Alumni Council

UC Santa Cruz Alumni is governed by an elected board of alumni volunteers called the Alumni Council. The council is comprised of elected alumni. If you are interested in being part of the council, please contact Shayna Kent by email at skent1@ucsc.edu or (831) 459-3966.

 

Welcome letter from the president can be found here.


    Adolfo R. Mercado - President

  • Adolfo R. Mercado

    Kresge College, 1998

    B.A. Anthropology

    California Charter School Association, Regional Manager Northern California


    Adolfo's first year on campus as a transfer student, there was a big protest planned in response to the implementation of Proposition 187. Students came together in amazing solidarity and shut down the campus, before taking over Hahn Student Services Building until the chancellor met with student leaders. His first quarter on campus was immensely eye opening and committed him to advocating for greater inclusion and authenticity with all the varied organizations and communities he is associated with. Adolfo arrived to UC Santa Cruz with many concerns, doubts, and insecurities, yet with a deep curiosity to better understand life. On campus he explored ideas that were completely new, had the opportunity to study abroad, and gained immense growth as a young man. Supporting the community that has given him so much is a real pleasure. As president of the Alumni Council, Adolfo is excited to see the ever-increasing engagement of alumni, both on campus in Santa Cruz as well as around the world through our regional and affinity-based programming. As more banana slugs gather, our network is strengthened. There are many trite metaphors that can be used here, but the essence is that we are each as unique as our mascot and mighty, quirks and all, as our alma mater.


  • Donna Mekis - Past President

  • Donna Mekis

    Rachel Carson College, 1984

    B.A. Anthropology

    Retired


    Donna was a re-entry single parent while she attended UCSC. A few of the highlights from her days as a student were raising her son in the Family Student Apartments, serving as a teaching assistant for Stuart Schlegel's Anthropology of Religion class, and studying with May Diaz—often in classes held at her home. Donna has been closely linked to UCSC her entire life. She was raised near campus. She worked on campus from 1972-1991. Both of Donna's degrees are from UCSC. Her son is a graduate, and as Cabrillo's Transfer Center Director, she supported thousands of students with their transfer to UCSC. Donna recently completed her term as President of the Alumni Council, and is thrilled at the completion of a new Strategic Plan, and the nearly completed Bylaws. She is deeply interested in the development of an Alumni Center on campus, and is chairing a committee working toward that goal.


  • Michael Riepe - Executive Vice President

  • Michael Riepe

    Oakes College, 1991

    B.S. Computer Engineering

     

    Michael earned a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Oakes College before going on to attend the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan for his PhD in Electrical Engineering. Since then, he has worked as the Principal Engineer at Achronix Semiconductor and as a Software Architect and Consulting Engineer at Magma Design Automation Inc. He is also a member and Chair Emeritus of UC Santa Cruz’s Baskin Alumni Advisory Council for the Jack Baskin School of Engineering.


  • Eanad Lott - Vice President for Finance

  • Eanad Lott

    Cowell College, 1992

    B.A. English and American Literature

     

    Eanad graduated from Cowell College with a degree in English and American Literature in 1992. She is also currently the Alumni Councilor for Cowell. Eanad has extensive experience with nonprofit work and is currently the Director of Operations and Client Services for a domestic violence relief agency. Eanad also serves as an Appointed Board Member, Board Secretary, and Member of the Executive Committee for Paratransit Inc., which provides transportation services to people with disabilities in the Sacramento area.


  • Blair Gifford

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    Rachel Carson College, 1978

    B.S. Economics

    I transferred to UCSC after a couple years of sports/study at a liberal arts college in Ohio. I was a "jock" and a musician in high school so I needed to become a student. I discovered how much I enjoyed learning in my freshman year at college, and in my sophomore year I mastered what it takes to become a good student. After a year off working in a factory in Chicago, I had enough money to continue my education so I decided to have a new educational experience and transferred to at UCSC. Going to UCSC from the suburbs of Chicago was quite a leap of faith for me! Driving into California in my VW Beetle and then seeing the UCSC campus was one of the highlights of my life. My couple years studying and enjoying northern California while at UCSC was a tremendous experience. Having successfully ventured and thrived at UCSC gave me the courage and knowledge to continue experiencing the world through my current professional work in global health.

    UCSC helped me appreciate education and grow as a person. I want others to have the same opportunity. I joined the Council to give back to the University and to make sure it continues to thrive as a place of educational opportunity for others. I'm very excited about the opportunity to help plan and build an alumni center for the UCSC campus.


  • David Hansen

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    Oakes College, 1976

    B.A. Politics

    Senior Consultant. HIC, Inc.


    Spurred by experiences at Oakes College, David explored his own ethnicity and gained an appreciation for others' ethnic backgrounds. It started with an offsite led by J. Herman Blake and highlighted with a talk by Alex Haley, the author of "Roots." Through a paper for the class, "Immigration to America," David wrote on his Scandinavian roots, which led to his Junior year in Norway and, in turn, to a Norwegian wife and a decade working in Norway. David Hansen joined the Council to improve career opportunities for Slug alumni and students. David is working through a couple channels on building better Slug career opportunities. In addition, David will work to buttress colleges as a core UCSC experience and strength.


