Skip to content

Meet Your UC Merced Student Staff

UC Merced Student Tour Guides

Connect with a student tour guide to learn more about UC Merced!


Student Tour Guide Leadership Team


Oscar Cortes

He / Him / His

Hometown: Bakersfield, CA

High school: West High School

Major: Applied Mathematics

Minor: Natural Science Education (NSED)

What’s up everyone! My name is Oscar Cortes, I’m a fifth-year Applied Mathematics major who is also minoring in Natural Science Education (NSED). My hometown is Bakersfield, CA so I too am from the Central Valley. A little about myself I am a car fanatic and I’ve even built my own 1990 Jeep Wrangler car from literally a junkyard car to the car I drive daily now. I’m Central American my mom is from El Salvador and my dad is from Honduras. The reason I chose UC Merced was because it felt like home. Here I felt like I wasn’t a stranger and that made all the difference! At UC Merced I’m a Bobcat Tutor for students and also work with teachers in the Merced High School district. I’m also involved with the Den program on campus helping students transition into college. So in other words I love to help students so never hesitate to say Hi to me or ask me a question chiefs!  


Angelita Moran 

She / They / Ella

Hometown: Livingston, CA

High school: Livingston High School 

Major: Psychology 

Minor: Cognitive Science

Hello everyone! I’m Angelita Moran, a current 3rd year majoring in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Science. I chose UC Merced because of our campus community and because UC Merced provided the perfect environment for me to succeed in all my endeavors. It has allowed me to get involved within our campus such as getting the opportunity to join the College Corp program and help in our local K-12 schools in order to get experience in education. While also providing me a support system by finding my home away from home through Hermanas Unidas and our Sigma Theta Psi Multicultural Sorority Inc. After graduation I plan to pursue my Master's in Counseling Education in order to give back to my community and be a positive impact on our students.


Derek Rodriguez

He / Him / His

Hometown: Hawthorne, CA

High school: Hawthorne Math and Science Academy

Major: Management and Business Economics

Hello everybody, and welcome to UC Merced! My name is Derek Rodriguez, and I come from my hometown of Hawthorne, CA located about 15-20 minutes from the beach in Los Angeles, CA. A couple of other things about myself, I'm a 4th-year Management and Business Economics major and am planning on going into the finance field either in the local community of Merced to give back, or back home in Los Angeles. I chose UC Merced because of the immense opportunities and growth I saw back in 2019 available on campus. I have had the privilege of watching the campus and myself grow to reach larger goals than anyone could have imagined. I hope to continue to see the growth here at UC Merced and in my personal life. Some of the extracurriculars I do here at UC Merced include being the president of the Vietnamese Student Association here at UC Merced, member of Water Polo Club, member of InterVaristy, and member of ASL Club. Outside of that, you can always find me weightlifting and bodybuilding at the gym, out in the hills and mountains hiking or enjoying my days with little Border Collie Mix, Hinata. We are so excited to have you join us on one of our amazing tours or just browse to see how great UC Merced is. 


Echo Valencia

She / They

Hometown: Elk Grove, CA

High school: Laguna Creek High School

Major: Psychology and Global Art Studies Programs

Hi! My name is Echo Valencia and I’m from Elk Grove, which is right outside of Sacramento, CA. I'm a fourth-year double major in both Psychology and our Global Art Studies Program. UC Merced has allowed me to major in my passions, and not feel overwhelmed by large class sizes. I chose UC Merced because it allowed me to have a better relationship with my peers and my professors, without feeling anxious about asking questions. My goal after UC Merced is to continue on to grad school and do research on the intersection of media and the human condition and later become a pediatric psychologist. I absolutely love the opportunities UC Merced has to offer and I hope to show you my favorite pieces of Merced! 



