UCSC Aerial View.

Meet the Alumni Council

About

The UCSC Alumni Council is the governing board of the Alumni Association. The Council focuses on cultivating relationships between current students, alumni, and the university to help guide the university into the future. They engage in impactful volunteer opportunities to support the university, its students, and each other with the goal of building lifelong connection to UC Santa Cruz.

Values

These are the UCSC Alumni Council values and how the Council operates. This culture holds the Council together and allows Councilors to represent the ethos of the organization. 

  • Supportive – The Council generously serves UCSC alumni, students, and the UCSC community.
  • Collaborative – They cultivate partnerships and foster collaboration in their work to support alumni, students, and the UCSC community.
  • Inclusive – The Council celebrates diversity, encourages equity, and promotes a community of belonging. They respect all voices, knowing this makes a stronger community.
  • Appreciative – They value and honor each other and their impact. The Council celebrates Banana Slug achievements and seeks ways to recognize and share alumni stories.
  • Dedicated – They pursue their mission with dedication to our alma mater.

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Alumni Council Officers

John Madrid – President

UCSC Alumni Council - John Madrid

Oakes College, 1998
B.A. Language Studies

John earned his B.A. in Language Studies from Oakes College in 1998. As part of the Language Studies program, John participated in the Education Abroad Program (EAP). While part of EAP, John studied for one year at the University of Granada in Granada, Spain.

Since graduating from UC Santa Cruz, John has worked in the information technology field for multiple financial institutions in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Currently, John is the Director of Information Technology for United Artists Releasing.

John previously served on the Alumni Council Board from 2007 to 2014, and served on the Scholarship Committee. John also served on the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion from 2010 to 2012.

Juliet Musso – Vice President of Finance

UCSC Alumni Council - Juliet Musso

Cowell College, 1982
B.A. Psychology

Juliet earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cowell College with honors before going on to attend the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley for her Ph.D. in public policy. During her time at UCSC, she worked as a peer mentor at Cowell College. She is currently Associate Professor and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California, where she has been faculty for 27 years. She is involved in several professional associations such as the Association for Public Policy and Management, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. Juliet believes that her combination of nonprofit, academic, and public policy expertise can help to advance the goals of the Alumni Council.

Meredith Vivian Turner – Past President

UCSC Alumni Council - Meredith Vivian Turner

Rachel Carson College, 2009
B.A. History

While pursuing a degree in history, Meredith began exploring her passion for advocacy through on-campus organizations and state, local, and federal politics. Her subsequent master’s degree in public policy and work for a state senator drove her to pursue a career in higher education policy. For four years, she served as the chief advocate for the Cal State Student Association, the statewide advocacy organization for Cal State students.

Since 2016, Meredith has led the University of California Office of the President’s state advocacy efforts as the Associate Director for Advocacy and Institutional Relations. There, she cultivates a broad base of alumni, donors, thought-leaders, students and other advocates within the UC community and spearheads strategic advocacy campaigns on UC’s state budget and legislative priorities.

Corinne Kappeler – Special Advisor on Alumni Philanthropy

UCSC Alumni Council - Corinne Kappeler

Kresge College, 2011
B.A. Sociology, Film and Digital Media Minor

Corinne is a first-generation college graduate originally from Salinas, CA. She is passionate about empowering under-represented communities through technology. She began her career at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR and PBS station, where she worked in community relations. She is currently the Director of Growth at Digital NEST, an organization that supports young people in agricultural towns in California to build technology skills and get access to a supportive network of professionals to help launch their careers. Before joining the NEST, she was Executive Director of Girl, Develop It! (GDI), a national nonprofit that creates welcoming, supportive opportunities for women and non-binary adults to learn software development skills. Corinne has spoken at the White House and given keynote addresses at technology conferences like Dreamforce and RedHat Summit. She is a recipient of the Valentine Foundation’s Visionary Leader Award, and she attended the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Corinne joined the Alumni Council on July 1, 2019. This has given her the opportunity to support alumni and current students in meaningful ways. This past year, she served as the Chair of the Alumni Association Scholarship Committee. Her leadership focused on raising needed funds to support academically thriving students who have financial need and finding opportunities for them to get connected to additional resources.

