ASPIRE Staff Members
Jeannine Slater, Director
Jeannine Slater is a first generation, low-income student and an alumni of San Jose State University where she completed her Bachelor’s in the Social Sciences and her Master’s in Education. She worked with the ASPIRE Program and then moved to the McNair Program after the grant was awarded in 1996. In 1999, Jeannine was contracted by the Alum Rock School District to work with district representatives and local community organizations to design, coordinate and facilitate the National Children Health Initiative Program for the twenty-five schools in the district. She developed and implemented a school based outreach that became both a state and national model for the Department of Health and the Department of Education. After being awarded the Consumers’ Union Award for Outstanding Service in Children’s Health and a Recognition Award for Work with the Children’s Health Initiative from President Clinton she toured California’s school districts helping them set up a similar model. She then joined the team at National Hispanic University as their Director of Enrollment and Undergraduate Services. While there, she implemented a new Student Academic Assistance Center through a Title V Grant, Directed the Upward Bound Program, and taught classes for Teacher Education and the Summer Bridge Program. However, her love has always been TRiO Programs and SJSU, so she returned four years ago to be director for ASPIRE/McNair. Ms Slater also has served on planning committee of the Northern California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education for 16 years the last six as chair.
Manuel Salazar, Assistant Director
Manuel Salazar started with the ASPIRE Program as a Peer Advisor in the fall of 1995. While completing his B.A. in Sociology with a Mexican American Studies minor, and his M.A. in Counselor Education, he assisted with the conception and development of ASPIRE's First Year Experience program. Now in the position of coordinating this effort, he oversees the services provided to ASPIRE's students.
Manuel also coordinated a consortium of Student Support Services TRiO programs at two and four year institutions across Northern California. Because of this effort, students are now receiving a seamless transition of support services as they transfer to San Jose State University from the community college system.
When not confined to the walls of the office, Manuel can be found in Tahoe with his snowboard strapped to his feet, frolicking in the sands at the beach, or at the Oakland Coliseum cheering for the Raiders, A's, and Warriors.
Lois Mardis, Beyond the Baccalaureate Coordinator
Lois graduated with a B.A in Social Work from San Jose State University. She continued her graduate studies at SJSU in Counseling Education. During her educational process, she joined the ASPIRE Program as a student peer advisor. After she graduated with her Master's degree in education, she accepted a position at the University of Phoenix as an Academic Counselor. During her stay there, she took classes and received a Masters of Arts in Organizational Management. Although she enjoyed working with students that worked in a corporate setting, her heart was most happy working with students in a traditional university setting. After three years she left University of Phoenix to pursue her goal.
Lois loves working with students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds because she shares the same background and obstacles. She is the first in her family to receive a graduate degree. She is a single mother with three children. " It was well worth the struggle to attend school because the degrees I achieved for myself are oftentimes viewed as unattainable. But I have a philosophy, if you put your head and your heart into the goals you set for yourself, they can and will be attained. Keep your eyes on the prize."
Angelica O. Tran, Administrative Coordiator
Angelica started with the ASPIRE Program as a participant during her undergraduate career in 2001. Once completing her B.S. in Criminal Justice in 2003, she took on the role of Administrative Coordinator for both the ASPIRE and McNair Scholars Programs. Since then, she started her graduate work in the Counselor Education Program and began her role as an ASPIRE Advisor.
In the summer of 2006 and summer of 2007 Angelica participated in a Service Learning Project led by one of her professors, taking her to Zambia, Africa. There she worked with university students from UNZA to serve the needs of the surrounding communities with a special focus on street children. Besides Africa, Angelica has also traveled to Egypt and London and hopes to add more destinations to her traveling endeavors. Although Angelica really enjoys working with her students and being part of their academic journey, she also enjoys spending time with friends and family, enjoying numerous outdoor activities.
Hideo Ikeda, Peer Advisor
Hideo Ikeda is excited to be a Peer Advisor with ASPIRE. He aspires to become an Educational Counselor in the near future. He is currently completing his Masters Degree in Counseling Education and his Pupil Personnel Service Credential at San Jose State University. While earning his undergraduate degree from SJSU in Behavioral Science he worked for a number of Non-Profit Organizations on Youth Development issues. He started his career with the American Lung Association as a Program Coordinator, facilitating workshops on tobacco related issues. He soon got a position at West Valley College in the Health Services Department as the Smoking Cessation Counselor, assisting students and faculty with breaking their addiction to nicotine and managing the use of nicotine replacement therapies. An opportunity came to work for Friday Night Live of Alameda County running a Mentoring Program, which trained high school students to become mentors to middle school students. Within three years he became Program Director. Realizing that he needed a change, he discovered that his heart was in counseling.