Erik Gutierrez

He / Him / His

Hometown: Sylmar, San Fernando Valley

High school: North Hollywood High School

Major: Cellular and Molecular Biology

Hello everyone! My name is Erik Gutierrez and I am currently a fourth-year studying Biology with an emphasis in cellular and molecular biology. I chose UC Merced because the university provides a sense of comfort at the school where you do not feel like a number, but rather a member of the community. This quality is showcased not only by staff but also students as well. I currently am involved with SHPE which is an organization that provides opportunities to help with choosing a graduate school or industry. My plan after graduation will be to get my Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology to develop my own research lab to help better the world. 



Student Tour Guides

Adelina Murrilo

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Montebello, CA

High school: MSTMA at Theodore Roosevelt High School

Major: Sociology

Hey!  My name is Adelina Murillo and I am a second-year student here at UC Merced. I was born and raised in Montebello, California. I am majoring in Sociology to later work with children or even become a social worker. Some things I enjoy doing are spending time with friends, especially the ones I made in Hermanas Unidas which is a club on campus I am a part of and binge watching Netflix. UC Merced was the right choice for me because of the strong sense of community that has really allowed me to fit in perfectly and find myself and some of my favorite people! I look forward to sharing my experiences with you as your tour guide! 



Andres Aguilar

He / Him / His

Hometown: Woodlake, CA 

High school: Woodlake High School / College of the Sequoias 

Major: Biology

Hello everyone, my name is Andres Aguilar and I am currently a third-year student. I am majoring in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Ecology. I chose UC Merced over all my other options because I was born and raised in the central valley and I wanted to attend a growing UC. I am an active leader in Hermanos Unidos, an organization formed to help increase the graduation rates of Latino men in higher education. After I complete my undergraduate studies I plan on conquering graduate school and going into environmental research.   




Des Baltazar

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA 

High school: Animo Jackie Robinson High School 

Major: Psychology

Minor: Sociology

Hello Everyone! My name is Desiree Baltazar. I am a Psychology major minoring in Sociology here at UC Merced. The reason I chose UC Merced was because of the diversity within the campus. Some of the things I am involved in on campus is being part of Greek Life, a sorority called Phi Mu. In terms of what are my plans after I graduate I plan to pursue my education to get my Master's because my dream is to be a Clinical Psychologist for Children's Hospital and help the kids. Thank you so much for reading my biography and if by any chance you see me around campus feel free to say hi.  



Giselle Aonzo

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Corona, CA  

High school: Centennial High School

Major: Physics

Hi everyone!! My name is Giselle Alonzo, I am a second-year physics major with an emphasis on astrophysics. I am from Corona, CA, around the Riverside area. I chose UC Merced because of all the possible research opportunities one can apply for. In the future, I hope to work for NASA as an astrophysicist or astronautical engineer. When I'm not studying or in class, I like to hang out with my friends or go longboard around campus. I can't wait to meet you all very soon!





Jaimie Colores

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Winton, CA

High school: Atwater High School

Major: Public Health and Management and Business Economics

Hi! My name is Jaimie Colores and I am a second-year double-majoring in Public Health and Management and Business Economics. I am from Winton, CA which is just 20 minutes away from UC Merced! UC Merced fosters the perfect environment for me to accomplish my academic goals while staying close to home and expanding my network across the state. During my first year, I took the initiative to get involved with the Fiat Lux Scholars Program and later joined greek life through the social sorority, Delta Gamma. After I graduate, I hope to find a career that combines both my passion for public health and my interest in business.



Jefferson Duong

He / Him / His

Hometown: Torrance, CA 

High school: North Torrance High School 

Major: Management and Business Economics

Hi everyone! My name is Jefferson Duong and I am a 2nd-year Management and Business Economics major here at UC Merced. I am currently not enrolled in a minor but am considering adding one! I chose UC Merced for the amazing campus culture, brand new buildings, and overall welcoming community. (Plus the financial aid is always nice because we are one of the top public schools in the nation for financial aid!). I am currently the treasurer of our Vietnamese Student Association (look us up for more info :)), as well as play in lots of our intramural sports (Ultimate Frisbee Champs last year). I am looking forward to keeping my options open but hoping to land a job in an established company doing some sort of management position in the future. Feel free to reach out and ask questions and I hope to be your tour guide soon!



