Transfer Advocates


Transfer Advocates are here to share their experiences with students, however, they will not provide counseling or advising services.
FGS = First generation student; TS = Transfer student

Name Alma Mater (School) Major College Experience

Stephanie Wells

English Instructor

Bachelors: UC Berkeley

Masters: University of Virginia

Doctorate: UC Davis

Bachelor of English and Dramatic Arts (Double Major

Masters in English

Doctorate of English


Sofia Totapudi

Transfer and Career Center Coordinator


Bachelors: Scripps College

Masters: University of Southern California 

Bachelor of Psychology 

Masters in Postsecondary Education and Students Affairs 


Lauren Servais

Dean of Arts and Humanities

Bachelors: University of Hawaii

University of Colorado, Boulder

Bachelor of English

Masters in English
Curriculum and Instruction


Marixa Barnett

Enrollment Services Associate


Bachelors: UC San Diego Bachelor of International Studies - History

I had a very ambitious path once I figured out what I wanted my journey to become. The path I choose I had to take on my own since I did not have the financial support. There were people in my community college that really stuck out and helped me along the way, and that's why I wanted to work in higher education, so that I might be able to give back the insight I gleaned from my own experience. 

Rebecca Beal

ESL Instructor


Bachelors: Humboldt State Universtiy

Masters: Eastern Michigan University

Bachelor of Art History, minor in Jouranlism/Public Relation

Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

I loved my time at Humboldt State University, and it really gave me skills that I needed to join the workforce.  I did not go back to get my Master's degree until I was thirty years old.  It's never too late to figure out what you want to do, or to change your career.  I'd love to talk to any student interested in studying at Humboldt, or who might be thinking about starting a degree program later in life.

Kyle Beattie


Associates: Cuesta College

Bachelors: San Francisco Sate

Masters: Cal Poly SLO


I went to 4 different schools before I eventually got my BA.  2 CSU's and 2 Community Colleges.  The path is rarely clear, so don't be afraid to take your time to figure it out.  Definitely ask for help and advice but do your own research as well.  No one can tell you the best path for yourself...

Wende Bohlke

Dental Assisting Instructor

Associates: Santa Rosa Junior College

Bachelors: Southern New Hampshire University

Masters: Southern New Hampshire University

Bachelor of General Studies/Psychology

Masters in Organizational Leadership


Bonnie Borenstein

Communication Instructor

Bachelors: Temple University

Masters: New School for Social Research

Doctorate: New York University

Bachelor of Theatre

Masters in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

Doctorate of Communication and Culture

I didn't complete my undergraduate degree all at once.  I stepped in and out over a period of almost 10 years.  When I decided to go on for a master's degree, I had been out of school for almost 10 years and it took some long and hard times for me to even understand the language of the texts I had to read.  But I stuck with it and surprised myself 6 months later that I could actually do it! I also know quite a bit about many different majors throughout the country particularly in the New York area. 

Ryan Byrne

Director of Student Services: Kinesiolofy, Athletics, and Health

Associates: Santa Rosa Junior College

Bachelors: UC Davis

Masters: UC Berkeley 

Bachelor of Sociology

Masters in Education


Tina Christensen

Biology Instructor

Bachelors: San Francisco Sate

Masters: San Francisco State

Bachelor of Call and Molecular Biology

Masters in Physiology and Behavioral Biology

I am a first generation college student who started out here at College of Marin as a foreign student (English is my second language). I went back to graduate school when my kids were young, so I also understand the struggles of balancing being a mom and doing well in school. If you have a similar situation and want to talk to me about how to succeed, feel free to ask me!

Victor Contini

Mathematics Instructor

Associates: College of Marin

Bachelors: Long Beach State

Masters: San Francisco State

Bachelor of Business Admin., Finance concentration

Masters in Economics; Masters in Mathematics Education

I was a COM transfer student and a first-generation college student.  I know that the first year at college can be difficult so don't hesitate to reach out for help and advice from all the support that COM offers. 