  • Jacob Martinez

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    Oakes College, 2005

    B.S. Ecology and Evolution

    Founder and ED of Digital NEST


    Jacob Martinez is the Founder and Executive Director of an innovative workforce development center for youth called the Digital NEST. Prior to establishing the Digital NEST in 2014, Jacob Martinez spent ten years leading innovative computer-based programs in California schools and beyond, with a particular focus on encouraging Latina girls to enter high tech fields. He is a frequent speaker at technology and educational conferences, and has been honored by business, community, and educational institutions for his innovation and leadership. He spoke in 2015 at the first White House Tech Meetup and was named by Tech Crunch as one of 2014’s Top 10 Men in the Country Supporting Women in Technology. Jacob holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in Instructional Science and Technology from California State University Monterey Bay. 


  • Roberto Ocampo

  • Roberto Ocampo

    Merrill College, 1975

    B.A. Sociology

     

    Roberto majored in Sociology at Merrill College and earned his Master’s Degree in Counselor Education from San Jose State University. As a former member of the Salinas City Council and guidance counselor for the Salinas Union High School District for over 30 years, he is a very active member of the Salinas community. Roberto is also a member of the Christians in Commerce organization and volunteers for the Monterey County Diocese.


  • Leisette Rodriguez

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    Cowell College, 1996

    B.A. Sociology

  • Dom Siababa

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    Merrill College, 1975

    B.A. Sociology


    Dom majored in Sociology at Merrill College and was awarded College and Thesis honors. After spending some time in Seattle working with Filipino Youth Activities, Inc., he returned to California where he worked in management positions in the utility industry and in high tech. Dom is very active in volunteer organizations including the Asian Cultural Experience (ACE) in Salinas, the Monterey Bay Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS), has contributed to the Salinas History Project and is a past president of UCSC’s Alumni Association.


  • Brian Sniegowski

  • Brian Sniegowski

    Rachel Carson College, 1996

    B.A. Politics and Economics

     

    Brian double-majored in Politics and Economics at Rachel Carson College and earned his MBA from USC's Marshall School of Business. Currently, Brian is the Director of Innovation and Development at Farmer’s Insurance. As well as serving on the UC Santa Cruz Alumni Council, he has worked with the UCLA Alumni Association as the Senior Marketing Manager and Director of Regional Programs. Brian also serves on the board of a public policy nonprofit in southern California and has chaired the UC Santa Cruz Multicultural Festival.


  • Meredith Vivian Turner

  • Meredith Vivian Turner

    Rachel Carson College, 2009

    B.A. History

    UC Office of the President, State Governmental Relations


    Originally from the central valley, Meredith savored the experience to live among the redwoods and by the ocean, all while being surrounded by a diverse, passionate, and inspiring campus community.

    Meredith accepted a nomination to serve on the Council because of her passion for public higher education, and UCSC in particular, knowing that she could play a small role in ensuring that future Slugs had the same exceptional opportunity and experience that she did. Meredith hopes to garner robust engagement from both the alumni council and UCSC alumni at-large in advocacy to state and federal legislators on issues important to UC and the Santa Cruz campus.


  • Matthew Waxman

  • Matthew Waxman

    Porter College, 2006

    B.A. Film & Digital Media, B.A. History & Theory of Architecture

     

    Matthew graduated from Porter College in 2006, earning degrees in both Film and Digital Media and the History and Theory of Architecture. He went on to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Design and currently lives in the Boston area. In addition to serving as an Alumni Council Board Member, Matthew is a collaborator at an east coast architecture and planning firm. 


  • April Yee

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    Oakes College, 2002

    B.A. American Studies, B.A. Psychology

    Minor: Communication and Rhetoric


    April double-majored in American Studies and Psychology with a minor in Communication and Rhetoric. After graduating, she worked in the private equity industry for over 10 years, being based in San Francisco and New York City. She has been transitioning and readjusting to life after emergency cardiothoracic surgery, which saved her life in 2015. April now works part-time as a Civic Engagement Associate for the OCA-SF Chapter's Young Community Leaders Program, a pilot program focused on individual capacity building for youth to become civic leaders. She spends more of her time writing now, which has always been a passion of hers. Additionally, she serves as the Board President of Kidpower International, which is based in Santa Cruz; is the Board Secretary for Friends of Roots; and is the Chair of the Dr. Jennie H.Y. Yee Scholarship Fund at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco. April enjoys reading, writing, practicing yoga, and spending time enjoying the blessings of life with people around her.


  • Ayanna Yonemura

  • Ayanna Yonemura

    Crown College, 1994

    B.A. Independent Studies (German)

    Lecturer & Special Consultant, California State University Sacramento


    Highlights from Ayanna's student days include representing Crown College on the Student Union Assembly, serving on the Narrative Evaluations Committee and receiving grants from the Council of Provosts to research and self-publish her thesis. After graduating with her B.A., Ayanna earned a M.A. and a Ph.D. at UCLA. Since then, she has worked in higher education on three continents and enjoyed two Fullbright Fellowships. Currently, she teaches at California State University, Sacramento. Her first book, Race, Nation, War will be published by Routledge in 2018.

    Ayanna was honored to accept a nomination to serve on the Council because she is passionate about UCSC, higher education, and the role of alumni as stewards. She is looking forward to contributing to the Professional and Career Services Committee.