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 2020-21 Staff Association Executive Board

  • Bryce Besser, Chair

    Bryce Besser, Chair

    Home department: Risk Management

    Years with the University: 6

    Why I joined the Staff Association: I wanted to leverage the experience and knowledge I possessed to help improve the employee experience at UC San Diego and increase my knowledge of UC San Diego’s mission and operations. I’m excited for the opportunity to partner with individuals who are passionate about their work, about the University, and about ensuring that UC San Diego remains a wonderful place to work.

    What a typical day of work looks like: I enjoy a very diverse role on campus. On any given day I can be working with departments on how to plan safe research trips overseas, analyzing waivers and special event proposals, corresponding with the Center for Student Involvement regarding Registered Student Organizations, creating training modules on employment law topics for managers and supervisors, reviewing subpoenas for employment and student records, and working with attorneys in the defense of employment and general liability lawsuits. I truly love distilling complex legal and Risk Management principles into easy to understand concepts so that our departments can focus on the world-class teaching and research that makes UC San Diego the preeminent research university in the world.

    Favorite movie and why: I love 80’s movies. One of my all-time favorites is Blade Runner. The story, music, and atmosphere were light years ahead of their time and often replicated today.

    Additional community service I am involved in and why: I served on the Governance Committee for the San Diego Youth Symphony and was a board member until my term ended this year. The San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory (SDYS) believes every student deserves music education for the lifetime of joy it provides and the habits, skills and traits students acquire that will improve their academic, personal and professional lives. SDYS adopted a long-term vision of “making music education accessible and affordable for all” and has been instrumental in helping bring music education back into San Diego’s public schools. I serve because, as a former musician, I know firsthand the positive impact music has on child development.  It not only helps children develop a sense of accomplishment, it also teaches them how to push through adversity, work hard to improve in something, and public engagement.

    Contact: bbesser@ucsd.edu

  • Jen Bowser, Chair-Elect (Officer)

    Jen Bowser, Chair-Elect (Officer)

    Additional Staff Association service: Staff Sustainability Network Executive Board Member

    Home department: Sustainability

    Years with the University: 6

    Why I joined the Staff Association: To be better connected with staff and enhance the staff experience.

    What a typical day of work looks like: As Sustainability Engagement Manager I engage campus community members on a variety of ways that they can implement sustainable practices into their daily routines. The majority of my day is spent meeting with my interns on the many initiatives we’re working on, including our Green Labs and Office Certification programs.

    Favorite movie and why: What About Bob? because life can be scary sometimes and it's more manageable when taking baby steps.

    Hobbies: Hiking, playing golf, and crafting.

    Contact: jbowser@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-8266

  • Joanna Boval, Secretary

    Joanna Boval, Secretary

    Additional Staff Association Service: Veterans Staff Association at UC San Diego, Communications Coordinator

    Home department: Office for Students with Disabilities

    Years with the University: 11

    Why I joined the Staff Association: To learn from the diverse, talented staff members at UC San Diego and to mentor new staff members.

    What I'm most passionate about at UC San Diego: Working with individuals with disabilities and with veterans, and collaborating with others to create a campus that is accessible and welcoming to all.

    Hobbies: I enjoy hiking and rucking (walking with a weighted backpack) and am actively involved in the San Diego Triton Ruck Club.

    Contact: jboval@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-4382

  • Laura McElroy, Treasurer

    Laura McElroy, Treasurer

    Additional Staff Association service: Faculty and Staff Christian Fellowship, Chair 

    Home department: Financial Aid and Scholarships Office

    Years with the University: 12

    Why I joined the Staff Association: I consider it a privilege to serve in the Staff Association. It is a way to actively participate in our campus community.

    What a typical day of work looks like: Reviewing documents and specifications.

    What I’m most passionate about at UC San Diego: In a word, development. I like to see development happen, from the development and success of our business processes to the development and success of our students and staff. It is all meaningful and I enjoy learning about it and helping move forward towards success.

    Favorite movie and why: The Truman Show. I like Jim Carey and the premise of the movie speaks to me about looking deeper than the polished image we sometimes live for.

    Hobbies: Reading and listening to podcasts.

    Passions: Time with my kids, helping people.

    Special interests: Family, travel.

    Favorite quote: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    Proudest achievement: Raising kind children.

    Contact: lmcelroy@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-7762

    Link for Faculty and Staff Christian Fellowship Blink site: https://blink.ucsd.edu/sponsor/christian/index.html

  • Vanessa Hollingsworth, Ambassador Chair

    Vanessa Hollingsworth, Ambassador Chair

    Role: Coordinates the various community outreach opportunities in the UC San Diego community through presentations, Town Halls, and other collaborative opportunities.

