Meet the Enrollment Team

University College is dedicated to helping you find an academic program to fit your educational goals. Whether you’re looking to complete your degree, change careers, or fulfill a lifelong dream, UC’s enrollment team will guide the start of your journey.

  • Jason Elliott
    Director of Enrollment

    Education: M.S. in Leadership
    Contact: (626) 804-2589, jelliott@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    Attending college could seem intimidating, overwhelming, or even impossible, but there is an entire campus of people at University College who want to help you succeed. We want to make starting school a stress-free process, and starting school is the first step to graduating. That first step may be scary, but it's always worth it.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    Our goal is to create graduates, not just students. Plus, our goal is to make those graduates better, wiser, and closer to God than when they first began with us. The university you attend will shape you, influence you, and change your life. We take that responsibility seriously and want to help you reach the goals you have for yourself.

    How do you spend your free time?
    Is this the part where I list my favorite music venues? I'm an avid concertgoer, and I spend my free time at The Greek Theater, the Troubadour, The Fonda, The Hollywood Bowl, The Bootleg, The Wiltern, or one of the many other music venues around town. I also enjoy Angel Stadium—but only when the Angels are losing to my favorite team: the Texas Rangers.

  • Javier Atkinson
    Program Representative

    Education: M.A. in Organizational Management
    Contact: (626) 857-2466, jatkinson@uc.apu.edu

    What advice do you give to prospective students?
    Take control of your destiny. Nothing in life is easy, but God has given you the ability to further your educational goals and set your lifelong goals in motion. It is never too late to gain knowledge. University College is here for you! Be a pioneer for your future. Everyday is an adventure—take it head on and don't look back!

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    University College is set forth for students who are looking to progress in their lives and are looking for a Christian family to do it with. University College cares about you! We want to encourage and push you to your educational goals as well as strengthen your relationship with God by being around other like-minded individuals. Here at University College, you can guarantee that there are no unethical practices in our enrollment and that we are here for your success.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I enjoy spending time with my family. I also enjoy teaching and guiding my son through life so that he makes the right decisions. I am a super sports fan—basketball, football, hockey, golf—you name it, I watch it. Lastly, I like to look for ways to strengthen my walk with God, either through meditation or attending church on Sundays. It is refreshing to know that there is always someone with you, especially in times of need.

  • Emily Belsey
    Enrollment Supervisor

    Education: B.A. in Journalism
    Contact: (626) 857-2435, ebelsey@uc.apu.edu

    What advice do you give to prospective students?
    I recommend you investigate and consider a couple different options when it comes to choosing a degree program. I have found that sometimes students have a specific program or plan of action in mind, but after discussing dreams and career goals with them, we discover that another program or emphasis may actually work better for them in the long run. Don't be afraid to explore all that University College has to offer you. Knowing what else is offered can also serve to solidify your original choice, and that in turn provides a stronger foundation in confidence for moving forward. To paraphrase Jeremiah 33:3, God is calling you, and he wants to show you great and mighty things you've never seen. I can't wait to help you get started on your adventure!

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    University College is an institution that believes in heart education as much as mind education. The Bible/theology classes and Christian worldview integrated into each of our courses are how we engage with students and grow with them to become stronger in Christ. By helping equip our students spiritually, we can confidently send them out into the world as educated, qualified, professionals who will thrive professionally, and who shine brilliantly as part of the body of Christ.

    How do you spend your free time?
    What is free time? As a current graduate student, I don't have much free time, but when I do find a moment to spare, I love to explore all that Los Angeles has to offer. (Did you know that it's free to go to the Griffith Observatory?)

  • David Coronado
    Program Representative

    Education: M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    Contact: (626) 857-2467, dcoronado@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    When I was an undergraduate student, I had a lot of questions and concerns on how to finish my degree. Likewise, for many students, going to school can be a scary thought. I want to encourage you. I am here to help answer all your questions and help you extinguish any fears you may have. As your program representative, my greatest desire is to see you thrive. Ultimately, my goal is to help you complete your degree, accomplish your goals, and develop your God-given strengths and talents. I strongly encourage you to take that leap of faith and complete your program one step at a time. This is how I did it, and if I can do it, I know you can, too!