Hideo considers himself to be one with nature. You can also find him working as a Naturalist, with Youth Science Institute teaching nature programs to youth. He also enjoys a number of outdoor activities, such as Mt. Biking, Hiking, Snowboarding, White Water Rafting and pretty much anything that gets his heart pounding.
“ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and famous?’ … as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson
Jenny Duong, Peer Advisor
Jenny Duong feels incredibly fortunate to start this Spring 2011 semester as a Peer Advisor at the ASPIRE office! She has been an active member of the program since her freshman year in 2008 and has developed close relationships with the ASPIRE family. She has seen many advisors come and go and is excited to be a permanent incoming Peer Advisor -- that is, until she graduates!
Jenny is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies, with a minor in Gerontology. She loves taking courses that expose her to issues regarding social justice, which makes Justice Studies the perfect major for her. Jenny has a personal passion for the study of aged persons — ask her about it!
This 2011 semester, Jenny will be starting her internship with the FLY-- Fresh Lifelines for Youth program, where she will be working with involved or at-risk youth to provide them with a better understanding of the law, the legal system, and good decision making skills.
Jenny is also involved in the school community. She is the Executive Vice President and Service Committee Chair for the Golden Key National Honour Society Chapter at San Jose State. She meets with officers and members of the chapter twice a month to discuss social events and community service projects.
Jenny loves to try new things and meet new people. She is a coffee and tea lover. She also enjoys long walks and good conversations. The perfect combination!
Santiago Gaitan, Peer Advisor
Santiago is excited to join the ASPIRE family and is looking forward to interactions with students. He graduated from San Jose State University with a BA in Communication Studies and is currently pursuing an MA in Counselor Education with a PPS credential.
Outside of SJSU, Santiago is passionate about community service and works with different shools and groups that may be looking for guidance like he once did.
During his free time, he enjoys watching sports and sharing laughs with friends and family. As a former collegiate athlete, Santiago often participates in city leagues and other sports activities.
"If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or walk around it." - Michael Jordan
Amanda Lacro, Peer Advisor
Amanda Lacro is proud to be ASPIRE’s newest Peer Advisor! She has been an active member in the program since she was a freshman and is honored to take on her new role.
Amanda is entering her fourth year at San Jose State and is planning to graduate in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Her passion for dance started at the age of five and has only grown stronger over the years. She is dancing with a modern-based company on campus, University Dance Theater, and has started her performance career dancing with two professional companies: Nhan Ho Project and Printz Dance Project.
After graduation, Amanda plans to dance professionally in San Francisco until she saves enough money to move to New York. She then wishes to get her Master of Fine Arts in Europe and eventually teach dance at the university level. Her biggest dream is to travel the world dancing hoping to one day settle down and start a family.
Steven Prudencio, Clerical Assistant
Steven Prudencio is one of our newest additions to the ASPIRE team. He started working here in February of 2009 and is still learning everything it takes to be a great Clerical Assistant. As one of the first people you see upon arrival, he happily greets you with a warm welcome and a contagious smile.
Originally born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Steven moved to San Jose, California to embark on a new and prosperous journey as a student here at SJSU. He is currently majoring in Graphic Design and will soon be adding Photography as his minor with the hopes of one day becoming a game designer, graphics specialist, and a professional photographer. He is also very much involved with campus life as the Historian for both QTIP and the ASPIRE Student Organization, and a peer mentor for the on campus LGBT peer-mentoring service called Peers In Pride.
In his free time, you can find this student watching anime, drawing, working on his photography, spending time with friends, long-boarding around campus, or surfing the net. So if you him around campus don’t hesitate to say "Hi!"
Vianey Topete, Clerical Assistant
Vianey is delighted to be a part of the ASPIRE staff and is eagerly absorbing everything in order to become a strong member of our team. She is thankful for the opportunity to become more familiarized with the ASPIRE Program and readily assists in any way she can.
Born and raised in East Side San Jose, Vianey did not feel the need to venture far off, hence her first and only choice, San Jose State University, was an ideal choice to pursue a B.A. in Psychology. She will soon be adding Deaf Education as her minor in the hopes of further pursuing the Deaf and Hard of Hearing credential offered at SJSU.
In her spare time, Vianey can be found at a local park, sketching, reading, trifiling with her camera, spending time with friends, or trying new things such as eating foreign foods or riding dirt bikes.