Welcome to UCSB First-Gen Stories! Check out this preview of our interviews with amazing first-gen faculty and staff at UCSB. Learn about their educational pathways and the advice they have for first-gen college students by watching individual interviews below.

Staff Stories

Danielle Quinones-Ortega

Danielle is the Director of Student Engagement and Leadership, the first Latina to be Director of SEAL. She works closely with organizations and students on campus. Listen as she talks about the importance of finding and using your voice as first-gen students.

Diana Valdivia

Diana Valdivia is the Director of Undocumented Student Services at UCSB. Listen to Diana's story about following in her father's footsteps to earn a degree in Business and then learning how to navigate her own academic and career path.

Dr. Malaphone Phommasa

Meet Dr. Malaphone Phommasa! Malaphone works with the ONDAS Student Center and Transfer Student Center. She shares about her path to graduate school as a first-generation college student and daughter of refugees.

Dr. Shalauna Miller

Dr. Shalauna Miller is the Chief of Staff in UCSB's Housing, Dining, and Auxiliary Enterprises. Listen to her journey coming from a small family farm in Colorado all the way to earning her Ed.D. at UC Santa Barbara.

Joaquin Becerra

Joaquin Becerra is an Associate Dean and Director, as well as a PhD student in Education at UCSB. Joaquin shares his experiences as an undergraduate student at UCSB and speaks to the importance of finding mentors during college.

Quinn Solis

Meet Quinn Solis! They are the Associate Director of UCSB's Resource Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity. Listen to Quinn's experiences as a first-generation college student and why they are so passionate about helping Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and Students of Color thrive while at UCSB.

Tim Grigsby

Meet Tim Grigsby! Tim is a Campus Support Advisor for Associated Students and advises groups such as the AS Transfer Student Alliance. He talks about the importance of getting involved on campus as a first- gen student.

Xiomara Lopez

Meet Xiomara Lopez! Xiomara is an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Counselor and Coordinator for the Chicanx/Latinx Cultural Resource Center. She discusses her educational journey and offers powerful words of encouragement to first-gen college students.