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About Us



Michael Pierick Degree Completion Program Director

Michael Pierick

Director of Degree Completion Program

My "Why:" Being able to provide for my family (wife and son), while being a part of a culture of innovation and disruption in education that strives to create greater equity and access for all students. The curiosity and unknown that is presented each day provides a new opportunity to take on.

Degrees Earned: BS in Management, UC Merced, 2016, M.A. in Educational Entrepreneurship (MAEE), University of the Pacific  Benerd College, 2020

Life Goals: Be able to serve at a large capacity on designing and developing new programs that will bring immediate and long-term significant impact to underrepresented and at-risk populations and regions.


Jayme Richards Degree Completion Assistant Director

Jayme Richards

Assistant Director, Degree Completion Program

My "Why:”  I believe in the transformative power of education at all levels. Nothing is more exciting than seeing students discover their authentic voice through the college experience. I love helping students achieve their educational goals and realize their own power and self-efficacy, especially when the deck seems stacked against them. 

Degrees Earned: BA in Liberal Studies, Mills College

Life Goal: I strive to leave the world a better place than I found it. 


Aaron Rivera Degree Completion Specialist

Aaron Rivera

Reentry Advisor

My "Why:” I want to uplift individuals of underrepresented groups in the higher education space. To see individuals succeed despite hurdles they may face inspires me to grow as a person and motives me to further my knowledge.

Degrees Earned: BS in Management and Business Economics, UC Merced

Life Goal: Be able to travel and experience different cultures, be able to smile and spread joy, and be able to leave a room better than when I entered.


Brenda Maldonado-Rosas portrait

Brenda Maldonado-Rosas

Director of Student Services, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts

My "Why:” Helping students connect their likes/passions with their education and career goals, while learning to navigate an education system many students are unaware of how to navigate.

Degrees Earned: BAs in English and Spanish, UC Davis, 2008; MS in Counseling, specialization in Career Counseling, CSU Sacramento, 2011

Life Goal: Continue to assist as many students, either directly or indirectly, to complete their degree and enter the next chapter of their education careers.


Maria Sifuentes Academic Advisor portrait

Maria Sifuentes

Academic Advisor

My "Why:” Empowering students to keep striving forward through their educational journey and assisting them along the way is a rewarding experience. I want to continue my advocacy for students' academic success by providing the most current knowledge, tools and resources that will benefit their professional and personal development.

Degrees Earned: AAT in Psychology & AA in Social & Behavioral Sciences, Merced College; BA in Psychology & Minor in Sociology, UC Merced; MA in School Counseling with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential, Fresno Pacific University

Life Goal: Be able to continue assisting and providing opportunities for students to thrive within their academic journeys.


Elizabeth Whitmyre Academic Advisor portrait

Elizabeth Whitmyre

Academic Advisor

My "Why:” I am passionate about education and the multitude of opportunities it offers, and I value the opportunity to help students continue to move forward in reaching their goals. I want to be a part of helping people discover and develop their own educational and personal strengths and empower them to be independently successful. Having the ability to impact students' lives positively keeps me motivated to continue this work.

Degrees Earned: BA in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Mathematics, CSU Stanislaus

Life Goal: At the end of the day, feeling joy in life is really what it’s about. So, my goals are surrounding myself with the right people, finding satisfaction and growth in my career, doing things and going places that bring me joy, and finding ways to give back so that others can have some joy in their lives, too.


Jessica Cantu Degree Completion Program Financial Aid Advisor

Jessica Cantu

Financial Aid Advisor

My "Why:" My family. I strive to be the best role model I can be. Hard work, perseverance, and belief in yourself can take you anywhere you want to be in life. I am a first-generation college student who had 2 children during college but never gave up, no matter what obstacles were put in my way. Now, I want to give back to my community. I want to make a difference in the Degree Completion Program by supporting students who want to complete their degree and may be experiencing similar struggles that I encountered while in college.

Degree Earned: BA in Psychology, California State University, Stanislaus

Life Goal: I would love to travel to new places and explore the world around me. This would allow me to learn more about different cultures and connect with the students I work with on a deeper level.


Erin Webb University Registrar

Erin Webb

University Registrar

My "Why:" Student success is at the center of my why, and UC Merced always puts students first. From the first time I drove onto campus, I knew I had found my place.

Degrees Earned: BS in Accounting, Azusa Pacific University; MED in Student Affairs, Azusa Pacific University; EDD in Educational Leadership, CSU Stanislaus

Life Goals: With student success at the center, I want to continue to help students and faculty minimize administrative barriers with enhanced technology.


Genesis Flores Renteria Degree Completion Program Registrar Specialist

Genesis Flores Renteria

Registrar Specialist

My "Why:" Giving back to others the same way I received the support and resources to navigate education despite challenges I faced being a first-generation student. I am driven by being a part of the transformational picture of higher education and seeing how the results of my efforts make a difference in somebody achieving their definition of success.

Degree Earned: BA in Psychology & Minor in Sociology, UC Merced

Life Goals: Be able to contribute to the community of UC Merced and to be involved in the innovation and continual expansion of resources for every student to achieve their educational and personal goals.




Victoria Raines Degree Completion Program Marketing Specialist

Victoria Raines

Marketing Specialist

My "Why:" I’m a natural listener and I love looking for connections and pathways to help people move forward on their journeys. We benefit by the hard work of all who came before us, and it is our responsibility to lift others up along the way.

Degree Earned: BA English and Political Science, University of Nebraska; MA Program Literary Theory, California State University, Fresno

Life Goal: Engage with the progressive development and culture of UC Merced by connecting with and expanding the student community.


Marta Holtz financial analyst

Marta Holtz

Financial Services Analyst

My "Why:" Family and the genuine joy of doing the work I do every day.

Degree Earned: Studied Business Administration, CSU Stanislaus

Life Goal: Visit other countries and learn about other cultures.




Governance & Leadership 

Jeff Gilger

Dean of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts

Jeffrey Gilger Web Page

Anne Zanzucchi

Associate Dean, Academics & Student Services

Anne Zanzucchi Web Page


Annette Roberts Webb

Dean of University Extension

Annette Roberts Webb Web Page