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

TEP Current Students

 Adnew, Bemhret
Bemhret Adnew is excited to introduce himself to The Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. He completed his undergraduate degree here at UCSB, and is glad to do his Master’s degree here, as well. He likes to play basketball with friends and go on walks and hikes with his dog. Bem’s family is very important to him as they encouraged him to be a teacher and to pursue graduate school, and he believes that he would not be here today without them.

 Aldrich, Rebecca
Rebecca Aldrich (she/her) is excited to be pursuing her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Master’s Degree at UCSB. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 and moved back to Santa Barbara County shortly after. Before entering TEP, she worked as a dance teacher and as a substitute teacher for the Orcutt Union School District. Rebecca loves working with kids because each day in the classroom is new and exciting. She is looking forward to working towards equity in education for all students.

 Barragan, Elena
Elena Barragan (she/her) is a first-generation Latina graduate student pursuing an M.Ed along with her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Elena attended Santa Barbara City College where she transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara as a Promise Scholar while she earned her B.A. in Sociology along with a minor in Educational Studies and graduated in June of 2022, while being the first person on both sides of her family to achieve a Bachelor's Degree. Having the academic potential to thrive but not the funding to keep pursuing through her education was challenging, but it’s what opened the door for her to remain a Promise Scholar and become the first ever UCSB student to achieve a fully funded Promise Scholars Fellowship to cover the entire cost of her undergraduate and graduate studies. During her undergraduate and graduate studies, since June of 2016, Elena has worked for the United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County at the Old Town Goleta location as a Youth Development Professional, where she continues to mentor to make a change in the lives of the youth on a daily basis, as she sees herself giving back to not only the community, but to herself while advocating as a role model she desperately needed when she was their age. Post-grad, Elena hopes to positively impact the education system by giving back to a community that means so much to her right here in Santa Barbara County through an Abolitionist Teaching Pedagogy while advocating for a change for those who have been historically underserved in the education system. Elena can be reached at elenahbarragan@ucsb.edu.

 Becerra Hernandez, Estefania
Estefanía Becerra Hernández (she/her/ella) is a first-generation undocu student pursuing an M.Ed in Education and single-subject credential in Spanish. She graduated from UCSB in 2022 with a B.A. in Spanish and a minor in Applied Psychology. Estefanía decided to pursue teaching because she wants to be a support for children who were once in her position and an overall support for people in her community. Being a native Spanish speaker, she grew to have a love for her language and majoring in it deepened that appreciation. By teaching Spanish, she strives to share that appreciation for the language as well as share the beautiful cultures that surround it.

 Becich, Eileen
Eileen Becich (she/her) is an MST teacher candidate. She is excited to be back at UCSB - where she earned her undergraduate degree - and to be preparing children for the future ahead. She loves to dance, craft, and laugh (a lot!). Eileen is looking forward to deepening her teaching practice at TEP and to have her very own classroom next year!


 Boyle, Mason
Mason Boyle is an M.Ed. candidate in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, pursuing her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Mason earned her Bachelor of Arts in History with an Educational Studies Minor from University of California, Santa Barbara. During her undergraduate studies, Mason worked in various educational settings, including teaching a first and third grade pod during school closures, volunteering as a pre-professional at Foothill Elementary School and Dos Pueblos High School, and working as a peer mentor to incoming transfer students at UC Santa Barbara. As a transfer student herself, Mason spent a year at Santa Barbara City College prior to transferring to UC Santa Barbara. During her time at city college, Mason worked as a tutor in the English Second Language program. As a Goleta local, Mason has a deep fondness for our local school districts and hopes to remain here to teach in the area she grew up and calls home. Mason aspires to create a classroom that is rooted in community, curiosity, and diversity. She is passionate about fostering an inclusive and collaborative classroom environment where students feel welcome and supported. Mason can be reached at amboyle@ucsb.edu.

 Burt, Anya
Anya Burt (she/her) is a first generation undergraduate and graduate student.
She received her undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara in the Spring of 2021, majoring in Earth Science with an emphasis in Climate and Environment.
Growing up in a low income household, Anya says school has always felt like a place of possibilities. She was able to participate in volleyball, cross country, track and field, and theater, all for free. Her love for school encouraged her decision to become a teacher, as she wants to support and encourage her students in all their endeavors, regardless if it's school related or not. She recognizes that students have intricate lives outside of the classroom and hopes to support them in everything they do.

Ten years from now, Anya hopes to coach volleyball/track & field, assist in her school's theater program, teach AP Environmental Science, and most importantly, create a loving community with her students and staff.

 Cantu, Kiahna
Kiahna Cantu (she/her/ella) is a proud Chicana from South Whittier, California who is pursuing her Masters of Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English from the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to her work at UCSB, Kiahna attended the University of California, Los Angeles where she received a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Educational Studies. While her passions and motivations to be an English teacher lie in her innate belief in the power of language, her pedagogy is rooted in a desire to bring dynamic learning (with an emphasis in self advocacy) to communities of color that have previously gone underrepresented and underserved. She hopes to equip her students with the tools they need to be informed, confident, community-oriented leaders.

