College Academic Mentors (CAMs) are UCLA graduate students who have been specially trained to help you with program planning, course selection, and to give you guidance in the process of choosing a major and planning for graduate and/or professional school.

CAMs are available for both same-day and advance appointments. CAMs are unavailable for appointments from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. every Thursday.  Schedule your appointment with a CAM in REACH.

See some of the great things that CAMs can do for you HERE

Marritt Cafarchia

Marritt Cafarchia

College Academic Mentor Coordinator

Saud Alomair

I am Saud Alomair, a PhD student in the department of Environmental Health Sciences. I am an international student and my background is in Health. I did my bachelors in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) at KSU and did my Masters of Public Health (MPH) here at UCLA.
On some personal notes I love all forms of art, basically any form of expression. I enjoy music from different parts of the world and feel that music is a language that can touch us more than words. I love being active and enjoy different sports such as tennis and soccer. I live my life by what I call the rule of three Es. Experience, experiment and explore.

Sandra Castro

Hi there! My name is Sandra Castro and I use she/her/ella pronouns. I was born in the beautiful coastal city of Mazatlán, Mexico and moved to the US with my family when I was eight years old. Growing up at the intersection of two different cultures and languages greatly shaped my experiences and influenced my interests in social justice. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon and graduated cum laude in 2017. Additionally, I had the privilege of working within higher education for the past six years in student support services.

After a much-needed break from school, for my health and wellbeing, I am currently pursuing my Masters of Public Health Degree at UCLA. I am very excited to be joining the CAM team and am looking forward to connecting with you and helping you navigate life as a student at UCLA.

Molly Clark

Hello, my name is Molly and I am a first-year Master’s student in Social Welfare at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. I am originally from Syracuse, NY and attended Hamilton College where I majored in Public Policy and minored in Hispanic Studies. While at Hamilton, I ran cross country and track, spent time working for the Career Center, and was involved with Asian American and LGBTQ student organizations.

I discovered a passion for Asian American community building, leading me to intern in Washington, DC . I spent time working on Capitol Hill and for various Asian/Korean American advocacy organizations. Prior to coming to UCLA, I worked as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in South Korea for two years.

As a Korean American adoptee, my professional interests include serving adoptee and Asian American communities in clinical settings. While at UCLA, I look forward to learning more about culturally competent and intersectional mental healthcare across the lifespan.

Given my own experience navigating both personal identity and academic or professional pursuits, I understand that the undergraduate experience can vary widely and I look forward to helping students find their way.

Outside of work and school, I enjoy learning new Korean recipes, celebrity gossip, treating myself to iced coffee, and obsessing over my baby niece.

I look forward to supporting you in whatever way I can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Zayala Fitzgerald

“Hi! My name is Zayala, and I’m looking forward to meeting with you. I am a first year graduate student pursuing a dual degree in Public Policy and Social Welfare. Within the field of public policy, I’m interested in education and civil rights reform. I chose UCLA’s MSW program to pursue my PPS credential which provides the certification to work in a high school setting as a counselor or school social worker. I am passionate about supporting students of color as they navigate education by exposing them to the hidden curriculum of academia. I recently completed a fellowship with UCLA’s Destination College Advising Corps in May, where I helped students at Hamilton High School with postsecondary advising, and being competitive college applicants.

I’m from Pasadena, CA. Fun Fact: I’m a second generation Bruin, and my parents met at UCLA. I graduated from UCLA in 2021, and I double majored in African American Studies and Political Science with a minor in Education. During my undergrad, I served as a peer counselor and Mentorship Coordinator for the Academic Supports Program, a retention project for Black students. I took a holistic, student-centered approach to meeting with my student to address academics and any extenuating barriers/factors. I’m extremely organized, so I enjoy helping with class planning, time/stress management, but am ready to help with whatever you need!

I love traveling, going to concerts and sporting events. I’m a Sagittarius rising, so I love being busy & involved with my friends and family. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with undergrad Bruins again, 4’s up!”

