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 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."     
- 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 your 2019 Peer Mentors!

Carlos F. Pacheco-Cubas

Carlos F. Pacheco-Cubas (Lead Peer Mentor) [click here to read about Carlos]

Hey you all! My name is Carlos, pronouns he/him/his, I am a fourth year double major in Psychology and Sociology. Some background about me, I was born in Honduras and came to the U.S at the age of 11 to live in a small rural town called Mendota located in the Central Valley. Going back into UCSC, I am an academic Peer Adviser at Oakes College, I was a member of Campus Sustainability Council (CSC) here at UCSC, as well as a Summer Academy Peer Mentor and currently a Summer Academy Lead Peer Mentor. I have a passion and desire to help the people in all ways I can in which one way I focus in helping others is throught academic and well being. I would have not made it this far in my life withouth the academic support I had from my counselors as well as the moral, positive, and motivate support I got from my peers, family members, and friends. I want to be able to give all of those qualities to the students. Thus the reason for my actives year in academic in which I look forward into Summer-2019 with you all, have fun time, get to know each other, and more!


Cate Luna

Cate Luna (Lead Peer Mentor) [click here to read about Cate

Hello slugs! My name is Cate (she/her) and I'm stoked to be a lead mentor for the First Year Academy. I am a third year student majoring in Environmental Studies with a focus in agroecology, and I might also pursue a film and digital media minor, we'll see!! I am affiliated with Kresge college and have been working in the Kresge Garden cooperative for almost two years now. If you are interested in gardening or farming come find me in the fields and we can talk cultivation. In my spare time I like to take pictures on my prosumer film camera, lay down in soft grass, look at the ocean, listen to lana del rey, drink juice, and lament capitalism. I attended summer academy as a first year in 2017 and had a wonderful experience, and I hope you do too. I can't wait to meet all of you!


Kareem Bdier

Kareem Bdier (Lead Peer Mentor) [click here to read about Kareem

Hello and welcome slugs! My name is Kareem and I'll be a Lead Mentor for y'all this summer! I am a chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Bay Area and I am elated and ready for another amazing summer at UCSC! I am involved in a few things on campus including residential life and undergraduate research. You can also just catch me studying because I sure do a lot of that. I'm definitely your go-to guy on any questions you may have about the classes, study tips, or just the university in general. I am here as a resource to you all and I can't wait to see everyone this summer!<

Pateley Johnson

Pateley Johnson (Lead Peer Mentor)  [click here to read about Pateley

Hello everyone name is Pateley. I am a three year Film and Digital Media Major currently in my second year at UCSC. I enjoy traveling a lot! I am so lucky to have traveled around the world. I was born in England and have lived in Santa Barbara, San Diego, and also Japan. I attended the First Year Academy in 2017 and was a Peer Mentor last year, I had such a great time both summers that I attended. I am really interested in anything to do with film. I am a Tour Guide for the campus so if I gave you a tour and are attending Summer Academy please say "hi" to me during the program! I can't wait to meet and get to know everyone over summer. We are going to have fun!

Marc Peralta

Marc Peralta (Lead Peer Mentor) [click here to read about Marc

Greetings UCSC Summer Academy Students! My name is Marc Anthony Peralta and I am going to be a lead peer mentor this summer. I am a 4h Year Student majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Applied Mathematics & Statistics. I am originally from East Los Angeles and a first generation student. I enjoy learning about biology alot especially anything that related to Neurosceicne. I am a really big sports fan - my favorite teams are the Green Bay Packers and the Celtics. Lastly, I'm excited to meet you all and have a great summer.

Colin O'Rourke

Colin O'Rourke [click here to read about Colin]

Hello hello Slugs! My name is Colin O'Rourke and I can't wait to be a peer mentor for the First Year Academy. I am a first year student majoring in Computer Science: Game Design, and am affiliated with College Nine. I've lived in San Jose, California my entire life which made UCSC a good choice because of how close to home it was. I play a lot of games and board games, and am super excited to have more friends to play these games with! Some other fun facts about me are that I've been featured on America's Funniest Home Videos and I took a class all about Dinosaurs with my Winter Quarter! Feel free to get help from me whenever, and see you over the summer!


Erykah Bazile

Erykah Bazile [click here to read about Erykah

HHi everyone! My name is Erykah and my pronouns are she/her/hers, and I am from Sacramento, CA. I am going into my 3rd year at UCSC and majoring in Cognitive Science with an emphasis in artificial intelligence. I am an Education Lead at the UCSC Veterans Resource Center where I help incoming student veterans and dependents understand their benefits and assist them with the enrollment verification process. Some of my passions include listening to music and painting, but most importantly assisting people who are in need whether that be on or off campus. It was important for me coming to UCSC to have representation and to understand that I do belong, so I hope to be that for you. I am so excited and look forward to meeting all of you!