Windee Cottle

English Instructor

Bachelors: San Francisco State

Masters: San Francisco State

Bachelor of Liberal Arts

Masters in English Composition 

If I could return to my "college days," I would have taken more time to explore possible paths. But I loved my professors, even the weird ones, for their unique vantage points and interesting assignments taught me to think deeply and have shaped who I am today. 

Maria Coulson

Mathematics Instructor

Bachelors: Loyola Marymount University

Masters: CSU Northridge

Masters: Harvard University 

Bachelor of Mathematics

Masters ins in Mathematics

Masters in Education


Mark Culbertson

Music Instructor

Bachelors: Chapman University

Masters: University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

Bachelor of Arts in Theory and Composition

Masters in Music

I was in love with the idea of the student life in college, studying with highly academic and educated professors.  Once I changed majors, I was off and running, and my music career direction and goals were easy to focus on.

Paul Daubenmire

Chemistry Instructor

Bachelors: Harvard University

Masters: Georgia Tech

Doctorate: UC Berkeley

Bachelor of Chemistry with Teaching Certification

Masters in Chemistry, Paper Science concentration

Doctorate of Science and Math Education

I changed my major five times, and struggled with "imposter syndrome" in STEM classes, but found my calling through summer research experiences and volunteering as a mentor.

Peggy Dodge

Faculty Coordinator, Early Childhood Education Program

Bachelors: Washington University in St. Louis

Masters: Sonoma State

Bachelor of Elementary Education

Masters in Early Childhood Education

I started college as a Psychology major because I wanted to do impactful work with people.  My freshman year I discovered that undergraduate psychology would not prepare me for a career in a helping profession but I also discovered education as a pathway and switched my major before sophomore year.  So happy I did!

Jason Dunn

Fine Arts Instructor

Bachelors: San Francisco State

Masters: San Francisco State

Bachelor of Art

Masters in Art Education

I spend much of my early years in college unsure of my ultimate goal. The path from community college to undergrad to a Master’s degree included a lot of figuring out myself as I went through the process.

Patrick Ekoue-totou

Chief Information Officer

Bahelors: Baker College

Masters: Baker College

Doctorate: Northcentral University 

Bachelor of 

Business Management, Computer Information Systems 

Masters in Business Administration, Computer Information Systems

Doctorate of Business Administration, Computer and Information Security



Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Student Learning & Success

Bachelors: Central Washington University


William O. Douglas Honors College

Masters: Colorado State University

Doctorate: University of Southern California


Bachelor of 

History, Political Science Minor

Masters in Student Affairs in Higher Education

Doctorate of Organizational Change & Leadership

I have worked in higher education for thirty (!) years and am happy to share my experience as a student and as an administrator. I've worked at a small private liberal arts college, flagship state university, regional public university, and community college, in addition to my time as a student at CWU, CSU, and USC. 

Caitlin Escobar

Counselor/MAPS Coordinator 

Associates: Skyline College

Bachelors: San Jose State University

Masters: San Francisco State University 

Associates in University Studies

Bachelor of Psychology

Masters in Counseling - Marriage and Family Therapy and College Counseling 

I had a hard time navigating community college, but after my first year and lots of dropped classes, I started working on campus in the financial aid office and joined EOPS which really helped turned things around for me (seeing all my friends transferring while I was still at the community college was also motivating haha!).

David Everitt

Physics and Astronomy instructor

Associates: Ventura College

Bachelors: UC Davis

Masters: UC Los Angeles

Doctorate: UC Davis

Associates in Math

Bachelor of Physics

Masters in Physics

Doctorate of Physics

I loved being a student, but looking back I'd say some of the most valuable things I did in college were outside of class: being a tutor and teaching assistant and volunteering in laboratories.

B.Lee Federle

Multimedia Studies Instructor

Bachelors: CA College of Art Bachelor of Film, Video, and Performance 

I spent my CCA years wiring buildings. First, 16' x 16' programmable, interactive, immersive installations. Second, connecting communities by dissolving distance and architectural boundaries using video wall constructions. Also, as a technology journalist for the CCA, Chimera, and MIT Press, Leonardo's Electronic Almanac. I wrote about the emerging interactive and immersive art scene in the S.F. bay area.