 Cardoso, Genezaret
Genezaret Cardoso attended CSU Channel Islands for her undergraduate degree. Before coming to TEP, she was a preschool teacher and loved it. She joined TEP because she wanted to continue making a difference at an elementary school level. A fun fact about Genezaret is that she has been to the country of Zambia!


 Casey, Kailey
Kailey Casey is a Teacher Education Program candidate pursuing her single subject credential in History along with her Masters in Education. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2021 with her Bachelors in History. Kailey cultivates an excitement for the past in her students by working with them to make it come alive in the present. She empowers students to advocate for their own learning, to do research on topics that suit their interests, and connect those to things that matter to them in modern, everyday life. Kailey’s interests include sustainability, crafting, and creating stories, which she weaves into her teaching to create an encouraging and dynamic environment. Kailey can be reached at kaileycasey@ucsb.edu.

 Chen, Tianyi
Tianyi Chen (she/her) is a first-generation graduate student in the Teacher Education Program, pursuing an Education Specialist Credential for mild to moderate support, as well as M.Ed. in Education.  She completed her B.A. in English with a teaching credential in China. After graduation, she worked as an ESL teacher in Hangzhou, China for 5 years. During those summers, she taught in Thailand and Indonesia as an international volunteer teacher. She also spent 3 years teaching in the DLI programs as a Mandarin teacher in Salt Lake City. The experience with kids from different cultural backgrounds inspired her to be an educator who can better support and advocate for kids with disabilities.

 Chevallier, Claire
Claire Chevallier (she/hers) is a M.Ed. candidate in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, pursuing her Single Subject Teaching Credential in English Language Arts. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minors in Education and French from University of California, Davis in 2019. Upon graduating, Claire worked in student affairs policy for the University of California Office of the President and had the pleasure of coaching the Oakland Technical High School girl’s lacrosse team for the past two years. Building off her experience coaching, Claire hopes to enable students to experience joy in learning and learn to become comfortable with taking risks. She is thrilled to be a part of Santa Barbara’s community and is happy to answer emails at chevallier@ucsb.edu.

 Chien, Chris
Chris Chien (he/him) is a Teacher Education Program candidate for the 2022-23 school year. He received his B.A. in Geography from UC Santa Barbara in 2017 and began a career in cartography upon graduation. After four years in the mapping industry, Chien shifted career directions to pursue his childhood ambitions of becoming a teacher. Prior to entering the program, he volunteered locally at Cleveland Elementary as a literacy tutor and at Paragon Academy as an assistant kids’ wrestling coach.

 Danninger, Jillian
Jillian Danninger is a current graduate student in UCSB Teacher Education Program, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Life Science. She graduated from California Lutheran University in 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences. Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, Jillian discovered her passion for science in her high school Honor’s Biology and Marine Biology classes. Ever since then, her dream has been to teach a Marine Biology class. After her time in undergrad, she went on to work in a COVID testing laboratory, a Marine Science camp on Catalina Island, and was a substitute teacher for SBUSD. All of these experiences confirmed Jillian’s desire to be a teacher and showed her how crucial it is to educate the next generation about the environment for the future of our planet. You can reach her at jdanninger@ucsb.edu.

 Diaz, Isabella Maria
Isabella Maria Diaz (she/her/ella) is a first-generation Mexican-American graduate student pursuing her Masters of Education, as well as a History/Social Studies credential at UCSB’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. She attended the University of California, Riverside for her undergraduate career and received a BA in History with a concentration of European History in 2019. At the end of her senior year, Isabella was fortunate to publish her research paper “Appealing the Draft during Word war I: An Issue of Race, Ethnicity, and/or Class?,” under the undergraduate Historical Journal titled Cornerstone within the History department at UCR. This paper focuses on analyzing the draft appeals of Southern Californian agricultural farmers/laborers and how race, ethnicity and/or class played a part in obtaining draft exemptions. Isabella comes from a hard working middle class Mexican-American family who values education, the importance of family, and above all respecting others and their views. Her parents worked hard to give her sisters and she the life that they never had when they were younger and sacrificed so much for them. Her parents are the reason why Isabella achieved what she has achieved so far and why she wants to continue her education. She sees a teacher as being a mentor, an advocate, a listener, and a role model to just name a few. She would like to be more than just someone who instructs, Isabella wants to be able to advocate and listen to the needs of her students. Isabella says that she won’t be able to effectively teach them unless she truly understands her students and their communities. She wants her students to know that all aspects of themselves matter and that they see that their educators truly care about them as well. And in advocating for the communities and students, Isabella wants to bring that same environment of mattering, justice, and love to her classrooms. Isabella strives to be the teacher, mentor, and advocate who helps initiate positive change for her students and empowers them to do the same in their lives and communities.

 Fichandler, Emily
Emily Fichandler 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 received her undergraduate degree from Carleton College, majoring in Psychology and concentrating in Spanish and ceramics. She is a passionate lover of the outdoors and any and all sports. Emily prioritizes connecting with friends and family, exploring the beautiful world around her, and making time to reflect and grow. Emily hopes to work with her students to help them capitalize on their inner confidence and discover what makes them shine. She believes deeply in the power of a classroom community, and is excited to start her journey as an elementary school teacher.

