The UCLA Alumni Mentor Program celebrates all our mentors and mentees who completed their year of mentorship. Transformative mentorship takes mutual commitment, enthusiasm and work, and the following honorees were selected because of the impact they made. We celebrate these Bruins for what they’ve given to the UCLA community and their example of powerful mentorship.
Undergraduate Mentors — 2021 Distinguished Alumni Mentor Award Recipients
Jasmine Wong ’20
Bachelor of Science, Nursing-Generic/Prelicensure
Registered Nurse, Stanford Children’s Health | Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
Student mentee Christie Tan, fourth-year nursing-generic/prelicensure major, shared, “In the life of a nursing student, our world is a dizzying salad of new, exciting and intimidating experiences! So many of my anxieties and worries have been assuaged by Jasmine’s tender, gentle guidance. She has never failed to go above and beyond to make herself available to me, to guide and support me on my journey. I truly feel that I can go to her for anything. […]
“She provided so many resources to help strengthen the breadth of my knowledge and practice in both the theoretical and clinical setting. Her mock interview tips and support helped me land my very first job as a nursing assistant, which led to amazing learning and networking opportunities. She continues to steer me in a direction to become an effective, compassionate and competitive professional, all while maintaining her full-time career as a PICU/CVICU nurse at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital! As I near the end of my time as an undergraduate, I cannot imagine having gone through this experience without Jasmine as my mentor!”
Phil Bangayan ’94, M.S. ’96, Cert. ’00
Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering; Master of Science, Electrical Engineering; UCLA Extension Certificate in Business Management for Technical Personnel
Principal Data Scientist, Teradata
Student mentee Aimee Xu, first-year statistics major, shared, “Phil has gone above and beyond as a mentor and as a longtime friend to the Alumni Association. As a double alum, he understands the power of giving back to the UCLA community. He has served as a mentor since the start of the AMP program, mentoring several students per year. Having worked across multiple disciplines and for companies such as JPL and Disney, Phil holds a wide range of expertise and continues to inspire many Bruins like myself! […]
“Despite AMP taking place virtually this year, Phil remains proactive and supportive, happy to answer his mentees’ questions, whether it be over call, email or Zoom. He never hesitates to make time out of his busy schedule to lend a hand on everything from my consulting case competitions to computer science hackathons and projects. He also understands the importance of initiating meaningful connections; I have expanded my professional network considerably just during my first year at UCLA through his introductions. Don’t just take it from me; many of his mentees still keep in contact with him long after graduation.
“Outside his involvement in AMP, Phil has served on the UCLA Alumni Board of Directors, volunteers on the New Student Welcome Committee and reads freshman alumni scholarship applications. Phil exemplifies what the Alumni Mentor Program is all about.”
Casey Brown ’12
Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies
Associate Marketing Manager, Mattel, Inc.
Student mentee Stephanie Trelease, fourth-year communication and psychology major, shared, “Casey embodies the Bruin spirit with her enthusiasm, generosity, ‘no question too small’ attitude, and unceasing wish to give back and help young women like me. Our first and final meetings excellently contextualize her stellar mentorship and its impact on me. In November, I was a senior facing an uncertain and anxiety-ridden entry into the job search upon graduation in December, and Casey met me with a methodical and organized approach to figuring out what I wanted to pursue and how to do it. […]
“In May, I was an incoming professional one week away from starting my first full time job, and Casey gave me sage advice to acclimate and learn in a new role and workplace.
“Casey was with me every step of the job search process, and I undoubtedly would not be in my position without her guidance. She’s a master at the basics, sharing her keen eye for resume and cover letter improvement, she’s networking force, instilling in me the confidence to polish my LinkedIn and connect with other professionals, and she’s always eager to instruct, whether through answering questions about the smallest nuances of job listings or jumping in on something much more weighty.
