Peer Mentors

What is a Summer Academy Peer Mentor?peer mentor group

Summer Academy Peer Mentors are role models, peer advisers, and will be your go-to for all questions related to being a student at UCSC. Here to support your transition to academic and campus life at UCSC, Peer Mentors are second, third, and fourth year UCSC students who are experienced student leaders on campus or are students who went through Summer Academy programs themselves! They are passionate about working with students and will be available all summer long to provide support and guidance to Academy students on anything related to academics, UCSC resources, navigating the campus, college life, and the ins and outs of Santa Cruz.

“All three of our Peer Mentors were always available and happy to talk to each student. They always had a positive attitude and professional demeanor when I had a question for them."      
- 2017 Academy Student

Peer Mentors will also uphold housing policies, help to identify and address problematic issues and behavior in the residence halls and provide support in those situations with the goal of creating an inclusive, safe, and positive living environment for all. As peers who have been through the transition to college at UCSC themselves, they can share their personal experiences and will be happy to lend a helping hand to mentees throughout the summer. Peer Mentors also plan events, activities, and workshops for Academy students - so join in on the fun this summer and get to know your Summer Academy Mentors!


Meet the 2017 Peer Mentors!

Miguel Moran

Miguel Moran (Lead Peer Mentor) [click here to read about Miguel]

Hi everyone! Welcome to UC Santa Cruz. My name is Miguel Moran and I’m currently a 4th year majoring in Human Biology, affiliated with Rachel Carson College. I worked as a Summer Orientation leader last summer and I’m excited to get to know you all this summer as an Academy Mentor! I’m also a Peer Academic Adviser at Rachel Carson College and an active member of the Professional Pre-Medical Fraternity, Sigma Mu Delta. I look forward to meeting you throughout the summer and helping you succeed in any way that I can. Feel free to come up to me anytime for questions or just to hang out and talk! 

Jasmin Ledesma-Villa

Jasmin Ledesma-Villa (Lead Peer Mentor) [click here to read about Jasmin]

Hello Everyone! My name is Jasmin Ledesma- Villa. I am a first-generation college student, originally from Fresno, California. I am a fourth year majoring in psychology and minoring in education. During my time here at UCSC I have been part of MEChA, a politically active organization that promotes the retention of Latinx students on campus. I have also worked closely with students from Oakes College as a peer adviser. I enjoy working closely with UCSC students and I can’t wait to work with y’all this summer!

Roquel Canton

Roquel Canton (Lead Peer Mentor) [click here to read about Roquel]

Hi everyone and welcome to UC Santa Cruz, I am extremely blessed and excited about this opportunity to meet and support you all with your transition from High School to college. My name is Roquel Canton, but a lot of people call me Ro. I recently graduated this spring, majored in Psychology, and was affiliated with College Eight. As a first generation African American college student from South Central Los Angeles (the actual city), I became involved with EOP (Educational Opportunity Programs) through the Bridge program and as a Peer Adviser Leader, African Black Student Coalition (ABC), and the African Black Student Association (ABSA). I mentored at the African American Resource and Cultural Center for a program called AMP (African American Mentor Program), and was a member of one of the first and only Divine 9 Greek organization at UCSC known as Gamma Phi Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated. Once again I would like to welcome you all to UCSC. If you have any questions feel free to talk to me anytime. I am here for you all.

Salvador Flamenco

Salvador Flamenco [click here to read about Salvador]

Hey y'all, welcome to UCSC and to the Summer Academy! My name is Salvador Flamenco and I am currently a Sophomore proposed as a Computer Science: Game Design major. I am affiliated with Oakes college (whose theme is Communicating Diversity in a Just Society), part of EOP (Educational Opportunity Programs), am a first-generation college student, and participated in the Summer Academy last year. I dance, am an officer for the Ballroom Dance club, and also helped with ongoing research inside of the Game Design department (all in my first year!!!). I will do my best to meet as many of you as I can, and to be available as much as possible. I hope UCSC treats you all as well as it has treated me so far! There’s nothing like being a Banana Slug!!!

