Connect with Us

Reach Out and Connect Online

Come See Us In-Person*

  • Cal Poly Scholars Office:
    • Bldg. 52., Rm. E-25
    • Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • E4: Education, Empowerment, Excellence, Equity (an EOP & Cal Poly Scholars community space):
    • Bldg. 52, Rm. E-4
    • Monday - Thursday from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Mentorship Meetups:
    • Sierra Madre Community Center
      • Monday - Thursday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    • yak titʸu titʸu Community Center
      • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

*Excluding University Breaks and Holidays

    Meet Our Team               

    Use the drop-downs to learn more about our team members!

    Alexis Melville

    Alexis Melville Burrell

    Director                                                                                   (805) 756-5195

    In her role, Alexis leads the Cal Poly Scholars team to enhance program equity and inclusion, delivery of services, and Scholar voices. Alexis is delighted to work with Cal Poly Scholars’ students, staff, and campus partners to ensure Scholars are successful at Cal Poly through 1) building a personal support network for academic success, 2) fostering an inclusive community, and 3) developing knowledge and skills for life-long success.

    Alexis is a dedicated higher education professional who (accidentally) began her career in higher education as a Resident Assistant at Oregon State University while pursuing her undergraduate degree. Since then, Alexis earned her M.S. in Higher Education Administration and has worked in and out of the classroom in areas of residential life, career development, first-year experience, and equity scholarship.

    Alexis resides with her spouse, Lindsey, in Los Osos near the tsɨtqawɨ tribal location of the yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini Northern Chumash. She was raised in California’s Central Valley (native home and indigenous land of the Yokuts) where she enjoyed sunshine and fresh fruit all summer. Additionally, Alexis has resided in Oregon, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Ohio which many native tribes, people, and nations call their home. 

    In her spare time, Alexis enjoys hiking through nature, exploring new cities and countries, engaging in meaningful conversations with friends, listening to podcasts, and solving puzzles.

    To make the most out of life and your college experience, Alexis encourages you to “explore who you are and the world around you by 1) remaining open to new ideas, people and experiences, 2) being aware that you have more strength and resilience than you realize, and 3) granting yourself and other an abundance of grace and patience as we learn and grow individually and collectively.”

    Deb PetersonDeb Peterson

    Program Analyst
    (805) 756-5191


    Deb was raised in the Midwest (Minnesota). She was a first-generation college student and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Bemidji State University. She went on to obtain a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of North Dakota and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. The support she received from friends, family and institutions was critical to her success. With this educational background, Deb taught undergraduate students for 23 years and served as the interim Campus Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator for 5 years at Bemidji State University. Work in these positions provided her with valuable knowledge of student needs and experiences, and the pride, joys and struggles of first- generation students. The research and data analysis experience obtained in these positions is valuable in her current job as the data analyst for the Cal Poly Scholars Program. When not at work, Deb loves to read, ride her electric bike, go for walks and hikes, and sample the cuisine of the Central Coast.

    Ana Garcia Ana Garcia

    Program Coordinator 
    Focus Areas: Year 1 & 2  Scholars and Communications
    (805) 756-5125


    Ana was born and raised in Southeast Los Angeles, CA. She is a first-generation, and low-income college student that earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography and Media at California Institute of the Arts. Her passion for education and student support stems from her own experiences and challenges navigating higher education. Ana has over 10 years working experience in arts education, administration and student support. Most recently, as a Site and Outreach Coordinator at Ryman Arts, she supported a program, community outreach and young artists in their pursuit of a higher art education. In her free time, Ana enjoys baking, walking her dog at the beach and camping trips with her partner.

    Everardo VencesEverardo Vences

    Program Coordinator 
    Focus Areas: Years 3+ & Transfer Scholars and Programming
    (805) 756-5123


    A native of the Central Coast, Everardo is a first-generation college graduate that double majored in Political Science and Psychology from San Diego State University. Previously, Everardo worked in Cuesta College for six years with the Continuing Education Department. There he helped plan and coordinate various programs under the continuing education umbrella that allowed students continue their education. As a coordinator Everardo hopes to continue his work in helping students and reduce barriers that limit their success. When not working, Everardo enjoys traveling to different countries and trying new pizza places.

    Trisha HongchartiTrisha Hongcharti

    any/all pronouns
    Program Coordinator
    Focus Areas: Connections and Basic Needs
    (805) 756-5198


    Trisha is a transplant from Virginia, social justice advocate, world traveler, and cheese lover. While earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia, Trisha worked at the career center and learned about the field of student affairs. After earning their BA in Spanish and Foreign Affairs, Trisha worked for the University of Virginia Darden School of Business for 3 years as a global programs coordinator. They then earned their master's degree in student affairs at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to coming to Cal Poly, Trisha worked as an educational adviser for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, a scholarship organization that supports high-achieving students with financial need.

    Ariana SariñanaAriana Sariñana 

    Administrative Coordinator
    (805) 756-5136


    Ariana happily joined our team in the Spring of 2023. In her role as Administrative Coordinator, Ariana supports the day-to-day operations of the Cal Poly Scholars program which includes but is not limited to budget support, department head and staff support, student assistant hiring and scheduling, student payroll, and office management.

    Born in Mexico, Ariana has called the Central Coast home since 1987. As a DACA recipient and former first-generation college student from a low-income household, Ariana can relate to the challenges some of our Scholars face when navigating the higher education system, as well as the professional job market.

    Completing her undergraduate studies in the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara, Ariana earned a Bachelor of Art with an emphasis in Book Arts. Prior to transferring to UC Santa Barbara, Ariana earned two Associate Degrees from Allan Hancock College in Liberal Arts and Applied Design/Media.

    It was during her time at Allan Hancock College that Ariana had the opportunity to intern at the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center, which partnered with the local Boys & Girls Club to bring elementary students after-school education programs. Ariana developed and taught programs focused on geology, botany, photography, and forensics. The rewarding experience of working directly with students is what ultimately led her back to the academic setting.

    Prior to accepting the position at Cal Poly, Ariana worked in the insurance industry as a licensed California Insurance Producer since 2015. For over 8 years, Ariana enjoyed being able to help people protect themselves from the unexpected, as well as networking with local small businesses through her participation in Business Networking International (BNI) and other organizations.

    A cheese-loving adventure seeker who enjoys solo travel and live music, Ariana is a self-proclaimed national park geek who loves spending time outdoors. She can often be found on a dirt trail hiking with her dog, a red-merle Australian Shepherd named Stella.

    Deb PetersonRyan Ichinaga

    Graduate Assistant



    Ryan Ichinaga is in his second year of Cal Poly's Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs program. He is originally from Torrance, California and graduated in 2020 with a BA in International Studies from Willamette University. Prior to enrolling at Cal Poly, he worked for College Possible, a nonprofit organization, sponsored by AmeriCorps, as a college access coach for students across four high schools in rural Oregon. Ryan is passionate about supporting students overcoming possible barriers in their journey of higher education. In his free time, Ryan enjoys watching basketball, spending time with friends and family, and cooking new recipes.

    Trisha HongchartiHayley Ann Agena

    Graduate Assistant


    Hayley Ann is a first-year graduate student in Cal Poly's Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs (HECSA) program. She is originally from Los Angeles, CA, and received her B.S. in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Child Development from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. As an undergraduate student, Hayley Ann navigated through challenges that motivated her to pursue a career in college counseling and student affairs. She is passionate about equitable access to higher education, working with students to overcome barriers, and promoting student belonging on college campuses.

    In her free time, Hayley Ann enjoys working out, hanging out with family and friends, exploring new cities, and adding to her Hello Kitty merchandise collection!

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