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    University College provides students with the opportunity to accomplish their goals and ambitions. Whether you are completing your degree online or on campus, UC has an option that will fit your schedule, family obligations, and budget. There are plenty of options to complete your degree. UC is a transfer-friendly institution and provides opportunities to earn credit through exams and Prior Learning Assessments. Additionally, UC offers degree-completion programs that can be finished in as few as 10 months.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife. She is my divine gift from God and I love her so much. Some of my favorite pastimes are traveling, dining in restaurants, and simply enjoying a movie or two (especially drive-in movie theaters). I am an avid learner, so in my free time, much of it is spent on my current studies. However, as a youth pastor, I also enjoy ministering to my middle school and high school youth group.

  • Erick Diaz
    Program Representative

    Education: B.S. in Business and Tourism
    Contact: (626) 804-2581, ediaz@uc.apu.edu

    What advice do you give to prospective students?
    Do what you like to do. Enjoy every day to the fullest and take ownership for every challenge that life might bring you. Always think ahead to your future, and try to work today for the things that you want to change later. Education must always be your top priority. Enjoy the ride and love your surroundings each day.

    What are the distinctives of University College?
    UC is designed to help each student at a time. Your success will be our success, and we are growing tremendously because of our students. You won't be disappointed—we do truly care.

    How do you spend your free time?
    Every day I enjoy my family to the extreme; we play sports and do some gardening as well. When I have quiet time (while the kids are doing homework and chores), I enjoy my hobby, which is working on my vintage car. My family and I love the outdoors, and we are always trying to do something fun.

  • Dennis Figueroa
    Enrollment Supervisor

    Education: B.S. in Multimedia Design
    Contact: (626) 857-2464 , dfigueroa@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    To be successful, you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can't just accept the ones you like. Nothing worthwhile is easy, as the old saying goes, and this certainly is true of a college education. To be successful requires a strong work ethic, dedication, and sacrifice. We all have these traits within us; some just find them sooner than others. Believe in God's blessing, and you'll have nothing to worry about.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    University College believes in building the next generation of leaders. We motivate, inspire, and push students to strive for not only academic excellence, but to develop the will that moves them to reach their highest potential.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I’m a husband and a father of two very active boys. We enjoy outdoor activities but know how to embrace the quiet times as well. We also enjoy traveling and experiencing different places and cultures. My one weakness is my wife’s cooking—you can say I’m spoiled in that department.

  • Kalilah Garlington
    Senior Program Representative

    Education: B.A. in Psychology
    Contact: (626) 857-2452, kgarlington@uc.apu.edu

    What advice do you give to prospective students?
    University College is a great institution to attend due to the flexibility and affordability of our programs. We offer a quality education to students who may not have the luxury of attending traditional, on-campus classes. University College offers programs in online and face-to-face formats, and many of our programs allow students to do their homework and assignments from the comfort of their home. Each program representative is very knowledgeable about the enrollment process, which helps our students enroll with confidence and take the initial steps in furthering their education.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    Some of the highlights of University College are the affordable price, quality of education, and Christian worldview. Students who graduate from University College not only leave with a greater knowledge base, but they leave with a better sense of purpose and what the Lord has in store for them. It is great to know that as a program representative we are working for an institution that not only helps our students grow educationally, but spiritually and emotionally as well.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I typically spend my free time with my family watching movies and going out to eat. I enjoy taking good care of my new puppy and listening to music.

  • Christy Giannestras
    Program Representative

    Education: B.A. in English
    Contact: (626) 857-2456, cgiannestras@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    Life guarantees challenges, and education is no exception. You will undoubtedly face hardships, roadblocks, and frustrations as you pursue your degree, but the diploma at the end of the road and the opportunities it provides will be worth every second. Persevere, and take advantage of the dedicated staff and faculty here at University College who will get your questions answered, pray with you, and provide every resource possible to ensure you not only graduate in victory, but also grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    University College offers flexibility, affordability, Christian worldview training, and staff invested in your success.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I'm passionate about travel, food (especially cheese), theater, and outdoor adventures. I spend a significant amount of my free time rock climbing, home brewing with friends, and re-learning how to cook and play the piano. If there's time leftover, I'm probably making an Excel spreadsheet of someting or geeking out over the latest superhero film.

