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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

New Raices program advisor strives to meet students where they are at

Julia Torres
Nathalie Quintero beams next to the snack cart in the Raíces in the West Campus Center on March 15 at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Quintero is the newest addition to the “Raíces: First Year and Beyond” family, working as a program advisor.

For the last three weeks, the Raíces Student Center “La Plazita” has had a new supervisor. Nathalie Quintero is the most recent addition to the Raíces family, working as a student program advisor. Along with looking after the student center, Quintero helps students find resources on campus and oversees programming. 

Raices Program Coordinator Sergio Lagunas shared how their newest faculty member has a background in advising, programming, and onboarding students, as well as being bilingual in English and Spanish. 

“She is a first-generation college graduate with a master’s degree in counseling,” Lagunas said in an email interview. “She has a communication style that evokes caring and understanding when interacting with students and student workers at La Plazita. Her experience in supervising peer advising is instrumental at Raíces as we prepare to launch our peer advising model for first-year students and beyond.”

Computers and school supplies for final exams or projects are also available to students, either if they’re starting their journey at City College or concluding it. La Plazita also has a healthy dose of “intentional snacks” like protein bars and fresh fruit that run out every day, according to Quintero. 

“The physical space speaks volumes to students, but different programs on different campuses as well,” Quintero said. “When you have a physical space it really shows that these students belong, they’re special.”

Quintero’s goal is to continue building on the programming that was already established, organizing workshops for students who need career advice or information on the next steps in transferring and what to look for. 

Quintero shared that her long-term wish would be to be able to build relationships with different organizations on campus like Extended Opportunity Programs and Services and the Center of Equity and Social Justice, to create events. 

“I know students’ time is like, so precious, there’s so much going on,” Quintero said. “So if we can host something in unity, I think it would be really awesome for all of us, but also for students so they don’t have to worry about like, ‘Which event do I go to?’”

For her own educational journey, Quintero attended Antelope Valley College in her hometown of Lancaster, as well as the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. Being younger in age than her peers at Antelope and reflecting on her different experiences was what solidified her desire to work at a community college.  

“And [City College] came by, and not only was it at a community college, it was a population that was very special to me, that I identify with in so many aspects. And not only that, but it was a program that serves to empower,” Quintero said. “So all of those components felt like cherries and nuts and whipped cream on top of the sundae that was community college for me.”

Before starting at City College, Quintero worked at UCSB in the environmental studies department as a day to day assistant, helping students build scholarship portals and find resources on campus. She acted as a program coordinator for the interdepartmental PhD emphasis in environment and society, assisting in launching this new doctorate program.   

When getting her master’s, Quintero recalls learning about the statistics for Latina women in education. According to her, she was astonished to learn about how low the percentage was for Latinas getting a bachelor’s degree, dwindling down when it came to getting a master’s or a doctorate. To Quintero, it works as motivation for her work at Raíces. 

“I think when students come here, it’s important they see their peers, their colegas, their fellow peers that are interns, or me and the other staff doing things that they are passionate about,” Quintero said. “I think when you go outside of this campus and take a look at those stats, it is really astonishing. So to have a community here, it’s really important.”

During her brief time in the department, Quintero expresses how surprisingly fast she has found her place in Raíces, feeling welcomed by the students and the staff. 

“I am passionate about educational equity. Beyond Raices and beyond community college, I am really passionate about meeting a student where they’re at,” Quintero said. “Because at the end of the day, that’s the most effective way to support them.”

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