EOP has seven professional counselors who are committed to the academic success of students. Counselors provide academic, career and personal counseling as well as facilitate academic success , probationary and personal development workshops . Counselors are also involved in the SOAR mentoring program, transitional programs, and services for student-parents including those involved in CalWORKs.
Robert Guzmán is currently a counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program at San Diego State University and a lecturer for the Center for Latin American Studies, SDSU, where he teaches the History of Mexico and two film studies courses (one of which is on-line) on Latin America. From 2006 to 2016, Mr. Guzmán was the EOP tutoring supervisor where he managed tutorial support to over 3,000 EOP students. Mr. Guzmán has over twenty-five years of experience working in higher education with expertise in Financial Aid, Admissions, Outreach to local communities, and Internship development. He has received numerous institutional grants to expand the services at SDSU’s EOP tutorial center as well as with the creation of outreach support services for historically marginalized students. Mr. Guzmán currently supervises the EOP Transfer Bridge Program, a transition program designed to help first year transfer students to become connected with the University. He also advises two student organizations: The EOP Student Advisory Board (ESAB) and the EOP Student Parent Association. Mr. Guzmán received his B.B.A at the University of North Texas in 1991, his M.A. in History at the University of North Texas in 2002 and will receive his Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration at San Diego State University in 2017. He has received numerous awards for his commitment to student excellence: The Presidential Staff Excellence Award (Tutorial Center) in 2010 and the Most Influential Faculty Award in 2013 and 2016.
M.Ed. Higher Education Administration, Florida International University
B.S. Secondary Education, Bowling Green State University
Rondre Ashford, is currently a Counselor, and joined the EOP team in June 2017. Before joining the EOP team, Mr. Ashford worked in the Office of Residential Life at Florida International University, as a Residence Life Coordinator and the Office of Residential Education at San Diego State University, as a Residence Hall Coordinator.
Throughout his professional career, Mr. Ashford has been trusted with professional responsibilities that include academic advising, personal counseling, undergraduate staff training, student conduct, supervision and professional staff recruitment. These experiences have given him the opportunity to further his knowledge on inclusivity, diversity, mentorship and leadership. Mr. Ashford’s passion for supporting and advocating for students of color has been implemented through advising an NPHC organization and creating a Black Affinity Group for residential students..
In his career Mr. Ashford has served as a committee member for the Aztec Student Gaming Experience, Diversity Initiatives, Professional Staff Training and Selection, Intramural Sports and co-chair of Black Affinity. He was able to have these experiences while working as a Residence Life professional.
Mr. Ashford has received numerous awards for his commitment to student success: Advisor of the Year (REO) in 2015, SDSU Zuma Award (Team) in 2015 and Exceptional New Professional in 2017. His hobbies include: relaxing at the beach, watching college/professional football and basketball, cycling, hiking and eating burritos.
M.A., Postsecondary Educational Leadership with emphasis in Student Affairs,SDSU
California Single Subject Teaching Credential, San Diego State University
B.A., Kinesiology, San Diego State University
Mr. Oliveira has been a counselor with EOP since 2015, previously serving as a Graduate Assistant for the EOP Guardian Scholars Program. He currently serves as the staff adviser for the Guardian Scholars Student Advisory Board (GSSAB). He was a Science and Physical Education teacher for the Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula Vista, CA for five years. Prior to his brief teaching career, Mr. Oliveira served as the Assistant Coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Life at SDSU for six years before moving on to serve as Coordinator for Fraternity and Sorority Life at San Jose State University for two years.
Mr. Oliveira was actively involved at SDSU as a student leader in Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity, Inc. and was a co-founder of the United Sorority and Fraternity Council (USFC). He served as the inaugural President of the USFC and later became the staff adviser for this council for culturally-based Greek Letter Organizations as well as staff adviser for the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) for historically African-American Greek Letter Organizations. He takes pride in the development of the USFC as a model for several CSU campuses to empower culturally-based fraternities and sororities and as a catalyst for equity and inclusion of campus Greek communities across California and beyond.
