Our Staff

Cecilia Ariaza

Director

Cecilia has been the director of the Cadena Cultural and Transfer Center since July of 2012.  Prior to joining Fullerton College, she was a classified Student Services Coordinator in the Transfer Center at Santa Ana College.  She also has student service experience from prior positions at CSULB and UCLA.  Cecilia has been an active member of the Diversity Committee at Fullerton College for many years including serving several years as chair.  She is also committed to ensuring that all students have an opportunity to achieve transfer and improve their lives through higher education.  Cecilia enjoys traveling, hiking and spending time with family

Gilberto Valencia

Coordinator 

Gilberto joined the Cadena Cultural Center in July 2019.  An Orange County native, Gilberto did his undergraduate work at California State University, Fullerton where he earned a BA in Public Administration and a Minor in Political Science.   He then earned an MA in Higher Education & Student Affairs from the University of Connecticut.  His professional experience includes Residence Life, Multicultural Affairs and Leadership Development.  His hobbies include baking, watching sports, traveling and spending time with his wonderful partner and family.

Melisa Valdovinos

Program Assistant

Melisa Valdovinos (she/her) serves as a program assistant for the Grads to Be Program.  She majored in Spanish Language & Literature at California State University, Fullerton.  She previously served as the Social Justice Educator at the Chicana and Chicano Resource Center at CSUF.  She loves to read books written by people of color and drink lots of coffee!

Maria Laura Etcheverry

Program Assistant

Maria Laura is a current Grads to Be Program Assistant.  She was also a former DACA student working at the Dream Success Center at California State University, Long Beach while completing her undergraduate degree.  Her passion is geared towards empowering low-socioeconomic status communities with knowledge about their legal rights.  Her hobbies include traveling, dancing and spending time with family and friends.