 Fisher, Callie
Callie Fisher (she/her) is a graduate student pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and Masters of Education at UC Santa Barbara. She graduated from UCSB with a B.A. in English and a minor in Education. Growing up around Cayucos CA, Callie has a deep passion for environmental protection and advocacy. Callie aspires to become an elementary school teacher and create a space where all students feel comfortable and proud to express themselves and every aspect of their identity.

 Gentile, Bella
Bella Gentile (she/her) is a people person with strong math skills. She currently attends UCSB's Teacher Education Program as a Noyce COASTAL Teacher Scholar, working towards her M.Ed, as well as her SST math, and CTE credentials. Bella graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with honors as a student of Applied Mathematics, with Minor in Philosophy and Education. As a passionately social and optimistic person, she was called to teaching after experiencing the joy it procured while working in pre-school and kindergarten classrooms. Bella’s own academic mantra has been that anyone has the power and potential to learn anything, and she is dedicated to sharing that ideology with all of her future students. She hopes to empower learners to be independent and advocate for their own schooling. Her goal is to inspire an appreciation for the challenge and beauty of mathematics and problem-solving in secondary classrooms. To do this, she strives to create a safe, fun, and loving learning community in her classes, and meet all students where it serves them best. Outside of school, Bella loves to practice yoga and explore local hiking trails.

 Godinez, Dannae
Dannae Godinez (she/her) is a teacher candidate pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Bilingual Authorization, and a Master’s Degree in Education from the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. Dannae is a children’s advocate because children are dependent on adults for many aspects of their life. They need to trust that the adults in their lives have the child's best interest in mind, which leaves them predisposed to being taken advantage of and especially susceptible to violence, exploitation, and marginalization. In addition to advocating for her student’s needs, Dannae hopes to develop her students' criticality and awareness of self and society through integrating social emotional learning into all aspects of the school day.

 Gonzalez Vega, Montse
Montse González Vega (she/her) is a Teacher Education Program candidate pursuing a Masters of Education, as well as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish. Originally from Mexico City, Montserrat obtained a first-class B.A. in International Media and Communication Studies at the University of Nottingham in England. Before moving to California to begin her Masters Program, Montse had been employed as a Teaching Assistant for four years at an international Apple school in Mexico City, which was where she was able to nurture and consolidate her commitment to pursuing a career as an educator. Montse is excited to continue working to inspire a life-long love of learning in her students with the hope that they might never stop striving to better understand the world we live in, themselves, and one another. She can be reached at mgonzalezvega@ucsb.edu.

 Guerrero, Lesley Estella
Lesley Estella Guerrero (ella/she/ey) graduated from UCSB with her Bachelors in Sociology and a minor in Applied Psychology and Education. She has a variety of interests, ranging from esthetics, yoga, dancing, poetry, home design and overall holistic healing practices. She has tried various different things in her young life, and the thing she enjoys the most is teaching, helping, and connecting with others. This next step in Lesley’s educational and professional career is a dedication to the value and importance she sees in investing in our youth and communities.

 Gunther, Sage
Sage Gunthner is a teacher candidate for the ESC cohort. She graduated with her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Educational Studies here at UC Santa Barbara and is excited to begin this teaching journey, because she wants to help students feel powerful and inspired to achieve their dreams no matter what. Sage was also inspired by experiences of coaching, volunteering, and working with children to build connections and see their “ah-ha” moments.

 Gutierrez, Ramon Alejandro
Ramon Alejandro "Alex" Gutierrez (he/him/él) is a teacher candidate pursuing his M.Ed., Single Subject Teaching Credential in History/Social Science, and Bilingual Authorization in the Teacher Education Program at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. A first-generation Latinx college graduate, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UC Santa Barbara. After years of outreaching to first-generation Chicanx/Latinx high school students during his undergraduate years, Alex began working as a Bilingual Paraeducator and later as a Bilingual Curriculum Specialist within Santa Barbara Unified School District for four years. Given his experience working with Emerging Multilingual Learner (EML) students, his passion for language justice, and his strong belief in teaching culturally relevant history, Alex hopes instill a strong sense of community, revolutionary love, and critical thinking in his students in order to inspire them to be agents of change within their communities. Alex is happy to answer emails at ramongutierrez@ucsb.edu.

 Hahka, Katie
Katie Hahka (she/her) is in the Single Subject Teaching Credential Life Sciences cohort and is working on her theater credential, as well. She has her B.S. from UCSB in Psychological and Brain Sciences with a Minor in Education. She loves learning and has wanted to be a teacher since she was a child. Katie is grateful to be a part of TEP this year and looks forward to what’s to come. 


 Huitron, Alexandra
Alexandra Huitron (she/her/ella ) is a teacher candidate in the Gevirtz School of Education Teacher Education Program pursuing a Multiple Subjects Credential along with an M.Ed. In the Spring of 2021, she graduated from California State University, Fresno with a degree in Liberal Studies and with a concentration in bilingual education programs. Alexandra’s interest in education sparked after working in underserved schools of Fresno. She developed a deep love and understanding for the students there and wanted the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of many others. Working in these areas also exposed her to the lack of representation within the public education system and determined her to fight against these injustices. Alexandra hopes to return to her community to create confident bilingual learners and is dedicated to establishing a welcoming environment where students can work collaboratively and express their unique personas.