Shelly Meron – Executive Vice President

UCSC Alumni Council - Shelly Meron

Stevenson College, 2005
B.A. History, Journalism Minor

Shelly graduated from Stevenson College in 2005, with a degree in history and a minor in journalism. While at UC Santa Cruz, she also wrote and edited for City on a Hill Press and interned at the Santa Cruz Sentinel. She earned a master’s in journalism from UC Berkeley in 2007, and began working as a reporter for the Bay Area News Group. After five years covering everything from business and real estate to city government to K-12 education, she transitioned to a media relations role at the University of California, Office of the President (UCOP). Today, Shelly is the Director of Executive Communications and Engagement at UCOP.

Shelly lives in Sacramento with her husband. In her spare time, she loves to read, travel, bake, and play with her dogs.

Jessica Lum – Vice President of Administration

UCSC Alumni Council - Jessica Lum

Rachel Carson College, 2009 
B.A. Environmental Studies and Economics

Jessica graduated from UCSC in 2009 with a BA in Environmental Studies and Economics. She works in government and civic relations for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Prior to this role, she spent over 8 years in government and community affairs in San Francisco’s travel and hospitality industry. She has also served on several non-profit boards and committees including: Walk San Francisco, Friends of SF Environment, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and several more.

Through her services on boards, including four educational institutions and a scholarship foundation, and her management of a board, she has a deep understanding of council expectations and operations. She hopes to lend her experience in non-profit governance to support organizational health and good governance. Jessica describes her experience as a student at UCSC as transformative and unforgettable, and she hopes to capture and reignite that spirit among alumni so that they too feel moved to give back.

Sareil Brookins – Special Advisor on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB)

UCSC Alumni Council - Sareil Brookins

Stevenson College, 2019
B.A. Psychology and B.A. Critical Race, & Ethnic Studies

Sareil “Reil” (she/her) is an Industrial-Organizational psychology practitioner who is located in the DC/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) area. She is the current advisor of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging (DEIB) for UCSC’s Alumni Council. She has many years of experience as a facilitator, trainer, advisor, and adult learning specialist who focuses on topics related to DEIB, performance management, culture assessment, retention strategies, conflict management, well-being, self-awareness and leadership development.

Sareil has a Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Intensive Psychology and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES). At UCSC Sareil emphasized her studies on the African diaspora and social psychology. During her time at UCSC, Sareil was heavily involved on and off campus. Her professional career has been in higher education and civil rights organizations, but over the years has been an invited DEIB-focused speaker and presenter for various Universities and organizations across the country. In her free time, she enjoys being a dog mom, plant mom, and karaoke singer.

Alumni Council Members

Lakeya Cherry

UCSC Alumni Council - Lakeya Cherry

Rachel Carson College, 2004
B.A. Psychology and B.A. Legal Studies

Dr. Lakeya Cherry, DSW, MSSW, ACC is an executive leadership coach who has dedicated her career to the growth and development of individuals and the organizations they are a part of. As an ICF Certified Coach, a StartingBloc Fellow, a Google #IamRemarkable Facilitator, and a Certified Dare to LeadTM Facilitator, she believes that when leaders are empowered to reach their fullest potential, they will be able to support those around them more effectively.

It was her own experience with coaching that ignited her passion to support individuals, teams, and organizations to lead more authentically and courageously. Her former clients include Glassdoor, LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Snap, Cisco, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Southern Veterinary Partners (SVP), The Trust powered by the NFL Players Association, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Black Administrators of Child Welfare, and the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute amongst many others.

Dr. Cherry is the former Chief Executive Officer of The Network for Social Work Management, an international organization dedicated to strengthening and mobilizing diverse social impact leaders through education, leadership development, networking, and community-building. Under her leadership, the Network has expanded globally and introduced transformative programming that not only produced better leaders but also enhanced organizational cultures.

She also serves as a Commissioner on San Diego’s Commission on the Status of Women, which helps to address the needs of women in San Diego in their social, economic, and vocational pursuits. 

Her approach is informed by her Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Southern California where she was honored with the coveted Order of Arête award, her M.S. in Social Work from Columbia University, and her B.A. in Psychology and Legal Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. Additional qualifications: Psychological Safety, EQi 2.0 and EQ 360 certified, Diversity and Inclusion certification (eCornell), and Nonprofit Executive Leadership certificate (National Human Services Assembly).

