilingual Curriculum Specialist in the Santa Barbara Unified School District. Here, Giselle was able to aid Emergent Multilingual students (EMLs), students who are learning English as a second language. She has always felt inspired to support students since she too was an EML student herself and understands how crucial it is to sustain your roots while in the process of acquiring a new language, in a new country. She is excited to begin a new journey in life, and continue to learn and grow. Giselle can be reached at gisellerivera@ucsb.edu.

Roche, Janee
Janeé Roche (she/her/hers) is pursuing a Master’s degree in Education alongside a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She earned a B.S. in Psychological and Brain Sciences from UCSB in 2021 and was eager to continue her education at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education in the Teacher Education Program. During her undergraduate studies, Janeé began working with elementary-aged children and was inspired to begin her path toward the teaching profession. Through these experiences, Janeé realized her strength in fostering learning, building relationships and creating a community with students. As a future educator, Janeé hopes to encourage the process of learning in her students through promoting collaboration and self-efficacy in students. Janeé can be contacted at janee_roche@ucsb.edu.

Rodriguez, Jennie
Jennie Rodriguez is a Teacher Education Program candidate pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Master’s degree in Education. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018 with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Educational Studies. Jennie has worked with children and students three months to eighteen years of age in early childhood, elementary, science, and outdoor education settings. She aspires to create an engaging environment for her students where they can learn to collaborate and think critically. Jennie hopes to return to outdoor education someday, but she is excited to step into the classroom and learn from her cooperating teachers. She can be reached at jennie_rodriguez@ucsb.edu.

Rodriguez, Paola
Paola Rodríguez (she/her/hers) is a current student in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. She is pursuing her Master’s in Education alongside a Single Subject Teaching Credential in World Languages - Spanish and a Bilingual Authorization.  As a first generation student, she hopes to help shape the minds of students just like her. Paola did her undergraduate study at UCSB where she graduated in 2021 with a BA in Spanish, and Latin American and Iberian Studies alongside the Educational Studies minor. Her love of teaching came in the 6th grade when all she wanted to be was a music teacher like her middle school band director. She then switched to wanting to teach Spanish because her high school Spanish teacher made her fall in love with the language and literature. She hopes to acknowledge the cultural aspects of her students' backgrounds through the wide variety of literature in Spanish as well as the language itself. In her free time she enjoys cooking, baking, spending time with her friends, watching the sunset in Isla Vista, and shopping at Costco. Feel free to contact her at paolarodriguez@ucsb.edu.

Sampaio, Raquel
Raquel Sampaio (she/her | ela) is a first-generation Brazilian-American student currently pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English and a Master of Education at UCSB. After graduating high school in 2004, Raquel took a 12-year break from her education. During that break, her sister was born in 2008 as well as her own son in 2011. Both children have ASD, and this along with her own belated diagnosis of ADHD as an adult inspired her to pursue a degree in education. She completed her A.A. in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Oxnard College in 2018, and graduated from UCSB in 2021 with a B.A. in Portuguese and a Minor in Educational Studies. She has also worked as a respite caregiver for individuals with special needs since 2017. After graduation, Raquel plans to teach middle school English in Santa Barbara county, where she aims to help her students recognize their strengths, as well as advocating for mental and emotional health support for her students. Raquel can be reached at rsampaio@ucsb.edu.

Sawaya, Emma
Emma Sawaya is pursuing a Master’s of Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Math. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in math and a minor in education from UCSB in 2020. She’s helped out in kindergarten, sixth grade, and high school math classes and wants to see these students start to realize the ways in which they already are themselves ‘math people’. Emma’s curiosity drives her love of learning and has given her an unlimited sense of what she can choose to learn next. She wants to encourage endless, limitless curiosity within her students as well, so they can find something(s) they love learning about and finding meaning in their life through the pursuit of any form of knowledge. She can be reached at E.Sawaya8@gmail.com.

Slater, Jenae
Jenae Slater (she/her/hers) is a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing her Single Subject Teaching Credential and Masters of Education. She graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and a minor in Science and Math Education. Prior to transferring to UCSB, Jenae gained experience working with middle and high school students through volunteering and working at her church. Her love for working with youth, in addition to her desire to help others, made teaching stand out. She considers it a privilege to get to sow into the lives of others and is excited to continue working with youth, hoping to bring a newfound joy to Math. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, doing puzzles and watching IV sunsets. Jenae can be readily contacted at jenae@ucsb.edu.

Sorensen, Erik
Erik Sorensen is currently a graduate student at the Gevirtz School of Education at UCSB, pursuing a master’s degree in education and a single subject teaching credential in science as a member of the Teacher’s Education Program. He joined this program immediately after graduating from the same university with a bachelor’s in physics in 2021. It was never really his plan in life to become a teacher. It has always been reserved as a fall back plan in case he did not find something that he could dedicate his life to. After one exceptional professor, however, he had a significant change of heart, and wished to emulate him and give others the same burning passion he has for science. One of his biggest wishes for his students is to simply enjoy being in the classroom. They may not have the same passion he has for physics or even science in general, but he still wishes to have his students walk into his class excited for the day, and walk out with satisfied smiles on their faces. Erik can be contacted at eriksorensen@ucsb.edu.