Jenisse Perez Rico

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Oakland, CA

High school: Berkeley High School

Major: Psychology

My name is Jenisse Perez. I am a fourth-year majoring in Psychology. I chose UC Merced because I love to see expansion and growth and it's giving me this opportunity to be a part of its journey while I take my own side by side with it. I am currently Pre-Med and look forward to accomplishing that journey after my Bachelor's in Psychology here at UC Merced.





Jorge Cruz

He / Him / His

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA 

High school: Cathedral High School 

Major: Computer Science and Engineering 

Minor: Global Arts Studies 

Hello, future Bobcats! My name is Jorge Cruz, I'm a fourth year majoring in Computer Science and Engineering and minoring in Global Arts Studies I am from Los Angeles, CA. What I plan to do with my major is to go into website or app development. Some of my interests include making music, playing basketball, and watching movies. I've grown to love UC Merced and I'm honestly always learning more each day so I can't wait to share my journey & experience with you all. Feel free to say hi to me, you might see me around campus or in a club, organization, or event.



Laila Jibrin

She / Her / Hers

Laila Jibrin

Hometown: Hacienda Heights, CA 

High school: Los Altos High School

Major: Human Biology

Minor: Psychology 

Hey, future Bobcat!!  My name is Laila Jibrin and I’m from Hacienda Heights, CA, and I'm a fourth-year Human Biology major here at UC Merced! I have a huge passion for photography hiking and rock climbing, and I’m also a professional binge-watcher of most tv shows. I am an aspiring pediatrician, making me a pre-med student! I dream of one day being able to provide medical services abroad to countries in need!  On campus, I am a part of the Phi Delta Epsilon pre-medical fraternity and an online tutor for elementary students in financial need in LAUSD! I fell in love with UC Merced not only because of its beautiful campus but it's the many opportunities it offers its students! Because of its small class sizes and many clubs, organizations, and counseling services for pre-med students, I was able to find people that are similar to me and find my Bobcat family. I hope you fall in love with this campus as much as I did 4 years ago on a campus tour as a graduating high school student!


Leslie Zavala

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Duarte, CA 

High school: Duarte High School / Pasadena City College 

Major: Psychology

Hello, future Bobcats! My name is Leslie Zavala. I am a fourth-year Psychology Major transfer student here at the UC. I am born and raised in Duarte, CA located in Los Angeles County. I attended Duarte High School.  I choose UC Merced because the campus felt very welcoming, it offered me an amazing financial aid package, and it was close enough to travel home on a weekend.  If I'm not in class I'm usually at the gym or taking a nice stroll at Yosemite Lake. I can't wait to share my story with you! I welcome you perspective bobcats, I'm looking forward to meeting you all.




Meztli Galicia

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA 

High school: Hart High School

Major: Psychology

Minor: Chicano studies

Hi! I'm Meztli Galicia and I am a first generation third year majoring in psychology and minoring in Chicano studies. I grew up in Southern California in a city called Santa Clarita. UC Merced was the perfect campus for me because of the many resources that are available and the ambiance that the school has built for its students. My goal is to get my doctorate degree in Psychology and work with kids as their therapist. In my free time, I enjoy trying new things and creating new memories.  