 Jimenez, Yazmin
Yazmin Jimenez is a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara, pursuing her Master of Education, Multiple Subject Credential, and Bilingual Authorization. As a first generation Mexican-American student, education and schooling has always been very important to her. She graduated in 2022 from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in educational studies. In her time at UCSB, she was a part of Power of Play and a tutor at the McEnroe Language Arts Reading Clinic. Coming from a diverse cultural and linguistic community, Yazmin found her passion for teaching in high school through volunteering with local community groups. During her time in undergrad, Yazmin found joy in learning that she could be an agent of change in the classroom; someone who advocates for diverse and multi-lingual learners. She hopes to be an educator that creates a welcoming and safe environment where all students can learn and succeed! She is excited to be on this journey with TEP at UCSB and all the growth that will come with it! Yazmin can be reached at yazminjimenez@ucsb.edu.

 Jones, Zach
Zach Jones is pursuing a Masters in Education and Single Subject Teaching Credential in History/Social Sciences. He graduated from UCSB in 2022 with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science. Zach began his career in education working in an after school program and summer camp for the City of Oakley’s recreation department. Once he arrived at UCSB, Zach worked as the Events Manager and Head Counselor for the Surf and Kayak Camp and Summer Day Camp. Zach also worked as a peer mentor for the economics department and volunteered as a tutor at Isla Vista Elementary. Zach is looking forward to taking his passion for economics and politics into the classroom and teaching government/economics.

 Jutkowitz, Rachel
Rachel Jutkowitz (she/her)  grew up in New Jersey and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  In her spare time, Rachel likes camping, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, and especially traveling. Her and her husband have been fortunate enough to have traveled to all seven continents! Rachel has been working with children ever since she was old enough to work, and has spent about 15 years working in the field of outdoor education.  After working at a couple of science camps on the East Coast, she came out west to become a Naturalist with a company called Naturalist at Large.  Here, she took school groups on multi-day adventures through various national parks throughout California. Rachel eventually settled in Santa Barbara and started working with Wilderness Youth Project, a nature connection program for kids ages 3-14. She had been with WYP for about 10 years before eventually deciding that she was ready to take her experience into the classroom. Rachel is enjoying her time in the Teacher Education Program, and can’t wait to have a classroom of her own one day. 

 Karagan, Julia
Julia Karagan is currently pursuing an M.Ed. in addition to a Single Subject Teaching credential in English Language Arts at UCSB’s Teacher Education Program. She just recently graduated from the University of Toronto where she completed a major in English and a double minor in French and Philosophy. Julia has known that the classroom is where she belongs since the ripe age of seven. No matter where life takes her, she has always found herself being drawn to education and helping students reach their highest potential. Her mission in teaching English is personal empowerment. Julia says that she will teach and listen with compassion to empower her students to become better critical and creative thinkers. The personal empowerment achieved through independent and critical thinking will not only allow them to flourish academically, but also will translate into their lives beyond school.

 Klemsz, Christoph
Christoph Klemsz (he/him) is pursuing his M.Ed. and Single Subject Teaching Credential in History/Social Sciences.  He graduated from UCSB with high honors in the Spring of 2022 with a B.A in History and a minor in Education.  During his undergraduate studies, Christoph confirmed his long-held desire to become a history teacher by observing high school classrooms, participating in research on secondary education, and working in campus housing with first-year college students.  Christoph looks forward to continuing to hone his ability to teach in a way that encourages critical thinking on current and historical issues while showing radical empathy for his students.

 Kovacs-Guerrero, Rebecca
Rebecca Kovacs-Guerrero (she/her/ella) completed her undergrad here at UCSB in 2022 and received her BA in Art and minor in Education as a first-generation student. She just celebrated 16 years together with her partner, and they have 2 wonderful boys (3 if you include their dog Bolillo). After following her passion for Art, she realized her passion was more geared towards helping others, especially in education. Rebecca’s connections with school aged children, along with witnessing the struggles her younger brother with ADHD and ODD faced throughout his educational journey inspired her to become a special education teacher. Now she is here in the ESC mild/moderate TEP program pursuing her Special Education credential and Masters in Education. Rebecca says that it has been such an incredible experience so far, and that she knows that she made the right choice. It's not easy but she has a lot of love and support from her TEP team!

 Ladner, Ian
Ian Ladner (he/him) attended UCSB where he earned a B.S. in Aquatic Biology and a Master of Environmental Science and Management. For several years, he worked as a researcher supporting applied marine conservation around the world before deciding to return to school to become a teacher. Ian is intrinsically motivated by relationship building and relishes the opportunity to form such connections as part of a school community. Ian is now an M.Ed. candidate pursuing a Single Subject Teaching credential in Life Sciences. When not engaged in teaching activities, he can often be found playing, watching, or coaching ultimate frisbee.

