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First Year Experience

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photo of Jamie Gutierrez

Jamie Gutierrez

Assistant Director, Residence Life and First Year Experience
Davis Community Center
714-997-6961
I was born and raised in Lomita, CA. I began my undergraduate studies at Chapman in the fall of 2008. As a first-generation college student, my transition to Chapman was not easy. I think back on my experience and I credit the work done by Student Affairs professionals that allowed me to develop holistically. I was fortunate as an undergraduate to serve as an Orientation Leader and Orientation Coordinator. I graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Educational Studies and in 2015 with a Master of Arts in Leadership Development. Prior to serving as the Assistant Director of Residence Life and First Year Experience, I supported the Office of Orientation and First Year Programs as the Graduate Assistant and Program Coordinator. I love Chapman University and I can’t wait to share that with incoming students!
photo of Jordan Vaughn

Jordan Vaughn

Program Coordinator, Residence Life and First Year Experience
Davis Community Center
714-628-7379
I recently relocated to Orange County to pursue a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy here at Chapman University. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of San Diego in May of 2016, and officially decided that I did not want to leave Southern California any time soon! I have always loved how special and unique a college community feels. This has fueled my passion for leadership and creating campus connections. I hope to assist the department in creating a welcoming and open environment for every incoming and current student here at Chapman University!
photo of David Brown

David Brown

Graduate Assistant, Orientation and First Year Programs
Davis Community Center
714-628-7379
I am currently in the Marriage and Family Therapy program here at Chapman. I obtained my bachelor’s degree at California State University Long Beach where I studied Psychology and Child Development and Family Studies. Throughout my education I have always appreciated the support that has been provided by professors and educational counselors. Their support allowed me to make a smoother transition into college life and allowed me to thrive. For the past two years, I have been working with youth in crisis, where I was the one to support them in their time of need; I have found this work extremely rewarding. Now that I am transitioning to the First Year Experience team, I am excited to continue providing support as I work with first year students. My hope is to help them make Chapman a home.
photo of Alejandro De Anda

Alejandro De Anda

Orientation Coordinator for Academic Initiatives and Special Events
Glass Hall
714-516-4600
I came to Chapman in 2016 really excited about what I was about to get from the college experience. Being a first generation college student, I didn’t know what to expect but I thought it would be awesome no matter what. When I arrived, I was so amazed by all the activities Chapman had to offer, not to mention all the amazing people that I met along the way. This place was just very welcoming and friendly that I felt right at home immediately. In high school, I was heavily involved with band, drama, and choir, and I wanted to continue to stay as involved as possible. Here at Chapman, I decided to join the First Generation program, rush a fraternity, join the Orientation team, work in the Office of Admission, work within Residence Life and First Year Experience, and a few other things here and there. I can honestly say that my involvement at Chapman is what has made my time here so enjoyable and this will definitely be a memorable experience in my life. I decided to get involved with orientation because I love it here and I want to share that with everyone else coming into Chapman. Now serving as an Orientation Coordinator after being an Orientation Leader for the past two years, I am excited to put together a wonderful experience with the rest of the Orientation Team and welcome all the incoming students to a time they will never forget. We look forward to welcoming you all to the Chapman family!
photo of Jocelyn Cruz-Garcia

Jocelyn Cruz-Garcia

Marketing and Publications Orientation Coordinator
Glass Hall
(714) 516-4600
Chapman University was a complete and happy accident that I drove past it, my junior year of high school. When I drove past Schmid Gate and saw the words that read, Chapman University, I had no idea that this school had been so close to me. Just 15 minutes away. In the last two years I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to involve myself in various different organizations on campus such as Residence Life and First year Experience, professional Greek Life, and the University Program Board. In addition to being a part of these organizations I have also been able to hold leadership positions such as the Graphic Designer of the University Program Board, and the Public Relations chair for my professional cinematic fraternity, Delta Kappa Alpha. I have also had the honor to give back to those who welcomed me in my orientation week, by becoming an Orientation Leader last summer (hands down best part of Chapman) and by this year by becoming an Orientation coordinator. Whatever you’re into and what you are looking to get out of your college education Chapman has everything to make you feel a part of the Chapman family! We look forward to welcoming you to Chapman and cannot wait for you to come to realize the amazingness that this campus has to offer you!
photo of Spencer Belt

Spencer Belt

Orientation Coordinator for Family and Transfer Student Orientation
Glass Hall
(714) 516-4600
From the moment I started to look at potential universities, I knew that I wanted to be on the west coast. I wanted to experience new people, a beautiful new climate, and new opportunities that I didn’t have access to in my hometown. I wasn’t scared of the distance from my family, seeing it more as a challenge of my maturity and ability to adapt to new surroundings. But in my first semester here I felt alone and unconnected to the student body. I hadn’t gotten involved in ways that were meaningful to me and I wasn’t making the most of my college experience. Flash forward to almost two years later and I’ve served as an Orientation leader, a Hall Council president, helped plan Chapman’s yearly Hall Olympics events, joined countless clubs, and built a community here for myself. I am proud of all that I have done, and I have enjoyed every second of it. Getting involved has not only been fun but has also helped me grow and evolve into a better person. I’m incredibly thankful for my time here so far and incredibly grateful that I get to spend another two years here. The Chapman community has given me so much support and guidance and now it’s my turn to give that back in the orientation events that I oversee. Being an Orientation Coordinator and being able to create these events for students and their families to feel welcome, connected, and loved at Chapman makes my heart so full. Class of 2023, you are in for an incredible and life changing experience here. We’re so excited to welcome you into the next chapter of your lives!
photo of Nicole Howard

Nicole Howard

Operations and Logistics Orientation Coordinator
Glass Hall
(714) 516-4600
Upon arrival at Chapman, I knew that I found a place that would allow me to flourish as a person. I was not nervous at all but excited to get out of the small town I grew up in. Throughout my first year, I met countless warm and welcoming people, had beach bonfires, went on day trips to San Diego and L.A., but I still felt like I did not have a meaningful connection to Chapman. Between my first and second year, I thought about transferring, but luckily gave Chapman another chance. My second year I got involved by being an orientation leader, joining Kappa Delta Pi and Gamma Beta Phi (honor societies on campus), working for residence life and first year experience as an office assistant, attending many Chapman sports games, volunteering in the community, among other things. This is when I finally realized that for me to feel at home somewhere, I must be involved and give back to the community. I could finally say, without a doubt, Chapman is my home. I am now going into my third year and could not be happier. Of course, I have had ups and downs with friends, stressful weeks with school and work, and days where I question myself, but on those rough days, I always have people to build me up and help me out. The community, the resources, the support I have from peers and faculty at Chapman is something I did not expect to get during my college experience but is a huge reason I am grateful to be a panther. All my experiences, good and bad, are the reason I am an Orientation Coordinator today. I want to share and use my experiences to make events and programs to welcome and support incoming students and families. Every person coming to Chapman is going to have their own journey and I can’t wait to see the start of your college journey at orientation. Welcome to the Chapman family!