UCI Cross-Cultural Center

Our Staff

Section 1

Cross-Cultural Center Professional Staff
Left to right: Kathy Dong, Office Manager; Jade Agua, Former Director; Nadeeka Karunaratne, Student Development Coordinator; Daniel K. Park, Assistant Director; Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton, Interim Director

Professional Staff

Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton, Interim Director


Dr. Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton serves as the Interim Director of the Cross-Cultural Center and joined the team in May 2018. She oversees the center’s academic internship programs and educational partnerships. She is an experienced student affairs practitioner, higher education researcher, and public servant. Dr. Ramirez-Stapleton is an expert in multicultural affairs and California cultural centers. Her dissertation work titled “Schoolhouse of Resistance: Critical Counterstories of Grassroots Leaders and Campus Change Agents in California Cultural Centers” investigated the historical roots and creation of cultural centers in California as a result of student, staff, and faculty activism in the 1970s to the present. Dr. Ramirez-Stapleton is currently President of the California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education (CaCCCHE). CaCCCHE is a network of student affairs professionals and practitioners who are committed to social justice, equity, and diversity work on college campuses. She often conducts training, workshops, and keynote speeches on issues of social justice, equity and diversity. As a student services professional, her prior experience includes cultural centers and diversity initiatives, student life, career services, and international education. As a practitioner-scholar her research interests include: multicultural affairs, cultural centers, and identity based support services and programs. She received her Ph.D. at UC Riverside in Higher Education Administration and Policy, M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis on student development and higher education from California State University, Long Beach, and B.A in Economics and French from California State University, Fullerton.

Daniel K. Park, Assistant Director


Daniel joined the Student Life & Leadership cluster as Assistant Director of the Cross-Cultural Center in July 2016. He oversees the affiliation process and serves as the primary advisor to 60+ affiliated Registered Campus Organizations and organizes our signature programs for the campus community: Community Roots Festival, Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium, and Deconstruction Zone. He assists the Director with the daily facility management of over 7,000 square feet of the freestanding center by determining resources and priorities for physical improvements and usage policies. Daniel is also responsible for the Cross-Cultural Center's strategic communications and marketing efforts, which includes website development, social media, and branding. He also chairs the Multicultural Programs Funding Committee, which allocates funding to Registered Campus Organizations, and leads planning efforts of the Summer Multicultural Leadership Institute (SMLI). Prior to joining the Cross-Cultural Center, he spent five and a half years in the School of Social Ecology at UC Irvine as Founding Director of the ACCESS Social Ecology Program. Since 2007, Daniel has worked professionally in functional areas within student affairs including residential life, first-year experience, student conduct, academic advising, and student retention at large public and private research universities. Daniel earned his M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California and B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior from UCI. He is especially passionate about facilitating student engagement, promoting student success inside and outside the classroom, and mentoring students, particularly those who have an interest in pursuing a career in student affairs.

Nadeeka Karunaratne, Student Development Coordinator


Nadeeka joined the Cross-Cultural Center in October 2016 as the Student Development Coordinator. She is responsible for the REAL Talk program, academic and career development initiatives, cultural wellness programming, faculty-in-service opportunities, and social justice education. In her previous role as UCI’s Violence Prevention Coordinator in the CARE office, Nadeeka implemented violence prevention education and programs, developed culturally specific practices, and advised and supervised peer educators and student interns. Originally from the Bay Area, Nadeeka earned her B.S. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley and M.A. in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University (MSU). At MSU, she worked as the Undergraduate Research Office Graduate Assistant, volunteered for the Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention Team, and served as the instructor for an undergraduate leadership course. Nadeeka holds a strong social justice-centered student affairs philosophy and believes in facilitating spaces that support students’ learning and understanding of their identities, privilege, and oppression, and supporting them as they navigate complex institutions of higher education to become socially conscious change agents.

Kathy Dong, Office Manager


Kathy Dong joined the Student Life & Leadership cluster in July 2015 as the Interim Programs Assistant for New Student & Leadership Programs and later the Programs Assistant at the Cross-Cultural Center. As the Office Manager, she processes room reservations, assists with programming logistics, and supports the Cross-Cultural Center staff in all capacities. Kathy graduated from UCI with B.A. degrees in Political Science and Sociology in June 2015. A few of her student involvements were with the Early Academic Outreach Program, Circle K International, Peer Academic Advising Program, and Administrative Intern Program. She enjoys mentoring students and helping them find their “spark” so they can more easily navigate through the challenges at the university. During her free time, Kathy loves to spend quality time with her family and friends, engage in arts and crafts, watch TV shows like Scandal and Once Upon a Time, and listen to music.

Section 2

 2017-2018 Student Staff

Vania Agama, ACTIVE Coordinator

Brandon Casas, Student Assistant

Bo Daraphant, Community Resilience Fellow

Joshua Erazo, Administrative Intern: Community Outreach & Marketing

Jeanine Erikat, Community Outreach & Programs Intern

Zenith Farin, Administrative Intern: Personal Development

Anam Farooqui, Cultural Wellness Intern

Heidy Guerrero, Community Outreach & Programs Intern

Samantha Herrera, Student Assistant

Helay Liang, Graphic Design Intern

Vito Perez, Umbrella Orgs Liaison

Miah Sabas, Volunteer Coordinator