 Lal, Nisha
Nisha Lal (she/her) is a current M.Ed and SST- English candidate in the Teacher Education program. She is from Castro Valley, CA, and is a proud community college transfer from Berkeley City College to UCSB. In June 2022, she received a B.A. in English with a specialization in Creative Writing, as well as a minor in Education. Nisha's passion for education stems from her work as a writing coach throughout her undergraduate career, in which she found joy in helping others find their personal power through literacy. She is committed to creating brave spaces that allow all students and their unique stories to be heard, valued, and celebrated in the classroom. Nisha can be reached at nishalal@ucsb.edu

 Leddon, Elaina
Elaina Leddon (she/her/ella) is from San Diego, California. She decided to pursue teaching in special education because she believes there should be more disability representation in higher education and academia as a whole. In order to help students get there, she decided to work with K-12 students ranging from mild to moderate disabilities. Elaina did her undergraduate work at UCSB majoring in Sociology and Psychology/Brain Sciences. A fun fact about her is that she is a first generation college graduate and never changed her major throughout her college career.

 Lei, Tiffany
Tiffany Lei (she/her) pursued her undergraduate degree at UCSB with an Environmental Studies Major and Asian American Minor. She is a first generation college student and  wants to serve communities like hers. At school, she always felt safe and supported and now wants to create that environment for students to thrive. Her experience in education includes working at Cal-SOAP SB tutoring at Jr. High and High Schools around the Santa Barbara area. During that job experience, she had the opportunity to tutor in AVID classes and math classes. Tiffany also volunteered for Scitrek and Partners in Education to work with elementary students. When not working with kids, she explores different recipes, especially Chinese recipes because she wants to learn to cook as well as her mother.

 Mar, Emily
Emily Mar is pursuing an Education Specialist Credential with a concentration in Extensive Support Needs, as well as a Master’s degree in Education. She graduated from Chapman University in the Spring of 2022 with a B.A. in Psychology and Integrated Educational Studies. Emily found her passion for teaching while working with children with autism during undergrad. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends, taking yoga classes, going to the beach, running, and baking. 

 Marquez, Diana
Diana Marquez (she/her/ella) is a first generation higher education student, born and raised in the Bay Area by two immigrant parents. She is passionate about her culture and strives to serve her community through education and (early) childhood development services. Diana completed her undergraduate degree at UCSB with a Bachelors in Sociology and two minors in Applied Psychology and Spanish. She is currently completing her Masters at the Gevirtz School of Education at UCSB, pursuing an Education Specialist Credential for Extensive Support Needs and a Masters in Education with a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish. She found her passion for teaching at a young age as she babysat, tutored, worked at an after school program, and then the UCSB daycare during her undergrad. Being around children, she found herself exposed to the many characteristics of students with needs, and found herself passionate about making learning spaces inclusive, adaptive, and universal. Diana is happy to answer emails at dianamarquez@ucsb.edu

 Martinez-Gallardo, Jessica
Jessica Martinez-Gallardo (she/her/ella) is pursuing a Master's in Education and a Single Subject Credential in Spanish after graduating from UCSB with a B.A. in Global Studies and a B.A. in Spanish with departmental honors in 2021. Her passion for teaching is rooted in bilingual education and the need for teachers that represent the struggles of first-generation Latinx students. Growing up in a community that valued building upon her Spanish and English, bilingualism helped her to navigate predominantly white spaces as a Latina student. This compels her to give back to her communities in order to foster and preserve their identities. Jessica strongly values equitable environments and hopes to create opportunities for all underserved students where they can access learning and language acquisition. Her long-term goal is to start or be a part of a two-way immersion program in an underserved community where she can help Spanish heritage speakers benefit from expanding upon their language identities. She strives to always learn from her students to better serve them with her teaching pedagogy. In her free time, Jessica loves to explore new places, try new creative hobbies, and spend time with those closest to her. 

 Martinez, Grace
Grace Martinez (she/her/ella) graduated from UC Riverside in June 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education, Society, and Human Development, with a concentration in Community Leadership, Policy, and Social Justice and minored in Spanish. She is interested in becoming a teacher because she loves working with students, especially multilingual students, to help break the barriers and inequities that stunt them from reaching their full potential. Her love for Spanish and teaching influenced her in pursuing her credential in Spanish and to educate students on the diverse cultures the world has to offer. One fun fact about Grace is that she mostly listens to all genres of Spanish music.

 McCollum, Ryann
Ryann McCollum (she/her) is a gaucho through and through, as she earned a B.A. in Global Studies and Minor in Art from UCSB in 2020. She is passionate about community and has found teaching at the grass roots of community involvement. Ryann hopes to inspire the next generation of change makers who are educated through a lens of justice and have a deep understanding of the environment/equity on a global scale.

  Melendez, Santiago
Santiago Melendez (he/him) is currently doing his student teaching at Hope Elementary School. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara, and moved to Long Beach to study at Long Beach State where he completed his B.A. in Public Relations in 2020. He recently moved back to the Santa Barbara area to complete his Master's in Education and teaching credential. Santiago grew up surrounded by teachers and working with children at a summer camp in Santa Barbara. He has always loved the profession and felt naturally called to it, saying that it's quite literally in his blood.

