Bruin Resource Center Director
I am very excited to serve as the Director of the Bruin Resource Center. I have worked in the field of education for nearly twenty years, and I have been a staff member in the BRC since it first opened in 2009. I love working with students and supporting their development and success. In my spare time I love watching sports (especially UCLA Athletics) and other shows like Top Chef and The Walking Dead.
Andrew’s passion is working with the diverse UCLA students and connecting them to the resources they need to persist and graduate at UCLA. Andrew understands just how difficult it can be to overcome the many barriers that students face on a daily basis. Be assured there are many individuals willing and able to help! You can frequently find Andrew at Staples Center as he is a Kings hockey fan.
Rita Phetmixay, M.A., M.S.W.
GRIT Coaching Program Coordinator
Direct: (310) 825-8213
Rita (pronouns: she/they) is an advocate for all things related to social, healing, and transformative justice. Rita's experiences as a child of refugees from Laos and Thailand and growing up in the south has given her unique insight of what it means to identify as a southern Lao Isaan American womxn/femme. Now more excited and energized than ever, Rita hopes to create more accessible means of empowerment, healing, and self-discovery for students, especially those within the margins. On her free time, Rita loves to dance, laugh and eat lots of LAO food!!!
Vivek Mittal is a Managing Attorney at the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. A graduate of the UCLA School of Law, Vivek has been an Adjunct Professor at the Immigrant Rights Clinic at the UC Irvine School of Law, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Consuelo B. Marshall, Senior District Court Judge in the Central District of California in Los Angeles, California. Prior to this, he worked as an immigration practitioner at a private immigration firm in Los Angeles. In 2009, Vivek was selected to be an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the National Immigration Law Center, where he litigated high-impact cases regarding anti-immigration laws across the country, most notably against Arizona’s SB 1070 and Alabama’s HB 56. For this work, he was honored by the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights Los Angeles (CHIRLA). Vivek enjoys creative writing, tennis, running and spending time with his daughter and partner. He is highly proficient in spoken Hindi.
Vivek will be providing legal services to students and their families at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara, and will be assisting in managing the series provided at UC Riverside, UC Irvine, and UC San Diego.
Habiba Simjee is a Staff Attorney with the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley School of Law (J.D.) and UC San Diego (B.A.). Her experience includes working with refugees, asylum-seekers, unaccompanied children, and youth in the juvenile justice system. Habiba became involved with undocumented student advocacy during law school through Berkeley Law’s International Human Rights Law Clinic DREAMers at Cal project. Most recently, she served as the Undocumented Student Services Coordinator at UC Santa Barbara.
Habiba will be providing legal services to undocumented students, mixed-status students, and their families at UCLA full-time through the Bruin Resource Center. She will be working closely with the Undocumented Student Program to offer workshops, clinics, and resources in addition to direct legal services.
Bruin Guardian Scholars Program Director
Brianna Harvey has worked in the field of social work for over 10 years and is most recently joining us from Santa Monica College Guardian Scholars Program. She is passionate about working with former foster youth and is excited to support BGS students in achieving their goals and connecting them with campus resources.
Bruin Guardian Scholars Case Manager/Program Coordinator
Bruin Guardian Scholars Academy Director
BRC Office Manager
Susan began working in the BRC in 2010. Actually, saying she returned would be more accurate! She worked at UCLA as a health educator and an administrative assistant for a number of years before leaving to start a family. A favorite part of her job is working with students and helping them reach their goals. Ask her and she’ll tell you…she has the best job in the world!
Emma Naliboff Pettit
Intergroup Relations Assistant Director
(310) 206-2242 | epettit[at]saonet.ucla.edu
Emma is the Assistant Director for the Intergroup Relations Program. Emma comes to UCLA from many years in Washington DC, where she served as a Program Director for the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network, bringing the work of dialogue to 60+ colleges across the US and the world. As a former participant and facilitator of many dialogue processes, Emma believes strongly in the power of dialogue to transform the most challenging problems of our time, both on and off campuses. At UCLA, Emma works closely with students, staff, and faculty to increase the impact of dialogue across difference through trainings, workshops, dialogue events, and quarter-long dialogue programming. Emma is a proud alum of Mount Holyoke College, where she earned a BA in Racial Injustice in Society and Schools, and she earned her MA in American Studies at the George Washington University.
Students with Dependents Program Director
Collegiate Recovery Program
Jean is excited to serve the Students with Dependents & the Collegiate Recovery communities! Before UCLA, she developed a college success program for first-gen college students & high school seniors at a non-profit in San Diego. She is committed to work with non-traditional & underrepresented students, building supportive spaces for students of all backgrounds.
Undocumented Student Program Director
Valeria is the only person in her family to achieve a college degree which continues to motivate her work to ensure that all students have access to a postsecondary education. She has extensive experience of working with undocumented students and promoting programs to help meet their unique needs in education through advocacy.
Transfer Student Program Director
With over twenty years of experience in public speaking, fundraising, multimedia marketing, public relations, and career coaching in the Entertainment Industry, Heather Adams currently focuses on overseeing the development of the Transfer Program in the Bruin Resource Center at UCLA. A non-traditional transfer student herself, Heather has been an advocate for students from diverse academic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds since enrolling at Santa Monica Community College and transferring to UCLA, where she graduated with honors. Heather’s primary research has focused on the non-traditional and transfer student experience, institutional shifts that best serve this growing and diverse population, and ways in which to strengthen career development opportunities for college students and promote fluid collaborations between universities and the workforce.
Veterans Resource Center Program Director
Emily works with Student Affairs partners and other campus organizations to enhance the experience of service members and student veterans at UCLA. In her previous roles, Emily worked in a variety of student affairs disciples including facility management, staff training and development, and risk management.
Transfer Student Program Director
Veteran Student Program Director
John Maldonado is a recent alumnus of UCLA where he earned his B.A. in Political Science. While as a student at UCLA, John served as vice president of the Student Veterans of America, an intern with the Veteran Resource Office, and as an intern with the Dean of Students Office. John previously served four years of active duty in the United States Navy where he completed two combat deployments. Additionally, he is a graduate of Naval Aircrew Candidate School and Naval Aviation Search and Rescue Swimmer school. He finished his service in 2013 with the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class and an honorable discharge. John is a certified peer support specialist, with focuses on veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder, and mental health first aid. While serving in his role with the Transfer Student Center, John seeks to complete a dual degree with a Masters of Public Administration and a Masters of Planning.