Emily Fox

Biology Instructor

Associates: City College of San Francisco

Bachelors: UC Berkeley

Doctorate: UC San Francisco 

Associate in General Education

Bachelor of Molecular Environmental Biology

Doctorate of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

I spent seven years at community college, the journey was long, but worth it! I'm happy to chat about lab research, life/work balance, being a parent/student and anything else that is on your mind. 

Sarah Frye


Bachelors: Hanover College

Masters: Indiana University, Bloomington

Bachelor of  History

Masters in Library Science

I struggled with writing research papers during my early years in college. Once I learned about the college library (and getting help from librarians), my grades improved and I didn't dread writing papers! I love being a librarian because I get to empower students by helping them develop skills accessing and evaluating information—across many different topics! 

Walter Holden

Performing Arts Instructor


Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Masters: California Institute of the Arts

Bachelor of Theater

Masters in Theater Design

I went to a tiny school in Oklahoma and ended up going to graduate school at California Institute of the Arts just outside of LA. Even though I came from "nowhere" I got into one of the best schools for theater in the country. 

Jon Horinek

Dean of Enrollment Services


Cameron University

Masters: University of Oklahoma

Bachelor of Communication

Masters in Adult and Higher Education 


Julie Hui

Anthropology Instructor

Bachelors: UC Berkeley

Masters: UC Berkeley 

Doctorate: UC Berkeley 


Bachelor of Anthropology

Masters in Anthropology (Biological emphasis)

Doctorate of Anthropology

I have had quite a higher-education journey! I delayed my first year as a Freshman at UC Berkeley due to financial and housing issues, and instead took classes at my local Community College. When I got to Berkeley as a Sophomore, I was in a terrible housing situation that made studying nearly impossible, and did not have the academic support that I needed, nor did I know where to go for help. I struggled through my first three years at Berkeley and finally, after a family loss, withdrew from school to clear my head. I took a job overseas and returned two years later to Berkeley to complete a degree in an entirely different field of study. I was lucky enough to find a mentor, which combined with my overseas life experience helped me excel in the final two years of my Undergraduate degree. If you are worried that your path isn't "straight-forward," I'm a prime example of taking a non-traditional path through an undergrad degree!

Patrick Kelly

Chemistry Instructor


Humboldt State University

Doctorate: UC Davis

Bachelor of Physical Sciences

Doctorate of Chemistry

I had no intention of being a chemistry major until the right teacher came along and changed everything. He opened my mind to a whole knew level of learning about and exploring our world and universe. 

Dave King

English/Humanities Instructor


UC Santa Cruz

Masters: San Francisco State

Bachelor of 

Literature and History (double major)

Masters in Comparative Literature, with certifications in Teaching Composition and Teaching Postsecondary Reading

In high school, I didn't feel particularly motivated to reach my potential, but when I got to college, I realized my potential and my genuine curiosity about the world. Now I seek to help my students do the same, so please feel free to contact me! 

Alisa Klinger

English Instructor

Bachelors: University of Toronto

Masters: Queen's University

Doctorate: UC Berkeley

Doctorate: English Literature 

I had to learn how to balance school with working, since I was self-supporting throughout college. An on-campus job helped me discover my passion for academic research and teaching. Scholarships enabled me to afford graduate school. Feel free to ask about how to manage classes, time, and finances.  

Ronald Krempetz

Drama Instructor/ Technical Theatre, Set Designer

Associates: College of San Mateo

Bachelors: San Jose State University 

Masters: San Jose State University


I was not the best High School Student but I enjoyed theatre. I found my career during my first year in junior college where my passion for theatre was established. In junior college I was allowed to try and practice in all the aspects of theatre; on stage, back stage, theatre history and even front of house. I found a subject that I excelled in that set my path the rest of my life. 

