Angelica Contreras’s experiences assist first-gen students at SBCC

The Channels Features Pages | VITAL VAQUEROS


Rodrigo Hernandez

Interim Director of Admissions and Records Angelica Contreras underneath the veranda by the Student Services Building on Wednesday, April 27 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Contreras has also taken on the role of overseeing the office of Dual Enrollment.

Bianca Ascencio, Features Editor

Vital Vaqueros shines a light on the individuals who help City College upkeep its reputation of being a favorable campus to study at.

This week, The Channels caught up with Angelica Contreras for the final edition of the spring 2022 Vital Vaqueros.

The City College campus is nothing new for Interim Director of Admissions and Records Angelica Contreras.

“In a nutshell, I have a long history here,” she said. 

As a young girl, she remembers walking with her older sister, Hilda, underneath the Bougainvillea-covered arches on campus while her sister was enrolled at the college.

9-year-old Angelica Contreras pictured with her sister Hilda Gutierrez and Manuel Unzueta at a 1992 MECHA event in Santa Barbara, Calif. Courtesy of Contreras.
9-year-old Angelica Contreras pictured with her sister Hilda Gutierrez and Manuel Unzueta at a 1992 MECHA event in Santa Barbara, Calif. Courtesy of Contreras.

She would accompany Hilda to her MECHA meetings and would volunteer with her as well, saying, “I really do see it as a community college, serving our community.” 

Fast forward to 2022, City College alumna Angelica Contreras was awarded the Outstanding Administrator of the Year Award by her colleagues. 

“Angelica is successful because she is a great listener, stays focussed on student needs and always has a continued passion to keep learning,” said Interim Dean of International Programs, Business, Scheinfeld Center, Career Center, and Media Arts Michael Medel in a statement to The Channels. Medel previously held the position of director of admissions and records before acting as an interim dean. 

The City College alumna started in the EOPS program in 2001as a peer mentor. She started working in admissions and records later that year and continues to work with many of the same staff she works with now. 

At a young age Contreras would help her mother, Angela Buenrostro, fill out the registration packets when she was in elementary school. Contreras compared helping fill out her mom’s registration forms and filling out college applications as not an easy thing to do especially if you do not have the resources to guide you. She understands that many other first-generation families have that dream of college but at the same time they don’t think it’s possible.

“It’s not always something that’s feasible,” she said. 

After she graduated from UCSB with her degree in sociology and minor in education, she worked there for seven years as an advisor for statistics and applied probability as well as a coordinator of undergraduate research. 

“I didn’t really feel complete there,” said Contreras. “It was always my goal to come back to Santa Barbara City College.”

She came back as a transcript analyst for three years and then as a supervisor for admissions and records. 

The opportunity then came for her to oversee the dual enrollment office. She thought it was going to be a temporary role but she has been in that position for the last two years. 

“I had the fortunate pleasure of hiring Angelica as the assistant director of admissions and records and have watched her flourish in this role over the years. Managing this area is one of the most demanding, complex and difficult jobs on campus,” said Medel in a statement to The Channels.

While the position can be a challenge, Contereas was eager to work in the program. 

“I really felt strongly about assisting that program because we work so closely together, I felt like I could make a difference in that area,” said the interim director. “I think it really allows me to put myself in students’ shoes.”

Contreras acknowledges her struggles and uses them to assist students in her work. Between reviewing petitions and understanding the student struggles, she always puts herself in their shoes and knows what challenges they face. 

“Those struggles don’t leave you,” she said.