Meet the MESA Team

Mayra Frias (She/Her)


Hello! My name is Mayra Frias and I am a MESA & General Counselor. I began my educational journey at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (B.A. in Psychology and minor in Mathematics) and continued into my master's program at Azusa Pacific University in College Counseling and Student Development. I am a first-generation student college graduate, and I am happy to serve as an educator at Orange Coast College. I have been a counselor at OCC for the last eight years and have served as the STEM Academy counselor, Puente Counselor, and general counselor. Fun Facts: I am a wife, mother to two amazing children, and have two dogs, a boxer and chihuahua mix. 

Jami Gulini (She/Her)


I am a native of Southern California who decided to stay local for college. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine. By the time I was a junior, I was ready to try something different. I chose to study abroad in England at the University of Sussex. This was a lifechanging experience that opened my eyes to the importance of traveling and learning about other countries, customs, and cultures. My time spent abroad encouraged me to go far away for graduate school. I earned my Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from New York University (NYU). Living in New York City taught me to be a savvy consumer of mass transportation and appreciate this global and diverse city.

I have been working in education since 2001. In 2006, I helped open a dual enrollment high school in Costa Mesa. In this unique educational setting, my passion was fueled for helping students understand the community college system and the benefits of the outstanding education available. In 2016, I began working at Orange Coast College as an adjunct counselor. At Orange Coast College, I have been privileged to work with the STEM and MESA Academies. One of my favorite aspects of working in a community college is the diverse population we are fortunate to serve and help guide. My goal as a counselor is to make students feel comfortable, supported, and to help students create a path to achieve their academic and personal goals.

I am excited that you are a part of the MESA community at Orange Coast College! I am here to support you and connect you to the resources that will equip you to successfully make progress toward your academic goals. I look forward to getting to know you!

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family which includes my husband, two daughters, and our dog, Chewie. Our weekends are often spent on the soccer field cheering on our girls all over Southern California as they compete in club soccer. I love traveling to new places and having shared experiences with family and friends.

Rafael Gonzalez (He/Him)

Program Coordinator

I am a Latinx, first-generation college graduate who has always held a passion for STEM. I attended THE Ohio State University for college, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering.

After college my life took an unexpected detour into education when I began working at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), a STEM boarding highschool with unique research and entrepreneurship opportunities for its students. Through my time there I developed a passion for student mentorship and support. Working there also helped to spark my interest in mental health advocacy, working to start various mental health initiatives for students as the relationship between gifted students and mental health issues became a growing topic of discussion.

I became part of the OCC community shortly after moving to California in 2023. I briefly worked with the Housing Assistance Program before transitioning to my role MESA. When I first came to OCC I was amazed by all the resources it provides, and knew right away it was a place where I wanted to stick around and find my way to contribute to the success of the students.

Some fun facts about me:

  • I love to dance, styles I’ve learned include hip hop, k-pop, bollywood, bhangra, step, and various modern and folkloric spanish genres.
  • I love boba and am always looking for new spots to try
  • I own too many board games to count
  • I am a huge fan of video games, especially JRPGs like Final Fantasy 7 and Xenoblade
Theresa De Los Santos (She/Her)

Program Director

I’m a first-generation college graduate, with educational background spanning biology, psychology, and business management. My educational journey had many starts, stops and curves, from the University of Washington, to Cal State Fullerton, Irvine Valley College, Central Washington University, University of Phoenix and Western Governors University. My student experience gives me a unique perspective on and passion for working with first generation STEM students.

Here at OCC, I have served in both the student services and instructional wings since 2017. Creating close ties with faculty, classified professionals, managers, and students across the myriad of programs here on campus provides me with a strong network of information and support to share with MESA students. My vision for the MESA program includes strengthening the links between campus Instruction and Student services, building relevant program content in the MESA Center, and providing MESA students with tools and valuable experiences to boost classroom and transfer success.

I am a Washington state native, so while I love the sunshine here in southern California, I also adore the gray skies and green trees of the Pacific Northwest. I love animals (all of them), being outdoors, and trying new recipes in the kitchen.  I am an avid reader, everything from non-fiction to fantasy novels.



Contact Us


C&L 104. Near the clock tower.

Office Hours

Mon, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Tue, 12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Wed, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Thu, 12 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Fri, 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Sat, Sun, Closed