About Us

SSHA Academic Advisors

Meet your SSHA Academic Advisors!

Brenda Maldonado-Rosas

Manager of Students Services, Lead Advisor

About Brenda:

Brenda Maldonado-Rosas grew up near UC Merced in Livingston, California. She attended the University of California, Davis (Go Ags!) and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish. She then headed to California State University, Sacramento where she completed her Master of Science in Counseling, with a specialization in Career Counseling.

"What I enjoy the best about my job is assisting students find the connection between what they want as a career and their major and experience at UC Merced. There is no set road for people to get to their dreams and goals, so being able to show students their different paths on how to get there makes my job worthwhile."

“Failing to plan is planning to fail" ― Alan Lakein

Armando Contreras

About Armando:

Armando Contreras comes to UC Merced from Huntington Park, California (South East Los Angeles). He attended UCLA and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chicano and Chicana Studies and a minor in LGBTQ Studies. After several years of working with first generation high school students, he attended California State University, Long Beach to obtain his Master of Arts in Education (Social and Cultural Analysis of Education). He currently commutes from Fresno and is now a proud resident of the Central Valley.

“What I like most about being an advisor is the opportunity I have to share my own experience as a first-generation college student and dialogue with students about the endless possibilities that exist when you have a college education. Being able to create a space where students can feel comfortable and welcoming will allow them to discuss their goals and passion, leading to their success”

“I change myself, I change the world” ― Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Kou Her

About Kou:

Kou Her grew up in a refugee camp in Thailand. She is an alumnus from UC Merced and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She is currently pursuing her master's degree in Educational Counseling at CSU Stanislaus.

"What I love most about being an academic advisor is having the opportunity to assist students with their academic planning and advising students to be on the right path to graduation. I look forward to providing support and guidance to students so they can develop the confidence and discipline to complete their education at UC Merced."

“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today” ― Malcolm X

Kitsya Macias

About Kitsya:

Kitsya Macias grew up in Long Beach, a city in Los Angeles County. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Chicana and Chicano Studies. She later attended California State University, Fullerton and completed her Master of Science in Education, with a concentration in Higher Education.

“I enjoy working with students to help them realize their potential and achieve academic success. I am here to support students in their educational journey and help them navigate higher education.”

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” –Nelson Mandela

Jesus Galvan

About Jesus:

Jesus Galvan grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, IL. He attended Loyola University Chicago, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He continued his education at the Iowa State University and earned a Master of Education (Higher Education Student Affairs).

“I appreciate that my experiences can both pour into and benefit from the UC Merced community – from getting to know students to working in partnership to develop a strategic approach toward someone’s goals. Serving as an academic advisor provides me the opportunity to sustain an environment that validates and empowers students, in hopes of alleviating the challenges they experience while navigating intersectional identities and their respective stressors.”

"You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable." Ta-Nehisi Coates

Sam Lopez-Martinez

About Sam:

Sam Lopez was born and raised in East Los Angeles, California. Sam grew up in both City Terrace and Boyle Heights and considers herself a citizen of two communities rich in history and culture. Sam attended UC Santa Cruz and received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Latin American and Latino Studies with a Minor in Literature. Sam attended Cal State Fullerton and obtained a Master of Science in Education, with a concentration in Higher Education (MSHE). Sam’s favorite color is purple and her top five favorite movies are (in no particular order): Phantom of the Paradise, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Pan’s Labyrinth, Welcome to the Dollhouse, and Legend (1985).

“I believe in the power of advising and mentorship. I enjoy working with students and sharing what I have learned about navigating higher education as a first-generation college student. Education is transformative and students have a responsibility to themselves to be active agents in their transformation, and I believe it is my responsibility as an advisor to further equip students with the necessary tools to do so.”

“Trees have a secret life that is only revealed to those willing to climb them” Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas