Skip to content

Meet our Student Staff

Student Ambassador Team


Daniela Contreras

She / Her

Daniela Contreras

Hello/Hola! My name is Dani Contreras, I am a third year Sociology and Psychology double major. I am a first genration student from Hollister, CA. I chose UC Merced because of the location, it was not too far from home, but far enough to get a sense of independence. I am a part of the social sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, I currently serve as the Vice President of Membership. I am also involved in a research lab called the LATCH Lab on campus as a student researcher. I hope to obtain a Master's in Higher Education, post graduation. I enjoy cooking new things, going on adventures with friends, and hanging out with my family.  My goal as an ambassador is to provide support, guidance, and insight to all the prospective bobcats!

Calendly Link: Meet with Daniela



Yajaira Elizondo

She / Her 

Yajaira ElizondoHello! My name is Yajaira Elizondo, I am a fifth-year mechanical engineering major. I am from Menlo Park, CA in the Bay Area. I chose UC Merced because it was the school that offered me the most help with financial aid. As well as how much the school as grown in the past years. After I graduate, I hope one day to work as an aerospace engineer. When I'm not in class or studying, I like hanging out with my friends and watching movies. 

Calendly Link: Meet with Yajaira


Anna Felipe

She / Her

Anna Felipe

Hi! I'm Anna Felipe, a third year transfer student majoring in psychology. Previously, I attended West Hills Community College where I got my associates degree for transfer in psychology. I chose UC Merced because of the academic opportunities here and the support it gives to transfer students. I'm involved in the Merced Pre-Law Society, and I hope to attend law school after graduating. Community service is really important to me, and I am a Kings County 4-H leader and involved in Girl Scouts.

Calendly Link: Meet with Anna






Ray Lucero

He / His

Ray LuceroHello. I am Raymond Lucero, and my Major is in Management and Business Economics. I am a second year student. I value being honest and kind, and I am originally from the Los Angeles area. I was given a second chance here at UC Merced, and am extremely grateful for the new opportunities and possibilities that exist here on campus. I care about UC Merced, and all the people who I have come to know. I wish to grow and learn in my pursuit of a higher education and help others do the same. I am Seminole, and I hold the position of Treasurer for The Native Indigenous Student Coalition. I hope to one day make an honest living and live an honest life, where I am happy. I do not care too much for money or status but rather wish to be happy in my own way. I enjoy walking and poetry and believe that even the smallest acts of kindness can change the world. As an ambassador, I am glad to help in any way I can.

Calendly Link: Meet with Ray



Cristian Benitez

He / His

Cristian BenitezHi everyone! My name is Cristian Benitez and I am currently a 4th year biology major with an emphasis in human biology. After graduating I want to go to a masters program, specifically to get my masters in nursing. I recently just moved to Anaheim a few years ago and some of my interests are that I love reading books (mostly some romance but have been getting into classics recently), listening to music, dancing, and anything Disney. The reason I chose UC Merced is because of the smaller class sizes which I thought was an easier way to get to know more of the professors. I was able to have a bunch of amazing opportunities due to these small class sizes and connections I made. During my time here I saw what an amazing sense of community this school has that many other schools don’t. Overall my experience at UC Merced has been very eventful and amazing.

Calendly Link: Meet with Cristian



Jordan Richard

He / Him

Jordan RichardHello everyone I'm Jordan Richard, a third-year currently studying Computer Science at UC Merced. I transferred in from Southwestern College in San Diego and chose UC Merced to continue my studies. UC Merced has given me many opportunities to learn and gain confidence as a transfer student. I have also met some of the smartest people by coming here. I chose UC Merced mainly because of its location as it is closer to the tech industries in the bay area a field that I am extremely interested in. While im not facinated by tech, you could find me at the UC gym shooting hoops or in the Pacific Islander Association club painting shirts.

Calendly Link: Meet with Jordan




Hayley Jenkins

She / Her / Hers

Hayley JenkinsHello, My name is Hayley Jenkins, I am currently a 3rd year biology student at UC Merced! Im from LA, and some things I am intersted in on campus are Black Student Union and my Sorority Sigma Theta Psi! I chose UC Merced for its loving community and small teacher to student ratio! Welcome to UC Merced.

Calendly Link: Meet with Hayley






Delaney Nunes

She / Her 

Delaney NunesHello all! I'm Delaney Nunes, a third year Transfer student English major, and MBE minor! I come from Ripon CA, which is only about an hour from here! On campus I am involved in the Martial Arts Club, and off campus I work really closely with a summer camp. In the future I want to pursue my MBA with an emphasis in human resources, and eventually get a job as a human resource manager. 

Calendly Link: Meet with Delaney






Anj Ward

She / Her

Anjaneesa WardHello! I'm Anjaneesa Ward, a proud member of the Pit River tribe. I'm a third-year student majoring in Management and Business Economics from Orland, CA, just a 20-minute drive from Chico. The Pit River tribe is located in Burney, CA, a place that holds deep cultural significance to me. I chose UC Merced because it feels like home and is a diverse college that embraces different cultures. Being part of the cross country and track team keeps me active and connected. My passion lies in finance and accounting, and I hope to build a career in those fields. In my free time, I enjoy playing tennis, listening to True Crime podcasts like RedHanded, and watching psychological thrillers. I feel a sense of belonging at UC Merced because of its diverse community, which allows me to fully embrace my college experience. 

