Sayo Fujioka has deep roots in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas as well as the UCSC community, graduating with a degree in Sociology. Prior to serving as Director, Sayo managed and organized successful electoral campaigns and citywide cultural festivals in Watsonville. She was recruited to UCSC to design leadership trainings then served as a student organization advisor. Sayo attributes her love of collaborative, fast-paced environments to her ten years in the Bay Area restaurant industry, including her work as a Field Representative for the hotel and restaurant employees union.
Cultural Arts & Diversity
Don Williams brings over 35 years of theater production, performance, and mentorship to his role as Artistic Director of Cultural Arts and Diversity (CAD). Don is the founder, producer, and director of the African American Theater Arts Troupe and Rainbow Theater, which offer diverse and empowering theater performances to the campus and to under-resourced high schools throughout California. Don served as an officer and advisor for the Black Theater Network and travels to bring nationally recognized productions to UCSC. Don is a lecturer for Stevenson, Theater Arts, and Oakes. He earned his B.A. in Theater Arts with a minor in Telecommunications at Michigan State University and studied Directing and Theater History at the University of Southern California.
Katherine grew up in Hollywood, California. As an undergraduate, she helped organize statewide conferences and film festivals while earning her B.A. in International Politics at UCSC. In 2002, Katherine was caught in a devastating earthquake while visiting El Salvador. She put her organizing talent to work and developed effective community-based disaster relief programs. Katherine returned home to serve as a mentor for low-income, first generation college students for the Upward Bound/TRIO Program at the University of Southern California.
Scott Leiserson serves as Student Media Assistant Director and Broadcast Advisor, teaching and advising students in key technical, organizational, and legal aspects of broadcast production. As a longtime leader for sports teams and youth groups, Scott trained and mentored hundreds of young people to gain the skills of collaboration, delegation, and responsibility, qualities Scott finds essential to successful filmmaking. As a student, Scott served as President of the Film Production Coalition and earned his degree in Film and Digital Media at UCSC.
Francisco Galvan was a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar and a Rotary International leader in his hometown of Hawthorne, California. He served as a Bilingual Instructional Technician for English Language Learners while simultaneously building his financial and management skills in a retail corporation. Through his work, Francisco developed a keen appreciation for fiscal processes and the creativity involved in increasing financial efficiencies. Francisco earned his degree in Literature at UCSC and served as a mentor for his Greek Letter Organization.
Engaging EducationI am an Indigenous Zapotec Woman having roots in Salinas, California. I grew up in a traditional agrarian family from Oaxaca, Mexico. My passion for student advocacy stems from personally having a nurturing and well informed network. Consequently, I have successfully obtained a B.A in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and an Ed. M in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). While at UCSC, I served as Chair of Student Alliance of North American Indians (SANI) and CO-Chair for the Spring Annual Powwow. I also worked closely with Red Roots, an undergraduate and graduate student organization for the recruitment and retention of Indigenous and American Indians of UIUC.
Advisor, Student Run Sustainability Organizations
Angela joined SOMeCA in 2013 after serving as Outreach and Development Manager at a non-profit organization in New Mexico, which empowers youth to develop socially just and environmentally sustainable communities. Angela also served as Volunteer Coordinator for a domestic violence shelter in Santa Fe, addressing the presence of violence in the community. As an undergraduate, Angela was an organizer for the Student Environmental Center and the Campus Sustainability Council at UCSC, where she received her B.A. in Environmental Studies and Biology.
Student Media Print Advisor
Susan Watrous is both a UCSC lecturer and a SOMeCA Program Manager, advising Student Media's print organizations. She has a degree in American Studies and over 20 years of experience as an editor, writer, and project manager for magazine, book, academic, and multimedia projects, including companies that produce hardware and software to power the high-tech world. Susan is passionate about teaching and about empowering the next generation of media makers. She is a recipient of a UCSC Excellence in Teaching Award.
Arlan Mendiola joined SOMeCA in June 2015 as a Program Manager. He is a first generation college graduate, having earned an M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the USC Rossier School of Education as well as a B.S. in Molecular Biology from UCSC. Before returning to UCSC, Arlan worked in various aspects of education including college preparatory programs, career services, academic advising, and alumni engagement. His passion to serve in higher education stems from his undergraduate involvement with the Filipino and Asian/Pacific Islander communities.
SOARCory Fong was born and raised in Sacramento, California. Before joining SOMeCA as a Program Manager, he pursued a B.A. in literature while serving as an editor and reporter for five years in various collegiate publications, including UCSC’s student-run newspaper, City on a Hill Press. As a student mediamaker, Cory focused on developing practices that promote critical-thinking, compassion and collaboration within a newsroom while building relationships across city and campus communities.
SOARDaisey J. Miranda is a native of the San Fernando Valley, where she was first introduced to organizing for social justice. She earned her undergraduate degree from UCSC in Community Studies and Sociology. Her passion for community organizing lead her to combine social change theory with praxis in her work with day laborers across Portland, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles. As an undergrad Daisey was active in student led ChicanX/LatinX organizations, organizing the first multicultural tabling event, Week of Ethnic Tabling Opportunities (W.E.T.O.)
SOAREvelyn Benitez received a B.A. in Modern Literature from UC Santa Cruz and has been a member of the SOMeCA team since July 2015. As an undergraduate she helped establish an academic based greek letter organization, of which she remains actively involved today. She was brought up in Echo Park a small neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA. Evelyn is a member and former employee of a non-profit organization that provides support to youth in low income communities by empowering them to develop their potential, pursue high education and strengthen their communities. In her current role wishes to continue empowering students in higher education with financial processes and university policy.
SOMeCATommy grew up in Morgan Hill, CA, the oldest son in a close-knit family. He attended UC Santa Cruz, graduating in 2013 with a degree in psychology. It was during his time as an undergraduate that he joined City on a Hill Press as the business manager and got his first experience in a student agency environment. After a couple of jobs post graduation, he came to SOAR where he was able to expand upon his CHP foundation and gain better insight into the mission of SOMeCA as a whole. Returning once again to the SOMeCA family, he looks forward to helping progress this mission for future generations.
Cultural Arts & Diversity Administrative AssistantJulianne Kimm Park Bellin has a hundred years of history in her name. She studied story so as to create social change; and in 2013 was proud to both have a piece performed in Chautauqua and graduate UCSC with a BA in Creative Writing. The lack of mixed race individuals in the media she studied and read spurred her dearest goal: mixed race representation in the media, as both characters and producers. She is excited to support the Cultural Arts and Diversity Center as part of this goal.