UCI Cross-Cultural Center

Our Staff

Section 1

Cross-Cultural Center Professional Staff
Left to right: Kathy Dong, Student Development Coordinator; Jade Agua, Former Director; Nadeeka Karunaratne, Former 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), 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 K. Park 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 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 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, 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 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 AAPI students and staff, and mentoring students of color who have an interest in pursuing a career in student affairs.

Kathy Dong, Student Development Coordinator


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 then Office Manager at the Cross-Cultural Center. Kathy transitioned into her new role as Student Development Coordinator in September 2018. 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.

Cristian Palomo, Office 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 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. 

Section 2

 2018-2019 Student Staff

Jonathan Agena, Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Programs Intern

Fatima Bravo, Cultural Wellness Intern

David Cosme, Student Assistant

Joshua Erazo, Community Programs Intern

Jeanine Erikat, ACTIVE Coordinator

Anam Farooqui, ACTIVE Coordinator

Nicole Guerrero, Community Programs Intern

Danielle Heredia, Administrative Intern: Community Outreach & Marketing

John Hua, Student Assistant

Stephanie Iraheta, Student Assistant

Serena (James) Jamison, Graphic Design Intern

Elmer Mateo, Administrative Intern: Personal Development

Fatima Nunez, Volunteer Coordinator

Marisabel Perez, Student Assistant

Josue Ruedas, Umbrella Orgs Liaison

Alice Wang, Administative Intern: Community Outreach & Marketing