Jeff Marozick


Police Chief


West Valley College

Bachelors: San Jose State University

Assocates in 

Administration of Justice

Bachelor of Administration of Justice

I am an advocate for utilizing the Community College system, then transferring to a four year college.  I was faced with working and having to provide 100% of the financing for my own education, this was a cost effective way to obtain a degree. I am happy to discuss your further education plans with you. 

Colleen Mihal

Communication Instructor


Virginia Tech

Masters: Virginia Tech

Doctorate: University of Colorado, Boulder

Bachelor of Communication Studies, Concentration in Film

Masters in Communication Studies 

Doctorate of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Media, Communication, and Information

I struggled in high school, but loved the greater freedom I had in college to explore careers and classes. I had a difficult time figuring out what ultimate career path I wanted to follow and felt a little lost. I become interested in media, film production, and critical media analysis and transferred into the communication department. I graduated and still wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Luckily, my communication degree was broad enough to allow me to work in different sectors. During graduate school, I was able to teach and discovered my passion for teaching! 

Trine Miller

English Instructor

Bachelors: UC Santa Barbara



San Francisco State University


Bachelor of Communications and Political Science

Masters in English Literature, with a Certificate in Teaching Composition

My education, thankfully, did not follow a straight line, and my motto now is to be microambitious: figure out what you want to do NEXT, not 3 or 4 steps or years down the road.  Do what you are doing as well as you can, and learn as much as you can about yourself and your interests and skills. You will then have a variety of experiences that connect into the work, and activities, you do in the future. 

I had to appeal to get into UCSB, and learned the valuable lesson of persisting and putting in extra effort to reach my goals. I was interested in journalism, but UCSB didn't have a journalism major, so I chose communications, and then added political science. After I got my bachelor's degrees, I worked as a freelance journalist, as a freelance writer, in public relations and advertising, and then in marketing for a non-profit. I really wanted to make the the world better. But I also loved literature (fiction), and took a few survey classes at the College of Marin to fill in my knowledge gaps. Then I applied to SF State, got in, and not only got my English Literature master's degree, but also my certificate in teaching composition (essay writing). I was given a chance to student teach at the College of Marin (scariest and most exciting thing I'd done!). I soon realized that teaching at CoM connected everything I love: working with people who have diverse backgrounds, circumstances, and cultures; sharing stories; teaching concrete lessons about reading, thinking, and writing; and helping others. I never dreamed of teaching, or planned to teach, but once I connected the dots of my education and experiences, teaching at the community college was a perfect fit for me. 

I am so moved by my students' intelligence and hard work, by their varied experiences, and by the connections they make in our classes between what we are reading/talking about and ourselves/our world. And I'm happy to talk to anyone who wants to hear more about how my students, including international students, have succeeded in their classes, transferred to excellent universities (some with full ride scholarships!), and discovered their own motivation for being in school.

Steven Newton

Life and Earth Sciences Instructor

Bachelors: UC Berkeley

Masters: CSU Hayward


Bachelor of History

Masters in Geology

After graduating from the Durmstrang Institute, I began collegiate studies at Solano Community College in Suisun, CA, where I bounced for a number of years between potential majors such as Creative Writing and Political Science, before eventually settling on History. I transferred to UC Berkeley as a History major, which after graduation one discovers is excellent preparation for choosing an entirely different career path--in my case, Geology. 

Barbara Obata-Gloistein

Art Instructor


St John's College

Masters: Mills College

Bachelor of Philosophy

Masters in Studio Arts

Hello, I'm Barbara Obata Gloistein, COM Fine Arts Instructor, and once upon a time a COM student! I started my own college journey here as a high school student taking a Jewelry night class at COM, then Spanish. After a few years of working and traveling and trying things out, I settled down to a  BA in Philosophy in Maryland and New Mexico. This was followed by a tech career over several decades, when I thought I'd try out a few Fine Arts classes at COM, and my life once again transitioned, this time into an MFA in Studio Arts in Oakland.  This long and winding road brought me right back to teaching in the COM Fine Arts Department, over 30 years later! 