Kayla Flores

Hi ya’ll! My name is Kayla Flores and I am pursuing my MSW in Social Welfare. I earned a B.A. in Sociology/Law and Society and a Minor in Education at UC Riverside. Throughout my undergraduate years, I served as a Youth Development Specialist, Kindergarten Teacher’s Assistant, Kids Ministry Leader, College Mentor, and IT Asset Management Assistant. Working with diverse classes of elementary school students has driven my passion for becoming a therapist for marginalized youth and working towards eventually founding a nonprofit organization to increase psychotherapy in schools. I am currently interning at St. Joseph’s Center with the home-insecure population in LA County, where I serve clients who are overcoming mental and medical barriers, substance abuse, and domestic violence. I believe that every individual can succeed regardless of their disadvantages, and I am eager to help others realize their true potential.

I enjoy traveling, trying new foods, watching movies, and hanging out with friends in my free time. My favorite place that I’ve traveled to so far was Costa Rica because I went bungee jumping there and it was such a surreal experience! I am also working towards being an Elite Yelper because I’m a huge foodie! A couple other fun facts; I’m 5’10”, I listen to a lot of 90s-2000s R&B and Hip Hop (Ashanti, Kiesha Cole, SWV, Boys to Men), I’m Nicaraguan and Thai, I like playing games (Tetris, Super Mario, Scrabble, Need for Speed, COD), I’ve been a member of over 10 sports teams, and I played the flute for 9 years.

Even though I have a high level of expertise in social work and education, I’m constantly learning new information and acquiring new skills. There will never be a time in life when you have learned enough, thus I value maintaining humility and an open mind. Everything has a solution, that’s my guiding principle in life! I’m here to be your mentor, friend, and supporter. I will do my best to guide you and comfort you to the best of my ability.

Emily Frake

Hello! My name is Emily Frake (pronouns: she/her/hers), and I am a third-year doctoral student pursuing a Ph.D. in Special Education through a joint program between CSULA and UCLA. I earned a MA in Special Education at Loyola Marymount University and my BA in Political Science at Gonzaga University. Before starting this Ph.D. program, I was a K-12 public school teacher in Los Angeles for eight years. One of my favorite parts of teaching was building positive relationships with students and helping them take steps to reach their goals. I hope to continue to serve students as a CAM by being a support to any student needing guidance through their UCLA journey. I am here to help you! Please reach out!

My research interests straddle both Special Education and Disability Studies. I am interested in studying inclusive education for students with disabilities, particularly at the college level. Currently, I am working on a project about disability messages students and families may receive from educational stakeholders.

To refresh and rejuvenate myself, I love to spend time outdoors, mostly checking out new (to me!) hiking spots. As a grad student, I have learned to love baking and cooking to help relax me during stressful times.

Iris Guzman

Hello! My name is Iris Guzman-Ruiz (pronouns she/her/hers), and I am a Ph.D. graduate student in Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Feilding School of Public Health. I am the daughter of immigrants and a first-generation college student. I am also a double Bruin. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master’s in Public Health from UCLA. I am working on my dissertation, which examines experiences of discrimination among Asian and Latino immigrants and how these experiences affect their health and access to health care. I enjoy being a mom to my one-year-old son, spending time with family, and resting/sleeping (when I can)!

I look forward to meeting you, and I’m excited to help you embark on your academic journey and to help you plan your life after college!

Xiong Her

Hello, my name is Xiong Her (he/him), and I’m a third-year Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Organizational Change (HEOC) Program in the School of Education and Information Studies. My current research interests focus on increasing access and support for low-income and/or first-generation students, affirmative action policy, and diversity issues in U.S. higher education. I earned my M.S. Ed. in International Educational Development from University of Pennsylvania and BA in International Affairs and Political Science from Marquette University. In my spare time, I enjoy biking, playing sports (soccer, badminton, volleyball, pickleball, etc.), hiking, and cooking Hmong food. I look forward to working and supporting you in any way I can.

