Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Salazar worked as a counselor at the Career Center for two years. In fact, Salazar was the Senior Associate Director of the Career Center and worked there for 4 years.
The post was updated on April 27 at 8:45 p.m.
UCLA has hired a former transfer student and attorney as the new director of the Transfer Student Center after the position sat vacant for more than a year.
Carina Salazar, a former transfer student in sociology, began her new role as director of the Transfer Student Center on April 9. The Director directs the UCLA Transfer Student Center and manages all transfer-related programs at TSC, such as the transfer mentorship program and orientation programs. for transfer students. Salazar, a 2000 graduate, will be the first permanent director since 2019.
Salazar will represent the transfer student community in the university’s political decision-making process.
“(It’s about) making sure transfer students become part of the fabric of UCLA, not an afterthought,” Salazar said.
Salazar has worked with the UCLA Center for Community College Partnerships as a transfer student recruiter, as well as with transfer student summer programs.
Salazar, who worked as a counselor in UCLA’s academic advancement program for 17 years and as a senior associate director at the Career Center for four years, also brings academic and counseling experience with her.
She added that her identity as a former transfer student motivates her to advocate for the transfer community.
“I felt a great sense of responsibility to my community, which led me to get involved in advocacy work to create community spaces and give transfer students a voice,” Salazar said.
Transfer students need support in non-academic areas of life, Salazar said. Transfer students of color and first-generation transfer students in particular may face impostor syndrome, she added. Salazar said she would work to build community in her role.
Zuleika Bravo, the transfer student representative for the Undergraduate Student Association Council, said Salazar’s longstanding involvement in the welfare of transfer students on campus will increase his credibility with transfer students.
“She was one of those students who helped create the transfer programs that we (still) enjoy,” Bravo said. “We are super excited to have her join our team.”
Bravo said she hopes Salazar can provide leadership to projects like the Transfer Success Team, an administrative group that provides a direct line of communication between transfer student advocacy groups and student affairs administrators. The Transfer Success team was put on hiatus after former TSC manager Heather Adams left her post in 2019, Bravo said.
Students and staff had to work to the limits of their abilities when the TSC operated without a director, Bravo said.
Paolo Velasco, director of the Bruin Resource Center, served as acting director of the TSC after Adams left. Velasco said hiring Salazar will lighten the workload for permanent TSC staffer Sarah Molitoris and other student staff.
“In 2017, when we first established the center, we had one full-time staff member, and now we have two,” Velasco said. “I think it’s fantastic.”
Velasco said the hiring of a permanent TSC director is a marker of progress for students transferring to UCLA.
He added that the next TSC director will need to address equity and inclusion issues arising from cases of violence against people of color and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we go back, there’s still so much uncertainty about what things will look like,” Velasco said. “Carina, like many other staff on campus, is going to have to create new ways of being.”
Salazar said she looks forward to working to raise student voices.
“I’m a counselor at heart,” Salazar said. “I want every student to feel seen, recognized and important, no matter how corny that sounds.”