Who is the "Success Matters" Team?

Our Success Matters Team is a group of caring faculty and staff that reach out to students directly to discuss how our college can support them better and suggest programs and resources from which they would benefit. Pirates: if our team calls or texts you, please connect! Helping students is our favorite.

STARFISH COUNSELORS

Our Starfish Counselors are ready to connect with you by phone, email, or text when you raise your hand in Starfish, or if you are referred to a counselor from another staff or faculty member.

How to Connect: Raise your hand in Starfish! 

Note: Starfish links are for current students only. Please work with a peer mentor if you're looking to become an OCC student.

Jessica Martin (She/Her)
STARFISH COUNSELOR

Hi Everyone, I am a counselor at OCC. I am so happy to be here to help you successfully complete your academic goals at OCC. Just like you, I started my college career as a community college student at Santa Barbara City College; and then I transferred to UCLA to complete a bachelor's degree in English. I also went on to complete a master's degree at CSULB in Counseling. When I am not meeting with students at OCC, I am reading, watching movies, and rowing with a women's club team. My office is located in 3rd floor of Watson Hall in the Counseling Department. Please come by and say hi.

Laura Reese (She/Her)
STARFISH COUNSELOR

Who am I? Laura Reese, an Academic Counselor assigned to Financial Aid. I specialize in how courses impact financial aid and reverse.

Little about me and OCC. OCC Graduate - Pirate for Life. I am a product of the support from Financial Aid, EOPS, OCC Scholarships, ASOCC Programs, and Children's Center.

Personal. I am passionate about supporting students because I know it was the support of OCC Staff and Faculty that helped me to be who and where I am today.

Cyndy Garcia (She/Ella)
STARFISH COUNSELOR

Hola! I'm Cyndy Garcia, and I am a proud first-generation, non-traditional community college alumna. I began my educational journey at Orange Coast College and Santa Ana College before transferring to UCLA where I majored in sociology. I earned my master's degree in Counseling with an emphasis in Student Development in Higher Education from CSULB. As a graduate student, I was a counseling intern at OCC, so I'm excited to serve OCC students as an adjunct counselor. In my free time, I enjoy working on DIY/sustainable projects, trying to keep my houseplants alive, and attempting to roller skate. Whether hanging out at the park or at home, I enjoy spending time with my partner and our dog, Rumi. I look forward to connecting with you!

Samantha Adams (She/Her)
STARFISH COUNSELOR

Hi! My name is Sam, and I am a first-generation college student where I started my higher education at Orange Coast College. I earned my ADT in Psychology and transferred to UCSB to earn my Bachelors in Psychology. After some exploring, I ended back at Orange Coast College working in the Transfer Center. This is where I discovered my passion working with community college students and decided to continue my education and earned my Master's in College Counseling from CSUDH. Your Success Matters to me because seeing you reach your goals not only empowers you, but also the team that supports you. I look forward to working with you!

SUCCESS COACHES

Success Coaches are seasoned professionals making their career in education. They can help provide you with a success plan and check in with you regularly to help you stay successful. If you don’t even know where to start, or are feeling like you don’t have what it takes, Success Coaches can build you a success plan to ensure that you know what to do to stay the course and be successful.

A success plan might consist of, for example, a combination of to-do items like developing your next semester course registration plan with an Academic Counselor, enrolling in and visiting the Student Success Center for Free Tutoring, attending a Time Management workshop with one of our coaches, meeting your Financial Aid Specialist, and more. We know that all of our students are different and one plan doesn't fit all; your plan will be customized for your needs. Best of all, we're beginning to develop success plans in Starfish - so that the steps you need to take can be available for you in our Starfish Student Success Network. This will allow you and your coach to check in throughout the semester and make sure you’re on the right track!

Note: Starfish links are for current students only. Please work with a peer mentor if you're looking to become an OCC student.

Erin Fitzgerald (She/Her)
STUDENT PROGRAMS PROJECT COORDINATOR,
SUCCESS COACH

 Hi! I'm Erin, and I've worked in several different positions here at OCC. My Pirate roots run deep; I started working at OCC when I was just 19, part-time, while I earned my B.A. I became a lawyer because I wanted to serve my community, but made my way back into higher ed because life is more fun and colorful on a college campus! I manage several projects, including Success Matters and Starfish, but coaching and supporting our students is my favorite. When I'm not working, you can find me reading, crocheting, or doing other hobbit-like activities with my three kitties. 

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH ERIN!

Tanya De La Cruz (She/Ella)
SUCCESS COACH

Your Success Matters to me because: it is proof that with hard work, resilience, and support, you are able to reach your goals. Therefore, laying down the foundation to achieve your dreams!

A little more about me: I am a 1st generation, Latinx college student, majoring in Sociology. I am an OCC Alumni who transferred to CSUF to finish the B.A. requirements for Sociology. My career goal is to become a Counselor for OCC and assist future-students in achieving their academic goals. I am the eldest of four children. I have a two year old Pitbull whose name is Bonnie and my favorite comedic actor has to be Steve Carell.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH TANYA!

Anisha Khatri (She/Her)
SUCCESS COACH

Your Success Matters to me because: YOU MATTER. You are part of the OCC community – people here are working hard everyday to ensure that YOU succeed. We connect you to the right people, share resources that can enable you to meet your goals, and check in with you to make sure you are making progress and ultimately finishing what you started at OCC. We are here for you because YOU MATTER.

A little more about me:  I’m a home-body most days of the week – I love cooking authentic, Indian meals for the family and on the Shef platform. I spend majority of my time with my two young children – crafting, playing, cuddling, sliding at playgrounds, reading, baking, and of course “putting out occasional fires”. =)

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH ANISHA!

Heather Dominguez (She/Her)
AIM COORDINATOR,
SUCCESS COACH

Hi! I’m excited to be on this team and be a part of your story at OCC. I was NOT a traditional student…changed my major 4 times, transferred 4 times, been on suspension due to low GPA, took an extended Gap Year (5 years), part-time school while working full-time, then decided to make school the priority and finally earned my bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science just after I turned 31! Now, I get to work with students daily, many who’s educational story is similar to mine. Anatole France said, “Nine tenths of education is encouragement.” Your success matters to me, and I’ll be here encouraging you all the way!

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH HEATHER!

PEER MENTORS

These are folks that are on your team and can help with quick questions, and give peer-to-peer advice from the prospective of a fellow student. What have they found helpful on their journey? When is your registration window open? Which department should you contact for help with a parking pass? They got you.

Nandini Javia (She/Her)
PEER MENTOR

Your Success Matters to me because: it positively affects your self-esteem! Your happiness matters and therefore your success matters! : )

Get to know me: I am an international student from Zambia, majoring in Business at OCC! I love meeting new people, traveling and photography!

CALL OR TEXT
(714) 432-5145

DAYS I WORK: M - F
Thong Huynh (He/Him)
PEER MENTOR

Your Success Matters to me because: I believe our society pressures us to strive for
success, but don't let it scare you! I am pleased to help you go through obstacles and guide
you to accomplishments.


When I’m not working with you: I stay on my desktop 12 hours a day trying to get
things done because time is constantly moving forward, so I have to keep up with it!

CALL OR TEXT
(714) 714-7931

DAYS I WORK: W-F
Alyssa Ongoco (She/Her)
PEER MENTOR

Your Success Matters to me because: As a fellow student, balancing our personal life and work are tough. Success is not just about getting our job done, it is about enjoying and feeling happy on whatever path you choose. We want to be there for you, guide you, help you flourish and find your purpose. Your success is our success!

CALL OR TEXT
(714) 714-7935

DAYS I WORK: M, T, W, F

Hannah Sacks (She/Her)
PEER MENTOR

Your Success Matters to me because: When you persevere and go after your goals, you're rewarded by the impact you make on the world around you. Let me help you to see success in the small stuff!

Where else you can find me: When I'm not buzzing around campus, you can find me at the dog park with my pup, on a hike with friends, or curled up watching true crime documentaries.

CALL OR TEXT
(714) 714-7934

DAYS I WORK: T & TH