Calendly Link: Meet with Anjaneesa



Catalina Lara

She / Her

Catalina LaraLios Enchim Aniavu! (Hello Everyone!) My name is Catalina Lara. I am a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona and have greeted you in my traditional language. I am a Critical Race and Ethnic Studies major. I was born and raised in Fresno, CA. I transferred from Fresno City College with my Associate's degree in American Indian Studies. I chose UC Merced as my school because of the Native American Opportunity Plan, and it is really close to home for me. Also, the programs and opportunities that UC Merced offers make it an excellent choice to finish my degree. I hope that after I get my degree here, I would like to transfer to a graduate school to receive my master's in Education Administration to become an Academic Counselor. I hope with these degrees, I am able to give back to my community and inspire more students to pursue their higher education goals. 

Calendly Link: Meet with Catalina


Veronica Maldonado

She / Her 

Veronica MaldonadoHello everyone! My name is Veronica Maldonado and I am a third-year transfer student with a major in Pre-Med Human Biology and a minor in Psychology. I was born here in the central valley in Fresno, and continuing my studies as a first generation student gives me a feeling of home. Which is a huge benefit for me to go back and visit friends and family often.  My hobbies include working out, Aztec dancing, cumbia dancing, and spending time with My friends and family. I enjoy UC Merced's growing diversity and inclusive community which encourages me as a student to be involved and enjoy all the bobcat benefits. This is truly an amazing campus and I can almost guarantee your experience will be just about the same or better. GO BOBCATS!

Calendly Link: Meet with Veronica




Gabriel Frost

He / Him

Gabriel FrostHi everybody! My name is Gabriel Frost. I'm originally from a small suburb of San Diego called Ramona. I'm a third-year economics major here at Merced. One thing about myself: I love music. I've played the euphonium for around 9 years now, and I marched two seasons with Gold Drum and Bugle Corps. I currently play for the Bobcat Band and Blue and Gold Symphony, as well as sing! After college, I hope to pursue finance as a career and keep music as my hobby. If you see me around campus, feel free to say hi!

Calendly Link: Meet with Gabriel





Leena Sanchez

She / Her 

Leena SanchezHello/Hola! My name is Leena Sanchez and I am a Third Year Molecular and Cell Biology major hoping to pursue an MD/PhD degree. I come from Turlock CA, so I'm glad I get to call the Central Valley my home! My hobbies are reading, hiking, and walking my dog. UC Merced has offered me so many opportunities to reach out and build relationships that will help me and my education. Because of this, I am currently involved in a genetics research lab on campus! On campus, I am a founding member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I am also a TUSCEB fellow (Training Undergraduates in Stem Cell Engineering and Biology).  I look forward to sharing my journey here at UC Merced with everyone.

Calendly Link: Meet with Leena



Mya Starr

She / They / Them

Mya StarrHello ! I'm Mya Starr, a second-year Writing Studies major and also minoring in Global Arts. I'm from Morgan Hill but have also found a home here in Merced. Outside of class, you can usually find me crocheting, baking, drawing, as well as bingeing my favorite show with my cat. Being in Merced has allowed me to interact with so many different people and has opened a lot of opportunities for me to grow academically as well as individually. Everyone here is rich with culture and always fun to talk to. I can't wait to see you around campus and talk to you too ! 

Calendly Link: Meet with Mya





Brayan Rivera

He / Him 

Brayan RiveraHey guys, my name is Brayan Rivera, and I am a third-year student here at UC Merced! I am a first-generation student born and raised in Napa, California! I am currently double majoring in Management and Business Economics and Biological Sciences, hoping to pursue a career in the medical field. I chose UC Merced because of how attractive the project was here at UC Merced. This school has some beautiful sights, and the campus is new and unique; everyone is welcoming. My current involvements on campus are as a Research Assistant for the Translational Research Center along with the Wiebe Lab and as part of the LAEP UROC Program as a Research Assistant conducting my research. My involvement in research was thanks to the summer internship at Harbor UCLA Department of Family Medicine, where my curiosity and passion grew and made me want to get more involved on campus. UC Merced has opened the doors for me to so many unique opportunities on and off campus, and I will continue to make the most of my time here, take advantage of everything, and grow as a person day by day. One day, I hope to live a calm life with no regrets at all and be able to help others who need help and impact their lives. 

Calendly Link: Meet with Brayan



Khushi Kaur

She / Her

Khushi KaurHello! I'm Khushkirath "Khushi" Kaur, a fourth-year student at UC Merced. Majoring in Molecular Cell Biology with a minor in Psychology, I'm on a journey to unravel the complexities of life. My sights are set on an MD or PhD, driven by a passion for merging biology and psychology. Proudly part of Kappa Kappa Gamma, I've found a home in sisterhood and leadership. Beyond the books, I immerse myself in physics research, expanding my horizons with hands-on exploration. Volunteering at a hospice and shelter grounds me, reminding me of the power we have to make a difference. UC Merced's extraordinary opportunities have been a catalyst for my growth, and as a Student Ambassador, I'm excited to share this remarkable journey with you. Welcome to a world where possibilities are limitless!

Calendly Link: Meet with Khushi