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. Sayo works with a dedicated team to foster organizational leadership and serves as an instructor for three courses: Mindful Collaboration, Transformative Leadership, and Agency, Dialogue, Action. 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.

    (831) 459-2934  - 

  • 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.

    (831) 459-1861  - 

  • 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.

    (831) 459-5645  - 

  • Alex Santana Jr. - Associate Director

  • Alex Santana Jr.

    Student Media

    Alex Santana Jr. was born and raised in Watsonville California. During his undergraduate career at UCSC, he was an active Student Media member where he participated in FPC, OTS, and as the first SCTV Broadcast Coordinator. After graduating, Alex pursued careers focused on youth advocacy and skill development. He has worked closely with queer youth in the Santa Cruz County, and supported building a video production-based on-the-job training program in Watsonville. Alex joins the SOMeCA team eager to continue empowering students and supporting them in realizing their potential.

    (831) 459-5360  -

  • Griffin Smith - Associate Director

  • 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.

    (831) 459-4388  - 

  • Arlan Mendiola - Senior 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.

    (831) 459-4526  - 

  • Jhordy Gongora - Program Organizer

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    SOAR and Engaging Education

    As the Program Organizer Jhordy advises 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. 

    (831) 459-1743  - 

  • Carmen Gutierrez - Program Manager

  • Carmen Gutierrez

    SOAR; 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. 

    (831) 459-1714  - 

  • Cindy Hernandez-Rivas - Operations Coordinator

  • Cindy Hernandez-Rivas


    Cindy Hernandez-Rivas is a College Track Scholar who grew up in Redwood City, CA. She moved to Santa Cruz to attend UCSC where she received a B.A. in Environmental and Spanish Studies. During her time at UCSC, she dove into student organizations where she learned through collaborative learning experiences about the importance of community to strive towards representation and community goals.

    (831) 459-5391 - 

  • Amanda Vong - Operations Coordinator

  • Amanda Vong


    Amanda Vong was born in Southeast Texas & raised in Southern California. As a transfer student to UCSC in 2017, she joined the SOMeCA team as an Equipment Manager, was a Producer at the Film Production Coalition, and active with other student organizations while earning her B.A. in Literature with a focus on Creative Writing in Poetry. She is a first-generation college graduate and is extremely passionate about communication, representation, media literacy, accessibility, and community.

    (831) 459-5573  - 

  • Susan Watrous – Program Manager

  • Susan Watrous

    Student Media

    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. 

    (831) 459-5817  -