“This final point was where Casey especially went above and beyond for me. As I faced an unexpected interview, Casey gave me plenty of advice to help me quickly prepare; as I faced second and third round interviews, Casey scheduled extra time to perform increasingly specialized mock interviews; as I faced an official job offer, Casey stepped up to help me negotiate and understand the benefits. All of this fantastic preparation helped me to start my new job with certainty and excitement.
“Although we were both Communication majors, I cannot fully express how much Casey’s mentorship has meant to me this past year. She helped me gain confidence and clarity during a time I needed it the most. I’m looking forward to the day when I can, in turn, be someone else’s “Casey.” Thank you to the UCLA Alumni Mentor program for allowing me to connect with her, and most importantly, thank you Casey for everything you have done for me!”
Undergraduate Students — 2021 Outstanding Student Mentee Award Recipients
Third-Year Psychology Major
Alumni mentor Valeria Gonzalez, postdoctoral scholar shared, “Marisol is an example of the powerful alliance that can be born in a mentorship program. She was fully committed to the program. There was not a single week in which we did not meet or talk. She was always eager to ask for help, and had no issues asking difficult questions. I think she really understood what I could offer and she played around on these strengths. […]
“We are both Latina women, and there is a deep common understanding of the difficulties that women of color need to confront during life. Marisol understood the importance of creating community.
“During this year she found out what she wants to do after graduation. Her questions make me think deep in why and how we do things (CVs, resumes, job applications, the difference between master’s or Ph.D. degrees, different paths to accomplish the same objectives, etc.).
“Every time I sent materials or gave her some ‘homework’ for our next meeting, she would not only do it but she would go beyond that. Looking for extra resources, conducting informational interviews, and getting back to me with information that many times was useful for me too. I deeply admire her energy, her passion. I know she will do great things because she is an outstanding person with a bright mind and an honest heart.”
Fourth-Year Communication Major
Alumni mentor Vince Villanueva ’98 shared, “I am nominating Hayden because he not only sets a high bar for what is expected in a mentee, but I know that as a UCLA graduate, he will represent the University well. Hayden’s passion for understanding everything he gets involved with is evident in his line of questioning. In chatting about the music industry, he was not afraid to admit when he wasn’t sure of a term, position or function of the industry. […]
“He went above and beyond by not only trying to understand how the industry works, but how he can hopefully find his place in it. When provided with a list of names of companies to look up, he voraciously researched to uncover not only what projects they had completed, but also tried to see what their company was like from a culture standpoint. He tried to know who the people were who make up the companies and what previous projects they worked on as well!
“After talking about networking, he kindly asked if I knew of any people he might be able to connect with to see how they got their start. Once he got a few names, he had no problems setting up informational meetings and says that as he completes each one, he feels more and more comfortable talking about music. When you have someone who can handle meeting new people and adjust their conversation style quickly, you have someone who will be able to not only hold their own in a social setting, but represent the company they work for as well.
“Having had many deeper conversations about “why music?” with Hayden, it’s apparent that he is starting to tap into the broader picture of what music can do and how it can be used. He knows that it’s not always about listening to the cool new bands, but music can alter moods. Music can give you those goosebump moments. Music can be unifying and therapeutic. Music is powerful.
“Having worked in entertainment for over 25 years, I can say that Hayden is one of the top ten outstanding mentees I have worked with since starting my career. There is no doubt in my mind that Hayden will succeed in whatever area he decides to pursue and his passion will make him invaluable in the workforce.”
Fourth-Year African American Studies Major
Alumni mentor Joss Tillard-Gates, Cert. ’11, shared, “Michelle has continued to be proactive in communication throughout our mentor/mentee experience and has continued to challenge herself in areas where she sees a need for improvement, while strengthening the areas in which she already excels. Michele even continued to do so through the pandemic as classes were shifted to an online experience. Specifically, Michelle asked that I review her resume in preparation for landing employment and internship opportunities, and edited her resume in a timely manner, leading to securing multiple opportunities. […]
“Additionally, although a natural introvert and commuter student, Michelle explored study abroad opportunities and began engaging in a greater number of on-campus activities after realizing the importance of relationships and networking for professional success, prior to pandemic-related changes. Through all of these changes, Michelle managed to maintain the high GPA required for her scholarship, while completing her academic course load in preparation for graduation this year. An outstanding mentee, student and young woman.”
