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School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

Our SSHA Peer Navigators

Ashelea Okayasu

Education: Psychology


I chose to be a Peer Navigator because I saw the chance to guide undergraduate students through their academic journey and help them achieve success by showing them the numerous resources and opportunities there are at UC Merced.


One life lesson I have learned since becoming a UC Merced student is that the hard work and effort you put in now will come back around. Stay positive, focused and be proud of everything you have already accomplished.

Goldie Corona Thurman

Education: Human Biology with Psychology Minor


I chose to be a Navigator because I want to help show student the wide range of resources and opportunities that UC Merced has to offer.


One life lesson I have learned while being at UCM is that hard work and determination make even the unimaginable a possibility.

Jacqueline (Jackie) Peñate

Education: Psychology with Public Health Minor


I chose to become a Peer Navigator because I have always enjoyed helping and supporting my peers. As a first gen student, I understand how confusing and scary the first couple of years of college can be. I want to show students that they are not alone in their college journey, as Peer Navigators we will be with them every step of the way.


While being a student at UC Merced, I have learned that it's important to keep an open mind. I think having an open mind helps you grow as a person because you are constantly learning new things about yourself, your peers, and the world.

Janize Ramírez

Education: Public Health and Spanish


I chose to be a peer navigator to further develop my skills in helping those looking to find the resources they need. Not only do I want to help my peers like they did when I was first starting, but I hope to translate this knowledge to help those in my community who don’t have the same resources others may have.


One life lesson that I learned while attending UC Merced is you never know when change is around the corner!

Kevin Nguyen

Education: Management & Business Economics


I chose to be a Peer Navigator because I saw an opportunity to help underclass students and help them towards academic success. I personally struggled a lot early on when I first arrived to UC Merced and I want to make a difference so that no one else has to experience the struggles that I did.


The biggest life lesson I learned at UCM was that it’s never to late to try something new. The world has a lot to offer so whenever you want to try something new, its best to just go for it.

Khephra Shaw-Meredith

Education: Sociology


I chose to be a Peer Navigator because in the future I hope to have a career where I can provide resources to young adults to put them on a path to reaching their full potential and beyond. I am happy that I have experienced being a student seeking help the SSHA Advising Office before. Now I can take my knowledge of being a student and working as a Peer Navigator to be as helpful as possible and see my fellow bobcats win!


One very important life lesson I've learned while being at UC Merced is that right now is not the time to have it all figured out, but it is the time to take advantage of all opportunities and learn as much as I can so that one day I will.

Monica Sanchez-Osorio

Education: Sociology


I chose to be a peer navigator because I felt like it was in my nature to be able to relate to students and help them navigate their academic goals. Just like I received the help from when I was a first-year student here at UC Merced, I would also like to contribute by helping students who are in need of academic guidance.


One life lesson I have learned since I became a UC Merced student is that your agenda will always be your best friend, it will always hold you accountable. And remember that at the end of a storm there will be a rainbow.


Mariela Quezada- Flores

Education: Psychology & Sociology MajorManagement & Business Economics Minor

I chose to be a Peer Navigator because I enjoy helping and supporting students with their academic journey. As a first-generation student, I can relate to the barriers students may have and I hope to help overcome them. I am grateful to be able to guide and provide any academic assistance and opportunities that will help them grow and be successful.


One life lesson I've learned while being at UC Merced is to never be afraid of taking risks because the possibilities are endless.