Joelle Julien

Coming soon!

Danielle Kang

“Hello, I’m Danielle Kang (she/her), a second year Masters of Public Policy student, also holding a BA in Political Science from UC San Diego. After graduating, I worked in government affairs with the Palo Alto City Council for three years. With a background spanning the Bay Area, LA, and OC, I’m driven to bridge the gaps in data and tech policy within the realm of social welfare. When I’m not diving into policy, you can find me geek out over Lord of the Rings, pour overs, or my very unprofessional film photos. I’m absolutely stoked to be your College Academic Mentor, as I believe in the power of mentorship to uplift individuals on their personal educational journey. Remember, every step you take towards your goals is a victory, and I’m here to support and empower you every step of the way! I look forward to meeting you all!”

Monica Le

Hello everyone, I’m Monica and I am currently a fourth-year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. I’m in the 5-year dual degree PRIME-LA program and currently in my 1 year master’s program at the Fielding School of Public Health, pursuing an MPH in Health Policy and Management. My passion lies in working towards better health equity and justice for underserved communities, primarily through leadership, advocacy, and policy efforts.

As the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, I understand firsthand the many challenges that many first-generation, low-income pre-health students face in their higher education journey. My goal is to collaborate with you to help identify your passions and explore how they can be integrated into a career path where you can thrive. I’m honored to serve as a CAM here at UCLA, where I am dedicated to providing support throughout your journey, along with my two adorable pugs. In tough times, remember that we have been there, and we’re all here to support you, AND things will be okay! (:

Leane Nasrallah

Hi! My name is Leane (she/her), and I am a proud (almost) triple Bruin! This year, I am completing my MPH in Health Policy at the Fielding School of Public Health. I am also an MD student at the David Geffen School of Medicine in a dual-degree program, PRIME-LA. I plan to use my combined degrees to advocate for policies which advance health equity for entire communities, addressing issues such as access to care and reproductive justice.

I am a Los Angeles native who completed a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Public Health at UCLA. After graduating, I spent a few years working as a healthcare consultant in the Bay Area before returning to UCLA for medical school.

On the weekends, you’ll find me trying new restaurants, taking long walks with my dog, and spending time with friends and family. I love hikes, baking, Netflix reality shows, and picnics on the beach. I know UCLA is a huge school, but you are not alone! I look forward to supporting your journey.

Joyce Nguy

Joyce Nguy (she/her) is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Department of Political Science at UCLA in the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, American Politics, and Methods subfields. She has a Masters in Political Science from UCLA and obtained her B.A. in Political Science and Education Sciences from the University of California, Irvine, and was a Fulbright Taiwan grantee from 2019 – 2020. She is primarily interested in studying Asian American political behavior, descriptive representation, and political socialization. Her research has been published in Political Behavior and The Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage”. In her free time, she enjoys going to the gym, cooking, and eating copious amounts of noodles. She is also a dog mom!!!

Clara Nguyen

When I say Go Bruins for life, I really mean it! I am Clara (she/her), daughter of Vietnamese refugees from Orange County, CA, MD/MPH candidate at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) and Fielding School of Public Health, and soon-to-be quadruple Bruin. While an undergrad, I earned 2 degrees in Human Biology & Society and Asian American Studies. I wrote my Honors Thesis on intergenerational relationships and trauma within the Vietnamese American community then worked full-time as a researcher studying ways to improve outcomes for patients with schizophrenia.

As a member of the PRIME-LA cohort at DGSOM, I strive to learn tangible skills in preparation for serving underresourced populations as a physician. During my MPH, I hope to research the intersection of reproductive justice, primary care, and mental health. My upbringing, community work, and research interests led me to my goal to increase to affordable, culturally-conscious, patient-centered mental health care.

When I am not studying, you can find me trying new restaurants or coffee shops around LA as Yelp Elite or crafting gifts for loved ones at the Makerspace on the Hill.