    Home department: Bioengineering

    Years with the University: 6.5

    Why I joined the Staff Association: I joined because I can appreciate the need for staff to have a voice and place on campus, and I wanted to be a part of an association whose mission it is to serve that need. In addition, I enjoy helping others, and I thought this would be an excellent way to do that.

    What a typical day of work looks like: As a graduate coordinator my day can involve anything from prospective and current student advising to coordinating funding for Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) and TAs in the department. I often have to do something in UCPath, the Grad Student Database, or DocuSign (so many forms!) everyday. But my favorite part of any work day is getting to interact with students! It’s wonderful to see the next generation of great leaders and thinkers earning their degrees.

    Special interests and hobbies: I love traveling and going on “food adventures,” which mainly consist of some friends and myself trying every new restaurant we hear about. Reach out if you have food recommendations! I also love to craft! I love making handmade cards, doing embroidery, and making fun things out of felt.

    Contact: vkhollin@eng.ucsd.edu, (858) 822-0006

  • Francisco Salinas, Basic Needs Chair

    Francisco Salinas, Basic Needs Chair

    Role: Addresses staff basic needs issues through campus collaborations and initiatives; leads Staff Association response to the changing landscape of basic needs for staff.

    Home department: Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) 

    Years with the University: Alumni '17 and 2 years on staff 

    Why I joined the Staff Association: To contribute to staff impact and engagement on campus and ensure that radical compassion and love is at the heart of our work. 

    What a typical day of work looks like: My days range from administrative work in many of our new university systems to helping plan special events in-person/online for high school kids, working on budgets for our department, and developing partnerships on and off campus. 

    What I’m most passionate about at UC San Diego: I am passionate about our collective effort in creating an outstanding community where diversity, representation, creativity, empathy, and service is valued and celebrated. 

    Contact: frsalinas@ucsd.edu, (858) 822-4255 

  • Shannon Prior, Marcom Chair

    Shannon Prior, Marcom Chair

    Role: Manages and coordinates the Staff Association marketing and communication strategy.

    Home department: IT Services

    Years with the University: 6.5

    Why I joined the Staff Association: To help maintain a collaborative and inclusive environment for our fellow colleagues.

    Hobbies: Pickleball, arena soccer, camping, rock climbing, and live music.

    Proudest achievements: My three children starting 7th grade, 10th grade, and freshman year of college.

    Additional community service I’m involved in and why: Through UStrive, I mentor high school and college students with their college applications, financial aid, and career options.

    Contact: sprior@ucsd.edu

  • Cyndi Meeves, Staff Education/Development Chair

    Cyndi Meeves, Staff Education/Development Chair

    Role: Coordinates scholarship processes as well as broad oversight of training and development-related items for the Staff Association.

    Home department: Housing/Dining/Hospitality

    Contact: cmeeves@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-0236

  • Shannon Milligan, Assessment Chair

    Role: Collaborates with assessment-related constituents, tracks assessment related to the Staff Association, and ensures active use of data to improve the Staff Association.

    Home department: VCSA

    Years with the University: 1 year, 3 months

    Why I joined the Staff Association: To become more involved with UC San Diego and to help advocate on behalf of my fellow staff members, using data to help inform this advocacy.

    Favorite movie and why: Probably “Mean Girls,” because it’s consistently relevant and incredibly quotable.

    Favorite quote: “In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that…In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus

    Contact: smilligan@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-4872

  • Mariela Saldana, Campus Community Relations & Inclusion Chair

    Role: Actively supports collaboration between the Staff Association and Staff Affiliate groups and champions equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives for the Staff Association.

    Home department: Bioengineering

    Contact: m4saldana@ucsd.edu

  • Danielle Melman, Outreach & Engagement Chair

    Danielle Melman, Outreach & Engagement Chair

    Role: Manages and coordinates Staff Association goals to drive staff engagement.

    Home department: Intercollegiate Athletics

    Years with the University: 9

    Why I joined the Staff Association: I love bringing people together. The Staff Association is a great way to meet new people, connect with long time colleagues, collaborate with others, and learn about resources available to UC San Diego staff. I joined the Staff Association to help bring people together through outreach and engagement and to continue building this strong, powerful community we call UC San Diego.

    Hobbies: Water Polo 

    Favorite quote: “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”

    Proudest achievement: Becoming a mom to Madison and Ella.

    Contact: damelman@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-3186

  • Aia Hawari, Special Projects & Campus Collaborations Chair

    Aia Hawari, Special Projects & Campus Collaborations Chair

    Additional Staff Association service: EDI Task Force Co-Chair

    Role:
    Maintains connections with important UC San Diego constituent groups and Vice Chancellor areas and oversees the election processes of the Staff Association.

