Meet the Staff

  • Stephanie Gala, MA ’14


    Stephanie earned a Bachelor of Social Work and an MA in Leadership at Azusa Pacific. Being the first in her family to go to college created a passion in her to empower all students to see their potential for success. She is energized by partnering with departments across campus to help build systems of support for students, and is honored to be part of the Azusa Pacific community, where she sees Christ transforming the lives of students, staff, and faculty.

  • Jeanette Garcés

    Administrative Manager

Academic Advising

  • Jessica Posey, MS ’16

    Assistant Director

    Jessica earned a BA in Psychology with a minor in biblical studies from Biola University, and an MS in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific. Jessica’s favorite aspect of academic advising is restoring hope: As a first-generation college student and former transfer student, she has a window into the ups and downs students feel through the advising experience, and enjoys hearing students’ stories and making them feel heard and known.

  • Gina Conner, MA

    Academic Success Coach

    Gina earned a BS in Social Work at APU and continued her education by earning an MA of Social Work at USC. Gina loves connecting with students and desires for them to fully grasp their strengths and potential. She is passionate about instilling hope, being supportive, and encouraging students towards reaching their educational goals. Every year, Gina looks forward to seeing students walk across the stage at commencement to celebrate their achievement and hard work. As an alumni, Gina finds great joy in being a part of this wonderful community of difference makers.

  • Brian Hamlett, MS

    Academic Success Coach

    Brian earned a BA in Philosophy and an MS in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University. During his graduate studies, he worked closely with students in the Center for Student Action at APU and in residence life at Cal Poly Pomona. In his work with students, he draws from a variety of experiences, including studying away for four semesters, working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska, and overseeing a company in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, fighting food insecurity. He considers it a privilege to help APU students think deeply about their strengths and passions in order to identify and achieve their academic and personal goals.

  • Kristyn Hernandez, MS

    Academic Success Coach

    Kristyn earned a BA in Communications Studies and an MA in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific. She is the first in her family to graduate from college and is excited to use her story to help others. She is passionate about holistically supporting and equipping students for success far beyond their college journeys. Kristyn loves connecting with students, hearing their stories, helping them reach their goals, and encouraging them to grow.

  • Anneliese Trujillo, MA ’14

    Academic Success Coach

    Anneliese joined the APU community in 2013 and has provided academic support for traditional and nontraditional undergraduate students over the past few years. She completed her AA at Citrus College in 2010, and then transferred to Cal Poly Pomona and completed her BA in Sociology in 2012. In 2014, she completed her MA in Leadership and Organizational Studies at Azusa Pacific. Though her primary role is assisting students academically, her biggest desire is to see students grow holistically during their time at APU. Anneliese’s favorite part of working at APU is integrating her faith into her support with students during their academic career as they discover their calling by engaging the APU campus community.

  • Andrea Yanes, MS

    Academic Success Coach

    Andrea earned a BA in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and an MS in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University. As a first-generation college student and transfer student herself, she thrives upon providing words of encouragement, validating students, and supporting them throughout their academic endeavors. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of students by supporting and encouraging them to achieve their educational goals. Andrea enjoys being part of the students’ development by implementing a holistic approach to empower students to reach their fullest potential.

TRIO Student Support Services

  • Rhonda Jones, EdS

    Program Director

    Rhonda earned her BS in Organizational Leadership and an MA in Human and Organizational Development from APU. She holds an Education Specialist degree (EdS) from Liberty University. As a non-traditional and first-generation student, Rhonda has worked in a variety of Student Affairs roles. Rhonda’s experience also includes working for various TRIO programs including Student Support Services, the Educational Opportunity Center, and the Ronald E. McNair program. She considers it an honor to serve the institution that gave her first opportunity to succeed.

TRIO Upward Bound

  • Armando Bustos, MS

    Project Director

    Armando earned his BA in American Literature and Culture and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MS in College Counseling and Student Development from Azusa Pacific University. As a former Upward Bound participant, he sees his role as project director as an opportunity to celebrate and support first-generation students from a variety of contexts by enabling them to gain access to postsecondary education. He believes that through postsecondary education the socioeconomic trajectory of an entire family can be altered. Armando is passionate about serving the community and helping students discover their strengths, define their aspirations, and realize their dreams.

  • Katelyn Hernandez, BA ’17

    Administrative Support Assistant

    Katelyn received her BA in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. As a first-generation college student, she sees her role in Upward Bound as an opportunity to positively impact the lives of high school students throughout the community. Katelyn is passionate about serving and equipping students for success in college both academically and spiritually. She enjoys building relationships and walking alongside students to help them self-develop, feel a sense of belonging, and strive towards their goals in all areas of life.

  • Katherine O’Neil

    Outreach Specialist

    Katherine earned her dual bachelor’s degrees in English literature and Anthropology from California State University, San Bernardino, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. As a first-generation student, she was drawn to the message and support of TRIO in empowering first-generation students to pursue a college education. Katherine has worked at Upward Bound at CSUSB since 2017 and will continue her work of empowering and educating students about college to ensure that post-secondary access is equitable for all students. She strives to create an inclusive and welcoming environment where students can develop their own voice, passions, and grow on their educational journey.

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