As much as I have loved being at UCLA for so long, I know being here comes with its challenges. I am beyond pumped to help you thrive as a whole human, from your pre-health and pre-med needs to navigating student life. Until then, remember that you belong here, and you are not alone.

Ford Nguyen

Hi everyone! My name is Ford, and I am currently a second-year graduate student in the Master of Social Welfare program at UCLA. Being a first-generation student of color and a member of the LGBTQ+ community has provided me with so much perspectiveand insight into the world! After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in psychology and minor in child and adolescent development at California State University, Fullerton, I took a gap year to travel and re-connect with myself (which wasmuch needed). I was also able to take on several roles within different organizations, such as at a crisis text line, a federally qualified health center, and nonprofit organizations where I was exposed to working with incarcerated patients, low-income clientele, individuals with schizophrenia, and children with autism. I am especially interested in topics such as sexual and reproductive wellbeing, higher education, and mental health if you ever want to chat about these issues/explore career paths in related fields!In the future, I hope to pursue my LCSW and work in a hospital setting where I can continue to educate and support others by linking them with sufficient resources and helping them cope with their diagnoses. A little about me, I like to watch Korean dramas and RomCom Netflix series, explore new food spots, visit sightseeing/hiking landmarks, and go to EDM events with friends. I also appreciate long walks on the beach alone with not a single thought in mind (I promise I am okay). Always open to talking to you about ANYTHING you may need to be successful in your academic and personal development journey at UCLA. When things get hard, please remember that you’re not alone and to be patient with yourself (:

Marah Sabbah

Hello students! My name is Marah and I am a first year Master of Social Welfare program. I am a proud UC Davis graduate (Go Aggies!) where I earned my BA in Philosophy (Pre Law emphasis) with a minor in Latin. My happiest moments as an undergraduate were working as an Orientation Leader and Peer Advisor for Psychology, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science majors. I loved connecting with fellow students and using my training to support them in their college journey, so I am excited I have the opportunity to do this again as a CAM. After graduating, I continued my passion for higher education by working for a local TRiO Upward Bound chapter. In this program I got to mentor, tutor, and design programming to help first generation students. Thus, the first generation student population will always have a special place in my heart. Besides Upward Bound, I also taught at a learning center helping K-12 students boost their reading, writing, and math skills. My jobs exposed me to some of the systemic inequalities in K-12/higher education and the impacts of COVID-19 on student learning and mental health. After earning my MSW, I plan to pursue school social work and perhaps also become a therapist with an emphasis on serving Muslim women. About me: I am a cat mom to an 8 year old Ragdoll/Siamese. I was born and raised in Sacramento. I spend my free time napping, binging Youtube videos, and jamming out to Arabic/French pop music (always seeking new song recommendations). Finally, I have a massive sweet tooth and am always open to trying new desserts!

I understand that college can be a stressful and scary experience, but always remember that you have an army of staff and campus resources to cheer you on! I’m excited to work with you this year.

Leonardo Sandoval Flores

Hello everyone! My name is Leonardo and I am a first-year MPP student with the Luskin School of Public Policy. I received my B.A in Sociology with a minor in History from Cal State Long Beach (CSULB). During my undergraduate time, I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy for a semester and immerse myself in an entirely new culture.

After graduating from CSULB, I did volunteer work and eventually began working for the State of California. I have always been interested in social issues and the history behind them, which inspired me to continue my education and go for my master’s in public policy. In the long run, I hope to find ways to help alleviate the current social issues that surround us.

Outside of school and work, I continue to learn Japanese language, look for the best coffee around and the best Gelato in town.
I look forward to working with you and helping the best I can with your future endeavors!

Kathy Silva

Hi there! My name is Kathy Silva (she/her) and I am a first year graduate student at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health pursuing a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Community Health Sciences. I am the first person in my family to attend college and received my Bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from Wellesley College. After being in the workforce for seven years (with many twists and turns in between), I am excited to explore my passions while staying open to discovering new ones on this new adventure.