Nataly Contreras

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA 

High school: STEAM Legacy HS 

Major: Sociology

Hello Future Bobcats! My name is Nataly Contreras, I'm a 4th-year Sociology major from Los Angeles, CA. I'm a student researcher under our UROC program which is meant to help first-generation students with their path to graduate school. I plan to pursue a PhD in Sociology to continue to do research and eventually become a professor. The opportunity to do research as an undergrad was what drew me to Merced. With Merced being such a small community, I was able to receive amazing opportunities. Prior to being a tour guide I worked for Residence Education as an RA and can help answer all housing questions you may have. Outside of my academic pursuits, I enjoy vlogging, cooking and hanging out with friends. I'm a part of a sorority called Kappa Kappa Gamma and am also a member of UC Merced’s Sociology Club. I hope to meet you all very soon!



Raul Ramirez

He / Him / His

Hometown: Oakland, CA

High school: San Lorenzo High School / Merced Community College 

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hello! My name is Raul Ramirez, I’m a second-year Mechanical Engineer transfer student from Merced College. Although I attended the college of Merced, I was born and raised in Oakland, CA. I enjoy playing soccer and basketball, so if any of y’all see me in the court or field, feel welcome to stop by and get a match going. I chose UC Merced because of the knitted community, the opportunities it has to offer, and the astounding growth the University has achieved. My plans after graduation are to get involved with research groups to expand my knowledge, get hands-on experience, and also help solve real-world related problems. I hope to see you all on one of my tours here at UC Merced, where one day you may want to consider becoming a Bobcat too. 



Rosie Cabañas

She / Her / Hers / Ella

Hometown: Anaheim, CA 

High school: Katella High School

Major: History

Minor: Political Science 

Hello future Bobcats! my name is Rosie Cabañas I am a third year here at UC Merced. I am a History major with a minor in Political Science. And the reason I chose UC Merced was not only for the great financial aid I receive but the many opportunities I was going to be able to get as a first gen student. Obviously, this is my third year and I can agree I made the best decision. UC Merced has allowed me to grow as a person and as a student. As well as the professors here are so amazing and always willing to work alongside you. A couple of things I am involved here on campus is Guardian Scholars which helps us former/current foster youth students and any students who have suffered from homelessness. As for clubs on campus, I am looking forward to being involved with our Hermanas Unidas group and our Fellowship Christian group. My plan after I graduate is that I will be continuing here at UC Merced working on gaining my teachers credential through our Teachers Preparation Program. Excited to meet you all! 


Sam Dougherty

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Patterson, CA

High school: Patterson High School / Merced College

Major: Psychology

Minor: Natural Science Education (NSED) 

My name is Sam Dougherty and I am a 4th-year Psychology Major, also minoring in Natural Science Education. I am also a transfer student and chose UC Merced as my transfer school because of the amazing opportunities the UC has for undergraduates, including the CalTeach Program, and because it is close to my hometown so I get to visit family often. After graduating I plan on finishing my multi-subject teaching credential to teach in elementary schools!




Sofia Aguilar

She / Her / Hers

Hometown: Ladera Heights, CA 

High school: Culver City High School

Major: Public Health 

Hello Scholars!!! My name is Sofia Aguilar. I am originally from Los Angeles, California, and attended high school in Culver City, CA. I am currently a second year here at UC Merced, majoring in Public Health. Studying Public Health has allowed my passion for the Health Care system to grow. A goal/dream of mine is to become an epidemiologist or a Public Health Advisor for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On campus, I’m a member of one of our student-run clubs known as Hermanas Unidas, and this coming year, I hope to get more involved in our Public Health Society Club. Some of my hobbies include painting, playing guitar, hanging out with friends, and going to Downtown Merced to check out our local thrift stores and music stores! Attending UC Merced for my undergraduate studies has been by far one of the best choices I’ve made. Prior to selecting to attend UC Merced, I signed up for a Student Tour Guide with my family; I quickly fell in love with the overall environment and the amazing and easy-to-access resources the campus has to offer. UC Merced has quickly become like a second home for me, and I’m sure it will for you too! If you ever see me around campus, whether doing a morning jog or walking to class, feel free to stop me and say hello. I am so excited to meet you all, and I look forward to being your Student Tour Guide! Lastly, GO BOBCATS!