 Melgoza, Clarissa
Clarissa Melgoza is a proud Chicana who was born and raised in Oxnard, California. Clarissa graduated from CSU Channel Islands in May of 2022 with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Teaching and Learning. She is inspired to teach because she wants to instill a lifelong love for learning in young students who will shape the future. In her free time, she loves to read, spend time in nature, listen to music, and surround herself with her supportive and loving family and friends.

 Molina Navarro, Angel
Ángel I. Molina Navarro (he, him, él) obtained his B.A. in Philosophy at Arizona State University. A fun fact about him is that he can remember specific events in history but always forgets where in the world he placed his keys. He decided to put his passion for philosophy on hold and become an educator after working for two years at one of the most incredible elementary schools Ángel says he’s ever been to!


 Mummery, Bobby
Bobby Mummery (he/him) is pursuing a Single Subject Credential in Mathematics and a Master's of Education. After graduating from Notre Dame and having his post-college career plans thrown into chaos by the COVID-19 pandemic, he spent two years working in his hometown of Oxnard as an AVID tutor and substitute teacher. During that time, he realized he had not just the subject matter knowledge but also the confidence and personality to work with students. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, he majored in both Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (ACMS) and in History, and he hopes that he can help his students cultivate the attention to detail and the robust understanding of data those fields demand. On a more fun note, Bobby knows an absurd amount about basketball, past and present, and he hopes that his students will find his stories about his time working in television production as an undergraduate as compelling as he does.

 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.

 Nguyen, Olivia
Olivia Nguyen (she/her) is pursuing her M.Ed. and MST credential. She graduated from UCSB in 2021 with a B.S. in Psychological and Brain Studies and a minor in Asian American Studies. She decided to return to UCSB for her Master’s Degree and teaching credential because she wants to become the teacher she always needed during her elementary education. As an Asian American student who was born and raised in a small Massachusetts suburb, Olivia knows how important it is for BIPOC individuals to feel like they belong in their educational environments in order to succeed in their academics. She is extremely excited and grateful to be on this path with TEP to learn how to provide her future students with a safe and equitable education. When Olivia is not at school, you can usually find her at home relaxing with a good book.

 Nino, Ashley
Ashley Niño (she/her/ella) is a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program at Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara. She is pursuing her Multiple Subject Credential, M.Ed., and Bilingual Authorization. Ashley graduated from California State University, Fresno as a first generation student and received her B.A. in Liberal Studies. Having been in a dual immersion program growing up, Ashley always knew that she wanted to be a bilingual teacher herself. She is excited to be attending UCSB and is looking forward to bringing inspiration and inclusivity to her future classroom.

 Osterhout, Brenna
Brenna Osterhout (she/her) is pursuing her Single Subject Credential in English along with her Masters in Education. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2022, with a Bachelor’s in Literature, Creative Writing. Brenna fell in love with teaching while working as a one-on-one paraeducator in a San Diego elementary school, then in a high school in Santa Cruz. Her pre-professional work in Special Education has made Brenna dedicated to making her classroom inclusive and celebratory of all students who are there. She hopes to foster a space where all students learn how to use the tools of reading, writing, and communicating to achieve their individual goals.

 Perkins, Ellen
Ellen Perkins (she/her) graduated in 2011 from Wheaton College in Massachusetts with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Mathematics. After working in the clean tech energy industry for several years, she left her job and moved to Cambodia where she fell into teaching. Ellen loves watching how kids learn and develop, and after being a preschool teacher for several years, she is excited to work with elementary age students and foster their love of learning.

 Plascencia Zuniga, Cesar
Cesar Plascencia Zuniga (he/him) is currently a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is pursuing his Masters in Education along with a Single Subject Teaching credential in Physics and an Industrial Technology Education credential. Upon graduating, Cesar hopes to teach a mixture of engineering, physics, and computer science. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Cesar has a deep appreciation for public schools in the area and wants to give back to his community for as long as he can. As a first generation college student, Cesar attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in Computer Science and fell in love with teaching as an undergraduate student instructor. Outside of teaching, Cesar loves to ride bikes, go to local concerts, and relax in a hammock. Cesar can be reached at plascenciazuniga@ucsb.edu.

 Powell, Emily
Emily Powell (she/her/ella) is an M.Ed Candidate, pursuing her Single Subject Credential in Spanish. Emily graduated from UCSB in 2021 with her B.A. in Spanish Literature with a minor in Educational Studies. Her love of language comes from her passion for traveling and meeting new people from all over the world. Her desire to share that passion is what pushed her to pursue education. In response to the lack of resources for students of linguistically diverse backgrounds, she decided to pursue her certification in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) as well. In her free time, Emily enjoys hiking, surfing, and dancing Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, and many other styles, an element she hopes to incorporate into her future classrooms.

 Reynosa, Jackson
Jackson Reynosa (he/him/his) is a teacher candidate in the SST English cohort. For his undergrad, he studied Communications and Music at Cal Poly SLO. In his free time, he loves to write songs and play guitar, and has written and released two studio albums with his band. Entering the profession, he is incredibly excited to work toward educational equity and giving the best to his students.


 Rota, Tami
Tami Rota (she/her) is pursuing her Education Specialist Credential for Mild/Moderate disabilities. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a degree in Education with an emphasis in Learning and Behavioral Studies. Tami graduated two years early and will graduate from the Teacher Education Program before she is 21 years old. She started teaching when she was a junior in high school when she was a dance teacher and that experience made her passion for teaching grow. Tami grew up with ADHD and wanted to have an impact on students' lives in the same way her teachers helped her. Tami says that she could not imagine a different subject/content area other than special education. Tami also has a black cat named Goose! You can reach Tami at trota@ucsb.edu.

 Saldana-Arguello, Jenn
Jenn Saldaña-Argüello (She/Her/Ella) is a first generation low-income grad student earning her Masters degree in Education, as well as her Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics, through the Teacher Education Program. She graduated from UCSB in 2021 with a B.A. in mathematics and a minor in education. Jenn’s passion for teaching and education stems from her parents and her community. As a first generation Mexican-American that has deep connections to her history, culture, language, and family, she hopes to work closely with first generation Latinx students and other underrepresented youth. She hopes that by joining, or starting, a S.T.E.A.M. department at her school site that is oriented towards immersing traditionally excluded minorities into these fields, that these student populations will feel more equipped in seeking higher education, or pursuing a career in the skilled trades. To support her in pursuit of making this dream a reality, Jenn is also currently working towards earning her Bilingual Authorization and her ITE Credential.

 Santizo, Marissa
Marissa Santizo has worked in the field of special education for the last 8 years. She graduated from UCSB in 2012 with a Bachelors in Sociology, and is currently working towards earning her Masters in Education and her Education Specialist Credential in Extensive Support Needs. A fun fact about her is that she once participated in a 5 day rock climbing trip in Montana. Marissa’s experience having a brother with extensive support needs has called her into special education. She wants to support students and families by giving them a high quality and meaningful education.

 Schibsted, Allie
Allie Schibsted (she/her/hers) is a graduate student pursuing her Masters of Education, Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential and Bilingual Authorization at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Allie graduated from Whitworth University in 2017 and since then has been able to serve children and youth in a capacity of roles. Allie was drawn away from the nonprofit world and into teaching in public schools after a life-changing experience she had serving with AmeriCorps in Oakland, CA in 2018-2019. She served at a bilingual elementary school as an Academic Intervention Specialist, and loved seeing the growth in her students throughout that year. After that experience, Allie decided she wanted to switch careers in the pursuit of creating more equitable educational experiences for all children. This past year she served at another bilingual elementary school in Oakland as first a substitute teacher and then a 4th grade teacher. Allie is excited to be in the Teacher Education Program at UCSB and can’t wait for what the rest of the year holds.

 Simonovich, Anya
Anya Simonovich (she/her) is a graduate student in the Teacher Education Program, where she is pursuing her Master's in Education and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Before moving to Santa Barbara, she earned her B.A. in Education Sciences from UC Irvine, along with minors in Sociology and Psychological Sciences. Anya loves spending time outdoors and exploring the beautiful area, so in her free time you can often find her biking, playing volleyball, or relaxing at the beach. Prior to starting this program, Anya worked with children in a variety of settings, from teaching swim lessons to tutoring. She has felt called to teaching from a young age, as she has always loved learning and working with children, but these experiences further fueled her passion and excitement for becoming an elementary school teacher. Her goal is to create a supportive classroom environment, where children are challenged but feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes.

 Smoak, Madison
Madison Smoak is currently pursuing a Masters in Education and Single Subject Teaching Credential in English at University of California, Santa Barbara and will graduate in 2023. She received her B.A. in English at Westmont College in Spring of 2021. Madison has served as Education Coordinator at the community learning centers after-school programs on the Westside for the past year and a half. Some fun facts about Madison are that her love for reading and writing led her to editing a book and writing for the Santa Barbara Independent, she lived in Jerusalem as a child, and she loves running or laughing with her closest friends. Madison is inspired to connect youth and the Santa Barbara Community with new voices through storytelling and literature, in honor of her grandmother and father who are both admirable educators. Madison can be contacted at msmoak@ucsb.edu.

 Sosa, Judith
Judith Sosa (she/her/ella) went to a beautiful community college in the bay area called West Valley College, then transferred to UC Santa Barbara to finish her Bachelor's in Communications by 2022. She is working on her Masters in Education and Multiple Subjects Teaching credential at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. Her interest in teaching was sparked as she reflected on how her past teachers have accommodated her language needs and how that greatly impacted her motivation and confidence in school. Judith believes students' languages and cultures bring incredible value and perspective to the classroom. She hopes to elevate individuality and integrate an asset-based approach when teaching and learning from her students. She began her experience working with students at a preschool in Saratoga which focused on learning through play, and a swim school in San Jose. Judith loved the "aha" moments that students experienced, whether learning a new swimming skill or experiencing social-emotional growth. She has lived in California her whole life, so she loves to enjoy the beautiful weather and hiking spots this state provides. She loves hiking in the misty Santa Cruz region where the redwoods tower over your head. Judith is excited to enter the field of education and provide students with spaces in which students are being challenged and their identities are valued.