Gianna Reyes

Gianna Reyes [click here to read about Gianna

Congrats and Welcome to the slug family, I go by Gianna! I'm unbelievably stoked to be a peer mentor for y'all this summer! Here's just a bit about me: I'll be going in my second year as a double major in anthropology and environmental studies with a minor in philosophy. I'm from the Central Valley. My passions include getting into nature, having colorful conversations, and laughing everyday! One of my favorite ways to meet amazing personas and find commmunity at UCSC is the OPERS Recreation Department "REC". The "REC" offers a variety of programs, ranging from cooking classes to day hikes to week-long backpacking adventures! Last summer, I particpated in the First Year academy and fell in love with the program. I'm so pleased to be here for y'all as a resource and a peer. See y'all soon :)

Jessie Halland

Jessie Halland [click here to read about Jessie

Welcome, Slugs! My name is Jessie and I'm from Laguna Beach, California. I'm a second-year Porter affiliate majoring in Sociology with a Legal Studies minor. I enjoy all types of music and I love hiking in the meadows or just sitting in nature on a beautiful day. I volunteer at a community-based food program so I can help you look for volunteer positions. Don't hesitate to talk to me about anything. I am so excited to get to know you all! This summer's going to be amazing!


Kara Lo

Kara Lo [click here to read about Kara

Hello everyone I'm Kara! I'm a second year chemistry major. I'm from LA and I've been living there for 5 years now but I grew up in Hong Kong. I'm a Global Leader for the international students orientation program. I love playing guitar and jamming with other people in my free time. And I love exploring all kinds of makeup and skincare products, which is also why I'm majoring in chemistry since I want to be a cosmetic chemist in the future. I'm also part of the Asian American Christian Fellowship (AACF) on campus. I'm really excited to meet y'all this summer :)


Liliana Cortes

Liliana Cortes [click here to read about Liliana

Hope you're just as excited about the summer as I am! My name is Liliana, and I am a fourth year Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology major. I enjoy the smaller things in life such as hiking, exploring, and going to the beach. I have been at UCSC all four years, and was previously an RA for summer academy in 2018. I can honestly say that Summer Academy is an experience like no other and I cannot wait to meet you all. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about anything. I hope to make this experience the best one yet, and I hope to be helpful in your transiton into your new home. Congratulations on making it this far, and I'll see you soon.

Madison Strohauer

Madison Strohauer [click here to read about Madi

Hey there! My name is Madi and I am so excited for summer 2019! I am a second year Cowell College affiliate and I attended summer academy as a first year in 2017. I moved to Santa Cruz from San Diego and I absolutely love living here in SC! I am a Psychology Major/Film and Digital Media minor. I began as a film major, but recently discovered my love for psychology and the brain! I love adventures, hiking, the sun, the beach, being outside, music, and I have recently gotten into mindfulness and meditation! I am really looking forward to meeting you all and I am so excited that you took interest in UCSC’s amazing summer programs! Let’s adventure!

Nicolas Cooper

Nicolas Cooper [click here to read about Nick

What’s up everyone! My name is Nick and I am a second year CS major affiliated with Cowell College. I attended the First Year Summer Academy way back in 2017. One thing that I know for sure is that there is no better weather than the weather at Santa Cruz during Summer Academy! It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my 20 years on this planet and I can’t wait to to share that with y’all this summer. I’m from San Francisco and have lived there my whole life. Some of my hobbies include meditating and playing basketball. I can’t wait to meet y’all and spend with this amazing summer with y’all!

William Gadd

William Gadd [click here to read about Will

Hello new Slugs! My name is Will, and I'm going into my second year at UCSC as a Computer Game Design major. I'm from the proud city of Sunnyvale in California, and I'm a Porter affiliate. I started my time here at UCSC as a Summer Academy student, and it was the perfect way for me to begin my college experience! I love movies, and talking about movies with people who like movies, so if that's what you're into I'll be around. I also love videogames, especially fighting games, so if you want play just let me know! Feel free to come ask me questions or to just talk about anything. I can't wait to meet all of you! !

Zachary Leavitt

Zachary Leavitt [click here to read about Zachary

Hello and welcome. My name is Zachary. This will be my second year at UCSC. I am from Campbell and am a Porter Affiliate. I have not declared a major yet but I am working towards Art and Design of Playable Media and Business Management Economics. I really love to read and take care of my succulents. I particularly enjoy Terry Pratchett novels and have been working my way through Brandon Sanderson's work. Feel free to drop by my dorm and talk about whatever. I really want to to have an amazing summer so let me know how I can help.

Questions for the Summer Academy Peer Mentors? Contact