    Home department: Global Education

    Years with the University: 2.5

    Why I joined the Staff Association: As someone who is vocal and passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion in a higher education environment, I recognize the significance of mutual understanding and synergetic impact of UC San Diego’s constituent groups, especially during such unprecedented times. In order for our University community to remain united, effective communication and joint efforts are critical. Pondering the leadership of our University and the ways in which staff are represented and included in decision-making processes, the most empowering moments during my tenure with UC San Diego have been the ones where I felt acknowledged, heard, and seen. Considering my positionality, I recognize that there are more opportunities for others yet to be acknowledged and empowered through appropriate special projects and collaboration among all UC San Diego constituent groups on campus to further listen to and fulfill the needs of our multifaceted and dynamic staff, as well as the overall campus community. It is my goal, as Special Projects and Campus Collaboration Chair, to communicate these needs in collaboration with the Staff Association Executive Board and all affiliated groups to foster a culture of community, inclusivity, and empowerment for all Staff at UC San Diego.

    Passions: Books and literature, social justice and community-building, and constant pursuit of self-reflection and growth

    Favorite quote: "If they cannot learn to love and resist at the same time, they probably will not survive." - Audre Lorde

    What I'm most passionate about at UC San Diego: The potential for meaningful, inclusive, and equitable change at such an innovation-driven campus. 

    Contact: ajhawari@ucsd.edu

  • Brian Favela, Staff Recognition Chair

    Role: Supports the ongoing recognition of staff contributions to the UC San Diego community within the Staff Association and in collaboration with other UC San Diego units.

    Home department: Transportation Services

    Years with the University: 2

    Why I joined the Staff Association: To be part of something awesome!

    Passions: Traveling with my family.

    Favorite quote: "The true test of a person's character is what they do when no one is watching."

    Proudest achievement: All three kids are attending college. Soon to have a doctor, a lawyer, and a teacher.

    Contact: bfavela@ucsd.edu, (858) 232-5196

  • Desiree Hennon, Wellness Chair

    Role: Actively supports wellness through various collaborations and initiatives to meet the needs of UC San Diego staff.

    Home department: Central Core Payroll

    Years with the University: 8

    Why I joined the Staff Association: To support staff engagement, health, and wellness.

    What a typical day of work looks like: My typical days are anything but typical now. I am currently going into the office on Monday and Friday and working from home Tuesday - Thursday. At first, working from home was a bit of an adjustment, but now I love it. My favorite part? The commute is a dream! From my bed to the “office” in 30 seconds. I also do some of my work outside which I never did in an office setting. I get some fresh air and sunshine while sitting on the deck and completing my daily tasks.

    Hobbies: I love to read, do jigsaw puzzles, knit, and crochet. I have been a volunteer for the San Diego Humane Society for nine years and have clocked over 700  hours of service. I work with the Community Engagement team doing events in which we promote animal welfare programs and facilitate off-site animal adoptions. I also love spending time with my nephews Owen and Ollie, playing basketball, jumping on the trampoline, and playing UNO. Our most recent task was starting a chia pet for Ollie, who just turned 7. He is going to let it grow on his desk where he can see it while doing remote learning this fall.

    Proudest achievement: I am almost done completing my certification program to be an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. It is a side passion project of mine and I hope to use all I have learned in that program to better the health and wellness of the UC San Diego staff in my Wellness Chair position.

    Contact: dhennon@ucsd.edu, (858) 543-3242

  • Luis Legaspi, Ex-Officio

    Home department: Study Abroad

    Years with the University: 6

    Why I joined the Staff Association: I aspire to represent, support, and advance the relationship between the students, faculty, and administration with the staff. I have served on the SAEB for the past four years, two of them as the Chair of the Staff Association, and another two as the Chair of the LGBT Staff and Faculty Association (LGBT SFA). In these experiences, I've been able to serve on numerous committees and workgroups on our campus and UC-wide to communicate and share experiences from the staff to create a more affirming, supportive, and inclusive work experience to enhance the dynamic environment that is UC San Diego.

    Through my work at UC San Diego, I was motivated to apply for a master's at CSU Dominguez Hills in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peace-building. This has been an uplifting experience to learn about negotiation tactics, theories of conflict, and ways to create cooperative and supportive group dynamics. I have been able to apply what I study in my work within the Staff Association. I hope to continue to share this knowledge in my career at UC San Diego to bring greater civility and respect in the workplace around topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion, in particular to addressing conflict-centered on gender, sexual orientation, and race.

    Hobbies: Staying active including practicing yoga, biking, running, and swimming. I have been an indoor cycle (spin instructor) for FitLife on campus.

    Additional Community Service: I'm also very proud of my participation in AIDS LifeCycle in 2016 and 2018, a fundraising bike ride from San Fransico to Los Angeles. AIDS LifeCycle has been a wonderful outlet and opportunity to ride my bike, meet wonderful and committed folks, and raise funds for a cause which is important to me - to see the end of HIV/AIDS. This ride has given me confidence in my own emotional and physical strength and reminds me how far we have come and how much more work needs to be done. 