Rizal Aliga

Rizal Aliga [click here to read about Rizal]

What’s good everyone and welcome to #SLUGLIFE, I’m grateful and blessed to meet you all! My name is Rizal Aliga (Riz) and I’m from Vallejo, CA, located in the North Bay Area. I’m a Legal Studies major Education minor second year student affiliated with Cowell College. I’m extremely involved at UCSC and the city of Santa Cruz as a DJ/Host for our college radio 88.1FM KZSC Santa Cruz, Athletics/OPERS events, The Catalyst music venue, and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. On top of that, I’m Sammy the Slug mascot at games, a Student Admissions Ambassador, and a Cowell College Welcome Leader. I’m also a part of the Filipino Student Association (FSA), involved with the Asian-American/Pacific-Islander Resource Center (AA/PIRC), Student Union Assembly (SUA), and Rainbow Theater. Feel free to use me as a resource because I’m here to bring you positive energy, creativity, and to help you become a better person at the end of the day!

Kirsten Wigant

Kirsten Wigant [click here to read about Kristen]

Hello new slugs and welcome to UCSC! My name is Kirsten Wigant, and I am going to be a 2nd year Merrill College affiliate majoring in Computer Science. I was a student in the Summer Academy last year and this is my first year being a Peer Mentor so I am really excited! As your Peer Mentor, I hope to help make your transition to UCSC as easy as possible just like my Peer Mentors did for me last year. So if you have any questions (or if you just want to hang out) just ask! I can’t wait to spend this awesome summer with y’all! Go slugs!!

Kareem Bdeir

Kareem Bdeir [click here to read about Kareem]

Hello y’all and welcome to UCSC! Congratulations on your acceptance to the university, and for being part of Summer Academy! My name is Kareem Bdeir and I will be one of your Peer Mentors. I grew up in the Bay Area, and for me, San Francisco is home. I am a double major in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Psychology, and an affiliate of College Ten. I am super passionate about education and learning as a whole, social justice, and social change. This is my first year as a Summer Academy Peer Mentor and I am very excited to carry on the work of Peer Mentors from last year; I can’t wait to be a resource and to enjoy the summer with y’all!

Joanna Zhou

Joanna Zhou [click here to read about Joanna]

Hi new slugs! Welcome to UCSC! My name is Chenyue Zhou and I go by Joanna. I am a second year affiliated with Merrill college majoring in Economics and Mathematics. I am also an international student from China. I speak English, Mandarin, and a little bit of Japanese. Currently, I also work as a Peer Mentor in the International Mentorship Program and a global leader for international orientation. I believe that Summer Academy is a great start for transitioning to university life. I was a mentee in Summer Academy 2016, and this is my first year working as a peer mentor. I am really excited about it! Hope you all like this program, as well as UCSC, just like I do. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any question or concerns! Looking forward to meet you all in the summer!

Carlos Pacheco

Carlos Pacheco [click here to read about Carlos]

Hello everyone! My name is Carlos F. Pacheco and I am a third year double major in Psychology and Sociology. I came to the U.S. in 2008 from Honduras, Central America. Relaxing in nature, listening to Classic Rock and Reggae, and helping others are some hobbies I am passionate about. As a Summer Academy Peer Mentor I hope to help you with both academic and emotional support. I also work as one of the Oakes College Peer Advisers and am an active member of the Campus Sustainability Council (CSC). Helping you have a wonderful and easy transition from high school/college into UCSC is my top priority! I am an open person and willing to listen to any of your comments, opinions, and concerns. Welcome to the Summer Academy!

Aaron Cole

Aaron Cole [click here to read about Aaron]

Hi everybody! My name is Aaron and I'm a Second Year Environmental Studies major affiliated with College Nine. While this is my first year working as a Peer Mentor, I am an alumni from last year’s First Year Summer Academy. I love listening to and talking about music - if you do too, drop by and show me your favorite songs! It's my goal to make this summer the best experience for you all, and to help get your first year started off well. See you soon, slugs!

Questions for the Summer Academy Peer Mentors? Contact