He has continued to be actively involved in Nu Alpha Kappa since his undergraduate years. He was a National President of the organization and continues to serve as a co-founder and Board member of the NAK ALAS (Alumni Association) in San Diego. He now serves as the staff adviser for the NAK SDSU chapter. His attributes much of his personal and professional growth to his involvement as an undergraduate student at SDSU.
As a first generation college student from an immigrant family, he has developed a passion for the empowerment of underrepresented students like himself. He has worked with students of diverse cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds throughout his career and enjoys the daily opportunity to pay it forward as an EOP Counselor. Mr. Oliveira is committed to student success by supporting students' academic and personal growth towards the development of their full potential.
Ed.M. College Student Services Administration, Oregon State University
B.S. Human Development and Family Sciences, Oregon State University
Melisa Lopez is a Counselor for the Office of Educational Opportunity Program. Melisa has over eight years of higher education experience and is an EOP alum. She is the staff advisor for Lambda Sigma Gamma Sorority, Inc., and the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) at SDSU. In addition, she serves as a mentor under the Provost Undergraduate Mentoring Program (PUMP). Melisa has a passion for supporting and serving first-generation, low-income, and underserved students. She’s dedicated to supporting students holistically on their academic, professional, and personal journey.
Prior to joining San Diego State University in March 2016, Melisa Lopez worked at Oregon State University and Eastern Oregon University. At Oregon State University she was the Assistant Director for Diversity & Cultural Engagement, where she managed the Centro Cultural César Chávez Cultural Center. Prior to that she worked for the College Assistance Migrant Program as an Outreach and Retention Coordinator. At Eastern Oregon University she served as an Admissions Counselor and Campus Visit Coordinator.
Melisa is originally from Oregon and comes from a large first-generation migrant household. Melisa’s hobbies and interests include: live shows, yoga, beach, hiking, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, exploring new areas, college football, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
B.A. Psychology, San Diego State University
M.A. Education with an emphasis in Multicultural Counseling, SDSU
Michelle Cadena is a new counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program. Previously, Michelle worked for the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the University of Southern California, coordinating the Increasing Access via Mentoring (I AM) and SummerTIME (Tools, Information, Motivation, Education) programs. Both programs supported and mentored first generation high school seniors on the college and financial aid application process as well as provided them with resources through summer classes, on college level writing and college knowledge, to support them with their transition from high school to college.
Michelle is an alumna from SDSU, having received her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Multicultural Counseling from the CBB program. During her studies in the program she began working with TRIO as a counselor intern, and later on as an academic advisor for the SDSU Talent Search Program. During this time she also worked in the CBB program as a Practicum Supervisor for two years.
Michelle’s experiences as a transfer student together with her education and work experience have cemented her desire to work in education and provide support to students, in navigating their college experience and future goals. Michelle’s motivation, passion, and commitment to students’ access to education and resources, stem from her family’s experiences, her own experiences in higher education and her learning and growth through her professional journey.
M.Ed., Education with an emphasis in Counseling in Student Affairs,
University of California, Los Angeles
B.A., Political Science/Public Policy, University of California, San Diego
Ms. Her joined the EOP team in 2008. Previously, she worked at UC San Diego in the History Department as the Undergraduate Advisor and in the Chemistry/Biochemistry Department as both the Undergraduate and Graduate Advisor. While pursuing her Master's degree at UCLA, she interned at West Los Angeles College where she helped advise community college students about transferring to four-year universities.
She is a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors (NACADA) and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). Additionally, she is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member.
Ms. Her's experience as a first-generation college graduate and her experience working with CREATE (Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence) motivated her to pursue a career in student services to help students realize their academic, career, and personal goals. Ms. Her is committed to student success and encourages students to utilize the support services and resources available to help them achieve academic and personal success.
B.A., Business Administration, San Diego State University
Born in San Diego, California and fourth child of five from Mexican parents and heritage. Obtained an Associate’s degree from San Diego Mesa College and immediately afterwards acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University. Previous employment experiences vary from computer sales, automotive technician, and college counselor for UCSD/GEAR-UP. Currently employed at San Diego State University under the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships and working on a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership: Post-Secondary Student Affairs. I consider myself as a down to earth, easy going individual. I enjoy traveling, Mexican food, and family time. Please stop by and say hello, I’m eager to get to know our SDSU EOP students! Go Aztecs!