    Contact: llegaspi@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-0188

  • Tammy T. Blevins, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Tammy T. Blevins, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Chair, Black Staff Association (BSA)

    Home department: Annual Giving, Advancement

    Years with the University: 15

    Why I joined the Staff Association: I joined the Staff Association because I lead the Black Staff Association (BSA), but I also believe it is important to not only be aware of resources available to staff, but to educate and/or inform my colleagues on the resources and information available to them. I believe knowledge is power. We cannot make informed decisions about something we know nothing about. The more we know, the more we grow.

    Favorite quote: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." - Frederick Douglass

    Additional community service I'm involved in and why: I am involved in the San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP), and the Black American Political Association California (BAPAC) – SD. I am an advocate in my community circles. I feel it is important to inform community members on causes that impact our community, and organize actions to address the issues.

    What I’m most passionate about at UC San Diego: Advocating for equity for Black Staff, encouraging philanthropy based on passion, and recognizing staff for their contributions.

    Contact: tblevins@ucsd.edu, (858) 822-6617

  • Mario Garibay, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Chair, Chicanx/Latinx Staff Association (CLSA)

    Home department: Muir College Student Affairs

    Years with the University: 5

    Why I joined the Staff Association: As the Chair for the Chicanx/Latinx Staff Association, it is important to connect and build community with other Chicanx/Latinx staff on campus so we can collectively support and advocate for our communuty at UC San Diego.

    Favorite movie and why: Garden State. It came at the right time in my life. And the soundtrack is amazing.

    Hobbies: In normal times, going to the movies or Disneyland. Overall, spending time with my little two-year old is my favorite thing to do and it's getting me through this remote life.

    Contact: magaribay@ucsd.edu

  • Claudia Pena, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Vice Chair, Chicanx/Latinx Staff Association (CLSA)

    Years with the University: 3

    Home department: Muir College

    Why I joined the Staff Association: I joined the Chicanx Latinx Staff Association because of the passion I have to support other minority staff members that need that community.

    Hobbies: I love experimenting with coffee recipes, singing, and running.

    Proudest achievement: My children.

    What I’m most passionate about at UC San Diego: I am passionate about helping students find their why and show them they are exactly where they need to be. To help students believe in themselves.

    Contact: c6pena@ucsd.edu

  • Joe Fejeran, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Treasurer, LGBT Staff and Faculty Association

    Home department: HDH Hospitality and Conference Services

    Years with the University: 5

    Why I joined the Staff Association: To contribute to the campus community and be of service to fellow colleagues in other areas.

    Hobbies: I'm a podcaster and part-time trivia host.

    Favorite quote: “You have to be odd to be number one.” - Dr. Seuss 

    Contact: jfejeran@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-0235

  • Shana Wright, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Chair, Parents, Guardians & Caregivers Association (PGCA)

    Home department: Pediatrics

    Contact: smwright@ucsd.edu

  • Nancy Magpusao, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Co-Chair, Pan-Asian Staff Association (PASA)

    Home department: Cross Cultural Center

    Contact: nmagpusao@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-9689

  • Jocelyn Pacheco, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Co-Chair, Pan-Asian Staff Association (PASA)

    Home department: Chancellor's Business Office

    Contact: jpacheco@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-3993

  • Mae Brown, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: President, Retirement Association

    Home Department: Assistant Vice Chancellor, Admissions and Enrollment Services (retired)

    Contact: retireelink@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-4724

  • Daniel Carrillo, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Transportation Chair, Staff Sustainability Network (SSN)

    Home Department: Teaching & Learning Commons

    Contact: d6carrillo@ucsd.edu, (858)534-4366 

  • Rhett Miller, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Visual Arts Group

    Home department: Auxiliary Business Services Unit

    Contact: r2miller@ucsd.edu, (858) 822-2785

  • Rebecca (Jan) Noz, Staff Affiliate Group Member

    Additional Staff Association service: Chair, Veterans Staff Association

    Home department: Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD)

    Years with the University: 5

    Why I joined the Staff Association: To connect with others on campus, build community, and stay connected with current events within the UC San Diego community.

    Favorite movie and why: The Breakfast Club because it reminds me of what it was like growing up in the 1980’s. It has great messages throughout the movie such as never judge a book by its cover. It demonstrates that although others may look or act different than you or hang out with other crowds that we all have a lot to offer as people. You never know about others until you take the time to get to know them.

    Favorite quotes: "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." and "Be the change you want to see." - Mahatma Ghandi

    Additional community service I’m involved in: Various capacities of working with veterans, military service members, and their families with ongoing community service.

    Contact: rnoz@ucsd.edu, (858) 534-4382