The UC Santa Barbara Guardian Scholars Program supports the academic and personal success of students who have been part of the foster care system. Program services include academic support, enrichment services, student advocacy, career guidance, peer networking, housing assistance, and financial aid advising.


The Guardian Scholars Program at UCSB currently supports approximately 180 students. The program helps to ensure that incoming students have a smooth transition into the UCSB community and are provided with a network of services to enhance their educational experience. The program provides scholarship opportunities, community building, leadership opportunities, campus resource referrals, mentoring, social support, and much more!

Program Goals

A foundation of the UCSB Guardian Scholars Program is the belief that services or programs for foster youth should be defined by the youth themselves.

  • Ensure incoming students experience a smooth transition into the UCSB community
  • Provide a network of services to enhance the educational experiences of students from matriculation through graduation
  • Establish a network of campus departments & personnel who will assist students as they process all university business matters (Financial Aid, Housing, registration, etc.).
  • Provide academic advising that supports academic success
  • Provide leadership opportunities that enhance personal growth, career enhancement, and graduate school opportunities
  • Build a peer support network in which currently enrolled students serve as mentors to prospective students considering higher education
  • Participate in advocacy efforts both on campus and statewide to promote awareness of issues affecting foster youth.

Contact Information


   Sophia Jeffe

    Coordinator, Guardian Scholars Program
    Office Hours: T & TH 8am - 5pm PT 
    Office of Admissions, 1234 Cheadle Hall 
    (805) 893 -7349
    Book an appointment with me! 

Contact us! 

If you wish to speak to anyone on our staff or wish to text in a quick question, feel free to use the following cell number: (805) 451 -1407

Steph Rubio Updated

   Stephany Rubio

    Director, Guardian Scholars Program
    Office Hours: M & W 8am-5pm PT 
    (805) 893 - 5631 
    Book an Appointment with me!


   Lisa Przekop

    Guardian Scholars Program Advisor
    and UCSB Director of Admissions 
    Office of Admissions, 1234 Cheadle Hall 
    (805) 893-3641

Peer Advocates

Our Peer Advisors are students of the Guardian Scholars Program who have been hired to assist in programmatic activities and development. As the front line staff, the Peer Advisors are the face of the program from the perspective of their fellow students. They facilitate meetings, plan and conduct student activities, and lead the student organization of the program.  


Foster Youth Hayson

Hayson Tasher 

English major

Hayson Tasher is from South Los Angeles and is a third year English major at UCSB. In his free time he enjoys playing guitar, playing video games, and watching YouTube. If you have any questions about the Guardian Scholars Program, feel free to reach out to Hayson via email at

Foster Youth LILI

Lili Thurn

Political Science major

Lili Thurn is from Arvin, California and is second year Political Science major at UCSB. In her free time she enjoys singing, hiking and working out, and watching new TV series and movies. If you have any questions about the Guardian Scholars Program, feel free to reach out to Lili via email at

Departmental Liaison

The Guardian Scholars Advisory Committee is made up of a dozen UCSB staff who have volunteered to serve as their respective departmental liaisons to the program and our students. Due to their support, Guardian Scholars receive priority consideration, expedited appointments, and most of all, access to compassionate staff with whom they can trust.

Campus Contacts

Visit the Student Affairs website for a list of university departments that may be helpful to you.

Ariana Flores

Position: Financial Aid Advisor, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships


Phone: (805) 893-2386

Jeff Landeck

Position: Writing, ESL & Foreign Language Coordinator, CLAS


Phone: (805) 893-4757

Dr. Meridith Merchant

Position: Psychologist, Counseling Services


Phone: (805) 893-4411

Mario Munoz

Position: Assistant Director, Apartment Assignment Services, Housing and Residential Services


Phone: (805) 893-7391

Rebecca Segundo

Position: Basic Needs and Rapid Rehousing Manager, Basic Needs Resources


Phone: (805) 893-5949

Jack Rivas

Position: Academic Advisor, College of Letters and Science


Phone: (805) 893-2948

Lana Smith-Hale

Position: Career Counselor, Career Services


Phone: (805) 893-4649

Jessica Paredes

Position: Counselor, Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)


Phone: (805) 893-4578

Andrew Vesper

Position: Chief Social Worker, Student Health


Phone: (805) 893-3380

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