Moving to attend college across the country as a teenager was probably one of the biggest risks I have taken, and I faced a variety of challenges, including: being on academic probation, changing from a premed path to a humanities major, and imposter syndrome. Upon graduating, I still struggled to build a network and navigate the workforce. In both instances, what helped me move forward was asking for help and utilizing my campus’ resources. They exist for students to use them and we, especially first-gen students, should not be shy about accessing them! It is a powerful thing to advocate for yourself.

Transitions can be scary, but they do not have to be faced alone. I look forward to working with you as you embark on your own journey!

Fun facts: I proudly claim the Northeast San Fernando Valley as home, my family is Guatemalan and Salvadoran, I am the oldest of four, and we are very much obsessed with our mini poodle. In my free time, I enjoy exploring coffee shops, watching TikToks, and marveling over Architectural Digest-esque homes and historical buildings in LA.

Cindy Tran

Hi there! My name is Cindy and I am a first-year student at the Fielding School of Public Health. I am originally from San Bernardino, California and graduated from UCLA in 2021 with a bachelor’s in Sociology and minor in Global Studies. As a first generation college student, I had no idea what to expect. After some trial and error, I found my way around campus and had a blast making new friends and connecting with mentors.

I am very excited to be back on campus to pursue my MPH in Health Management. During my gap year, I worked for a non-profit organization in Los Angeles that addressed substance use disorders. I am really excited to meet you and support your goals. Please feel free to reach out!

Ryan Troutman

Hello friends! My name is Ryan Troutman (he/him) and I am a second year master’s student pursuing a Masters in Nursing at the UCLA School of Nursing MECN program. I graduated from UCLA last year with a BS in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology and a minor in Global Health.

I fell in love with the nursing profession after volunteering at the UCLA Ronald Reagan hospital during my undergraduate program, inspiring me to apply to the UCLA Nursing program. After graduation, I hope to work in Pediatrics for a few years before pursuing my PhD in Nursing to become an educator, researcher, and nurse. Additionally, I conducted research in the Jacobs Laboratory, where I investigated how the gut microbiome influences the development of Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, and Crohn’s Disease through a genetic disease variant. My research combines my passion for the sciences and my desire to further understand the genetic components of my autoimmune disorder – Crohn’s Disease. During my 4 years at UCLA, I also worked as a New Student Advisor, where I served as both an academic and peer counselor for incoming first year and transfer students in the College of Letters and Science, Samueli School of Engineering, and School of Nursing. I am thrilled to continue my advising position as a CAM so I can further impact my bruin community.

Outside of work and academics, I like to explore LA coffee shops, play Dungeons and Dragons with my boyfriend, and find new recipes to cook / bake. I’m excited to work with you to navigate through the academics, resources, and challenges that come with being a UCLA student! Please let me know how I can support you during your time here and don’t hesitate to reach out. Go Bruins!

Eden Wetzel

Hello Bruins, my name is Eden and I am here to help! I am a California native and I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area before coming to UCLA for college, where I earned a degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Gerontology. Now I am approaching double-Bruin status as a 2nd year MPH student at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Sciences. I am passionate about education, medicine, and promoting health equity among underserved individuals. I currently serve as a Public Health Coordinator with the UCLA Mobile Clinic Project (MCP), where undergrads, public health, and med students work together to bridge the gap between the unhoused and the current continuum of health care. My professional goals include pursuing a career in medicine and public health to provide communities with the quality, affordable healthcare they deserve while advocating for policies that promote health equity and social justice.

As an undergraduate at UCLA I was involved in multiple science and health related organizations including the PEERS program, CTSI-RAP, Saving Hearts Foundation, and MCP. I also spent 2 years working as a New Student Advisor and Mentor, supporting incoming freshman and transfer students as they began their journey at UCLA. As a minority who was underrepresented in their field of study, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to navigate an institution as large as UCLA and believe it is so important to have people you can lean on for support and encouragement.