 Soto, Elisa
Elisa Soto (she/her) recently earned her Bachelor's degrees in Education and Liberal Studies at the University of California, Riverside. During her undergrad, she spent 4 months abroad in Paris, France, and was able to travel to 10 different countries throughout her trip! She grew up in a very big family and throughout the years has learned that she loves being around young children. Elisa’s professional experiences as an AVID tutor and daycare teacher solidified her desire of becoming an educator. As an elementary school educator, she will strive to create a learning environment that is supportive and inclusive for all her students.

 Sousa, Goncalo
Gonçalo Sousa is a graduate student at UCSB pursuing his Masters in Education and a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Mathematics. Born and raised in Portugal, Gonçalo moved to California at 14 and soon after began a career as a professional magician. A true passion for learning drove him to ally his time on stage with a college education. In his last year as an Undergraduate Student pursuing his Bachelors Degrees at UCSB in Economics & Accounting and Portuguese, Gonçalo developed an Honors Thesis studying the future generations of the Portuguese American community in California. Noticing that the Portuguese language is slowly vanishing within the communities due to no new waves of immigration in the past 4 decades, he has decided to devote himself to counteracting that trend and aims to engross or even create a Portuguese department at a High School in Southern California. Gonçalo believes that learning is a constant act and that subjects and interests build on each other, making new connections and leading to innovation. He brings a mathematical approach to literature, a humanitarian view on numbers, and an element of performance, play, and wonder to all his endeavors. Gonçalo can be reached at goncalosousa@ucsb.edu.

 Trujillo, Adriana
Adriana Trujillo (she/her/ella) received her B.A. degree in English from UCSB in Winter of 2020. A fun fact about her is that she is a twin. Her and her twin sister are identical, or so people say. Adriana has danced folklorico for 18+ years and has always loved to see the growth of children and new members. She especially loved the times when they personally acknowledged their own growth and perseverance as to why they succeeded. Their joy of putting in the work to continuously grow is what pushed Adriana into teaching.

 Vance, Alexia
Alexia Vance grew up locally in Goleta and attended kindergarten through 12th grade within Santa Barbara County. After graduation from Dos Pueblos High School in 2018, she matriculated to the University of San Diego. Alexia has her B.A. in Political Science, with accompanying minors in history and changemaking. She believes society has an obligation to prioritize the education of all students equally and with dignity. With this standard in mind, Alexia is excited to continue her journey in becoming an elementary school teacher.

 Villa, Brenda
Brenda Villa (she/her) is a first-generation graduate student pursuing her Masters of Education, as well as a Multiple Subject credential at UCSB's Gervirtz Graduate School of Education. She earned her B.A. in Education with a minor in Business Management Honors from CSU Channel Islands in 2022. Brenda worked in healthcare before returning to school to pursue a career in teaching. Her love for learning and children called her to the teaching profession. She strives to teach her students the value of cultural diversity and educational equality. Brenda aspires to serve as an inspiration and a role model for her future students. Growing up in a heavily Latinx populated city of Oxnard, she hopes to give back to her community, and aspires to empower students to persevere despite any obstacles in their educational endeavors. She is determined to impact the minds of her co-learners positively.

 Villarreal Solis, Karla Mariana
Karla Mariana Villarreal Solis (ella/she/her) is a first-generation Centro Americana from Eastside Long Beach pursuing her Master’s in Education with a credential in English. She graduated from UCSB in the Spring of 2022 with a B.A. in English and in Sociology, and with a minor in Educational Studies. Karla credits her love of learning—and especially of reading—to her mami, who was her first teacher and who taught her how to read using an English-to-Spanish dictionary. It is this moment that has cemented itself in Karla’s memory and now serves as the catalyst for everything she dreams to be as a teacher: kind, patient, and always supportive. This is how all her teachers have acted toward her; this is how Karla hopes to engage with her students. You can contact Karla at karlavillarreal@ucsb.edu.

 Ware, Caroline
Caroline Ware (she/her/hers) is an M.Ed candidate pursuing a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Caroline also completed her undergraduate education at UCSB - double-majoring in Sociology and Theater, with a minor in education. During her time in undergrad, she worked at the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara as the Mentor Program Coordinator, and completed over 80 pre-professional hours at Foothill Elementary School and Mountain View Elementary School. These experiences solidified Caroline's desire to work with children, as she loves how they think, and Caroline hopes to inspire her students to explore their own unique genius. A fun fact about Caroline is that she has an uncanny ability to taste coconut or coconut oil in food, even if it's the 99th ingredient, and she hopes that she will find an outlet for this incredibly useful skill someday.

 Yu, Violet
Violet Yu (she/her) got her undergraduate Math degree at UCSB. She has wanted to be a teacher since she was in the third grade, and hopes to not only impart knowledge to her students but to also help them become better themselves. Violet loves reading and logic, but is also interested in the occult, sometimes using tarot cards to read for herself.