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

Cristina Esquivel

About Cristina:

Cristina Esquivel grew up near UC Merced in Atwater, California. She attended California State University, Fresno where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and a certificate in Cross-Cultural Competency. She continued her education at Fresno State and received her Master of Science in Counseling, Option in Student Affairs and College Counseling.

“As an academic advisor I enjoy being able to build connections with a diverse range of students, while supporting them in achieving their goals. I love that each student is individually unique, but that all students are progressing towards the same meaningful goal of becoming academically successful.”

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it” ― Gautama Buddha

Kou Her

About Kou:

Kou Her was born and raised in a refugee camp in Thailand. She immigrated to the United States to Stockton, CA. 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