Outside of school, I love to spend time with family and friends, crochet, draw, dance, and play volleyball. Most evenings you can find me playing open gym volleyball at Wooden! I can’t wait to meet and work with you all. Whenever things are challenging, always remember to believe in yourself, you got this! You are not alone, and we’re here to help. Please feel free to reach out with any questions and let me know how I can support you! Go Bruins 😊

Ajah Whitehead

Hey y’all! My name is Ajah (she/they) I’m a second year masters student in the African Studies department, focusing on African History. Originally hailing from Long Beach, CA, I moved to UCSB at 17 for undergrad where I earned my BA in Global Studies with a double minor in French and Translation Studies. During my time at UCSB as a first-gen Black woman, it became very apparent that there is so much more to be done in making higher education more equitable and accessible for underrepresented groups. There were many times that I felt I did not belong, or that I struggled intensely with imposter syndrome. My own experiences pushed me to create the space and support I so desperately needed for myself and others like me. I devoted my time to establishing the Black Women’s Health Collaborative, working to support and uplift Black Gauchos so that they not only survive but thrive. This work, combined with my experience as a McNair Scholar, only furthered my passion for mentorship and social justice. It would be an understatement to say that supporting BIPOC students in navigating the difficulties of academia is a passion I carry with me in my position as a CAM. It was the graduate student mentors I had that truly helped me make it to grad school myself, and I am beyond excited to be a resource for you. If you have any questions about graduate school planning and applications I’d be happy to help (:

As a side note: In my free time I love to watch movies (and yes, I log everything on letterboxd), go to concerts/festivals/raves, and also learn new languages. I currently speak four and am hoping to add a fifth, so I’m always looking for new interactive ways to learn and practice!

Eryca Yamane

Hello everyone! My name is Eryca Yamane (pronouns: she/they) and I am currently a first year in the dual Master’s of Social Welfare and Public Health programs.
I received my undergraduate degrees at the University of California, Santa Barbara where I majored in Psychological and Brain Sciences and minored in Education and Applied Psychology. While completing my degrees, I worked at Koegel Autism Center and PathPoint in Santa Barbara which both offer resources and create more equity for people with disabilities. Previously, I have also worked with youth, older adults, and people with mental health and substance use disorders.

If you are here, congratulations! You are at one of the top universities in the world and that is for a reason. I would love to come alongside you in this journey because I know personally that it is not an easy feat. I am proud of you! Welcome and I look forward to working with you soon.

Max Yao

Hello friends! My name is Max (they/them) and I’m currently a first year in the Master of Social Welfare program at UCLA’s Luskin School. I’m from the Bay Area, specifically the San Jose region, and have been there pretty much my whole life (so yes, I am and always will be a Bay lover at heart hehe). I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychological & Brain Sciences from UCSB in June 2021 and, up until the start of this school year, I spent my gap years working full-time, initially as a Registered Behavior Technician for children on the spectrum and finally as a Case Manager for Medi-Cal-insured adults with speciality mental health needs (many of whom were undergraduate students!).

After I finish my program, I hope to pursue my LCSW and continue to make meaningful differences in the lives of those who have been historically (and continue to be) excluded, marginalized, and discriminated against by the current systems in place. For me, this entails staying in the non-profit sector and serving underinsured or uninsured individuals. Whether it happens in a clinic, hospital, or school, I aspire to be a part of a united community that commits itself to achieving social equity, inclusion, and amplification of voices left unheard. As a
member of the Asian American, LGBTQIA+, low-income, and first-generation communities, I especially hope to utilize my personal experiences and perspectives to better serve these populations in a way that emphasizes cultural humility, intersectionality, and solidarity.

Outside of work and school, you can catch me DJing/mixing, shooting film photography, going to DIY shows, creating art, watching anime, camping/hiking, cooking new recipes, thrifting, and collecting cute, vintage toys! 🙂

Outside of work and school, you can catch me DJing/mixing, shooting film photography, going to DIY shows, creating art, watching anime, camping/hiking, cooking new recipes, thrifting, and collecting cute, vintage toys! 🙂