Spencer, Lauren
Lauren Spencer is a TEP candidate pursuing her Master’s of Education and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She completed her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Education at the University of Santa Barbara, California in 2018. Following graduation, Lauren spent a year traveling around Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. She is excited about incorporating her love for travel and learning about different cultures into her classroom. Growing up with a sister with autism and working as a Special Education Technician has also strengthened Lauren’s passion for the field of Special Education. She looks forward to welcoming students of all backgrounds and abilities into her classroom one day. Lauren can be reached at laspencer@ucsb.edu.

Stehlin, Olivia
Olivia Stehlin is currently pursuing a Master of Education and Single Subject Teaching Credential in English at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education Teacher Education Program. With the support of family and friends, Olivia graduated in 2020 from the University of California, Santa Cruz, earning a degree in Psychology with Honors and a minor in Education, in just two and a half years. Throughout her time in Santa Cruz, Olivia worked as a self-employed and volunteer tutor for elementary and middle school students in both English and Spanish. Following her graduation, she worked as an AVID tutor for 7th-12th graders at her former high school and middle school. Olivia’s studies in developmental psychology and experience with adolescents have inspired her to work as a middle school teacher in the future. She aspires to provide an enriching, empowering, and culturally sustaining environment and help build each student’s confidence in themselves and in English Language Arts. Olivia can be reached at oliviastehlin@ucsb.edu.

Surges, Sami
Sami Surges (she/her/hers) is a graduate student pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a  Masters in Education. Sami was born and raised in the Bay Area until she moved to Santa Barbara where she graduated from UCSB in 2019 with a Global Studies major and Education minor. Growing up with a mom who is a teacher inspired Sami at a young age to pursue a career in education. Her passion for teaching grew as she worked with Santa Barbara’s YMCA after school programs and summer camps throughout college. However, her years after college gave her invaluable experiences and the confidence to see that education is exactly where she belongs. During these years Sami moved to Madrid, Spain to teach English to young children and then moved to LA to work for City Year Los Angeles with 9th graders at Thomas Jefferson High School. She is looking forward to becoming a teacher as she creates a classroom environment that is inclusive and supportive that in turn encompasses a strong and positive foundation for children in their first experiences in education. She can be reached at sami_surges@ucsb.edu

Tapia Romero, Lidia
Lidia Tapia (she/her/ella) is a first-generation Mexican-American graduate student pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a Masters of Education. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2021 with a B.A. in Spanish and Sociology. She discovered her love for teaching since kindergarten where her teachers have always been her inspiration. She is the second oldest of six, thus was always around children helping her younger siblings with their homework when needed. In her time as an undergraduate, she worked at the University’s Children Center for three and half years as a teacher assistant with two to three year-olds. Lidia’s passion grew even more when she volunteered virtually for a quarter at Isla Vista Elementary School helping out a sixth grade teacher. Experiencing being in a classroom setting and the teacher-student dynamic, she knew she was at home. Lidia aspires to be an elementary school teacher where her students see their identities not as an obstacle, but as their superpower. Her goal as an educator is for her students to be proud of every part of their identity and not have to hide it in school. Lidia can be reached at lidia@ucsb.edu.

Thomann, Clara
Clara Thomann is pursuing a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Science and Masters in Education at UCSB. Clara is originally from Corvallis, Oregon. She graduated in 2013 with a double major in Physics with Astronomy emphasis and Geology from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. She has worked in a variety of capacities before landing at UCSB: an environmental engineering firm, an optical observatory, a remote sensing company, a flower farm, a charter elementary school, a salmon disease laboratory, and as an English teacher in a Colombian public school. A common thread in these different research experiences, science fields, and educational settings is her love of learning and community. She is excited to learn with her physics students and create an inclusive, creative, and collaborative environment for future scientists. Please reach out to Clara at cthomann@ucsb.edu.

Thompson, Olivia
Olivia Thompson is a candidate for UCSB's Teacher Education Program, studying to earn her credential in Single Subject History and achieve a Master of Education degree. No stranger to UCSB, Olivia earned her undergraduate degree from the university in Archaeological Anthropology, with minors in Education and Museum Studies, graduating in 2021. Olivia focused intensely on her academics, graduating from UCSB in three years with the honor of being a Summa Cum Laude graduate. During her undergraduate career, Olivia worked for the Education department at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, sparking her love for working with kids. She aspires to become a middle school History teacher, as Olivia has spent her life captivated by the social sciences and hopes to nurture that same passion in her own students someday. Olivia believes that good teachers can make the utmost difference in the lives, confidence, and goals of students, which is the foundational belief that led her to pursue teaching. Olivia can be easily reached at oliviathompson@ucsb.edu.

Tuttle, Anita
Anita Tuttle (she/her/hers) is a first generation graduate student in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and M.Ed. in Education.  For her undergraduate studies, the Bay Area native decided to stay close to home and earn her B.S. in Business Management, as well as a minor in STEM Education from the University of San Francisco in the Spring of 2021. During her time as an undergraduate, she spent over 230 hours in San Francisco Unified School District classrooms with diverse communities and varying learners. Anita hopes to bring her prior experiences as well as what she learns in TEP to her classroom where she can create a psychologically safe environment where students can learn, unlearn, and relearn. Anita can be reached via email at anitatuttle@umail.ucsb.edu.

Urbina Rodriguez, Alice
Alice Urbina (she/her/ella) is a first generation graduate student in the Teacher Education Program at Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UCSB. She is pursuing her M.Ed and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in World Languages: Spanish. She grew up in Ventura, CA and moved to Riverside in 2017 to pursue her B.A. in both Spanish, with a concentration in linguistics, and Education from the University of California, Riverside. This is where she developed her passion for teaching and making sure her students feel valued and seen. In her free time, Alice can be found at the beach or watching movies with her roommates. She can be reached at aurbinarodriguez@ucsb.edu.

Wiegand, Sophie
Sophie Wiegand is currently pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and a master’s degree in Education at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education Teacher Education Program. In 2020, she completed her B.S. in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in Child Development, at California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo. After her undergraduate studies, she worked as a preschool teacher in Burbank, CA where she grew up and developed her initial dream of teaching. Sophie is passionate and on fire about cultivating her anti-biased, anti-racist pedagogy, and looks forward to the day when she can begin putting it to use in the classroom. Sophie can be reached at swiegand@ucsb.edu.

Yahner, Caitlin
Caitlin Yahner is a Teacher Education Program candidate pursuing an Education Specialist Credential for mild to moderate disabilities, as well as a Master of Education. She graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in June of 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies and a concentration in Child Development. She taught swim lessons for children ages 4-12 and worked as a child care teacher at SPARK in San Luis Obispo for children grades TK-6th. Her interest in Special Education started through Camp Escapades in Palos Verdes, run by the Pediatric Therapy Network as well as doing field experience work in a TK Special Day Class. Throughout her senior year of college, she volunteered with Meals that Connect delivering meals to elderly who are homebound. During the summers, Caitlin enjoys working at a summer camp as a lifeguard and swim instructor, helping facilitate safe activities in the pool area for campers of all ages and abilities! In the future, she hopes to be a Special Education teacher at an elementary level somewhere in Southern California. She can be reached at caitlinyahner@ucsb.edu.

Zamora Sanchez, Jessica
Jessica Zamora is a Teacher Education Program candidate pursuing a Masters in Education and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She graduated from CSU Channel Islands in the Fall of 2020 with a B.A in Early Childhood Studies. Jessica immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was seven years old. She grew up in Santa Barbara and graduated from San Marcos High School. She continued her involvement with the Santa Barbara Unified School District and worked as a tutor at a junior high school and a mentor for the PEAC Program. The combination of her undergraduate studies as well as her professional endeavors led her to realizing she wanted to be an elementary school teacher. Growing up in a bicultural world, Jessica realized the beauty and value of home languages and became passionate about bilingual education. Her goal is to acquire her Bilingual Authorization and work at a dual immersion school. She can be reached at jzamorasanchez@ucsb.edu.

Zheng, Michael
Michael Zheng is a TEP candidate pursuing a Master’s degree in Education, along with a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics. He was born and raised in Modesto, CA. Michael got his B.A. in Mathematics at UCSB with an emphasis in secondary education. He was inspired to teach when he was assigned a tutor at a local high school during his undergraduate. Michael is excited to explore math with his students. He hopes to teach math in Modesto after the completion of his master’s program to be able to give back to the community he was born in. Outside of school, Michael enjoys anime and video games. If you have any questions, feel free to email Michael at michaelzheng@ucsb.edu.

Zuniga, Siera
Siera Zuniga is a graduate student pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters of Education at UC Santa Barbara. In the winter of 2021, she graduated from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, where she obtained a B.S. in Child Development and a minor in Psychology. Siera’s interest in education was sparked early on, when she volunteered for a day camp program in her hometown. She fell in love with working with children and leading others, and went on to spend the next seven summers working for, and later supervising and directing, said summer day camp programs. Later on in life, she hopes to use these leadership skills to continue growing and aspires to become an Elementary Principal. Until then, Siera is dedicated to creating a classroom that is relationship centric, student driven, and rooted in curiosity and kindness. She is passionate about fostering an inclusive and collaborative classroom where students feel celebrated, and are fearless in their journey through education. Siera is happy to answer emails at szuniga@ucsb.edu.