Peer Mentors

What is a Summer Academy Peer Mentor?transfer academy students

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 your 2019 Peer Mentors!

Brittany Echevarria

Brittany Echevarria (Lead Peer Mentor) [click here to read about Brittany]

Hey everyone welcome to UCSC! My name is Brittany, and I am a Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology student aspiring to be a future tooth fairy (dentist!). I am originally from Chino, CA and have taken classes at both Mt. Sac and Chaffey college. I am affiliated with Rachel Carson College and hold two positions on the RCC council (events and communications manager). I am also involved in Pre-Dental Society and Hermanas Unidas de UCSC. In my spare time, I like to go to the gym and play water polo. I aspire to be a skinny legend so if you see me at the gym know I don't always look like I am about to die. If you have any questions don't be afraid to ask! I can't wait to meet you all this summer!


Erik Beckman

Erik Beckman (Lead Peer Mentor) [click here to read about Erik

Hey everyone welcome to UCSC! My name is Erik, I am a transfer student from Ohlone College. I transferred to UCSC in 2017 and I recently graduated with a degree in marine biology. I participated in the 2017 Transfer Academy and enjoyed it so much I decided to become a peer mentor in 2018. I spent part of my time at UCSC working in the freshwater lab down at the Coastal Science Campus working on a project that studied three spine stickleback. If you have any questions about getting into a lab, I would be happy to give you any advice I can. Also a fun fact about myself, I was a zookeeper for almost 10 years! So feel free to ask me any animal question you want. Can't wait to meet you all this summer and help you get a jump start here at UCSC!


Diana Etwaru

Diana Etwaru [click here to read about Diana

Hello fellow slugs! My name is Diana and I’m an MCD Neuroscience major on the pre-med track. I participated in the First Year academy and loved it so much I decided to become a peer mentor. Some fun facts about me are I’m the VP of Morning Sign Out (an on campus pre-health club), have done research abroad in Japan, and volunteer for the local animal shelter! If you have any questions about anything don’t hesitate to come up and ask me! I’m looking forward to meeting y’all and getting to know you :)


Daniel Lane

Daniel Lane [click here to read about Daniel

Hey everyone, welcome to UCSC! My name is Daniel, I’m a transfer student from Napa Valley College completing a major in Film and Digital Media. I attended the Transfer Academy last year and I’m super excited to help with your transition to a research university. This year I’ve volunteered for the Santa Cruz Film Festival, assisted production with several amazing media-makers, and explored a richly complex critical component to my own creative work. Also, if anyone is looking to take on the world with a paintbrush, I want in. I’m looking forward to spending an amazing summer with you!

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.

Diego Aponte

Diego Aponte [click here to read about Diego]

What is up UCSC! My name is Diego Aponte, transfer student from Cerritos College and former participant of the Summer Transfer Academy. I am currently majoring in Anthropology and I am stoked to meet more fellow transfer students. My goal is to assist and guide you with your transition into the quarter system along with providing information about campus life and various campus resources. Now is the time to make friends and share awesome experiences together, and summer is the BEST time to explore and get a feel for the unique vibe here in Santa Cruz.


Jasmine Banks

Jasmine Banks [click here to read about Jasmine

Hi y'all! My name is Jasmine and I am double majoring in Psychology and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. I intern at the African American Resource and Cultural Center here on campus and I am also a part of the Facilitators for Racial and Ethnic Diversity (FRED) team which facilitates peer-to-peer dialouge with different student organizations on racial issues that affect campus climate. Outside of that, I am also a writing tutor as well. I didn't get the chance to go to Summer Academy my first year because I am from the East Coast (Pennslyvania), but I definitely think that it would've helped me be better prepared for academia which is why I am excited to be able to help you all in any way you need. I look foward to meeting everyone and please don't hesitate to ask for anything!


Jacob Bomgaars

Jacob Bomgaars [click here to read about Jacob

Hey y'all, I'm Jacob and I'm from Riverside County in Southern California. I'm a Econ/Philosophy double major. I'm super involved with politics, law, and entertainment. If you want to talk about that sort of stuff, or anything in general, always feel free to reach out to me. See you in July!

Hallie Holmes

Hallie Holmes [click here to read about Hallie

Hi slugs, welcome to UCSC! I’m Hallie and I’m going into my 3rd year as an Environmental Studies/Biology major. I’ve had a lot of experience with the ENVS internships and classes in my time here and can definitely give some good advice on those topics, as well as just general UCSC life, so come talk to me! I’m excited to spend this summer with you :D


Gustavo Tellez-Mendoza

Gustavo Tellez-Mendoza [click here to read about Gustavo

Hey y’all this is Gustavo from sunny FresYes (Fresno) California. I am first-gen Latino double majoring in Sociology and Film with a minor in Education so if you have any questions let me know! I am a part of CHP as a videographer, the school paper, and not the highway patrol. I have done research and an internship in the summer prior this to one focusing on civic engagement. My hobbies include playing tennis, the piano, photography, writing, and cooking. Some fun facts include visiting the Pixar animation studio, traveling to Vegas, and being Bruin for a quarter.


Sabrina Zarifi

Sabrina Zarifi [click here to read about Sabrina

Hello, my name is Sabrina. I will be getting a major in Legal Studies and a minor in Sociology. I am the President of Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law International. It is a professional greek organization that is focused on law and law school. If anyone has questions regarding law school I would be happy to help out and answer your questions! I participated in the Transfer Academy my first year and had an amazing time. It allowed me to get familiar with campus as well as meet other transfer students who are going through similar experiences as well. When school began in Fall, I was confident and knowledgeable about campus and the resources they offered that would be beneficial to me.
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