In light of COVID-19, our staff is working remotely. Please find contact information below to schedule a virtual or phone appointment with our staff. Thank you for your flexibility during this unprecedented time.
Dr. Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton, Director
Dr. Marcela Ramirez-Stapleton has 17 years of experience in student affairs practice, higher education research, and public service. She is an expert in multicultural affairs and California cultural centers. She currently serves as the Director of the Cross-Cultural Center at UCI. One of her proudest endeavors was serving as the Founding Director of the Middle Eastern Student Center at the University of California, Riverside, the first cultural center of its kind in the UC System and in California. Ramirez-Stapleton is Past-President of the California Council of Cultural Centers in Higher Education (CaCCCHE) serving a three year term on the executive board (2017-2020). Additionally, Ramirez is a University of California (UC) Regent Emerita who served a two year term (2015-2017). During her doctoral studies she was appointed by the UC Board of Regents to serve as the 42nd Student Regent and was involved in higher education policy and advocacy work at the state and federal level. She was recognized as a “Woman of Distinction” by Jose Medina, California State Assembly Member and Chair of the Higher Education Committee. She received her Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Policy at the University of California, Riverside. She received an M.S. in counseling with an emphasis on student development and higher education from California State University, Long Beach, and she received her B.A in Economics and French from California State University, Fullerton.
Daniel K. Park, Associate Director
Daniel K. Park joined the Student Life & Leadership cluster as Associate Director of the Cross-Cultural Center in July 2016. He oversees the affiliation process and serves as the primary advisor to 70+ 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 oversees 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 Board, which allocates $5,000 in annual funding to Registered Campus Organizations. 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, an innovative retention and peer mentoring program that serves new students who identify as first-generation, low-income and international. 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 ('05) from UCI. He is especially passionate about engaging in critical conversations around racial justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, working with faculty and staff to create more inclusive spaces at the university, promoting and facilitating leadership development opportunities for students and staff of color, and mentoring students who have an interest in pursuing a career in student affairs.
Raven Stewart, Program Coordinator
Raven Stewart joined the Cross-Cultural Center in June 2019 as Program Coordinator. Her areas of responsibilities include: coordination of academic success initiatives, alumni engagement programs, assessment and evaluation efforts, and advisement of the five umbrella organizations. Most recently, Raven worked in the non-profit sector providing education and employment support to transitional age youth experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles County. In her previous roles as a student affairs practitioner, she contributed to campus diversity initiatives in offices that prioritize the success of students of color. Raven earned her M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Personnel from the University of Mississippi and B.A. in Psychology from Alcorn State University. Her decision to attend both a PWI and HBCU was inspired by her early interests in comparative higher education and multiculturalism. In her spare time, Raven enjoys reading self-help literature, starting Soul Train lines at weddings, binging anime series, and spending time with family and friends.
Ashlee Whitehead, Student Development Coordinator
Ashlee Whitehead joined the Cross-Cultural Center team in October 2019. As Student Development Coordinator, her responsibilites include developing and evaluating programs in the areas of cultural wellness and personal/professional development, teaching wellness and healing seminars, and supervising her student interns and volunteers. In her previous roles, Ashlee taught high school science and recruited public school educators through Teach for America, worked as a substance abuse counselor, and managed substance abuse prevention efforts at UCI. Ashlee earned her master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Oklahoma in 2018 and her B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior ('11) from UCI. She has advocated on behalf of marginalized communities since she was a student at UCI and will continue to do so in her current role and beyond. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Winston, watching reality TV shows, singing along to Disney songs, and laughing loudly at memes.
Cristian Palomo, Office & Events Manager
Cristian Palomo joined the Cross-Cultural Center in October 2018 as a temporary employee and was hired as Office Manager in December 2018. In his role as Office & Events Manager, he processes room reservation requests for student organizations and campus and community partners and provides administrative support to the staff. Cristian graduated from UCI with a B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior and as a student, was involved in the Orientation Program, C.O.A.C.H. Program, Student Housing, and Circle K International. He is especially passionate about mentoring students and promoting their leadership and personal development as they navigate the challenges of the university. During his free time, Cristian loves to listen to and play music, experiment with different types of art projects, and spend time with his friends, family, and dog.