Graduate Mentors — 2021 Distinguished Alumni Mentor Award Recipients
Megan Guardiano ’15
Bachelor of Science Nursing-Generic/Prelicensure
Incoming Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing student
Registered Nurse, Valley Presbyterian Hospital
Student mentee Jennifer McGlynn, master’s in nursing candidate, shared, “My mentor has gone above and beyond her role in the mentor program. She has created a safe environment for me to feel comfortable asking questions and seeking advice. As a MECN 1 nursing student, I was hesitant and unsure about what lay ahead of me, but my mentor gave me the confidence to push past my fears and uncertainties. […]
“I ended my first quarter with all A’s, but more importantly, I believe in myself as a nursing student. She provided me with resources and documents detailing clinical nursing skills that I felt uncomfortable with, and was even available to meet to go over any questions that I had. I am forever grateful to have met Megan.”
Dr. Belinda Hernández ’96
Bachelor of Arts, Chicana and Chicano Studies and Sociology
President/CEO, Hernández Consulting Group, Inc.
Student mentee Sidronio Jacobo, doctor of philosophy in education candidate, shared, “Dr. Belinda Hernández has been one of the most influential mentors in my formal education and personal life. As a fifth-year graduate student, I was looking for mentorship, guidance and advice – and Dr. Hernández went above and beyond. From the beginning of our interactions, I was greeted with warmth, respect and great encouragement. […]
“When I told her I was looking for informal or formal experience with consulting, she provided me with an opportunity to work on one of her projects. Through this experience, I felt my expertise as a researcher were valued. Throughout the duration of the project, Dr. Hernández constantly dropped gems of knowledge. Whether it was showing me how to do an invoice, rapid assessments or data analysis, I always got a thorough understanding of the work.
“I really appreciated that Dr. Hernández was intentional about modeling mentor/mentee relationships. When she informed me that her dissertation explored mentorship, I was not surprised and she had lots of insights on mentorship. I know moving forward I have a mentor for life. I am so grateful for her work and guidance.”
Graduate Students – 2021 Outstanding Student Mentee Award Recipients
Master of Social Science Candidate
Alumni mentor Lorraine Cummings, M.S.W. ’91, shared, “Xinyue has been an excellent mentee; since she’s had to do her whole graduate program remotely from China, this was a unique experience for both of us. Xinyue was the perfect Mentee: she’s prepared for our video visits, she’s on time, she showed genuine interest in what I had to offer as ‘current world experience’ in my field, whereas she was also very interested in making an impact in her home country for the elderly, and took her studies seriously. […]
“She and I discussed often how she would make very practical her many different interests and explored how each would enhance her ongoing interest in scholarly research and study. As we got to know each other, she also taught me some things about her home country that I felt privileged to learn – and the struggles her country was having in serving the growing elderly cohort. She is very bright, and cheery as well as dedicated, and I am honestly sad her master’s program was only one year. I am encouraged that my field of interest can enhance what she wants to do and look forward to seeing her further her studies when she can actually come to the U.S. to study. It was a joy to be her mentor, and she is a lovely addition to the Bruin family! She and I will continue our friendship beyond this experience.”
Doctor of Philosophy in Education Candidate
Alumni mentor Belinda Hernandez ’96 shared, “In the beginning of our journey, Sidronio was a timid mentee. However, in this past year he has demonstrated an increase in his own confidence and has brought his own ideas to the table. He has kept all scheduled meetings and was always on time and prepared to check in and discuss his challenges and successes. During this past year of overwhelming stress, our meetings became a consistent event to look forward to. […]
“Even though our meetings were always virtual he remained present and involved while also participating in project meetings which I invited him to. He has been a great mentee, and I hope he will mentor others when his time comes as he has a wealth of ideas and experience he can already start to share with others.”