Angela Olmanson

Program Administrator for Allied Health 


Sonoma State University

Masters: Western Governor's University

Bachelor of 

Business Administration with a focus in Marketing

Masters in Business 

Choosing my major in my undergrad felt like I was in a pin ball machine. I had no idea what I wanted to do, only that I didn't want to spend more than four years in college and I wanted a job that would pay a decent salary. Once I started taking my lower division courses I realized my passion and interest for all things health and business. I swore when I graduated with bachelors I would never go back and now having completed a masters I hear myself asking colleges about their doctorate program recommendations!! So it's ok if you feel unsure, if the goal is to be a college graduate, keep that as the goal, the plan can shift along the way and I'm here to help if I can. 

Thomas Padron

Math, Science, and Business Instructor 



Madison College

Bachelors: University of Wisconsin - Stout

Masters: University of Wisconsin - Stout

Doctorate: Capella University

Associates in 

Culinary Arts and Food Service Production

Bachelor of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Masters in Hospitality and Tourism Management

Doctorate of Business Organization and Management

I did not know that I had an option to transfer to a 4-year university and a very helpful dean highly encouraged me to transfer. My goal now is to assist students in having the full information about transferring so that they are able to make an informed decision about their own future and I welcome any and all students to contact me :)

Dave Patterson



College of San Mateo

Bachelors: UC Berkeley

Masters: University of Alabama

Doctorate: UC Berkeley 

Associates in English

Bachelor of English 

Masters in Library and Information Science

Doctorate of Education (Language, Literacy, Society, and Culture) 

I wanted to major in English, but it didn't feel "responsible" enough. I finally was encouraged by a counselor to major in what I loved, and so I did -- I became an English major and I taught for many years. I never made a lot of money, but I loved teaching and now I love being a librarian.

Dayna Quick

Life and Earth Sciences Instructor


Rancho Santiago Community College

Bachelors: UC Los Angeles

Doctorate: UC Santa Barbara 

Associates in Geography

Bachelor of Geography

Doctorate of Geography

I entered community college without any skill or goals. During my years at the college I gained skills, confidence and found a subject and possible career path I was passionate about! Through community college I went from having a GED to getting a Ph.D! I'd be happy to talk with you about my experience and perhaps help answer any questions you might have.

Becky Reetz

Director of EOPS, CARE & CalWORKs

Associates: College of Marin

Bachelors: Sonoma State University

Masters: Sonoma State University 

Associates in 

Liberal Arts and Behavioral Science, and a credential in Early Childhood Education

Bachelor of Liberal Studies

Masters in Education: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

It took me a long time to discover that my passion was education, and even longer to figure out what that might look like as a career. But thanks to guidance from counselors and teachers, I found the perfect career for me that intertwines both my desire to promote equity and social justice, and my love for education.

Karen Robinson


Bachelors: UC Davis 

Masters: San Francisco State University

Bachelor of 

Managerial Economics

Masters in Counseling, with specialties in College, Career, MFT, and School Counseling

While at UC Davis, I changed my major five times (from Chemical Engineering, Spanish, Psychology, Education, and then finally Managerial Economics).  I enjoyed playing intramural sports on co-ed teams and some student clubs as well.  I participated in a few research experiments in the Psychology department as well.  I loved the school!

Keith Rosenthal

Director of Advancement


Lincoln Land Community College

Bachelors: Illinois State University, Normal

Bachelor of 

International Business/German Sequence

I was all over the board about what I wanted to be "when I grew up".  My dad sat me down and said, "Get your AA and then get a general business degree until you figure out your path." This was good advice as I didn't waste financial resources or time. After I transferred, I found an international business program which was truly an amazing experience.  

Tristan Saldaña

English Instructor

Bachelors: CSU Northridge

Masters: CSU Northridge

Masters: The Wright Institute

Bachelor of English Literature

Masters in English Literature

Masters in Counseling Psychology

I went to college to to find a sanctuary in which I could create my own life away from a home that did not directly support my education.  University presents a gateway to making the life you imagine for yourself.