SOMeCA Staff

    Sayo Fujioka - Director

  • Sayo Fujioka


    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. 

  • Don Williams - Director

  • Don Williams

    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 Canales - Associate Director

  • Katherine Canales


    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 - Associate Director

  • Scott Leiserson

    Student Media

    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 - Associate Director

  • Francisco Galvan


    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.

  • Carmen Gutierrez - Interim Program Manager

  • Carmen Gutierrez

    Advisor, Student Run Sustainability Organizations

    Carmen Gutierrez grew up in a small city in Southeast Los Angeles and moved to Santa Cruz in 2012 where she pursued a degree in Ecology & Environmental Studies. As a student she was involved in the Student Environmental Center and the Student Organization Leadership Body. She was also a peer adviser at Cowell College and the SOAR office. Through her student involvement she learned the importance of finding your voice and a community that supports each other. She is excited to be back with Enviroslug to support students in their missions towards a sustainable campus and world. 

  • Jhordy Gongora - Program Organizer

  • Program Organizer; Engaging Education

    Community Studies & Latin American/Latino Studies Double Major, c/o 2017

    As the Program Organizer Jhordy advises and and support the e2 community. Through the student agency model he works in partnership with the e2 community to maintain the functions and operations of the center.

    Some of his favorite pastimes include cooking, going on hikes, watching anime, and listening to hip-hop, jazz, and music in general. 

  • Susan Watrous – Program Manager

  • Susan Watrous

    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 - Program Manager

  • Arlan Mendiola


    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.

  • Cory Fong - Program Manager

  • Cory Fong


    Cory 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 c​ampus communities.

  • Daisy Miranda - Program Manager

  • Daisey Miranda


    Daisey 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.)

  • Griffin Smith - Fiscal Coordinator

  • Griffin Smith


    Griffin Smith graduated from UCSC in the spring of 2017 with a B.A. in Film & Digital Media. Before joining SOAR, he worked as both an equipment manager & a business assistant for Student Media. He is also a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Griffin was born & raised in Anaheim, California but has also lived in north-central Massachusetts & Sunnyvale, California before coming to Santa Cruz.

  • Thomas Palmer - Administrative & Facilities Assistant

  • Thomas Palmer


    Tommy 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.

  • Julianne Bellin - Cultural Arts & Diversity

  • Julianne Bellin

    Cultural Arts & Diversity Administrative Assistant

    Julianne 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.