  • Sarkis Hovaguimian
    Program Representative

    Education: Juris Doctor
    Contact: (626) 804-2561, shovaguimian@uc.apu.edu

    What advice do you give to prospective students?
    Take your time to investigate the different options available to you. Gather all factual information pertaining to your career choice. Construct a timeline with goals and objectives to accomplish your selected path. Do not be afraid to seek guidance, wisdom, and confidence through meditation and prayer. Once you have gathered, reviewed, and evaluated your options, do not be afraid to implement your plan and begin your journey. It is not hard; It is hard work!

    What are the distinctives of University College?
    In my mind, the staff defines University College. They express genuine concern and the support they offer is priceless. We are all here to see you succeed and graduate to be a positive influence in your community.

    How do you spend your free time?
    My time is spent with family and friends. Saturdays are reserved for my 6-year-old nephew.

  • Aimee Kennedy
    Program Representative

    Education: M.S. in College Counseling and Student Development
    Contact: (626) 857-2468, akennedy@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    My advice to students is to do something they are passionate about. In my opinion, there is nothing more exciting than studying something that brings you joy and energy. While the process of going to school has challenges that come along, it is always important to keep pushing for your dreams.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    The God First attitude of Azusa Pacific University is embedded into University College, and continues to be at the core of everything we do here. This God First attitude gives us the opportunity to support our students in a unique way that not every school can offer.

    How do you spend your free time?
    My two favorite pastimes include watching old shows on Netflix with my cat and going to Disneyland with my friends. I also really enjoy going back home to spend time with my family in the most beautiful place I know, Washington state.

  • Clint Kopshinsky
    Program Representative

    Education: B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies
    Contact: (626) 857-2436, ckopshinsky@uc.apu.edu

    What advice do you give to prospective students?
    I encourage you to involve your friends and family in your learning. Surround yourself with people who support you in your educational journey. Education is something to cherish and should be shared with your family and community.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    University College’s programs are not designed to take priority over your family or career. UC’s programs are designed to accommodate your life. The program structure allows you to comfortably achieve your educational goals while learning in a flexible online environment or at one of our seven Southern California campus locations.

    How do you spend your free time?
    My free time is spent frequenting local parks, restaurants, and museums with my wonderful wife and daughter.

  • Michael Leyva
    Program Representative

    Education: B.S. in Organizational Leadership (in progress)
    Contact: (626) 857-2434, mleyva@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    The first thing I would tell prospective students is that choosing to continue their education here at University College is not only a great choice for educational growth but also for life and spiritual growth. It is an opportunity that should not be taken lightly; and because of that, I encourage prospective students to take advantage of the opportunity in front of them by staying in constant contact with their respective program representatives. We have some of the most sought-after talent in the industry and our staff cares deeply about each and every student.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    University College is unique in many respects when looking at other schools that offer a similar level of education, curriculum, and experience. First and foremost, University College stands alone when committing faith and honesty with each and every student. At UC, the student comes first, always. UC strives to provide an easy, honest, transparent, and exceptional experience; ranging from the amazing and knowledgeable program representatives but also the extremely helpful success coaches that ensure you are on the right educational path. This is the reason I chose to not only work for UC, but committed to being a student here as well. The quality of education and overall cultural experience is unlike any other I have ever encountered.

    How do you spend your free time?
    In my free time, I strive to better myself each day as a father, student, provider, and a soldier of God. I really enjoy being outdoors. I find the outdoors brings me internal peace, and it is where I feel closest with myself and with the Lord. I enjoy going bowling, miniature golfing, camping, hiking, museums, and rock climbing with my children. Last but not least, I love continuing my education as a student here at UC. I strive to keep a fine balance in my life of work, school, family, faith, and, of course, some fun!

  • Sonia Navarro
    Program Representative

    Education: B.A. in Communication Studies
    Contact: (626) 804-2588, snavarro@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    As Ray Bradbury once stated, “Love what you do and do what you love.” I strongly believe that if we follow what is in our hearts and do what we love; work will never feel like drudgery. I have worked in higher education for more than 12 years, and I have always encouraged students to follow their dreams when pursuing a degree, because ultimately you want to enjoy your career choice and feel satisfied. Your educational career will not be easy, just like anything in life, but it will be worth it in the end. Do not give up on yourself, stay motivated, and surround yourself around positive people who want to see you succeed because they are the ones who are going to be your biggest cheerleaders especially during the tough times.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    UC definitely caters to the working professionals who want to have flexibility when completing their degree. We offer a regionally accredited education, where we not only focus on academics, but also faith and putting God First. We truly care about our students and build strong relationships with them throughout their entire program so they can feel at home. A happy student is a more successful student, and our goal is to lead you to success.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I like to spend my free time with my loving boyfriend, family, and friends. I also enjoy working out at least five times per week or doing something active like salsa dancing. I love to travel and eat, so my boyfriend and I will take many mini vacations where we like to relax and eat everything we see. We also enjoy going to Dodger games where I truly go for the Dodger dogs and ambiance.

  • Imelda Rangel
    Program Representative

    Education: M.A. in Organizational Leadership
    Contact: (626) 857-2454, irangel@uc.apu.edu

    What advice do you give to prospective students?
    My advice is that there is no better investment than in yourself! A formal education is something that no one can take away from you regardless of economic conditions or market trends that always seem to dominate the news. The road will not be easy but anything worthwhile is worth the struggle. Remember, every journey begins with a first step. Let's take the journey together!

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    UC is unique in that every step of your journey, there is someone from our team to support you. From program representatives to success coaches to program completion advisors, all have a vested interest in your success. Our programs are tailored for people who seek an education with a “God first” approach. UC helps students understand and engage this approach by facilitating a Christian educational experience that combines academics with spiritual and social development opportunities.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I spend my free time with friends and family, enjoying each other’s company and eating good food!

  • Mark Sokol
    Program Representative

    Education: B.A. in Broadcasting and Communications
    Contact: (626) 857-2433, msokol@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    I am a believer in education. The right education is the difference between having a career and having just a job. Figure out what your career goals are and get the education to create the pathway to achieve those goals.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    University College is grounded in more than a century of experience in higher learning through Azusa Pacific University, which has a longstanding reputation of prestige throughout career recruitment circles.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I am close to my immediate family and spend a great deal of time with them. I enjoy reading and learning from my Bible. I also enjoy watching sports in person and on television.

  • Ray Soriano
    Program Representative

    Education: B.S. in Business Administration
    Contact: (626) 857-2485, rsoriano@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    When you believe in yourself, anything is possible. There will be times where you'll feel defeated, but that's the beauty of life. At the end of your struggles, you will not only feel accomplished by what you have done, but you will also learn that taking things one step at a time and not giving up makes a huge difference. Just keep going until you get to where you want to be.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    UC offers flexible programs without ever having to jeopardize your time at work or with your family. We have a great support staff that will lead you to your success. We are always working hard to make sure we get you to where you want to be. We believe what makes you unique, will make you attractive.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I am very active so when I am not spending time with family and friends, I am either out hiking, at the gym, or going out for a run. I also enjoy traveling and just experiencing different places and cultures.

  • Shawn Tippet
    Enrollment Supervisor

    Education: B.S. in Business Management
    Contact: (626) 857-2432, stippet@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    Going back to school to complete my bachelor's degree after a 10-year break was the wisest, most rewarding career decision I have made. Education and the right positive attitude will open doors.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    We have a helpful, passionate staff that truly cares about the success of our students. Other features include our regional WASC accreditation, our affordability, our quality of instruction, our ongoing student support, our faith-based curriculum, and APU's reputation for high academic quality and curriculum.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I spend my time with family and friends boating, traveling, going to see live music, spending time outdoors, watching sports, and traveling.

  • Crystel Vargas
    Program Representative

    Education: B.A. in Communication Studies
    Contact: (626) 857-2453, cvargas@uc.apu.edu

    What advice do you give to prospective students?
    Do not be afraid to take the next step toward academic success. I advise students to ask as many questions as they need to and seek clarification. Never cease to learn and use time wisely. Education is the key to success. As Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

    What are the distinctives of University College?
    University College is here to guide you through the educational journey and help you reach your academic goals. UC offers flexibility and makes sure you are treated with the utmost courtesy and respect you deserve. At UC, we truly care about you, and we want to see you succeed and be difference makers. We are with you every step of the way from the point of inquiry to graduation.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I enjoy reading, listening to country music, spending time with my family, and working with children and teens at my local church. I am also a sports fanatic; whenever I get the opportunity, I love to go to soccer games.