Julia Dolloff

UCSC Alumni Council - Julia Dolloff

College Nine, 2013
B.A. Environmental Studies

Julia Dolloff is a Senior Environmental Scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and a Master of Public Policy and Administration from CSU Sacramento. With a strong background in event planning, mentoring, government advocacy, and volunteer outreach, Julia has actively supported UC Santa Cruz since graduating in 2013. She has engaged with the Alumni Association, spoken on panels, and mentored students through the online mentorship program. Her community service experience includes working on environmental justice and serving as an assistant coach in a local fitness class. Julia’s dedication to public service led her to the Capital Fellows Program, and she now aims to contribute to the Alumni Council to further promote UC Santa Cruz, support students, and foster alumni engagement.

Armando Flores

UCSC Alumni Council - Armando Flores

Stevenson College, 2015
B.A. Politics

After graduating from UCSC with a Politics degree in 2015, Armando went on to support several non-profit organizations in the greater Los Angeles area. Armando has worked in politics and advocacy for seven years, tackling several public policy issues impacting the energy, transportation and land use sectors. Armando was involved in Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity as a student, and is currently involved with the Southern California Leadership Network, San Fernando Valley Young Democrats, and sits on the Board of Directors for the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA). He also serves as Chair for VICA’s Energy and Environment Committee.

Armando is inspired by the Council’s commitment, and hopes to support the Council’s Strategic Work Plan while finding effective ways to cultivate partnerships and engagement between students, the university and alumni. He believes his professional experience in civic engagement and government affairs will allow him to bring a unique perspective to the Alumni Council, as well as help drive advocacy efforts that will advance the best interests of the university and all students.

Patrick Garcia

UCSC Alumni Council - Patrick Garcia

Merrill College, 1976
B.A. Politics

Patrick Garcia is a graduate of Merrill College with a degree in Politics and extensive experience in public service, advocacy, and community leadership. Due to his experience as Director of Administration for Santa Clara Co Behavioral Health Services, Patrick has a strong background in human resources, career counseling, and mentoring; he brings valuable expertise to the UCSC Alumni Council. Patrick actively engages with UC Santa Cruz, participating in alumni events and contributing to the Latinx Alumni Association. Patrick hopes to utilize his varied skill set to aid the Alumni Council in helping current students and alumni achieve their academic and professional goals.

Gardenia Guerrero

UCSC Alumni Council - Gardenia Guerrero

Oakes College, 2021
B.A. Sociology/LALS

Gardenia graduated from UCSC in 2021 with a double major in Sociology and Latin American and Latino Studies, with a minor in education. Currently, Gardenia is a Program Director for a non-profit community organization in Long Beach, CA, offering free mental health services, college and career readiness workshops, and leading food distributions for community members. As a student, Gardenia volunteered at the food pantry, and participated in work-study at the Womxn’s Center and the Human Resources facility. She is currently affiliated with the Los Angeles County Development Authority, and YMCA of the USA.

Gardenia believes that as a first generation Latina, she can provide a unique lens to a university whose Latinx student population is growing. Her goal is to offer connections and free services to students, by helping them gain perspective of the professional world.

Annapoorna (Anna) Gururajan

UCSC Alumni Council - Anna Gururajan

Oakes College, 2015
B.S. Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology

Since leaving UCSC in 2015, Anna has worked at both large and small companies in the biotech sector. She found her stride working for start-up companies in clinical trial management & research to advance new therapeutics globally in virological, dermatological, and inflammatory diseases.

She currently works as a Senior Clinical Trial Manager where she is responsible for all operational aspects of global clinical trials including design, planning and execution in GI related diseases. Anna volunteers in her spare time—most recently serving on the UCSC Alumni Scholarship committee, Bay Area Chapter of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and as a high school/college mentor for STEM students. 

Anna hopes to work alongside councilors to try and understand, diagnose, and implement solutions to strengthen the obtainability of the council’s goals. She believes that together, they can lay the groundwork for a strong, structurally functional alumni foundation that serves to enrich UCSC for generations to come. 

Judith Gutierrez

UCSC Alumni Council - Judith Gutierrez

Rachel Carson College, 2018
B.A. Politics

While at UCSC, Judith was elected president of the University of California Student Association (UCSA), a statewide organization representing over a quarter-million undergraduate, graduate, and professional UC students across California. Through her role, she gained experience in nonprofit management, government relations, strategic lobbying, and a keen awareness of how higher education policy is shaped. During her tenure, students led advocacy efforts that gained a sizable state investment in the UC, thus generating the UC’s first tuition decrease in decades. Judith now works for the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), the nation’s largest agency responsible for administering financial aid programs to students attending public and private universities, colleges, and vocational schools. She is driven by a mission of promoting educational equity, access to quality education, and professional development for young alumni. She currently serves as the Special Advisor on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) to the Alumni Council and participates on a number of the Council committees.

Walter M. Joyce

UCSC Alumni Council - Walter Joyce

Cowell College, 1967
B.A. Literature

Walter graduated with a bachelor’s degree in literature from Cowell College. He later attended CPCU, an insurance education association. Currently, he is an independent insurance broker with HUB International Ltd. He has a number years of community service experience including serving as a Grand Juror for the Santa Clara County civil grand jury, having 40+ years as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, 40+ years as a member of Rotary International and past local president, 40+ years as a member of Insurance Agents and Brokers of America and past local president, and 15+ years as a member of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller and past Prior of the Western US. He hopes to shine a light on the importance of supporting liberal arts and a humanities education. He is willing to increase his family’s financial support to UCSC, and pledges to communicate with other alumni to increase their support.

Abel Mkulama

UCSC Alumni Council - Abel Mkulama

Graduate Division, 2021
M.S. Coastal Science and Policy

Abel Mkulama, a graduate with a Master’s degree in Coastal Science, is eager to contribute his expertise and educational background to the UCSC Alumni Council. He is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion, particularly by improving access to campus programs for students of color. With his experience in research working at UC Berkeley as a Program Associate, education, civic engagement, and social entrepreneurship, Abel is well-equipped to engage with university administration, students, and fellow alumni. Through mentorship programs and social media initiatives, he aims to empower current and future UCSC students while highlighting the impactful work of alumni. Abel’s dedicated to fostering a supportive and inclusive community within UC Santa Cruz.

Diane Nguyen

UCSC Alumni Council - Diane Nguyen

College Nine, 2011
B.A. Sociology

Diane is a first generation Vietnamese American who was born and raised in San Jose. She was a re-entry student and while at UCSC, she had the opportunity to participate in the UCDC program and create impact for the underserved population of Santa Cruz through the university’s Service Learning program.

Diane is currently the founder and principal consultant of LwL Consulting, a philanthropic and strategic engagement firm, where she partners with its clients on effective philanthropic plans and organizational sustainability strategies. She is also serving as the Chief Impact & Alumni Relations Officer for Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute, a Bay Area nonprofit that elevates the national standing of AAPI Civic Representation. Prior to her business venture, she served as the Vice President of Donor Engagement at Silicon Valley Community Foundation overseeing a team of 10 philanthropic professionals with a portfolio totaling over $6B.

Diane hopes to help expand AAPI impact and representation within UCSC, support the Strategic Work Plan and strengthen the alumni community. With her own consulting firm, she has the necessary outreach and communication skills needed to make a positive impact on all communities surrounding UC Santa Cruz through the Alumni Council.

Max Ortiz

UCSC Alumni Council - Max Ortiz

Cowell College, 2009
B.A. Politics

Max Ortiz is a Senior Vice President and Private Client Manager at Bank of America’s Private Bank. Max joined the firm in May of 2017 and has over 12 years of investment, credit, and banking experience supporting the needs of high net worth families and institutional clients. He provides wealth management services to help clients navigate the intricacies of investment strategy, portfolio structuring, and generational planning.

Prior to joining Bank of America’s Private Bank, Max worked at Hall Capital Partners in San Francisco from 2012-2017 in their portfolio management group. He assisted in the development and implementation of investment strategy, portfolio reporting, and general client service. From 2010 to 2012, he worked in operations at Western Asset Management Company, a leading fixed-income management firm in Los Angeles.

While earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Max was a four-time national champion while earning All-American honors in tennis. Max is an avid surfer, yogi, and golfer.

Susan Tappero

UCSC Alumni Council - Susan Tappero

Graduate Division, 1988, 1992
Ph.D. and M.A. Mathematics

Susan earned a master’s in mathematics from the UC Santa Cruz Graduate Division in 1988, and obtained her Ph.D. in pure mathematics in 1992. She joined the mathematics faculty first at Middlebury College and then at the University of Northern Colorado before returning to Santa Cruz. She worked for 25 years at Cabrillo College as the director of MESA, a transfer equity program for students who want to go into a math-based field. She retired in June of 2018. Since joining the Alumni Council, Susan has stepped into leadership roles including holding office as the Vice President of Administration in 2020.

Shonté Thomas

UCSC Alumni Council - Shonte Thomas

Rachel Carson College, 1999
B.A. Politics

Shonté graduated from UCSC in 1999, and continued on to earn an M.Ed at Pepperdine University in 2003, and has more recently participated in an EdD program at UC Davis. Currently, Shonté serves as the Associate Dean of Students at UC Riverside where she has 9 Resource Centers in her portfolio, serving a diverse population of students. Additionally, Shonté held the position of Director of the African American Resource & Cultural Center at UCSC from 2013 to 2020.

Shonté has remained connected and engaged with UCSC, and hopes serving on the Alumni Council will enable her to continue to make impactful differences, and to identify/provide solutions from an informed perspective to best serve the ever-present needs of her alma mater. She would like to continue to learn from mistakes of the past, and engage campus partners to provide the most effective tools of support and leadership for campus stakeholders.

Brian Turner

UCSC Alumni Council - Brian Turner

Cowell, 2004
B.A. Legal Studies 

After earning his bachelor’s from UCSC, Brian attended Chapman University, Fowler School of Law where he graduated cum laude with his juris doctorate degree. After spending several years practicing law as a litigator, he moved to Sacramento where he opened up the Law Office of Brian H. Turner. The Law Office of Brian H. Turner represents clients in a wide variety of matters that resulted in serious personal injury.

Brian plans to continue contributing in his role as Chair of the Governance Committee, primarily focusing on creating robust policy and procedure documents to ensure ongoing compliance with the restated bylaws. He will also continue as a member of the Student and Alumni Success Committee, focusing on helping Banana Slugs achieve their career goals.

Kevin Volkan

UCSC Alumni Council - Kevin Volkan

Kresge College, 1981
B.S. Biology

After graduating in 1981, Kevin went on to earn an M.A. in Psychology from Sonoma State University, an Ed.D. in Educational Psychology from Northern Illinois University, a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Center for Psychological Studies, and an M.P.H. from Harvard University. Kevin has been a Professor of Psychology at CSU Channel Islands for the last 21 years. In the past, he has worked as assistant dean of the graduate school at UCSC. Outside of UCSC, Kevin serves at a local hospital teaching and doing research with medical residents, and has made numerous radio and television appearances as a psychological expert.

Kevin has been advising a number of UCSC students over the last few years, and feels he has a sense of the kinds of challenges they are facing. There are three things he hopes to work on as an alumni councilor: the amount and quality of student advising, tutoring for current students (particularly in the STEM disciplines), and fundraising. 

April Yee

UCSC Alumni Council - April Yee

Oakes College, 2002
B.A. American Studies, B.A. Psychology

April graduated from Oakes College with a B.A. in Psychology; a B.A. in American studies with a concentration in political, social, and economic analysis; and a minor in Communication and Rhetoric. She worked in the private equity industry for over 10 years, being based in San Francisco and New York City. After undergoing emergency cardiothoracic surgery which saved her life in 2015, April is now a Holistic Life Coach focusing on self-care and well-being practices for professionals and anyone who wants to be more fully engaged in their lives. 

In addition to the Alumni Council, April serves as the Board President of Kidpower International, which is based in Santa Cruz; is the Chair of the Dr. Jennie H.Y. Yee Scholarship Fund at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco; and is the Director of Membership for the OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, San Francisco Chapter. April enjoys reading, writing, talking about and practicing self-care, and continually learning and connecting.

Last modified: May 16, 2024