Welcome Center

Welcome Center Staff

We're here to support you while you get started on your journey at SMC!

Meet the team!

Jose Hernandez

Jose Hernandez

Interim Associate Dean, Outreach, Onboarding & Engagement

I received my Associates of Arts in Liberal Arts from Santa Monica College and transferred to UCLA where I received my Bachelor’s degree in History.   I then completed my Masters in Counseling degree from Loyola Marymount University.  I was a middle school counselor prior to starting my career in counseling at SMC in the fall of 2008.  Born and raised on the west side, I enjoy swimming, biking and classic Chevy’s.

Dierdre Weaver

Dierdre Weaver

Director, Outreach & Onboarding Initiatives

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at UCLA prior to completing my Master’s in College Counseling and Student Services at California State University, Northridge. I was a returning student at Santa Monica College in 2004 and have been working at the College since 2012. I came back to school in 2004 to study business as I was running my own company having just been awarded my first U.S. Patent. Born and raised in New York City, my favorite hobby – Table Tennis!

Josh Casillas

Josh Casillas

Student Onboarding Specialist, Welcome Center

I graduated from Santa Monica High school and attended Santa Monica College off and on from 1995 – 2003. I initially started working at SMC as a part time employee in 1995, then became a full-time employee in 2004. I was born and raised in the city of Santa Monica and when I attended SMC my major was Administrative Justice and Art History. My hobbies include venturing the outdoors, listening to a wide variety of music, helping others and learning.  

Adrienne Johnson picture

Adrienne Johnson

Student Services Assistant, Welcome Center

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from Cal State, LA. After briefly working in a food microbiology laboratory, I came back to school in 2018 graduating with high honors and receiving two Associates of Science in Business and Recycling & Resource Management from SMC. While attending SMC I was a student worker, Student Ambassador, and Sustainable Works workshop leader. Following graduation, I held a temporary position as a student services clerk, and I am now part of the wonderful Welcome Center team. 

Janet Kleinman

 

Janet Kleinman

Administrative Assistant, Welcome Center

I was born and raised in New York but finished college in California.  I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Radio/TV Broadcasting, a Master’s Degree in Education, a Teaching Credential from Cal State, LA and a certificate in Applications Programming from UCLA Extension.  After completing my degrees, I wanted to continue learning so I took a number of classes at SMC, which I didn’t have time to take previously.  I’ve been working at SMC since February 2016 but prior to that, I worked a few local companies/universities including USC, Hughes/Raytheon, and the RAND Corporation.  I exercise regularly to stay in shape and play Mahjong every week.

Rodney Mills

 

Rodney Mills

Student Services Assistant, Welcome Center

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I graduated from Locke High School in 1997 and received a Clinical Coding Certificate in 2013 from Charles Drew University.  I have been a math tutor since 1995 and am now pursuing studies to become a math teacher (my dream career).  My hobbies include cooking, singing, and traveling.

Andres Munoz

Andres Muñoz

Outreach & Recruitment Specialist, Welcome Center

I've worked for Santa Monica College for 16 years and I'm an alum of this wonderful institution. I am very passionate about SMC and would love to tell you all about us. Proud to be SMC!

Laura Nario

Laura Nario

Outreach & Recruitment Specialist, Welcome Center

Hi everyone, my name is Laura Nario, and I use she/her pronouns. I was born and raised in Santa Monica CA and graduated from Santa Monica High School in 2015. For the next few years, I continued my educational journey at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles graduating in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I had the opportunity to begin my professional career at Mount Saint Mary’s University as a Program Coordinator for New Student & Family Engagement working closely with first-year and transfer students and their families. After three years, I was thrilled to accept the role of Outreach & Recruitment Specialist at Santa Monica College and I hope to use my experience in this position to support students navigating their educational journey and beyond. As a first-generation Latina, I want to empower our students to utilize the resources and services that Santa Monica College has to offer, encourage them to step out of their comfort zones, and create a sense of belonging in this community. In my free time, I enjoy visiting new places with beautiful views and scenery, trying new food places and I hope to travel more with my friends and family.

Estela Ruezga

Estela Ruezga

Outreach & Recruitment Specialist, Welcome Center

I am a Santa Monica native and SMC alum. I graduated with my Associates degree before transferring to California State University, Northridge. Go Matadors! I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology while simultaneously working at SMC in 2005 as a temporary worker. In 2008, I had the opportunity to apply and become full-time and I began working in Admissions & Records. I hope to bring my 14 years of Admissions knowledge to this role. I believe in the importance of a community college education. Being a first-generation student myself, I know how tricky it can be navigating the college system. I hope to connect incoming students with resources to help them achieve their dreams.  On my time off, I enjoy music, event planning and connecting with friends.

James Stevenson Jr.

James Stevenson, Jr.

Outreach & Recruitment Specialist, Welcome Center

Hello, My name is James Stevenson Jr. I’m straight out of FONTANA, CA and grew up in the Inland Empire. I Graduated Cum Laude from The University of Arizona with two Bachelors Degrees and began my career in Higher Education at California State University, Long Beach. After several years working in the Cal State University System I was afforded the opportunity to begin my career at Santa Monica College. I started working in the Admissions & Records Department as a Graduation Evaluator for over three years before transitioning to the Welcome Center as an Outreach & Recruitment Specialist. Outside of work I’m a LAKERS (R.I.P. Black Mamba), RAIDERS, & DODGERS (Shout out to Branch Rickey for giving Jackie Robinson a chance) Fan. My favorite Rappers are 2Pac, Biggie, Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle (R.I.P.), and Lil Baby just to name a few. Overall, I enjoy having a great time with Family & Friends just hanging out or just cruising around with a “Sun Roof Top, Diamond in the Back, Diggin in the scene with my Gangsta Lean”…

William Taylor

Will Taylor

Outreach & Recruitment Specialist, Welcome Center

I first attended SMC directly after graduating from high school in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I transferred to my dream school, UCLA (go Bruins!), and then worked in various capacities in entertainment for several years. Fun fact: I was Aaron Paul’s stand-in and photo double on Breaking Bad : ) I came back to SMC to take pre-requisites for graduate school and managed to land a job in the Welcome Center. I’m now a grad student at Georgia Tech and want to help as many SMC students as I can on their education journey. SMC is a special place and a great launching pad for anything you want to do!