  • Matthew Womack
    Program Representative

    Education: B.A. in History/Administrative Studies
    Contact: (626) 857-2583, mwomack@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    Going back to school can be both an exciting and daunting decision to make. Have confidence in your abilities and be patient with the journey. Embrace all the peaks and valleys you will come across in school and view them as moments to grow and mature. With each assignment, test, and course you complete, you are one step closer to your educational goal.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    Our staff sincerely cares about each one of our students. We are here to guide and support you in your academic endeavors. Whether you are new to higher education or are looking to complete your degree, we can assist you.

    How do you spend your free time?
    In my spare time, I enjoy relaxing at home, going to the gym, reading, and spending time with my friends and my family.

Admissions Processing

  • Maricris Dar
    Manager, Admissions Processing and Data

    Education: M.A. in Education
    Contact: (626) 857-2436, mdar@uc.apu.edu

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    Your education is the one and only investment with a value that will NEVER depreciate. Although at times, even in just the application and enrollment process, it may seem like an extremely difficult and daunting experience, it is one that is definitely worth the overwhelming sensation of accomplishment and pride when you eventually meet your goals. We will be with you every step of the way to get you through those difficult moments and to celebrate all your successes with you.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    Everyone here at UC is genuinely concerned with our students’ success and well-being. We are here to be your resource, your cheerleader, and your unwavering support throughout this journey.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I’m either running or eating (in fact I really just run to eat). If I’m not doing that, then you’ll most likely find me at Disneyland—running around and eating!

  • Melissa Dworak
    Senior Admissions Processing Specialist

    Education: B.A. in Social Work

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    Be the change you wish to see in the world. There is a lot of competition to fight to have “the American Dream,” but know that God's plan for your life is far beyond that. You have unique strengths and skills that He specifically designed in you to use in your daily life. Go on a journey to discover and enhance these qualities that make you, you. Education is a platform for you to reach your goals in your personal, professional, and spiritual walk.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    Here at UC, we collaborate and work together as a team to guarantee your success as a student. Our motto, God First, is not just something we strive for in the workplace, but also in our personal lives. UC has a quality of care and offers an exemplary education to our students and staff.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I love to travel. I am from Northern California, so whenever my husband and I have free time we usually make our way up to the Bay Area. If we are not there, then we are either at the beach riding our beach cruisers, at a country concert, or eating really yummy food with friends and family.

  • Betzayda Martinet
    Admissions Processing Specialist

    Education: B.A. in Psychology (in progress)

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    You are exactly where you need to be. Know that it is never too late to begin or to pick up from where you left off. You may think that you cannot do it, but you can! (“‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’” Mark 9:23) Your education is your most valuable investment. At University College, we are excited to help you. The sky’s the limit, and it’s up to you how far you want to go. We are here to help and walk you through the process. It is in our best interest to see you succeed.

    What are the distinctive of UC?
    University College offers the best of both worlds. We understand you have work, family, church, and a personal life. We offer flexibility, affordability, and amazing staff and faculty who are willing to invest in your life. We provide excellent online and face-to-face formats, giving students multiple pathways for their higher education. We offer all year-round classes and they are only eight weeks long. Your education is our priority, and we believe in you and what God has in store for your life.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I am married and we have a son. During our free time we love to have fun, eat, read, play, laugh, paint, color, go for adventures, and spend quality time with our extended family. We love going to Target, IHOP, Disneyland, and making the best out of everything.

  • Chris Stewart
    Admissions Processing Specialist

    Education: B.A. in Business Administration

    What advice would you give to prospective students?
    Your education, no matter your age, is a great investment in you. It may seem like an overwhelming process at times, but stick with it. Our team is with you at every step.

    What are the distinctives of UC?
    We always put God First and help each student through the process.

    How do you spend your free time?
    I spend my free time with my family and friends. I love to entertain and cook, so you will always find me in the kitchen trying out new recipes.